Tuesday, September 06, 2005

You Take Jesus, I'll Take G-d

My return to university after a relaxing and enjoyable summer semester was a bit shocking. I walked onto campus the first day, and, although I'd been warned about them, it was quite unnerving to see the lovely people in their "Jews for Jesus" t-shirts...

As a rule, I'm pretty tolerant in terms of other religions. Judaism is not one that requires making the whole world follow it (although we do strongly suggest that people who are Jews look into their heritage before giong elsewhere ;) ), and is probably the only religion like that. I was talking to my Partner in Torah the other night, and we came to the conclusion that it's a matter of self-esteem. We're confident enough in our religion that we don't need to proove ourselves right by making others convert. In fact, we tell would-be converts to think it over. Again. And again.

But, hey. Some people want to spread their message around the world, and that's their perogative! But here's the rub...

I spoke to the lady. We both had fixed smiles on our face while she told me the verse in Genesis that proves Jesus's divinity or Messiahship...or something. I asked her if she had a Hebrew Bible to see if we could actually discuss the verse, but, quite unsurprisingly, she didn't. (I then brought a Tanach to school every day after that-except today, when I forgot, and they came back :( ) I looked up the verse. It doesn't fly. At all. (3:14-16...Jesus apparantly struck the serpent, and therefore is prophesized in Genesis...um...what about the serpent striking him at the end of the verse? And how is he THE "son of Eve"? Huh? HUH???)

So I took a pamphlet and told her I'd go look up the passage and get back to her. And THEN I got mad. The pamphlet was about how Moses didn't go to yeshiva, married a shiksa [sic], grew up in an Egyptian household, and STILL became a leader of the Jewish people. And so, apparantly, did the poster boy "Yeshua" But the point in this and another pamphlet I saw was to show the reader that the Orthodox way of living is pointless and cruel and thoughtless and...grrrrrrrr. Um. Hi. I'm Orthodox. I don't hate all non-Orthodox. I don't pronounce them dead, "like a snuffed candle," just 'cause I'm in the mood.

The methods they practice use deception and destruction. Deception, by using verses mistranslated and out of context to those who've never heard of them before. Destruction, by sowing the seeds of hate toward a community of Jews in order to preach their "love."

So I have one message for you people: Do your own thing. I don't care. But stay away from MY people. Unless you can give them a truly logical answer, showing all the evidence (not just that which suits your case), stay away. Get out and stay out.

And for all you people who wanna know what we should be doing? Redt mit Yidden!

[For those interested parties:
In general, classes are good-TONS of work, but no surprise there...;) and it was a REALLY good thing that I had that practice with Harrius Potter! ;)]

16 comments:

islekerguelen said...

It sounds as if you are more fluent with your Hebrew than I. During a soccer game at the Fuchs Mizrachi school near Cleveland, Ohio, I wandered around the campus attempting to read some of the Hebrew signs. As it has been about nine years since my last Hebrew class, all I could read were "Shalom" and "the earth."

Your post was interesting for me to read. As a Christian, I have always wondered how a Jewish person looks at what I believe are prophecies about Jesus in the Prophets. While the Genesis 3 passage is not very clear, have you considered Psalm 22 or Isaiah 53? They speak about the suffering Messiah and describe much of what the Gospels say about Jesus.

Stx said...

Glad it helped ;)

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Good to hear you are back in school and relatively pleased with your classes.

Once in awhile, Mormams or Jehovah Witness come to my door and ask me if I would accept the savior of Jesus. I tell them that I am a practicing Jew, point out my mizuzah, which is very large on my front door, and more often than not, they accept what I have to say, and leave me alone. Staying true to who you are and telling people about your beliefs, at least when they come to your door, has worked for me.

zay gezunt!

TRW said...

islekerguelen:
You can take whatever you want out of any text (incidentally, the word translated in Isaih 53 as "pierced" actually means "lion," and there are a whole lot more like that...) and twist it to your purposes.

Ultimately, though, it all comes down to this. If God decided to send someone down to change His law, why didn't He tell it to the whole Jewish nation, like he did at Sinai? Why didn't He use the same methods that he used to give the Torah?

'Cause it doesn't apply.

Jews for Jesus is an impossible oxymoron. (Although today their shirts said "jews and gentiles for jesus." I guess people got mad at the fact that so few of them are actually Jewish...)

TRW said...

Barbara: Interesting, 'cause someone in my class, when she heard I was Jewish, asked me if I had one of those things on my door to keep out the missionaries!

be g'benched (and that's pretty much the extent of my Yiddish...;) )

islekerguelen said...

I don't know much about Jews for Jesus. Whether it is an oxymoron or not, I'm not sure. Jesus and his disciples were Jewish, right? Perhaps you mean that an orthodox Jew would not be for him?

I agree that Scripture can be twisted to fit any idea. I also understand that you and I disagree as to the meaning of Isaiah 53. However, the prophet had something in mind. To whom was he referring?

Lvnsm27 said...

Islek, the servent it's reffering to is the Jewish people. Because we are like one person with one heart.

islekerguelen said...

Does that work in the context of the chapter? For instance, take the sixth verse:

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him.

Does it make sense to say that us and him both refer to Israel? Or is he talking about two different people?

TRW said...

The verse:
כליו כצאן תעינו איש לדרכו פנינו וה' הפגיע בו את עון כלנו

Translated:
We all turned away like sheep, each man to his way, and Hashem turned toward him [i.e. his prayers] for the sin in all of us.

The general explanation is that it's talking about the Messiah. It can also be talking about any great man of a generation, who is capable, through his prayers and deeds, to take away the sins of the whole nation.

But that's really not the point. Could you answer my question?
"If God decided to send someone down to change His law, why didn't He tell it to the whole Jewish nation, like He did at Sinai? Why didn't He use the same methods that he used to give the Torah originally?"

And I add to that-we're known as a "stiff-necked people." Surely G-d would have known that the word of just one man would not have been enough to convince us...

islekerguelen said...

I agree that the prophet is speaking about the Messiah in Isaiah 53. However, as you read through that chapter, I find it hard to believe that it can refer to any great person in a given generation. How could the act of a sinful man take care of the sin of an entire nation?

As to the Torah, is G-d required to present himself in the same way every time. When he originally appeared to give it to Israel, they were there at Sinai at the beginning of the forty years of wandering. If he appeared again at Sinai, who would be there to respond?

Because of their hard hearts, God almost destroyed the nation. After they entered the Promised Land, he sent many prophets to speak to them abut their sin. Over the years, few responded and they were eventually sent into captivity. So, G-d promised something new. Check out Ezekiel 26:22-32.

TRW said...

I'm going to address each of your points individually. Before I start, though, I would just like to say that Jews are not interested in making Christians put aside their beliefs. I am in no way trying to convince you to be Jewish, as you believe in a God and aren't required to follow the Torah (unless your mother is Jewish).

That's why you don't see me on Christian blogs, trying to convince other people that their religion is wrong. I am answering you here because this is an obviously Jewish blog, and I don't want there to be misconceptions about Jewish beliefs (which don't include Jesus).

The quotes are what you said, and what's not in quotes is my response.

"I agree that the prophet is speaking about the Messiah in Isaiah 53."

Ah, but you say Jesus is the Messiah. A bit of an issue, as he fulfills very few of the Bible-given requirements of the Messiah:

1. He must be a descendant of King David (Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17). Um...if you say his father is God, God's not descended from David, so how does that work? (Even if you want to say that Joseph's line somehow falls onto Jesus, which doesn't work..Joseph was descended from Jeconiah, who was cursed in Jeremiah 22:30 and 36:30 that none of his descendents would be king.)

2. You mention Ezekial. What about Chapter 37, specifically 21-22, where G-d promises to bring all of the Jews back from exile in the Messainic era? Why didn't that happen in Jesus's time?
In addition, the Messiah must rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem - "...and I will set my sanctuary in their midst forever and my tabernacle shall be with them.." (Ezekiel 37:26 - 27), another thing that didn't happen in Jesus's time. In fact, the existing one was destroyed!

3. He will rule at a time of world-wide peace - "...they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." (Micah 4:3). Um..unfortunately, I don't think that time has come yet.

4. He will rule at a time when all people will come to acknowledge and serve one G-d - "And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, says the L-rd" (Isaiah 66:23)
[Kinda ironic, don't you think, that his followers then actually changed the day of the Sabbath...along with so much else, based on that verse in Acts 15 that overrides the laws of the Old Testament (there, circumcision), with the "New" one.]


"However, as you read through that chapter, I find it hard to believe that it can refer to any great person in a given generation. How could the act of a sinful man take care of the sin of an entire nation?"

Try Exodus 32:11-14, where Moses prays for the Jewish people after the sin of the Golden calf, and G-d forgives them. In Judaism, we know that man is flawed, but also that he can have a direct connection to G-d. Why would G-d make a flawed people and then not give them a chance to repent for 3000 years after he created them? (i.e. what'd all the people do before Jesus came on the scene?)

"As to the Torah, is G-d required to present himself in the same way every time. When he originally appeared to give it to Israel, they were there at Sinai at the beginning of the forty years of wandering. If he appeared again at Sinai, who would be there to respond?"

I didn't say it'd have to be at Sinai specifically. If G-d is bringing about a major change in the religion (like changing the nature of forgiveness-having someone die for everyone's sins vs. each person actually having to take some responsibility...), then He should let us know in the same way that he told us the original Book. To the whole nation, not just a dozen or so people.

"Because of their hard hearts, God almost destroyed the nation. After they entered the Promised Land, he sent many prophets to speak to them abut their sin. Over the years, few responded and they were eventually sent into captivity. So, G-d promised something new. Check out Ezekiel 26:22-32."

I'm a bit confused. Chapter 26 in Ezekiel ends at verse 21. At least in the Hebrew version. Are you using a Hebrew Bible for your references? Because if you're trying to prove that Jews should believe in Jesus, you need to bring proofs from their text, not the Chrisitianized version of it.

islekerguelen said...

In all honesty, I do not remember how I found this blog. But after reading the beginning of this post, I was interested in two things. First, I wanted to know how you viewed the prophecies about the Messiah. Secondly, I hoped to accurately reflect what those prophets said about Jesus.

From your last response, it seems that I have worn out my welcome. That's okay. Meditating on and discussing the Scriptures is always profitable (Deut. 6). If you would like my answers to the questions you raised, let me know.

TRW said...

I guess I was simply trying to do the same thing you were-to accurately portray what the prophets said. Yes, I must admit, I am a bit frustrated due to the recent wave of missionaries that I've experienced on my college campus, and that came out in my posts.

But I feel that if the Jews are serving a G-d, why are people so interested in converting them elsewhere? I just don't understand the logic, I guess.

I'm sorry I was agressive. It was not intended to be so originally, but I think my frustrations got the better of me. I apologize for that.

islekerguelen said...

"If the Jews are serving a G-d, why are people so interested in converting them elsewhere?"

It sounds like the people whom you have met believe there is a good reason. I guess you will have to study the Scriptures to see whether what has been said lines up with them (Daniel 9).

TRW said...

I've studied the Bible. Thank you. And I have actually done a bit of study into Christianity as well...and I've found it lacking.

At this point, anything else I say will end up being negative toward your religion, so why do you insist on carrying this on? Why can't you allow me to follow my faith and you follow yours?

Does Vatican II mean nothing? (Unless you're not Catholic...never mind..)

TRW said...

Oh-and to answer the last two quotes you gave:

Deut 6: That chapter also discusses the commandment to follow the Torah, keep His laws, (and there is that line about G-d being One), write the words of His creed and post them on your doorposts and wear them on your arms, not to serve other deities, and to teach the Exodus to your children.

Yes, it is an interesting chapter.

Daniel 9: Daniel praying for Israel, then the prophesy that if they did not repent that the temple would be destroyed, and the "annointed one" (all Jewish kings were annointed with oil and therefore called "annointed ones") would be killed. Which came true during the destructin of the First Temple.

I'm not sure how that connects with what you're trying to say.

You know what I love? Verses like 1 Samuel 12:22, Leviticus 26:44-45, and Deut. 4:31.

G-d does not lie or make "bad choices".