Sufficient

True prayer is a service of the heart. Saying words and singing songs can only be true prayer if these activities are an expression of a heart that sees itself as beholden to God in submission and thanks. Prayer is all about acknowledging that every iota of existence, especially my own existence, belongs exclusively and absolutely to God. Prayer is gratitude and awe. Gratitude for the gift of existence that is underserved. And the awe is the awe of one who is utterly helpless standing in the presence of the Master of all.

Prayer is worship and the worship of the Jew is a heart that allows itself to be drawn to the majesty and wonder of the Creator of all.

The Christian Scriptures claim that Jesus prayed. Was this lip service? Was Jesus’ prayer a mere recital of words that do not flow from a heart that is bent in submission and filled with gratitude and awe?

Let us give Jesus the benefit of the doubt. Let us assume that his prayer was a true prayer that acknowledged God’s absolute sovereignty over his own person. If it were anything less, then Jesus would have never prayed.

So who was Jesus praying to? Was it not the same God to whom all of his Jewish brothers and sisters were praying to? Did Jesus not allow his heart to be drawn to the greatness of Israel’s God?

Please consider the following. If the One to whom Jesus prayed was a sufficient God for Jesus why then is He not a sufficient God for you? What will you be missing if you do not give your entire heart to the God that the Jewish people pray to? Why do you also find the need to give your heart to Jesus? Is the majesty of God not enough for your heart that you need to supplement it with the attraction your heart feels toward one of His subjects?

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82 Responses to Sufficient

  1. charles says:

    When Abraham interceded with God’s messenger, why is the latter repeatedly called ‘LORD’?
    Why then did he dare not pray directly, but go through this Mediator?
    We have already multiplied similar examples.

  2. Annelise says:

    This is a strong point, to me… Jesus prayed the words of human gratitude and awe towards the Creator, placing himself publicly on the ‘created’ side of the relationship between God and creation.

    The last question is less compelling perhaps…lots of Christians feel that they worship Jesus not because it’s what they want, but because it’s what they think God revealed…so in that sense they just see it as accepting and obeying a revelation. I don’t think that’s accurate, but still, they might not feel that they are merely following their hearts.

    In any case, I think your main point here is especially valid because the Hebrew scriptures make numerous clear declarations about all things in the earth and sea and sky (includng all animals and humans) owing this gratitude and awe of the created towards God. It’s repeated in a very central way that the things in these realms aren’t objects of worship.

    So for Jesus to be considered an exception, we would need to see really clear proof of that. What we have instead is the fact that there isn’t even a clear claim of deity from Jesus or the early church about him, and there are things that send the opposite impression- such as Jesus praying, the disciples refering to him and God separately, and the absence of any clear discussion about why including a human in the worship of God would be no risk of idolatry. That should have been a foundational conversation if that’s what they were doing unambiguously from the start. It seems like the churches had him in a blurry category of ‘revealing God’s glory’ and didn’t address till later whether this role would fit in the position of a created manifestation (owing worship) or of the Creator (deserving it). That’s a very troubling ambiguity when it comes to the practical side of things, and doesn’t fit in with the clarity and caution of the law and prophets on the issue of not worshipping any created being.

    Some might say that Jesus prayed so as to fulfill his role as part of Israel, and that his submission to the Father was still as a person within God. Yet by praying as Israel, he was demonstrating his inclusion within Israel’s distinct meaning of worship: that is, affirming that they are created beings standing before God, as a model for all the world to follow.

    • Annelise says:

      In less words…I think you’re very right about the public impression he was sending by standing as one of the worshippers, in the context of prayers that are all about being on this side of the relationship between Creator and created.

  3. Ezra says:

    A conundrum: if Jesus was G-d in the flesh like Christians say he was, then why did he pray to G-d? Was he praying to himself?

    You’ve mentioned some great points. I love your blog and your work.

  4. mr.sonic says:

    “lots of Christians feel that they worship Jesus not because it’s what they want, but because it’s what they think God revealed…”

    compounded gods.

    god reveal x through/to y, every time y utter x , one should bow before y and take y as god. makes no sense why almighty god would even think about allow worship of another because of what he revealed.

  5. “After this manner therefore pray ye:
    Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
    Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread.
    Frgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
    And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
    For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”

    — Yeshua

    • Eleazar says:

      Luke 1:4 has it as “forgive us our sins” in the Greek. Are you saying Jesus had sins to be forgiven or that this prayer model was meant for everyone except him?

      • Brother Eleazar! That’s an interesting point!
        Please notice that Yeshua did not say, “let us pray like this… forgive us our sins…”
        He said, “When YOU Pray, say… forgive us our sins…”

        As you know, the main audiences of the Matthew’s gospel are the Jews; whereas, Luke’s are the Gentiles. Probably, Matthew put “Feileima- debt” as something to be forgiven because the Torah emphasizes on the shalom relationship among the fellow Jews. Maybe Luke put “hamartia- sin” as something to be forgiven because the Gentiles were not given the commandments of God in the Torah, which clearly define what the sins are.

        • Eleazar says:

          The problem is both texts are describing the same event. Did Jesus say Feileima or did he say hamartia? One of the two would have to be an altered version and thus a lie and deception. How can you trust a scripture that does such things?

          • Elazar and Gean Either way – By putting forth this prayer Jesus was giving his audience to understand that God will forgive your sins when you turn to Him with sincerity 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • Brother, how do you know both texts must have happened at the same time and in the same place? Matthew’s accout on the lord’s prayer occured in Yeshua’s early ministry; as a part of Beautitude on the Mout of Galilee (Matthew chapter 5). AFTER that, feeding of 5ooo (Mt 14:13-21) and Transfiguration occurred (Mt 17:1-13). Whereas, feeding of 5000 (Lk 9:10-17) and Transfiguration (Lk 9:28-36) occurred BEFORE Yeshua’s second teaching about the lord’s prayer in Luke 11:1-4. The context, the timeframe, and the contents of the lord’s prayer are obviously different. Therefore, we can assume that Yeshua taught the prayer twice.

          • Annette Leon says:

            It has taken me a long time to find who the real ( Jesus ) is. I call him YESHUA away from the Greek god…. Yes I agree with you. ( Save us from our sins..) He was Human…! ! ! ? ? 🔯 🔯

  6. Eleazar says:

    Well, Gean, there are several places where Jesus is said to have said or done something and the same thing takes places at different times and circumstances. For examples, I refer you to Tovia Singer’s crucifixion table, in which most of the details do not match at all from one gospel to another. You assume its because he did the same thing twice,even introducing the prayer the same way each time (This then is how you should pray. And BTW, why would a Jew ask Jesus how to Daven?), but many scholars believe its because the text is recorded differently in each gospel because the event either because it is fiction or because the recording of the event took place so long after the event that there is great disagreement as to when it happened and what actual words were used. Regardless, you say Jesus says the prayer one way for Jews and one way for Gentiles. But I’m pretty certain his audience was Jewish both times.Jesus said, “I am sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. Thus, his teaching was meant for Jews both times.

    One of the most committed Christians I know admitted to me personally that, in his words, “The New Testament is a mess”.

    • Brother Eleazar, Yeshua was SENT only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Yes, if you look the NT carefully, it is amazing to see that all the houses Yeshua entered was all Jews’ houses!! He could have entered but he did not. If you find one, please let me know. Whereas, his teaching was recorded and written in the NT. The NT books were not sent only to the Jews, they were sent also to the Gentiles; i have it on my hands!

      The gospel accounts seem to be inconsistent within itself; however, this fact proves that the four gospel writers honeslty recorded as to what they have heard and witnessed without having a quadripartite conference where they made up stories and matched all the details to creat a religion called Christianity. The inconsistencies of the historical records within the Tanakh cannot make anybody call it a mess. I believe that Every verse and phrase and even spelling and grammar have all its intended meanings. God has designed it that way so that we could continue to get curious and discuss – like Talmud Sicha at Yeshiva or Q.T. Sharing at Christian cell groups.

      In 2005, i had once stood up at LAPD yard. Many reporters from TV broadcasting and news papers in LA gathered to record my witness and to take pictures of my family. The story went like this. A month ago from that flashlighting day, i was driving on the Hill Avenue in downtown LA to go to Pasadena. There were two babies and my wife in my car. All of sudden my son (22 months old) had a seizure (at that time, my wife and i didn’t know what that was!), so my wife got freaked out and i stopped the car and took him out. It was on crossroads between Olympic Blvd and Hill Ave. My wife kept crying and yelling, and i kept calling “O God O Lord!!” He did not seem to breathe, his eyeball was rolling back to all white, obviously he was dying pale. Some Latino workers and koreans gathered around us trying to help us, showing all gestures to pound his back to take somthing stuck out of his throat. One lady rushed to us from her parking lot, introducing herself as a pediatrician, and as soon as she watched what was happening, ran to the Olympic Blvd and tried to catch police car or 911. Finally, two policemen came and treated him emergency care and a white milk chuck vomitted out of his throat. A little later, 911 came and took him to the hospital. After my son’s fever seizure was taken care of, we went back hom from the nightmare in downtown LA.

      Now, brother, this is what i have written from the very memory in my mind. I was there. I saw and heard almost everything in that situation. I described as far as i can remember in front of the reporters. You know what? I saw newspapers description was a little different from KCAL news! I saw one internet news channel copied another internet news company’s report (which had some slightly wrong information; my son was 22 months and my daughter was 12 months – but they said 11 months) and pasted on their website. Even myself, i can’t exactly remember all the details. Maybe you could find the misspellings in my paragraph written by the very witness- myself.

      Brother, now i know when someone witnesses what he saw or heard from his own experiences, it can be recorded in variuos ways with minor differences. The difference cannot deny its historicity, rather spark curiosity. Tanakh and NT have not contain great inconsistencies, rather trivial inconsistencies. And if the spirit of God illumines our eyes, we will see the intention of the author. I hope this helps.

      • jasonannelise says:

        Gean Guk Jeon, I’m so glad that your son was ok. It’s a great relief that he got through it all fine.

        About Jesus/Yeshua… Some of the psalms are about the adoration of created beings towards their creator. Assuming that Yeshua took part in those prayers publicly together with others, do you think it would have implied to the people around him that he was standing before God with the surrender and gratitude of a fully created being?

        • jasonannelise says:

          For example, I think that Yeshua would have prayed the Shemoneh Esrei almost as it is now; perhaps Rabbi Blumenthal could clarify whether that’s historically true. So then he was very much publicly identifying with the attitude of the congregation in that prayer.

        • Thank you brother Jasonannelise for your heartfelt words for the accident. Yes, it was all by grace of God. I don’t know how Yeshua recognized himself whether as a created being or agent of creator before the crowd. One thing i remember is that he often used word “God SENT me…” and he called himself “son of man” and called God “Father.”
          Shabat Shalom bro.

          • Annelise says:

            Sorry I assumed you were trinitarian, many of the Christians I know are.

            I think that if someone believes that Jesus was messiah but not God, there’s still a problem with accepting that belief. From just a few hundred years after Jesus’ life, and for over a thousand years after that, there are no known Jewish communities who followed Jesus as a non-divine messiah. So what community was the righteous remnant of Israel at that time? And Jesus was usually presented to traditional Jews all throughout that time as someone to be worshipped, which would mean that according to such a belief, the messiah was presented to Israel in the form of an idol for all that time. I find it impossible to think that the Jews of the middle ages should have accepted Jesus at all, even as a non-divine messiah, when almost all of the churches were presenting him as an object of false worship.

          • Annelise, let me have some time to study on Christians in Jewish community in the first four centuries.

            I have a question about Jewish morning prayer. Whenever i hear Chrisitan pastors quoting the formula of Jewish morning prayer which goes something like ” Blessed be the God of the universe who made me not Gentile, slave, and woman.”
            Whenever they say this is Jews’ everyday morning prayer, i am much worried because that might cause to create antisemitic feeling among gentiles. I guess they are quick to generalize it.

            Open question for Jewish brothers and sisters:
            Is it true that this is recited in every lip of the Jewish men in all synagogues on the world? Or Is it a tradition of the sects of Judaism, influenced by Hellenism or something?
            What is the common morning prayer for Jewish men?

          • Annelise says:

            PS The Shemoneh Esrei is also called Amidah prayer, it predates Jesus/Yeshua. It has sections of praise for God, asking for God’s help, and gratitude. Perhaps none of the sentences are specifically only able to be spoken by a created being, but the overall attitude of the congregation, while praying this, absolutely involves a personal affirmation of relying on the Creator’s hand for sustainance.

          • “None of the sentences are specifically only able to be spoken by a created being?” Sorry I don’t get it.
            Then only creator is able to speak the sentences??

          • Annelise says:

            Sorry, I didn’t write that sentence very clearly.

            Created humans can and do pray thise words. I meant to say that perhaps a Christian could argue that even if Jesus was ‘divine’ and a ‘person of God’, he would still have been able to speak the words of submission, love, and dependence on the Father. But I was trying to say (like in Rabbi Blumenthal’s though in this blog post) that Jesus prayed as one member of a congregation that was standing before God in intent awareness of their reliance upon Him, because He is their Creator. When Jesus prayed as part of that group, I think it gave the public impression that he believed he was not God.

  7. Eleazar says:

    >>>>> And if the spirit of God illumines our eyes<<<<<<

    And this is how every conversation with a Christian one does not agree with ends.
    Best of luck.

  8. Dina says:

    Following.

  9. Concerned Reader says:

    Bravo Annelise, Bravo. By showing people how to pray, and how to relate to G-d, Jesus showed that this was his own self understanding of the ideal relationship between himself and G-d.

    Whatever Jesus’ ontological status was (divine or human,) the way that he behaved showed that he desired submission to G-d the Father as it is defined by the covenant, not submission to himself, or glory, or honor for himself.

    In fact, if Jesus desired glory for himself, he could not possibly have repaired the sin of Adam as the New Testament claims, because seeking for glory for the self apart from the father’s will is what got Adam booted out of Eden to begin with.

    That’s why Paul of Tarsus says the following in 1 Corinthians 15:28 “When he has done this, (when G-d has submitted earthly authorities to his king Messiah) then the Son himself will be made subject to him (G-D) who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.”

    If Jesus was to sit in the temple of G-d, to be worshiped by humans as if he were G-d, then this would be a disaster, and a direct repeat of Adam’s mistake. (revelation 13 confirms that.)

    Jesus himself asked G-d “let this cup (my suffering) pass from me, YET NOT MY WILL, BUT YOUR WILL BE DONE.”

    Jesus wants the will of his father to be done, not his will. A man called him good, and Jesus said “why calllest thou me good, none is good but G-d!” Jesus in this sentence EXCLUDES himself as a man from any possibility of seeking worship for himself as a divine being beside the father. HE WONT EVEN AGREE TO BEING GOOD, much less being G-d!

    When people wanted to make him king by force, he refused it (John 6:15)

    Christianity got lost in the weeds with its theological obsessions and mystical speculations over whether Jesus was a created or an uncreated being. Because of that obsession, the message of Jesus is lost. Follow the Father for his own sake, keep his commands.

    Even if you are of the camp that says Jesus was the eternal Son of G-d, or G-d the son, and therefore is fit to receive divine worship, consider that opinion up against the following.

    Philippians 2:6-8

    6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (before he took on a human nature or human likeness, it says he thought it not robbery to be equal with G-d.) At this point a physical being named Jesus of Nazareth existing in the shape of a human man on earth is not yet existing. (no human nature exists yet in relation to the “son.”)

    7 But made himself of no reputation, (NO REPUTATION FOR EQUALITY WITH G-D!!) and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (Deuteronomy 4:16 says explicitly not to worship ANY SHAPE, and lists the form of A MAN AND A WOMAN 1st as things not to make images of for worship.

    8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (humbled in relation to who? G-d the father!)

    Christians today worship the incarnate son of G-d, or G-d the Son (a body of flesh) with the same devotion and service that they do G-d the father. They look at a human shape on a cross, and say “that is G-d who died for me.”

    If a person is Catholic, they may even look at the Eucharistic host, and adore it too as the real presence of the Logos in a body, a body of bread.

    This seems to me contrary to Jesus’ words, even if you believe that he is actually the deity walking around in a body.

    Why is that?

    When describing what the “Son” is, the NT says the following Colossians 1:16-17 “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and INVISIBLE, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

    What does it mean to be the image of something invisible?

    It means, you comprehend the effects, even when you do not PHYSICALLY SEE ANYTHING. The New Testament describes G-d as an invisible spirit, not a physical being. Everything John assigns to the Logos, proverbs assigns to wisdom. “wisdom” is not a physical thing, it is something we sense, with mind and heart, a thing we comprehend. You cannot contain it.

    the only “sight” of G-d that the New Testament actually discusses is sight of the heart, or of the minds eye, IE Beatific vision, (comprehension) not physical sight of G-d. (Mathew 16:16-17) flesh and blood does not reveal the “sight” of G-d, but a pure heart. (Mathew 5:8)

    If you somehow believe that Jesus as a flesh and bones being deserves worship, consider that the New Testament tells us that while he existed in this world with a human brain, and a human body, the incarnate word lacked the knowledge that only the father possessed, whether that was by choice or by nature is irrelevant. (Mathew 24:36)

    If you worship the man on the cross as G-d, you are acknowledging that you are worshiping a human shape that lacked knowledge that only G-d the father possessed.

    Worshiping Jesus this way would be like worshiping the temple, or praying to the burning bush for some atoning sap.

    Remember that Jesus compared himself to the serpent of brass. The very same serpent of brass that was declared an idol and had to be destroyed, despite initially working for G-d’s purpose, and being made by Moses.

    The miraculous work of G-d was comprehended and observed when people gazed at the serpent of brass.

    However, the minute people looked at the serpent of brass itself as the subject and source that was granting them relief (made it an object of worship, and necessary manifestation,) it had to be destroyed.

    The Churches (all of them) have made Jesus into the new Nehushtan, the serpent of brass which they declare is a necessary component of proper faith in G-d.

    • Dina says:

      Con, I think Unitarian Christians would agree with you and insist that they do not worship Jesus as God. What would you say to them?

    • tony says:

      hello , what would you say to christians who say the following :

      “the Jews made god in the idol/image of a COW”

      “god MADE himself in the form of WALKING and TALKING human being/god EXisted as a human being ”

      it appears to me that christian need their god to make movement, they are not happy with idol which just sits there . i have been listening to benjamin somer , he mentions about spirits of gods FRAGMENTING and entering into idols. what would the christian say in this regard ? and if they need moving gods, goddess ishtaar was known as planet venus.

      • Jim says:

        Tony,

        I hope you do not mind if I answer your above comment, though you directed your questions to Concerned Reader and Dina. The idea that the Christian world was looking for a mobile god, one that would appear more potent that a stationary statue is interesting. However, I do not think that is a good read. In the polytheistic world, nothing would prevent one from worshiping both a human being and an idol. No trade off need be made, and in fact, the Roman world often did worship human beings after their deaths, elevating them to some level of deityhood. One tale of Romulus has him ascending into the clouds to godhood, for example. This was not a statement about the impotence of other idols, because they did not see the idols as the gods themselves. So, rather than attempting to make the idols more potent, I believe that the Christians wanted a god more accessible than how they viewed God. They wanted a god that was more human than God, not more human than statue.

        The Platonic schools had theorized that God could have nothing to do with the physical world. This was based on the mutability of the physical world, its corruptibility. They saw God as non-physical, unchanging, perfect and pure. Because of how they defined “love,” they could not see God as condescending to give form to a physical world, to manipulate lesser stuff. According to Platonic thought, love is a desire for the good. (See for example, Plato’s “Phaedrus” and “Symposium.”) So, God, being the ultimate good—being pure incorruptible essence—eternally loves himself. He is totally focused on himself and could never change that focus to some other thing, because then he would be loving something less than the ultimate good. But in his abundant love for himself, a sort of exuberance leads to the creation of something like himself, a slightly lesser god but of the same basic substance, also considered eternal. This being would form the physical world and would serve as something of an intermediary between God and creation. (Note that he does not create the world, because matter, though constantly changing, already exists. He only gives it form; he orders it. Please note also that this is a simplified view for the sake of brevity.)

        The Christian worldview did not wholly accept Platonic thought. However, it was influenced by Platonic thought. Because Christianity accepted the Torah’s teaching that God created the world, they did not hold that He was detached from humanity on the grounds of their corruptible physical forms. But, it did teach that God was separated from humanity due to their moral imperfection. Like in Platonic thought, this separation would require an intermediary, someone to bridge the gap between God’s perfection and man’s imperfection.

        So, the Christian was not attempting to make an idol that had powers that statues did not have. Instead, he was making a god more accessible to himself than a god that could have nothing to do with imperfection, who was detached, who was remote. This intermediary god would make God approachable. The unfortunate truth, however, is that this god would not serve as a bridge from Man to God but a wall between Man and God. Rather than approaching God, the followers of Jesus would move farther away from him.

        Jim

        • Sharon S says:

          Hi Jim,

          Thank you for your comment . I find your comments insightful and informative.
          You stated the intermediary G-d (Jesus) would not serve as a bridge from Man to G-d but a wall between them.

          I don’t agree with that . I have always regarded Jesus as a bridge . Thanks to him mankind is aware and have grown to love the G-d of Israel . Christianity offers what I have not found in other religions thus far-relationship with G-d . I have never felt more closer to G-d than when I was a Christian.

          We have to consider how walls can be established between Man and God- treating a fellow human being/groups of people poorly in the name of religion can also create walls in the poor fellow’s mind towards G-d. Jesus broke those walls , by reaching out to the poor and marginalized in his lifetime and to all humanity through his death and resurrection.

          Another point to consider-idolatry does not necessarily mean worshipping a physical being. It can be career , traditions or anything under the sun-things that G-d has blessed us with to carry out his will (means) ,we turn it into an end.

          The question is how should one view Jesus? If Jesus is only the means then Christians should not have deified him . However is it sufficient to approach G-d without Jesus as the intermediary (means) ? If Jesus did not come to the scene would Man’s relationship with G-d improve? You can clearly see from history -from creation to Noah’s generation and beyond how most mankind , except the Jew has regressed in the relationship with our Creator . Jesus brought the knowledge of the G-d of Israel and the Jewish scriptures to mankind -some of the laws and precepts in it are made available and followed by the masses as well- thereby improving our lot and standing with our Creator .

          Again , thank you for your comment. Apologies if my comments missed the mark.
          Your opinion is most welcome.

          • Eleazar says:

            The Christian trinity is not the God of Israel.

            The God of Israel condemns human sacrifice and human blood upon the altar, which Christians believe is the real bridge.

            The God of Israel would never say to eat a man’s body or drink his blood, both of which Christians symbolically carry out several times per year.

            The God of Israel condemns worship of a human being.

            Christians see Jesus and his human sacrifice as a bridge for themselves, but a wall of everlasting condemnation for those who do not believe in the human sacrifice and “eat the body and drink the blood”.

            Biblically and by Torah law, an idol is a literal thing that is consciously worshiped or worshiped through. Confused priorities in life or “whatever occupies your thoughts more than God” are not worship and are not biblically defined as idols.

            Christians are not getting closer to the God of Israel by violating His Commandments in denying the grace of the God of Israel by worshiping a human being and accepting human blood sacrifice as mankind’s only means of atonement.

            That is NOT the God of Israel. That is paganism.

          • LarryB says:

            Sharon S
            “I have always regarded Jesus as a bridge”.
            You could say the same thing about Horace’s tree. 🙂
            https://judaismresources.net/?s=Horace’s+tree

          • Sharon S says:

            Eleazar and Larry B,

            Thank you for your replies .

            Now I shall repeat the question to both of you.
            If Jesus did not come to the scene would Man’s relationship with G-d improve?

            1.If yes ,kindly quote scripture references from the Torah to support (with regards to ALL of mankind)
            2. Please do not give scripture references to justify why worship of Jesus is wrong (for example , the references Eleazar just quoted-blood sacrifice and all that) in order to answer the above question.

            I want to know what Judaism has to offer to mankind on its own merit.

            Thank you.

          • Dina says:

            Sharon, the Torah doesn’t talk about Jesus at all, so how can you ask for proof from the Torah that if Jesus hadn’t come, mankind’s relationship with God would have continued to improve? Perhaps I misunderstood your question?

            If I have understood your question, then it’s like asking what the world would like today if Karl Marx hadn’t written Das Kapital or if Hitler had never come to power. The answer is unknowable.

            What does Judaism have to offer on its own merit? That’s a fair question. Judaism doesn’t seek to offer anyone anything but to ask, what does God want of us? It’s about worshiping God, not seeking benefits for ourselves. However, because God is good, following his commandments is good for us too. Judaism emphasizes a strictly monotheistic relationship with a personal God and all the ethics that you know are associated with Judaism (such as the Ten Commandments and Leviticus Chapter 19). I don’t have time to write more today, so I hope this answers your questions at least somewhat!

          • LarryB says:

            Sharon S
            I reject your question and Torah restrictions for worshiping idols.
            “Please do not give scripture references to justify why worship of Jesus is wrong (for example , the references Eleazar just quoted-blood sacrifice and all that) in order to answer the above question.”
            If I cannot refer to the Torah what source would you like me to use?

          • Sharon S says:

            Dina,Larry B,

            I apologise if my question confuse you.
            I just want to know what Judaism has to offer to mankind on its own merit.

            Dina,thank you for your answer.It does answer the question . I hope you could do more of this in the future.Have a good Shabbat.

            Larry B,I hope the revised question makes it clear where I’m coming from.That is why I requested not to give scriptures that justify why worshipping Jesus is wrong.

            Thank you

          • LarryB says:

            Sharon S.
            I also think Dina gave a great answer to your question will leave it at that. Thanks for clarifying.

          • roger says:

            “What does Judaism have to offer on its own merit? That’s a fair question. Judaism doesn’t seek to offer anyone anything but to ask, what does God want of us? It’s about worshiping God, not seeking benefits for ourselves. However, because God is good, following his commandments is good for us too. Judaism emphasizes a strictly monotheistic relationship with a personal God and all the ethics that you know are associated with Judaism (such as the Ten Commandments and Leviticus Chapter 19). I don’t have time to write more today, so I hope this answers your questions at least somewhat!”

            i know what these christians are saying, they think that before jesus, no jew was able to master over lust, hate and anger. we all know this is a lie because the whole point of a God giving revelation to creature is to help them to master over lust, hate and anger. jesus is ABSOLUTELY not needed to help person become a better person.

          • Jim says:

            Sharon,

            Thank you for the tone of your disagreement. Too often disagreement on the internet is expressed without civility, and it is quite pleasant to read disagreement without disrespect. In that same spirit, please allow me to explain some of the ways in which Jesus serves as a wall between humanity and God rather than as a bridge.

            The supposed need for Jesus is based on a lie, one told about God. The Christian makes God to be unforgiving, indeed, unable to forgive. It contradicts direct statements in Tanach regarding God’s mercy. An obvious example is found in Ez. 18 and Ez. 33. In those passages, HaShem promises forgiveness to those that repent. He counts as righteous those that turn away from wickedness and resume practicing His ways.

            Christian doctrine makes a mockery out of the statement that HaShem is slow to anger. According to Christian doctrine, the smallest infraction separates one from God eternally, making one worthy of eternal torment. In what way then can God be called “slow to anger”? The statement becomes meaningless, just something nice to say about God, but without having any truth; and, lacking all truth, it lacks ability to comfort those who would trust in His mercy.

            That God is paternal toward His creation is denied by Christian doctrine. While they call God a “Father,” Christian doctrine contradicts this, for their god expects the impossible. He demands from imperfect creatures perfection. This is not only the antithesis of paternalistic love, it is irrational.

            In this way, Jesus serves as a wall between humanity and God. Christian doctrine separates humanity from God entirely. This God is unappeased by repentance: He demands the blood of an innocent.

            Because Jesus is supposed to be that innocent, he receives the devotion that is owed to God. Devotion is owed to those that have done one a great kindness. In the Christian story, the one that has done humanity the most good is not God; it is Jesus. While God could not forgive humanity, even if he wanted to do so, Jesus obtained that forgiveness. And he did it through accepting upon himself suffering, the suffering deserved by others. Even if one did not deify Jesus for this, one would bear him the much greater gratitude. One consequence of this is that, for many, God is to be feared, while Jesus is someone to be loved. God is all wrath, and Jesus is all mercy. Conversely, if one does not see God as only to be feared, the need for Jesus still makes God to appear basically impotent. God is willing to send an agent to secure His forgiveness due to His love for the world, but He Himself does nothing. His love does not involve His suffering. His agent does all the hard work. God’s love costs Him nothing, while Jesus’ love is expressed through great sacrifice. These ideas—even when they are not articulated but only linger in the psychology of the believer—keep one at a distance from God. The greater part of one’s devotion goes to a human being, who is more capable of loving and being loved than God is.

            This is reflected in the way the Bible is read by the Christian. When he reads Tanach, he scours it for indications of Jesus, the object of his affection. He treats the Torah as a scavenger hunt. Jesus becomes the main topic for him. The duties prescribed by God become a secondary concern. It is not that he does not consider these at all, but they are not his primary focus. Generally speaking, when a Christian reads the Bible for how to live his life, he reads the NT. The “Old Testament” is there to point Jesus.

            This is the natural outcome of Christian theology. The duty to obey God arises from gratitude. When one realizes the good that God has done one, then he will follow God’s commandments, even more so when he realizes that those commandments benefit himself. But, for the Christian, the greatest good done to him was performed by Jesus. Therefore, when he fulfills God’s commandments, it is usually because Jesus told him to do so. That is to say, he is really fulfilling Jesus’ commandments, not God’s, because of the debt of gratitude he owes Jesus.

            This can be seen in the way that the Lord’s Supper replaces Passover. The Christian story minimizes the work of God. Both stories are stories of liberation. Passover is about God freeing the Jews, a work limited to one people. The Lord’s Supper is about Jesus freeing humanity, a work universal in scope. The liberation of Passover is from the bondage of physical slavery. The liberation of the Lord’s Supper is from the bondage of spiritual slavery. God would lead the Jews to the Promised Land, but Jesus would lead believers into everlasting life. In all ways, Jesus’ work is made to be the greater, and so his feast replaces that implemented by God. In the Christian story, God is minimized and Jesus is magnified. So, the believer replaces God’s commandment with Jesus’ commandment, and he makes God’s work to be nothing more than a foreshadowing of the greater work that would be done by Jesus.

            Moreover, because Jesus is the focus of the Christian, he does not mind if the words of God are misrepresented, as long as those misrepresentations serve to support his love of Jesus. If God were the object of his affection, he would object to the distortion of His words. But this he does not do. In fact, he justifies each twisted verse, each misquote, each false meaning. Of course, he will defend the words of Jesus; those are teachings with which no tampering can be tolerated. But, the words of God—those are fair game.

            These things I do not write to indict the Christian. I write them only to show the ways in which Jesus is a wall and not a bridge. First, the Christian becomes separated from God by the notion that God is unmerciful and unforgiving, either because He is incapable or unwilling. Then, Jesus becomes the greater object of his affection, the one to whom his devotion is due. Jesus’ love is made to be greater than God’s by both its efficacy and its self-sacrificing nature. So, the Christian seeks to fulfill God’s will, but because it is the command of Jesus. He reads the words of God to find Jesus, even tolerating misrepresentations of those words in order to find Jesus in them. These are indications that one is not led to God through Jesus, but that Jesus is an interposition between humanity and God.

            Jim

          • Sharon S says:

            Dear Jim,
            Thank you for your comments, though it came in a bit late . You have put forth very good arguments as to why Jesus serves as a wall , rather than a bridge between man and G-d.

            Unfortunately , you have not answered the question “If Jesus did not come to the scene would Man’s relationship with G-d improve? ” .

            I hope that you could put aside Jesus and Christianity and answer the question honestly , based on the Torah and your knowledge of Judaism.

            I would like to commend Dina again for being honest on the nature of this blog -it is a counter missionary blog (tagline notwithstanding) , so all comments will be in relation to Jesus and Christianity . Hence I would understand if you do not reply to them -or if you reply them within the context of Jesus and Christianity.

            Thank you.

          • Jim says:

            Sharon,

            I am sorry. I do not understand your question: “If Jesus did not come to the scene would Man’s relationship with G-d improve?” Do you mind rephrasing or clarifying for me?

            Jim

          • Sharon S says:

            Dear Jim,

            I have explained the question at https://judaismresources.net/2018/07/18/sufficient/#comment-42561

            Thank you.

          • Jim says:

            Sharon,

            Thanks for directing me to this comment. I will answer as soon as I am able, but it may take me a few days, depending on what I must get done here today.

            Jim

        • tony says:

          Hello Jim

          are there any arguments recorded in the hebrew bible which have something like :

          “God is too holy to approach directly, we need our intermediaries because we get close to God through them ” ?

          this is what the modern christian seems to be saying. the intermediary is god, but an emptied version of god in heaven.

        • tony says:

          “The unfortunate truth, however, is that this god would not serve as a bridge from Man to God but a wall between Man and God. Rather than approaching God, the followers of Jesus would move farther away from him.”

          i have asked christians if it is possible for them to worship the father without involving jesus in their worship, they are unable to and think that it would be blasphemous to approach the father directly.

    • tony says:

      i don’t understand why christians have a problem with worshipping a flesh being . if i went to post resurrected jesus and shot him with machine gun, would jesus die? if not, then the flesh in a sense has become like the “invisible spirit” which is hiding in body of jesus. so why they have a problem with worshipping flesh makes no sense to me. having belief in an immortal flesh god should not be seen as idolatry in christian beliefs.

      “Christians today worship the incarnate son of G-d, or G-d the Son (a body of flesh) with the same devotion and service that they do G-d the father. They look at a human shape on a cross, and say “that is G-d who died for me.””

      immortal spirit in mortal flesh. mortal flesh becomes immortalised. look, if christians can have god BECOME created and weak, then they can REVERSE that and have it exist as immortalised flesh being.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        i don’t understand why christians have a problem with worshipping a flesh being . 

        They absolutely should have a problem with worshiping a man of flesh, even if it becomes “immortalized flesh.”

        But why? Because according to their own gospel, even a false prophet can do miracles and decieve people. (Revelation 13)

        IE if one man can be claimed to be G-d in a body, anyone else can make the same claim.

        Thats why the texts say that faithfulness to the commandments is what counts.

        In fact, Jesus’ divine nature being described as a physical fleshly reality, and worshipped as such, is already considered a heresy even by the Orthodox Christians themselves, ie the heresy of Mormonism.

        G-d said in Deuteronomy “guard yourselves very carefully lest you become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, the image of ANY SHAPE.”

        Right after this it says not to worship the “whole host of heaven” IE if G-d has an entourage of messangers/angels/manifestations, they should not be worshipped.

        I too have read Dr. Sommer’s book. His model of “divine fluidity” may explain some ambiguities in scripture, but regarding the question of who is supposed to be the sole object of divine service, scripture shows it unambiguously to be G-d the father, even if you factor in Jesus.

        Dina, unitarians run into the issue where they say catagorically that Jesus is NOT G-D, but that NONETHELESS they (little w) worship ie Proskuneo (honor) Jesus because they believe that if G-d desires it, they must honor him.

        The problem is that the oldest form of worship, ie the veneration of ancestors rests on the same premises. “My ancestor is gone, but I honor him with this, or with that.”

        “Im not praying to this image, it just brings to mind the wisdom of my teacher when I gaze at it.”

        It devolves into idolatry either way, because Jesus is still the only way that they can see someone as properly relating to G-d.

        In my opinion, Islam has the same issue with Muhammad. Even though they all say that Muhammad is not a deity, if you dont follow according to their prophet, or worse, if you draw a picture of this fully human man, they may inflict bodily injury on you.

        In seeking not to give undue honor to a man of flesh, they inadvertently do exactly that.

        • tony says:

          quote :
          In fact, Jesus’ divine nature being described as a physical fleshly reality, and worshipped as such, is already considered a heresy even by the Orthodox Christians themselves, ie the heresy of Mormonism.
          end quote

          mormons do have a point.

          imagine a pagan in the past believed that his god came down as 100 % human which did not need to eat, sleep, rest etc etc ….

          what will be the argument then? maybe that it requires a body and needs location to exist.

          if we concentrate on post resurrected jesus , he now has “immortalized flesh” and christians should have no problem worshipping this flesh because it is no longer on created level.

          many christians think god is CURRENTLY existing as “fully human and fully divine ” in one person.

          i will say again, the christians believe that the invisible being CHANGED and became creature like you and me. now lets REVERSE THIS .created becomes divine. i see no problem from philosophical and logical angle why christian polytheists shouldn’t worship the flesh. they don’t really care about what scriptures say, if they did, they would never had said that god became man.

        • tony says:

          you said you listened to somer, do you mean these podcasts?

          http://podcast.foundjs.org/size/10/?search=sommer

        • Dina says:

          Thanks, Con, great answer!

  10. I really want to know how the common Jewish men’s pray in the morning.
    Hello~

  11. Eleazar says:

    Roger wrote: i know what these christians are saying, they think that before jesus, no jew was able to master over lust, hate and anger.

    The truth is, Roger, no Christian ever has either….including Jesus.

    People who follow this blog closely know that other than worshiping a man and believing they go to heaven because of a human sacrifice, this is my main argument against Christianity. It simply does not deliver on its biggest promise.

    The book of Hebrews main argument for the superiority of Christianity over Judaism and Torah is that Christianity results in a person that does not need any further sacrifices because the REAL Christian does not purposely sin….ever. That those Jews who sacrificed could not by those sacrifices year after year become perfect enough to approach God ( a fallacious argument on its face, since Torah NEVER says that only by blood sacrifice can a person be forgiven and redeemed, NOR does it ever claim that such a sacrifice is what makes you perfect, OR that absolute perfection is required for salvation). While Hebrews teaches that those who believe in Jesus receive the indwelling spirit of God that prevents you from sinning through acceptance of the human blood sacrifice. That is why Hebrews then goes on to say that anyone who sins on purpose after accepting the blood of Jesus no longer has atonement because Jesus cannot be sacrificed a 2nd time to cover those sins committed after accepting the 1st sacrifice.In the NT’s own words, “Counted the blood a common thing”, “crucified Christ afresh”, “trampled the son of God underfoot” and “insulted the spirit of grace”. According to Hebrews, to not become literally perfected by the blood of Jesus brings a certainty of damnation.

    In truth, to believe you need to accept a human sacrifice and worship a man is the ultimate insult to, and rejection of, God’s spirit of grace.

    • Sharon S says:

      Hi Eleazar,

      I would like to know further about G-d’s “Spirit of Grace”.
      Is this stated anywhere in the Tanakh?

      I have always come across the term “unfailing love” especially in Psalms
      – is that what you mean by grace?

      No offence , but listening why product B-Christianity/Jesus is faulty to justify superiority of product A-Judaism can sound boring after some time.That is what I think after listening to the same rhetoric over and over.

      So please tell the world why Product A is superior on its own merit.
      I don’t see that comments often in this blog -other than it being used to discredit Christianity.

      I think highlighting the merits of Judaism on its own generates a much more
      positive discussion.

      If you notice at the top right hand corner of this blog ,it states “Judaism Resources-Tap into the strength of Judaism”. It gives me an impression that this blog is meant to showcase what the strengths of Judaism.

      Unfortunately the materials and comments hint of a strong “Keep Out” sign.
      Please do correct if I’m in error.

      Have a good Shabbat.

      Thank you.

      • Eleazar says:

        Sharon wrote: I would like to know further about G-d’s “Spirit of Grace”.
        Is this stated anywhere in the Tanakh?
        -And –
        So please tell the world why Product A is superior on its own merit.

        My answer to both:

        “Who is a God like you,
        pardoning the sin and overlooking the crimes
        of the remnant of his heritage?
        He does not retain his anger forever,
        because he delights in grace.
        He will again have compassion on us,
        He will subdue our iniquities.
        You will throw all their sins
        into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18, 19

        Grace is why Judaism, “Product A” as you call it, is a higher view and the God of Judaism a superior God to the co-opted quasi pagan trinity of Christendom. And this text is a clear testament to God’s spirit of grace (which is not a third god-person, BTW). No blood sacrifice, animal OR human, is mentioned. I found it ironic that C.S. Lewis once stated that grace was what separated Christianity from other world religions. But he had it wrong. Christianity, in its insistence that God is unable to grant salvation without belief in and worship of a man and by the acceptance of a human sacrifice, is the very denial of a God of grace. Please compare the following texts:

        Product A – Micah 7:18,19- He does not retain his anger forever,
        because he delights in grace.
        He will again have compassion on us,
        He will subdue our iniquities.

        Product B – Hebrews 10:26,27- For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

        I chose Hebrews 10 because it was written for the sole purpose of being a treatise on the superiority of Christianity vs Judaism from the Christian perspective presented in the New Testament. Verses 1 and 2 spell out the entire argument against Judaism: that is, that Judaism and Torah cannot produce perfect people, while Christianity can and does. And if it doesn’t, then you can look forward to the result in the text above.

        Another thing to consider in your comparing “products A and B”, if you haven’t before. Christianity’s holy days were founded hundreds of years after the supposed events that inspired them and are in fact co-opted pagan celebrations mixed with Christian legends. Jewish holidays were founded either at the time or just following the actual event/miracle they are commemorating. Purim was founded by Esther and Mordecai themselves to commemorate a series of events that saved the Jewish people in Persia. Passover was established at the time it happened.Even Hanukkah, a non-biblical observance, was officially established the year following the miracle of oil.Judaism has never had to draw on legends long past for any of its Biblical holy days/holidays, the most important of which are directly commanded in scripture.

        Not a single Christian holy day observance is commanded by God or mentioned in scripture, not even in the New Testament.
        I hope this helps.

  12. Concerned Reader says:

    Sharon S.

    1. Judaism does not hold you responsible for anyone else’s sins.

    2. No teacher is deemed infallible. (no risk of a Papacy or a Joseph Smith in Judaism.)

    3. You do not need to be a member of the Jewish faith to be worthy of dignity as a human.

    4. Because Judaism has its focus on a person’s free will vis ethical actions, sectarianism is less virulent or prone to violence.

    5. Because of the emphasis on the Shema, and insistence on G-d’s utter uniqueness vis the question of worship, it is very rare for Jews to put stock in things like Demons, End Time speculations, faith healing hucksters etc. and this is a natural defense against the many forms of advantage people try to take.

    6. Because Judaism believes that miracles do not prove a prophet to be right or valid, Judaism is much less prone to being taken advantage of generally.

    7. Judaism does not make unilateral decisions about the afterlife or who gets in.

    8. Judaism has the benefit of being the root faith of all 3 Abrahamic religions. The claims of Judaism serve as a baseline criteria about which all the 3 traditions can actually agree.

    That baseline opens the real possibility that we can choose not to fight about the things that the sister faiths of Christianity and Islam have always insisted be fought about.

    9. Judaism’s traditional interpretations keep ideas fresh, but also keep sectarian squabbles at bay.

    IE you would never need to have the kind of theological disputes that lead to centuries of Christians killing other Christians. Judaism says “the secret things are for G-d and not for man.”

    10. Even when sectarianism arises in Judaism, the centrality of Torah law serves as a safe means for those who disagree about theology to be able to make inroads to reconciliation.

    (You wouldn’t see the likes in Judaism of the purge of the Judaizers or the Gnostics that we saw in Christian history. )

    • Sharon S says:

      Hi Concerned Reader,

      Thank you for your reply . It is very informative.
      Actually , I find your comment at https://judaismresources.net/2018/07/18/sufficient/#comment-42528 very enlightening. It really made me think and review my assumptions about Jesus.

      It was also one of the triggers for my comment to Jim as well.
      Since you are very knowledgeable on religion , I would like to do an about turn and ask you the initial question I posed in my comment:
      “If Jesus did not come to the scene would Man’s relationship with G-d improve? ”

      Now , I know this question was not taken too kindly (I hope no one here think I am a closet missionary) , but please hear me out:
      1.You can clearly see from history -from creation to Noah’s generation and beyond how most mankind , except the Jew has regressed in the relationship with our Creator .
      2. What I learnt thus far is that the command of G-d i.e the 7 laws are not adhered to , or at best adhered to but out of necessity to maintain civilization -it was not followed out of obedience to G-d.
      3. Only the Jew is given revelation at Sinai- hence the Jewish nation is the sole nation that is on a higher spiritual plane than the rest of mankind.
      4. In the Hebrew Bible , one can always find references to the nations , who worship idols of “wood and stone” , and their foolishness of doing so.

      The above points (1 to 4) is what I gathered from my very amateur studies of Judaism worldview , on my own and through discussion with Rabbi Blumenthal .

      Now , if Jesus haven’t come to the scene , this is what I imagine would probably happen:
      1. I will be a Hindu/Buddhist/Animist today and still be worshipping idols of wood and stone , stars, tree -whatever under the sun.
      2. I would be aware of the elements of the 7 laws-not to kill,steal ,etc -but I will be doing it to preserve civilization or conscience -not out of obedience to G-d

      So , how is my standing with G-d?
      I would be guilty of idolatry without really being aware of it in the first place.

      Impact of Jesus coming into the scene:
      1. I come to know Jesus and the G-d of Israel through him.
      2. I have access to the Jewish Bible -and the knowledge of G-d and his commands-though distorted by the teachings of the Church
      3. Instead of worshipping idols of wood and stone , stars , etc-I now worship the G-d of Israel , though in a distorted way via partnership , or “shituf” .
      4. If I research and assess my assumptions -I will eventually come to a realization that my beliefs in (3) are wrong -which is what all of us have come to realise here- we all make life changing choices to worship the G-d of Israel in truth.

      Now which is scene is better ? With or without Jesus?
      Which scene shows a better standing with our Creator? Outright idolatry or shituf?

      I need to side-track a bit here.
      I know the standpoint of this blog that the Trinity is idolatry for both Jew and Gentile-but there are differing opinions out there -one opinion I read says that shituf or “belief in an intermediary” is not forbidden to the Gentile but it is an unrighteous belief.
      I have also discussed this matter extensively with Rabbi Blumenthal as well.

      Hence , that is why I state in my initial post that Jesus improved our lot and standing with our Creator . I would like to further specify that Jesus improved the Gentile lot and standing with our Creator.

      I do admit that Jesus’s coming has a negative impact for the Jew. This is because the Jewish people are on a higher spiritual plane than the rest of the world.

      Appreciate your opinion on this matter.

      Thank you.

      • Concerned Reader says:

        Sharon S, the 1st thing is that Shituf is not “permitted” in the sense of a person directing worship, but only in the sense of someone oath taking.

        IE lets say that a Platonic philosopher said, “I swear by the great highest god that I am telling the truth about X.”

        All Shituf allows is that a Jew knows they can take this oath seriously. As you are aware, even Polytheists tend to have a head of the pantheon that they designate as the most important. Shituf just means that in the context of an oath or testimony, if someone swears by G-d, but they believe that he has parteners, their testimony can nonetheless be trusted.

        As to your question about whether Jesus improved the world, I would ask you this in a serious fashion.

        Did Muhammad improve the world?

        Muhammad brought a theological knowledge of the one G-d (without it containing much of the mystical baggage of Christianity that has caused harm and made Christianity have a negative impact.)

        IE no trinity, no incarnation, (and none of the bloody feuds over mysticism) no necessary requirement stated outright to insist on accepting his person for salvation. Muhammad brought a knowledge to billions of Arab pagans. That doesn’t make it good

        (even though they dont strictly have to, Muslims still insist that a person MUST accept Muhammad to serve G-d properly.)

        IE the Quran actually tells Muslims not to show compulsion in your religion, and to trust the people of the book, and ask them for guidance if they need it.

        Now, we both know that even though the Quran contains that good advice, it doesn’t negate what is bad, and it hasn’t stopped the Muslim countries from doing the exact opposite of what they should do.

        That is how I would answer your question.

        If Islamic extremeists can still do such harm in the name of their faith, (when their opinion of monotheism stands closer to Judaism,) then how can we ask if these sister faiths made the world better?

        The world has the same problems, but exacerbated by the fact that you now have 3 faiths, two of which claim a monopoly on the truth.

        I do not think Jesus was an unethical guy, but I cannot say that the faith he started made the world objectively better. In fact, it made the world ignore his ethical advice in order to prop up his death, at the expense of peoples lives.

        In fact, I would say that a key part of what the messianic hope means to Jews (which Jesus’ movement rejected,) is that the world can always be made better if you try, and its a human being’s purpose to make this world better.

        In Judaism, being made in the image.of G-d means you have the dignified position of bettering the world, not consigning it to a fallen state.

        For years as a Christian, I saw the toxic apathy Christians took towards the needs of others outside of their community, the willingness to shift blame for their problems, and the inability to effect real change because they believed with all their heart that their deeds were filthy rags, and the only way to do anything was for Jesus to bear the burden.

        • Dina says:

          Sharon, I’ve given more thought to your question on what Judaism has to offer.

          I think the more pressing questions are, Is Jesus God? Is Jesus the Messiah? All other questions pale in significance compared to these two.

          What does Judaism have to offer? The truth.

          And truth is the highest and most noble calling.

      • Dina says:

        Sharon, you wrote that if not for Jesus, you would likely have been a Buddhist or Hindu (why not Muslim?) or some other kind of pagan. There is a bit of history that I think is fascinating and might make you reconsider that notion.

        During the Second Temple period, many gentiles flocked to the Temple during the holiday pilgrimages along with the Jews. Many attended synagogues and lectures and were known as God-fearing gentiles, or “God fearers.”

        When the Jesus movement, having failed to attract Jews, turned to the gentiles, they lured many of these God fearers to their camp. Therefore, I think it’s likely that had Christianity not taken root in the West, the God fearer movement would have continued to grow.

        But all this is speculation. As I said last time, the answer to your question is unknowable, and God had other plans.

        You also said, “Listening why product B-Christianity/Jesus is faulty to justify superiority of product A-Judaism can sound boring after some time.” I’m trying to figure out what you are saying here. Are you saying that you are bored by claims that Christians are wrong to assert the superiority of Christianity over Judaism? Or are you bored by claims that Judaism is superior to Christianity? Or are you bored by claims that Christianity is faulty in order to justify the superiority of Judaism?

        Since I don’t understand which of these you mean (or I may be wrong on all counts!), I hope you will forgive me for taking the liberty of answering all of them. Before I do that, please don’t worry about asking questions that we might find uncomfortable. This blog is about seeking the truth, and the process can be messy, it can be fraught, it can be rancorous and heated and passionate. But I believe that we will get there in the end!

        So…are Christians wrong to assert the superiority of Christianity over Judaism? (I will not assess the degree of boredom this question induces :)). The answer is, yes, of course they are. Christianity claimed to lead its followers on a moral path that is superior to Judaism. Yet its history is splattered with the blood of countless Christians and non-Christians, all people created in God’s image, simply because other Christians followed a different theology or non-Christians were regarded as less than human. All you need do is examine the community that followed Jesus and the community that followed Torah over the past two millennia to see which religion created a better society. Jews were exemplary citizens of every host country they lived in, paying their taxes, helping each other, and refraining from barbaric and bawdy behaviors (for example, Jews engaging in drunken brawls at taverns is not something you hear about). Were they perfect? Of course not. Were they better off morally and ethically? Of course they were.

        Therefore, Christians are wrong to assert the superiority of their religion over Judaism.

        Are you bored by claims that Judaism is superior to Christianity? Perhaps you are, but I think it is fair to say that every religion’s adherents believe theirs is superior to all others. That said, Jews are not in the habit of telling everyone that. All Jews want, and have ever wanted, is to be left alone to worship in peace. Alas, Christians still won’t leave Jews alone, and that is the only reason for this website. I assure you, Sharon, if Christian missionaries would not proselytize Jews, this website would not exist.

        Or are you bored by claims that Christianity is faulty in order to justify the superiority of Judaism? Again, leaving aside the boredom factor, this question is unfair. Jews do not seek to claim that Christianity is faulty in order to boost their faith. Judaism can stand on its own whether Christianity is inferior or not. It is Christianity which needs to knock Judaism in order to have a raison d’être. Please compare the writings of Christians, beginning with the New Testament, including the writings of the Church Fathers, and down through the centuries to Martin Luther and beyond, to the writings of Jews beginning with the Talmud and down through the centuries.

        I think the results will shock you. While Christians, in their writings, are obsessed with Jews and Judaism and poured torrents of ink to demonize them, Christians and Christianity are barely mentioned in the writings of Jews–and when they are, it is usually only in passing and with indifference. The irony is, Jews had the more right to feel bitter toward Christians, since by the time the Talmud was being compiled, persecution of the Jews had already begun. Talk about turning the other cheek!

        Even today, Christians still teach each other about the inferiority of Judaism through their New Testament in order to justify their belief. Yet Jews do not talk to each other about Christianity for the most part.

        So can you imagine how it sounds to a Jew to hear a Christian say that our rhetoric regarding this is boring?

        There was a Christian who used to comment on this blog that hearing Jews discuss Christian persecution of Jews is boring. It’s galling, to say the least.

        By the way, there is a Sharon who posts here from time to time. I actually discussed with her the topic of Christian persecution of Jews and she read a book I recommended on the subject. Are you the same Sharon?

        Keep asking questions! That’s the best way to achieve clarity. And I hope I haven’t bored you too much 🙂 !

        • Sharon S says:

          Hi Dina,

          This is the same Sharon who have read 2 out of the 3 books you recommended and have actually visited some of the sites where the acts of persecution actually took place recently- like the site where inquisition activities were carried out . If you plan to visit Europe , there are many “Jewish Heritage” tours that you can book online before your trip -it is very informative ,eye opening and in some places -physically challenging (need to walk up steep roads).

          The tag line at the top right corner of this blog is ” Judaism resources-tap into the strength of Judaism” .

          I have listened to both Muslim and Jewish missionaries/counter missionaries -so I have been hearing criticisms of Christianity for a very , very long time . I admit it do make me sick to hear them at times (“wrong to assert Christianity’s superiority”/”Christianity is faulty”) but I’m pretty much used to it.

          However there comes a time when I get bored listening to all these criticisms and wanted to learn the strengths of Islam and Judaism on its own terms . Let’s forget about Jesus and Christianity and see what Judaism has to offer . I don’t see that often in this blog . Do correct if I’m wrong.

          In addition ,the further I study these faiths , there seem to be some “red flags” (refer to my comment to Concerned reader below) .I wondered why has this not been declared in the blog, or perhaps I missed it? These information need to be considered in the critique of Christianity so that all can see the full picture. It may be “material” to some readers out there .

          You say that the reason this blog exist is because Christians won’t leave the Jews alone -which means if Christians eventually do stop bothering Jews than this blog cease to exist? To me that defeats the purpose of the tag line -tap into the strength of Judaism.

          I truly appreciate you being open . Thank you.

          • Dina says:

            Sharon, this is indeed a countermissionary blog. It was founded for the express purpose of showing Jews who had been led astray by missionaries why their newfound belief is wrong. That is why nearly all the articles on this blog are based on some idea of Judaism versus Christianity. If you want to learn about Judaism only, this is not the right place for it (tagline notwithstanding). I recommend aish.com and simpletoremember.com to learn about Judaism. These two websites are primarily interested in outreach to secular and/or unaffiliated Jews, but I think you can learn much of value there.

            Rabbi B. has always been extremely tolerant of difficult questions and discussions of hard truths. I don’t think you need to worry about asking the tough questions here. Judaism does have elements that are hard to understand or can be very uncomfortable, and we do not shy away from challenges to these ideas.

            I’d like to add a little more to Con’s answer to you on the higher nature of the Jewish soul. It is true that many Jews believe this. It is true that they have believed this for centuries. But even Jews who believe this also accept that all humans are created in God’s image, and therefore all human life is sacred. That is why this belief has never translated into Jews acting violently toward or murdering non-Jews.

            A big fear among Arabs with the creation of the Jewish state was that as soon as Jews attained some power they would treat Arabs as they themselves had been treated at Arab hands. This fear is one of the causes of the flight of hundreds of thousands of Arabs from the Jewish state after she won independence. Yet ask any Israeli Arab if he would rather live in Israel or any other Arab country. The answer is very telling! Although the state is secular, the sacredness of human life and justice for all are so ingrained in the Jewish psyche that secular Jews cannot easily give them up.

          • Sharon S says:

            Hi Dina,
            Thank you for being honest about this.

  13. Sharon S says:

    Hi Concerned Reader,

    Thank you for your brilliant answer . Yes , I do agree with your assessment on Muhammad and Islam . Muhammad did bring a lot of good to the Arab pagans by bringing them to the knowledge and worship of the one G-d . However that does not mean that its adherents brought good to the world -which is an analogy of Jesus and Christianity as well.

    So what I got from your analogy -mankind’s lot or standing with G-d is no better with or without these two figures entering the world scene. There was an awareness of G-d and His laws , but adherents of these two faiths committed terrible acts in His name , thereby breaking His commands and going back to square one . Please correct if I’m wrong.

    You have mentioned “You do not need to be a member of the Jewish faith to be worthy of dignity as a human.” and “In Judaism, being made in the image.of G-d means you have the dignified position of bettering the world, not consigning it to a fallen state. ”

    I want to bring to your attention the following article by Dr. Menachem Kellner – Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Jewish Thought at Shalem College (Jerusalem) and Wolfson Professor Emeritus, University of Haifa in the article at the following link:
    https://www.jewishideas.org/article/orthodoxy-and-gentile-problem

    “Looking around me today, what do I see? A very different Orthodoxy. I want to focus here on only one aspect of the “new Orthodoxy”: the emphasis on the metaphysical, innate, inherent, absolute difference between Jews and non-Jews. There is, admittedly, a long history to this idea, dating back at least to R. Judah Halevi (and, if one believes that the Zohar was written by R. Shimon bar Yohai, then back to the third century at least). In the Judaism in which we were raised, however, this history was unknown, ignored, or glossed over. [5]”

    I have been listening to criticisms to Christianity’s condemnation of those who do not believe in Jesus and how Judaism respects the dignity of man . I agree that Christianity view the actions of those out of its faith system as futile as man is deemed sinful by nature . There is a more positive view in Judaism -, however mankind are affected by the sin of Adam . The patriarchs and the Jewish people are able to partially remove the negativity and it is their calling to counteract that negative impact completely from the soul of mankind. This is a result of my discussion with Rabbi Blumenthal.

    As to shituf , kindly refer excerpt from Moshe Weiner’s “The Divine Code” at the link below:
    https://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/the-divine-code-web6.pdf

    “It has previously been explained that some Rabbinical opinions
    maintain that a Gentile is not forbidden to [only] believe in the
    mistaken concept of an intermediary to G-d, and this includes a belief
    that another entity exists that is fitting to respect because this is the
    will and honor of G-d. The Rabbinical opinions that say this is not
    forbidden admit that it is forbidden to perform any type of worship
    service for the supposed intermediary. Nevertheless, if such a belief
    itself is not forbidden, it is likewise not forbidden to swear in the name
    of G-d combined together with the intermediary that one believes in as
    another divinity.”

    What I gather from discussion with Rabbi Blumenthal with regards to idolatry as follows:
    a. Both outright and partnership idolatry is prohibited to both Jew and Gentile.
    b.Some opinion allow partnership provided that primary worship is directed to G-d
    c. No explicit prohibition of idolatry to the non Jew but it is implied in the Jewish Bible

    In conclusion , I am aware that discussion of these items may be frowned upon this blog . I would also like to apologize to Rabbi Blumenthal for that , and for bringing up his name in this discussion . These matters came about from an honest study of Judaism and the materials I found are from Jewish sources . I have discussed them with him and he has been very open to look into them and respond accordingly , of which I am grateful.

    The reason I bring these matters up in the blog is to highlight that there are uncomfortable truths in Judaism as well , that needs to be brought up and discussed so that all can come to the truth , to mutual understanding and respect . I still believe that Judaism has the truth that all man seek , however we need to bring all truth , good and bad to the table and not gloss it over.

    Whether it is appropriate to continue discussing these things on this blog , I leave it to Rabbi Blumenthal as the blog owner.

    I shall not comment any further.

    Thank you.

    • Sharon, Dina, Concerned Reader, Elazar and Jim I was out of the country for a while without access to the blog. I feel truly blessed by the conversation that took place on the blog while I was gone. Sharon your questions are great. I will not answer all of them now but I hope to get to them in the near future. I see that Concerned Reader, Dina. Elazar and Jim did much to clarify things. For now I will just add two things. A dimension that Judaism offers is respect for honest questions. And that although this blog was originally established to counter the missionary arguments I would want it to move towards clarifying Judaism (hence the tagline) – I accept your rebuke Sharon – but I will point out that many articles do bring out the strength of Judaism – there should be more and I hope to share them in the near future. Thanks to all of you

      1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

      • jasonannelise says:

        I haven’t been following the discussion closely enough to really get an idea of context and be able to comment; I’ve just seen a few of the comments come up in my email inbox.

        Just wanted to mention that I agree that Judaism in general is open to honest questions. Of course in any culture, including sometimes in Judaism, people feel uncomfortable with certain questions and aren’t able to truly hear or respond to them well. But in general, Judaism is one big community of conversations about what is important and what needs to change.

        And these conversations really do bring change. It may be too slow at times, because (among other reasons) people are humbly hesitant to lose any wisdom implicit in the teachings of generations prior. But the global Jewish community is also remarkably dynamic. The discussions within Judaism have also often inspired many powerful and influential observations regarding human nature and broader society.

        Personally I have lots of questions about whether any religion is true, but I still feel I’ve learnt the most from this Jewish conversation, and I feel that even my questions are best understood by religious Jews. Perhaps it depends where we are and whom we meet, as well.

      • Welcome back myphariseefriend! Rabbi, I do want to know if there is a common Jewish mens’ morning prayer pattern which goes like “Thank to the God of the universe who made me not slave, gentile, and woman…” I do not want to criticize it, nor i deserve to. If it is true, it is their honest thankful prayer to God for how God made them. I just want to know whether it is a part of Talmudic traditions (thus there are many other patterns or types or sidur? of morning prayer) or general and common trandition of the Jews. I am asking this question third time, and no one in this blog answered yet.

        • Gean Guk Jeon Yes, there is such a prayer. The point of the prayer is that a Jewish, free, male has more Torah obligations than a non-Jew, or a slave or a female. The prayer is thanking God for the Torah obligations.

          1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • Finally i got the precious knowledge.
            Your explanation of “The point of prayer” is so precious that i can teach gentiles who might misunderstand the Jewish religion. Thank you so much. Please know that i am learning lots of treasures of Judaism and truth of gospel through many debates in this blog.

  14. Concerned Reader says:

    Sharon S, Zohar is not the law of Moses. It is a midrash, and therefore nobody is obligated to believe it.

    Any notion in hassidic philosophy that says a gentile has a lesser soul, or is of lesser worth does not have any legal backing in the Bible.

    You can ask anybody on this blog how I feel about that particular theological notion that some try to pass off as Torah based. I have spoken out against that idea here before.

    A Jew does not have a higher soul, he has more commandments. That is what that metaphor of a Jewish soul means.

    If any text tries to make it out to mean more, they are ignoring many texts that state that stranger and native born are equal.

    “There was an awareness of G-d and His laws , but adherents of these two faiths committed terrible acts in His name.”

    Not only did they commit terrible acts, but they did so with the blessing of their teachers and their “newer and better” doctrines.

    All that Rhetoric against the Pharisees spoken by Jesus had a real world and bloody negative impact.

    When the crowd in John’s gospel says “his blood be on us and our children forever,” that verse was taken as gospel by centuries of Jesus believers who would charge Jews with deicide.

    There is a saying. “If it is new, its not Testanent, and if it is Testament, it is not new.”

    There is nothing moral that a Christian can do that a Jew is not also capable of doing. Nothing ethical in the New Testanent is really new, and what is new in it has extreme potential to be unethical, as centuries of violent Christian history has shown.

  15. Jim says:

    A brief note—

    At various points in the conversations that have taken place in these comments sections, followers of Jesus have put forth the notion that they can feel his presence. Because of this, they know that he is active in their lives, making a difference in the world to bring people closer to God. They know that he is either God or the Messiah, depending upon who is making the claim, and any arguments that run counter to the claims made on behalf of Jesus eventually run into the subjective test proposed by the believer: they feel Jesus. These feelings, however real they are to those that experience them, are no indication of truth, and anyone that seeks the truth must not rely upon their feelings as a guide.

    It is a danger into which one easily falls to be guided by his emotions. One who is secretly in love with another, particularly if he is young, often finds himself interpreting the actions of his beloved through his own emotional state. If he is fearful, he reads her actions as a rejection. If he is hopeful, he reads the same actions as indications of returned affection. This happens all while the beloved has no knowledge of his feelings and is neither rejecting nor encouraging them. His emotional state says nothing about the reality.

    That a believer senses the presence of Jesus is no indication that Jesus is actually with that person. Consider the child, alone in his bedroom at night afraid of the dark. As he lies there, and his imagination runs wild, he becomes convinced that something is with him. Yet, when the lights come on, the child discovers that he is indeed alone. The certainty that some malevolent being was hovering just out of arms reach is proven false, and he is comforted by the revelation that no threat is present. It matters nothing if the imagined presence is malevolent or benevolent: the presence of such a being is not discovered through one’s emotional state or through some vague sense. The belief that such a being is present does not make it so. A sense that Jesus is present in one’s life is no more reliable than the belief that a monster lies in the closet. The light of Torah dispels any notions that Jesus is present but unseen; it subjects one’s subjective feelings to Torah’s objective truth.

    That feelings do not guide one to truth, Jesus’ followers ought to recognize. They do not credit the feelings of those of other faiths. They do not, for example, give credence to the “burning in the bosom” that the Mormon promises to those who pray to discover whether or not the revelation of Joseph Smith is true or not. It is not that Jesus’ followers do not believe that such a feeling will happen. It is that they believe that such a test is not a good indicator of truth. And he is right. But his own subjective feelings as to whether or not Jesus was a prophet, Messiah, or a god are not a good indicator of truth either.

    Recently, Netflix released a documentary called “Wild, Wild Country,” which covered the time of the Rajneeshes in Oregon. It is fascinating how differently the Baghwan Shree Rajneesh (from here on, “Rajneesh”) was perceived by his followers and his opponents. His followers saw him as the most beautiful man that ever walked the earth. The felt refreshed in his presence. They could feel the holiness radiating from him. Oregonians saw Rajneesh in the opposite light. They felt that a great oppressive darkness surrounded the man. They saw him as almost demonic. It is impossible that these two views of Rajneesh could be right. So, whose subjective feelings are to be trusted?

    The only answer is not to trust one’s subjective feelings.

    It is no different with Jesus than it is with Rajneesh. The claims of Jesus must be subjected to Torah, not to one’s feelings. The missionary often says that he can demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah or that he is divine from the Torah and the Prophets. Yet, when his demonstrations are proven to be empty, he takes refuge in his feelings. Those feelings are illusory. The test of the truth of a claim is made by reason, by the careful consideration of the facts. It is not made with the feelings. One that subjects his mind to his reason deceives himself.

    Jim

    • Eleazar says:

      I was in Oregon during the Baghwan’s time in Antelope. To me, he was a con man who had duped his followers for personal gain. The whole thing was a scam, and there was nothing spiritual about it. That and he looked like Cheech Marin in a beard and a Punjabi.

  16. Jim says:

    Sharon,

    It is difficult to say with certainty what the world would look like without Jesus. This does require a bit of speculation. It is to imagine an alternate history, but doing so in terribly difficult. I cannot say what the world would have been like if Jesus had not come into it, but I propose that one possibility is that the general relationship of humanity with God would be much improved.

    At the time of Jesus, non-Jews were already coming to the Jewish people to learn about God, independent of and preceding Jesus’ ministry. As far as I know, it is unknown how significant the numbers were, but this “movement” did exist. So, it is not clear that one would be left with nothing but Animism, etc., if the Jesus movement had not come along.

    Indeed, it is quite plausible that the Jesus movement prevented the seed of Torah observant non-Jews from flowering into a larger movement. While the Jesus movement can be seen as improving the non-Jewish world’s view of God, it harmed the non-Jewish world in a significant way. It turned the non-Jewish world away from their teachers. It is the Jewish people that carries the testimony of God into the world (see, for example, Deut. 4). But, the Jesus movement poisoned the minds of the non-Jewish world against that nation of priests, which ultimately has led to the corrupted understanding of God and His Torah. So, even if the Jesus movement offered something better than Animism and the other religious philosophies you mentioned, it also offered something worse than what was available at the time. Just as Jesus serves as a wall between humanity and God, the Jesus movement has served as a wall between the non-Jew and his teachers, the Jewish people.

    I apologize for taking so long to respond to this question. Originally, I had intended a longer answer, but I do not believe it is necessary. The teaching of the Jesus movement regarding the Jewish people is well known. It is equally well known how the Church silenced the voice of the Jewish people. So that, I think it can be asserted with reason that the Jesus movement co-opted and corrupted the work that was already being done on behalf of the non-Jewish world. It is quite possible that the Jesus movement prevented the non-Jewish world from growing closer to God than it otherwise would have done.

    Jim

    • Sharon S says:

      Dear Jim,
      Thank you for taking the time to reply to my question . I appreciate it very much.
      Allow me to summarize the main points from your two comments as follows:
      1.If Jesus had not come to the scene, would man’s relationship with G-d improve? Yes
      2. Jesus created a wall between man and G-d
      3. There was movement of Torah observant non Jews at the time of Jesus
      4. Jesus movement prevented the seed of Torah observant non-Jews from flowering into a larger movement-it co-opted and corrupted the work that was already being done on behalf of the non-Jewish world
      5. Jesus movement served as a wall between non Jew and their teachers, the Jewish people.

      My reply as follows:
      1. We have moved on from the holocausts , progroms etc . Although anti semitism still exists , Jews are currently living at a time where they have the opportunity to be our teachers.
      2. There seems to be hesitance from the Jewish people to take on this role.This is from the recent conversation that I had here and my observance on the blog.
      3. The testimony from G-d are conveyed as an attempt to prevent members of the Jewish community from being lured by Christianity missionaries , rather than an active attempt to teach non Jews .
      4. I have always been impressed with Abraham-I learnt that he was very hospitable and taught all that came to him the knowledge and truth of G-d
      5. In fact Abraham interceded to G-d for the fate of the righteous people in Sodom.If he can see that there is potential for good in non Jews , why can’t his descendants see it as well?
      6.You mentioned that the Jesus movement created a wall between the non Jew and their teachers. Our teachers are currently at a better place in history , why aren’t they willing to teach? Who is creating the wall here , the Jesus movement or our teachers themselves?
      7. Perhaps I was misled on the purpose of this blog from the tagline and this may not the best platform to learn these truths . If that’s the case please consider to change the tagline to “Keeping Jews Jewish”.

      Thank you .

      • Eleazar says:

        Sharon wrote:
        “2. There seems to be hesitance from the Jewish people to take on this role.This is from the recent conversation that I had here and my observance on the blog.”

        You are absolutely correct. I see the same hesitation at shul and in the Jewish community. I would like to see the Jewish community pick up the torch of truth and carry it to the world. But I also know I needed no Jewish missionary to find my way to the light of Torah. The Jewish people have done well in preserving Torah over the millenia. God can and does lead the sincere seeker to the truth of the Jewish faith.

      • Jim says:

        Sharon,

        Your dissatisfaction with the lack of teachers is understandable, and, to some degree, I share it. I desire very much that we as non-Jews should have more teachers available to us from the Jewish people. I believe that this would be a great benefit to the world. However, I also believe that we need be patient: change comes slowly.

        It is not only holocausts and pogroms that have rendered the voice of the Jewish people mute. The Christian world has long asserted that the Jewish people were hypocrites, legalists, and killers of God. They have believed and vocalized the notion that the Jews could not understand the message of the Torah with which they were entrusted. Christians have deeply drunk the message that the rabbis are “the blind leading the blind” and that they strain at gnats while swallowing camels. To this day, Christians accuse the Jewish people of purposefully avoiding scriptures that seem to have a Christological bent. The campaign of the Church to discredit the Jewish people has not ended, regardless of the lack of pogroms.

        Because of this, few students come to the Jewish people looking to learn. Certainly, the number is larger than it has been in a long time. But, this is a new phenomenon in a sense. A large number of students has not come looking for Torah instruction from the Jewish people in 2,000 years. The current Noahide movement only goes back to the 1980’s. It is younger than I am. In that time, quite a few rabbis have been of enormous help to the non-Jewish world, teaching the nascent Noahide movement. Moreover, a number of books have been published on the Seven Laws, and various websites are up devoted to instructing the non-Jew. While, local teachers are rare for many Noahides, some resources are available. This is remarkable, considering that the Holocaust was performed less than 100 years ago and that the non-Jewish world has only lately become interested in learning Torah from Jews in any significant numbers. If the Noahide movement continues, I believe that in time more teachers and teaching will become available to the Jewish world.

        But, I imagine that certain factors make the Jewish people reticent to teach more widely too quickly. One such factor is that not all that come claiming to seek to be taught are sincere. Christian missionaries sometimes portray themselves as students when really, they come to preach. The request for instruction is only to gain them entry to the Jewish world. The false humility of such students is a cloak wherein are hid their true intentions. And their professed love of the Jewish people is a device to bring the Jew into the Church.

        A second kind of Christian claims that he desires to learn from the Jewish people, but, though he does not aim to proselytize, he is no more sincere than the first. This “student” has his own agenda for learning Torah, to support his Christian belief. His agenda is to learn Torah and then twist it to his own ends. He turns the Torah into a prop, perverting its meaning to justify his beliefs. He uses the Torah, abuses it.

        One such gentleman came to my house, asking me to teach him about the Jewish holidays. I told him that this was not an area that I, as a non-Jew, busied myself with overly much. But, I told him I would tell him what little I knew. When I began, however, he immediately started to rewrite what I said to make it support his Christianity. So, I told him that I could not continue, because I would not be party to his twisting the Torah in order to support the worship of a human being. Instead, I talked about what the Torah teaches on idolatry. He listened and took notes, but, of course, he never asked me about Torah again. (For which I was thankful: I am not a Torah scholar, and I do not profess to be one.)

        And, I do not think Christians are the only difficulty for the Jewish people in regard to teaching. Among Noahides, it seems to me that certain problems exist. Many Noahides are former Christians, and they believe they know more than they really do. Many have spent their whole lives learning the “Old Testament,” and so they have a familiarity that deceives them. They think they need only drop the Jesus-part of their understanding, and then—boom!—they have got Torah. But, it is not so. In my opinion, the non-Jew really has to go back to square one and start learning all over again. After all, if he did not understand one of the fundaments of Torah, it is quite likely that he does not really understand the rest, and he should not believe himself to be expert except in this one arena. He must come to understand that he has not really understood it at all, and he must patiently build up a new understanding. However, one sees that some Noahides quite confidently assert their expertise, even after learning that they have not understood the basics.

        This is sometimes reflected in the disdain shown for the Seven Laws. I have heard from several Noahides a dismissive sentiment when it comes to the Seven. Some have said something to the effect: “Big deal. Who doesn’t know not to steal? That’s all God wants of me?” This outlook on the Seven means that he does not wish to study them further. He wants something else: he wants to wear a kippah, keep the Sabbath, or affix a mezuzah to his door. He wants to be Jewish without being Jewish, his own brand of Jewishness. And, he does not want to be told that he ought not do these things. Teaching such a person must be difficult, because one does not wish to lead him astray by indulging his own ideas, nor does one want to alienate him by making him feel that he has no real religion and is only expected to keep the simplest of ethical codes.

        For some Noahides—perhaps many—a certain amount of jealousy exists, which carries with it dangerous undertones. It is not just that they feel that the Jews have Sabbath, so the non-Jews should have Sabbath. They believe that the Jew does not really respect the non-Jew. A few years ago, some Noahides were angry that the rabbis questioned what it meant that Noah was righteous “in his generations.” One rabbinic explanation argues that Noah would not have been considered as righteous in another generation, which argument compares Noah disfavorably to Abraham. The Noahides in question assumed that the rabbis were intolerant of the idea that a non-Jew would be singled out for his righteousness, and for this reason they made Noah to be inferior to the father of the Jewish people. The assumption of the Noahides is incorrect and neglectful of the rabbinic argument, which was not, in fact, rooted in Noah’s non-Jewishness. Still, this group of people found this to be an outrage.

        Indeed, some non-Jews are annoyed by the fact that the Torah was given to the Jewish people and relates primarily to the Jews. They have taken it upon themselves to focus upon righteous non-Jews in the Torah and celebrate them. This might appear laudable, but it speaks to a mindset that misses the entire point of the Torah.

        These are some of the challenges that face the current age. They are not insurmountable—I think. But they will likely take time to be overcome. As time goes on, it may be that more Jewish teachers are available to the non-Jewish world or that a greater body of reading material exists. The difficulties I have enumerated probably mean that this will not happen quickly, at least, not as quickly as we might like. Nevertheless, if sincere non-Jews continue to come to the Jewish people asking to learn the Torah that applies to them as non-Jews, I believe more teaching will become available.

        Jim

      • Jim says:

        Sharon,

        Regarding the tagline of the website:

        Of course, it is not my website, so it is not up to me to change it or not. But, allow me to present a case for leaving it the way that it is.

        I believe that many non-Jews have benefitted from R’ Blumenthal’s website and have been educated regarding the basic tenets of Judaism. My guess is that Larry, Annelise, Cflat7, and Southern Noahide number among those non-Jews that have learned basic Torah principles from the writings of R’ Blumenthal. I may be mistaken, and I certainly cannot speak for them, but I can say that I have so benefitted from R’ Blumenthal. One of the challenges of his work is that it is geared not just toward the ignorant but toward the miseducated. It is more difficult to learn when one does not realize that he does not know something. Similarly, the teacher’s task is made more difficult when the student has false beliefs rather than recognizing his ignorance.

        One of the strengths of R’ Blumenthal’s work is that it relies upon the basic concepts of Judaism to counter the false claims of Christianity, rather than relying only upon countering each verse. R’ Blumenthal gives over the fundaments, those truths that cannot be violated by a teacher. So, when one learns from him why Christianity is false, he learns also the fundaments of Torah.

        In this way, R’ Blumenthal does help one “tap into the strength of Judaism,” and has exceeded the task of “keeping Jews Jewish.”

        Jim

        • Sharon S says:

          To Jim & Rabbi Blumenthal,

          Jim , thank you for taking the time and your patience in addressing the concerns I have raised . I may not be fully aware on the realities of Jewish Christian relations in the West .Your explanation is an eye opener for me.

          Shalom Rabbi Blumenthal . I checked the “About” link on your blog . It states “Welcome to 1000 verses. This blog has been formulated to help you read the Jewish Scriptures and find God’s truth from the perspective of God’s first-born son; the people of Israel (Exodus 4:22, Jeremiah 31:8).” I learnt to read the Jewish Bible (the Old Testament that I have with me) from the perspective of the people of Israel thanks to studying your articles and looking up all scripture references contained therein. I am most grateful. Thank you.

          During this process , I come to realize of my place as an outsider reading into a conversation between G-d and the people of Israel . Hence the 10 commandments and the Torah are actually commands /precepts commanded upon the Jewish people alone . I was especially curious on the prohibition to idolatry-is there any explicit command to the non Jew in the Scriptures ? Upon further checking I realized that the prohibition of idolatry to the non Jew, in particular shituf is a subject to debate and the fact that it is an implied , not an explicit command to the non Jew.

          I listened to another Rabbi claiming that those who persist in the belief of the Trinity has no place in the world to come. His video , coupled with the basic Torah teachings in your blog made me abandon my faith . I would not have done that had this information been made available in the first place . I was persuaded rather than being educated.

          Much have been said about the Christian Scriptures contains extensive hate speech for the Jew and bare mention of Jesus/Christianity in rabbinical texts . However one fact that is glossed over is the anti Gentile verses which are quite significant in these texts. I admit there is a difference between Gentile and Christian . However to not acknowledge the existence of anti gentile texts in the critique of Christianity is not showing the full picture . All facts , good and bad have to be laid out on the table .

          I followed this blog based on the tagline “tap into the strengths of Judaism” . . I thought that this blog will teach me the truth – and yes , it did lead me to the truth . However it did not show the full truth ,as shown in the above examples.

          In a recent conversation , I found out the nature of the blog -it is established as a counter missionary blog .Its critique of Christianity is to show the Jewish believers of Jesus why their new found faith is wrong. I realized that perhaps the intended audience is for the Jew , hence the distinction of idolatry for Jew and Gentile as well as anti Gentile texts is perhaps given knowledge within the Jewish community which may not be relevant to the discussion . Had this blog been about reaching out to non Jews as well as Jews , perhaps these differences would have been considered relevant and discussed.

          Rabbi , I do not mean to undermine all your hard work and effort in this blog and elsewhere. I have highlighted these facts to you in our e-mail conversations before this . The reason I do this is to alert other truth seekers out there , other non Jews who might be questioning their Christian faith and who may come to your blog or other blogs of this nature. I want them to know that ‘one truth does not fit all’ when it comes to Judaism . There are distinctions and differences in obligation between Jew and non Jew . The truths in the Jewish Scriptures , though relevant to all humanity is still explicitly directed to the Jew alone . There are no clear guidelines for the non Jew (at least in the written Torah).

          Hence , this is my justification that way this blog is moving , is more in keeping with the tagline “keeping Jews Jewish”, rather than “tapping into the strengths of Judaism”.

          Do correct if I’m in error. Thank you.

          • Shalom, Sharon S. The God of Israel is God of universe. I believe, and i hope so that Judaism is meant to enhance justice, love, and peace in all humanity. They are the priest to the nations and the steward of the Word of God. All the tribes of the earth must have Jews because they will be blessed in the seed- the covenant people of God (Gen. 12:3)

            Last week, the young adult group of my church visited upon a 111 years old church in Seoul. it was originally a small house church, planted by a 23 years old Jewish young man in 1907. Alexander Pieters was from an Orthodox Jewish family in Russia. He wanted to experiece the greater world. So, he roamed about in Middle East and Asia to find his vision for his future and finally ended up in Nagasaki, Japan in 1895. With the desire to know the truth, he searched and found a reformed Christian church and he came to believe Yeshua as the messiah.

            He came over to Korea as a colporteur, selling and distributing many roughly translated New testament. He also planted house churches in Korea. How amazing! The Jewish young man spread the God of Israel on the Korean soil! However, his heart was toward introducing the Jewish Scriptures to the Korean people, so he started translating Pslam into Korean; he was a quick learner of English and Korean (he already had expert knowledge in Greek, Latin, German, and of course Hebrew). After he studied at MacCormick Seminary and came back to Korea as a ordained pastor- missionary, he was a core member and the leader of Old Testament Translation team. Now, the Korean people is so much blessed with the truth in Tanakh and blossomed with love and support toward Israel and the Jewish people. All these blessing started from one Jewish man.
            Genesis 12:3 has been fulfilled in the history of Korean people.

            I guess “keeping Jews Jewish” includes not only keeping the regulations, commandments, and holidays within their own ethnic society, but also includes doing the work of God who created both Jewish and non Jewish world, with the passion of God whose glory will be filled in the whole earth.

          • Jim says:

            Sharon,

            Thank you for continuing to present your thoughts and questions, which enables us to converse with the eventual goal of clarity. Thank you also for your patience; I know that my answers do not come quickly. Your most recent comment has a few different topics, all of which are worthy of discussion. I shall not take them all up in this one comment, but as I have time, I will try to address them. One topic I would like to address specifically is idolatry and the non-Jew. For now, however, I must content myself with a brief introductory remark.

            Let us put aside the halachic question for a moment and consider only philosophically whether or not a non-Jew should worship Jesus (as long as he does so in partnership with HaShem). If the non-Jew is concerned with truth, he will not continue to worship Jesus, regardless of what questions regarding the non-Jew and shituf might be. Jesus is not a god. He is a man. And, no man deserves worship. Once one knows this, if his desire is for truth, then he will no longer worship Jesus, a mere human being.

            Moreover, if one wishes to be close to HaShem, he will not worship something other than HaShem. He will not seek to please Jesus or dedicated his life to Jesus. His reason for keeping divine law will not be because Jesus also spoke them. Rather, he will devote himself to pleasing HaShem, keeping His laws, because they are His will. He will worship only HaShem and nothing else in conjunction with Him. The focus of his life will be to please HaShem, to serve HaShem, and to make his life comport entirely to the will of HaShem. He will thank HaShem for each moment he lives and each commandment he is able to fulfill. And he will not allow himself to be distracted with false gods. The question will not be whether or not he will be punished for worshiping Jesus. He will not worship Jesus, because he wants nothing to distract him from God.

            A parable:

            Before the internet, a man and a woman had become pen pals. Through their letters in the course of time, they fell in love. And, they decided to meet, having never seen one another before.

            The woman worked in a bookstore and was herself a collector. She had a particular fondness for the poetry of Emily Dickinson of which she had informed her suitor. And, as she had informed him of her love of books and poetry, she informed a fellow shopkeeper of her beau. This second woman fell in love with the man by proxy, carried away by the stories she heard from her friend. When she heard that the young woman was to meet her beloved pen pal, she decided to beat her to the punch. She found out where they were meeting and arrived early to pose as her friend.

            When the man arrived, he was greeted by the second shopkeeper, who passed herself off as his pen pal. He was delighted to meet her, of course, having never seen his actual beloved. Quickly, she hurried him away from the place of their meeting to avoid discovery. They went to a restaurant together, where the man professed his love. He presented the woman with a rare original edition of Dickinson’s poems.

            The real pen pal was heartbroken when he stood her up. She walked through town, wondering what might have gone wrong, and by chance, passed the restaurant wherein the man and her friend were dining. She saw them through the window, her friend admiring the volume of poetry before her. She became suspicious and entered the restaurant to investigate. And soon, the whole thing was sorted out.

            The man was terribly apologetic. He explained how the poetry was intended for her, as were all his professions of love. She was forgiving, counting each profession of love intended for her as if it had been truly given her.

            Now, do you think he ever went out with the second woman again? Rather, when he learned that she was stealing his affections, he wanted nothing more to do with her. And, if he had gone out with her again, do you think his pen pal would be so forgiving a second time? Not at all. His misplaced affections were a result of ignorance the first time. A second date with her friend would end his relationship with herself. It would be obvious to her that he did not really love her.

            Similarly, many have worshiped Jesus out of ignorance. But their intentions were good; they wanted to be close to HaShem. After recognizing the truth, if they want to be close to HaShem, however, they must not go back to worshiping Jesus, not from fear of punishment, but out of love.

            Jim

  17. Sharon S says:

    Dear Jim,
    Thank you for your continued response to my comments . I appreciate your interest in some of the points raised , your courtesy and most importantly your patience.

    I need to clarify my background here because it may have a bearing on this discussion . I come from a Catholic background . However my knowledge of absolute monotheism , belief in One G-d and prohibition of idolatry , including partnership is formed through my study of Islam -from its missionaries , its books down to its religious text . My convictions of idolatry and especially of partnership (shirk) is formed thanks to Islam-most notably through the stories of Abraham (Prophet Ibrahim) in the Quran . Islam regarded idolatry and partnership idolatry as the worst of sins and the prohibition of this is incumbent to all humanity .This prohibition is explicitly stated in the Quran.

    Naturally , I followed this blog (ironically I found this blog through a link in a muslim blog that I used to follow) with the understanding that Judaism , being a strictly monotheistic faith will have the same ideas on idolatry and partnership as Islam . I realized now that there are significant differences between these two faiths when it comes to this . Partnership idolatry is not as severe as outright idolatry and that there are no explicit prohibition to idolatry for non Jews in the Jewish Bible (written Torah) . However, according to Rabbi Blumenthal , the Torah implied that prohibition to idolatry was given to non Jews as part of the 7 laws. I searched relevant verses in the Talmud and other sources but cannot find the exact proof (exact proof here meaning exact sentence or directive).

    I am absolutely convinced that idolatry is wrong . I was absolutely convinced that partnership idolatry is wrong too thanks to Islam . However , studying Judaism’s stand on idolatry , especially on the non Jew has made me confused . Yes , G-d is our Creator and He alone should be worshipped . However there are no specific directions or prohibitions and even if there are , they might be lost , owing to the disobedience of the nations (I understand this from Avoda Zara 2b). Logically speaking if there are no explicit command , then how can the non Jew know the full extent of this prohibition ? The non Jew may observe nature and from his/her reasoning may come to realize that there is a First cause . The non Jew may cease worshipping idols . However at certain point he/she may wonder if it is sufficient to worship G-d alone without the “aid” of certain beings and deities.

    It’s like applying for a job at a prestigious company . There are many job applications for a single opening in the company . You are one of those applicants and you happen to know someone working in the company . Will you just wait to be called for the interview ? Or will you approach your acquaintance to make a recommendation on your behalf to human resources ?

    Thank you

  18. Sharon
    There is no question that God did prohibit Gentiles from worshiping idols – its just that there is no direct verse addressing them with the commandment.
    And why do you compare worship to “applying for a job”? Worship is opening your heart and with the One who created your heart, your heart will find all it wants.

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