The Pharisees in the Gospels – an Excerpt from Covenant Nation

Boyarin presents us with an analysis of the hand-washing incident described in the seventh chapter of the book of Mark (TJG; pgs. 106-127). Boyarin concludes that, contrary to popular Christian opinion, this incident does not teach that Jesus abolished the dietary laws altogether. Rather, Jesus was opposed to the specific rabbinical enactment of hand-washing, which stands apart from the general dietary laws.

I find myself in agreement with Boyarin on this point. Reading the book of Mark with an understanding of Jewish law one recognizes that there is a distinction between the purity laws, which Jesus was contesting, and the general dietary laws, which Jesus does not mention. Boyarin however does not stop there. Boyarin goes on to argue that Jesus stood against all Pharisaic innovations and additions to the Law. This position is not supported by the Christian Scriptures, the only source we have for Jesus and his teachings.

Boyarin has ignored a significant piece of evidence in this discussion. The Talmud records that there was an inner-Pharisaic conflict concerning the hand-washing enactment, and that this conflict was still unresolved in the generation of Jesus (Shabbat 14b). In other words by taking a stance against the hand-washing enactment, Jesus is not standing outside of the Pharisaic community. Instead he was taking part in an inter-Pharisaic debate.

This is corroborated by Jesus’ teaching as recorded by Matthew: “the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you.” (23:2,3). Although Jesus goes on to malign the Pharisees for hypocritical behavior, but he does not take issue with their authority or their interpretation of the Law. In fact some of the laws he mentions and upholds in his subsequent diatribe (such as the tithing of spices) are of rabbinic origin.

Jesus is described as observing the Passover Seder according to rabbinic tradition (Luke 22:18-20). When Jesus is accused of breaking the Sabbath law, an accusation that only makes sense according to the Pharisaic understanding of the Law, he never exonerates himself by arguing against the Pharisaic definition of the Law. Jesus’ defense always assumes that the Pharisaic definition of the Law is correct, it is only the application of the Law in those particular instances (i.e. for the purpose of healing) that Jesus takes issue with.

Many of Jesus’ followers considered themselves Pharisees long after Jesus had died (Acts 15:5). These people were prominent figures in the community of Jesus followers and their opinion was taken seriously. A comparison between the debate described in Acts 15 and Paul’s dispute with Peter recorded in Galatians 2:14 shows that Peter, the prime disciple of Jesus, was of the “Pharisee party”. Paul accuses Peter of “compelling the Gentiles to live as do the Jews”. This was the opinion of the Pharisaic segment of the early Christian community as recorded in Acts 15 and Paul attributes this outlook to Peter. A straightforward reading gives us to understand that Peter himself belonged to this group.

If, as Boyarin claims, Jesus took a clear stance against the Pharisee approach to the Law, why would his followers accept this very approach that he discredited? It is clear that Jesus did not reject the Pharisee approach to the Law as a whole it was only some details of the Pharisaic application, details that were being disputed within the Pharisee community itself that Jesus was rejecting.

In the book of Mark (7:8-13) we do indeed find Jesus striking out at the general concept of the traditions. He rebukes the “Pharisees and all the Jews” (Mark 7:3) for using the traditions to make the Law of God null and void. However, the example that Jesus uses to demonstrate how the Jews were using the traditions to nullify the Law of God, is perplexing. Mark’s Jesus accuses the Jews of using the law of taking vows as a method of avoiding honoring their parents. The technical aspects of this accusation are confusing enough (the laws of taking vows are Biblical in nature (Numbers 30:3) and not a part of the traditions as Mark’s Jesus seems to believe). But what is really difficult to understand is that in all of the rabbinic writings, there is not one statement that can be taken as an encouragement to avoid honoring one’s parents. The consistent position of Pharisaic Judaism, according to every historical record, places the honor of parents on the highest pedestal. In sharp contrast, the Gospels leave us with several statements that seem to go against the spirit of the Fifth Commandment (Matthew 10:37; 12:48; 19:29; Mark 3:33; Luke 14:26). The targets of Jesus’ invective left us a literature that is far more extensive than the 4 books of the Gospels, yet nothing equivalent is to be found in their writings.

This would lead us to one of two conclusion; either the group that Jesus was castigating was a fringe sect that never left their mark on mainstream Judaism, or we can conclude that the redactors of the Gospels put this anti-Pharisaic tirade into their book long after Jesus died and were not familiar with the ways of the Jews. Either way, Boyarin’s conclusion that Jesus was anti-Pharisaic cannot be substantiated from this enigmatic passage, especially in light of the totality of the available evidence.

It is interesting to note, that Boyarin does not hesitate to slice up the Hebrew Bible and attribute various sentences in the same narrative to different authors who subscribed to conflicting theologies (TJG, pg. 43). He does this without any explicit evidence for the existence of the conflict that he assumes as the root of this editing procedure in the text of the Hebrew Bible. Yet he takes the Christian Scriptures at face value despite the fact that the same Christian Bible admits that there was deep discord in the early Church between Paul and a faction of “super-apostles” who opposed him. Had Boyarin taken the same irreverent attitude towards the Gospels as he does towards the Jewish Bible, he would have realized that the most probable explanation for the pro and anti-Pharisaic tendencies in the Gospels reflects the tendencies of two conflicting communities in the early Church. The Christian Bible itself acknowledges this rift in the early Church, there is no reason to assume that this controversy left no mark on the editing process of the books produced by these conflicting communities.

If you found this article helpful please consider making a donation to Judaism Resources by clicking on the link below.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=FEAQ55Y7MR3E6

Judaism Resources is a recognized 501(c) 3 public charity and your donation is tax exempt.

Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

141 Responses to The Pharisees in the Gospels – an Excerpt from Covenant Nation

  1. Dina says:

    Wow, I see I really misunderstood the passage. Thanks for the clarity! This is a fascinating look into the time period.

  2. Lori Kubinski Johnson says:

    Why would Boyarin do this? Certainly he is no incompetent scholar. Might he have a particular anti-Jewish agenda? Considering his most influential BDS politics, I don’t think one has to look far for an answer.

  3. Alan says:

    Rabbi B,

    I thought King Solomon and his Sanhedrin already decreed washing the hands before eating bread hundreds of years before Jesus?

    • Alan says:

      The halacha is that a king is not allowed to be on the Sanhedrin, so King Solomon could not have actually made the decree himself, unless in his time kings were still allowed to be on the Sanhedrin?

      • CP says:

        Alan,
        Was there even a Sanhedrin in the days of Solomon?
        Wasn’t it the Temple priests who exercised this authority?
        No Pharisees existed at this time – right?
        After the exile Ezra (re)-formed a ruling group of priests in Israel but called them the “Great Assembly” rather than the Sanhedrin – but somehow was overrun by Hellenism.

        • Alan says:

          CP,

          Can you please answer my question on the other thread first? I spent a lot of time and effort trying to explain those things to you but you did not say anything to my last post. I will be happy to try to answer your latest questions here after we finish the previous conversation.

        • Alan says:

          “Was there even a Sanhedrin in the days of Solomon?”

          There was always a Sanhedrin in every generation. I don’t think there was a generation without a Sanhedrin until a couple of generations before the close of the Talmud.

          “Wasn’t it the Temple priests who exercised this authority?”
          Priests and Levites served on the Sanhedrin, but not all of the members of the Sanhedrin were Priests and Levites.

          “No Pharisees existed at this time – right?”
          They weren’t called Pharisees or Orthodox Jews, but they believed that Hashem gave a complete Torah to Moses – the written words with their explanations. Before the Second Temple period, there was no need to refer to Jews by any other name than Yehudi or Ivri or Yisraeli because there were no sects yet. The different sects didn’t start to appear until the Second Temple period.

          “After the exile Ezra (re)-formed a ruling group of priests in Israel but called them the “Great Assembly” rather than the Sanhedrin – but somehow was overrun by Hellenism.”
          It is not true that they were a ruling group of priests. It was a Sanhedrin with Priests, Levites and Israelites just like any other Sanhedrin could have all three kinds of Jews.

          • CP says:

            Alan,

            “There was always a Sanhedrin in every generation. I don’t think there was a generation without a Sanhedrin until a couple of generations before the close of the Talmud”

            Jewish tradition knows of no religious teacher who taught any form of religion from the death of Simon the Just (270 B.C.) until about the year 190 B.C.
            “This would have been impossible,”….., “if there had been any official activity of the teachers in those years”

            Lauterbach,Rabbinic Essays

          • Alan says:

            He’s wrong.

            From the Into to Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah) –

            3400 – Simon the Just

            3460 – Antignos of Soho

            3500 – Jose son of Yoezer and Jose son of Yochanan

            3560 – Joshua son of Perachiah and Nitai the Arbelite

            3621 – Judah son of Tabbai and Simon son of Shetach

            3722 – Shemaya and Avtalyon

            3728 – Hillel and Shammai

            3768 – Rabban Siimon son of Hillel and Rabbi Yochanan son of Zakkai

            3800 – Rabban Gamliel son of Simon and disciples of Rabbi Yochanan son of Zakkai

            3810 – Rabban Simon son of Gamliel and Rabbi Akiba

            3828 – Rabban Gamliel and disciples of Rabbi Akiba

            3881 – Rabban Simon son of Gamliel

            3910 – Rabbi Judah the Prince – Redactor of the Mishnah

            3979 – His sons, Rabbi Simon and R. Gamliel, R. Chiyah, Rav, Samuel and Yochanan

            4010 – R. Huna, R. Judah, R. Nachman, R. Kahana

            4060 – Rabba and R. Joseph

            4085 – Abaye and Rava

            4127 – Rav Ashi and Ravina

            4260 – Completion of the Talmud through R. Ashi, Ravina and their disciples

          • CP says:

            Alan,
            3460 – Antignos of Soho.
            Is there any extant teachings from this Rabbi?

          • Alan says:

            Here is one from Mishnah Ethics of the Fathers chapter 1 Mishnah 3:

            Antignos of Socho received the tradition from Shimon the Righteous. He would say: Do not be as slaves, who serve their master for the sake of reward. Rather, be as slaves who serve their master not for the sake of reward. And the fear of Heaven should be upon you.

          • CP says:

            Alan,
            Never mind, I found it

          • CP says:

            Alan,
            Thanks, I found it in a Jewish encyclopedia. I’ll have to find out why Jacob Lauterbach says there is a gap, surely he isn’t that ignorant of information so easily accessed.

            I can see I’m lacking is a basic understanding of Talmud, I don’t know the oldest extant copy or of extra Talmudic attestation or even the Orthodox accepted history of it, guess I better get busy!

        • CP Moses himself set up a massive arrangement of judges, about 60,000 – Exodus 18

          1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • CP says:

            R’B,
            I don’t see the number 60,000 in the Exdous 18, I’m assuming this is a calculated number using the stated population of Israel or that it is listed in Talmud?

            I notice Moses decided the most difficult cases and the judges decided the simple disputes. The judges are given the authority to decide according to already existing decrees and laws taught by Moses. I see no authority given to the judges to write legal precedents for decrees and laws. Isn’t this the main point of contention with the Oral Torah by many?

          • CP If every 10 men get a judge and there are 600,000 men you get 60,000. And there was no “written Torah” in Jethro’s day – so they decided according to teachings that were not put down in writing. Esther 9:27,31 should help you with Rabbinic decrees – also reread “The Council of My Nation” 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • CP says:

            R’B, Thank you.
            I did read Esther. I think there is a big difference in declaring a new holiday and writing new laws that potentially could cut a person off from God and their people if disobeyed.

    • Alan The Talmud explains that this was only relevant to the offerings not to mundane food. 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

  4. CP says:

    R’B!
    I can’t hardly believe it! I agreed with every single word in this article! So much so I had to jump up and down unable to contain my excitement. As I was approaching the end of the article a thought crossed my mind; ‘this is to good to be true, I’ve been lured in to a false sense of security and he’s going to drop a bomb at the end’ – but you didn’t! Thank you, great article!
    (Quite frankly I had no Idea you believed these things.)

  5. Alan says:

    Rabbi B,

    “Reading the book of Mark with an understanding of Jewish law one recognizes that there is a distinction between the purity laws, which Jesus was contesting, and the general dietary laws, which Jesus does not mention. ”

    But Jesus does mention here that nothing one eats can defile one. How is this not uprooting Leviticus 11:43-44?

    • CP says:

      Alan,
      I don’t mean to answer for R’B, but if you don’t mind me interjecting:
      If you are consulting a common decent NT translation such as the NASB, NKJV or ESV this verse (Mark 7:16) is [bracketed] with a footnote saying something to the effect; “this verse is not found in the earliest manuscripts” or “this verse is not in the most reliable manuscripts”.

      The reason it is even in there is because the first English translations (The Geneva Bible, the Bishops Bible and finally the 1611 King James) used late 9th century greek manuscripts for their translations. Until the early 1900’s all translations were based on this underlying text known as the Textus Recptus. Nowadays Bibles are mostly based on an eclectic text known as the Nestle Aland Text which is based on the earliest manuscripts and taking into consideration texts such as the LXX, Targums etc… When the change was made to the earlier more reliable manuscripts many things were left in but bracketed so that people would accept the newer Translations and not freak out over missing verses. Yet even so, there emerged a ‘King James Only’ group claiming Satan and the illuminati were trying to change the word of God. – not joking. Anyway that is why some of these things are still in there, but a good Bible will alert the reader of their presence.

      • Alan says:

        I’m not referring to the words in brackets “all foods are permitted”, I’m referring to Jesus saying “nothing that a person puts in his mouth can defile him”.

    • Alan says:

      CP,
      You think that Rabbi B believes that Yeshua was a kosher Pharisee?

      Do you know what a Pharisee is? Do you believe Yeshua was a kosher Pharisee now?

      • CP says:

        Alan,
        In Yeshua’s day there were 4 major sects of Judaism and among them sub-sects, therefore to answer if Yeshua was kosher would depend on whose definition of kosher one was using.

        It would be great if you shared your definition of “Pharisee” so we aren’t comparing apples and oranges without knowing it.

        • Alan says:

          “It would be great if you shared your definition of “Pharisee” so we aren’t comparing apples and oranges without knowing it.”

          CP,
          Do you know how many times I’ve explicitly defined Pharisee for you in the past 2 weeks? i would say at least 5 or 6 times.

          A Pharisee is just an arbitrary name, like Orthodox, to designate a Jew who believes that Hashem gave to Moses a written law with its explanation. And Moses taught it to his students who taught it to their students from generation to generation.

    • Alan In the original social context it is possible to understand that he was only referring to the hand washing laws, although it is clear that these words were understood to contradict Moses throughout history 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

  6. Alan says:

    CP,

    Why are you so happy about this article by R’ B?

    Do you now think that Yeshua was a Pharisee?

    Do you know what made a Pharisee a Pharisee?

    • CP says:

      Alan,
      “Why are you so happy about this article by R’ B?”
      – Because a Orthodox Jew and no less a Rabbi was able to honestly read the NT objectively from a second Temple Jewish perspective and come to sound conclusions rather than twisting Yeshua into a evil heretical lunatic.

      “Do you now think that Yeshua was a Pharisee?”
      – I think it is a possibility. However; not kosher by your standards.

      “Do you know what made a Pharisee a Pharisee?”
      – I’ve always assumed it was a particular religious political position involving Oral Torah.

      • Alan says:

        “Because a Orthodox Jew and no less a Rabbi was able to honestly read the NT objectively from a second Temple Jewish perspective and come to sound conclusions rather than twisting Yeshua into a evil heretical lunatic.”

        I’m not sure if you’re understanding Rabbi B’s intentions correctly. You might be, but I doubt it. We’ll have to wait and see what Rabbi B says.

        “I think it is a possibility. However; not kosher by your standards.”
        Why not kosher by my standards?

        “I’ve always assumed it was a particular religious political position involving Oral Torah.”
        What makes a Pharisee has zero zero zero to do with politics. Do you want to take a guess what it DOES have to do with?

        • Alan What I am saying is that it is entirely possible that Jesus was a Pharisee as it relates to halacha – the Christian Scriptures were written with an anti-Jewish bias so they could be consciously distorting that. Either way – it doesn’t make Jesus the Messiah – it doesn’t even make him a good person. It takes alot more to be a good person than to be a Pharisee.

          1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • Alan says:

            Thank you Rabbi B!

            CP,
            Rabbi B is just saying it is entirely possible that at some point in Yeshua’s life or for his whole life, he believed in both the written and oral laws just like the Pharisees did. This is all a Pharisee is. But just believing this doesn’t make a person good or sane. A Pharisee can also be unkosher, wicked and even become a heretic at some point.

        • CP says:

          Alan,
          “What makes a Pharisee has zero zero zero to do with politics”
          – Not during the second Temple period.

          • Alan says:

            Definition of Pharisee or Orthodox Jew or Traditional Jew or Faithful Jew =
            believing that Hashem gave Moses the written Torah together with the explanations of the laws.

            Such a Jew is halachically permitted to be involved in politics, but whether he/she is involved or not has no bearing on their being an Orthodox Jew.

  7. Alan says:

    Rabbi B,

    Some people might get the impression from this article that you believe that Jesus was a kosher Pharisee/Orthodox Jew as we see from CP response. Can you please clarify this?

    In this chapter of Mark, Jesus says that nothing that one eats can defile a person. Doesn’t this statement reject not uproot the Oral Law but also the Written Law?

  8. RT says:

    Alan, let’s just say that Jesus was a Kosher Pharisee. Maybe those quotes that contradict Torah were added after. Or maybe they were added by “Matthew” 30 years later when he tried to remember what Jesus said. I mean, the gospel was written years after Jesus spoke them, so don’t except them to be accurate. If I would ask you to write about a message you heard on Shabbath 5 years ago, there is a good chance that you would not be able to remember much of it… My point is as follow, maybe (and there is no way to know) Boyarin is right that Jesus was an Pharisee and, maybe there are remnant of his Pharisaic belief in the gospel account that were not erased by the church scribes. What would that change, that Pharisee Jesus is not the one mostly portrayed in the NT. Also, there is not way to know if their theory was right or wrong. Finally, if Jesus as a Kosher Pharisee, then it was only a kosher Pharisee that died under Roman persecution, not a messiah, or THE Messiah that was king and brought peace to the whole world…. CP, what makes you jump from the Pharisaic Jesus to the King Messiah is out of my understanding. Do you except any other Pharisee to raise from the dead or come back from the clouds of heaven? Why would Jesus be the messiah even if he was not a king or descendant of David?

    • Alan says:

      RT,
      I think Rabbi B is saying that Boyarin believes that Jesus was not a Pharisee. Rabbi B is making a strong case for why Boyarin cannot be sure that Jesus wasn’t a Pharisee.
      But everything else you wrote makes a lot of sense to me! Thank you!

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Its unlikely that Jesus declared all foods clean. We know this because of Acts 15, the Didache, and Paul’s epistles where gentiles are commanded about not cobsuming blood, things strangled, and meat sacrificed to idols.

        If early Christians thought dietary restrictions were abolushed, their disciplinary manuals would not be telling non Jews what they can and cannot eat.

        Its likely that Jesus is discussing purity, not non kosher food being made kosher.

        We know from second temple texts that some Jews would not eat food prepared by other Jews who did not follow their specific standards. So, I think when this is talking about foods not defiling, I think it refers to kosher food.

    • CP says:

      RT,
      “CP, what makes you jump from the Pharisaic Jesus to the King Messiah” ?
      Historical timing and the unlikely results given the starting parameters makes Yeshua either the biggest coincidence or the biggest enigma the world has ever known, or it makes him the first advent of Messiah preparing the way of Hashem.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Alan, to understand how the jump occurs, its good to keep a few things in mind.

        1. Most gentiles do not believe in scripture or biblical claims in the same way, or for the same reasons that Jews do, simply because they are not born Jewish, or subject to that culture.

        Biblical faith is not self evident to many gentiles as it is for believing Jews.

        Jews believe in Torah as a matter of their own culture, ancestral experience of the covenant, and of identity as a nation. Ie you were taught Torah by your fathers and their fathers.

        When gentiles approach Torah, its often approached through the lens of a skeptics eye, throuh their culture’s lens, when a gentile is suddenly confronted by an experience.

        For example, someone might be a drug addict, unbelieving, and then in desperation pray for intervention, and then experience a radical miraculous change.

        Only then do they ask “why should anyone’s scripures or any religion matter to me?”

        So, biblical claims are most often filtered through a person’s skeptical research, and their knowledge gleaned from their own personal experience for most gentiles.

        In that vein, a gentile may ask when they are young: “why is my non Jewish culture even interested in the Bible at all in the 1st place?

        Its clear to any non Jew who asks that question, that our ancestors were obviously not impressed by the Bible in the ancient past.” Small numbers of gentiles who interacted with Jews in ancient times converted, but it wasnt through their own culture’s lens, ot was through leaving that old culture.

        A gentile may say “I know from studying my own culture’s past that our ancestors held the Jewish belief to be illogical. They ALL used to be polytheisyic!

        One day, that belief changed, but why?”

        When a European gentile asks “when and why did this change take place?”

        He or she will say (merely as a matter of their culture and their history,) that Jesus (through Christianity) sparked that change, Jesus stands out because of western cultural convention.

        That is why he is seen as a messiah. His movement literally altered the European gentile’s whole world.” For a gentile to shrug that historical experience off is like asking a Jew to ignore his own culture and heritage.

        A Muslim will say the same exact thing about Muhammad from his own culture’s perspective, because Muhammad brought Minitheism to Arabia.

        IE to a gentile, Jesus is not percieved as a false teacher in any way precisely because he brought about a huge cultural shift in their societies, and these gentiles do not have Israel’s unique religious obligations as a lens through which to question Jesus or that alleged redemptive experience.

        A skeptical gentile may examine the claims of Jesus as best as he is able, and he may see

        -Jesus was a Jew who appears to have been Torah observant and religious.

        -His movement taught basic rules for G-d fearing gentiles.

        -since gentiles dont know the minutae of Torah and halacha, (like the 39 melachot)

        they dont see how Jesus actually deviated from halacha, (because they dont have eyes to see,) all they have is written Bible and Christian tradition, so they see objections to him as weak.

        For example, the written Torah doesnt say anywhere that healing is prohibited on Shabbat. (Only via oral tradition do Jews know how “work” is defined, and how it relates ie pekuach nefesh, and healing.”

        So, a Christian doesnt see how a person can accuse Jesus of sinning, when he was helping people.

        As Obi Wan said, “many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

        • Alan says:

          This is very helpful CR. I think you meant to reply to RT here. This definitely helps me have more empathy for where you’re coming from. I remember you wrote something in the same vein a month or so ago that was also very good.

          • Concerned Reader says:

            Well Alan, i used to be angry about Christianity (after leaving,) but its not helpful to be angry, or resentful, etc.

            When you consider the messianism that occured much later in Judaism (around guys like Shabbatai Tzvi, or the Rebbe,) it makes all the more sense of why the Christians dont really see an inconsistency in their beliefs.

            It aleays blew my mind that Jews and Christians were so different, and yet, no group could defend their own belief as well USING A NEW TESTAMENT as Jews could.

            The greatest roadblock to Christian anti Judaism is the historical Jesus.

          • Alan says:

            I agree with everything you wrote. Yashar koach! (http://www.jewish-languages.org/jewish-english-lexicon/words/610)

          • Dina says:

            Con, we don’t really care if Christians can’t see the inconsistencies in their beliefs. Let them believe what they want. The only reason we point it out is because they come here pushing their beliefs. If they left us alone, this website would cease to exist. You know it would.

            If Christians really practiced the golden rule, we would have no dialogue with them just as we have no dialogue with American Muslims who largely leave American Jews alone religiously speaking (there is a huge problem with Muslim hate toward Jews but that’s another topic). All we ever wanted from our gentile neighbors was to be left alone.

          • RT says:

            Diana, this website is useful and people may find the truth even if their intent is to push their belief.

            CP, don’t you think it is possible that Jesus did not have that much result? When Jesus died, there was a sect of Judaism that was started. A few followers grew to a few thousand scattered in the Roman empire. I would see it as a house fellowship per village. The spread might actually be caused mostly by righteous gentiles who did not want to get circumcised and go through the whole conversion process. They got convinced mostly by Paul, and then it switched to a more anti-rabbinical Judaism quite fast. Probably after one generation you could see anti-Jewish thinking. Look at Justin Martyr, who was born in 100 BCE.

            From that time until Constantine the great, there was a great mixed of beliefs, but I don’t think any believed that Jesus was a Pharisee anymore. Mostly gentiles were predominant, until Constantine had to take a decision on how to keep his empire strong. He needed something to unify his empire. Religion, being a big part of our identity, he decided to choose the most appropriate for his goal. He could not have chosen any pagan belief, that would not have convinced any Jews to convert. Judaism would have been way too hard for any gentiles to go through a conversion, and I don’t think that any Jews would have accepted force conversion of gentiles to Judaism anyway. Anyway, to keep control, he started to persecute the Christians who did not agree with the council of Nicaea and the pagans. In an effort to convince the Jews that Christianity was the true religion, he did not persecute them right away. Later on, “Theodosius I decreed that others not believing in the preserved “faithful tradition”, such as the Trinity, were to be considered to be practicers of illegal heresy,[48] and in 385, this resulted in the first case of capital punishment of a heretic, namely Priscillian”

            This is what spread Christianity, not Jesus. Constantine, spread the Roman Jesus… Jesus was not that great enigma that helped spread Torah through the world. He was a tool to spread an empire for world domination.

  9. Alan says:

    CP,

    Please take another look at this article. Rabbi B proves that Yeshua had no problem with the rabbis enacting decrees. He might have been against some of the decrees. But he wasn’t against all of their decrees! Yeshua kept these rabbinic laws himself! I don’t think you have any reason any more to have a problem with the idea of Pharasaic Judaism, i.e. there is an Explanation of the laws from Hashem and one part of the Explanation is that the rabbis have the authority to enact decrees. Please let me know what you think.

    • CP says:

      Alan,
      “Yeshua had no problem with the rabbis enacting decrees”

      – How could he ‘enact decrees’? He didn’t run the Sanhedrin. He said he only preached what Hashem told him to say.
      I agree “He might have been against some of the decrees. But he wasn’t against all of their decrees!”
      I don’t have a problem with the IDEA of Pharasaic Judaism, I just question a few things about it, for example; Rabbis having the authority to enact decrees for all time and eternity. This kind of authority has to come from the Written Torah, for it to come from the Oral Torah is engaging in circular reasoning.

      • Alan says:

        Rabbi B wrote to you a few posts back: ” Esther 9:27,31 should help you with Rabbinic decrees”

        Please let me know what you think.

      • bible819 says:

        Hey CP,

        I’ve been studying the book of Job.

        I thought you would appreciate Job 16

        19 Even now my witness is in heaven;
        my advocate is on high.
        20 My intercessor is my friend[a]
        as my eyes pour out tears to God;
        21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God
        as one pleads for a friend.

        My intercessor (Isaiah 53:12), advocate, pleads on behalf of man,
        when I pour my eyes to GOD,

        My Friend, and King Yeshua!

        • Alan says:

          Hi bible819,

          Look at the Hebrew of verse 20. You wrote “20 My intercessor is my friend[a]”

          It actually says “my intercessorS/spokesMEN, my friendS”.plural not singular.

        • LarryB says:

          For you have blocked their hearts from intelligence, so You will not be exalted “by them”. Glibly each talks to his fellows, may the eyes of his children look on with longing.

        • bible 819 Your translation is off 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • bible819 says:

            Sure, but I respectfully disagree with you.

            You also believe Israel is coming in the clouds.

            Daniel 7:13
            “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.

          • bible 819 its Daniel’s belief not “mine”

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • bible819 says:

            The Son of Man is Jesus.

            And the Ancient of Days was seated;
            (His garment was white as snow,)
            And the (hair of His head was like pure wool.)
            His throne was a fiery flame,
            Its wheels a burning fire;

            Not Israel

          • bible 819 the Scripture itself interprets the son of man to be Israel – the angel explained it to Daniel 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

  10. Concerned Reader says:

    Dina, I realize you want to be left alone. The problem is that Christians believe they have a solid basis for their belief system, and they have a commandment to share that belief. So, they are just being Christians when they share their religion, Most gentiles don’t like Christians pestering them any more than Jews do.

    • Dina says:

      I think Christians would not like being approached by Jews and told, “Let me share the good news with you! You do not need Jesus to get to God!” They would not appreciate Jews knocking on their doors and handing out literature proving that their religion is idolatrous and they should all become Noahides. My point is, even though they are sincere and they are commanded to share their beliefs, they are nevertheless not treating others as they would want to be treated. So these two things, the commandment to share the “good news” and the golden rule, contradict each other. Proselytizing is incredibly obnoxious.

      Especially when it comes to Jews, Christians should be particularly chastened by their own history of their treatment of Jews. They should humbly leave Jews alone, given their abject failure to make Judaism disappear despite their strenuous 2000-year endeavor. Perhaps they should concentrate their efforts elsewhere, where they will doubtless have more success.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Actually Dina, this may seem odd for you to hear, but Christians are extremely used to being proselytized by too many religions to count. Mormons, Jehovah’s witnesses, Bahai, etc. you name it show up at my door all the time with pamphlets. Christians basically listen, and then say, “no thanks.” I appreciate 100% your perspective, but being barked at by people about being or staying religious is extremely absurdly common in the Christian world, so they aren’t as sensitive to how uncomfortable it can be for people.

        Its even more awkward because some see it as a Christian obligation to invite said people in and discuss theological differences.

        I agree Christians should feel disgusted by their treatment of Jews.

        Dina, Christians do focus their efforts elsewhere in proselytism, way more than you might think. Countries like North Korea, and many former Communist countries heard about G-d solely at the cost of Christians dying for their beliefs, or coming close to it.

      • CP says:

        Good grief here we go again, *sigh*.

        Dina,
        the truth of the matter is the Jews should of trusted Hashem instead of turning away from HIM. Then the Jews could of stayed home in their own country and not spread across the globe bothering everyone else.. There would be no need for a renewed Covenant, therefore no need for “Jesus”. There would not of been any Crusades, no Spanish Inquisition, no Holocaust and no Palestinian problem. And Zionism wouldn’t be a thorn in the side the Middle East and all the rest of us. There would be no anti-Semtism and Israel would be a shining light to the Nations. But most of all I would’nt have to listen to you whine about it being all the fault of the Christian.

        With all the Jews have put the World through by their turning away from God, I think you can handle a random Christian telling you how much Jesus loves you – you owe them at least that much.

        • Alan says:

          CP,

          After reading this last post of yours, I am hereby breaking off all discussion with you. My advice to you is to spend most of your time not researching Judaism and Christianity but praying to God to soften and straighten out your heart. Until this happens, I am afraid that any more information I give you will just make things worse for you. I will no longer be replying to you.

        • Eleazar says:

          “Then the Jews could of stayed home in their own country and not spread across the globe bothering everyone else”

          My response: I think you need to study a little more history, CP.

          “Zionism wouldn’t be a thorn in the side the Middle East and all the rest us”

          My response: I interpret these comments as you are the guy who is losing in Chess so he knocks all the pieces off the board before his opponent can say “Checkmate”. This is you begging to get banned.

          Hint: too obvious.

          P.S.- These words of yours will stay right here. No delete option for you.

        • Concerned Reader says:

          CP, you have some serious anti Judaism showing there in that comment, even if you don’t realize it. Jews owe it to Christians to put up with them? They owe you absolutely nothing. They are doing what they are supposed to be doing and observing their religion.

          You say they would not have been exiled if they had not rejected Jesus. Do you not realize that you are perpetuating the Catholic myth of the “wandering Jew” with your words?

          Christianity told Jews for centuries, “you wont ever have a country without Jesus.” The Church was just wrong!

          In fact, I think Christians are wrong about a lot of things, but you are so sure of your own superiority that you need to put people down, even when they are trying to be kind to you.

          What about everything Jews have been put through? Do you think G-d wants people to be burned alive for going to Shul? You really should apologize, especially since earlier you were allegedly “jumping for joy” because of what the rabbi said. Your words are as empty as those of Balaam’s curses.

          You should leave the blog if you cannot have civil discussion and need to be prone to outbursts that sound like Martin Luther!

          Do you know what stands in the way of your faith more than anything else? It is Christians who speak as you just have. Here these religious Jews have tried to show you again and again how Jesus wouldn’t hate how they practice their faith, and yet you launch into a tirade about how WRONG and stiff necked they all are. Oh good grief? Please!

          It causes me to feel sick to my stomach when I go to bat for Christians, and they still prove that none of the good things you can say about them go beyond mere words.

          What possessed you to react that way to Dina? She raised a valid point! Nobody likes to be proselytized. You made my point precisely, about how you fundamentally don’t understand that your words are hurtful.

        • CP How do Jews “bother everyone else”?

          1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • CP says:

            R’B,
            *Context*
            The comment was in direct response to Dina’s accusations that a a root cause of Jewish problems is Christians bothering them. – hence the phrase; “bothering everyone else” – (and I even softened the venacular compared to hers).

            Sowing seeds of division and driving wedges between people who believe in the same God (although differently) is evil in Hashem’s sight. Therefore a pet peeve of mine.

            Among the Babylonians and Persians, the most brutal captors, did Daniel blame the Babylonians and Persians for the plight of the Jews? Or did he identify with the sin of his people, confess and repent?

            I have no doubt Dina will continue to stand proudly on her soap box crying aloud; Anti-Semitism! Anti-Semitism!

            There have been a number of ad hominen responses to the respose to Dina’s but no one has dared to tackle the facts nor the conclusion put forth in the comment.

          • CP How exactly have the Jews been “sowing seeds of division and driving wedges between people who believe in the same God”? 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • CP And while your at it – please provide evidence that Dina ever said that “a root cause of Jewish problems is Christians bothering them” – my memory is not so sharp but I have no recollection of her saying such a comment or anything that comes close. 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • CP says:

            R’B,
            “CP How exactly have the Jews been “sowing seeds of division and driving wedges between people who believe in the same God”?”

            I NEVER said “Jews”, I was responding specifically to Dina’s Comments. “sowing seeds of division and driving wedges between people” knows no race, creed or religion.

            “CP And while your at it – please provide evidence that Dina ever said that “a root cause of Jewish problems is Christians bothering them””

            Here ya go:
            “The only reason we point it out is because they come here pushing their beliefs. If they left us alone, this website would cease to exist. You know it would”
            .
            If Christians really practiced the golden rule, we would have no dialogue with them just as we have no dialogue with American Muslims who largely leave American Jews alone religiously speaking (there is a huge problem with Muslim hate toward Jews but that’s another topic). All we ever wanted from our gentile neighbors was to be left alone.”

            “Proselytizing is incredibly obnoxious”
            .
            “Especially when it comes to Jews, Christians should be particularly chastened by their own history of their treatment of Jews. They should humbly leave Jews alone, given their abject failure to make Judaism disappear despite their strenuous 2000-year endeavor.”

            “ugly anti-Semitic tirade”

            “The lesson for gentiles is that God has not given permission to the gentiles nor to those who stand outside the community of Israel to criticize His firstborn son. Those who do so, do so at their own peril. In Numbers 24:9 they have been warned. They are cursed”

            “They are cursed”

            “When we are beset by our enemies”

            “He attacked the Jewish people in the most foul and disgusting way. He does not have God’s permission to do so. According to Numbers 24:9, he is cursed”

          • CP How do you get from Dina’s issue with Christian missionizing to “Jewish problems”? 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • RT says:

            CP, maybe you should realize that Dina’s problem with Christian evangelism should also be your problem. When Christian succeed to convert someone to Jesus, they see them as god almost all the time. This goes against the 1 commandment. They are not acknowledging the same G-d of Israel as WE do. In a few generation, most of those Jesus follower won’t remember they ever been Jew and will mix and marry gentiles. This goes against G-d’s plan and it is a way of getting rid of the Jews even if it is not on purpose.

            Dina want’s to protect her people and so should you. I don’t know why you side with Christian who want to share their three-headed god. You have seen them coming to this website and as Jim and Dina mentioned, they are not interested in any conversation. I agree with them, they are quite annoying and if your intent is to preach on us, better leave us alone. So, let me agree with Dina, this is a root cause of the problem, if you are not willing to have a discussion, please use some courtesy and leave us alone… It is rude not to listen to others… I think you should agree with us that Christian and messianic have been a great part of the problem.

          • CP says:

            R’B
            “CP How do you get from Dina’s issue with Christian missionizing to “Jewish problems”? ”

            One can simply read the last few years of Dina’s comments and know she considers Christians as one of the major problems for the Jewish people. Am I wrong?

            She has even gone as far as to declare me cursed by God, as she does anyone, Jew or Christian who has any criticism contrary to her beliefs,. She would make a great fundamentalist Christian – she already has the attitude for it.

          • CP You don’t seem to appreciate the full weight of these comment of yours – they are ugly – I will paste them below for your edification Please reread them – absorb them – and please don’t post another word on this blog unless you are willing to apologize for what you wrote by the way – I and Dina both acknowledge that if we would have obeyed God these things (holocaust, crusades, inquisition) wouldn’t have happened to us. But when the spiritual children of the perpetrators of the holocaust preach to us about our spiritual shortcomings – we tell you – keep your pet peeves to yourself. If you see no need to apologize please free to contact me at yourphariseefriend@gmail.com if you want to continue the conversation with me – but please stay off the blog – I don’t think it is right for me to have you use my platform to say these things to other people.

            here are the comments that I found offensive

            The truth of the matter is the Jews should of trusted Hashem instead of turning away from HIM. Then the Jews could of stayed home in their own country and not spread across the globe bothering everyone else.. There would be no need for a renewed Covenant, therefore no need for “Jesus”. There would not of been any Crusades, no Spanish Inquisition, no Holocaust and no Palestinian problem. And Zionism wouldn’t be a thorn in the side the Middle East and all the rest of us. There would be no anti-Semtism and Israel would be a shining light to the Nations. But most of all I would’nt have to listen to you whine about it being all the fault of the Christian.

            The comment was in direct response to Dina’s accusations that a a root cause of Jewish problems is Christians bothering them. – hence the phrase; “bothering everyone else” – (and I even softened the venacular compared to hers). Sowing seeds of division and driving wedges between people who believe in the same God (although differently) is evil in Hashem’s sight. Therefore a pet peeve of mine.

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • Dina says:

            Rabbi B., not that it makes much of a difference, but you wrote that the spiritual children of the perpetrators of atrocities against the Jews don’t have the right to preach to us about our shortcomings. The fact is, most of them are the physical descendants as well.

          • CP says:

            RT,
            “CP, maybe you should realize that Dina’s problem with Christian evangelism should also be your problem. When Christian succeed to convert someone to Jesus, they see them as god almost all the time. This goes against the 1 commandment.”

            -so I should declare them cursed by God?

            ” They are not acknowledging the same G-d of Israel as WE do.”

            – no offense, but this is “fundy speak”

            “In a few generation, most of those Jesus follower won’t remember they ever been Jew and will mix and marry gentiles. This goes against G-d’s plan and it is a way of getting rid of the Jews even if it is not on purpose.”

            – never going to happen; God keeps His promises.

            ” So, let me agree with Dina, this is a root cause of the problem,…. I think you should agree with us that Christian and messianic have been a great part of the problem”

            – I merely pointed out the real root problem, which btw has not refuted among the many ad hominem comments.

            ” if your intent is to preach on us, if you are not willing to have a discussion, please use some courtesy and leave us alone… It is rude not to listen to others”

            – seriously?

          • RT says:

            CP: ” if your intent is to preach on us, if you are not willing to have a discussion, please use some courtesy and leave us alone… It is rude not to listen to others”

            – seriously?”

            CP:”-so I should declare them cursed by God?”

            I don’t say that, but often you side with them, instead of sizing with those who have the right view of G-d (as per your belief and mine).

            ” They are not acknowledging the same G-d of Israel as WE do.”

            CP – no offense, but this is “fundy speak”

            No it isn’t. The man Jesus is not G-d, and at worst they have an awfully twisted view of G-d.

            CP “– never going to happen; God keeps His promises.”

            With the Jews who follow the Torah and don’t accept Jesus as god… It will not happen, but the intent is there and many suffer for their mistake of following Jesus…

            CP “– I merely pointed out the real root problem, which btw has not refuted among the many ad hominem comments.”

            If you don’t think that millions of dollar to evangelize the Jews is a problem, well that’s your opinion. I don’t know what is the real root problem then?

          • RT says:

            CP: CP: ” if your intent is to preach on us, if you are not willing to have a discussion, please use some courtesy and leave us alone… It is rude not to listen to others”

            – seriously?”

            I did not mean you, but those Christians who come and preach to us…

          • CP says:

            R’B,
            I only just noticed your post.
            ” I and Dina both acknowledge that if we would have obeyed God these things (holocaust, crusades, inquisition) wouldn’t have happened to us. But when the spiritual children of the perpetrators of the holocaust preach to us about our spiritual shortcomings”

            I have NEVER heard her acknowledge this. The ONLY time I mention this is when she blames Christians for the holocaust, crusades, inquisition and for whatever else. You can label me as the “spiritual children of the perpetrators” if you like, but I am of Jewish blood and a member of the local synagogue in lieu of attending Church.

            Since you’ve acknowledged the truth of the comments which are ONLY ever spoken in response to divisive speech, I’m not sure what you want me to apologize for? However I acknowledge this is your Blog and if you don’t want me here anymore, I will respect your wishes.

            In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me here these past nine months. I have learned very much about Orthodox Judaism and the various people it is made up of. Thank you for your patience, for sharing and for your fellowship. It really has meant a lot to me.

            Wishing you the best in Hashem.

          • CP What in our discussion would necessitate Dina “acknowledging” that the Jewish people sinned and are in exile for their sins. It says it in the Jewish Bible and no one disputes that. What you wrote however has nothing to do with that and if you can’t see it – then you need to go and think a little – when you realize the difference you are welcome back.

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

        • Dina says:

          CP proves my point with his ugly anti-Semitic tirade.

  11. Dina says:

    The Lesson of Balaam

    In the Book of Numbers, we read a story in which the king of Moab, Balak, wants to destroy the Children of Israel. He sends a request to the gentile prophet Balaam to curse Israel for him in the hope that a curse will weaken Israel sufficiently to facilitate its destruction.

    Three times, Balaam tries to curse Israel, and three times God places a blessing in his mouth.

    Despite the persistent attempts of Balak and Balaam, God allows Balaam only to praise Israel.

    This is mystifying if only because the story comes smack in the middle of multiple accounts of Israel’s wrongdoings. Preceding this incident, the people complain bitterly of the lack of water, leading Moses to label them rebels (Numbers 20). Shortly thereafter, God strikes the people with fiery serpents for speaking out against God and Moses (Numbers 21). Following this incident, the people intermingle with the Moabites, worshiping their gods and having relations with their women (Numbers 25).

    Yet God forces Balaam to say, “He [God] perceived no iniquity in Jacob, and saw no perversity in Israel. The Lord, his God, is with him, and the friendship of the King is in him” (Numbers 23:21).

    This is remarkable!

    Why would God have Balaam say this? There is a lesson here, folks, and it is a lesson for gentiles. Balaam teaches them the lesson in his forced acknowledgment: “Those who bless you are blessed and those who curse you are accursed” (Numbers 24:9).

    The lesson for gentiles is that God has not given permission to the gentiles nor to those who stand outside the community of Israel to criticize His firstborn son. Those who do so, do so at their own peril. In Numbers 24:9 they have been warned. They are cursed.

    • Alan says:

      Thank you Dina, yashar koach!

      “There is a lesson here, folks, and it is a lesson for gentiles. ”

      I would say it’s also a lesson for self-hating Jews and as well as for Jews who think that Hashem is no longer on their side.

      • Dina says:

        I agree! That’s why I wrote “nor to those who stand outside the community of Israel.” This lumps those kinds of Jews together with the gentiles.

        • Alan says:

          I am trying to find the passage in Tanach in which the wicked Babylonian general who was in charge of exiling the Jews rebuked Jeremiah and told him that the Jews have been defeated because they were not faithful to Hashem.

          • Alan says:

            Jeremiah 40:2 –

            “And the captain of the guard [Nevuzaradan] took Jeremiah, and said unto him: ‘The LORD thy God pronounced this evil upon this place; 3 and the LORD hath brought it, and done according as He spoke; because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not hearkened to His voice, therefore this thing is come upon you. 4 And now, behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which are upon thy hand. If it seem good unto thee to come with me into Babylon, come, and I will look well unto thee; but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear; ”

            Nevuzaradan was so shameless as to give moral rebuke to Jeremiah. The exceedingly wicked Nevuzaradan raised himself up by lowering the Jews, while in reality Nevuzaradan and his King and his people were on a vastly lower level than the Jews.

  12. Dina says:

    Recently, Bibbles used Nehemiah 9 to prove that the Children are rebellious, are punished for their rebellion, specifically against Jesus, and therefore must accept him to escape further punishment. This is astonishing. I copied excerpts from Chabad.org below and emphasized key verses and phrases which I elaborate on below.

    But they and our forefathers behaved wickedly, and they stiffened their necks and did not hearken to Your commandments. And they refused to listen, and they did not remember Your wonders that You performed with them, and they stiffened their necks, and they appointed a leader to return to their bondage because of their rebelliousness, but You are a God of forgivenesses, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, with much loving-kindness, and You did not forsake them. Although they had made themselves a molten calf, and said, ‘This is your god who brought you up from Egypt,’ and they committed great provocations. But You,with Your abundant mercies, did not forsake them in the desertAnd they disobeyed and rebelled against You, and they cast Your Law behind their backs, and they slew Your prophets who warned them, to bring them back to You, and they committed great provocations. And You delivered them into the hands of their adversaries who distressed them, and at the time of their distress they cried out to You, and You heard from heaven, and according to Your abundant mercies, you gave them saviors, who saved them from the hands of their adversaries. But when they had rest, they would revert to do evil before You, and You left them in the hands of their enemies, and they ruled over them, and they returned and cried out to You, and from heaven You heard and rescued them according to Your mercy many times. And You warned them-to bring them back to Your Law, but they behaved wickedly and did not heed Your commandments…But with Your abundant mercies You did not wreak destruction upon them, and You did not forsake them, for You are a gracious and merciful God.

    Do you see the pattern? The Jews rebel, they cry out to God, and He saves them. He never forsakes them; He is abundantly compassionate and merciful.

    When we are beset by our enemies, we cry out to God. That is what this chapter teaches us. No one with any sense of reason would read this and conclude that the Jews are punished for rejecting Jesus and must accept him to avert further disaster.

  13. Jim says:

    Dina,

    In CP’s latest round of comments in which he expresses his contempt for the Jewish people, he writes:

    “Sowing seeds of division and driving wedges between people who believe in the same God (although differently) is evil in Hashem’s sight. Therefore a pet peeve of mine.”

    This is remarkable.

    In the years I have spent here, I have been witness to the many laudatory things that you wrote about Christians. Certainly, you have written—unless my memory misleads me—that Christians can have a relationship with God, that their error is unintentional and does not put them on a path to Hell. These do not sound like the words of someone “sowing seeds of division etc.”

    Of course, I do not mean that you have never showed annoyance to a Christian missionary. Some few Christians come here only to preach. Conversation with them is one-sided. They speak, but do not listen. You are not the only one that has been annoyed by these few; I have been guilty of such annoyance myself. But it has never seemed that you were annoyed with them qua Christianity but qua rudeness. Never has it seemed to me that you carry a general dislike for Christians.

    On the other hand, the Christian does insist that you are not right with God. He insists that you believe in the same God as he does, “although differently,” and therefore you cannot be right with God. He insists that you access God only through a long-dead man. It would seem that this should be considered “sowing seeds of division etc.” It would seem like this should be CP’s pet peeve, not your wish to be left alone. As you wrote, you would not be going to the Christian to tell him that he does not believe rightly, if he did not come to you and yours and insist that you listen to him.

    Moreover, it is a dubious claim that the Christian believes in the same God as the Jewish people. Here, CP has stretched the language quite a bit. The Christian worships a man. (At least this is quite frequently true, and is largely true of the missionary.) Though he claims this is the same god as the God of Israel, this is clearly not so.

    Dr. Brown likes to tell a rather disgusting joke about a Jew and a Catholic discussing the possible futures of their sons. The Catholic man is unable to impress the Jewish father, even when he says that his son might one day be pope. The Catholic erupts apoplectically, “What do you want him to be, God?!” The Jew responds, “One of our boys made it.” This joke, which denigrates the Almighty and treats the Holy as profane, shows the great gulf between the Christian and the Jew. They are not worshiping the same God. The Christian is worshiping a Jewish man. Even if Jesus was a fine man, he was only a man for all of that.

    CP has argued that Christians have been sent the holy spirit, a spirit that, according to the NT, is supposed to be a “spirit of truth”. Yet, they have been unable with the dual guidance of Torah and this spirit to understand a fundamental of Torah, that God is not a man, nor anything in Creation. CP has justified this great error by saying that the holy spirit does not prevent Christians from making errors; it does not make them perfect. But it hardly seems a matter of perfection to understand one of the basic principles of Torah. That this spirit tells them to believe in Jesus but does not tell them that he is not to be worshiped as God makes it clear that this spirit guides people to another god, a false god.

    So that CP’s contempt for you is unfounded. It is usual for him after he makes one of his outrageous statements of contempt for the Jewish people, or you personally, to declaim that no one is assailing his facts. When he wrote that you would happily stand by while Christians went through a Holocaust, he made the same claim. But, of course, he had given no facts, only speculation.

    Here it is obvious that his underlying assumptions—his facts—are all wrong. First, most Christian missionaries do not worship the same god as the God of Israel, his own private beliefs notwithstanding. And therefore, you could not be putting a wedge between those that worship the same god. Second, it is the Christian missionary that sows these seeds of division and drives wedges. It is he that says that the Jewish people must accept Jesus, that their faith is incomplete without Jesus. It is not an act of discord to be asked to be left in peace, to ask that the missionary not entice you to worship that which is forbidden.

    Jim

    • Dina says:

      Thank you, Jim. You are spot on with your assessment of my attitude to Christians. I have zero animosity toward them. Why would I? The ones that I know in real life are sincere and lovely people. I disagree with their beliefs but I do not believe they are going to hell for it. How can a merciful and gracious God put good people in hell for believing what they believe with all sincerity?

      CP’s attack is not an attack on my character alone, Jim. He attacked the Jewish people in the most foul and disgusting way. He does not have God’s permission to do so. According to Numbers 24:9, he is cursed.

      Yet he can still mend his ways. He can confess his sin before God and apologize to the Jewish people. When he begins to learn the lesson of Balaam and only praise and bless the Jews, he will turn his curse into a blessing.

      • Alan says:

        Thank you very much Jim! I am with Dina in all of her sentiments about what you wrote, about the human beings who are Christians, and about CP mending his ways. Yashar koach!

  14. Alan says:

    Numbers 31:1-2 – “And Hashem spoke to Moses, saying: Avenge the vengeance of the Children of Israel from the Midianites, afterward you shall be gathered to your people.”

    What was the reason for this command? Moses gives the reason in verse 16: “Behold, these [women] were [a cause] for the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to revolt against Hashem in the matter of Peor, and so the plague was among the congregation of Hashem.”

    Notice when Hashem tells Moses to make war with the Midianites He phrases it as being the “vengeance of the Children of Israel”. But in the very next verse (31:3) Moses changes Hashem’s words: “And Moses spoke unto the people, saying: ‘Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian, to execute the vengeance of Hashem on Midian.”

    Hashem says it’s “the vengeance of the Children of Israel” but Moses calls it “the vengeance of Hashem”. On verse 3, Rashi answers this problem by quoting the Midrash: “For anyone opposing Israel is reckoned as opposing the Holy One, Blessed is He.”

    The nations that afflict Israel are afflicting Hashem, even when Israel sins. And these nations will pay an infinitely greater price than any price Israel has to pay.

  15. Dina says:

    Jewish Continuity

    A commenter in these pages requested evidence of an unbroken chain of transmission going back to Sinai.

    I present a response to anyone in the audience who is interested, though I have no wish to discourse with the commenter in question. Any evidence that threatens his belief in Jesus will be rejected out of hand; honest dialogue with someone who is so hopelessly biased is futile.

    Deuteronomy 17 tells us what to do “if a matter of judgment is hidden from you” (17:8). This tells us that God expects matters of the law to be unclear at times but does not give individuals the authority to decide such matters; instead they are to go to the judges of that time period (17:9) and they are to strictly obey their words (17:11-12).

    Please note what Deuteronomy 17 does not say. Following this passage, I could not find an asterisk with the disclaimer, “But if no trustworthy leader shall be found, you shall hearken to the words of the gentiles or to those standing outside the community of Israel.” Or, “If no trustworthy leader shall be found, you shall pray to God and He will guide you with His holy spirit.”

    Indeed, what Deuteronomy 17 implies is that in every generation there will be trustworthy, reliable, and righteous leaders that Torah observant Jews can turn to.

    The Torah promises us that we will never forget it.

    Deuteronomy 31:21: It shall be that when many evils and distresses come upon it [the nation of Israel], then this song shall speak up before it as a witness, for it shall not be forgotten from the mouth of its offspring.

    Isaiah 59:21: And I, this is My covenant, the word of the Lord: My spirit which is upon you and My words which I have placed in your mouth will not move away from your mouth and from the mouth of your offspring and from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring from now and until eternity. (This commenter has argued that this is a prophecy to be fulfilled when the Messiah comes, but while the preceding three verses are in the future tense, this verse begins in the present tense. Furthermore, this commenter believes that the Messiah has already come.)

    God appointed the people of Israel as His witnesses (Isaiah 43 and 44). King David writes that even amidst our suffering we do not abandon the Torah (Psalm 44) and that even when we stray we preserve God’s testimony (Psalm 78). In Psalm 147, he reminds us that God gave His words to Jacob only and not to the nations of the world who do not know Him (19-20).

    If God appoints witnesses, we can be sure they are trustworthy. Also, God expects the transmission of the Torah to take place primarily through parents teaching their children, as evinced by many of the commandments to “teach them to your children.”

    In addition to the testimony of Scripture, history shows us observant Jewish communities throughout its timeline. Christian translations of the Hebrew Bible rely on the Scriptures that were preserved by Jews through hell, fire, and water. Many Jews today can trace their lineage all the way back to Judah, and some can even trace their teacher-student relationship back to Moses. Finally, scientific studies show that Kohanim share a specific gene now known as the Cohen gene.

    This is pretty solid evidence of an unbroken chain of transmission, for those honest enough to hear it.

    • CP says:

      A great example of culturally induced non-sequiturism. As the above comment indicates there is ample evidence for the preservation of a Written Torah, even implied evidence for an Oral Torah, but absolutely zero evidence for the perfect uncorrupted preservation of the current 63 volumes of Talmud stretching back to Moses.

      • CP No one is going to be talking to you until you clear up what you said in your previous comments (except perhaps bible 819)

        1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

        • CP says:

          R’B,
          I am happy to clear up anything and everything. What part do you disagree with?

          • CP The part I disagree with is your idea that Jews go around “bothering everyone else” and that they “sow seeds of division amongst people that believe in the same God”

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • CP says:

            R’B
            This easy to clear up.

            I never said “Jews sow seeds of division amongst people that believe in the same God” – others have accused me of this.

            Jews “bothering everyone else” was not a stand alone statement but in direct response to Dina accusing Christians of “obnoxiously” bothering Jews. It was certainty softer than Dina’s vernacular. but if you can think of a better choice of words, I’m open to suggestions. I fully realize I am held to a higher standard – but not at the cost of truth.

  16. Concerned Reader says:

    CP, I dont think you have really learned about Judaism that well, but instead just worked to justify your views of Jesus using kind words your brethren have said to you. That is not learning.

    The gist of your comments implying that Christian horrors like the Crusades or Pogroms, or Shoah, befalling Jews have been merely an instrument of G-d’s own wrath, and are therefore Jewish people’s own fault due to their failures, illustrates that you miss the point of Judaism entirely. With respect and concern.

    No group that has ever chastened Israel in their exile has ever been a passive vessel, but was a willing agent and participant who made the free choice to harm the Jews without a cause.

    Thats why G-d always brings those kingdoms down in justice. Their guilt and sin will be on their own head, nobody can absolve you of personal responsibility.

    In fact, in horrors like the Crusades, Jews were not even primary combatants of interest to Crusaders, but metely served as “heretics” for Christians to murder for sport along the way.

    Such cruelty in the name of Christian zeal cannot be described as a plan of G-d for punishment of Israel, but its an explanation that serves human pride and Christian self justification.

    Christians dont seem to truly undestand that G-d only hardens hearts that have already chosen to be hard, and uses violence as an instrument only among those who have already chosen to be violent. That’s a lesson we learn from Sodom.

    People often say, “G-d hardened Pharoah, so thats why he did what he did.” No!

    Pharoah was a monster long before G-d’s test. G-d had merely let Pharoah be resolved to do what he had long wanted, to do what his ancestors had already done, commit genocide.

    Your words were offensive because you claim that if Jews hadn’t done X, gentiles couldn’t have possibly hurt them.

    You (and Christians who say this,) speak with the logic of a wife beating husband.

    Lesson 1 of the Torah is that we are free agents who can choose life, and it is not too hard to choose life or to do right. Your reliance on Jesus obscures this clear Torah teaching.

    This is not the binary”choice” of I do or dont choose to love X person offered by Christianity, but is the lifelong will of an agent for making choices to be a G-dly person.

    That is what free will means in Tanakh.

    A Christian’s evil acts against anyone are his own, and his sins are his own responsibility.

    Are you going to claim that the German’s were passive cogs in a plan of G-d? That Church anti Jewish legislation didnt involve the evil choices of the Christians who wrote those laws?

    I hope you realize that many of the horrors of Christians were performed with the full willingness of the laws and lawmakers of Christian society. In no way were Christians a guiltless passive vessel or tool when harming people.

    Your comments illustrated that you werent here to learn Torah.

    • Alan says:

      Thank you so so much CR.

      CP truly feels he’s the victim and that Jews are the aggressors simply for defending themselves. He truly feels has nothing at all to apologize for. It’s the Jews who have to apologize. This is what he was saying in that dirty post. The Palestinian kid in the following cartoon has the same problem –

    • Dina says:

      Thank you for this, Con.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        CP, Jesus may have been Pharisaic, but it doesnt make him the messiah, it certainly doesnt make him a sacrifice that absolves humans of their responsibilities.

        You really should apologize. Even if you dont feel you have wronged anyone, you have in effect blamed Jews for Christianity’s own crimes against Jews by alleging it was G-d’s will.

        For all your theological nuance, you have trotted out the oldest orthodox Christian charges ever made.

        You think that Dina complaining about Christian proseletyzing is just ad hominem attack, but here is the thing.

        We have historical proof that on the one hand Christians will acknowledge Jesus’ Jewishness, that he was a religious Jew, agree on his observance, etc. On the other hand Christians (like yourself) STILL tell Jews

        “ok we know he was Jewish, so now tow the line, believe he is Christ, and quit being stubborn about tradition.”

        Do you know who tried this accomidation tactic before you? Martin Luther.

        Martin Luther only turned on the Jews and became a hater later in life when he realized that Jews would still s not accept his reformed Jew friendly Jesus.

        Just as Jews cant accept Martin Luther’s reconstruction of Jesus, they cannot accept yours.

        Why? Because Judaism is about the covenant of Moses and how Jews are to be loyal to that. Jesus fails the test, even if he was a nice guy. The commandments matter more to Jews than does submission to any man.

        By being told by Jews here that Jesus was observant, you haven’t used that knowledge to just assist your brethren in their observance, rather like every Christian, you see this as grounds to say “share my belief in Jesus then.”

        If Jews say they are happy serving G-d as they do, you accuse them of hard heartedness.

        Why isnt a good wish from your neighbor to be left alone (when YOU KNOW JESUS MEANT DEATH enough?

        • CP says:

          Concerned Reader,
          I’ve enjoyed reading your articles, It has been a pleasure getting to know you. There is something I always wanted to share with you but never got around to it: I used to work at a therapeutic horse riding ranch, you should check it out, guaranteed to change your life.
          Wishing you the best relationship with Hashem.

    • Dina says:

      CP never came here to learn, and his parting “gift” (more like a parting shot, but which falls wide of the mark) proves it.

    • Dina says:

      Not that I watched it. But judging from his previous comments, it’s obvious what it’s about.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        It has Tovia Singer, Boteach, and others talking about how Jesus was Pharisaic.

        Its always interesting how some Christians learn this, and yet their theology continues unchanged.

        • Dina says:

          Thanks, Con. By the way, I take your point that Christians are used to being proselytized and are not annoyed by it. However, do you really think that Christians would be as sanguine and phlegmatic if it were Jews doing the proselytizing? I think Christians would get angry very quickly, and old hatreds and contempt that had been lying dormant beneath the surface would begin to stir.

          I say this based on the reaction of Christians who are not even proselytized but who challenge us and then display their derision and anger when they fail to convince us.

          J Witnesses are not exactly a threat to Christianity. Judaism is, and Christians would hate it if we treated them the way they treat us. There is no doubt in my mind about this.

          • LarryB says:

            Dina
            I agree and next time they come to my door I’ll test that. Their used to Christians mostly but when I Tell them there is only one God and J ain’t him. We’ll see how much brotherly love they really have. I’ll need to work up a routine but it should be fun.

          • Alan says:

            “I say this based on the reaction of Christians who are not even proselytized but who challenge us and then display their derision and anger when they fail to convince us.”

            If it weren’t for this phenomenon having happened to me, I don’t think I would ever have had a reason to come to this blog. He was trying to prove to me how much Christians and the NT love Jews, but in the end when he saw he failed, he sent me virulently anti-Jewish Christian articles. This man is an otherwise kind and intelligent licensed social worker with a Masters.

        • Alan says:

          CR,

          “Its always interesting how some Christians learn this, and yet their theology continues unchanged.”

          I think it might be because they don’t really understand what it means to be a Pharisee.

  17. Dina says:

    Folks, as a parting gift to CP I would like to point out two lies he said about me. He said that I said a root cause of Jewish problems is Christians bothering them. I never said this or even hinted such a thing. All I said is we don’t like it, and they should follow the golden rule and leave us alone. I also said they should approach us with humility considering their past failures. Do you any of you see how CP arrives at his conclusion? Because I certainly don’t.

    For example, I can say that I don’t like it when my kids leave their clothes on the floor for me to pick up, but it would be absurd to extrapolate from that the idea that a root cause of my problems is that my kids don’t pick up after themselves.

    CP also said that I believe that anyone who disagrees with me is cursed. He is either being malicious or he read my comment while squinting his eyes and looking sideways at the screen. I quoted from Numbers Balaam’s prophecy that God will bless those who bless Israel and that those who curse Israel will be cursed. CP has cursed out the Jewish people quite a few times (and I have pointed this out each time, as those who follow our dialogues know). So CP really has a problem with God, not with me.

    I have never said that Christians in general are cursed because we do not share the same beliefs. I never said that because I don’t believe it. All sincere Christians who live their lives according to the moral code of the Torah, as well as all other sincere people, Jew and gentile, pagan and atheist, are blessed by God and have a share in the world to come.

    Finally, every believing Jew accepts that all the evil that befalls us is a consequence of our sins. But every believing Jew also accepts that those who afflict us are not, as Con put it so well, passive vessels acting in accordance with God’s will but free agents who will be punished for harming God’s firstborn son Israel. Every believing Jew accepts these two ideas because both are frequently stated in the very same Bible.

    • Alan says:

      Yashar koach Dina!!

      ” All sincere Christians who live their lives according to the moral code of the Torah, as well as all other sincere people, Jew and gentile, pagan and atheist, are blessed by God and have a share in the world to come.”

      I just wanted to point out that this is a machlokes (dispute) whether they have a share in the world to come. Having to suffer spiritual punishment after death is one thing and having a share in the world to come is another thing. The universally accepted Torah opinion is that a gentile who follows the 7 laws of Noach has a share in the world to come. The machlokes is whether a pagan can be considered to be following all of the 7 laws.

      • Dina says:

        Alan, you might want to consider this, then:

        The righteous of all nations will have a share in the world of eternal bliss (Tosefta Sanhedrin, XIII:2).

        If a pagan prays and evokes God’s name, Amen must be said (Jerusalem, Berachos, 8).

        Antonius once asked Rabbi Judah the Prince, “Will I have a share in the world to come?” To which the latter replied, “Yes.” “But is it not written, ‘Nothing will remain in the house of Esau’?” “True,” Rabbi Judah answered, “but only if they do the deeds of Esau” (Avodah Zarah 10b).

        No one can become a Kohen or Levite unless he is so born. But if anyone wishes to become a holy and religious man, he can do so even though he is a pagan. Kindness, holiness, and piety are not hereditary and are not the possession of an exclusive race or nation. Justice and piety are acquired through one’s own deeds (Numbers Rabba, 8).

        Heaven and earth I call to be witnesses, be it non-Jew or Jew, man or woman, man-servant or maid-servant, according to the work of every human being does the holy spirit rest upon him (Yalkut, Section 42).

        Whether Israelite or heathen, if he only executes a righteous deed, God will recompense him for it (Tanna Devai Eliyahu, Section 13).

        • Alan says:

          Dina,

          I’m not sure why you wrote “Alan, you might want to consider this, then”. Please explain why you wrote this.

          • Dina says:

            You weren’t sure if pagans could have a share in the world to come, so these quotes show that they can. Unless I misunderstood you, in which case, please disregard my comment.

          • Alan says:

            Dina,
            I’m not sure that pagans can have a share in the world to come because it is a dispute among the sages. Even the question of whether a Noahide has a share in the world to come is debated but the final opinion seems to be that they do. I personally believe a Noahide does because that’s the opinion Maimonides brings in the Mishneh Torah. But I’m much less sure about an idolater who keeps the other 6 Noahide laws – I’m unsure because it seems most of the sages say they do not have a share.

          • Dina says:

            Like RT, it’s impossible for me to believe that a just and merciful God would throw good people under the bus simply for not knowing better, some for whom the possibility of knowing better never existed in the first place (like generations of Native Americans before the age of exploration who never encountered Jews and members of other biblical faiths).

            It would be neither just nor merciful and it defies common sense.

          • Alan says:

            I feel the same way you and RT does. This is my personal opinion and hope. I’m just saying that it is something that is unresolved among the sages of the Mishnah as well as the Rishonim (early sages aprox. 1050-1500).

          • Dina says:

            I’m not familiar with the discussion, at any rate.

          • Alan says:

            Dina,

            When you said that according to Judaism pagans have a share in the world to come, I just wanted people to know that it may be according to your and mine and RT’s feelings, reasoning and hopes that this is the case, but it is inaccurate to say that according to Judaism it is the case. Because it is an unresolved debate in Judaism. You can ask Rabbi B, I believe he will tell us the same thing.

          • Dina says:

            My opinion is not solely my opinion but also that of the sages, as I’ve shown you with the quotes. So “yesh al mi lismoch,” there is upon whom to rely.

          • Alan says:

            “My opinion is not solely my opinion but also that of the sages, as I’ve shown you with the quotes.”

            The problem is twofold – these quotes don’t represent all of the sages and we are not sure how to define pagan/gentile/Noahide in these quotes.

            It’s a real unresolved question in Judaism.

          • Dina says:

            I disagree. Rabbi Skobac used these quotes in one of his presentations to show how Judaism views those of other religions as opposed to Christianity.

          • Alan says:

            I didn’t see this lecture. But if he only used these quotes, there were other quotes he didn’t use. Please ask Rabbi B. Again, I’m not giving you my own opinion/feelings/logic. I’m just telling you there is not one opinion among the sages.

          • Dina says:

            Rabbi B., if you would like to weigh in, that would be great!

      • RT says:

        Alan, so people who have misunderstanding of who G-d is might not have a place in the world to come even if they do good? I think that would be cruel from G-d, isn’t it? Imagine a Christian who believes in the trinity and try his best to love G-d and his neighbor and unfortunately has been deceived to follow G-d in the wrong way… Shouldn’t G-d knows the heart and see that he has been misled and really wants to follow Him? I think that G-d, who knows all would see through that and judges the heart. I also see many atheist who are good people, who care about others. Won’t G-d recognize that it is hard for us to know and understand? Will just G-d annihilate all atheist because they have been though at school and their parents were also not followers of HaShem?

        If G-d would do that, then he is not better than the Christan G-d who throw all the babies in hell forever. I think we clearly misunderstand who G-d is if we want to portray Him as a cruel G-d who cares only if we care for Him…

        • Alan says:

          RT,
          I agree with everything you wrote. What you wrote is also my own opinion. What I wrote to Dina was not my own opinion. I just wanted to point out that it is a disputed topic among the sages.

          • Concerned Reader says:

            One thing to keep in mind about the dispute in Talmud is that in the 2nd century (when those disputes were written down,) the VAST majority of people were polytheists, and not just any polytheists, but people who had been enemies, IE the Romans, during the persecutions of Hadrian.

            Both Jews and Christians suffered and died together during the Hadrianic persecutions.

            That history might shed some light on this specific Talmidic dispute. “Noachide,”or various uses of the term Ger are sometimes just a euphamism for gentiles, righteous or not.

            I can understand the generation after the Bar Kochba revolt being uncertain about the fate of a Pagan.

          • Dina says:

            Con, I was actually thinking the same thing! The experience of many Jews in those days of pagans was so awful that it’s in fact astonishing that we even have positive quotes about them in the Talmud. That is a very fair point.

          • Alan says:

            Dina,

            “it’s in fact astonishing that we even have positive quotes about them in the Talmud”

            It is astonishing. It’s more evidence that the Torah is from heaven and above the whims of flesh and blood.

          • Alan, Dina, and Concerned Reader This discussion (if “they” have a share in the world to come) sounds a bit “Christian” to me. God is the judge and He rewards EVERY good deed and punishes EVERY bad deed – this is repeated in the Bible countless times. My understanding about the discussion in the Talmud is that it specifically refers to a certain reward known as “the world to come” and as with most of these abstract discussions – there is no concrete conclusion – and for a reason. 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • Dina says:

            Point taken! We’re not supposed to obsess about the afterlife but just do good for goodness’ sake! And let God sort it all out.

          • Alan says:

            CR,
            What you’re saying makes a lot of sense.

          • RT says:

            Thanks all for your input. Yes we should do good for the sake of it, not for the reward 🙂

            Cheers

          • Alan says:

            RT,
            I hope you’re still not agitated with anything I wrote or with why I even wrote it.

          • RT says:

            No, not at all…

          • Alan says:

            I’m glad.

  18. Dina says:

    I have a question for Christians like Bibs who believe that the destruction of the Temple, the subsequent exile from the Land, and Christian oppression occurred as punishment for our sin of rejecting Jesus.

    Today’s Jews still reject Jesus. Yet the Holy Land is in Jewish hands after 2000 years, and Jews no longer live under the yoke of Christian oppression. In fact, since the destruction of the Temple, Jews have never had it better. Why is that?

    Do you think God got tired of punishing us for rejecting Jesus, or what?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s