An Open Letter to a Potential “Ger” – by Jim

Dear Philip,

At the end of our lunch the other day, you excitedly informed me that you had discovered a new group of non-Jews that believe in the God of Israel and in the authority of the Torah, a group that calls themselves Gerim. I must have appeared stunned, for you asked immediately what was wrong, but, as we were about to part, I did not have time to explain. I had time only to issue a brief warning not to become too quickly involved with the Ger movement. I send this missive in order to explain that warning.

It is prudent before adopting any philosophy to investigate it to the limits of one’s ability. This is no less true with the claims made by Katz and Clorfene, the founders of the Ger movement. They claim to be teaching Torah, and since you already know the Torah to be true, it might seem reasonable to accept their teaching. But I would urge the greatest caution. Philip, you know how many claim to represent Torah but do not. The Church from which you extricated yourself misrepresented itself as the authentic interpretation of Torah. Nor is the Church the only group to attempt to cloak itself in the authority of the Torah. That Katz and Clorfene are rabbis does not mean that they represent Torah properly: one can leave the true path.

I must admit that there is a difficulty in analyzing their claims. Katz and Clorfene often rely on oral tradition to establish their doctrine, and neither you nor I are well-versed in the oral tradition. Though they will tell us that they have fairly represented the sources, we have little ability to verify their claims. Even when Katz tells us that we should look up what he has said, we do not have the context. The oral tradition was not meant to be transmitted through writing, and though it is now available in writing, you and I lack the requisite learning to understand the discussions. Admitting this weakness, I would nevertheless urge you to treat their work with the greatest suspicion. Their work is contradicted by the great majority of rabbis. Their redefinition of the term “ger” is out of sync with the accepted halachic understanding, and knowledgeable rabbis have said that, contrary to the assurances of Katz and Clorfene, they have indeed misrepresented the sources. Katz, as the originator of the work, appears to be an innovator in the negative sense of that term.

I would urge you to treat them with suspicion for another reason, as well. Katz and Clorfene flatter their students. The Ger is, according to Katz, superior to the Noahide. The Ger is the non-Jew that has totally stripped himself of idolatry, clinging to God, while the Noahide (of the modern Noahide movements) still retains shituf, acknowledging a power beside God. The Ger is essential for the redemption of the world and shares in the mission of Israel. He is a “fourth house” of Israel, though a non-holy one, and the Ger is attached to Israel. The Ger is not restricted in his observance of mitzvot, able to keep Shabbat—a Ger Shabbat or Krisos 9a Shabbat, as opposed to a Jewish Shabbat—and study the entirety of the Torah. He is allowed, too, to delve into the mystical secrets of the Torah. Moreover, the Ger is to consider God to be his teacher; he does not rely upon rabbis. All of this is flattery and will eventually undermine the development of the non-Jew that wishes to be close to God.

Perhaps the most obvious error is that the Ger is entitled to learn the secrets of the Torah. It is no wonder that people will be intrigued by such secrets. Nevertheless, the desire to know these secrets poses a danger to those that have not mastered the fundaments of Torah. Keep in mind, Philip, that you were raised in a Christian home, not a Jewish one, and that the formative years in your life were spent in doctrines that undermine and pervert the foundations of Torah rather than establishing them. Now that you have rid yourself of Christianity, you must not assume yourself to be an expert in Torah; you are still laying the foundations. Delving deeply into Torah is not for amateurs. This leads to confusion and jumping too quickly to unwarranted and incorrect conclusions. In any field of learning, one works his way up to expertise. Those that do not frequently create bizarre, error-riddled theories due to their ignorance.

The Torah was given to the Jewish people, and they accepted it. The history of the Tanach is their history. The Jewish people passed along their Torah, not just the written words, from generation to generation. The meaning of the written words is part of what has been passed down, and though certain basic things can be understood from the text, you and I do not have the background necessary to understand the Torah on our own. Let us not, then, be presumptuous and pry into the secrets before we understand the foundations of Torah.

Philip, do not be unnerved and discomfited by this notion. Do not take it into your head that you are second class. You will notice that the language of the Ger community will prey upon that— the way they call the Seven Laws a “Bronze Age slave law” being but one example. The temptation is to compare yourself to the Jew. “Why may I not study the Torah fully, as may the Jew? Why may I not keep Shabbos, as may the Jew?”

Shabbos has become a major issue for the Ger community. It is quite understandable that people who have been attending Church all their lives should seek replacement religious observances for those that they have given up. However, the Sabbath is reserved for the Jewish people, a covenant between them and God. To usurp what was given to another is theft. If you wish to keep Sabbath, a path is open to you: you may join the Jewish nation through conversion.

At least be suspicious of Katz’s Ger Sabbath for this reason: he is the only one that found it in the Torah, by which I mean the entire Torah tradition and not merely the Five Books of Moses. For decades, people have been asking if they could keep Shabbos and if not, why not? For much longer than those decades, the answer has been “no.” But now one man, through his own singular interpretation, has contradicted the wisdom of the Jewish people and convinced a second to support him. Katz and Clorfene hardly qualify as even a minority position. Yet, for some, the temptation to follow them will be great, because they present the answer that so many have wished to hear.

But you, if you wish to follow the truth, you must not yield to mere desire. You must not assume the rectitude of their position, because it contains the answer you wish to hear. The truth is not learned in this way. Inquire with other rabbis. Does Krisos 9a teach a Ger Shabbos? Do not accept too readily the answer that tickles your fancy.

Nor should you accept the notion that you can trust Katz and Clorfene, because you sense, pseudo-prophetically, that they have given you the truth. They teach that God is the Ger’s teacher. This is a grave danger, as you must know. Once one begins to follow his inclinations and attribute those feelings to God, he opens himself to deception. The truth is pushed away from the seeker, and he does not know it because he believes himself to already have it in his possession. Self-assuredness blinds.

Was it not just such assuredness that you were being led by God that made it so difficult for you to leave Christianity? You believed that you were being led by the Holy Spirit, so that, even when Tanach said something other than Christian doctrine, you were able to ignore it. You had your own private understanding, given to you by God. So, you could believe that, though Torah openly says that God is one, He was three. And, though it said He is alone, you could believe that He was accompanied by His partners. When you first experienced the cognitive dissonance in recognizing that your beliefs contradicted Torah, you were quite troubled. Two voices competed for your assent, one which you believed to be the Holy Spirit and the other the words that you believed the same spirit inspired. You have experienced the fallibility that comes from believing that one’s feelings are the leading of God.

It would be reasonable to demand of anyone that claims that God is his teacher a sign or a wonder. If God is the teacher of Katz or Clorfene, let him prove it. If he cannot, let him withdraw the claim. Let the Ger test himself similarly. If God is teaching him, let him ask for a communication that can be verified, a prediction. Or let him ask to be able to turn a staff to a snake. If he cannot hear God telling him something he could not know or guess, then let him not accept so readily that he hears God’s teaching on halacha.

But, Philip, even if Katz produces the sign or wonder, this will not give him authority to interpret halacha unilaterally. Halacha is not decided through prophecy: “It is not in heaven.” Rather, it is submitted to the priests, Levites, and judges.

Curiously, Clorfene teaches his own brand of Judaism that excludes the judges, i.e. the rabbis. He writes that the rabbis really have no authority, only the Levites, of which he is one. (One wonders if Katz is a Levite, and if not, why Clorfene then respects his teaching.) Clorfene’s words against Jewish tradition and against the Jewish people are strong. He writes that the rabbis seek to control the lives of others. He writes that they stand in the way of the redemption and in the way of the return of prophecy. Moreover, he writes that the way of the rabbis and the Noahide laws is the way of strict justice, lacking all mercy, while Ger is the way of mercy. And, he writes that Judaism is shituf, while, of course, the Ger has totally rejected shituf.

Also, he literally demonizes his opponents. On his blog, he refers to a “Rabbi Z,” whom he equates to a demon. This Rabbi Z apparently protested this invective as the two fought over the Ger movement. Clorfene goes on to justify his comment, referencing Pesachim 112a, stating that it is the nature of the demon to cause damage.

I do not bring this up to point out that Clorfene is “not nice.” This is not an expression of outrage: “How dare he?!” I bring this up, because the Ger is told that he has an attachment to the Jewish people that is exceedingly strong and sincere. Philip, when their teachers says such things against the Jewish people, how long do you think the Ger movement will cling to them? If the Ger is learning that the Jewish people have kept the presence of God at bay, how long will they love the Jewish people? If the Ger is learning that the rabbis are usurpers, will they not learn to resent those rabbis that object to the newly invented definition of Ger, who teach that the non-Jew may not keep Shabbos, who are supposedly devoid of mercy and are all judgment? And what damage will be wrought by calling oppositional rabbis “demons”? This claim, that the Ger is especially attached to the Jewish people, is nothing but flattery, and whatever love the Ger has for the Jewish people now is likely to erode under the words of Clorfene.

Katz and Clorfene have begun to drive a wedge between their followers and the Jewish people, not bring them together. I would urge you to study this issue most carefully before you adopt the Ger philosophy. The teachers of the Ger movement have appealed to the ego, promising secret Torah, telling the Ger that he is entitled to things that are not his, and that he clings to God more strongly than those that call themselves Noahides. These men have attempted to make a unilateral ruling on halachic matters. They are not to be readily trusted. Take great care in your consideration to become involved with the Ger movement.

Shem

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 Jim, The Righteous Gentile. Bookmark the permalink.

130 Responses to An Open Letter to a Potential “Ger” – by Jim

  1. Dina says:

    This is such a great post! Good work, Jim.

    I would add, as a footnote, the name Katz denotes a priestly family. Katz is the Hebrew acronym for kohen tzedek. So it’s more likely that Katz is a kohen, not a levite.

  2. hesedyahu says:

    Reblogged this on Seven Laws Blog UK and commented:
    An impressive and better-written article than anything I’ve expressed.

  3. hesedyahu says:

    Thank you for such a brilliant article that is well-expressed and highlights the points very well. Great article!

  4. ger gravy says:

    Devarim 10:19

    • Jim says:

      Mr. Gravy,

      May I ask for elucidation? By listing Devarim 10:19, what do you mean? Has someone shown an unkindness to strangers? Did my comments show unkindness to strangers?

      I cannot understand the purpose of your comment at all.

      Jim

  5. ger gravy says:

    this paper is from someone that has 1. not read the book by Katz 2. katz book only list torah sources 3. has no idea what ger is 4. has probably listened to Rabbis that are not verses in the topic. 5. has absolutely no idea what a B’ nei Noach is, so they use a term ” Noahide that is not found in one single Torah source

    • Hrvatski Noahid says:

      Within Torah Law there are acceptable differences of opinion regarding the details of the 7 commandments. But any non-Jew who follows Jewish commandments as a religious obligation violates the Torah Law prohibition of creating a new religion. There is nothing to discuss.

    • Jim says:

      Mr. Gravy,

      Thank you for your further comments, but may I ask for further clarification? How does your list of talking points relate to Devarim 10:19? And how do they answer the article? For example, the article does not discuss Katz’s book; how does your criticism that I have not read the book answer the article? (You must be aware that the things I reference come from both Katz and Clorfene’s online works.)

      You owe me nothing, I admit. But, I would take it as a kindness if you refuted specific points, rather than bringing up a list of assertions that are merely meant to discredit me. These are not answers to any specific point in the article.

      Please allow me to explain, by using your point number five. You wrote: “5. has absolutely no idea what a B’ nei Noach is, so they use a term ” Noahide that is not found in one single Torah source.” Yes, I do use the term “Noahide” in the article, as a colloquialism. But, I nowhere assert that it comes from a Torah source, so you have not really countered something I argued. You have attempted to make me look ignorant, in order to discredit me, but the argument stands on nothing. No specific point I made has been countered.

      As a kindness to me, then, I ask for you to address specific ideas and not just seek to discredit me with a prepared list of ways to discredit the opposition. And, please, if you are to quote a verse, explain to us what you mean by quoting it.

      As a final point, I think you miss the point when you say that Katz brings Torah sources. The question is whether or not he fairly represents them. The Christian missionary also brings Torah sources, but he abuses them. He does not represent their intended meaning, but he finds a meaning more to his liking within them. The modern Christian missionary does not even restrict himself to Tanach. He quotes the Mishnah, Gemara, Midrash, and rabbinic commentaries. It is not merely a question of bringing the source but representing it fairly.

      I welcome your continued engagement on this matter, but I would ask for actual argument, not the mere listing of a verse without explanation for why it has been brought and not a list of talking points meant to discredit the critics of Katz and Clorfene but do not address the actual content of a piece.

      Jim

  6. Kathleen Graham-Walsh says:

    Whose Jim?

  7. Sharon S says:

    Hi Jim,

    Thank you for posting this letter.Though it is meant for your friend ,this letter is a sound advice for others who might be in the same situation.

    I have read your article “Noachide Worship” earlier .I can identify the void that arise after one leave behind worship and rituals associated with a previous belief system and embracing a new one devoid of rituals. Perhaps your friend is seeking to fill that void .He is vulnerable and is open to any teaching that can fill that emptiness .

    Your letter is a guidance for me to avoid the pitfalls of erroneous teaching .We have already been fed with one major erroneous teaching for 2,000 years and I for one am not up to another one .May G-d guide us to the right path.

    I’m new in this journey ,one advice I can offer is to see this experience as an opportunity to start afresh a relationship with our Creator .Remove false teachings or ideas of Him which was fed to us by the Church .Have a relationship and serve Him based on His revelation and requirements to mankind in the Jewish Scriptures.It will be hard and humbling exercise , spiritual baggages need to be removed but at the end (G-d willing) it will be a relationship established in truth.

    Jim,please correct and guide if I’m in error.Do continue the good work.

    Thank you.

    • Jim says:

      Sharon,

      I am grateful that you found my letter beneficial, and I thank you for sharing both your experience and your advice.

      Jim

    • Dina says:

      Sharon, I can only imagine the difficulty of your circumstances, and I salute your courage and humility. You are truly an inspiration! May God keep guiding you (and all of us!) in the light of His truth.

  8. I was hoping you’d write something about this. I admire your blog, Leaving Jesus. “Bronze Age slave law” is nothing short of a face-spitting insult. It’s an ad hominem, worthy of Hitchens & Dawkins, directed at the authority of the Sanhedrin. In the way “The Elephant and the Suit” constitutes a rebuttal to Dr. Brown (more like a .357 loaded with silver bullets), a similar essay doing a point-by-point analysis of the Gerring position is needed. Does anyone know if one exists? (Do the Gerrings have a 95 Theses posted somewhere?) An open informed debate requires a full explication of their position and why it’s wrong. Good people are taking sides for poor reasons.

    I linked to your essay at Gentiles For Moses: https://www.reddit.com/r/Noachide (we’re 11 days old!)

    • Jim says:

      Donkey of Balaam,

      Thank you for your kind regards, but I am sorry to tell you that “Leaving Jesus” is not my blog; nor am I the author of the book of the same name. Almost everything I have written online appears on R’ Blumenthal’s blog here, and I do not keep my own blog. I am glad, though, that you found this article valuable.

      Please forgive me for this, but I do not believe it good to call the so-called “Gerim” by the term “gerrings.” I think it is important that we express our disagreement and criticisms without using insulting terms. I know that one Noahide blogger who writes about the Ger movement has taken to calling them this and he has relied on insulting Katz, Clorfene, and others, but I do not think this is appropriate. Whatever errors they have made, these are human beings, created in the image of God, and I believe we ought to treat them with dignity and respect.

      Regarding a point-by-point refuation of Ger positions, Rabbi Moshe Shulman has begun a blog for that purpose. He is only two posts in, but this promised to be a valuable resource. You can find it here: https://torasbn.blogspot.com .

      Jim

      • Concerned Reader says:

        I cannot believe that in all this talk of the notion of the Ger movement on Moshe Shulman’s new blog, nowhere (in the entire 1st post) does it mention that the idea of a gentile’s soul emanating from uncleanness has ZERO scriptural basis. ABSOLUTELY NONE
        .

        Abraham was a goy, was his soul of lesser stature before Israel became a nation? No. Was Moses of lesser stature for having a midianite wife? Was Moses wrong for extending an olive branch to a mixed multitude of Jews and Egyptians both?

        Its amazing to me that rabbi Clorfene is accused of being heretical for stepping outside of norms, and yet, the entire premise of the discussion of a ger, and his/her place in Judaism is being argued entirely based on oral sources from this or that rabbi, or kabbalist, without anyone looking at scripture.

        • Jim says:

          Con,

          If you have a criticism of Rabbi Shulman’s opening and introductory post, it seems to me that you should take that to him rather than go off topic here.

          Jim

          • Concerned Reader says:

            You posted the link to his blog Jim. You are the one criticizing these Ger movement rabbis in this post for relying on oral tradition to establish their doctrine while admitting that you yourself don’t fully grasp the sources, and Moshe Shulman has to rely on oral sources of his own, some of which seem to be mystical sources, which themselves cannot establish doctrine.

            The point with anything Ger or Noachide, is that whoever is deciding what goes has to pick and choose which sources to follow rabbis or not, its a hot mess.

            It seems to me that you cannot discuss this concept of the Ger vis the concept’s Halachic place without invoking the oral tradition in some way, or indeed relying on it as the majority opinion does.

            It doesn’t say anywhere in the written Bible that a gentile is spiritually below a Jew, or that they emanate from impure klipot, or that Shabbat is only for a Jew, or that gentiles are not allowed to have a unique sense of spiritual belonging, ritual, etc. or that Ger is only a legitimate catagory if its in the holy land.

            In fact, I would say that the whole Bible up until Sinai demonstrates G-d’s open willingness for connection with everyone in a special way.

            True, the prophets seem to believe that a gentile should have soil from the holy land, but the book of Jonah demonstrates that non Jews can serve G-d wherever they are.

            It is true that G-d commanded only Israel directly to observe the Sabbath, but the sabbath as a day of rest from creation is mentioned way before Sinai.

            I realize that you want the Ger movement not to feel a sense of “flattery” or to feel they are higher than Jews, and that’s a positive thing because it can be dangerous if gentiles feel they are superior. I also think Jews shouldn’t place themselves above gentiles, because the gate of flattery swings both ways.

            However, you are talking down to rabbis who are themselves trying to do a positive thing for non Jews who are leaving the Church, or other religions.

            Rabbis criticize other rabbis all the time with a ton of invective, and its sad. I have seen whole websites dedicated to the notion of abolishing chassidic books because “they don’t emphasize true halacha enough.” This kind of competitive “we are better game” is what destroys religion, whoever practices it.

            Personally, I agree with you that demonizing the rabbis is a bad thing, but its also not much better when the majority opinion seems to be that the Noachide is a lame duck who couldn’t walk through an open door without a rabbi to tell him which way to go.

            Antiquity had whole communities of G-d fearers, so its not unscriptural to think a noachide community can handle certain things. The commandment for the noachide to establish courts would not be there if G-d felt these communities could not be self sufficient.

            I do agree that it is 100% wrong for these men to be speaking ill of the rabbis and putting their own ideas out there as true.

            The sad thing is though, I think both sides do this, hence my original comment.

          • Jim says:

            Con,

            I do not recall criticizing Katz or Clorfene for “relying on the Oral Tradition to establish their doctrine….”

            Jim

  9. Donkey of Balaam says:

    It’s been a CRAZY week of posting links. Sorry for the mix-up. I didn’t know “Gerring” was a slur.

  10. jasonannelise says:

    I didn’t look closely into this movement, but found it odd that someone living outside Israel could be called a ger toshav.

    • Jim says:

      Annelise,

      It’s good to “hear” from you. Katz will answer that the Ger is really “like a ger toshav.” He is not a Jubilee Ger, but a non-Jubilee Ger.

      Jim

  11. Concerned Reader says:

    Ok, I will restate. You accuse them of relying on what you see as an improper contextualization of the oral traditions, as if any other group is better poised to understand the intricacies of these sources more properly.

    The Majority believe in things that I can find no textual basis for. Should I still believe it because its the majority opinion?

    • Jim says:

      Concerned Reader,

      I am not sure I understand your question. You are asking about accepting the majority opinion. But, your question seems to rely upon assumptions of which I am unsure. I shall try to answer whether or not one should accept the majority opinion then, beginning from a couple different assumptions.

      First, let me make clear that when we are talking about majority opinions, we are speaking in regard to halacha, what the law is.

      If a non-Jew knows that the Oral Torah is true, then it appears obvious that he must be suspicious of an extreme minority opinion. He must realize that he does not know enough to accept such an opinion. It is best and safest that he follow the majority opinion of Torah scholars.

      But your question seems to suggest a non-Jew that does not believe that the Torah contains an oral component. In this case, it is obvious that the non-Jew will reject the majority opinion, because he will hold the opinion to be based on an invalid premise from the beginning. But, he will not be able to hold by the minority opinion either, because it too is built on the Oral Torah. And, having rejected the premise already, then he will have no grounds to accept one opinion over the other. He will only be able to ignore the whole argument.

      One thing he cannot say, however, is that it is impossible to misrepresent the sources. Even if the sources are incorrect, that does not mean that one can construe them to mean whatever he wishes. Let us say, for example, that Hillel issues a halachic opinion, based on his understanding of the Mishnah. Hillel’s words will be taken to be incorrect by the one that believes that the Mishnah is not God given. However, that does not mean that Hillel’s words do not have meaning. He has expressed a thought. Now later, a man comes with his own agenda, and he looks for support for his opinion. Let us imagine that he misrepresents the words of Hillel to support his theory. This would be wrong, a kind of theft, whether or not Hillel’s original conclusion was wrong or not. Or, imagine he just misunderstands Hillel. This would not be a theft, but he would not have conveyed Hillel’s meaning. Either case ends in misrepresentation, intentional or not, and one would certainly be correct to point that out.

      A further point in regard to the non-Jew that thinks that there is no Oral Torah, but he believes that the Written Torah is true: his understanding of the Torah is incoherent. He has no legitimate means to believe in the Written Torah, because it is verified by the oral tradition of the Jewish people. The great mistake that people so often make is that they look to the Written Torah to verify the Oral, when it is the other way around. And it must be the other way around. The Oral precedes the Written and testifies to it.

      Moreover, the non-Jew must recognize that he does not have the context of even the Written Torah. It was not given to him. It is not part of his heritage. His fathers did not preserve it. So, he cannot assert his authority to interpret the text. He must rely upon the Jewish people even for the Written Torah.

      So, once the non-Jew knows that God gave the Torah to the Jewish people, it is sensible for him to listen to the majority opinion. He knows that he is not expert in Torah matters, and he must trust to those that have preserved and learned the Torah. It would be senseless to trust himself to one that is ignorant of the Torah, even if that person is himself.

      Jim

      • Dina says:

        Clorfene vilifies all rabbis, including those of the Talmud, but wants everyone to accept his own authority. It amazes me that this does not make his followers suspicious.

        • jasonannelise says:

          Dina, I think that often narcissistic leaders have a sense of woundedness that attracts people who are compassionate and really care about the underdog, or people who are insecure and want to share in the status of a loud personality. Once they are overcome by their connection to a person, they are less likely to feel empathy for the people who disagree with them…the ‘attackers’ in the leader’s narrative of things that they have already empathised with.

          • Dina says:

            Annelise, so nice to hear from you again! I hope you and your family are well. I would think natural empathy would cause one to look askance at someone who sweepingly condemns a whole category of humans–rabbis–and then insists that his own authority be accepted, he himself being a rabbi. This perspective is empathy (toward rabbis) combined with logic.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        So Jim, do you believe that a person cannot read and comprehend clearly that the written Torah does not anywhere speak about Jews and gentiles as different spiritual species?

        The entire book of Jonah also speaks against this idea of percieving one as higher than another.

        If rabbis are deciding halacha for gentiles in a way that tells them they are spiritually a different species, whether better or lesser so to speak, why should these views be followed?

        You are saying that the written Torah (that all religious parties agree was given by the highest level of prophecy,) must necessarily be interpreted and applied through a majority opinion who lack such levels of insight.

        In ordinary daily life issues, I see no problem with halachic traditions that explain how to keep a commandment, but if a rabbi can take other human beings, and define them as part of a different or lesser spiritual quality/reality, that is not interpretation.

        That is plain and simple redefinition based on an oral tradition.

        I understand that one needs a rabbi to say how to observe, but sources of Noachide halacha are telling people how to BE, ie metaphysical status, not just how to act.

        • Concerned Reader says:

          Jim, my point is, if the minority opinion (Katz and Clorfene’s view) rests on an extreme inverse of the majority opinion, isnt it likely that the underlying assumptions of both views are not necisarily reliable?

          You said that Katz and Klorfene were trying to make gentiles feel “special,” and that this can be dangerous and detrimental to interaction. I agree.

          My point was that Katz’ interpretations are only an inverse extreme reaction to the mainstream view that reverses the acceptable view.

          Instead of Jews having a special soul, clorfene and Katz play up the spiritual gifts of their Gerim. Its just an extreme radical inversion.

          Mainstream: Gentiles can study and grow only in laws that apply to them, and in these areas can be as great as a Kohen Gadol.

          Laws pertaining to Jews are only for Jews, because of a special link to G-d. Jewisb souls are more attuned to things like Sabbath, so gentiles shouldn’t observe because they are not as attuned to such spiritually.

          Katz: Gentiles should be able to keep various things due to this or that biblical or rabbinic source, and then he insults the rabbis for having a superiority complex, when He has that same complex in spades.

          These are two views based in premises that I cant see clear support for in the text.

          • Concerned Reader
            Which practical halachic decision is based on the notion that the gentile is “inferior”? This is Katz propaganda to smear his opponents.

          • Jim says:

            Con,

            I understand that you are bothered that some Jews may see non-Jews as inferior. This is not a halakhic position. I do not know that it is a majority position. Certainly, one could read Katz as asserting the same thing, however, inasmuch as the “fourth house” of Israel, that of the Ger, is a non-holy house, according to him. So, this is not the issue separating the Noahide and Ger camps.

            I am working on an article about Noahide identity. Perhaps it will address these issues with which you are concerned.

            However, I would like to point out that you are being quite dishonest in your approach to this conversation in your attempt to take it over and make it not about the Ger question but about your understanding of how the Jew looks at the non-Jew. This is not the first topic that you have attempted to hi-jack. Frequently, you de-rail topics in order to introduce your own general objections to Judaism.

            In this case, you offer an obviously illegitimate defense of your derailment of the topic. You wrote that Rabbi Shulman did not address a point about supposed non-Jewish inferiority. But that was not the purpose of his post, just as it was not the purpose here. Then, when I said that you should ask your question to him, you justified your asking the question here, because I’d posted a link to his site. But neither he nor I were addressing the question that you raised. This was an illegitimate and dishonest move on your part in order to alter the topic. When I linked to his site it was in answer to a question that does not relate to yours.

            It is dishonest for you to represent my linking to his site as an opening to a topic that I did not address, the question did not address, and Rabbi Shulman did not address. I would be most appreciative if you stopped attempting to hi-jack topics under the pretense that something in the conversation invited you to introduce an unrelated topic.

            Thank you,

            Jim

  12. Concerned Reader says:

    Jim, its not that I’m bothered that some people may feel superior to non Jews, that’s just nature and a human failing.

    Its that this attitude inadvertently reflects and dominates discussions of how Noachides as a whole are related to in the laws that pertain to them. This isn’t anyones fault, its a consequence of the time period when G-d fearing gentiles were a category being discussed.

    I’m not purposely derailing the thread. How on earth is the general relationship of Jews and non Jews and how that relates to topics of how laws for gentiles are being enacted not germane to this thread’s topic?

    The topics are thematically interconnected to such a high degree. I would appreciate it if you would not accuse me of hijacking your post. If the rabbi wants to delete my comments, he may do so. This is his blog.

    Noachide as a term simply refers to all non Jews, (everyone knows this, ie sons of Noah or humanity.) A Ger by contrast is the stranger sojourning with Israel and living among Jews while not being a convert.

    Katz and Clorfene are merely re-framing the term Ger into some kind of redemption era theological reality, they are not the 1st, ( its right out of Paul of Tarsus’ playbook, based on texts found here and there from the prophets.)

    The reason that I brought up the topic I did is because it is related to this whole argument between the more mainstream view on Noachides, and Katz and Klorfene’s views.

    You are the person who linked to Moshe Shulman’s blog (which speaks about perceptions of gentile souls.) and that’s why I thought it relevant. Far be it from irrelevant.

    Rabbi B asked what specific ruling is based on the idea that a gentile is inferior. My answer is that Its not so much one ruling as it is the whole approach to the discussion of Noachides because of the time period those laws were 1st discussed.

    If I look at the seven laws (or their categories which more laws get derived from,) they are for the most part, prohibitions, IE what a gentile cant do.

    You don’t find a gentile spoken of as a person who is able to interact with hashem in the same way as a Jew does in the discussions of the proper role of a Noachide, despite the fact that all are made in G-d’s image, the Noachide is presumed to be influenced by idolatrous culture, living a life of old world idolatry.

    The only positive mitzvah for Noachides is to establish courts. A subject that deals with the strict dispensing of justice. When it comes to punishments for a gentile, its the death penalty until the rabbis enact the loophole that treats the Noachide as a captive child who knows no better. (thank G-d for that lol)

    How on earth can you say that these perceptions are not relevant to the topic?

    The reason that I bring up perception is because The few Noachide laws that are mentioned were formulated and explained during a time centuries back when the world was still predominately Pagan (old world polytheist,) which is why the punishments are so severe.

    The reason that you, Jim, need to write a post on Noachide identity at all, speaks volumes as to the problem that is directly germane to this topic. Gentiles are a community at arms length. As the discussions of the laws are presently framed, the Noachide is an outside observer, a former Pagan looking in, Just as it was during the 1st century.

    These laws were formulated before the Christian era. Before a time when gentiles believed in creation out of nothing, providence, prophecy, messiahs, redemption, before a time of cultures influenced by the Bible.

    Today when discussing Noachide issues, we ask.

    Where does a Noachide belong? Is he allowed to have service that extends beyond these seven categories 6 of which are prohibitions?

    Because the framework for those Noachide laws are prohibitions, gentiles are a community at arms length even if they are truly G-d fearing, which leads to issues of identity for them.

    IE when Noachides are asking an important question like “who can a Noachide marry?” The question always needs to be rephrased to be “Who is it legal for a Noachide to marry?”

    Can a gentile observe the Sabbath? turns into a question of “In what areas is it not illegal for a gentile to observe the sabbath?”

    When does a Jew need to relate to G-d that way so as not to be stepping on G-d’s toes?

    The Noachide becomes an external entity that needs to be shoehorned into a discussion in which he is not the subject, nor even an interested party.

    Katz and Klorfene merely feed on the ancient idea that “one day,” ie Geulah the Noachide will not need to be at arms length, but will be a category that isn’t shoehorned who looks to G-d and speaks pure speech.

    The article “Noachide laws, the religion, the danger,” also speaks to this problem.

    What I was getting at is this.The dichotomy upon which Katz and Klophene feed need not be there, because gentiles today are not spiritually where gentiles were 2000 years ago when the discussions started, during a time of polytheistic dominance.

    I wasn’t trying to make an issue out of the fact that some people may feel superior, but was noting that this old perception inadvertently dominates the entire topic of Noachide law, because of the time period when these categories for G-d fearing gentiles were 1st developed.

    When G-d fearing among gentiles was a movement on the rise, it was in a century where the majority of gentiles were not aware of the Bible or G-d. They did not believe in creation out of nothing, they did not understand covenant, or love of G-d. etc.

    So, the laws for Noachides (which rabbis today must work with,) were formulated under a completely different set of circumstances, where the world was totally different.

    • Eleazar says:

      Hi-jack or no, your points are well taken, CR. Self-identifying Noachides are becoming frustrated by their “lot in life”, especially regarding worship, marriage, etc.When they choose to accept that faith/worldview and leave their church, it can become a lonely existence with very little hope of it ever changing. I personally know a Noachide young lady ( 23) who is more depressed over the marriage issue than anything else.She wants to worship according to Torah, but that leaves her with a religion nobody shares, no center of worship ( except visiting shuls as a permanent outsider), no marriage prospects.Can you imagine if Ruth has listened to Naomi and stayed behind? What would her life in Moab have been like? Miserable.
      It is very sad.

  13. Concerned Reader says:

    To put it another way. Noachide interactions in the 1st or 2nd century (when we have Talmud written down,) is during a time akin to just before Abraham talked to G-d, when he was just a gentile.

    Gentiles today (a very huge number) are more like Abraham was after his initial encounter with G-d, though they are still gentiles, still imperfect.

    The problem is, we still frame the discussion in terms of the initial discussion, ie Abraham before his discussion with G-d.

  14. Concerned Reader says:

    I do not believe that the issue is the notion that the gentile is inferior – it is the lack of practical application of interaction with the Gentile for so many years.

    I agree, but I’m sure that you see that it gets expressed in those terms quite often. Again, its not a matter of fault.

    And speaking of practical application, as I said, when there were G-d fearing communities that were self sustaining, it was the 1st century. That was the last time there was systematic practical application.

    Gentile culture underwent a lot of changes since then, so when you are applying laws that haven’t needed to be enacted in centuries, these situations happen.

    My point was, the whole argument seems to be based on outdated premises.

    • Dina says:

      Con, I agree that this is a problem. Like Rabbi B. said, there is no precedent for application of the laws because the last time this was dealt with was 2000 years ago. The predicament for the Noahide is very real and must be approached with compassion but also with respect for our ancient laws traditions.

      For guidance, a Noahide should ideally be in touch with a competent Orthodox rabbi.

  15. Jim says:

    Con,

    A good friend of mine has suggested that I am reading your comments uncharitably. So, I would like to apologize to you for accusing you of dishonesty and attempting to derail the discussion. I am terribly sorry to have misjudged you. And, I ask you to please forgive me.

    Jim

    • Concerned Reader says:

      No need to apologize. I apologize to you if I come on too strong sometimes, or detract from the point of your writings. It wasn’t my intention.

  16. Dolf says:

    Hi,

    What an interesting debate on the Stranger…..

    I am an ex xtian, ex sunday keeper, ex SDA, ex ? Ex..??? and I think of myself as the stranger, like Abraham and those leaving Egypt with Moses, in my country and in my growing faith – where my only wish is to know my Creator (Hashem) and to learn from the Jew as mentioned by Zech 8:23…..

    BUT “almost” every Jew or Rabbi I met tried to box me, warn me or label me – and I were not able to find it anywhere in Tanach…. interesting!!

    Until the “Ger” arrived…

    The original post reminded me of the various warnings my previous pastors gave me and it sounded exactly the same ….beware… beware…. beware…. and baruch Hashem, I found the Hebrew Tanach and the Stranger as I am not a Jew!! I am taking baby steps but are searching for Hashem!!

    As you would have realised by now, I am on the GER “Bus”, I am a stranger (not a convert) and it is not a movement, it is a group op people (call them what you like) who are fed up with all the politics and are only searching for Hashem and need the Jewish people as Zechariah prophesied.

    Thanks to Rabbi’s Chlorfene and Katz and those unnamed who support them and who are helping us!!!

    I am challenging you all to get the books: “I get Ger” and “Laws of the Ger Toshav”. Inform yourself of what have been written inside and either become a first hand witness of what it is and what not! Become a WITNESS…as taught in Tanach

    Remember, the truth are only established by two or three witnesses!! If you rely on someone elses comment on a book, not read/studied by yourself, you are NOT a WITNESS and cannot comment on the so called “Ger Movement”. And then if you dare “..directly address the book…” in a forum like this. Invite the role players and open it up – like you did so many times before with Brown etc.

    The “Stranger in the gates”, are here to stay and if the Jew (with respect) realise it, redemption might be a step closer – for us ALL,

    I thank those who helped me, on this page to come closer to the Truth, as given and intended by Hashem!

    Shalom

    • Concerned Reader says:

      Dolf, if you truly are a Ger, be a Ger. A Ger is not just a stranger, he is a guest. A guest sojourning among the people of Israel. Does a guest claim superiority over his host? Is it not better that a stranger should be gracious in the land that he sojourns?

      BUT “almost” every Jew or Rabbi I met tried to box me, warn me or label me – and I were not able to find it anywhere in Tanach…. interesting!!

      Rabbis are not trying to box you in. They are trying to find gentiles a place to fit. Jews have been flying solo for 2,000 years, because the Christian and Islamic worlds expressed zero interest in being Gerim.

      Now that gentiles are interested in learning about Judaism, its catching some rabbis off guard.

      If Rabbi Katz feels that some rabbis are “boxing people in,” he should no what a difficult situation it is to change gears seemingly overnight.

      Its not a Ger’s job to try and out do a Jew, or to feel superior, but to be like a stranger. Be gentle and kind to everyone you meet. If you go to the home of a Jew (the Torah) as a stranger, try not to tell them how to decorate or manage their home.

    • Jim says:

      Dolf,

      Thank you for your comment. I apologize for taking so long to respond, but I have been suffering from a terrible cold this week, and it has hindered me from accomplishing all I had wished to do.

      First allow me to say that nothing written in my letter was based on hearsay. These comments are regarding from things written or spoken by either Katz or Clorfene. One can certainly respond to their other works without addressing their books. I do not address their books, because I have not read them.

      Second, allow me to address a minor point: I know that the Ger movement has begun to object to being called a movement. However, Katz himself called it a movement in an interview with Will’iam Hall, and this semantic objection popularized by the Ger movement seems to be nothing more than a distraction.

      Third, I do not find it useful to equate those that warn about the Ger movement to the Church for a few reasons. It does not directly answer any of the objections to the Ger movement but sidesteps the issues. Also, because similarities can be found between the Ger movement and the Church (such as the demonizing of rabbis), we might stand nose-to-nose with one another, declaring each other to be more like the Church. This will lead us nowhere. Lastly, the comparison is facile.

      This last point needs some explanation. When one compares two things, the comparison is only meaningful if the similarities are in essential qualities. For example, though a baseball bat and a desk may both be made of wood, it would be rather bizarre for one to declare that a baseball bat is just like a desk. They are not “just alike.” Neither is one that warns others of a danger just like your former pastor.

      Once, a man visited a lake to which he had never been, planning to take a swim. He did not know that this lake contained flesh-eating bacteria. As he prepared to enter the water, a local man saw him and shouted, “Wait! Don’t go in there! People have died from flesh eating bacteria that have been discovered in the water!” The man waved him off, answering, “You sound just like my ex-pastor!” And, in he went. Things did not go well for him.

      I know that Clorfene has equated his opponents to the Church and more broadly traditional Judaism. This is a useful propaganda tool. After all, those that call him Saba, mostly came out of the Church and want nothing to do with her. This empowers them to feel that, when they criticize the Jewish people, they are really only criticizing a corrupt body, a Church like the one they just left. And, the reason those Jews do not understand what the Ger movement understands, is because they have been so corrupted, which means that they can be ignored.

      But, however useful this is as a propaganda tool, it is not useful for discovery of the truth. Let us not busy ourselves with declaration that you are more Churchlike than I am.

      Jim

      • Dolf says:

        Hi Jim, no apology needed. Hope you are better!

        Myself have been of the “air” due to work requirements!

        With all your points raised (and the others below), I need to say that I am not reading all of these for the debate lessons, reasoning methodologies etc or trying to be right. I am in this for the mere fact that the factual aligns or relates with Tanach. Like the topics done on the claimed jc prophecies, the discussion with Brown etc – purely based and related on and to Tanach. No church dogma or anything else used to swing the “debate”….. The Tanach is used with ALL glory to Hashem!

        And that is what I am trying to say with my comparison made in my past. If you want to warn me – warn me from the Tanach and tell me that my GER association at this stage is not according to Torah (Tanach).

        I am not interested how Rabbis discredit and discuss each other.

        I also thought I made it clear with my reference to Zech 8:23 …..

        With all said, Please tell me that I am wrong to think of myself as a Ger and my association with Gerim (Abraham (Gen 23:4), Moses (Ex 2:22, 18:3), Ex 12:19 “…he be Ger or one that is born in the land…” and then a shocker. Ex 12:48, and HAshem giving the fourth word, “not YOUR Ger within your gates Ex 20:9, You shall not wrong a Ger (Ex 22:20) and so on and so on. Even the prophets speak of the Ger with a promise…. Isaiah 14:1 “…and the Ger shall…..and added onto the house of Jacob.”)

        You see Jim, for the past 17 years I take note of the warnings, I search for them in Torah, then in Tanach, If not founded – they are discarded, like my previous Pastors – and I try my best to align – and that is why I need nine non-Jews (Zech 8:23).

        Show me in Torah (Tanach) why the Ger “movement” today is wrong? List your original statement with the verses??

        Dolf

        • Jim says:

          Dolf,

          Thank you for your concern regarding my health. The cold or flu or whatever returned, first to me and then my children, but we are all once again improving. And thank you for your latest response.

          I must say, however, that I do not much understand what you wrote. I do not know your purpose in referencing Zechariah. What conclusion do you wish me to draw from the verse?

          The other verses you quote do not seem to be germane to the topic, except that many of them have the word “ger” in them. For example, Abraham, when calling himself a stranger, a ger, is doing nothing more than expressing that he is a foreigner in the land. He is not referencing a religious movement. Calling yourself a ger does not create any affiliation between you and Abraham or you and Moses. Ger is a relative term, expressing a relationship to some other entity. If I were to move to Russia, I would be a ger, a stranger, in that land. But one would not call me a ger as if it were an objective term. Nor would the fact that I would be a foreigner while on Russian soil mean that I shared a philosophy with Abraham, because he was a foreigner on Canaanite soil. Nothing you wrote signifies that one should identify with gerim.

          If you would clarify your meaning in quoting these verses, I would be grateful.

          I appreciate that you wish any warning to come with a source from Tanach. Let me put forward two teachings, one by Katz and one by Clorfene. And then, perhaps you can help me by identifying from Tanach the source for these teachings. If we cannot find a source in Tanach, then I think we will agree that it is proper to be leery of the men that teach such things.

          Katz markets a name-reading for the non-Jew. For $100 a non-Jew can find out from Katz, what his Hebrew name is. In so doing, he can find his mazal. He will understand his true purpose in life. Katz writes: “Noahide / Ger are encouraged to take on a Hebrew Name for spiritual success.” As a follow up, he may spend hundreds of dollars in further consultations to truly understand his soul’s individual purpose. Regarding these further classes, Katz writes: “A Standard Name Analysis is an opportunity to connect with your Mazal in a powerful way. Mazal Classes (based on your Mazal) are designed to introduce you to deeper Kabbalistic Understanding. Knowing your name reveals the higher elements of your Soul.”

          To be honest, it appears to me that Katz is taking advantage of the insecurity felt by many non-Jews. And it bothers me greatly. Dolf, can you tell me what source in Tanach tells the non-Jew that he should seek out a name reading? Please let me be clear that I am being in no way sarcastic. I know how things sometimes sound when written. But I am in all earnestness when I ask for a source here. Where in Tanach is the Noahide/Ger encouraged to take on a Hebrew name? Where is one taught to seek the higher elements of his soul through his name?

          And as a further consideration, though this objection may not impress you, I would wonder how I could know that Katz’s reading is legitimate. How could I verify his reading? Could I go to another name-reader and get a second opinion? I would need some test, an independent reader, to verify Katz’ reading.

          While this objection to Katz’ name-reading might not seem to be based in Tanach, it certainly relies on the principles of Tanach. Torah, for example, expects a prophet to be subjected to certain tests. (See Deut. 13 and 18.) Torah does not expect one to accept at face value any teacher that comes along.

          So, I certainly say that one should think twice before coming involved with Katz’s teaching.

          Clorfene has written recently that he wishes to set up a Jewish meditation center in Los Angeles, CA. (He is, of course, accepting donations right now.) He wrote that each nation has its own Zion, which is connected somehow to Jerusalem. And, he wrote that the American Zion is located in Los Angeles. When he was asked why it was in Los Angeles, he responded that some things just are.

          Dolf, I think it is reasonable to ask a source for these teachings, a source in Tanach. Please help me. (And again, I am not being sarcastic.) Where in Tanach is mention of multiple Zions connected as if by spiritual conduits to the Zion in Israel? Where is it mentioned how to identify one? Where is the one in the United States identified as Los Angeles?

          If you find that these teachings are not clearly sourced in Tanach, Dolf, then I think you will have good reason to be cautious before accepting them as teachers. I think that being wary is prudent.

          Jim

          • Dina says:

            Jim, glad to hear you’re feeling better! Great post as usual.

          • jasonannelise says:

            To me, knowing that it costs $100 to do a simple name reading shows that this is a selfish business. Most rabbis would be happy to do something so simple at no cost. Even those who need to charge for their time in teaching conversion lessons and other private classes would probably charge less than that for an hour of face to face teaching.

          • Dina says:

            Indeed, that makes the whole thing suspect.

          • jasonannelise says:

            I once had door knockers come by from a Korean cult following the ‘mother god’. They based their beliefs on the Christian bible and went through lots of verses they had highlighted in their bibles about Eve, Israel (depicted in the feminine), Mary, etc to prove their beliefs. It wasn’t really clear to me how the presence of feminine figures in the bible, or words like ‘her’ and ‘she’, proved that God has a mother who currently lives in Korea. But the missionaries from this cult were so passionate and sure about the beliefs of that community. Likewise it makes sense what Jim said about needing more than just the word ‘foreigner’ in Torah to prove a particular system of doctrine.

  17. Concerned Reader says:

    Does anyone have a PDF of “the world of the Ger” so that I can read Katz’ and Clorfene’s work for myself?

  18. Eliza says:

    Who are you and what is this blog about?
    I began reading this post. It was interesting….

    • Jim says:

      Eliza,

      This is not my blog, but I am the author of this piece. My name is Jim, and I am nobody special. The blog belongs to Rabbi Blumenthal, “Your Pharisee Friend.” It is devoted to exposing the deceptions of Christian missionaries.

      This particular piece was not concerned with Christian missionaries, but the confusing teachings of a Rabbi Katz. I became concerned with Katz a few years back, when I discovered that he was marketing a Jewish naming for non-Jews. I was disconcerted to find that he was charging a $100 fee that the non-Jew might discover his true purpose in life through finding his Jewish name and “mazal.” For hundreds of dollars more, one can learn even more about his purpose with Katz. I am more than troubled that he should profit by feeding on the insecurity of others, particularly in the name of Torah.

      I think you will find many of the things written by Rabbi Blumenthal to be of great interest. Please peruse his blog.

      Jim

  19. 10th man says:

    “neither you nor I are well-versed in the oral tradition.”

    “you and I lack the requisite learning to understand the discussions.”

    “he does not rely upon rabbis.”

    “poses a danger to those that have not mastered the fundaments of Torah.”

    “Delving deeply into Torah is not for amateurs.”

    “though certain basic things can be understood from the text, you and I do not have the background necessary to understand the Torah on our own.”

    “The truth is not learned in this way. Inquire with other rabbis.”

    Thank you for making yourself perfectly clear. If this is indeed the case, do you know if there a way I can hire a rabbi to stand before Hashem for me after death?

    • Jim says:

      10th man,

      You do not need anyone to stand before HaShem for you after death.

      Jim

      • 10th man says:

        Will we be held to account for our actions?

        • 10th man Of-course we are all held accountable for our actions as individuals and taking people’s words out of context is an action that we will be held accountable for – you won’t be able to blame those who taught you to look at God’s firstborn son with such prejudice – you should open your eyes and see for yourself.

          1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • 10th man says:

            Is “God’s firstborn son” a religious system or a people?

          • Dina says:

            10th,

            You didn’t respond to my questions on the other thread, back over at “The Doctoral Candidate,” so I figure I’ll try my luck here:

            1. Why do you worship with Jews if you find them so lacking?
            2. What kind of device do you use to post comments here?
            3. Have you ever reached out to Rabbi Skoback? Great person for you to talk to.

            And I’ll add another one:

            4. Why are you not answering my questions? What are you afraid of?

            If you’ve been completely honest and above board until now, you have nothing to fear from giving truthful answers to my questions.

          • 10th man It is a living community

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • 10th man says:

            You are correct, it is a mixed multitude which poured forth from Egypt forming into a “living community” by all agreeing to follow HaShem’s instructions. But nowadays there is a religious system which teaches another way to be part of the a living community regardless of if they agree to follow HaShem’s instructions – they must follow rabbinic instructions or be outcast.

            You conflate the religious system with the living community, therefore it is disingenuous to say I am “looking at God’s firstborn son with such prejudice” when it is a love of the community and a desire to see the community set free to personally follow HaShem replete with all the struggles any personal relationship entails rather than hiring others to do the hard work for them, missing out on HaShem’s best desire for them. Ask Moses, he has already stated he is in agreement with me on this.

          • Dina says:

            10th, your reluctance to answer my questions speaks volumes.

          • 10th man It seems that you acknowledge that “Israel” is a living community. According to you – what are the parameters of the community?

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • RT says:

            10th man is using a decade long accusation against the Jewish People. You are not following the Bible, you are following the Rabbis! And of course he will say that you are following traditions instead of the Bible.

            1) Christianity is also following teachings of different people. You may say you are following the Bible, but most your Theology comes from a mixture of the preacher and hi upbringing in a specific sect of Christianity. For Example, Presbiterians are mostly Calvinist and Penthecostal follow Arminian.

            2) Can someone answer to the empty accusation of 10th man. This accusation has been rampant in the messianic Movement, laughing at orthodox when they wash their hands or because they refuse to eat milk with meat. 10th man, do you realize that those poorly accusation against the Jews originated since the Christian era. Why does the messianic movement has to be so obsessed with Judaism, and why don’t you mind your business, couldn’t you leave those empty accusations to Luther and friends?

          • RT The response to the accusation is that the Torah is meant to be observed as part of a living community. The idea that every man follow his/her own interpretation is refuted by the Torah itself. This does not mean that there is no room for the individual to voice his opinion but all in the context of recognizing the concept of a community that stands in a relationship with God as a community.

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • RT says:

            Yes of course Rabbi Blumenthal. I understand now where you are going. 10th man thinking (and the Church) is that the whole Jew Community has gone astray since 2000 years. The Jews keep Torah the wrong way because they followed Rabbis, while the followers of Jesus (Jews and Gentiles) have been “restored” in the good way and now, that community, help by the holy spirit follow true Torah. Those unproven arguments and remarks don’t stand any historical evidences.

            First, there is no proof that the holy spirit help any Christian to follow Torah.
            Second, since the last 2000 year, it’s hard to follow any cohesiveness in the Christian Community. And if so, it would be the Catholic Church.
            Third, since 2000 years, most Jews were forced and martyred to joined that “community”.
            Fourth, 10th man has no proof that Jews today are not follow Torah/God in the proper way.

            G-d promised a remnant would always be there, and both Jews and Christians cannot be right on who it is (Isaiah 10:21):

            Or Jesus broke the line and the remnant is the Jewish follower of Jesus, or Judaism is right. Now, 10th, tell me what makes more sense historically speaking. You have 50 years of Messianic Judaism, precede by 500 years of Christian anti-Semite reformation, precede by 1500 year of murder and force conversion of Jews by the “Holy” Catholic Church. And within that big mess, some unknown true Jewish follower of Yeshua were found (within or without) the mainstream movement to be the remnant talked by Isaiah? And now, the Messianic movement has come to life and wear Yarmulke and follows Talmudic traditions?

            Or a remnant of pious Jews (not all Jews) kept Torah and resist persecution, corruption and tried to live holy lives during this period of trouble. Those Jews were obviously Orthodox (as other sect emerged mostly since last 150 years). Those who decided not to follow Oral Law (Karaite) were left behind and Jews who converted lost the blessing of being part of that community and now probably don’t know they are Jewish.

            Which one makes more sense 10th man? You have to bring evidences to your claims. Which evidence shows that the follower of Jesus are the true follower of G-d?

          • 10th man says:

            RT,
            1) I agree and have stated I agree every time it is brought up.
            2) I’m not laughing.

            Dina,
            Time is precious, I will answer as time permits.

          • Dina says:

            Aha! He’s back! My questions do not require a lot of time, my dear sir. It won’t take more than a minute to answer if you’ve ever owned a horse, what device you use to post here, whether you’ve ever been a college professor, and so on.

          • 10th man says:

            yourphariseefriend,
            “what are the parameters of the community?”

            —(“in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity.”)—

          • 10th man That is a fantastic definition but who pray tell determines what is essential and what is not?

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • 10th man says:

            “10th man That is a fantastic definition but who pray tell determines what is essential and what is not?”

            yourphariseefriend,
            I’m going to venture a guess we both would love to go back in time and actually talk with Abraham. Although we would benefit much in everyway, it would still fall short because things changed with Moses. Alright we’ll go back and talk with Moses. Could you even imagine? Wow! But again, Moses never entered the land, lived through good and evil kingships, two Temple buildings and their destructions and two exiles the last one being almost 2000 years long. There is much Moses couldn’t address because he wasn’t there.

            As distasteful as the thought might be to you, but because of the sheer impact Y’shua a Jewish rabbi has made, I presume you wouldn’t pass up a chance to go back and discuss with him. I think you might be surprised at the level of cognitive dissonance between Y’shua and Christianity.

            Jew or Christian, we are in the same boat when it comes to a long line of non-essentials tailor made to fit times and circumstances. Therefore many look to the past, as far back as they can for something resembling an anchor, the essentials which to tie our non-essentials.

            Again the Jew and the Christian end up at the same place; the Text(s). Although I’m sure we agree on the level of inerrancy of the Greek Text, we most likely disagree on the level of inerrancy of the Torah. However I do admit the Texts is all we have and therefore must do the best we can with what we have. Yes, I know you will say you also have the Oral Tradition, but it is based on Torah. The Christian will also claim an Oral Tradition based on their Text and interpretations – isn’t this where everything starts to go awry? Isn’t Oral Traditions the petri dish of non-essentials?

            Therefore to have verbosely answered a simple question; “what is essential…?”, I’ll get to the point; In the oldest Text, unity; in Oral Tradition, liberty; in all things, charity.

          • 10th man The text is meaningless without a living community and the text itself points to a living community to identify an idol when we see one

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • 10th man says:

            yourphariseefriend,
            I’m honestly not trying to put words in your mouth, and I know Hashem’s heart is for people over a printed Text, but are you saying the Oral Torah is the “essentials” and the Written Torah a non-essential?

          • 10th man
            The purpose of communication is not to get words out of your mouth – it is to get ideas into hearts and minds. The text is meaningless if you take away the intended audience.

          • 10th man says:

            “The text is meaningless if you take away the intended audience”

            —(yourphariseefriend,
            I couldn’t disagree more. If the intended audience (assuming you mean the Jewish people) ceased to exist, others would look at the Text and draw some meaningful conclusions about Hashem and the Jewish people. Matter of fact this kinda happened in a way, it wasn’t until 1948 that many said wow! Yet during this whole time the Text had meaning to the world at large.

            Even if the intended audience was the world and it ceased to exist, the Text would still stand as a testimony to all other spiritual entities.

            It is not the Jewish people which give the word of HaShem meaning, but it is the word of HaShem which gives the Jewish people meaning.)—

          • 10th man If the Author has an intended audience then you can be sure that He calibrated the words for their unique mindset and anyone else needs to read it with the understanding of this mindset in mind – unless you care nothing about the Author’s intention

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • 10th man says:

            yourphariseefriend,
            If you’re saying; the Text is meaningless if you take away context (instead of “people”) then I would agree most ancient texts outside their historical/cultural/religious/spiritual context would be gravely misunderstood.

          • jasonannelise says:

            If there were no community of people saying the Torah is true, why would it be believed to be anything more than a piece of historical literature?

            Also, who do you think is in ‘seat of Moses’, in other words the role of clarifying the Torah and making national legislation according to it…since the written Torah records serious consequences for not following their rulings?

            Do you think there are any concepts in Torah that aren’t self-explanatory enough to be followed using the text alone?

            And how do the Hebrew scriptures describe the role held in the world by the righteous part of the nation of Israel?

            These are some questions that can show why community, not just context, remain important in interpreting scripture.

          • jasonannelise says:

            Also, I don’t think it’s “majority rule” per se, and if it plainly contradicts the scriptural text then it isn’t ok. But my understanding of the concept as it works these days is that if the vast majority of Torah-observant Jews hold (or have held) something to be truly vital, then an individual would need to have an extremely pressing reason to ignore that.

          • 10th man Indeed, they are – you are fantastic evidence to that. The exception to the rule is when the Author is divine and foresees the future – preserving His target audience miraculously through the ages

            1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

  20. Concerned Reader says:

    10th man. In direct response to your accusations against the rabbis.

    If I look at any seemingly Jewish like community from antiquity until now, Pharisee, Sadducee, Qumran Sectarian, or Christian, they all have certain things in common.

    1. Basic rules of exegesis
    2. A group interpretation of how to interpret clear ambiguities in Torah verses
    3. A group of Elders or leaders of the community who are regarded as the authoritative witnesses and interpreters.
    4. Manuals of Discipline which lay out norms for the community, violation of which results in excommunication.

    It doesn’t matter which group in antiquity you choose. The Qumran Sectarians had their “Teacher of Righteousness,” their priestly caste, and a number of laity in descending order, from those regarded as purest to least pure.

    The Sadducees had the Hasmonean, and then the Herodian priests, although the Sadducees and Pharisees were forced to work together. 4QMMT in the Dead Sea Scrolls even has the Sectarians at Qumran trying to guide the Sadducees in their halachic practices in the temple via their own opinions. That scroll says in essence

    “hey you guys at the Temple (Sadducees) we know you want to fear G-d, so here are some works of law (sectarian halachic stringencies) that we can recommend so that G-d doesn’t get angry. Repent and have a nice day.

    Samaritans also have a priestly caste and an authoritative tradition of halachic interpretations.

    The Christians have their patriarchs, fathers, priests, herisiologists, and then Popes, with an authoritative body of tradition codified in Church councils, where all the bishops ideally, but not actually, were deemed equals. Also, the Church has codes of law (which reformers like Henry the 8th, Calvin, and Luther still essentially agreed with.)

    So, with respect, even if you categorically deny the oral Torah of rabbinic Judaism specifically, the structure, mode of transmission, norms, and foundations upon which it is built are just a fact of how a biblical community functions in all documented cases, whether you agree or disagree.

    Even a guy like Philo (who disagrees with Pharisees) has much overlap with them in his own methods and commentary.

    Its very ironic that your first post on the blog was using rabbinic writings to justify Jesus in light of your views of those rabbis.

    You did this, (used Oral traditions) while at the same time disputing its legitimacy.

    I realized after studying about second temple Judaism, early Christianity, rabbinics, etc. that you cannot read the Bible without interpretation, because nobody ever has read it that way.

    If you are a member of any of these communities above, you will be following elements of all of the premises above to varying degrees.

    None of the communities above could function as a religious society without that structure of elders, a body of interpretive traditions, or a belief in those people’s authority in place.

    Oral Torah is just a codification of the kinds of discussions that people were having. Jesus uses arguments based entirely on traditions in more than one place in the gospels. He even says explicitly “the scibes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, therefore whatsoev

    The point is, whatever you want to call it, (oral Torah, Church Fathers, Community rule, etc.) its just the way of being a Bible community.

    I’m not worried about the oral Torah for several reasons

    1. The rabbis don’t claim prophecy or infallibility
    2. Laymen can be rabbis
    3. Rabbis do not dogmatically define theology. Even a theology like the Church’s has re emerged in later Jewish history. You will not be applauded for holding those beliefs, you might get booted out, but you should expect that given the ample evidence available that shows such beliefs can cause harm.
    4. Each community has the problems in it that you claim are a result of the oral Torah.

    • Dina says:

      Hey 10th,

      In light of your deafening silence in response to my questions, I have a couple more:

      1. Have you or do you currently own a horse or horses?

      2. Are you by any chance a College Professor?

      I await your reply.

      • RT says:

        1. I am puzzled with your questions Dina…
        2. “Elementary, my dear Dina, elementary”… Seriously, never thought of that, but that’s a good guess 🙂

        • Dina says:

          Are you still puzzled by my questions?

          Actually, a friend of mine alerted me that he suspected 10th man might be our erstwhile friend CP. As soon as he pointed it out, the similarities were too obvious. 10th man tried to change his style by enclosing his responses with dashes and parentheses, but he slipped up once and left them out in a response to Con. That’s when I knew for sure. Then he wouldn’t answer my questions. At that point he knew I was on to him.

      • 10th man says:

        Dina,
        I currently have some free time to address your concerns.

        When I commented here not more than three weeks ago you launched a personal name calling attack against me for a mistake I admittedly made. Not wanting to engage such behavior I respectfully declined further discussion with you. Shortly after, you posted a 40 mile long post containing just about every absurdity known to mankind as to why Y’shua was not the Messiah – presumably expecting that I would answer them. When no response was forthcoming you posted a smear campaign post about me. When that wasn’t answered you preceded to ask me off topic questions. I answered a few which peaked my interest and thought worthy of discussion. Then the questions became nonsensical, not being answered, you continued to dog me at every turn interjecting these questions in-between conversations I was having with others. It would appear you have confused Jewish female hutspa with plain old fashioned rudeness. (A bit of hard advice if you’re willing to recieve it: do a google search on Jewish rudeness, then choose to be a repairer of the world rather than enforcing stereotypes which destroy). I’m glad I didn’t have time to answer your questions because as you kept posting them it became apparent you were on some sort of a witch-hunt and I was your target.

        It was very disheartening when you asked if I had a horse. Since my email address contains the word horses I assumed my personal information had been given to another reader/commentor of this blog. Not liking that my information was being shared and contemplating the situation, I thought maybe Dina is the wife of yourphariseefriend, it would then make sense how she has this information. Thinking it might be an embarrassing question to ask considering Dina’s behavior and yourphariseefriend’s status as a rabbi, I just ignored it and moved on, but still unhappy at the prospect of my personal information being shared.

        No, Dina I do not have a horse, but a herd of horses, this is why my email address contains the word horses, because I am in the horse industry. Now I think it wise to stick with my first inclination and respectfully decline further interaction.
        Be Well.

        • Dina says:

          10th man, or CP, or whatever you call yourself, it sure took you a long time to figure out a way to answer my questions in such a way as to make yourself the righteously indignant and wrongfully accused person and me the silly, malicious one. But notice that you haven’t denied my accusations.

          I am not the wife of Rabbi B., don’t be ridiculous, I never even met him personally. I have never seen your email address. You know full well why I asked if you own horses. Or what kind of device you use. Or whether you’ve ever reached out to Rabbi Skobac. Or if you are a College Professor. It would have taken you a few seconds to answer thus:

          1. Yes.
          2. A tablet.
          3. Yes.
          4. Yes.

          How do I know all this stuff about you? Because you posted here before under the screen name of CP, and you mentioned all these things about yourself. Then you were asked to leave, and you wormed your way back here under false pretenses. I don’t need a holy spirit to tell me that is dishonorable. You have no shame. You have no honor. You are a shining example of Christian integrity and piety.

          P.S. I posted articles not addressed to you for the sake of the audience who have the right to the truth. I wasn’t hoping or expecting a response from you because I don’t dialogue with liars, as I explained in another article. A lie you haven’t retracted yet or apologized for is the fake Talmudic quote you posted. You used to do that a lot when you posted as CP.

          Rabbi B., forgive my presumption in telling CP: You should leave and not come back. You were asked to leave more than once. You were told you would be welcomed back when you apologize for your anti-Semitic comments. This you have not done.

          If I have made a mistake in misidentifying you, I will apologize. But you will have a hard time proving it, because you have already shown you are not to be trusted that you are telling the truth.

        • Dina says:

          10th, or CP:

          Can you answer a straightforward question:

          Have you ever commented on this blog under the screen name CP?

        • Jim says:

          I would like to say that I know that Dina’s suspicions are not due to seeing 10th man’s e-mails. I am one, but not the only one, that has outlined the similarities between the posts under those two names and have been suspicious of him from the start. Indeed, I have multiple times had to catch myself in the act of addressing a comment to CP when it was going to 10th man. The idea that they are the same commenter under different names comes from the content and no secret knowledge of personal details. No impropriety was involved.

          Jim

        • jasonannelise says:

          10th Man, it isn’t fair or kind to attack somebody with reference to their being part of a historically oppressed group such as Jews and females. In Dina’s case you attached to her negative stereotypes that have been used to cause intense harm, including trauma, to many people of both groups. And it was you who brought up those stereotypes and legitimised them, even though you pretended to be helpfully warning her against perpetuating them. But it is not her responsibility to end the legacy of hateful attitudes against women and Jews. It is the responsibility of the privileged group to address her as a human with equal status and individuality as that held by themselves, and not to assume things about a person they have never even got to know.

          Dina’s request that you either change your approach to the conversation (considering people’s arguments and responding to the main points, refraining from personal attacks, being honest) or else leave and not come back seems harsh, but it is reasonable for people to choose not to interact with someone who is being hurtful and non-transparent.

          I say that as someone who was removed from two Facebook groups just for asking genuine questions in a non-attacking, open-minded way, regardless of the fact that I openly changed my mind to agree with the opinion of the admin in one group, and in the other I agreed to drop the topic when asked. They didn’t answer my questions, clicked the laughing emoji on sincere posts, and told me that I wasn’t allowed to ask certain questions because it was dangerous…even though they were more than vague about why their approach was right. So I know that there are overpoliced, emotionally volatile groups on the Internet that banish people who sway from group think, but I’m telling this experience to show that I don’t think that the commenters here are behaving in that way. They’re very specific in their responses and they’re open to conversation as long as it isn’t hateful, disregarding their points, or deceptive…which seem to be fair limits. I wouldn’t go so far as to force you to verbally apologise, and Dina can be blunt in her passionate writing, but I don’t think she’s being unfair in her requests or her explained reasons.

          • 10th man says:

            jasonannelise;
            “And it was you who brought up those stereotypes …you pretended to be helpfully warning her against perpetuating them”

            —>I wasn’t pretending<—

            —(I am sorry you feel the way that you do, our disagreement is so vast that I really don't know if anything beneficial can be said, therefore I wish you well and healing for your spirit)—

          • jasonannelise says:

            Pretending was probably the wrong word. And I think I came across in a disapproving way that might have felt threatening, because I focused more on ideas than on trying to find where we connect. We can all be more diplomatic and empathetic.

            Yet even if you intended to help Dina not to reinforce stereotypes that you yourself don’t believe in, you were still accusing her of being them, and using that in place of specific answers to her ideas.

            People want to feel that they are being listened to, that their points are being heard and answered, otherwise it’s not really a conversation. They feel the conversation isn’t honest and they want to question that because without transparency, where is truth? The difficult thing is that it feels like they’re attacking you personally when they do that, so every time you log in you get that experience of a personally directed battle. And so do they.

          • Dina says:

            Annelise, thank you so much, that means a lot to me. Been missing your comments! I hope you and your family have been keeping well.

          • jasonannelise says:

            Dina, you’re more than welcome…any personal attacks can be hard to shake, but some are so inseparable from spite, systematised oppression and a history of long-term suffering…even so that injustice and abuse become normal and accepted…that they go deeper than we can even think through consciously. That’s why they’re not only irrelevant to the conversation but truly unfair and inappropriate labels to compare anyone to, because they are laden with connotations that are not true of anyone.

    • 10th man says:

      “10th man. In direct response to your accusations against the rabbis.”

      Concerned Reader, I wish to be very clear on this point: I have no personal accusations against rabbis in general. It is the religious “system” that I take issue with. I hope you’ve noticed that I play no favorites, taking issue with both Christian and Jewish religious “systems”. A system, any kind of system that is employed in lieu of relationship is not from HaShem – Moses has said as much.

      If you don’t mind looking at an examples to illustrate a point; In a husband/wife relationship there is no “rule book” other than a simple vow to one another. The relationship becomes stronger and more intimate as particulars are personally worked out between them in love and devotion to one another. Because everyone is different this is something that HAS to be PERSONALLY worked out between them. (Although HaShem doesn’t change we do and all are different individuals) Following a very detailed book of rules would rob a husband and wife of what they desire most and what Moses desired and what HaShem desires most for us – intimacy. I understand religious systems are a necessary evil (for the time being), but where they substitute a pre-worked out system for a personal struggle to work things out, they often do more harm than good.

      • RT says:

        No rule book? The Torah is full or rules. What if you cheat on your wife, isn’t that a rule? Should Jews eat pork and do whatever they want? Would that make sense? Should Christians do whatever they want to? Don’t you have rules like “Love your neighbor”?

        • 10th man says:

          RT,
          I think you are probably going to take this wrong, but I’m going to try anyway.

          “No rule book? The Torah is full or rules. What if you cheat on your wife, isn’t that a rule?”
          —)RT, do you want your wife not to cheat on you because it is a rule or because she loves you?(—

          “Should Jews eat pork and do whatever they want? Would that make sense?”
          —)Jews should follow the instructions of Hashem because they believe He knows best and these instructions were given because He loves them, not because they are rules(—

          “Should Christians do whatever they want to?Don’t you have rules like “Love your neighbor”?”
          —)It has been said; ‘Love HaShem with your whole heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself, then do whatever you want.’ There is big truth in this when understood correctly(—

          • Dina says:

            Oh, we’re using inverted parentheses now? CP, leave off the parentheses. Now that we know who you really are, save yourself some time and stop pretending to have a different and more tedious style of punctuation.

            RT, I think if you were tempted to cheat on your wife but you resisted the temptation because it’s against the rules, your wife would be grateful even if she thinks you shouldn’t have been tempted in the first place. However, your wife would be foolish and immature to assume that her human husband would never be tempted. She would be within her rights to expect you to resist, however.

          • RT says:

            With all do respect, 1oth, you are judging all Jews. You say that they follow rules. You judge that they do it, not because they love G-d, but because they have to follow rules. You also judge all Christians. You say that the rules that they follow are not real rules, but out of loves. You have double standards.

            Dina, do we have enough proof that 10th man is CP? 10th can you say if you are or not (G-d knows) and I will trust that you are honest in the eye of G-d. If you don’t answer, I will trust Dina.

          • Dina says:

            RT, I would love 10th to answer the question, but tell me, what are the odds that both CP and 10th would

            1. Hold exactly the same beliefs about the two-messiah concept, the Ten Lost Tribes, the holy spirit, the idea that Christians and Jews have got it wrong for millennia but he has it right, among other ideas
            2. Have exactly the same style of writing and language usage except for 10th’s enclosing his responses in dashes and parentheses–which he doubtless did to disguise who he is
            3. Own horses
            4. Hate me in particular, using the same verbiage to express their disgust
            5. Assume I am Rabbi B.’s wife
            6. Direct a particular sort of ire against Jim and the same type of respect to Con and Rabbi B.–in other words interact with us in exactly the same way

            and not be the same person?

            Also please note 10th’s extreme reluctance to answer my yes or no questions, that even if irrelevant, are perfectly harmless unless he has something to hide. Please note his refusal to answer all of them, in fact, except the horse one, because he figured out a way to make me look like the bad guy with access to his email address.

            If I am wrong, then 10th and CP are identical twin brothers.

          • Dina says:

            RT, which he knows full well I cannot possibly have access to.

  21. Dina says:

    My dear friends on this blog:

    Some things you need to be aware of about the self-styled 10th man:

    He has never offered any sort of proof or reasoning to accept any of his beliefs regarding his idolatrous worship of Jesus (whose name he spells as Yeshua or Y’shua). Although he doesn’t believe Jesus is actually God, he believes he is divine in some sense, as a ben Elohim, though he is hard pressed to define what that actually is. The reverence and devotion he has toward Jesus, placing him at the center of his belief system and worship, is idolatrous even if he doesn’t call him God. If it walks like idolatry and it quacks like idolatry, it is idolatry.

    In addition to refusing to offer proof other than the “gift” of the “holy spirit,” he demands proof from us. When offered the evidence, however, he does not bother to refute it, just moves along to the next topic or picks one tangential item from a well-argued position to pick a bone with, ignoring the rest–think Con’s well-thought arguments.

    He also presents himself as some sort of prophet, stopping short of the word, by claiming that both Christians and Jews have got it wrong for the past 2000 years; he alone has figured it all out; and we should all go along with him without giving us a reason why his testimony is trustworthy other than that he is filled with the holy spirit.

    And if being filled with the holy spirit is what makes you the type of person who will unapologetically post fabricated quotes and pretend to be someone else so he can worm his back on this blog after being asked to leave, then you can keep your holy spirit, thank you very much.

  22. Concerned Reader says:

    10th man, to go with your analogy, Torah is more like a prenup, and upon receipt, acceptance, and work, is the foundation for the relationship.

    The issue with your analogy is that the book of the law actually defines the terms and its own intent.

    Torah on the one hand is a person’s personal window to understanding G-d. On the other hand though, Torah defines itself as a national covenant, and G-d describes his intention to make an actual nation for himself.

    So, for example, if I had 3 scripturally literate Jews, and we told them to teach some disciples, the “system” you talk about would still be established on the one side, while yet more would be established still because the covenant is national.

    I gather you have an issue with what you see as stratifiction in Judaism. The idea of a system of rabbis seems wrong to you.

    The problem with seeing that as inemical to Torah however is that this is inbuilt.

    Consider that when G-d talked to Moses at the bush, he told him that he had to go to the levites 1st, convince them, (Moses knew they would doubt) and then after that, Moses could go before Pharoah.

    So, the “system” is an inbuilt fact of the text, and why not when the Torah is about a nation.

    Consider this also.

    Jews who had very little contact with rabbinic Judaism for centuries, (such as the Jews in Etheopia,) still had a system of priests, wise lay teachers, and the laity. Its not a system per se, when its the foundation of the national identity that Torah defines itself as seeking to preserve.

    Thats why (again something you have not responded to,) any group that has tried to follow the Bible has given rise to that system whether Christians. Karaites, Jews, or Samaritans.

    What im saying is, no matter if there are 3, 12, or 400,000 people recieving the messages in Torah, the system naturally grows from that message.

    It would be good to go back and speak to Moses, and even to Jesus.

    • 10th man says:

      Concerned Reader,
      Sticking with the analogy, the Written Torah is the Marriage Vow and the Oral Torah is the working out of the Written Torah by the collective consciousness of Jewish religious leaders over time. But the authority of a pre-worked out Oral Torah system often prevents the individual from personally working out a relationship with HaShem themselves using the Written Torah.

      Relationship always transcends System, therefore when it come to HaShem the goal should be sacrificing pre-worked out man made systems for the struggle of relationship, rather than sacrificing Relationship for a System.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        You are asserting that these people are doing that though. Do the folks you worship with know that you hold these views?

        You say “system has overrun relationship. Is it system that keeps me from sharing your views?

        • 10th man says:

          “You say “system has overrun relationship. Is it system that keeps me from sharing your views?”

          —(You are a bit of a hybrid, you know that, don’t you? You and I share some views, but we have come to different conclusions. In my “opinion” the reason for this “could be” you sought a system rather than a relationship. Granted I don’t know you, but I can tell you have academically searched the matter out. I just can’t tell from your comments if you have struggled with the personal relationship aspect clear to the end and then some)—

  23. Concerned Reader says:

    but are you saying the Oral Torah is the “essentials” and the Written Torah a non-essential?

    10th, if i may interject. Imagine that you were reading a 3rd century BCE text called “The Big Book of Nation Building and Maintenance.”

    As a modern reader, you read the text and often might find the social stratification, the patriarchal bent, and the old world defined ideal forms of authority structure to be difficult to come to grips with as a modern. In fact, as a modern, you really look to the text to glean advice more than to build your own nation.

    Now, imagine the distant descendants of the ancient writers of that book telling you, “the book is mainly supplemental material with advice on how to maintain our ancient tribal identity.”

    Other groups (from different societies) read the same book, and look to it for “some” advice, to help pattern their societies. To those people in these other groups, the book is the only real base on which they can build. To them, it is quite literally all that matters. When building their own societies based on “The Big Book of Nation Building and Maintenance.” these other groups (whether intentionally or not) end up copying all the same patriarchal elements, societal stratification, class distinctions, etc. from this text, but they say “we focus only on the book.”

    You cant read a book called “The Big Book of Nation Building and Maintenance,” if you don’t want to build an actual nation. Also, if you read that book and are surprised that the group associated with its authors tells you “extra stuff,” you shouldn’t be surprised.

    • 10th man says:

      Concerned Reader,
      Out of respect for others here, I won’t say more than; you assume The Big Book of Nation Building and Maintenance is a never edited, signed copy, first edition, in the authors own hand writing. If it was then you make some good points, but if it isn’t then becomes aid, rather than a destination.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Even if this is just an assumption on these people’s part, its an assumption that their books tell them to make. All religious people trust the transmission of their sources, Christians or Jews. You are not showing respect for other people here by insinuating that they are just rubes who “just believe on tradition.”

        You yourself make the exact same assumptions (though in a different form, whilst picking and choosing) regarding a holy spirit, that you believe can work through you in spite of your human failings. That’s hypocrisy par excellence.

        Why do you think I brought up the Samaritans, Qumran sectarians, Sadducees, and Early Christians? All of these groups have the same foundational assumptions, and similar authority structures, but each is based on their own textual transmission practices, faithfully held beliefs, and community norms. So, if you are going to define “true faith” as a faith of one, then just say so.

        The oral Torah isn’t “pre worked out.” It ebbs and flows with the generations. Its actually as you said the Jewish people working out the relationship which is itself an injunction in the text.
        You are calling it pre worked out because you don’t want to work within their own structure. It marvels me that you attend a Synagogue at all, when you clearly don’t seem to trust the foundations of that institution.

        Did the Church use a temple building when coming up with designs for their houses of worship? No, They built on the model of a Synagogue.

        I don’t think it is healthy for you to attend services in a place where others do not share your convictions. Though you have misgivings about the Church, I think your approach is more in line with that, then it is with historically identifiable Jewish communities.

        • 10th man says:

          “You are not showing respect for other people here by insinuating that they are just rubes who “just believe on tradition.”

          —(Concerned Reader, this is very unlike you. I am not talking about “people” or individuals here, but man made Systems. If that upsets people, would you have me silent about something which impedes HaShem’s true desire for them?)—

          “……regarding a holy spirit, that you believe can work through you in spite of your human failings. That’s hypocrisy par excellence.”

          —(you’ll have to unpack that a bit, I honestly don’t see the hypocrisy. If it is indeed there, I would like to see it)—

          ” if you are going to define “true faith” as a faith of one, then just say so.”

          —(there is no faith of one, except true faith)—

          “You are calling it pre worked out because you don’t want to work within their own structure”

          —(you’ve assumed this, but since you bring it up, the reason I call it “pre-worked out” is because the authority structure in the majority of religious systems denies the member the freedom to work things out for themselves on pain of casting out/ excommunication)—

  24. Jim says:

    10th man,

    Please answer for us whether or not you are that person that some time ago posted comments here under the name “CP”.

    Jim

  25. Dina says:

    Anti-Semitism, Sexism, and CP/10th Man

    Shortly after 10th Man appeared on this blog, a friend alerted me to the similarities between him and CP, who had been told to leave because of anti-Semitic statements for which he refused to apologize.

    I began to note the similarities as well and soon concluded that 10th Man was none other than CP. To confirm this, I asked 10th Man questions about personal items from CP’s life, which he had posted about, to see if they matched up.

    If 10th Man were not CP, he would have found the questions irrelevant but harmless and might have taken the few seconds to humor me and respond.

    The questions were as follows:

    1. What kind of device do you use to post here?
    2. Have you ever owned a horse or horses?
    3. Have you ever reached out to Rabbi Skobac?
    4. Have you ever been a college professor?

    CP/10th refused to respond because he had something to hide. It would have taken a tiny bit of time to answer thus:

    1. A tablet.
    2. Yes.
    3. Yes.
    4. Yes.

    Those are all the correct answers if 10th is CP. He wouldn’t answer the questions, but apparently thought about them for a while, because finally he came up with a counteraccusation. Knowing I am right and that I nailed him, he yet fabricated the idea that somehow Rabbi B. compromised his personal information by sharing his email address with me, an address which contained the word horses. He knowingly lied and publicly accused Rabbi B. of betraying his confidentiality, knowing full well how I know that he has had experience with horses. This so lowdown and dirty I would be shocked if it was anyone else. But CP being CP, I mean 10th being 10th, I mean…whoever he is being whoever he is, it’s unsurprising.

    CP/10th was kicked off this blog for anti-Semitic comments. Just yesterday, he posted another one, that is not only anti-Semitic, but also sexist:

    “It would appear you have confused Jewish female hutspa with plain old fashioned rudeness. (A bit of hard advice if you’re willing to recieve it: do a google search on Jewish rudeness, then choose to be a repairer of the world rather than enforcing stereotypes which destroy).”

    Here CP accuses me of enforcing stereotypes while engaging in stereotyping of his own. Jews are rude, did you all know that? He recommends that I Google Jewish rudeness. Has he already done a Google search on some such thing? I cannot for the life of me imagine myself taking any race or group and typing them into a search engine paired with a character trait. What kind of sicko engages in that kind of racist behavior?

    Furthermore, I would like to know why female chutzpah is worse than male arrogance. If you are rude and arrogant, what difference does it make if you’re male or female? Yet CP/10th demonstrates a breathtaking example of chutzpah himself by accusing Rabbi B. of sharing his email address with me knowing full well that this is false. Does this have anything to do with the fact that he’s male and Christian? The question doesn’t even occur to me. My brain doesn’t work that way. I simply assume he’s got some character issues (to understate the case).

    10th has not answered a straightforward question which not only I but two other commenters posed to him.

    10th, have you ever commented on this blog under the name CP?

    This is not hard. It only takes courage and humility to confess your wrongdoing and apologize. I’m sure your holy spirit will be happy to loan you some.

    • Daniel says:

      ” I cannot for the life of me imagine myself taking any race or group and typing them into a search engine paired with a character trait. What kind of sicko engages in that kind of racist behavior?”

      But, then, this is not much different:
      “You have no shame. You have no honor. You are a shining example of Christian integrity and piety.”

      I’m surprised this kind of hate, and really a racism, is allowed here without any repercussions. When you guys start using double standards, then all standards are lost. If you were consistent, you would ask the person who posted the second quote to leave the blog. You should know better.

      • jasonannelise says:

        I think Daniel is correct to say that Christian piety can be sincere and Christian integrity can be honourable, just as much as Jewish life and worship can be. A Jew could perhaps be excused for thinking otherwise because of their experience with Christendom as a political entity and also with the deceptiveness that exists in the approach of many Messianic missionary organisations. But I still agree that to generalise that to all Christians isn’t fair.

        • Dina says:

          I agree, Annelise, I shouldn’t have said that.

          • Dina says:

            But I stand by everything else I have accused CP/10th of.

          • jasonannelise says:

            He seems to engage in better dialogue with people whom he respects. The conversation also seems to be fuelled by the fact that it’s being responded to.

            I assume Rabbi Blumenthal deeply values the fact that others who share his perspective are willing to make comments on his behalf…as it probably allows him to catch more of those precious moments with family in the midst of a busy life while still seeing that people’s questions on the blog are engaged with. But I wonder whether in the case of this particular commenter, it may help for others to withdraw from conversation with him. I think it would possibly stop feeding the flame and allow everyone to have more time and more peace…because the conversations with everyone apart from R’ Blumenthal aren’t really going anywhere. I haven’t been following the blog closely though, so I may be wrong.

          • jasonannelise says:

            Although I do think it’s important to show up dishonesty and to insist on conversation being rational and fair.

        • jasonannelise says:

          And remember that racist remarks against a community that has for many generations been violently threatened, attacked and consistently demeaned never seem to come from the mouth of the speaker alone. Those remarks resonate with the millions of unfathomably hateful voices that have said them to her people, with whom she’s inextricably connected. And those voices identified themselves as the church. That doesn’t make it right to generalise Christians, nor is it alone a valid reason to dismiss Christianity. But Dina wasn’t returning spite for spite, she was reacting with anger to a wound that was insensitively prodded. I don’t see it as totally comparable.

      • Dina says:

        Daniel, that is fair enough. I retract and apologize for the second part of the statement. But not the first. 10t/CP has no shame and no honor.

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