A Polar Bear in the Desert

Itzhak Shapira continues with the defense of his book. He still does not tell his audience where they can read the critiques that he is defending against although he makes a point to tell his audience the name of a blog that he feels will help his cause.

Here are my words from “The School of Matthew” that Shapira is responding to:

“From page 227 through page 236 Shapira deals with the prayer found in the Rosh Hashana liturgy which mentions Yeshua. Shapira addresses some of my remarks on this subject (from a personal correspondence) and he concludes that my understanding of this text is not supported by professor Liebes or by any of the Jewish writings. The complete article of professor Liebes actually confirms my understanding that the reference here is to a being that is less than divine. Liebes actually advances the theory that this prayer originates with the early Christians who did not believe in a divine Messiah, a theory that undermines the very faith that Shapira is trying to support. Yet Shapira does not hesitate to quote those elements from Liebes articles that he feels advance his cause while suppressing the elements that openly refute his entire thesis.”

(You can read the article in context here:https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/the-school-of-matthew/ )

And here is Shapira’s response: http://youtu.be/aGrM5luoGYk

See if you can figure out how he addresses my point.

In any case, Shapira makes the incredible statement that he “thinks” that Yehoshua the High Priest of Zechariah 3 is only mentioned in that one place in Scripture.

Shapira is obviously as unfamiliar with Scripture as he is with Rabbinic literature. This high priest is mentioned several times in the books of Haggai (1:1,12,14; 2:2,4), Zechariah (6:11), Ezra (2:2; 3:2) and Nehemiah (7:7; 12:1).

Shapira seems to be as lost in the pages of the Jewish Scripture as a polar bear in the Sahara Desert. The only difference is that if you put a polar bear down in the Sahara Desert it would probably realize that it is lost.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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11 Responses to A Polar Bear in the Desert

  1. Yehuda Yisrael says:

    For what it’s worth, I just noticed in Ezra and Nechemiah, Joshua the High Priest is actually called “Yeshua” instead of “Yehoshua,” where he is mentioned in Zechariah and Haggai. Is there any significance to this?

  2. As always. You are dancing around the issues with personal insults and little of non substance. It is sad. Why are you not answering the real issue?

    • Tzachi
      Three things – Why do you consider this a “personal attack”? You don’t consider your own “the rabbis elected to go against the Torah itself” to be a personal attack so why is this different?
      Second and more importantly – it is you who are avoiding the issues – You did not begin to respond to anything substantive from my critique
      One last thing – perhaps you can explain to the audience on this blog – why it is that in your videos you do not tell your viewers how to access my critique of your book?

      • Yisrael, here are three answers:

        1. Why do I consider it a personal attack? Go back and read your words for me in Private and after that in public, look at your conduct. Calling another Jew “Hateful”, “Anti-Semitic”, and putting “Seeds of hate and worse” sounds pretty personal to me. In addition as you illustrated masterfully above, you love to take my words OUT OF CONTEXT to paint a picture as I am anti-Jewish . Do you think that anybody buying your Lokshim? You are doing the same thing that you are accusing me of doing, how ironic! The sad thing is that you know NOTHING about me, my conduct and my love for you. This is the most tragic part. You, and any Rabbi in Israel are not my enemy and TROTKP is a book of love not hate. Thankfully HaShem knows the truth.

        2. I am not the one who attacked you or your integrity. I have responded to MANY of your claims yet you fail to respond to none of mine. Thankfully you are not my judge or my Rabbi that I must answer to you. I have addressed many of your objections (any many more will be answered B”H as G-D allow me the time) in a very extensive matter. As I told you before, silence does NOT equal lack of response, your critique is really not that relevant, but I am thankful that you did it for various reasons. You have helped my faith to grow and for that I am thankful.

        3. When you decide to FINALLY come to the table with mutual respect, honesty and brotherly love, I will gladly do it. BTW, Why do I need to do it? Your Peers are obsessed with me and take every opportunity to lie about me and to post slander about me. Notice that I did not kick you out of our YOUTUBE .

        HaShem hear and see everything and one day you will give the din for this . I pray that HaShem will be merciful with you and J4Judaism for the hate, slander and abuse that I have taken. I will continue to show the truth in boldness to my Jewish people.

        I will take much worse to see one Nefesh finding Jewish Messiah as it as our sages declared, so if you want to continue with this slander go right ahead.

        לפיכך נברא אדם יחידי בעולם, ללמד שכל המאבד נפש אחת, מעלים עליו כאילו איבד עולם מלא; וכל המקיים נפש אחת, מעלים עליו כאילו קיים עולם מלא.

        Shabbat Shalom

        • Annelise says:

          I can imagine an Orthodox rabbi who decides to start teaching that according to his way of reading the Talmud, it is clear that Jews can intermarry if they want and they don’t have to keep Shabbat in any way except what feels right to them. And people start to believe him. Then, when there is an uproar against his teachings, he says things like “When you decide to FINALLY come to the table with mutual respect, honesty and brotherly love…”

          • Annelise says:

            Even worse, I can imagine how justified the Orthodox response would be if such a rabbi would teach that according to our sages it is appropriate to pray to God in a form after all…

        • Tzachi
          1. You didn’t answer my question – if I were to write about you that you elected to go against the Torah itself – would you consider that a personal attack?
          2. If you would believe what you wrote here you wouldn’t have anything to hide
          3. see 2.

  3. Yedidiah says:

    Matthew 5:17-20 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

    Is teaching a belief in a “divine man” or a “man-god” (which is idolatry pure & simple) breaking the “least of the commandments” or one of the “greatest” most explicit of the commandments? I see few people whose righteousness exceeds that of the “scribes and Pharisees”, and after I re-read “the school-of matthew”, Mr Shapira is definitely not one. If only half of the criticisms of Shapira’s book in that post were valid, the book would be worthless, except as an example of very poor scholarship and invalid argumentation, which verges on being a display of either the author’s ignorance or dishonesty or self-delusion. If I were the author, I would have asked for more input from my potential critics before publishing it, so that the many obvious errors could been avoided and a better argument could have been made. Those types of gross errors can be excused if one speaks without prepared notes or if one writes a post like I am doing right now at the “spur of the moment”, but it is inexcusable if one has spent months, perhaps years developing your thesis. Rabbis have given a very detailed & substantial analysis of the book and it is obvious to many that Mr Shapira “dances around” the constructive criticism. Shapira is like a lot of Christian pastors and believers that I know. Despite his wish in some of his comments that he should not be associated with Christians, his writings connect him to them in an inseparable way. And many Christian scholars can explain how the verse from Matthew above is one part of their belief system, as a Christian. You can reject all of the New Testament except for Matthew (even the so-called “ancient or original” version of some Nazarene or “Netzarim Jews”) and still be a Christian. It is the belief in the theology of the book that associates one with other Christians, despite how much one knows Hebrew nor how much one lives “among his people”, nor how much one keeps Shabbat and kosher (which by the way is the practice of quite a few Christians that I know who see not an iota of difference between Yeshua and Jesus).

    Galatians 3:23-28 “Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. … There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

    Which law is the author of Galatians saying that imprisoned believers in God? Is this the same law that Matthew says should be taught, which is, I assume, the same law that Paul did not know when he was oblivious of the concept of sin, and the same law that then caused sin to rise up in him and the same law that imprisoned him? If the law in Matthew 7 was “evil” according to Paul, why should it be taught and/or kept? Is the difference between slave or free, man or woman, etc only to be taken metaphorically or spiritually; is it only in the mind? If so, there is no need for much of the theology of the NT or of the eschatology (future return) of Yahshua or of his and Christian’s messianic/Christological beliefs.

    Hebrews 8:13 “In speaking of “a new covenant,” he has made the first one obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old will soon disappear.”

    Which “first covenant” was made obsolete by the verse above? How soon was the soon and why a need for another future “new covenant”. And what is the difference between a promise to Abram/Abraham and a covenant with Abram/Abraham? If some people are currently under a “new covenant”, in the future when Heaven and Earth “pass away”, what part of the “new covenant” will be replaced by the “new, new covenant”? Then today, can we reject part of the “new covenant” (the “covenant” that was not and is not accepted by many people) since it will also “soon disappear”?

    Romans 7:6 “But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.”

    In “Romans”, which people where discharged and which law and which written code held these people captive? If some were or are Jews, is this the same law and written code spoken of in the quote from Matthew above? If the verse was only meant for non-Jews, why should Christians first believe in & follow the law in order to know sin and “what it is to covet” and so that they may be held captive to the law & to the written code (of Matthew 7?), just so that they then can be immediately & officially discharged from that law and written code?

  4. Yedidiah says:

    Shabbat, the “feasts”, and kosher is the practice of quite a few Christians that I know who see not an iota of difference between Yeshua and Jesus. The pastor of the church I still go to would have no argument with Shapira on almost all points and he would call Shapira a “messianic Jew” and he & other Jesus-Yahshua followers like him, would call themselves Christians “returning to their Hebraic roots”.

  5. Yedidiah says:

    According to the quote from Matthew above, it seems there are some who can do and teach the law (without Jesus one way or another) and therefore they will be called “great in the kingdom of heaven”. If no one can truly keep “the law” (according to their original teacher who according to the gospels broke the law and taught others to break the law), then messianic followers of Jesus/Yahshua will be among those who will be called “least in heaven”. There are many Christians, who know their bible just as well or better than Shapira or Brown, will agree that these “messianics” will be among “the least in heaven”. Why is Shapira not teaching millions of Christians to be as good a Christian as he? Or showing the hundreds of millions how they have been deceived? Will teaching from the Talmud or quoting from “non-believing” Rabbis somehow help him to save those Christian millions? Or is he Eliyahu or the “messiah” and not a “polar bear in the desert” preaching to a few Jews?

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