The Talmud is part of the Torah. The Torah gives Jews 613 mitzvot (the "do this" and "do not do that") instructions. Often the written Torah will say "do it as I commanded you" -- but the "how to" is not given in the written Torah because it was given as the oral Torah. Adding or subtracting from that 613 -- THAT would be changing the Torah (and the Talmud does not do that).
Jesus sure did add to and subtract from them -- often reversing mitzvot and throwing out others!
“You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor shall you subtract from it, to observe the commandments of HaShem, your G-d, that I command you.” D’varim / Deuteronomy 4:2.
What does that mean?
Some missionaries seem to think it means that if something isn’t mentioned in the Torah it is forbidden. But that doesn’t make sense – after all the Torah tells us "And you shall observe all that they shall instruct you" (D’varim / Deuteronomy 17:10).
Observe all that they instruct you (who is “they”?) – but don’t add to the word or subtract from it. . .
If we could understand everything Sola Scriptura (by reading the bible) there would not be the command to listen to our instructors and observe all they tell us to do.
There are 613 mitzvot in the Torah for Jews (and 7 for non-Jews). When D’varim (Deuteronomy) tells us not to add or subtract from those mitzvot it means DO NOT CHANGE THEM.
If the Torah tells you “do not steal” Vayikra / Leviticus 19:11, then do not steal.
It doesn’t mean “you can steal a colt and donkey” (Matthew 21:7) but don’t steal anything else. Or “if you think you are the messiah you can steal stuff.”
No, “do not steal” means DO NOT STEAL.
Another example. The Torah tells us it is a mitzvah to marry. “To marry a wife by means of ketubah and kiddushin.” D’varim / Deuteronomy 22:13.
Ergo one should marry. (Jesus failed to fulfill this mitzvah).
Does it say “marry only one woman”? No it does not. It simply says to marry. The Torah is silent on whether marriage should be monogamous or polygamous – so neither one is commanded. That choice is left open, one is not adding to or subtracting from the mitzvah to marriage by marrying one person or more than one – the Torah is silent on the subject.
However, since the Torah also tells us to listen to our judges and their instructions they may build a fence around a mitzvah to protect it. Again, if the mitzvah is silent on an aspect this is not adding to or subtracting from the mitzvah – as the mitzvah itself has not been changed.
Read Sh’mot (Exodus) chapter 18: “But you must [also] seek out from among all the people capable, G-d-fearing men - men of truth, who hate injustice. You must then appoint them over [the people] as leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and leaders of tens. 18:22 'Let them administer justice for the people on a regular basis. Of course, they will have to bring every major case to you, but they can judge the minor cases by themselves. They will then share the burden, making things easier for you. 18:23 If you agree to this, and G-d concurs, you will be able to survive. This entire nation will then also be able to attain its goal of peace.'” Sh’mot / Exodus 18:21-23.
Torah is clear: do not change the mitzvot in the Torah. It is also clear that we are to learn and listen to the learned men from all of the tribes who instruct us and interpret the mitzvot to new situations and problems. Another word for judge is "rabbi." Rabbis sit in Beit Din (courts of law) and adjudicate cases (including conversions) even today. The higher courts (the 23 judge and 70 judge Sanhedrins) do not currently exist, but will in the messianic era.
There are 613 mitzvot in the Torah for Jews (and 7 for non-Jews). When D’varim (Deuteronomy) tells us not to add or subtract from those mitzvot it means DO NOT CHANGE THEM.
Jews are very careful to not change the mitzvot. But the Christian bible has example after example of Jesus and his followers changing the mitzvot -- in direct violation of the eternal command not to change them.
Wouldn't you say that "doing away with the mitzvot" is CHANGING them just a bit?
"(Jesus) has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us." (Galatians 3:13).
There are no changes in the mizvot of Moses compared and contrasted to the New Covenant. The Mosaic covenant is eternal – indeed all of the covenants are forever. The covenant G-d made with Noah still stands, so does the covenant made with Abraham, renewed with Jacob and renewed with Isaac. . . each covenant builds on the previous – none of them have been replaced. The so-called “new” covenant is actually a renewal of the covenants that went before it. It is a fundamental principle of Judaism that the Torah received at Sinai will never be changed nor become obsolete. This concept is mentioned in the Torah no less than 24 times, with the words: "This is an eternal law for all generations" (Sh'mot / Exodus 12:14, 12:17, 12:43, 27:21, 28:43, Vayikra / Leviticus 3:17, 7:36, 10:9, 16:29, 16:31, 16:34, 17:7, 23:14, 23:21, 23:31, 23:41, 24:3, Bamidbar / Numbers 10:8, 15:15, 19:10, 19:21, 18:23, 35:29, D'varim / Deuteronomy 29:28).
But yet again, let's repeat that quote from the Christian bible "(Jesus) has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us." (Galatians 3:13).
The statement is false. The Torah is a blessing, not a curse. “(Torah) is a tree of life to those who take hold of it, and those who support it are fortunate' (Mishlei / Proverbs 3:18).
The mitzvot (commandments) are not a curse, they are a blessing. The mitzvot do not restrict our lives – they enhance them, allowing us to live on a holier life, closer to G-d.
Gallatians seems to view the commandments of the Torah as something we just have to do in order to get our just reward in the World to Come. Thus Jesus came and took away the “curse.”
The focus of Judaism and of Torah is that it is an instruction book on how to live a better life -- of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. G-d gave us the so that we could enjoy olam hazeh, this world. Vayikra / Leviticus 18:5 says, “Keep My decrees and laws so that a person may do them and live by them.”
Jesus could not have taken away the joy of the mitzvot, because the T’nach tells us that they are eternal – and that we will observe them in the time of the true messiah.
Here is a list of the 613 mitzvot found in the written Torah which we do not "add to or subtract from." The Talmud (being a legal book) tells us how to fufill some of them and also argues various legal cases impacted by some of the mitzvot (when someone steals, which is breaking a mitzvah, given a specific circumstance how should they be punished?).
Having shown in the post "Is Blood Necessary for the Atonement of Sin?" that it is NOT required, and that only two fairly minor forms of wrongdoing could be atoned for with blood sacrifices, the missionary may often retort "but although SOME sins may be atoned for with out blood you need blood to atone for the SOUL." At which point they quote Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 (mistranslated):
" For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." King James Version translation.
Their point being that your immortal soul cannot be forgiven without blood (see Romans 9:22) -- even though the T'nach tells us time and again that the sin sacrifice ( חַטָאת קָרבָּן chatat qorban), teshuva (repenting of your sins and returning to G-d) and tzedakah (doing good for other people, aka "charity") atone for sins. The Torah also tells us that the חַטָאת קָרבָּן (sin sacrifice) only atoned for mistakes (a "missing of the mark" -- you tried to do the right thing and "missed." Intentional sins could be forgiven with acts of charity and repenting -- but not with blood (sin) sacrifices).
The only other type of blood sacrifice which atoned for wrongdoing was the אָשָׁם / asham (guilt / trespass) sacrifice.
A third sacrifice people think had to do with sin (but it did not) was the עֹלָ֖ה / olah.
An עֹלָ֖ה / olah was not a טָּאת / sin sacrifice or a אָשָׁם / guilt sacrifice. An עֹלָ֖ה / olah, translated as "burnt sacrifice," was a voluntary sacrifice generally brought to G-d as a donation to G-d or to seal a vow. . . but sometimes brought for impure thoughts, not deeds).
The חַטָּאת / cḥattat (accidental sins) and אָשָׁם / asham sacrifices were PRIVATE offerings brought by INDIVIDUALS, not “atonement” offerings on behalf of the entire nation. Also, no individual sacrifice could be brought for someone else or in advance. The type of offering was specified (female goat or lamb being the most common, but sometimes a bull, birds or flour) -- only domesticated (not wild) kosher animals were fit for sacrifice. Human sacrifices (Jesus anyone?) are totally forbidden by the Torah. Read Vayikra / Leviticus chapter 5 to learn about the אָשָׁם / asham (guilt / tresspass) qorbanot (sacrifices) and the very few things they covered:
Read Vayikra / Leviticus chapter 5 to learn about the אָשָׁם / asham (guilt / tresspass) qorbanot (sacrifices) and the very few things they covered:
The אָשָׁם / asham (guilt / tresspass) qorbanot also atoned for stealing things from the altar.
You also brought an אָשָׁם / asham if you weren't sure if you'd sinned -- or what sin you might have committed. If you weren't sure you'd sinnd you'd bring an asham, instead of a חַטָּאת / cḥattat (accidental sins). This is because a חַטָּאת / cḥattat (accidental sins) means an admission of the sin, and you'd be punished for it. If a person brought an asham (because they weren't sure they'd sinned) and later discovered that he had in fact committed the sin, he would have to bring a chatat at that time.
Those are IT as far as blood sacrifices for individual sins, so what about that claim mentioned in the first paragraph? What about the missionary assertion that ONLY blood atones for the soul?
First of all, the word in Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 is not "soul." This is a mistranslation. Some more modern Christian translations are correcting this mistranslation. The NIV has "it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life" -- which is more accurate.
Not immortal soul, but rather the "life force." What is the life force? It is the blood coursing through your veins, carrying oxygen to your body -- it is the "stuff" that keeps your body alive -- in Hebrew this is the נפש / nefesh.
נפש / Nefesh translates to life force, not immortal soul. Yet most missionaries think that Leviticus (Vayikra) is speaking of the immortal “soul” since many of their translations do translate נפש / nefesh as "soul." This misleads innocent Christians into thinking that the atonement spoken of in Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 is for the immortal soul, when in reality it is for your life-force.
To understand Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 being with line 10 and ending at 14. "If any person, whether of the family of Israel or a proselyte who joins them, eats any blood, I will direct My anger against the person who eats blood and cut him off [spiritually] from among his people. This is because the life force of the flesh is in the blood; and I therefore gave it to you to be [placed] on the altar to atone for your lives. It is the blood that atones for a life, and I therefore told the Israelites, 'Let none of you eat blood.' A proselyte who joins you shall [likewise] not eat blood. If any man, whether of the family of Israel or a proselyte who joins them, traps an animal or bird that may be eaten and spills its blood, he must cover [the blood] with earth. [All this] is because every living creature has its blood associated with its life-force. Tell the Israelites not to eat any blood, since the life-force of all flesh is in its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off [spiritually]." Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11-14.
To paraphrase, it is saying that no one should eat blood because the thing that keeps you alive is the blood coursing through your body. Therefore the only use for blood is to bury it in the dirt or use it for one of the few blood sacrifices permissible in the Torah (none of which allow human blood or human sacrifice).
Did you notice that it says "only blood atones for the life force?"
Neither did I.
Because it does not say that at all.
Did you also notice to be [placed] on the altar ? This clearly says that a kosher animal's blood only "makes atonement" when it is "applied to the altar. Jesus was not a kosher animal and his blood was not placed on the altar (which is the only way blood can atone at all).
Hebrews 9:22 misleads Christians into thinking you need blood to atone because it says “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” This is not biblical -- Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 isn’t speaking of the immortal soul, and it nowhere says that sins can’t be forgiven without blood.
Read most Christian translations and you’d never know this.
Jewelry atones (exact same word) for the life force (nefesh) as does blood. "We therefore want to bring an offering to G-d. Every man who found any gold article [such as] and anklet, a bracelet, a finger ring, and earring, or a body ornament [wishes to bring it] to atone for our souls (life force) before G-d." Bamidbar / Numbers 31:50.
Notice that Bamidbar / Numbers 31:50 uses the exact same word as Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11, לְכַפֵּ֖ר. Thus both the blood of a kosher animal on the altar and jewelry atone for the nefesh (the life force).
The Hebrew word that is translated as "atonement" is כַּפָּרָה, from the verb-stem כפר and is related to כִּפּוּר kippur and its plural כִּפֻּרִים kippurim (“atonement”), and also כֹּֽפֶר kofer (“atone,” “pitch”, “tar”, and “ransom”). The term occurs 18 times in Sh'mot / Exodus, 7 times in Vayikra / Leviticus, once in B'midbar / Numbers and once in Divrei Hayamim / Chronicles. The root כפר is usually used in the pi'él and pu'al conjugations in the sense of “to atone” or “to effect atonement”, but it also occurs occasionally with meaning of “to cover” (in the physical sense), e.g. in B'réshıt / Genesis 6:14.
The Hebrew verb כפר “atone” is related to כֹּֽפֶר kofer which is often translated as “ransom” (which occurs in Sh'mot / Exodus 21:30, 30:12; B'midbar / Numbers 35:31,32). "Ransom" in ancient times had a different meaning than it does today, and in modern English this is not a good translation for the term. Thus, most modern Jewish translations often translate it also as "atone."
Another related word is וְכָפַרְתָּ v'chafarta “and you are to cover it with a layer of...” in B'réshıt / Genesis 6:14; for this reason, the word כֹּֽפֶר kofer is also used for “pitch”, the tar-like substance formerly used for caulking (water-proofing) ships.
Translating כֹּֽפֶר kofer as “ransom” is very misleading -- the words are not really identical (translations rarely have an exact "match" in meaning). In modern English "atone" is a better translation for כֹּֽפֶר kofer than “ransom.” Take a look at the following Christian translations of Sh'mot / Exodus 30:12 (which use "ransom") and contrast them to two modern Jewish translations which use the word "atone."
"When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the L-RD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them." King James Versions Exodus 30:12.
"When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the L-RD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them." NIV Exodus 30:12.
Among the Christian translations reviewed only Young's Literal translation gets it right "atonement for his soul." Now here are some Jewish translations:.
"When you take the sum of the children of Israel according to their numbers, let each one give to the L-rd an atonement for his soul (nefesh - life force) when they are counted; then there will be no plague among them when they are counted." Judaica Press Translation Sh'mot / Exodus 30:12.
"When you take a census of the Children of Israel according to their numbers, every man shall give HaShem an atonement for is soul when counting them, so that there will not be a plague among them when counting them." Artscroll Stone Edition, Sh'mot / Exodus 30:12.
Translations are tricky things -- it is hard to translate something from Hebrew into English with accuracy -- but when a translator chooses a different word which changes the meaning for no good reason (other than to make a "proof text" appear to apply to their theology) it should make a bible reader question that particular translation, and perhaps begin to learn Hebrew to ensure they are not being misled (either by accident or purposefully).
The Christian concept of sacrifice is very different from what the Torah tells us and what Judaism teaches. Sacrifices did not begin with the Temple or at Mount Sinai -- they go much farther back than that. Noah brought more pairs of kosher animals to sacrifice to G-d on board the ark than he did non-kosher animals (not fit for sacrifice). Sacrifices are not a snare -- they are a gift from G-d to mankind.
The purpose of sacrifice is to give up something of value and feel badly about what we did. The PROCESS of sacrifice brings us to a realization and a cleansing. In other words -- sacrifices are a gift from G-d to us as ONE way to atone.
Stop thinking of קָרְבָּן - qorban (sacrifices) in terms of sin. Sin has very very little to do with sacrifices. Start reading the Jewish bible about sin, repentance and atonement for what IS there and you will see for yourself that what I've told you is true. Most qorban is given as an offer to G-d (it actually means drawing nearer to G-d), and has nothing to do with sin or atoning for sin.
When we speak of sins that qorban does atone for we must separate communal sins from individual sins (Jews are judged both as a nation and individually). Here is a short list of things that atone for wrongdoings.
2 Samuel 12:13-14 is a cheit (David admits to sin before Nathan the prophet and repents)
Jonah 3:10 has to do with the sins of Nineveh (unspecified, just identified as "evil" in 1:2), the people repented and G-d forgave
Leviticus 26:40-42 speaks of avon and repentence atoning for it
Ezikiel 18:21-32 speaks of chatat (21), pesha (22), chatat (24), pesha (28), pesha and avon (30) are all atoned through repentance
Proverbs 16:6 an avon is atoned for with kindness
Daniel 4:24 is chatat and avon by showing mercy and kindness
PRAYER (accompanied by repentance)
Hosea 14:2-3 teshuva (turning to G-d) and 1prayer atones for avon
1 Kings 8:46-50 include chatat, avon, rasha (wicked or evil) and pesha are atoned for by prayer
Daniel 9:5-19 include chatat, avon, and rasha are atoned by prayer
Isaiah 27:9 both chatat and avon are atoned by removing idolatry
Isaiah 40:1-2 avon is removed by punishment
Lamentations 4:22 avon is removed by punishment
Isaiah 22:14 avon will surely not be atoned until you die.
Leviticus 5:1-13 for specific ashams (guilts including not testifying honestly, touching something ritually unclean, if one makes an oath one doesn't keep, he must confess, and he must bring a guilt offering which should be a female sheep or goat, but if he can't afford it he may bring two turtle doves (one as a chatat and one as an olah). If he cannot afford the turtle doves he may bring flour as a chatat (sin offer)
Exodus 30:15-16 to atone for the life-force (similar to blood in Leviticus 17:11)
Numbers 31:50 to atone for the life-force (similar to blood in Leviticus 17:11)
Numbers 17:11-12 atonement for the Israelites "for there is wrath" Per Rashi (a Jewish sage) this secret was given over to him by the angel of death when he went up to heaven, that incense holds back the plague… as is related in Tractate Shabbath (89a).
Read King Solomon's dedication of the first Temple found in 1 Kings 8. King Solomon is dedicating the very place for sacrifices, and he mentions that there will be a time when the Temple will not exist, or Jews will not be near it and can not bring qorban (sacrifices) -- and says that without sacrifices HaShem will hear our prayers: "When your people Israel. . . turn back to you and confess your name, praying and making supplication to you in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel. . " Without blood. Without a Temple. . .
So, no blood is not needed for atonement of sins, and blood is not needed for the atonement of your immortal sou.
The Christian bible seems to think that you need blood for your sins to be forgiven. At the Last Supper Jesus says: "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins," Matthew 26:28. See also Luke 22:20 and John 6:54.
"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them." John 6:56. Also see 1 Corinthians 11:25. The Christian bible speaks of drinking Jesus' blood - something totally forbidden to a Jew. The Torah strictly forbids consumption of blood at any time to Jews and proselytes (Vayikra / Leviticus 3:17, 17:10-12, and D'varim / Deuteronomy. 12:23).
Drinking blood is forbidden because blood is identified with life - it is the "life force" in all living creations. Some of our Sages (e.g., in the Talmud and also the commentator Sforno) explain that there was a belief that, through eating blood, one could cultivate the companionship of demons (the demons are invisible beings who get their sustenance from consuming blood). Thus pagan religions often drank blood as part of their religious observance -- but it is strictly forbidden in the T'nach (Jewish bible).
Justin Martyr (early church father 100 - 165 CE) wrote in "First Apology" that the drinking of blood was a rite performed by the pagan Mithraites (the pagan god Mithra had many similarities to Jesus). He wrote " He (Jesus) said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done."
The idea of eating blood, forbidden in the Torah, was common to the pagans and the Christians seem to have incorporated this practice into their worship.
Romans says "G-d presented (Jesus) as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness." Romans 3:25. and "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of G-d’s grace." Ephesians 1:7.
Blood, blood, blood.
Repeatedly the Christian bible insists that without blood there is no remission of sins. It goes on to say that this is found in the T'nach -- the Jewish bible. "the law (Torah) requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Hebrews 9:22.
This is totally false -- 100% incorrect.
Even in bringing a sacrifice there were many things that added up in the atonement process. Sacrifice without obedience was useless. Obedience without sacrifice when sacrifice was required and possible, was useless. Obedience without sacrifice when sacrifice was never required or when sacrifice wasn't possible - was and is sufficient in and of itself, since it's all that G-d requires when sacrifices cannot be offered (see Hoshea / Hosea 14:2-3, Yechezkel / Ezekiel 18/33).
There were both communal sacrifices for the entire nation of Israel and individual sacrifices for personal wrongdoings. The Christian bible ignores the fact that the worse individual sins could not be atoned for with blood sacrifice. Only the חַטָּאת chatat (a mistake, a "missing of the mark" -- you tried to do good but missed) and the אָשָׁם asham (guilt / tresspass sacrifice) could be brought as a sacrifice for sins / guilt. The asham was for:
More serious wrongdoings could NOT be atoned for with a blood sacrifice -- totally refuting Hebrews 9:22 which says that "nearly everything" needed a blood sacrifice for atonement.
Wrongdoings which could not be resolved with a blood sacrifice include the עוון avon (iniquity) or the פֶּֽשַׁע pĕsha (transgression, willful rebellion against G-d).
עוון Avon (translated by Christians as iniquity) is an impulsive act of lust or uncontrollable urges (could not be atoned for with a sacrifice). An avon (unless it falls under the asham talu or asham g'zelot) cannot be rectified with a qorban, and neither can a pesha. Repentance and turning to G-d to seek forgiveness for sins against G-d and seeking forgiveness to any person that might have been harmed from that person are the methods of atonement;
פֶּֽשַׁע pĕsha' is usually translated by Christians as "transgression." It means to willfully go against G-d. It means "rebellion" (could not be atoned for with a sacrifice) -- but other things in this life do atone for them. 1 Kings 8:46-50 include chatat, avon, rasha (wicked or evil) and pesha are atoned for by prayer.
Yechezkel / Ezekiel 18:21-32 speaks of sin, iniquity and willful rebellion against G-d all being forgiven through repentance. chatat (18:21), pesha (18:22), chatat (18:24), pesha (18:28), pesha and avon (18:30) are all atoned through repentance."By loving kindness and truth iniquity is atoned for..." (Proverbs 16:6).
"If you return to G-d you will be restored; if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent...then you will delight in G-d..." (Iyov / Job 22:23-27).
This whole fixation on blood, blood, blood by missionaries is not supported by the Jewish bible. The missionaries take the statement that blood can atone for SOME sins and somehow morph it into "you need blood for sins to be forgiven." This is akin to eating a slice of pizza because you are hungry and then insisting that the only type of food that exists in the world is pizza. How crazy is that?
The idea that you need blood to atone for your sins is part of Christianity's pagan roots. It is NOT Judaism. It is NOT Torah for all that missionaries keeps trying to force fit the angry evil pagan god who delights in blood onto the Jewish G-d.
The prophet Amos wrote "Did you offer Me sacrifices and meal-offerings in the desert forty years, O house of Israel?" Amos 5:25.
Yet Moses, Aaron, Miriam -- they were loved by G-d. Contrary to the Christian bible they did not need blood for their sins to be forgiven.
"Son of man, if a land sins against Me by trespassing grievously, I shall stretch forth My hand upon it and break its staff of bread, and I shall send famine upon it and cut off from it [both] man and beast. 14. Now should these three men be in its midst-[namely] Noah, Daniel, and Job-they would save themselves with their righteousness, says the L-rd G-d." Yechezkel / Ezekiel 14: 13.
Daniel was righteous without a Temple or sacrifices. He lived in exile and could not bring sacrifices.
Yet the T'nach (bible) tells us that Daniel saved himself with his righteousness.
This mistake that atonement of sin requires a blood sacrifice comes from a mis-reading of Vayikra / Leviticus 17 where Jews are forbidden from EATING blood and told its only purpose is on the altar or to be thrown away into the dirt. Read the entire chapter of Leviticus and the order to not eat blood is repeated time and time again (again, the exact opposite of the Christian bible telling Jesus' followers to drink his blood, even symbolically).
Vayikra / Leviticus 3:17
This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood.
Vayikra / Leviticus 7:26
And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal.
Vayikra / Leviticus 7:27
If anyone eats blood, that person must be cut off from his people.' "
Vayikra / Leviticus 17:10-11
If any person, whether of the family of Israel or a proselyte who joins them, eats any blood, I will direct My anger against the person who eats blood and cut him off [spiritually] from among his people. This is because the life-force of the flesh is in the blood; and I therefore gave it to you to be [placed] on the altar to atone for your lives. It is the blood that atones for a life,
Vayikra / Leviticus 17:12
Therefore I say to the Israelites, "None of you may eat blood, nor may an alien living among you eat blood."
Vayikra / Leviticus 17:13
Any Israelite or any alien living among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth,
Vayikra / Leviticus 17:14
because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, "You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off."
So the Christian bible says you need blood and there is no atonement without blood -- but Torah and G-d disagrees.
The biggest mistake in the Christian bible is thinking G-d is a pagan god that needs blood (e.g. is "blood thirsty"). G-d needs nothing and He is loving, not cruel. קָרְבָּן / Qorban aka "sacrifice" (and prayer for that matter) is for US, not for G-d. G-d needs nothing.
Humans began giving gifts to G-d as early as B'reshit / Genesis chapter 4 when Cain and Abel bring sacrifices to G-d. Very few sacrifices had to do with sin -- most were a way to connect closer to Him by turning our focus away from the mundane to the holy.
The false idea that only blood atones gives the excuse Christians need to explain how their all powerful man-god (Jesus) could be killed. Not only does it explain that he could be killed, but it explains that Jesus HAD to be killed to be the "perfect" sacrifice.
This is pagan nonsense, the opposite of what the Torah teaches us.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of G-d are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O G-d, you will not despise. [T'hillim / Psalm 51:16-17]
To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Eternal than sacrifice. [Mishlei / Proverbs 21:3]
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. [T'hillim / Psalm 40:6]
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. [Mishlei / Proverbs 28:13]
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. [Divrei Hayamim II 7:14 / 2 Chronicles 7:14]
But if from there you seek the Eternal your G-d, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. [D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:29]
He prays to G-d and finds favor with him, he sees G-d's face and shouts for joy; he is restored by G-d to his righteous state. [Iyov / Job 33:26]
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. [T'hillim / Psalm 34:14]
Take words with you and return to the Eternal. Say to him: "Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may we will pay oxen [with] our lips." [Hoshea 14:2 / Hosea 14:2]
Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Eternal a man avoids evil. [Mishlei / Proverbs 16:6]
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of G-d rather than burnt offerings. [Hoshea / Hosea 6:6]
With what shall I come before the Eternal and bow down before the exalted G-d? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Eternal be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Eternal require of you? Only to do Justice, and to love Mercy and to walk humbly with your G-d. [Micah 6:6-8]
The key to atoning for our sins is sincere repentance and trying our best not to repeat the mistake, willful disobedience, etc. Isaiah puts it very well in the very first chapter of the book of Isaiah. Isaiah tells us that G-d is sick and tired of empty, insincere prayers and the endless parade of “sacrifices” offered by people just "going through the motions" -- sinners who have not really repented, but who insincerely offer sacrifices or even prayers, but without true repentance in their hearts--
“What use to Me is the huge number of your sacrifices?” says Hashem; “I am fed up with olah-offerings (burnt / elevation offers) of rams and the offals of fattened calves, and the blood of oxen, lambs and goats does not give Me any pleasure. When you come to appear before Me—who asked this of you, to come trampling through My courtyards? Do not bring your meaningless mincḥah-offerings (A mincha is a gift to G-d, not a sin or atonement sacrifice. It is not life, it is just flour and oil. It signifies food and sustenance, or the fruits of a person’s labor, but it is not intrinsically powerful) any more—I find it a disgusting stench... Rosh Ḥodesh (the new month), Shabbat (Sabbath), even the Festival assemblies—I cannot tolerate crookedness mixed with service. And when you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you, even when you pray at length, I do not hear; your hands are full of blood. Wash, cleanse yourselves, remove the evil of your deeds from before My eyes, cease to do evil. Learn to do good, seek justice, strengthen the robbed, perform justice for the orphan, plead the case of the widow. “Come, please, let’s discuss this rationally,” HaShem says; “even if your sins are like bright crimson, I will bleach them as white as snow—even if they are as red as crimson dye I will make them [as white as] wool!” (Y'shayahu / Isaiah 1:11-18).
Back in 2010 UriYosef, administrator at Messiah Truth, wrote a very succinct sentence worth repeating: Atonement is a process that must be initiated by the one who commits the sin/offense/transgression, the purpose of which is to obtain forgiveness; whereas forgiveness is one in a set of optional one-time actions by the party on the "receiving end" of the sin/offense/transgression.
The purpose of sacrifice is to give up something of value and feel badly about what we did. The PROCESS of sacrifice brings us to a realization and a cleansing. In other words -- sacrifices are a gift from G-d to us as ONE way to atone. Sacrifices are not 'magic' and one life does not substitute for another (as such). Rather it is the emotional act of bringing this sacrifice -- as a gift, or an atonement -- what have you -- that creates that emotional link FOR THE PERSON to G-d.
Christians tend to think of קָרְבָּן - qorban (sacrifices) in terms of sin. In reality sin and atoning for sin has very very little to do with sacrifices. Start reading the Jewish bible about sin, repentance and atonement for what IS there and you will see for yourself that what I've told you is true. Most qorban is given as an offer to G-d (it actually means drawing nearer to G-d), and has nothing to do with sin or atoning for sin. There is nothing magical in blood. There is nothing magical in incense or flour either. Human sacrifices are forbidden (so Jesus could never have been a "sacrifice").
Prayer, repentance -- all these things have always been available to us. Keep in mind that after the Exodus and prior to Sinai there were NO sacrifices yet G-d forgave the sins of the Israelites many, many times during that period. G-d also forgave our sins during the Babylonian exile. Likewise there were no sacrifices in Egypt prior to the paschal lamb (although Moses asks to bring them).
So, no, blood is not necessary for the remission of sins. Sacrifices, when they were brought had very detailed rules around different forms of sacrifices -- and if the offer was an animal it had to be a kosher, domestic animal without blemish. Human sacrifices were forbidden. Jesus' death was not and could not have been an atoning sacrifice. In D'varim / Deuteronomy 12:30-31, G-d calls human sacrifice something that He hates, and an abomination to Him, Link.
Recently the blog has focused on how Jews know that Jesus was not the messiah (he did not have the correct parentage, he did not fulfill the prophecies and human sacrifice is forbidden. The Torah also teaches us that no one can atone for the sins of another -- each of us is responsible for his / her own sins. That last topic -- our personal responsibility -- brings me back full circle to the intention of this blog.
The focus of this blog is not on Jesus (as a person or a god). The goal of this blog is to explain what Jews believe and to show how these beliefs are based firmly in the Jewish bible (primarily the Torah, the Five Books of Moses). The other books of the bible (Prophets and Writings) do nothing more but re-enforce what G-d already taught us in the Torah. We are forbidden from adding to or subtracting from the mitzvot of the Torah. Think about it -- the prophets spent most of their effort trying to return Jews to Torah observance!
This blog exists to help teach uneducated Jews and interested non-Jews the teachings of Torah (and thus Judaism) -- and to refute the assumption by many a missionary that Judaism and Christianity are "the same" -- except they believe the messiah has come (Jesus) while the Jew still awaits the messiah.
This assumption is false. There are far more differences between Judaism and Christianity than there are similarities.
Let's just list a few differences, Remember: what one Christian believes another will reject -- some Christian reading the list will say "I don't believe in "original sin" or "faith over works", but the list of what Christians believe is based on a majority of "normative" Christian teaching and beliefs:
A Jew cannot be Christian and remain Jewish. A Jew accepting the beliefs of another religion (gods) and rejecting those promises we made to G-d to do and to hear is endangering his or her immortal soul. A Jew can never stop being a Jew, and thus turning to עבודה זרה / avodah zarah (strange / foreign worship, aka idolatry) is cutting that person off from G-d and the Jewish people. That person is an apostate to the Jewish people until such time as he or she returns to G-d and repents of their idolatry.
The term idolatry in Judaism means any form of worship we did not know at Sinai, and any thinking Christian must realize that the Jews of Sinai did not pray to or through Jesus.
The website Simple to Remember puts it well. Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:
(What exactly is the Messiah?)
The main focus of this blog is to contrast the differences between Judaism and Christianity, hence the subtitle "Exploding the Judaeo-Christian Myth." The idea that Jews and Christians have "so much" in common is mostly myth. Yes, Christians have the "OT" (which they call "old" but it is primarily used as a proof for Jesus, not so much for its own intrinsic value. A majority of the teachings of the T'nach are ignored in Christian theology -- including the fact that we are not born sinners, we do not need to be "saved" and that no one can die for your sins. . .
To a Christian who truly wants to love G-d and sees that path through Jesus this blog must appear hateful. It is not meant to be hateful. It is meant to be educational. Imagine, if your whole life you had been told that night is day and day is night. . . someone trying to set you straight would make you angry.
Jews don't hate Jesus. Jesus is immaterial to Judaism -- totally unimportant. In a way that would be very strange for most Christians to understand the messiah himself is fairly unimportant. There is only one G-d and to Him goes all the glory. The messiah is tasked with fulfilling some prophecies, but the true hero of the messianic age if G-d. The messiah will merely be His servant, as Moses was his servant so long ago.
Posts explaining how Jesus' birth disqualifies him from being a messiah, or how his death was a murder not a sacrifice (human sacrifices being absolutely forbidden) the intent is not to insult Christians -- it is to teach the bible. The T'nach (bible) is clear on the requirements for a messiah (which Jesus did not meet). The T'nach is also clear on human murder not being an acceptable sacrifice. . .
On the main page of this blog I stated flat out that any religious Christian should probably avoid this website. There are many wonderful Christians in this world, as there are wonderful Muslims, Buddhists, etc. For those who have no desire to learn, avoid this blog to avoid hurt feelings. . . Jews do not proselytize. Any non-Jew who wishes to learn is more than welcome to read these postings.
Tomorrow night we Jews mark תשעה באב / Tisha B' Av -- the 9th day of the month of Av. This day is one of introspection and fasting for Jews, for you see the 9th of Av has always marked tragedies. It began all the way back to the Exodus from Egypt and the Jews wandering for forty years in the desert.
When it was finally time for the Jews to enter the holy land. G-d commanded Moses to send "out one man for each patriarchal tribe. Each one shall be a person of high rank" Bamidbar / Numbers 13:2.
When the spies returned they told Moses "the people living in the land are aggressive and the cities are large and well fortified. We also saw the giant's descendants there. Amalek lives in the Negev area, the Hittites, Yebusites and Amorites live in the hills, and the Canaanites live near the sea and on the banks of the Jordan.' Caleb tried to quiet the people for Moses. 'We must go forth and occupy the land,' he said. 'We can do it!' 'We cannot go forward against those people!' replied the men who had gone with him. 'They are too strong for us! They began to speak badly about the land that they had explored. They told the Israelites, 'The land that we crossed to explore is a land that consumes its inhabitants." Bamidbar / Numbers 13:28-32.
Put this into perspective. These people had been slaves in Egypt. They had not only seen G-d personally free them from slavery, they had heard Him speak at Sinai. He had fed them in the desert (which they also complained about!). G-d shows them encouraging signs that the land is indeed plentiful and rich -- for example they find a cluster of grapes so enormous that eight men are needed to carry it (Bamidbar / Numbers 13:23). Now these spies came and tell the Jews that the very land that G-d promised to them is too difficult to bother with.
"That night the people wept. All the Israelites complained to Moses and Aaron. The entire community was saying, 'We wish we had died in Egypt! We should have died in this desert! Why is G-d bringing us to this land to die by the sword?" Bamidbar / Numbers 14:2-3
After all He has done for the people they still do not have enough faith and trust in G-d.
This was the first 9th of Av with a catastrophe. G-d says " [I will punish] all the people who saw My glory and the miracles that I did in Egypt and the desert, but still tried to test Me these ten times by not obeying Me. They will therefore not see the land that I swore to their ancestors. All those who provoked Me will not see it. 'The only exception will be My servant Caleb, since he showed a different spirit and followed Me wholeheartedly. I will bring him to the land that he explored, and his descendants will possess it." Bamidbar / Numbers 14:22-24.
The night the people wept was the 9th day of Av -- Tisha B’ Av. . G-d declared: “They cried for no reason; in the future I’ll give them good reason to cry.”
From that first Tisha B' Av to today calamities have struck the Jews on this date. On Tisha B’ Av, the First Temple was destroyed in 425 BCE. Nebuzaradan killed nearly 1 million Jews. Nebuzaradan cried out to the prophet: "Zechariah, Zechariah! I have slain the best of them; do you want all of them destroyed?" At last the blood (of the long dead prophet) sank into the ground (Talmud, Gittin 57b). On Tisha B' Av the Holy Temple was set on fire and destroyed. The fire burned for 24 hours. This was the end of Solomon's temple.
In 68 CE the Second Jerusalem Temple was destroyed on the 9th of Av. The battle against Rome raged for three weeks. . The last battle was on the morning of Tisha B' Av. Many of the structures adjoining the Temple were burnt or on fire, but that morning the Temple itself was still intact. According to Josephus (the Jewish historian of 2000 years ago), the Roman General Titus (later Emperor) did not want the Temple destroyed, but a Roman soldier threw a firebrand into the Temple. The Romans were unable to stop the fire so the Second Temple fell -- also on the 9th day of Av.
In 135 CE Jewish independence was lost to the Romans following the fall of the city of the city of Beitar, the last stronghold of the Bar Kochba revolt.
1290 CE and the Jews are expelled from England, on Tisha B' Av.
1492 CE and the Jews are expelled from Spain, on Tisha B' Av. (The edict of expulsion was signed on March 31, 1492 and the Jews given four months to leave).
August 1, 1914 (Tisha B' Av) Germany declared war on Russia -- the start of the first World War.
August 2, 1941 the Germans received permission for the "Final Solution" to exterminate the Jews in the Holocaust.
For three weeks prior to Tisha B' Av we observe a mourning period. The American agreement with Iran was signed during this three week mourning period prior to Tisha B' Av in the year 2015.
Yet, we Jews know that negative prophecy is always conditional. They are given as warnings (think of them as "IF you do X then Y will happen, but if you do not then Z will happen type statements).
Consider the story of Jonah and the city of Ninevah. The negative prophecy was averted because the citizens of Ninevah repented. The negative outcome was avoided through repentance.
The Rambam taught that a negative prophecy can be averted through repentance. Repentance can avert the consequences of a negative prophecy. The Rambam says that the very purpose of negative prophecies are to urge us repent before disaster strikes. (Laws of the Fundamentals of the Torah 10:4).
Positive prophecies are not conditional (think, for example, of the promises near the end of D'varim / Deuteronomy. IF the Jews keep the mitzvot (commandments) they will remain in the land of Israel (definitely a positive) BUT the "if" is there. If they do not fulfill the mitzvot they will be exiled (the negative prophecy).
"As to calamities predicted by a prophet, if, for example, he foretells the death of a certain individual or declares that in particular year there will be famine or war and so forth, the non-fulfillment of his forecast does not disprove his prophetic character. We are not to say, “See, he spoke and his prediction has not come to pass.”
"For G‑d is long-suffering and abounding in kindness and repents of evil. It may also be that those who were threatened repented and were therefore forgiven, as happened to the men of Nineveh. Possibly too, the execution of the sentence is only deferred, as in the case of Hezekiah. But if the prophet, in the name of G‑d, assures good fortune, declaring that a particular event would come to pass, and the benefit promised has not been realized, he is unquestionably a false prophet, for no blessing decreed by the Almighty, even if promised conditionally, is ever revoked . . . Hence we learn that only when he predicts good fortune can the prophet be tested." Yesodei haTorah 10:4
The Chabad puts it this way:
Fundamental conclusions follow from this. A prophet is not an oracle: a prophecy is not a prediction. Precisely because Judaism believes in free will, the human future can never be unfailingly predicted. People are capable of change. G‑d forgives. As we say in our prayers on the High Holy Days: “Prayer, penitence and charity avert the evil decree.” There is no decree that cannot be revoked. A prophet does not foretell. He warns. A prophet does not speak to predict future catastrophe but rather to avert it. If a prediction comes true it has succeeded. If a prophecy comes true it has failed.
The second consequence is no less far-reaching. The real test of prophecy is not bad news but good. Calamity, catastrophe, disaster prove nothing. Anyone can foretell these things without risking his reputation or authority. It is only by the realization of a positive vision that prophecy is put to the test. So it was with Israel’s prophets. They were realists, not optimists. They warned of the dangers that lay ahead. But they were also, without exception, agents of hope. They could see beyond the catastrophe to the consolation. That is the test of a true prophet.
The rabbis teach us that Moshiach will be born on Tisha B' Av (if he hasn't been already), and that, after the Final Redemption, Tisha B'Av will be transformed into one of the happiest days of the year.
Recently we discussed the fact that Jesus could not have been the messiah because he is missing the most basic criteria: if he was a "virgin birth" and if Joseph, Mary's husband, had not contributed the sperm to create him, then Jesus had no tribal status and may well have been a mamzer (disqualifying him not only from kingship, but limiting his marriage pool in the future). If Joseph was his father the two totally different lineages given for Joseph in the Christian bible would both disqualify both Joseph and Jesus from the right to kingship (being the messiah).
Not to mention the fact that neither man ever WAS a messiah (an anointed king of the Jews). . .
Let's look at the other end of the spectrum Could Jesus' murder by Roman crucifixion (like about 50,000 other Jews) constitute a sacrifice?
The Torah vehemently FORBIDS human sacrifices.
Vayikra / Leviticus 18:21; "you shall not give any of your offspring to pass through for Molech. And you shall not profane the Name of your G-d. I am the L-rd." (Molech was a false god, but the point is that human sacrifices profane the name of G-d and are forbidden).
Vayikra / Leviticus 24; "if a man strikes down any human being he shall be put to death.. . . one who strikes a person shall be put to death. . . One law shall be exacted for you, convert and resident alike, for I am the L-rd, your G-d.
Got that? Jesus' murder by the Romans was not legal per Jewish law. The Jews had lost the right to pass the death penalty and Jesus (per the Christian bible) had not committed a crime warranting the death penalty. The trial of Jesus as described in the Christian bible could never have happened -- it went against Jewish law (we can discuss the trial at another time). The point being that a human death is NOT a sacrifice, it is an abomination to G-d.
See also D'varim / Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Jeremiah 7:31, 19: 5; Ezekiel 23:37, 39). These all speak of how G-d hates human sacrifice.
Bamidbar / Numbers 35:33; "you shall not corrupt the land in which you live, for the blood corrupts the land, and the blood which is shed in the land cannot be atoned for except through the blood of the one who shed it."
D'varim / Deuteronomy 24:16; "Fathers shall not be put to death because of sons, nor shall sons be put to death because of fathers; each man shall be put to death for his own transgression.
Melachim II / II Kings 14:6; "it is written in the book of the Torah of Moses, which the L-rd commanded saying: "Fathers shall not be put to death for sons, nor shall sons be put to death for fathers, but each man shall be put to death for his own sin."
See also Sh'mot / Exodus 32:31-33; Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 31:29 [30 in a Christian Bible]; Yechezkel /Ezekiel 18:4,20; and T'hillim / Psalms 49:7.
Aside from the fact that human sacrifice is forbidden, Torah tells us that a proper sacrifice must be of a kosher, domestic animal (the animal is often identified as a bull, a seh (goat or lamb), etc (see Sh'mot / Exodus 13:13; Vayikra / Leviticus 22). Jesus, being a human (or even a demi-god) was obviously not a kosher animal and thus was unacceptable as a sacrifice.
The sacrificial ritual must be administered by a Jewish Priest (see Vayikra / Leviticus Chapters 1-7). According to the accounts in the Greek Testament (Christian Bible), Jesus was crucified by Roman soldiers (Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:33; John 19:18, 23). Some Christians may say that Jesus was a priest "like Melchitzedek" -- but Jewish sacrifices had to be brought by Jewish priests who were of the tribe of Levi and descended from Aaron (Moses' brother) -- which would exclude Jesus (see Sh'mot / Exodus 29:9 and Bamidbar / Numbers 25:13 for two of many references).
Many missionaries state that Jesus was a "sin sacrifice." In Hebrew a sin is a mistake -- you tried to do the right thing and you "missed." It is important to note that only accidental mistakes by individuals and a few, fairly minor, wrongdoings by individuals could be atoned for with the few types of sacrifices that atoned for "sin" and "guilt."
The חַטָּאת cḥattat (accidental sins) and אָשָׁם asham sacrifices were PRIVATE offerings brought by INDIVIDUALS, not “atonement” offerings on behalf of the entire nation. As mentioned the חַטָּאת chatat was for a missing of the mark (a חֵטְא / cheit -- you tried to do good but missed) and the אָשָׁם asham was for three different types of violations:
Torah further tells us that the blood of the (חֵטְא / cheit / sin) sacrifice had to be sprinkled by the Jewish Priest on the veil of the sanctuary and on the altar in the Temple (e.g., Vayikra / Leviticus 4: 5-6). Christian Bible evidence clearly shows this was not done.
Then it tells us that cheit / sin) sacrifice must be without any physical defect or blemish (e.g., Vayikra / Leviticus 4:3). According to the various accounts in the Christian Bible, Jesus was beaten, whipped, and dragged on the ground before being crucified (Matthew 26:67, 27:26, 30-31; Mark 14: 65, 15:15-20; Luke 22: 63; John 18:22, 19:1, 3). Moreover, as a Jew by birth, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after being born, a ritual that leaves a scar ("sign of the covenant"). According to the Christian Bible, circumcision is tantamount to mutilation (Philippians 3:2, Galatians 5:12).
Torah says that the Passover sacrifice be a male-goat, be offered on an individual (per household) basis (Bamidbar / Numbers 28:22), not as a communal offering. According to the Christian Bible, Jesus’ death (termed a “sin sacrifice”) expiated the sins of mankind (Romans 6:10; Hebrews 9:12, 10:10, 10:18 ).
Torah goes on to say that the Paschal seh (goat or lamb) was NOT to be offered for the removal of sins. It was a commemorative/festive offering. The sacrificed Paschal seh (goat or lamb) had to be roasted and eaten, and in the first instance in Egypt its blood was used to mark the side-posts and lintel of the doors (Sh’mot / Exodus 12: 7-8). There is no record in the Christian Bible that this Jesus was eaten or that his blood was put on the door posts (lest it be suggested that Christianity promotes cannibalism).
Torah says that there were individual and communal sacrifices .
Torah teaches that sacrifices can only atone for sins committed PRIOR to the offering of the sacrifice. No sacrifice could ever atone for sins committed AFTER the sacrifice was offered. Thus, no sacrifice could ever atone for people born after the sacrifice was offered.
So, as you can clearly see that the death of Jesus could never atone for any sin, much less all sins of all people for all time? NOT AT ALL, NEVER! The story is pagan in its entirety and breaks all the laws of Jewish sacrifice.
The missionaries who say that Jesus was a human sacrifice whose death "atoned for the sins of the world makes a common mistake regarding sacrifices. They seem to think that G-d needed them (bloodthirsty god perhaps?) Missionaries seem think there was some "magic" in blood sacrifices and this is not supported by the Jewish bible. Indeed sacrifices were not so much for G-d as they were a gift from G-d.
The Rambam explained this when he told us that G-d doesn't need sacrifices.
In other words, the Jews were used to bringing sacrifices and this is why G-d permitted them. Sacrifices gave man a way to feel closer to G-d by giving Him something of value (be it money, flour, an animal, etc.).
In pagan religions the gods were bloodthirsty and needed blood to be satisfied. In Judaism G-d permitted man to bring sacrifices because man needed them -- He needs nothing.
The Rambam's "The Laws of Repentence": "If a person violates any mitzvot of the Torah, willingly or unintentionally. . .he must repent. . .Similarly, people who are sentenced by the Rabbinical court to be executed, or to be lashed, do not attain atonement through their death or lashing unless they repent and confess. . .
Now that the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) is not standing, and there is no sacrificial altar for atonement, we are only left with repentance. Through repentance, G-d forgives our sins, and no mention is made of these sins even if one sinned one's whole life and repented only in his final moments. As it is written, "The wickedness of the wicked will not cause him to stumble when be turns back from his wickedness." (Ychezkiel / Ezekiel 33:12)."
Sacrifices were not magic -- they were a gift of G-d to help us truly atone by giving up something of value to Him. G-d forbids and abhors human sacrifice. The death of Jesus (if he ever even lived) couldn't have atoned for the sins of anyone, he was simply murdered by the Romans as were tens of thousands of Jews.
The Rambam (Isurey Biah 13 17) writes about the gerim (converts) who don’t commit themselves to the ways of the Torah with a full heart, and they are the ones who end off with second thoughts and try to revert the conversion to no avail. Once a convert had completed his conversion there is no return.
The Rambam continues that a typical example of such converts who refused to live a Torah life were the ערב רב / Erev Rav (mixed multitude who left Egypt with the Jews) who caused the Jews to do many misdeeds.
The Zohar (Ki Sisa 192a) explicitly writes that the gerus (converts to Judaism) of the ערב רב / Erev Rav was not done with a full heart. Both the Zohar and the Rambam [in continuation to his above mentioned comments] write that this is what Chazal had in mind קשה גרים לישראל (converts are not easy on Israel). The insincere cause untold problems (including the delay of the arrival of the messiah), while sincere ones may make a born Jew embarrassed that he is "not as good a Jew" as a convert.
Read Rashi’s commentary to Sh’mot / Exodus 32:7 which he references from Exodus Rabbah your people…have acted corruptly: Heb. שִׁחֵתעַמְ. It does not say, “The people have acted corruptly,” but “your people.” Those are the mixed multitude whom you accepted on your own initiative, and whom you converted without consulting Me. You said, “It is good that converts cleave to the Shechinah.” They have acted corruptly and have corrupted [others]. -[from Exod. Rabbah 42:6]
The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh says that it refers to the ערב רב / Erev Rav. The sin of the Jews is that they did not STOP the ערב רב / erev rav. There were 3 million Jews! 3 million! It was indeed a great sin on the part of the Jews.
Folks more familiar with the movie version of the “Ten Utterances" (not Commandments) rather than what the Torah says argue “how could it NOT be the Jews who built the golden calf, after all Aaron (Moses’ brother) HELPED THEM.”
Well, first of all the Torah tells us that it was not the Jews who made the golden calf. Sh’mot / Exodus 32:7-8 “Then G-d said to Moses ‘Go, descend − your people that you have brought up from Egypt have acted corruptly; they have quickly left the way that they were commanded and have made for themselves a melted [gold] calf.... they have worshiped it and made offerings to it, and they have proclaimed: ‘Listen Jews (Israel), these are your gods that have brought [plural] you up from Egypt'."
First of all, notice that the "people" G-d refers to in verse 7, and the speakers in verse 8, are not Jews; whenever G-d is talking to Moses, He never calls the Jews (Israel) "your people that you have brought from Egypt." G-d always speaks of “My people” when talking about the Jews. But Moses had allowed non-Jews to leave Egypt with the Jews. These people, עֵֽרֶב רַב / érev rav were the non-Jews whom Moses let travel with the Jews leaving Egypt (Sh'mot / Exodus 12:38).
Line 8 is usually mistranslated as "This is your god who brought...." – but that is a mistranslation. The text reads אֵֽלֶּה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ éleh elohecha ("THESE ARE your gods") and even the verb that follows, הֶעֱלֽוּךָ he'elucha, is plural (הֶעֱלֽוּךָ he'elucha is the 3rd person plural, past tense hif'il form הֶעֱלוּ "they brought up" with the 2nd person object-case suffix ־ךָ "you" added to it).
Also Sh’mot (Exodus) 32:5 says “These are your gods”
Did you notice one really interesting word?
It is the word "your"
And not the word "our."
The text does not say, “These are our gods.” - it says “These are your gods” meaning that the עֵֽרֶב רַב / érev rav ( mixed multitude who had come up from Egypt) were the ones who gathered against Aaron, and they were the ones who made it [the calf]. Afterwards, they caused the Israelites to stray after it. -[from Midrash Tanchuma 19].
Again -- pay attention. YOUR gods (plural) not our G-d (singular). If the Jews were speaking they would say "our G-d" (or heaven forbid: our gods). . . who are they saying "YOUR" to???? No one says "your" when they are speaking of themselves! It would be "our" or "us" or even "we"!
Here’s how the story goes. The time: shortly after leaving Egypt. Moses goes up on Mount Sinai to receive the 10 Utterances from G-d, and when Moses is delayed coming down from the mountain the people tell Aaron, “…Make us gods, which shall go before us; we have no idea what happened to this Moses guy who brought out us out of Egypt.”
In reality, this took place after the entire nation heard G-d speak to them at Sinai. The entire nation (some 3 million people) agreed to follow the mitzvot. Do you really think after such an amazing experience and making such promises the Jews would immediately make a statue of a false god?
Does that make any sense at all?
So let’s put things in context. Moses was late coming down from the mountain. Moses said he would be gone 40 days, and the people had miscounted. They thought he was dead. They approached Aaron and Aaron tried to stall them. Sh’mot / Exodus 32:3 “Take the rings off the ears of your wives and children,' replied Aaron. 'Bring them to me.'”
This is not some rabbinical “made up” excuse about Aaron. READ THE TORAH, specifically line 25 of the same chapter. “They said to me, 'Make us gods who will go before us, because this man Moses, who brought us up from the land of Egypt we do not know what has become of him.' I said to them, 'Who has gold?'”
As Rashi points out, Aaron did NOT say “give me your gold.” He asked “who has gold.” Aaron was stalling, but the people immediately gave him their gold with which to make an idol.
When Aaron is confronted by a mob demanding that he make them אֱלֹהִ֗ים (elohim, mighty, powerful judge. The word אֱלֹהִ֗ים / elohim is used to speak of false gods, angels, humans and G-d Himself. It refers to a powerful leader, thus some sages say the golden calf was to replace Moses whom they thought had died. Others say the calf represented a false god to replace G-d) In this instance it is in the plural (when used for G-d it is never plural).
Aaron says: "break off the gold rings that are in your wives’, your sons’ and your daughters’ ears and bring it to me” (notice that he didn’t ask for the gold jewelry that the men in the mob were wearing. Nope, he asked for the jewelry that their wives and children were wearing). Why?
So STALL FOR TIME.
But the tactic didn’t work. The mob took off their own jewelry and gave it to Aaron.
No read Sh’mot / Exodus 32:5. The golden calf “came out of the fire” (apparently, all by itself). Some sages say the magicians from Egypt (who had come with the עֵֽרֶב רַב / érev rav made it seem to appear. (The Zohar, 191:1).
Aaron continued to stall for time. He said “ ‘Tomorrow will be a Feast for G-d!’ ” (notice that he didn’t offer any sacrifices to the calf, that he delayed the “Feast” until the next day, and that he didn’t announce that there was to be a Feast for the calf, but specifically “for G-d”).
Another important fact is to note at 3000 people took part in the golden calf incident – out of the 3 million there. Only .1% of the people took part in the incident – and they were all killed. 99.99% did nothing wrong! (3,000 people took part out of 3 million people who were there). Sh’mot / Exodus 32:28.
Moses confronted Aaron and asked him why he had allowed the statue to be made – and Aaron explained to Moses that he did what he could to at least slow them down. Sh’mot / Exodus 32:25 “And Moses saw the people, that they were restrained, for Aaron had restrained them to be disgraced before their adversaries.”
Aaron did not encourage the building of the golden calf – he was trying to prevent a riot. Our sages say that Aaron reasoned that it would be better that he alone be blamed for the golden calf than the entire nation of Israel. R’ Hakohen from Lublin explained that Aaron became Kohen Gadol, not despite the golden calf, rather because of it! [See Takanat Hashavim, p. 20]. Aaron did his best, and even though he did, he also repented – knowing that he should have tried to do more. Repentance motivated by love of G-d will turn a sin into a meritorious deed.
Midrash Aggadah adds a bit more detail to the story (since this is Midrash, it is a story and may or may not be true). Earlier we are told that Chur is an important leader and is often with Aaron. Chur is mentioned in Sh’mot / Exodus 17:10, and 24:14. Before Moses leaves to ascend the mountain he says (24:14) “Aaron and Chur will remain with you. Whoever has a problem can go to them.'”
So Chur is in charge (as is Aaron) until Moses’ return – but we never hear of him again.
The Midrash tells us that Chur tried to stop the rabble from creating the golden calf and they murdered him. Now, again, this is a Midrash (story) – it may be fact, or it may be fiction, but it adds a layer to the motivations of Aaron to keep the crowd from rioting while trying to save his own life. . .
Does anyone honestly think that G-d would have made Aaron the kohen gadol (high priest) – and given all of his descendants the eternal priesthood – if Aaron had been an idol worshiper?
The people who made the calf were killed (all 3000 of them). G-d also sent a plague
THINK, folks! Think and read the Torah – not what Cecil B. DeMille makes into a movie, or what someone tells you it says.
The golden calf is considered one of the worst sins of the Jewish people. I am not trying to make less of it than it was. The sin of the 3 million Jews was in not preventing the 3000 from sinning. Surely 3 million could have prevented the actions of 3000.
There are two very important lessons to learn from the tale of the golden calf:
"Only take heed and watch yourself very carefully, so that you do not forget the things that your eyes saw. Do not let [this memory] leave your hearts, all the days of your lives. Teach your children and children's children about the day you stood before G-d your L-rd at Horeb.It was then that God said to me, 'Congregate the people for Me, and I will let them hear My words. This will teach them to be in awe of Me as long as they live on earth, and they will also teach their children.'
"You (The Jewish nation of 3 million) approached and stood at the foot of the mountain. The mountain was burning with a fire reaching the heart of heaven, with darkness, cloud and mist. Then G-d spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no image; there was only a voice. He announced to you His covenant, instructing you to keep the Ten Utterances, and He wrote them on two stone tablets. At that time, G-d commanded me to teach you rules and laws, so that you will keep them in the land which you are crossing [the Jordan] to occupy. Watch yourselves very carefully, since you did not see any image on the day that G-d spoke to you out of the fire at Horeb (Sinai). You shall therefore not become corrupt and make a statue depicting any symbol (like a cross maybe?).
[Do not make] any male (Jesus?)
or female image, or the image of any animal on earth, any winged creature that flies in the sky, any lower form of land animal, or any animal that lives in the water below the earth. When you raise your eyes to the sky, and see the sun, moon, stars and other heavenly bodies, do not bow down to them or worship them. It was to all the [other] nations under the heavens that G-d made them a portion. But you, G-d Himself took, and He brought you out of the iron crucible that was Egypt, so that you would be His heritage nation, as you are today. . . Be careful that you not forget the covenant that G-d your L-rd made with you. [Do not] make for yourself any statue image that is forbidden by G-d. G-d your L-rd is (like) a consuming fire, a G-d demanding exclusive worship." D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:9 - 24.
D'varim / Deuteronom 4:39 says loud and clear that there is no other G-d. Hashem is the only one.
"And you shall know this day and consider it in your heart, that the L-rd He is the G-d in heaven above, and upon the earth below; there is none else." D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:39.
The definite article הָֽ ('ha") in front of the word "elohim" (a title used to describe G-d, false gods, angels and even humans who are mighty / powerful judges) makes the translation "the G-d." הָֽאֱלֹ-הִ֔ים. Here is the Hebrew:
וְיָֽדַעְתָּ֣ הַיּ֗וֹם וַהֲשֵֽׁבֹתָ֘ אֶל־לְבָבֶ֒ךָ֒ כִּ֤י יְיָ֙ ה֣וּא הָֽאֱ-להִ֔ים בַּשָּׁמַ֣יִם מִמַּ֔עַל וְעַל־הָאָ֖רֶץ מִתָּ֑חַת אֵ֖ין עֽוֹד׃
Translations tend to translate this as "He is G-d", but the text acutally says "He is THE G-d." -- that is to say, "the One and Only G-D".
D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:35 (four verses earlier) is even more explicit....
אַתָּה֙ הָרְאֵ֣תָ לָדַ֔עַת כִּ֥י יְיָ֖ ה֣וּא הָֽאֱ-לֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ין ע֖וֹד מִלְבַדּֽוֹ׃
"You have been shown these things so you should know that HaShem is the the One and Only G-D and there is no-one else apart from Him" (D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:35
Again we have The definite article הָֽ ('ha") in front of the word "elohim" ("the G-d"), but we also have אֵ֥ין ע֖וֹד מִלְבַדּֽוֹ׃ - no one else apart from Him.
G-d is ONE
Every single time G-d speaks in the Torah He speaks in the singular – one.
Never does G-d speak as a “plurality” (e.g. a trinity or more).
The fact that we are clearly told G-d is one (אֶחָד / eḥad – D'varim / Deuteronomy 6:4) is only one way we know He is not a trinity – throughout the Jewish bible this important “oneness” and “alone” (Yeshayahu / Isaiah 44:24) and “singularity” is repeated over and over so the lesson is not missed.
G-d is not a man (Bamidbar / Numbers 23:19),
“So said the L-rd. . . the ONE who formed you from the womb, “I (singular) am the L-rd . . .Who spread out the earth ALONE (לְבַדִּ֔י).” Yeshayahu / IIsaiah 44:24,
and we are told G-d is one (D'varim / Deuteronomy 6:4). But now see – it is I! I am the only One! There are no (other) gods with me! (Deuteronomy 32:39).
Over and over and over again we are told that G-d is ONE, alone, by Himself – SINGULAR.
#1 – “אֶחָד / eḥad ” means “one.” It is the same as the number one in English.
“G-d is one” (D'varim / Deuteronomy 6:4).
Some Trinitarians like to point out that “אֶחָד / eḥad ” can be a compound unity – (as in “one forest” which has many things in it).
אֶחָד / eḥad can be a compound unity (see B'reshit / Genesis 2:24 as an example) – but far more often it is an “absolute one” and not compound at all. The word "One" in this D'varim Deuteronomy 6:4 (the Shema) "the L-rd is One" is not a compound unity. It is definitely singular.
Examples of this “absolute one” can be found in Shmuel 2 / 2 Samuel 13:30: "Absolom has slain all the king's sons, and there is not one of them left" and 2 Samuel 17:12: "And of all the men that are with him we will not leave so much as one."
It is clear that just like the English word “one” the Hebrew word “אֶחָד / eḥad ” has a similar use – one means one! What about Deuteronomy 6:4 – the Sh’ma? “Listen, O Israel – the L-rd your G-d, the L-rd is ONE”? The word "One" in this Deuteronomy 6:4 is an adjective, and it describes the proper noun "the L-rd" (SINGULAR), which rules out the possibility of a "compound unity" in this passage.
#2 In Hebrew nouns are singular or plural – similar to English. Let’s look at B'reshit / Genesis 1:26 which begins with the subject of וַיֹּאמֶר vayomer “and he said”, which is a singular form. Hence B'reshit / Genesis 1:26 begins “and G-d (SINGULAR) said. If G-d were a trinity it would be plural. But G-d is ONE, not three.
וַיֹּאמְרוּ vayom'ru “and they said” can be found as in B'réshıt / Genesis 11:3, 11:4; 18:5, 18:9 as well as throughout the Torah – but whenever G-d speaks it is always singular “and He said.”
This is because G-d IS singular – one, not three.
#3 “That you will know that G-d, He (ה֣וּא – singular) is the (singular) Supreme Being and there is none besides Him (singular)" D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:35)
#4 "Now, O L-rd our G-d, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that You ALONE, O L-rd, are G-d.” (Psalm 113:5)
#5 Before Me (SINGULAR) no god was formed, nor will there be one after Me (SINGULAR). I (SINGULAR), even I (SINGULAR), am the L-rd, and besides Me (SINGULAR) there is no Savior.” Yeshayahu / Isaiah 43:11
#6 So said the L-rd, your Redeemer, the ONE who formed you from the womb, “I am the L-rd Who makes everything, Who stretched forth the heavens alone, Who spread out the earth ALONE (לְבַדִּ֔י).” Yeshayahu / Isaiah 44:24.
#7 I am the L-rd, and there is no other; besides Me there is no G-d… I will strengthen you…I order that they know from the shining of the sun and from the west that there is no one besides Me; I am the L-rd and there is no other!” Yeshayahu / Isaiah 45:5-6
Bamidbar / Numbers 23:19, Shmuel 1 / 1 Samuel 15:29, and Iyov / Job 9:32 tell us that G-d is not a man. Some Christians may argue that Jesus “in the flesh” came later to explain away this fact – but the prophet Malachi destroys this argument when he says in Jesus. “For I, the L-rd, do not change.” Malachi 3:6. Becoming a man is certainly change!
There are missionaries who try to insist that the Hebrew word for one (אֶחָד / eḥad (masculine) ) is not really "one" at all. They try to insist that it is always a compound unity. Those missionaries will insist that יָחִיד yahid is only used to refer to a strict numerical oneness, whereas אֶחָד / eḥad has a wider range of usage that includes composite unities as well. This is total nonsense. אֶחָד ĕḥad is the numeral “1” in Hebrew. Actually it is the masculine noun; the feminine form is אַחַת aḥat). יָחִיד yahid translates more to "only."
The several declined inflections of the noun יָחִיד yahid occur in 12 scriptural verses:
יְחִידְךָ in B'réshιt / Genesis 22:2, 22:12 (only)
יְחִידֶֽךָ (the pausal form) in B'réshιt / Genesis 22:16 (your only)
יְחִידָה in Shoftim / Judges 11:34 (only child feminine)
יָחִיד in Yirm'yahu / Jeremiah 6:26, 'Amos Amos 8:10 and T'hillim / Psalms 25:16 (only son masculine)
הַיָּחִיד in Z'charyah / Zechariah 12:10 (his only)
יְחִידָתִי in T'hillim / Psalms 22:21 and 35:17 (my only one)
וְיָחִיד in Mishlei / Proverbs 4:3 (and only)
and the plural יְחִידִים in T'hillim / Psalms 68:7 (solitary, plural).
The term יָחִיד yahid applies to G-d only when we are stating that G-d is the only G-d. But G-d is not "alone" in the sense that He is surrounded at all times by His mal'achim (angels) chanting kadosh, kadosh, kadosh (holy, holy, holy) continuously.
There is a similar word often confused with יָחִיד yahid and that is yahad (יָחַד) which means "together."
Alone, in English or Hebrew, is a different word than the word "one."
It would be interesting to see how these missionaries would fit their re-definition of the word אֶחָד ĕḥad into verses like B'réshıt / Genesis 21:15 and B'réshıt / Genesis 22:2; did Hagar put her dying son, Ishmael, under multiple shrubs all at the same time “she threw the boy under ĕḥad [one] of the shrubs” -- or did G-d tell Abraham to take Isaac, his son, up onto many mountains "take him up... onto ĕḥad [one] of the mountains that I will tell you about”?
The word for "one" in Hebrew functions identically to the word in English -- thus while it can be a compound unity (as in one cluster of grapes) it can also be a definite one (one cell). Hebrew nouns are either masculine or feminine. In Hebrew the words for "one" are אֶחָד eḥad (masculine), אַחַת aḥat(feminine).
"You have been shown these things so you should know that HaShem is the the One and Only G-Dand there is no-one else apart from Him" (D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:35).
As mentioned in this post Jesus was not eligible to be the messiah if he was a "virgin birth." The messiah must be born of human Jewish parents. The father must not only be Jewish, he must be of the tribe of Judah and descended from Kings David and Solomon. The messiah will be a normal human. He will not be a demigod, The messiah will not possess supernatural qualities either, and performing miracles is not a criteria to be the messiah either.
The Messiah (moshiach ben David -- the messiah son of David) must be descended on his father's side from King David (see B'reshit / Genesis 49:10, Yeshayahu / Isaiah 11:1, Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Yechezkel / Ezekiel 34:23-24). If the virgin birth story was true, and Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus then Jesus did not even have the most basic right to even try to be the messiah.
The T'nach (Jewish bible) makes it clear that the messiah must be descended from King David and King David's son Solomon. Some missionaries will claim that the "promise" that the throne must pass through Solomon is conditional, but this is untrue.
2 Samuel 7:12-16 – When your days (King David) will be completed and you will lie with your forefathers, then I shall raise up your seed after you, that which will issue from your loins, and I shall establish his kingdom. (13) He shall build a Temple for My sake, and I shall make firm the throne of his kingdom forever.
And then read 1 Chronicles 22:9-10 – Behold a son will be born to you; he will be a man of peace, and I shall give him peace from all his enemies around about, for Solomon will be his name, and I shall give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. (10) He shall build a House in My Name, and he shall be to Me as a son, and I to him as a Father, and I shall prepare the throne of his kingdom forever.
And while you're at it read 1 Kings 8:15-20; 1 Chronicles 17:11-15, 22:9-10, and 28:3-7. Torah is clear that the messiah must be a physical offspring of both David and Solomon. The Torah specifies that blood rights, such as tribal lineage, are transmitted exclusively from a father to his biological sons. Whenever the Israelites were selected to serve in the army, it was done "according to the house of their father (Bamidbar / Numbers 1:17 - 18).
"Who is a Jew" passes maternally (see D'varim / Deuteronomy 7:1–5, Vayikra / Leviticus 24:10, and Ezra 10:2–3) and lineage (tribal status) passes paternally (by the father -- assuming one first has a Jewish mother) -- and ALL of this is found in the written Torah. Sh'mot / Exodus 6:14, 6:25, B'midbar / Numbers 17:21, 34:14, 36:1, Y'hoshua / Joshua 14:1, 19:51, 21:1, 22:14, Ezra 1:5, 2:59, 2:68, 3:12, 4:2-3, 8:1, 10:16; N'ḥemyah / Nehemiah 7:61, 7:69-70, 8:13, 12:12, 12:22-23. According to the Torah, lineage/pedigree, a blood right, is passed exclusively by a biological father to his sons.
Ergo the virgin birth totally disqualifies Jesus from being the messiah.
Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Joseph was Jesus biological father. Joseph impregnated his wife, Mary, and she gave birth to a child, Jesus. The Christian bible tells us that Joseph was of the tribe of Judah, so would a normal human child from Joseph's sperm be eligible to be the messiah?
The Christian bible gives two different and conflicting lineages for Joseph. Some missionaries will claim that one of those is actually the lineage of Mary (even though the Christian bible says that both are the lineage of Joseph). If one were Mary's birth lineage it would be immaterial as a wife takes her husband's tribe upon marriage. Her birth tribe becomes moot (ancient history, unimportant). A woman does not pass tribal rights to her children -- that is passed only from the father as shown by all those passages quoted earlier in this post.
Does the lineage of Joseph given by Matthew and also by Luke put Jesus in the running to be the messiah?
Let's examine each one.
Matthew skips four kings in his lineage. Melachim 1 / I Kings Chapters 1 through Melachim II / II Kings Chapter 24, Divrei Hayamim I / I Chronicles 3:10-17, and Divrei Hayamim II / II Chronicles Chapters 1-36 show the lineages from King Solomon to King Jeconiah. Matthew skips: Ahaziah son of Jehoram, Jehoash son of Ahaziah, Amaziah son of Jehoash and Uzziah son of Amaziah (also called Azariah.
Why does Matthew eliminate 4 kings representing 81 years of leadership?
Matthew 1:17 states "so all the generations from Abraham to David are 14 generations, and from David to the Babylonian exile are 14 generations, and from the Babylonian exile until the messiah are 14 generations"
This is inaccurate. There were 18 generations -- Matthew eliminated four of them. The T'nach lists the list of lineage in three separate places in the T'nach. Link.
Eliminating four generations still might put Joseph, and his sons, in line to claim kingship, but Mathew makes one more and far more serious error in his list. Matthew left out a generation and the names given after Zerubbabel don't match 1 Chronicles 3. With such glaring errors can Matthew's genealogy be trusted?
Matthew includes King Jeconiah in his lineage for Jesus and Joseph. Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 22:30 states that none of Jeconiah's heirs will ever be kings of the Jews. Thus by including Jeconiah in Jesus (and Joseph)'s lineages Matthew has just eliminated Jesus from the possibility of ever being an anointed (messiah) king of the Jews.
Some missionaries try to "get around" the problem of Jeconiah's line being cursed and removed from the throne. They claim that the curse on Jeconiah was lifted and they point to a Talmudic passage which says that Jeconiah repented, and G-d forgave him. Yet missionaries reject the Talmud! This missionary attempt to put Jeconiah back in the kingly lineage also throws a monkey wrench into the Christian theology that says that only blood can atone for sins. If Jeconiah can ask for forgiveness and be forgiven, why does anyone need Jesus to die for their sins?
Bottom line regarding Matthew's lineage for Joseph: it excludes both Joseph and Jesus from kingship because it includes Jeconiah in the line and G-d removed him from any future descendants being kings. (Again, if Joseph was not Jesus' biological father he had no rights to the throne either).
OK, what about Luke? Luke gives a totally different lineage than Matthew. Would a male child from Joseph and his wife, Mary, be eligible for the Jewish throne? The third chapter of Luke is irrelevant to this discussion because it describes lineage of David's son Nathan, not Solomon. (Luke 3:31). Based on Luke's lineage Jesus would not have the correct pedigree to be messiah.
So from the very start -- his lineage -- Jesus was not eligible to be a messiah. But having the right lineage (which many even alive today can boast -- after all Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines) does not make anyone the messiah.
To be the messiah a man must not only have the right lineage (which Jesus lacked), he must also be anointed with the שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ shemen mish'ḥat kodesh (“Oil of Anointment of Sanctity”). Notice the word מִשְׁחַת /mish'ḥat? It means anointment. This special mixture of spice and olive oil is the only one that was used for “anointing” Jewish kings or priests. You can read about it in Sh'mot / Exodus 30:22-33:
" G-d spoke to Moses, saying: 30:23 You must take the finest fragrances, 500 [shekels] of distilled myrrh, [two] half portions, each consisting of 250 [shekels] of fragrant cinnamon and 250 [shekels] of fragrant cane, 30:24 and 500 shekels of cassia, all measured by the sanctuary standard, along with a gallon of olive oil. 30:25 Make it into sacred anointing oil. It shall be a blended compound, as made by a skilled perfumer, [made especially for] the sacred anointing oil. 30:26 Then use it to anoint the Communion Tent, the Ark of Testimony, 30:27 the table and all its utensils, the menorah and its utensils, the incense altar, 30:28 the sacrificial altar and all its utensils, the washstand and its base. 30:29 You will thus sanctify them, making them holy of holies, so that anything touching them becomes sanctified. 30:30 You must also anoint Aaron and his sons, sanctifying them as priests to Me. 30:31 Speak to the Israelites and tell them, 'This shall be the sacred anointing oil to Me for all generations. 30:32 Do not pour it on the skin of any [unauthorized] person, and do not duplicate it with a similar formula. It is holy, and it must remain sacred to you. 30:33 If a person blends a similar formula, or places it on an unauthorized person, he shall be cut off [spiritually] from his people."
Jesus was never anointed with this, the only oil used to anoint Jewish kings. Any claims of being anointed by the "holy spirit" or another oil is immaterial -- it is not the right method for anointing Jewish kings as defined by G-d in the Torah (bible).
Lastly, and most important of all, Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies. Missionaries counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright; in the T'nach no concept of a second coming exists. In fact, the T'nach says when a person dies, "on that day his plans all perish." T'hillim / Psalm 146:4.
The excuse of Jesus’ “second coming” is an admission that Jesus failed to fulfill these essential Messianic passages. Couldn't anyone claim to be the messiah -- and promise to fulfill the prophecies "next time"? The question then becomes why anyone should believe that person was the Messiah when they first came upon the scene?
Paul seemed to realize that the two lineages were a problem. He wrote "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless." Titus 3:9.
Unfortunately many Jews are not “Jewish.” As the prophet Hosea wrote "My people has been eliminated for lack of knowledge; for you have spurned knowledge and I will spurn you from serving Me; and as you have forgotten the Torah of your G-d, I too, will forget your children." Hosea 4:6.
Moishe (Martin) Rosen (founder of Jews for Jesus) was a Jew, but a Jew who becomes a Christian is not Jewish. Rosen was an ordained Baptist minister in 1957 (Northeastern Bible College in New Jersey). He led Hebrew Christian congregations and worked for the Chosen Peoples Ministry and eventually "Jews for Jesus." Rosen was a Christian through and through -- a Baptist who was born a Jew and rejected Judaism for Christianity.
Such a person endangers his immortal soul. Their apostasy can cut off them off / כרת (kareit) permanently from G-d and the Jewish people. A person like Rosen is in far more spiritual danger than a non-Jew who follows Christianity.
In Hilchot Teshuvah 8:1, the Rambam elaborates on the latter dimension: " The good that is hidden for the righteous is the life of the world to come... The retribution of the wicked is that they will not merit this life. Rather, they will be cut off and die. This is the intent of the meaning of the term כרת in the Torah, as (Bamidbar / Numbers 15:31) states: "That soul shall surely be cut off."
Think about the Jews in the bible who followed Ba’al or other false gods – they were still Jews, but they cut themselves off from G-d. So, yes, Moishe (Martin) Rosen was a Jew – a Jew who cut himself off from G-d and even worse, he encouraged others to turn away from G-d.
Did you read that? “I WILL SPURN YOU FROM SERVING ME AND AS YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN THE TORAH OF YOUR G-D, I TOO, WILL FORGET YOUR CHILDREN.” Hosea 4:6.
Being a Jew does not mean you automatically “pass go and collect $200.” The opposite is true. We made a contract with G-d and when we turn our backs to Him we are judged more harshly that a non-Jew who does the same. G-d is loving and forgiving, though and G-d desires the apostate's repentance and beckons him/her to renounce iniquity: "From the clutches of the grave I would ransom them, from death I would redeem them, I will be your words of death; I will decree the grave upon you. Remorse shall be hidden from My eyes" (Hosea 13:14). Unfortunately Moishe Rosen did not repent.
Jews for Judaism has an excellent article on this topic. Link.
By "the beginning" I mean let us start with the very first disqualification of Jesus as a potential messiah. The "table stakes" (entry fee if you will) to be the messiah is a man who is a direct descendant of Kings David and Solomon on his father's side.
Tribal lineage is only passed by a Jewish biological father impregnating a Jewish woman (his wife or concubine). The mother must be Jewish because "who is a Jew" is passed maternally (link), while tribal status is passed by the Jewish father IF the mother is Jewish. For those who want to understand in more depth why "who is a Jew" is passed maternally follow the link.
Christianity teaches of the virgin birth of Jesus, and this supposed miracle is actually the very first thing that totally disqualifies Jesus from being a Jewish king (messiah). Joseph was married to Mary. Some missionaries try to avoid the issue of Jesus' legitimacy by stating that Mary was engaged to Joseph, but not yet married. Thus there is no question of adultery, because she was engaged, but not married. Nice try, but (there was no such thing as an engagement in ancient Judaism). Marriage was a two part process, and in the first stage (eirusin) the couple might not live together, but they were still considered married. Also note that Joseph is said to have thought to divorce Mary (Matthew 1:19). One divorces a wife, not a fiance.
As an outsider (non-Christian) it is odd to me that a missionary can become so in love with the idea of a virgin birth that they ignore that Jews are a real people, with real laws. At the time Jesus was supposedly born we had a real country (even though it was occupied by the Romans). Jewish law (halacha) was given by G-d. These are not man-made rules, these are the very words G-d commanded us to do and to follow. In this post we will discuss Jewish law taken from the bible and it will show why the virgin birth disqualifies Jesus from even being a member of the tribe of Judah, let alone a messianic "wannabe."
In the beginning (of the covenants with our people: Abraham, not Adam!) no one was Jewish. Abraham had a covenant with G-d, so did Isaac, as did Jacob, but the first Jews were created (converted if you will) at Sinai when G-d revealed Himself to the entire nation and we agreed to be His people. The laws relating to "who is a Jew" relate, then, only post-Sinai (again, some missionaries seem to ignore chronological order!). The first "You shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughter to his son, and you shall not take his daughter for your son. For he will turn away your son from following Me, and they will worship the gods of others, and the wrath of the L-rd will be kindled against you, and He will quickly destroy you.” D'varim / Deuteronomy 7:3-4. see also Ezra 10:2-3..
Tribal lineage however is passed only by the Jewish father (if the mother is Jewish). We also know this because this is what G-d tells us in the T'nach (bible). Start with Bamidbar / Numbers 1:17-18 where the pedigrees are decreed by the men (not the women). according to their families (tribes). Rashi (great biblical commentator) wrote "They brought the records of their pedigrees and witnesses of their birth claims, so that each one should trace his genealogy to a tribe."
Every tribal lineage can only be transmitted from a father to his biological sons (assuming the mother is Jewish -- if the mother is not Jewish the child has no Jewish status at all, including no tribe). The Torah discusses that only men transmit tribal status in Bamidbar / Numbers 1:17-18 (quoted above) , including the right to priesthood and kingship (Sh'mot / Exodus 40:15; Baidbar / Numbers 25:12-13).
This is what G-d has decreed in the Torah. And G-d does not lie.
"G-d is not a man that He should lie, nor is He a mortal that He should relent. Would He say and not do, speak and not fulfill?" Bamidbar / Numbers 23:19.
"And also, the Eternal One of Israel will neither lie nor repent, for He is not a human to repent." 1 Samuel 15:29
"I am G-d and not a man. In your midst is the Holy One." Hosea 11:9.
"Who is a Jew" passes maternally (see D'varim / Deuteronomy 7:1–5, Vayikra / Leviticus 24:10, and Ezra 10:2–3) and lineage (tribal status) passes paternally (by the father -- assuming one first has a Jewish mother) -- and ALL of this is found in the written Torah. Sh'mot / Exodus 6:14, 6:25, B'midbar / Numbers 17:21, 34:14, 36:1, Y'hoshua / Joshua 14:1, 19:51, 21:1, 22:14, Ezra 1:5, 2:59, 2:68, 3:12, 4:2-3, 8:1, 10:16; N'ḥemyah / Nehemiah 7:61, 7:69-70, 8:13, 12:12, 12:22-23.
Some missionaries will argue that Tzelafchad / Zelophehad's daughters (בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד) inherit from their father. This, they insist, means that Mary could pass her tribe on to Jesus whether or not Joseph was the biological father. First of all, there is not one passage in the Christian bible which says it is Mary's lineage (although missionaries will try to fit one of two conflicting lineages to her). It would not matter what her birth tribe was since a woman's birth tribe "goes away" upon marriage. A woman becomes a member of her husband's tribe when she marries him. The story of Tzelafchad/ Zelophehad's daughters re-enforces the fact that tribal status is passed only by men (and not women).
Tzelafchad / Zelophehad's five daughters are told they may inherit their fathers "things" only so long as they remain in their father's tribe. If they marry in the same tribe then that property stays in the tribe (because it is the tribe of their husband as well as their birth tribe).
The part that the missionaries do not quote is Bamidbar / Numbers 36 which shows that if any of Tzelafchad / Zelopehahd's daughters married into a different tribe they would lose their father's property -- proving yet again that this type of inheritance is only from the male (father) and not the woman:
"You have also been commanded by G-d to give the hereditary property of Tzelafchad our brother to his daughters. 36:3 'But if they marry a member of another Israelite tribe, then the hereditary property coming to us from our fathers will be diminished, since it will be added to the tribe into which they marry. Our hereditary property from the lottery system will thus be diminished. 36:4 Even if the Israelites have the jubilee, their hereditary property will be added to the property of the tribe into which they marry, and it will be subtracted from the property of our fathers' tribe.'
36:5 Moses gave the Israelites instructions at G-d's command, saying, 'The tribe of Joseph's descendants have a just claim. 36:6 This is the word that G-d has commanded regarding Tzelafchad's daughters: You may marry anyone you wish as long as you marry within your father's tribe.
36:7 The hereditary property of the Israelites will thus not be transferred from one tribe to another, and each person among the Israelites will remain attached to the hereditary property of his father's tribe.
36:8 'Thus, every girl who inherits property among the Israelite tribes shall marry a member of her father's tribe. Each Israelite will then inherit his fathers' hereditary property, 36:9 and the hereditary property will not be transferred from one tribe to another. Each of the Israelite tribes will then remain attached to its hereditary property.' 36:10 Tzelafchad's daughters did exactly as G-d had commanded Moses. 36:11 Machlah, Tirtzah, Chaglah, Milcah and No'ah, the daughters of Tzelafchad, married their cousins. 36:12 They thus married into the families of Manasseh son of Joseph, and their hereditary property remained with their father's family." Bamidbar / Numbers 36:2-8.
Ergo the tale of Tzelafchad's daughters clearly shows that tribal rights pass only through the men -- unless the women do not marry (and thus remain in their father's tribe). The story of Tzelfchad's daughters actually refutes the missionary argument rather than supporting it.
One final missionary argument (when all else fails) is that Jesus was adopted by Joseph, thus giving him the right to the tribe of Judah.
Nice try, but Jewish law does not work that way. Tribal status does not pass to an adopted child.
If adoption into the royal line were possible, one would have to wonder why Athaliah took such drastic measures following the death of her sons at the hands of Jehu and his men: "And Athaliah, Ahaziah's mother, saw that her son was dead, and she rose and destroyed all those of royal descent." 2 Kings 11:1. Had adoption been a viable solution to the problem of an heir, Athaliah would have been able to pursue that route -- but instead when her son died she killed those that had the lineage to claim the throne. See also 2 Kings 9:27, 10:13-14. Yoash the son of Ahaziah was saved (hidden away), and he did have the lineage to the royal family.
Tribal status only pass from biological Jewish father of a specific tribe who has a child with a Jewish woman. Adoption doesn't pass tribal lineage and neither do women (a woman takes her husband's tribe upon marriage and the tribe of her birth is immaterial). If the woman has a child from a man other than her husband that child would have no tribal status (being the result of adultery per Jewish law).
Ask the missionary who argues for adoption into kingship if Queen Elizabeth II of England had adopted a boy prior to giving birth to Charles would that adopted son be in line for the British throne? The answer is NO. So why is it so hard for them to understand the same is true of Jewish law? While Jewish law is different from British -- this concept is the same.
Add to this the fact that Jewish "adoption" significantly different from Roman / Christian adoption. In Judaism the concept of being adopted and having your birth parents "forgotten" is non-existent.
A Jew who is adopted into a family of a tribe other than his birth tribe does NOT take the tribe of the adopting family. The argument is false. In Judaism an adopted child retains the tribe of his birth (if he had one). A girl retains her father's tribal status until such time as she marries outside of that tribe (and then she is a member of her husband's tribe).
In Ketuvim (Writings) we are told that Esther is adopted by her cousin Mordechai (Book of Esther 2:7). Esther's full name is used twice in the story --- and both times it is tied to her birth father (Esther daughter of Avihayil). (Book of Esther 2:15 and 9:29) -- in other words, she is called by the name of her biological father, not her adoptive father.
A child born as a priest (a kohein) is ALWAYS a kohein even if adopted by someone from the tribe of Judah. Adoption does NOT change tribal status -- it is only biological from a Jewish father to his Jewish child.
In Mary's case if the father of her child was anyone other than Joseph the child was a mamzer and had no tribal status at all. When a woman marries she takes on the tribe of her husband (as if her birth tribe simply disappeared). Mary's lineage is totally immaterial -- excepting that she had to be Jewish.
So adoption by Joseph of Jesus would not make Jesus a member of the tribe of Judah.
A child may be raised by persons other than his or her biological parents, but the heritage (parentage) does not change as it does in Western society. From the Guide for the Jewish Adoptive Parent:
"It might come as a surprise to learn that adoption, as a legal institution does not exist in Jewish tradition, at least not in the same way that it is understood in civil law. . . Adoption as a legal institution was rare in Biblcal and Rabbinical literature. The Bible contains several incidents of foster care which, though not the equivalent of adoption, are noteworthy. Most famous of these was Moses, who was raised by Pharaoh's daughter. Later Rabbinic sources praise this pagan woman for her piety and note that Moses' name was given to him by his foster mother; his Hebrew name, presumably given to him at birth, is not remember. Ruth's son Oved was nursed and perhaps raised by her mother-in-Law Naomi. . . Esther, orphaned at an early age is raised by her cousin Mordecai. . .
"Rabbinic law also describes no formal adoption procedure. Rather the Rabbinic court provided for the care of needy children by the appointment of a legal guardian, an apotropos, who was responsible for the child's economic and educational welfare. An apostropos was appointed for orphaned children and an asufi (foundling; a child with no known parents), and occasionally when biological parents were incapable of providing adequate care. It was considered meritorious to take into one's house children in need of care and to raise them along with one's own family.
"There are crucial differences between the Jewish and civil institutions of adoption. While Jewish law recognizes the possibility of creating a facsimile of parental and filial obligations that could approximate those in a biological relationship, the natural bond between parent and child cannot be legally severed. Though a child might be physically removed from the biological parents, some legal relationship to them was preserved"
The Encyclopedia Judaica states (reprinted at the Jewish Virtual Library):
Adoption is not known as a legal institution in Jewish law.
According to halakhah the personal status of parent and child is based on the natural family relationship only and there is no recognized way of creating this status artificially by a legal act or fiction.
However, Jewish law does provide for consequences essentially similar to those caused by adoption to be created by legal means. These consequences are the right and obligation of a person to assume responsibility for (a) a child's physical and mental welfare and (b) his financial position, including matters of inheritance and maintenance. The legal means of achieving this result are (1) by the appointment of the adopter as a "guardian" (see *Apotropos ) of the child, with exclusive authority to care for the latter's personal welfare, including his upbringing, education, and determination of his place of abode; and (2) by entrusting the administration of the child's property to the adopter. The latter undertaking to be accountable to the child and, at his own expense and without any right of recourse, would assume all such financial obligations as are imposed by law on natural parents vis-à-vis their children. Thus, the child is for all practical purposes placed in the same position toward his adoptors as he would otherwise be toward his natural parents, since all matters of education, maintenance, upbringing, and financial administration are taken care of (Ket. 101b; Maim., Yad, Ishut, 23:17–18; and Sh. Ar., EH 114 and Tur ibid., Sh. Ar., ḤM 60:2–5; 207:20–21; PDR, 3 (n.d.), 109–125). On the death of the adopter, his heirs would be obliged to continue to maintain the "adopted" child out of the former's estate, the said undertaking having created a legal debt to be satisfied as any other debt (Sh. Ar., ḤM 60:4).
Indeed, in principle neither the rights of the child toward his natural parents, nor their obligations toward him are in any way affected by the method of "adoption" described above; but in fact, the result approximated very closely to what is generally understood as adoption in the full sense of the word.
Along with the laws defining that tribal status passes only by a Jewish father impregnating his wife (or concubine) with his zera (think "sperm") we also have the many promises by G-d to King David that the right to kingship would never be removed from King Solomon. Thus the messiah must be descended not only to a member of the tribe of Judah, but the messiah must also be descended from Kings David and Solomon. This post is long enough, I will save that discussion for another post.
Both Jews and Christians use the word "messiah," but we mean very different things using the same word. What are those definitions -- and what does the bible say?
I just mentioned that the word messiah appears 39 times in the T'nach. Ask yourself how many times that word is presented as "messiah" in Christian translations? Usually only once (in Daniel 9) where it is presented as "the Messiah" in the King James Version translation. There is no "the" with the word in Daniel 9, and there are no capital letters in Hebrew. Daniel 9 speaks of two messiahs (not one) -- neither of whom is "the" messiah (and again, the word "the" is not found in the text). Some Christian translations also use the word "messiah" in T'hillim / Psalm 2. Those two places are the only two where Christian translators use the word "messiah."
Here are just a few Christian translations to consider -- the word מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach aka anointed one) is translated as "anointed one" by Christian translators except for once or twice in Daniel 9 (and sometimes in Psalm 2). Here is a short list, check for yourself:
Most Christian translations of מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach aka anointed one) "messiah" in Daniel 9, including the King James Version / KJV, puts the definite article "the" in front of "messiah" ("the messiah") in Daniel 9 although the Hebrew word for "the" does not appear at all ('ha").
Interesting enough the NIV has "the anointed one" in Daniel 9 (and not "messiah") -- but note that they still say "the" even though the word isn't used! Still misleading, it should be "AN anointed one" not "the anointed one."
The T'nach (Hebrew) of Daniel 9 does not say "the messiah." It actually speaks of two anointed ones / messiahs (not one). Neither anointed one (messiah) is "the messiah." The term “THE messiah” (with the definite article “the”) does not occur anywhere at all in the T'nach (Jewish bible). But I digress. The point of this post is to explain the difference in meaning of the word "messiah" for the Christian versus how it is used in the T'nach (Jewish bible) and what it actually means in Hebrew.
If you look up the word "messiah" ("christ" is a modified Greek translation for the word) in your average English dictionary you will find it defined as "the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible" or "the expected king and deliverer of the Jews" or even "Jesus regarded by Christians as the Messiah of the Hebrew prophecies and the savior of humankind."
The word "christ" in the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) is "The title, also treated as a name, given to Jesus of Nazareth (see Jesus)."
Since you now know that the word מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach aka anointed one) appears 39 times in the T'nach ask yourself about the 37 instances that are presented as "anointed one" and not as "messiah." Ask yourself "why"? Ask yourself -- is the word "messiah" in the T'nach presented as the "expected king and deliverer of the Jews"? Is the word in the bible only pointing to "Jesus regarded by Christians as the messiah of the Hebrew prophecies and the savior of humankind?"
Nope, not even close -- which is why those translations chose to not confuse their readers by presenting the word as "messiah."
The 37 instances of "messiah" which the Christian translators give as "anointed one" and not "messiah" do not fit the Christian theology so they are not presented as "messiah" (which is an Anglicized version of the Hebrew word מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach), instead the meaning is given (the actual translation into English. Thus in 37 places it is "anointed one" which most Christians would not realize is presented as "messiah" in Hebrew.
As a result of these misleading translations many Christians think Jesus was the only messiah ever -- and given their mistranslations this is an easy mistake to make.
None of those definitions is correct. The translation of the Hebrew word מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach aka anointed one) as Χριστός (Khristós) in the Christian bible is the origin for the word "christ." It should have the identical meaning as the word מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach aka anointed one).
Quite simply the Hebrew word מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach) -- or "messiah" in English translates to "anointed one."
The noun מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach aka anointed one), in English "messiah" occurs 39 times in the T'nach. Thirty-four are nouns and the remaining five are adjectives.
Additionally there are other closely related words, such as מִשְׁחָה mish'ḥah (“anointment”) which occurs, for example, in the expression שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹֽדֶשׁ shĕmĕn mish'ḥat kōdĕsh (“anointment-of-holiness oil”)— this term is found twice in Sh'mot / Exodus 30:25 and again in Sh'mot / Exodus 30:31. שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹֽדֶשׁ shĕmĕn mish'ḥat kōdĕsh (“anointment-of-holiness oil”) is a special type of anointment with a particular oil for kings -- and this was never done with Jesus. Jesus was never a moshiach (messiah) -- and he did not have the "birth right" to be a rightful king of the Jews.
The Hebrew word is inseparable with the concept of the special oil in my last paragraph. This was a special mixture of spice and olive oil that was used for “anointing” of kings and priests. It is called שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ shemen mish'ḥat kodesh (“Oil of Anointment of Sanctity”) in the passage of Sh'mot / Exodus 30:22-33 which gives the formula for making it and how to properly use it. . .
"G-d spoke to Moses, saying: 30:23 You must take the finest fragrances, 500 [shekels] of distilled myrrh, [two] half portions, each consisting of 250 [shekels] of fragrant cinnamon and 250 [shekels] of fragrant cane, 30:24 and 500 shekels of cassia, all measured by the sanctuary standard, along with a gallon of olive oil. 30:25 Make it into sacred anointing oil. It shall be a blended compound, as made by a skilled perfumer, [made especially for] the sacred anointing oil. 30:26 Then use it to anoint the Communion Tent, the Ark of Testimony, 30:27 the table and all its utensils, the menorah and its utensils, the incense altar, 30:28 the sacrificial altar and all its utensils, the washstand and its base. 30:29 You will thus sanctify them, making them holy of holies, so that anything touching them becomes sanctified. 30:30 You must also anoint Aaron and his sons, sanctifying them as priests to Me. 30:31 Speak to the Israelites and tell them, 'This shall be the sacred anointing oil to Me for all generations. 30:32 Do not pour it on the skin of any [unauthorized] person, and do not duplicate it with a similar formula. It is holy, and it must remain sacred to you. 30:33 If a person blends a similar formula, or places it on an unauthorized person, he shall be cut off [spiritually] from his people." Sh'mot / Exodus 30:22-33.
Thus Saul, David and Solomon were all messiahs -- anointed kings.
Isaiah 45:1 uses the term לִמְשִׁיחוֹ֮ (has anointed).
Rashi's commentary on Isaiah 45:1 is: "Every title of greatness is called anointing. Comp. (Num. 18:8) “To you I have given them for greatness (לְמָשְׁחָה).” Our Sages, however, said: To the King Messiah, the Holy One, blessed be He, says, “I complain to you about Cyrus,” as it is stated in Tractate Megillah 12a." The only kohén (priest) who is ever called הַכֹּהֵן הַמָּשִֽׁיחַ hakohén hamashiyaḥ “the anointed kohén / priest" is the Chief Kohén (in Vayikra / Leviticus 4:3, 4:5, 4:16 and 6:15).
Note that מִשְׁחַת mish'ḥat is basically the same word as מָשִֽׁיחַ moshiach (a “messiah”).
A person cannot, therefore, be “anointed” (in the sense that this word is used in the Scriptures) with water, or with a dove, or with “holy spirit”, or with anything else apart from the compound of spices and olive oil that is specified in the passage I referred to a moment ago. Thus by the very definition of "messiah" in the T'nach Jesus was not a messiah. Jesus was not properly anointed with the שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ shemen mish'ḥat kodesh (“Oil of Anointment of Sanctity”).
Cyrus was not a Jewish king -- the anointing of a Jewish king is unique to Judaism. Cyrus was thus a messiah because he was a properly anointed king of his people.
Would it surprise you to know that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is a messiah? She is a properly anointed queen of her people.
The first Jewish priest, Aaron, was also a messiah (an anointed one). Moses’ elder brother Aaron and his four sons Nadav, Avihu, El'azar and Itamar) were anointed personally. it was not necessary for subsequent priestly generations to undergo the physical procedure of anointing because the “status” of being “an anointed person” could be inherited by a son from his father.
This is true for kings as well. But the generations must be uncontested.
There was a 600 year gap between the previous Davidic king and Jesus supposed birth. Those 600 years break means that the messiah will have to be anointed with the special oil -- and again this rules out Jesus (as did his parentage, Jesus was never eligible to be the messiah, but I will save that discussion for another post).
Personal anointment for Jewish kings is only necessary in three situations:
There are biblical references the future King who is destined to reign one day over the whole world, but he is never explicitly called a “messiah”. It’s a post-biblical usage in Judaism to refer to him as a “the messiah” The prophet Ezekiel refers to "the messiah" as "the prince. This person is human. He must be descended from a Jewish mother and the father must be a direct descendant of Kings David and Solomon (also with Jewish mothers -- a non-Jewish mother means the child is not Jewish and even if the father is Jewish the child would have no tribal rights).
The messiah will have children, and the messiah (being human) will eventually die. We know that the messiah will not live forever because we are told that his children will inherit.
"Thus says the L-rd G-d: If THE PRINCE gives a gift to any of his sons, it is his inheritance to remain in the their possession; it is their property by inheritance. (17) But if he gives a gift of his inheritance to one of his servants, then it shall be his until the year of liberty, and then it returns to THE PRINCE; only to his sons shall his inheritance belong. (18) THE PRINCE shall not take any of the inheritance of the people to wrongfully force them out of their possession; only from his own possession shall he give his sons inheritance; so that My people should not be scattered, each man from his possession." Ezekiel 46:16-18 .
Although the word anointed (messiah) is used to speak of prophets, prophets were not formally “anointed”.
Even though G-d tells Éliyyahu / Elijah in 1 Kings 19:15-16 to go and “anoint” Ḥaza'él as king of Aram (Syria), Yéhu as king of Israel (the Northern Kingdom), and Ĕlisha as his own successor, He does not tell Éliyyahu / Elijah to take a supply of “Anointing Oil” with him (as He had done, for example, when He sent Samuel to anoint David in 1 Samuel 16:1). None of the three people Éliyyahu / Elijah was to “anoint” was a king of Judah so none of them was eligible to receive שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹֽדֶשׁ shĕmĕn mish'ḥat kōdĕsh (“anointment-of-holiness oil”).
When the time came for Éliyyahu / Elijah to appoint Elisha as his own successor, he didn’t actually “anoint” him at all, but simply threw his coat over the latter’s shoulders (1 Kings 19:19), symbolically transferring his authority to him.
So not only is the Christian definition very different from the biblical definition, it misleads the average Christian badly who does not speak and read Hebrew for themselves. Yet again we have very different meanings in the bible versus how it is used in Christianity (including the Christian bible).
The Jewish position on "the" messiah is all found in the T'nach (bible). He will be G-d's servant, ushing in an age of universal peace and Global knowledge of G-d. (Isaiah 2:1-4; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Isaiah 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34)
We know he will be a descendant of King David and King Solomon who will rule Israel during this messianic era. (Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4-5)
Since every King is a messiah, by convention, we refer to this future anointed king as The Messiah.
G-d is unchanging. It’s right there in Torah. He even tells you not to put your trust in the "son of man" in whom there is no salvation.
Yet Jesus is called "son of man" 88 times in the Christian bible!
Matthew uses the term 32 times
Luke uses the term 25 times
John uses it 12 times
Yet the T'nach (the "OT" - "only testament") tells us: "Do not trust in princes, or in the son of man, who has no salvation." (Psalm / T'hillim 146:3).
Could it be any clearer???
If you need a few more:
"I HaShem do not change ." Malachai 3:6
"Before Me no god was formed, nor will there be one after Me. I, even I, am HaShem, and besides Me there is no Savior.” Isaiah 43:11
“I am the first and I am the last; apart from Me there is no G-d! Isaiah 44:6
"I am HaShem, and there is no other; besides Me there is no G-d" Isaiah 45:5
"Remember the first things of old, that I am G-d and there is no other; I am G-d and there is none like Me." Isaiah 46:9.
A little math for missionaries. . . 100% + 100% + 100% does not equal 1 no matter how many Trinitarians tell you that it does!
It was my intention to move on from debunking these "Orthodox" rabbis whom missionaries tout as some sort of proof that even learned Jews can become Christians. So far we've seen that the supposed experts were either not rabbis at all (Cohn, Pearlmutter) or of questionable sanity and education. It is hard to think that a truly learned Jew could ever be conned by the mistranslations and distortions (outright reversing!) of "prophecies," but some have converted to Christianity simply to avoid anti-semitism or being cut off from the Jewish people (the former Chief Rabbi of Rome, R' Zolli is a perfect example of this last type of convert). . . But I was talked into researching one Rabbi Isaac / Ignatz Lichtenstein, of the 19th century.
Before I even discuss this man, realize that we're talking about an era of pogroms and rampant anti-semitism in Europe. Many Jews were slaughtered, and the Reform movement (which had begun in the late 18th century) was gaining momentum as Jews wanted to escape persecution and so either converted to Christianity or tried to remain half fish half fowl (half Jewish / half not) by making their Jewish practices as close to Christianity as they could (to placate the non-Jews). This is the world which many of these "rabbis" touted by the missionaries lived. Yeshivot (Jewish schools) had a difficult time finding enough teachers as the Russians (among others) shut them down and discouraged them. . . Jews lived mostly in abject poverty in Shtetls (very small communities).
From Scrolls: Essays on Jewish history and literature, and kindred subjects, Volume 1 By Gotthard Deutsch (died 1921 -- a Jewish historian). This book discusses "rabbis" in the 19th century often referenced by missionaries as converting to Christianity. From the book starting on page 116:
"the present chief rabbi of London referred to the fact that three reform rabbis had converted to Christianity. He preferred not to give the exact number, because he probably had reason to fear the exact memory of those who remembered a previous statement of his that he could fill a book with the names of the disciples of Isaac M. Wise (founder of Reform Judaism) who has become converts to Christianity.
"The force of the argument was now to be a different one. It never had happened in Israel before — so his "Very Reverence" said — that a rabbi had become a convert to Christianity. I happen to be in possession of a pamphlet, issued by some missionary society, containing the biography of one (Isaac) Ignatz Lichtenstein, who was a rabbi in Tapio Szele, Hungary, and had written pamphlets advocating conversion to Christianity while still officiating as a rabbi.
"The statement was declared by somebody who had reason to hide himself behind the cover of anonymity, an invention (aka a fake).”
A few things to note from the above paragraph:
Missionaries insist that Ignatz Lichtenstein was an Orthodox Rabbi -- thus he is supposedly a "learned" Jew who became a Christian.
So was he Orthodox or Reform? Did he become a Christian? How "learned" was Ignatz Lichtenstein? How well regarded was he as a rabbinical source? (In other words was he a "C" student or an honor roll student?).
We know for a fact that Isaac / Ignatz Lichtenstein is buried in a Reform Jewish cemetery in Hungary, which would add substance to the thought that he might have been a Reform rabbi, and not an Orthodox rabbi. A picture of his tombstone is shown on this page.
Did he write the missionary documents? Did he become a Christian, or was he confused with another Lichtenstein (a fairly common name)?
The book "Apostates, Hybrids, or True Jews? Jewish Christians and Jewish Identity" by Raymond Lillevik quotes an obituary which says "Not until the scandal had lasted a long time did the Reformed Rabbinate of Budapest succeed in inducing the representatives of the community of Tapio Tzele, composed for the most part of relatives or friends of Lichtenstein, to demand his dismissal, in order that he should withdraw from the Rabbinate."
If Lichtenstein was an Orthodox rabbi, why would the "Reform(ed) Rabbinate of Budapest) be involved in his dismissal? Missionaries insist that I. Lichtenstein was an Orthodox rabbi (most likely for credibility sake) – but the details seem to lead more to the conclusion that he was no such thing.
The same book states that many members of his family thought Ignatz was insane. Two years before Lichtenstein left Tapioszele he was without a regular income and was supported by a Christian missionary (Arnold Frank of Hamburg, Germany).
Aside from quotes from people contemporaneous with Lichtenstein stating he was a Reform Jew, and the fact that he was buried in a Reform cemetery take a look at information on the town in which he supposedly had a pulpit in a Synagogue. The town, Tapioszele, was in Pest – which was itself the leading area of Hungary for Reform Judaism. Link.
The book "Apostates, Hybrids, or True Jews? Jewish Christians and Jewish Identity" also sais "Tapioszele belonged to the Neolog (Reform) camp, which is indicated by the reactions in Budapest voiced by the Neolog (Reform) leadership, and by the fact that Lichtenstein was buried in the Reform cemetery in Budapest.”
We must discuss Reform Judaism in the 19th century to understand why this eliminates Lichtenstein a learned Jewish source for missionaries to exploit. Reform Judaism began in the 18th century in Germany. Previously Jews had been separated and not able to be part of the mainstream countries where they lived. When countries began to allow assimilation the number of Jews who ceased being religious climbed dramatically. Per Aish: “an estimated quarter of a million Jews converted to Christianity during this time and that countless others assimilated into the European culture.
“Interestingly, the assimilation rate was higher where there were fewer Jews. In Eastern Europe, where the Jewish population was almost 5 million, 90,000 (or not quite 2%) converted to Christianity in order to have an easier life and mingle with mainstream society. . .”
Many, many of the early Reform Jewish adopters had children who became Christians.
The early Reform movement considered Judaism a religion, but not a people. They were anti-Zionists (did not believe in Jews ever returning to the land). They disavowed the divinity of the Torah, saying it was written by men. They gave up being kosher, and shrimp was often served at official meetings. The early Reform movement moved Shabbat to Sunday (to be like the Christians). The services were held in German, not Hebrew. They had choirs and organs, like the Christians.
A Reform rabbi of this period would not be expected to be a great Jewish expert – and Lichtenstein (Reform or Orthodox) claimed to have received his ordination at the age of 18. His Synagogue was in a very small town, and this rabbi (Reform or Orthodox), was not an important name in his generation. Tapioszele, of Pest in Hungary, was settled in the 18th century by Jews. The Synagogue was founded in 1810 and a school followed in 1840. There were a grand total of 396 Jews and the population declined from there. Again, contemporaries later claimed that most of the people in the town were related to Lichtenstein (source: The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and During the Holocaust).
So, this yet another Rabbi that the missionaries tout as being learned who became Christians. Lichtenstein was a small town rabbi (less than 400 people), whose only family questioned his sanity. In all likelihood he was Reform, which in that time period rejected nearly every aspect of Judaism. Again, there are arguments for and against whether he was Orthodox or Reform but the fact that he came from a Reform area and was buried in a Reform cemetery lean heavily in that direction.
His writings also show clearly that he was not well educated in Judaism. Near his death he wrote “'Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way.'” – this is a mistranslation of T’hillim / Psalm 2. Surely a rabbi would not mistranslate basic Hebrew! The Hebrew is נְשְׁקוּ־בַר “arm yourself with purity” and not “kiss the son.” The word בַר in Aramaic means “son” – but T'hillim / Psalm 2 is not written in Aramaic. It is written in Hebrew. In Hebrew the word בַר means pure (Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions), not “son.”
Wouldn’t a “learned rabbi” know the difference between Hebrew and Aramaic? How could a learned rav make such a basic mistake in translation?
The Aramaic noun בְּרָא (b'ra), a son, does not appear in the Hebrew Bible in its root noun form - only in the possessive form (smichut). In the same sense, the Aramaic word בַּר (bar) appears only in the possessive form phrases as "son of ...", and there is no instance where it appears as a root noun, i.e., meaning "a son.” The phraseנַשְּׁקוּ־בַר in T’hillim / Psalm 2 cannot be translated as “kiss the son” because there is no definite article (the word “the” aka “ha” in Hebrew) or accusative particle in the text. If (for some weird reason) בַּר in T'hillim / Psalm 2:12 was the Aramaic “son”and not Hebrew it would still have to be translated “kiss a son” not kiss THE son. Kiss the son” would have to be נַשְּׁקוּ אֶת הַבַּר or, using the Aramaic grammatical structure, נַשְּׁקוּ יַת בְּרָא.
The simple fact is that there are NO Aramaic words at all in T'hillim / Psalms. If Ignatz Lichtenstein were a “learned” rabbi he would surely know that. Ergo, whether Orthodox (unlikely) or Reform he was a small town rabbi of questionable sanity and expertise.
Given his mistranslation of Tehillim / Psalm 2 it would seem he wasn't well educated -- and given the fact that his Synagogue was in a small town this would seem to also indicate the same. . . I don't know if the Synagogue in question was Orthodox either because he was eventually buried in a Reform cemetery. The early Reform movement lost many members to Christianity. The grandfather of Reform was Moses Mendelssohn (1729 - 1786) Four out of six of Mendelssohn's surviving children converted to Christianity including the children of its founder.
Yet another source held up by missionaries to convince Jews that one can be a Jew and a Christian because "learned Orthodox rabbis" convert to Christianity. Research for yourself. Learn a little something about Judaism in the 19th century in Europe. . .
Two more points to note about Ignatz Lichtenstein:
1. There were a lot of pogroms and killings of Jews going on in Hungary at the time -- siding with the Christians may have been an attempt to prevent more killings of the Jews;
2. He never became a Christian -- he was never baptized (this again is per missionary sites).
Missionaries have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convert Jews to Christianity. Unfortunately a huge percentage of the Jewish population is secular (that is, not religious). They have assimilated into the Christian population around them in the United States and many are marrying non-Jews at a very alarming rate. In Reform Judaism over 50% are marrying non-Jews.
While I do not think Judaism will disappear (G-d promises it never will), it is sad that so many Jews, people who for 3500 years have been Jews, are walking away from their G-d, their covenant, their heritage and the people primarily out of ignorance. This is also why so many secular Jews do become Christians -- they do so to please a spouse, and because they simply do not feel a connection to their own Jewishness.
The past few posts have discussed an attempt by missionaries to claim that religious, well educated Jews become Christians. This is not true, at least not based on my 20 years of experience countering false missionary claims. If you read the last three posts about Sam Stern, Leopold Cohn and Simcha Pearlmutter it is clear that those three supposed "learned Jews" were nothing of the sort. They claimed far more expertise than they possessed -- and they used the Jewishness to earn a living with their veneer of Judaism used to earn a living from the Christians who respected them.
Alexander Bacon, the Baptist lawyer who spent a good part of his life trying to expose Leopold Cohn (of Chosen Peoples' Ministry) as a fraud said of Cohn "We are not commanded to forgive an unrepentant sinner; certainly not one who covers up his sin and grows rich on deliberate false pretenses. A false Jew is a disgrace and an injury to his whole race, and should be repudiated by all religionists alike." Link.
Let's discuss the differences I've noted in Jewish converts to Christianity and contrast them with Christian converts to Judaism (or Noahidism). I've noted that Jews converting to Christianity tend to epitomize two things:
1. A lack of decent Jewish education
2. An underlying issue (mental, emotional, wanting to escape anti-semitism and "fit in").
By underlying issue I mean that converts to Christianity tend to be swayed by emotions -- either the "Christian love" they are shown by the missionaries trying to convert them, or sometimes a "personal revelation" that sways them emotionally to believe in Jesus. They only tend to try to support their conversion with "proof texts" after the fact, but I have yet to meet even one who converted based on studying Christianity and making an intellectual choice.
The Torah warns us to not be swayed by personal visions and revelations -- all religions except for Judaism are based on personal revelations. From the followers of Jesus reporting "third hand" on him being a god, to Mohmad to Joseph Smith of Mormon fame, all other religions are based on one or two people (or anonymous groups) having visions which they relay to followers. The Torah warns us against these personal experienes and tells us that G-d is testing our faith in Him. Judaism is the only religion based not on personal revelatins, but on national revelation. G-d spoke to the entire nation (3 million people) and made a contract with us Jews -- warning us that any other religious experience we did not know at Sinai was false and not to be fooled by them. D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:32-33 "You might inquire about times long past, from the day that G-d created man on earth, [exploring] one end of heaven to the other. Has there ever been anything like this great thing or has anything like it been heard? Has a people ever heard the voice of G-d speaking from the midst of the fires as you have heard, and survived?"
Converts to Judaism from Christianity tend to be on the opposite end of the spectrum. They were often religious Christians or Muslims who begin to see the inconsistencies and errors in the Koran and Christian bible. They begin to research and search for G-d -- and they usually find him.
Here is a brief list of some converts to Judaism from Christianity, along with a bit of information on some of them.
1) Asher Wade, former Methodist pastor; he converted in 1978 to Orthodox Judaism.
From "Simple to Remember" "Asher Wade, a native of Virginia, was attending the University in Hamburg in Germany working towards his doctorate in the field of Metaphysics and Relativity Theory. He had already earned a B.A. in Philosophy in America and a post-graduate degree in Philosophical Theory at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. In addition, he had previously worked as an adolescent and marriage counselor at the U.S. Army Chaplaincy in Berlin while he was attending the Goethe Institute for Language Studies.
"Asher Wade had never been taught a course in Judaism and so he was determined to teach himself. Mrs. Wade, a nurse whose father and grandfather were pious Lutheran ministers, encouraged her husband to go to the source and “read the front of the Bible.” And once they began to compare the front of the Bible, the “Old Testament,” with the new, they realized they had finally found the answer to their question, “What does G-d want?” . . . It took about a year for them to reach the conclusion that Torah Judaism fulfilled all the “intellectual, academic, spiritual and emotional truths” for which they had been searching."
2) Ole Brunell, former Lutheran minister from Finland and Australia. Along with him, his wife Ruth (formerly Runa), two adult daughters, two teenage daughters, and a former son-in-law also converted to Orthodox Judaism.
From a newspaper article from Haaretz: "Ole Brunell used to lead a congregation at a Lutheran Church. . .Brunell's study of the Bible grew deeper, and he began experiencing nagging feelings about Christianity. . ."I searched for the G-d I knew from the Bible. But he seemed to be so hidden. Was he manipulated in the faith that gave me my livlihood for 12 years?. . ."
3) Geza Vermes, expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls and former Catholic priest, he reverted to Judaism.
"Born into a Jewish home in Hungary in 1924, he and his family (because of his parents) converted to Catholicism and were all baptized when he was still a boy. The parents had hoped that this conversion would save them from the coming onslaught of the Nazis. It ended up saving Vermes, but not his parents. . . He was accepted in the Catholic Seminary, . . Vermes was a scholar’s scholar. Professor at Oxford, he was an incredible linguist, intimately familiar with every ancient historical source of relevance, a creative thinker. He wrote books for scholars but also books that were accessible to the educated layperson. He was at the very top of Dead Sea Scrolls studies and Jesus studies. . ." Link.
4) Penina Taylor, a former messianic Christian who attended the Moody Bible College who returned to Judaism in 2000.
From the Chabad: " she fell into the wrong crowd and began drinking and taking drugs in high school . . . At age 16, she converted to Christianity and joined a church-going crowd. She stopped drinking and quit drugs and her grades improved dramatically. . . In 2000, (Penina and her husband) purchased a home in Baltimore's Orthodox neighborhood with the hope they would evangelize Jews. But when she started talking to people about Christianity, they were not responsive. . . (as she studied the bible she began to realize that) "The biblical verses on which Christian belief was based were either misquotes or mistranslations of the original text," she said. He gave her the strength she needed to pull herself away from Christianity."
5) John David Scalamonti, a former Roman Catholic priest, he converted in 1972 to Orthodox Judaism
6) William Dever, an Evangelical preacher, Harvard graduate, who converted to Judaism.
7) Sheldon Christopher Smith, a former Pentecostal Pastor converted to Judaism in 1987
8 ) John Hove, a third generation Lutheran pastor who converted to Judaism
9) Gavriel Sanders, former Pentecostal minister and missionary in Israel, he converted to Orthodox Judaism.
10) Tonica Marlow, a former female evangelical minister and daughter of a Pentecostal preacher. She converted to Orthodox Judaism.
11) Aharón Calderón, a former Benedictine monk of a Catholic monastery in South America, he converted to Orthodox Judaism.
12) Armando Quiros, a former catholic priest, he converted to Orthodox Judaism.
13) Julie Galambush, holds a Ph.D. in Old Testament studies from Emory University and a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School. Formerly an ordained American Baptist minister, she converted to Judaism.
14) Michael Flanagan, a former Baptist minister, and son of a Minister, his mother-in-law, wife and their two adult sons, grandchildren, daughter-in-law also converted to Orthodox Judaism.
15) Ahuva Gray, served as a Christian minister in the African American community both in Chicago and Los Angeles for fourteen years. She left that world in 1996 to fulfill her spiritual yearnings and become an Orthodox Jew. Link to video.
16) Nobutaka Hattori, a former Protestant Minister of Japan, he converted to Orthodox Judaism.[http://www.ou.org/pdf/ja/5766/summer66/24_27.pdf]
17) Carlos Samuel Salas, a former Methodist minister, he converted to Orthodox Judaism.
18) David N. Weiss, Former Presbyterian lay minister David Weiss (born Jewish) embraced Orthodox Judaism and is now a successful writer living in Los Angeles.
19) Abraham Carmel, born Kenneth Cox, a former Anglican and Roman Catholic priest, he converted to Orthodox Judaism
20) Mariano Otero, a former Assemblies of G-d minister is now a counter-missionary
21)Carole Le Faivre-Rochester, a former Dominican nun, she converted to Judaism in 1989
22) Yaakov Ephraim Parisi, former Pentecostal minister
23) Ary'el Tsion, formerly known as Bert Woudwijk, a Messianic pastor from Holland
24) Leon Fundo, former Seventh Day Adventist preacher
25) Moriya Webster, former Worldwide Church of God pastor
26) Dov Heller, former Minister and missionary
27) Benjamin Klugger, former Pentecostal missionary, now Orthodox Jew and head of counter-missionary organization
28) Paul H Goodley, former Messianic "rabbi"
29) Efraim Uba, was raised Catholic, later became a Pentecostal preacher then became a Messianic in Nigeria, and then later left that Christian sect to convert to Judaism
30) Celia Futch-Rogow, former Methodist minister [THE JEWISH NEWS of Detroit, March 5, 2004 p.41]
31) Hector Flores, a former evangelical minister, converted with 100 members of his Houston church [http://www.aish.com/sp/so/48932037.html]
32) Yuval Yisrael, a former evangelical pastor and messianic leader for 20 years [http://virtualyeshiva.com/vy_whoweare.html]
33) Lawrence Hamilton, former Lutheran minister [http://www.religion-onlin...warticle.asp?title=3241]
34) Julius Ciss, former messianic "Jewish" missionary [http://jewsforjudaism.org...k=view&id=23&Itemid=228]
35) Kenneth Cox, former Catholic Priest [http://www.people.com/peo...cle/0,,20073218,00.html]
36) Samuel Golding, former Christian minister [http://www.kosherjudaism....iewtopic.php?f=22&t=975]
37) Skipp Porteous, former Pentecostal minister [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skipp_Porteous]
38) Rod (Reuven Dovid) Bryant, a former Evangelical Pastor converts to Judaism. Video Link.
39) Shmuel Yakobi, a former Indian preacher [http://www.kulanu.org/india/telugu_jews.php]
40) Barrie Wilson, biblical scholar, author and educator [http://www.boston.com/ae/...08/03/23/faith_examined/ ]
41) Chuck Snow, former Messianic "rabbi" of London now Orthodox Jew
42) Yeshayahu Heiliczer, former Messianic "rabbi" now Orthodox Jew [http://countermissionary.org/articles/journey.htm ]
43) John Castellaños, former Evangelical minister converted to Orthodox Judaism [http://recordings.talksho...m/TC-31687/TS-180586.mp3 ]
44) Tom Gagliano, former Messianic congregation leader converted to Orthodox Judaism [http://www.interfaithfami...Proselytizing.shtml?rd=2 ]
45) Pablo Martinez, former Baptist minister [http://www.palmbeachpost..../06/22/converts0622.html ]
46) Nati, former Messianic "rabbi" in Florida [http://video.google.com/v...cid=8108602649886339211# ]
47) Nestor Komer, former Mennonite preacher [media.isnet.org/off/Judaism/komer.html ]
48) Reuven, former Messianic "rabbi" [http://wonderingjew.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!681A30C354BCD4DB!158.entry ]
Tonica Marlow (now known as Tova Mordechai) former Minister
'Messianic' Newspaperman Comes Home
Rabbi Justin Jaron Lewis (former Catholic)
Abraham Carmel (deceased) (former Catholic priest)
Baptist Minister becomes an Orthodox Jew
A personal favorite is Yisrael Campbell, a comedian who was a Catholic who converted to Judaism first as a Reform Jew, then as a Conservative Jew and finally halachally as an Orthodox Jew.
An African prince (whose grandfather was the last king to rule and became a Christian minister) who is now a Rabbi, Natan Gamadze video.
This list is by no means complete, but if you read some of the articles or watch some of the videos you should see the difference between how they found G-d in Judaism versus the emotional path that seems to lead Jews to go in the opposite direction.
Why are people led to desert Judaism, swayed by their own emotions? The Torah tells us that G-d tests us all, and that we are tested to see if we will follow our own hearts, our own inclinations -- or will we remain faithful and loyal to G-d?
D'varim / Deuteronomy 11:16: "Be careful that your heart not be tempted to go astray and worship other G-ds, bowing down to them."
D'varim / Deuteronomy 29 "Perhaps there is among you a man, woman, family, or tribe, whose heart strays this day from HaShem, our G-d, to go and worship the deities of those nations. Perhaps there is among you a root that produces hemlock and wormwood. 18. And it will be, when he [such a person] hears the words of this oath, that he will bless himself in his heart, saying, "I will have peace, even if I follow my heart's desires,". . .19. HaShem will not be willing to forgive him; rather, then, HaShem's fury and His zeal will fume against that man, and the entire curse written in this book will rest upon him, and HaShem will obliterate his name from beneath the heavens. 20. And HaShem will separate him for evil,"
and perhaps most important of all:
D'varim / Deuteronomy 13 "The entire word that I command you, that shall you observe to do; you shall not add to it and you shall not subtract from it.  If there should stand up in your midst a prophet or a dreamer of a dream, and he will produce to you a sign or a wonder,  and the sign or the wonder comes about, of which he spoke to you, saying "Let us follow G-ds of others that you did not know and we shall worship them!"  do not hearken to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of a dream, for HASHEM, your G-d, is testing you to know whether you love HASHEM, your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul.  HASHEM, your G-d, shall you follow and Him shall you fear; His commandments shall you observe and to His voice shall you hearken; Him shall you serve and to Him shall you cleave."
The image is the purported rabbinical ordination document (semicha) of Sam Stern. The explanation of the mistakes and alterations is courtesy of Uri Yosef, a native Israeli who also reads German.
Rabbi Sam Stern is another supposed "Orthodox Rabbi" whom missionaries claim converted to Christianity. This post examines that claim.
According to Stern's Christian "story" found on many missionary sites on the internet, Stern was born in Poland around 1917 (give or take a few years). On page 6 of the book he states he is 21 in 1939 (putting his birth year around 1918). He then states he was raised “into a strict Orthodox Jewish rabbinic and Chasidic home,” trained to be a Rabbi. The testimony says he was from “a little town in Congress-Poland near Warsaw.” He later claims he was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust.
Was he an Orthodox Rabbi? It seems highly unlikely. Uri Yosef, the administrator of the Messiah Truth countermissionary forum read Stern's Christian "story" (found in numerous places on the internet) and also saw a copy of Stern's supposed rabbinical ordination (a copy of which is displayed in this post, along with Uri's analysis of it). Written in German, the document has numerous errors which Uri, familiar with German, explains in detail (also found above).
Stern claimed to be from Poland and he claimed to have received his Rabbinical ordination in 1939. In his autobiography Stern claimed he attended Novardok Yeshiva in Lodz, Poland, and that this was the last school he attended prior to the start of World War II. Novardok had numerous yeshivot, but I can find no record that they had a location in Lodz, Poland.
He claimed to be, at that point (1939) he was a משגיח (mashgiach) - a Jew who supervises the kashrut status of a kosher establishment. Yet, in 1936 the Sejm (Polish Parliament) proposed banning shechitah (kosher slaughter). They highly restricted it (establishing a low quota), and with the beginning of World War II in 1939 it was outlawed completely. Link.
Again, the facts simply do not support his claims. How could he be a mashgiach in 1939 when it was highly restricted and then banned that same year? Link. How does being a mashgiach (if he was one) make him a rabbi? The credentials are not the same (although some rabbis are also mashgiach).
On page 28 of his autobiography he states his yeshiva closed due to the war. On page 36, in 1939 after the German invasion, Stern quotes himself as saying "I was too young to be a rabbi having just graduated from school."
Stern himself states he was not a rabbi at the start of World War II, and there was no way for him to become an ordained rabbi during the war. How is that "post war" he can suddenly claim to be a rabbi? Yet by page 42 he sates he was a "graduated rabbi."
Which is it? Was he a mashgiach of a closed yeshiva and not a rabbi, or was he a rabbi? Was there even a Novardok Yeshiva in Lodz, Poland before the war?
There was no mention of Germany or Stern ever having been in Germany as of 1939. Yet, the supposed rabbinical smicha (ordination) is written in German, not Polish or Yiddish or Hebrew and dated 1950. To quote Uri: "There is a picture of what he claims is his Rabbinic certificate from the City of Augsburg, which is a large city in southern Germany. Since I am fluent in German, I can tell that it is a fake, because the German in it is completely incorrect - misspelled words - aside of the fact that it doesn't even contain a complete sentence. The name in it is "Sternschoss Simcha", which also seems to have been "edited".
The Germans had banned Jews attending schools (in Germany, not Poland) in 1938. Stern claimed he received his Rabbinical ordination in 1939 -- but the document he presented was issued by the Germany city (Augsburg) in 1950 (per the document). Was he ordained in 1939 in Poland or 1950 in Germany? Link.
Uri said the name on the document was Sternschoss Simcha, but the name given on his old website was Symcha Sternshoss (a slightly different spelling). A check of the Yad Vashem database of Holocaust survivors and victims results in no result for the name of Sternschoss or Sternshoss -- yet Stern insisted that his entire family (by that name) perished in the Holocaust. Surely his name, and the names of his family, would be recorded. There was a Szternszus, Symcha listed in the Lodz, Poland Ghetto -- but he was born in 1875 and his profession was listed as a drucker (a printer). This birthdate is too early for Stern who said he was born after World War I. On page 6 of the book he states he is 21 in 1939 (putting his birth year around 1918).
Using the various spelling iterations (Sternschoss, Sternshoss and Szternszus) it is not possible to find a person matching the information given for "Sam Stern."
The United States Holocaust Museum finds one "near match" -- Shtermschuss, Slate Yet, this person was born in 1921 and is not the person purporting to be Sam Stern. Slate was a weaver who arrived in Tel Aviv (Israel) in 1939, and thus could not be "Sam Stern."
Uri Yosef is fluent in German, and in reviewing the rabbinical ordination document shown in this post he states that it is obvious the name on that document has been obviously altered (changed).
Is it possible that the person who later called himself "Sam Stern" took an assumed identity after World War II ended? Perhaps he found an old rabbinical ordination for Augsburg, lightly modified it and took the slightly modified name as his own?
Given the missionary articles Stern wrote (a woeful lack of Jewish and Hebrew knowledge) is it possible (probable?) that Stern forged a rabbinical ordination document? Also note that in the document Stern provided it does not say he is an "Orthodox Rabbi," it simply says he is a "Rabbi." Given that the Augsburg Synagogue had been destroyed before the war, and that very few Jews were in Augsburg post war (approximately 300), who had the authority to issue a rabbinical ordination document to Stern from Augsburg?
Let's explore some of the details Stern gave about himself (he later changed his name from Polish to "Sam Stern"). They do not make sense given what we know about the history of the second World War.
Historians estimate that close to 90% of the nearly 3.5 million pre-war Polish Jews perished. Thus only some 350,000 Polish Jews survived the Holocaust. The Nazis were wonderful record keepers and we have the names – particularly the names of survivors. Would it surprise you to know that the name "Sam Stern" or Symcha Sternshoss fitting the information in the "testimony" does not exist?
It is possible to search Holocaust databases by name – for both those who died and those who survived. There is no record of a Sam Stern born around the time this man claims to be born who survived (or died) in the Holocaust. There is no name that even sounds “near” that name which might be the same person. Link. Doing a little more digging I found a claim that he had changed his name from Symcha Sternchoss, but yet again doing a search on that name did not find a Holocaust survivor with that name among the Jews. There was only one person with that last name, and he was a weaver (not a rabbi), and again the birth dates did not match.. Link.
There was a "Sam Stern" who survived the Holocaust, but he was from Germany, not from Poland, and he was only 2 years old at the start of the war where the “Sam Stern” in the missionary testimonies claims he was 22 years old. Link. There was also a “Sam Stern” from Poland, born in 1922, who was murdered in the Holocaust, Link. I include them, even though he claimed his Polish name was different, to show my attempt to be thorough in finding supporting facts for his biographical details.
The Christian “testimony” by Stern claims that in 1952 he came to Rhode Island to be an assistant rabbi in a Synagogue. Again, I can find absolutely no proof of this. I’ve searched the historical information available listing both the Synagogues and the Rabbis from those Synagogues and can find no record of him.
Perhaps even stranger is the fact that the man claims (in his “testimony”) that he went to a displaced persons camp in Poking, Germany near the Austrian border in April of 1946. Poking closed in 1949 (link), yet Stern states (page 75 of his autobiography) that he stayed in the DP camp until 1951.
This raises yet another question as to Stern's credibility. Per the United States Holocaust Museum Poking "had several Talmud Torahs with more than 200 pupils, as well as a Lubavitcher and a Klausenburger Yeshiva with a combined 500 pupils." If this were the case why did Stern not receive proof of his rabbinical ordination from the camp Yeshiva? Why would his "proof" come from a town over 2 hours away (Augsburg) after the camp was closed?
There was also a DP (displaced persons) camp in Augsburg, Germany. Is it possible that Stern was moved from Poking to Augsburg? That possibility seems remote since Augsburg DP primarily housed Ukrainians and Lithuanians (and Stern said he was Polish). The camp operated from 1945 until 1949 and was run by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Association. Again, Stern's rabbinical ordination document from Augsburg is dated 1950 -- after the Augsburg DP center had closed. (link).
From what I can discern there was no person meeting the information given in Stern's Christian testimony. There was no “Sam Stern” or "Symcha Sternshoss" born around 1917 (given a 5 to 10 year range) in Poland, who became a Rabbi and who survived the Holocaust to live in a DP camp in Germany, either Poking, or Augsburg Germany.
It gets even odder.
Stern says he became an assistant Rabbi in a Synagogue in Rhode Island. Again, the name of the Synagogue is not given. There is no way to check this claim (I tried!). He says he taught the Talmud. Yet a few sentences later he says “I could not read English.” How could he teach anything to American students if his English was so poor that he could not read it? He does not claim he was teaching in a Yeshiva where he might have been speaking Hebrew, no he was an assistant rabbi and a Synagogue (not a school). . . those facts do not seem to make any sense.
He claims that a missionary gave him a copy of the Christian bible in Yiddish. The missionary giving him the book told Stern that "This is a mission to the Jews."
That also makes no sense! In 2013 Rhode Island had fewer than 19,000 Jews in the entire state! Why would missionaries in Rhode Island be targeting Jews???
Having been unable to prove any of the sketchy biographical data given by Stern up to this point I began to question if this “rabbi” was completely fiction. This options seems more than likely given the arguments he gave for converting to Christianity.
For example “Stern” wrote “Opening the Book of Matthew, I was surprised to read that Jesus is of the lineage of Abraham and David, I also noticed that on every page it says "As it is written," which means that it was written in our Jewish Bible. For example, in the first chapter I read that He will be born of a virgin because it is written: Behold a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel... (Isaiah 7:14).”
But that IS NOT WRITTEN in the Jewish bible. Isaiah 7:14 says nothing about virgins (the term is “young woman” and anyone who reads Hebrew would know that). The terms ha'na'aRAH & ha'alMAH (accent is on the syllable in CAPs) are age-related classifications (and mean a young woman) -- it has nothing to do with being a virgin (young or old). Would not a rabbi know the difference between the Hebrew word for virgin בְּתוּלָה / b'tuLAH and the word for young woman - עַלְמָה / almah?
A rabbi would also know that lineage is transferred by the Jewish father, and if Jesus was a “virgin birth” he would NOT be of the lineage of Abraham and David (he would have no tribal status at all).
A Christian writing a fake “testimony” would not know what the T’nach (Jewish bible) says, but a rabbi surely would! An educated Rabbi would not make such a basic mistake.
It gets even worse. “Stern” references Micah 5:2 (it is not 5:2 in a T’nach, it is 5:1 – again a rabbi would make that simple an error?) that the messiah must be born in Bethlehem – but that is not what Micah says. It says the messiah will come from the line of David (who was of Bethlehem Efrat). “Stern” also gives Matthew’s misquote of Micah which actually reverses the words of Micah, and yet again a rabbi would know better!
He also says “He shall come out of Egypt, for it is written: Out of Egypt have I called my son (Hosea 11:1)” as if this were about the messiah, but again a rabbi would know that Hosea is speaking of the Jewish people as the text actually is not messianic – it is speaking of the Jews escaping slavery in Egypt. The beginning of that verse reads, “When Israel was a child I loved him,” -- Hosea calls Israel, not Jesus, G-ds son.
The so called “proofs” given by “Stern” are typical missionary proof texts, but any rabbi would know they are taken out of context (Isaiah 7 is a message for the then living King Ahaz, who was dead 700 years by the time Jesus was supposedly born). . .
Then "Stern" mentions Isaiah 53, that favorite missionary "proof text." He says "I did not know the contents of Isaiah 53! The next day I showed the same "poem" to a friend, a rabbi in New York. He did not know either that Isaiah had written the chapter. The only conclusion I could reach was that the main reason so many rabbis and other Jews don't know the Messiah, the Saviour of the Old and New Testament, is that they don't know the Bible. I decided to do everything in my power to bring the Jewish Bible to them."
This is also ridiculous. A rabbi who is unfamiliar with the book of Isaiah, including chapter 53? This "rabbi" has a friend, another rabbi, who did not know that Isaiah had written it either? Rabbis do not know the bible???
Another mind boggling example is his statement "the word Messiah appears here (in Daniel 9) in the T'Nach for the first and only time."
The word "messiah" appears in the T'nach 39 times!
Not once, but 39 times! 34 occurrences are nouns (“a messiah”) and five are adjectives (“smeared with oil”).
Not to mention that it appears twice in Daniel 9 alone (not once).
THIS is an Orthodox rabbi????? This is a man "learned in Torah"? This is a man learned in Hebrew?
In other words, this “testimony” seems to be made up of whole cloth. The entire thing seems fabricated. If there is (was) a real Rabbi Sam Stern I would like a missionary to give us some proof that we can research, as none of the autobiographical information given in the “testimony” holds up to inspection. The man seems real enough -- as he founded Hebrew Witness, Inc., in Brooklyn, New York, but is his "Jewish" background accurate? None of the information supplied in the testimonial holds up to inspection.
Was the man a Jew? Maybe, maybe not. If he was a Jew did he come from a religious family? Also maybe, maybe not. The credentials simply do not "check out." Given the length of the war and his supposed "hiding out as a Pole" (how did he manage to not get caught as a Jew when he claims that every other member of his family perished in the Holocaust?). . . perhaps he was from a religiously Jewish family but had little to no Jewish education because of the interruption during World War II. . .who knows? Given the untraceable autobiographical information supplied there is no way to determine what Stern's true background might have been.
Perhaps oddest of all is that the Christians seemed to reject him, too. If this man was so "learned" why did the very Christians he sought to join reject him? These are the same Christians who now tout him as a great example of a "learned Jew who became a Christian!" Here are a few quotes, again from his autobiography.
Having completed four years at a Christian college (Biola) he wrote "They told me I had started too late in life and would never amount to anything. . . I approached Dr. Michelson. . .and told him I was now ready to enter the ministry full time I was dismayed that he did not agree with me. "You do not need to rush. Stay in the mailing room. . ."
A group of ministers ordained him, but a year later "The Director of the mission said he did not know exactly where to place me. He asked if I would be willing to sit at the reception desk. . ."
Not able to get work as a missionary he wound up becoming a social worker. Why would the Christians not take advantage of this "Orthodox Rabbi who became a Christian"? There must have been some reason they rejected him for that purpose. "Hebrew Christians ignored me, spoke against me, or otherwise thought to discourage me. . ."
One reason he might have been rejected as a missionary is his ignorance. In his book he claims to ask a rabbi why G-d is referred to as "elohim" (plural) rather than "el" (singular). It is impossible that a "learned rabbi" would not know basic Hebrew. Elohim is NOT plural. Those with a rudimentary knowledge of Hebrew think that the use of the word elohim is plural because it ends in "ים” , transliterated as “im.” In Hebrew a single word does not make a sentence singular or plural, and often the use of ים is found in words that are obviously singular. Elohim ends with the masculine plural suffix "ים”.
Surely a learned rabbi would know basic Hebrew grammar! In Hebrew one word alone does not make it plural or singular. To know if "elohim" is singular or plural it must be in a sentence where:
It receives a plural suffix;
It receives a plural verb;
It receives a plural adjective.
Elohim speaks to the majesty of the entity -- a ruler or judge. The "im" ending denotes power and majesty. The word is used to describe HaShem when He is in a judging or ruling mode (versus say anon*i which speaks of His mercy. The root of the word is eil, which means force.
Rambam in “The Guide for the Perplexed” puts it this way: "Every Hebrew knows that the term elohim is a homonym, and denotes G-d, angels, judges, and the rulers of countries, and that Onkelos the proselyte explained it in the true and correct manner by taking elohim in the sentence, "and ye shall be like elohim" (Gen. iii. 5) in the last-mentioned meaning, and rendering the sentence "and ye shall be like princes."
Every Hebrew apparently except for one "Rabbi" Sam Stern!
Elohim is a title ("name") for G-d, but it means a mighty judge. The word is used to speak of powerful humans (as in B'réshıt / Genesis 6:4, "the sons of the nobles (elohim) would come to the daughters of man") and angels in T'hillim / Psalm 82:6 "I said, "You are angelic creatures, and all of you are angels of the Most High." The word elohim refers to judges (as in Sh'mot / Exodus 21:6 "his master shall bring him to הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים (ha-elohim) the judges" as well as Sh'mot / Exodus 22:7-8 "the homeowner shall approach the judges. . . both parties shall come to the judges. . ."; and it can also refer to false “gods” (i.e. idols).
Whenever elohim speaks of G-d it does not have a plural form verb. In B'reshit / Genesis 1:3 we have the singular "vayomer elohim" (“and G-d said”)—not vayom'ru (the plural inflection “and they said”). This is true foin verse 4: vaya'r elohim (“and G-d saw”)—not vayir'u (the plural inflection “and they saw”) and vayavdél elohim (“and G-d divided/separated”)—not vayavdilu (the plural inflection “and they divided/separated”). . . and on and on it goes.
The word e elohim is used more than 2000 times in the T'nach to speak of G-d, false gods (plural), powerful humans and even angels. Almost always elohim has a singular verb, making the usage singular. The adjective is almost always singular, too, where the word "elohim" is concerned. In fact there are over eleven hundred instances of the word elohim governing an explicitly singular verb-inflexion when speaking of G-d.
Whoever Sam Stern might have been, he was not a learned Jew. His ignorance of basic Hebrew grammar relating to the word "elohim" alone shows this. It is interesting that the various Christians he aligned with rejected him as a minister, too. It is sad that Stern concluded that G-d had rejected His people due to the holocaust. Stern should have rightly put the blame for the holocaust on the evil men who perpetrated it, and realized that by turning his back on Judaism he was turning his back on G-d Himself.
My 20+ years of countering false missionary claims about Judaism has shown that most Christians who convert to Judaism or leave Christianity to become Noahides are sincerely seeking G-d. It was actually their initial faith in Jesus which caused them to search for the truth, and the truth led them away from Christianity.
The Jews who have done the reverse, left Judaism for Christianity, appear to be uneducated in Judaism. Most were not raised in religious Jewish homes, and those who were may have gone through the motions without understanding the T'nach and halacha (Jewish law). Missionaries often try to refute this claim by throwing out name after name of a supposedly high ranking and learned rabbi who converted to Christianity.
One of those supposed “learned rabbis” who converted to Christianity will be discussed in this post: Daniel Tsion (Zion). The man was indeed a rabbi, but he was not the high level, let alone “learned” rav the missionaries tout.
What do the missionaries claim about Tsion / Zion?
Michael Brown (a Christian missionary) wrote of Daniel Tsion / Zion (in his first “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus” book) "Have you ever heard of Daniel Zion, the chief rabbi of Bulgaria during the Holocaust?. . . his name is unfamiliar to almost all Jews today. Why? Simple. He was a believer in (Jesus). He was so highly respected by the Orthodox leaders in Israel that in 1954 the newly appointed chief rabbi, Samuel Toledano, offered him the position of judge in Jerusalem's Rabbinic Court."
Brown's claims are found in other missionary sources to (regarding Tsion / Zion). Let's just revisit one sentence from Brown, when he says that Tsion / Zion was so “highly respected by Orthodox leaders” that in 1954 he was appointed as a judge in Jerusalem’s rabbinic court.
Highly respected in 1954? This claim is ludicrous in light of the historical fact that in June 1950 a panel of Israeli rabbis ruled that Zion / Tsion was "mentally ill" and removed him from the position of rabbi in Jaffa. Tsion / Zion was not even allowed to enter any Synagogues in the city of Jaffa! Thanks to the internet we have access to newspaper articles from the 1950s so it is possible to research the facts. Link.
Jewish courts determined that Tsion (Zion) was insane because he did some clearly insane things. These acts will become clear in this post, but let's continue with researching Brown's comments (which are echoed on many a missionary website).
Four years before Brown claims Zion / Tsion was “highly respected by Orthodox leaders” and before Brown states that Zion / Tsion was “offered the position of judge in Jerusalem’s Rabbinic Court” Zion / Tsion was basically stripped of his title and position (1950). This 1954 claim that Zion was to be named a chief rabbi in Jaffa is found on missionary site after missionary site. . . it is far from the truth.
This claim is even more bizarre when one continues reading from the missionaries who go on to claim “When the rumors circulated that Zion believed in (Jesus), R’ (Samuel) Toledano invited Zion to his office and asked him personally about these rumors. Zion explained to Toledano his position. He explained that he accepts (Jesus) as the Messiah and he does not accept Christianity.”
Two years after the court removed Tsion / Zion from his rabbinical duties, on September 14, 1952, Zion gave an interview on Israel Radio, stating he was a Christian (reported in Davar, September 16, 1952). Again, it was well known that Zion / Tsion was preaching about Jesus publicly and had been banned from even entering a Synagogue in Jaffa. How can there be "rumors circulating"???
Yet Brown (and the other missionaries) not only say there were "rumors" (not facts) and they also say that in 1954 Zion / Tsion was offered a position on a rabbinical court by a Rabbi who did not even live in Israel?
That makes no sense at all!
Why would Brown and the other missionaries claim that in 1954 this man was offered an important rabbinical position when by 1950 a rabbinical court had basically ruled him insane and unfit for rabbinical duties?
Why would missionaries claim that Tsion / Zion was offered a rabbinical position on a court in Jerusalem in 1954 when by 1950 he had been removed from the rabbinate (and banned from Synagogues in Jaffa)?
Why would missionaries claim that Tsion / Zion was offered a rabbinical position on a court in Jerusalem in 1954 when in 1952 he had gone on a Christian radio program in Israel preaching about Jesus?
So the missionaries claim that R’ Shmuel (Samuel) Toledano wanted to appoint Zion to a rabbinic court in Jerusalem in 1954 is debunked. The missionary misinformation continues – it was not R’ Samuel Toledano who was involved in the Tsion / Zion issue at all.
R’ Samuel Toledano did not even move to Israel until 1958. Link.
Remember, Michael Brown wrote "in 1954 the newly appointed chief rabbi, Samuel Toledano, offered him the position of judge in Jerusalem's Rabbinic Court," yet Samuel Toledano was never the Chief Rabbi of Israel – and 1954 is obviously “out” for Zion / Tsion to be offered any rabbinical positions.
Wikipedia lists all the Chief Rabbis of Israel (predating the country itself). R’ Samuel Toledano is nowhere listed. . . link.
The missionaries go on to say "(R’ Samuel) Toledano was forced to take Rabbi Daniel to the Rabbinic court, and allow the other Rabbis to decide what should be done." Forced? Forced by whom? The errors in the missionary tale (found in multiple internet sites) should make Christians question the accuracy in any of these tales. The 1954 error and the R’ Samuel Toledano error. . . how many more inaccuracies are in these tales?
The rabbi who was involved in a court proceeding about Zion (Tsion) was Rabbi Ya'akov Moshe Toledano who was the Chief Sephardic (Spanish) Rabbi of Tel Aviv (Israel) from 1942-1958 (not R' Samuel Toledano). The Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv would not be offering a position for Jerusalem! R’ Ya’akov Toledano was not R’ Samuel Toledano, and Tel Aviv is not Jerusalem!
Let’s turn our attention to the court proceeding against Zion – it explains why the court declared him mentally ill. On June 13, 1950 the Ma’ariv newspaper in Israel wrote that the then Chief Ashkenazi (European) Rabbi of Tel-Aviv, Rabbi Isser Y'hudah Unterman (1946 - 1964), interviewed Sephardic Jews who knew Tsion / Zion. They reported that Zion / Tsion has been very nervous and agitated. He fasted for three days and then said he was hallucinating (having visions). It is known scientifically that fasting can be beneficial, but when one fasts for too long (such as 3 days) it can indeed cause hallucinations. Link. This type of behavior does seem mentally questionable.
Along with his nervousness, agitation and excessive fasting one has to question the sanity of a many who became a Christian – and yet had the nerve to ask to be appointed the Chief Rabbi of Jaffa! This is a bit like a Muslim convert asking the Pope to make them a Bishop.
It seems that the missionaries have somehow confused Zion's request to be named the Chief Rabbi of Jaffa with the role having actually been given to him.
Let's discuss a bit more about his background -- it shows that he was a Christian prior to moving to Israel and asking to be given a rabbinical position of authority. A 1960 newspaper article written by No'ah Zevuluni in the newspaper "Heirut" stated that Zion / Tsion, born in Saloniki, Greece, was preaching Christianity onboard the ship on the way from Europe to Israel. He continued to preach Christianity in Jaffa, Israel – and yet during this period he asked the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to appoint him as Jaffa’s Chief Rabbi. This position would give him the license to conduct weddings and approve divorces. This article reiterates that once the courts knew of his conversion to Christianity he was expelled from all the Synagogues of Jaffa and was forced to preach outdoors. R’ Unterman and R’ Toledano declared him a seducer (D’varim / Deuteronomy 13).
In the second of those paragraphs Zevuluni reports that Tsion / Zion participated in a conference of missionaries held in the YMCA in Jerusalem. At that conference he conducted Friday evening Shabbat services without any headcover (kippah / yarmulke) and chanted the Lecha Dodi, and following the service he explained to the worshipers that the "Dodi", which literally means "my uncle", but in ancient Hebrew it means "my friend", points at "Jesus". Likewise, he also participated in the "Christian Hour" program on the Israeli radio "Kol Yisra'el". He later moved into the large Notre dam Christian complex and married a woman who was either Christian or a convert to Christianity who he left by leaving her a piece of paper on which he wrote: "You are hereby divorced".
Conversion to Christianity is one thing – but how could Zion convert to Christianity and still try to receive a position of authority in Judaism? If that is not insane, what is?
The missionary websites (and Michael Brown in his book) gave glowing information about Tsion / Zion, and the details are wrong in more than just giving the wrong date (1954) and rabbi (Samuel Toledano).
Just how "learned" in Judaism was Daniel Zion? Was he well versed in Judaism before he became a Christian? More than once Brown refers to Zion as an “Orthodox Rabbi” as do most of the missionary websites. Even Wikipedia refers to him as an “Orthodox Rabbi.”
Do an internet search on the name “Daniel Zion” you will turn up missionary site after missionary site claiming that Zion (or Tsion or Tziyon) was the “chief rabbi” of Bulgaria and later of Jaffa, Israel who became a Christian.
Was he an “Orthodox Rabbi”?
Was he the “Chief Rabbi of Bulgaria”?
First, let’s put a few things into perspective. Just how “Orthodox” was Bulgaria itself before and during World War II? The answer is “not very.” Bulgarian Jewish society might explain (a little bit) who Daniel Zion (Tsion) was – it definitely is not the high level learned Jews that missionaries would like to purport him to be.
Bulgaria’s Jewish population mostly survived World War II and a majority of the Bulgarian Jews immigrated to Israel in 1949. The Chief Rabbi at the time was Asher Hannanel, who served from 1945 to 1949 (not Daniel Zion).
From 1925 to 1945, Bulgarian Jews had no chief rabbi. This messianic claim that Zion was “chief rabbi” is false, even though it seems that Zion himself often claimed that he had been the chief rabbi of Bulgaria. . . (more on this claim below).
This link states that there was a Daniel Zion who was a Rabbi in Sofia (in Bulgaria), but he is not listed as a chief rabbi of Bulgaria (link http://www.geni.com/projects/Jews-of-Bulgaria/18578).
Here is another site listing the Chief Rabbis of Bulgaria and note again that Daniel Zion is not listed among them. http://www.sephardicstudies.org/bulg-rab.html
If you visit the website for the Sofia Synagogue in Bulgaria you will find the historic rabbis listed. The Chief Rabbi was Marcus Ehrenpreis. Rabbi David Avram Pipano was elected chief rabbi in 1914. Rabbi Daniel Tsion (Zion) is listed as one of two preachers. Dr. Asher Hananel was listed as the official chief Rabbi of Sofia. http://www.sofiasynagogue.com/index.php?content_id=6
So far we have learned that Bulgaria was very secular. Most people spoke either Bulgarian or Landino (a Jewish Spanish language). We have also learned that while Daniel Zion (Tsion) was a rabbi in the Synagogue at one time he was never the chief rabbi of Bulgaria or Sofia. Early on he was one of two “preachers.”
In 1943 "Others. . .had not liked the rabbi's unorthodox activities, and the leaders of the Jewish community had been summoned to police headquarters, to explain the behavior of Daniel Tzion (Zion). In an effort to placate the authorities, the Jewish leaders officially fired the rabbi from his position on the religious court." "Beyond Hitler's Grasp."
The Russians (Communists) took over Bulgaria after the war. The Jews never named Tsion / Zion a chief rabbi of anything. A 1960s newspaper article reported that the Communists appointed him Chief Rabbi of Sofia (that's the Bulgarian capital city) – and as a result he was called the “Red Rabbi” by the Jews (because it was the “Reds”, aka the Communists) who gave him that honorarium. Tsion (Zion) was never named a Jewish chief rabbi of Bulgaria by the Jews – his was a Communist given title. Link.
The second claim of the missionaries was that Zion was an “Orthodox Rabbi” – meaning he was learned in Judaism. Is that true?
According to Noah Zvuloni , "The Adventures of 'Rabbi' Daniel Zion", the newspaper Herut , 18 October 1960: “As a young man (Daniel Zion) came to Sofia (Bulgaria) as a slaughterer and Cantor. Bulgaria’s Jewish community at the time was almost completely assimilated, there were no ultra-Orthodox communities, Bulgaria’s Chief Rabbi, Dr. Ehrenpreis was then, in the synagogues of Bulgaria (conducting services) accompanies by an organist and a choir of women.”
Let me stop here to say that musical instruments are not used in Synagogues, and this prohibition is given in the Talmud, Beitza 36b. In 1819 the Rabbinic Court in Hamburg published a series of letters by different halakhic authorities under the name of Eleh Divrei Habrit in which they unanimously prohibited playing musical instruments (particularly the organ) in the synagogue even if played by a non Jew. This alone tells us that whatever kind of rabbi Daniel Zion might have become it was NOT an Orthodox one.
Next, the article says that there was a choir of women in Tsion / Zion's Synagogue. Jewish men are forbidden from hearing women sing (other than their wives). Link.
Both the organ and the choir of women clearly show that this was not an observant Synagogue, and the articles that Bulgaria was highly secular seems confirmed. Thus one must question the depth of Zion’s Jewish education.
There is more support for the fact that Bulgaria was not “orthodox” in what we would consider the term (observant to Jewish law). From the book “Encyclopedia of Jewish Folklore and Traditions,” by Rahael Patai: “To Israelis of both Bulgarian and non-Bulgarian origins (Daniel Zion was from Bulgaria), the Jews from Bulgaria were well known for their secularism, and the notion of a religious Bulgarian was considered a contradiction. Jaffa’s only Bulgarian Rabbi (the article does not give a name) was infamous for riding his motor scooter to watch the Bulgarian team, Maccabi Jaffa, play on the Sabbath, when neither travel nor sport is permitted by Jewish law.”
So even in Israel most of the Bulgarians, even their rabbi, broke the Sabbath laws. The article continues: “Although worship in synagogues involved a minority of the Jewish population in Bulgaria, this secularization did not diminish the observance of Jewish holidays and festivals in the home. Indeed, all of the affectual cultural realms, the holidays elicit the warmest memories and continue to be the main focus of Bulgarian communal life in Israel.” Link.
Yet another book, The History of Bulgaria, by Frederick B. Chary states that “The Jewish leaders did not appreciate (Rabbi Daniel) Tsion (Zion) because they believed that he was a member of a Bulgarian Christian sect called Dunovists. The Dunovists, or White Brotherhood. . .were a sect of religious mystics who incorporated worship of the rising sun in their Christian beliefs. . .Tsion was not (a member) but as a scholar he was interested in their theology and was well known to the sect. The Jewish consistory, however, disapproved of his activity and was convinced that he indeed held their beliefs. They therefore removed him from his post on the Jewish religious court. In the critical days of 1943, the rabbi was able to get his friends among the Dunovists to intervene on behalf of the Jews. . . “
The newspaper article from 1960 (link). “In 1933 – 34 (while Zion was a cantor and ritual slaughterer in Sofia he was a member of the local rabbinical court) but was pulled back for various reasons. . .”
The missionaries may be right that Tsion (Zion) became a Christian, because in various missionary websites I read that he stared at the sun (this was part of that sect’s practice) and had “visions.” Quite possibly he went insane. The newspaper states that the Christian sect Tsion / Zion became involved with was persecuted by the Christian Church itself because it was suspected that its members prayed to and worshiped the sun. From a Bulgarian website the cult he got involved with: “focuses on the reincarnation of souls and spirituality of objects. The members of the "White Brotherhood" perform the so-called paneurithmics dance – greeting the sun with song, music and gymnastics on a specific day in August in the region of the Seven Rila Lakes.” Link.
Furthermore this sect dabbled in the occult (strictly forbidden under Jewish law) and "the sect believed that once in every several centuries a 'Master' was born to help men become one with the 'cosmic conscience'. Orpheus, Zarathustra, Laotse, Krishna, Buddha, Christ and Mohammed were such great Teachers" (Groueff 1987, 247). Link.
Got that? This is the man missionaries claim was the “Chief Rabbi of Bulgaria who became a Christian" joined a cult which the main Christian churches rejected as a sun worshiping cult. According to the article the followers of this Christian cult were accused of theft and a suspicious death(s). This cult still exists today. Link.
To summarize so far: Tsion / Zion began his career in Sofia (Bulgaria) as a cantor and shochet (slaughterer) who got involved with a weird sect of Christians suspected of sun worship, the occult (forbidden by Jewish law), and some other very non-traditional (to Christianity and Judaism) theologies including "cosmic conscience" and "masters." Is it any wonder his sanity was questioned?
It is becoming clear that the missionary claims that Tsion (Zion) was a well respected rabbi are untrue.
Is is also becoming clear that Tsion (Zion) was never a Chief Rabbi (from the Jews), it was an honorarium from non-Jews (the Communists).
It is further clarified that Tsion (Zion) got involved in a very odd religious cult (the Dunovists) which idolized pagan gods such as Orpehus and Zarathustra as well as Jesus, Buddha and others.
This is not a "learned and respected rabbi" by anyone's definition!
“Beyond Hitler's Grasp” by Michael Bar-Zohar (a Bulgarian Jew who survived the war and wrote this book) has more information on Tsion (Zion). Here is what he wrote: “Rabbi Daniel Tzion was a strange figure. He was a squat elderly man with a short grizzled beard. A fearless, fiery scholar, he was a mystic and an expert on comparative theology. Rabbi Tzion was a passionate student of other religions and religious sects and had close connections with the leaders of the Dunovist sect. . . .
‘Many Jewish leaders treated Rabbi Tzion with suspicion because of his mysticism and his connections with the Dunovists. Their reticence toward him had grown a year ago, when he announced that he had heard a message from G-d. . .the leaders of the Jewish community had been summoned to police headquarters to explain the behavior of Daniel Tzion. In an effort to placate the authorities, the Jewish leaders officially fired the rabbi from his position on the religious court, but this didn’t cool his ardent activities against the government’s policy. . .
“The king’s advisor. . .suggested that the Jews organize a huge protest. . .but when the rabbi reached the central Sofia (Bulgaria) Synagogue he found the gates locked. A throng of Jews was waiting outside, blocking the street. The janitor refused to open the synagogue, saying he had received orders not to do so. . . “
Doesn’t much sound like the rabbi in charge, does it, let alone a “chief” rabbi? It also sounds as if even the Jews in Bulgaria were getting concerned about Tsion (Zion)’s mental health during the war – before he ever made it to Israel. . .
Zion claimed he had visions – he would stare at the sun (apparently that was part of the Christian sect he got involved with in Bulgaria. They were vegetarians who were into mystical stuff like staring at the sun). He had visions AFTER staring into the sun (well, who wouldn’t?).
After migrating to Israel the chief rabbis of Tel Aviv Isser Y’huda Unterman and Yaakov Moshe Toledano conducted an investigation in the case of Daniel Tsion (Zion) to determine if his “current spiritual crisis” (as they called it) was caused by his difficult condition after his arrival from Israel (details not given). In June 1950 the rabbinical court ruled that the rabbi was mentally ill, and so did not punish him or excommunicate him. Instead Zion was removed from his post and was not allowed to enter the synagogues in the city.
Some of his subsequent actions re-enforce the opinion of that Tel Aviv court:
The Davar newspaper reported, September 16, 1952, that it was investigating a Protestant radio broadcast by Tsion / Zion. The he headline says: Investigation of a Protestant Christian Broadcast. The article says “The Office of Religions is now checking the background of the broadcast by Rabbi Daniel Zion who 3 years ago converted to the Protestant religion. The particular broadcast was aired on Sunday from "Kol Yisrael" as part of the monthly broadcasts of the Protestant church. Daniel Zion appeared in a sermon in the Hebrew language directed to the Jewish population of Israel, and called on them to convert to Christianity. At the Office of Religions this is considered a violation of a "gentleman's agreement", according to which the broadcasts must be in the English language and, likewise, they may not contain any seductive material.”
1952 is 2 years before Brown and the other missionaries say Zion / Tsion was offered a position as chief rabbi of Jaffa?
Daniel Tsion (Zion) came to believe that Jesus was the messiah. Missionaries say that Zion / Tsion remained a “religious Jew” and refused to officially convert to Christianity. This also seems incorrect. A March 15, 1955 newspaper article from Ma’ariv states that Tsion (Zion) tried to open a Baptist church in Tel Aviv.
Was he insane? Seems pretty insane to convert to Christianity while still wanting to act as a Jewish rabbi – and asking for a promotion as a chief rabbi from the Jewish courts!
The issue is not whether or not Tsion / Zion became a Christian (that seems obvious), but whether or not he was the “learned rabbi” let alone the “chief rabbi” whom missionaries tout as a shining of example of how it is “OK” for Jews to convert to Christianity.
The missionary claims that Zion (Tsion) was learned in Judaism, that he was an “Orthodox” rabbi (in the true sense of the term) given the secular nature of Bulgaria and their non-observance are not supportable.
The Bulgarian Jews never gave Tsion a position of authority, he was given a title by the Communists. Calling Tsion a “Chief Rabbi” is a bit like The American President naming the next Pope. I doubt too many Christians would take that as legitimate. Remember "Many Jews treated Rabbi Tzion (Zion) with suspicion" (in 1945). By 1946 Tsion (Zion) was removed from his position of authority as a judge in Jewish courts (a primary role of a rabbi).
By the time he moved to Israel in 1949 people who knew him described him as nervous and agitated. Tsion (Zion) wanted to be a Christian while still acting as a Jewish rabbi – and even sought a lofty position (Chief Rabbi of Jaffa) after having shown himself to be a Christian (which is not sane behavior).
Tsion / Zion’s strange behavior did not end in the 1950s. In an August 26, 1965 newspaper article from the Ma’ariv a young woman (age 20) was spreading the news that Tsion / Zion (age 82 at the time) was himself a messiah. The sub-headline says that the young woman left her family and moved to live in the home of the old man (Zion / Tsion).
Missionaries have a strange habit of reprinting information from other missionaries – thus details such as Zion being offered a post on a rabbinic court in Jerusalem in 1954 is repeated by Michael Brown in his book and on one missionary site after another – yet the information in this post (supported by newspaper articles of the time) clearly shows that the man was removed from positions in Bulgaria by the Jews in the 1930s, made a puppet by Communists, and that when he went to Israel he was likewise removed from authority in 1950 due to his mental instability (asking to be named Chief Rabbi of Jaffa while missionizing Jews to Christianity).
Do not blindly believe what you read (from missionaries or me). I have given many links on this post, including to sources in Hebrew from Israel (some in translation). Research this for yourself.
The Chosen Peoples Ministry was founded in the late 19th century to target Jews for conversion to Christianity. It is still very active today and has locations in 13 countries. The "About Us" page of their website claims that "Rabbi" Leopold Cohn was their founder. Per a well researched book by a contemporary Baptist lawyer (former member of the New York Legislature) "Cohn" was a fake name, a fake rabbi, and even a fake minister (he called himself "doctor").
The author, Alexander Bacon, concluded that "Cohn" was actually Itzak Joszovics, an escaped criminal from Hungary who had never been a Rabbi. The title of his book exposing Cohn is: The Strange Story of Dr. Cohn and Mr. Joszovics. In the book Bacon quotes testimony given by many people who knew the man in Europe where he lived as a "Mr. Joszovics" who was never a rabbi.
In 1918 The American Jewish Chronicle, Volume IV wrote: "The most successful of these (missionaries trying to convert Jews to Christianity) was Leopold Cohn, who is today a very rich man, and who for years has figured as an "ex-Rabbi" who has "seen the light." Cohn has often figured in the courts on various charges, which however, has not prevented him from continuing to fleece the pious. . .And now comes Colonel Alexander Bacon, a well known lawyer and author, and an enthusiast about the work of proselytism among the Jews, and exposes Cohn as the knave and scoundrel Jews have long known him to be."
The article goes on to quote from Bacon's book the following: "for 25 years. . .with all the facts known to many people, a convincted and unrepentant felon has posed sanctimoniously and hypocritically as extremely religious, falsifying and denying his past life; falsely posing as an ex-rabbi; falsely posing as a Baptist clergyman, and piling up a fortune on the strength of his false pretenses, a fortune obtained from credulous Christians who think they are paying to support a real Mission to the Jews, conducted by a highly educated, influential, devout, converted Rabbi, who in truth, instead of being either highly educated or influential, or an ex-rabbi, was a petty farmer in Hungary of the peasant class, who kept a roadhouse or saloon in connection with his farm, until he committed forgery in order to steal a neighbor's farm; was convicted; fled to America; changed his name, and took up the "profession" of a sanctimonious convert to Christianity."
At the bottom of this post is a partial list of the people who testified against Cohn / Joszovics as recorded in Bacon's book. The witnesses knew Joszovics in Hungary. People who knew the man reported that "Cohn" was never a rabbi, and was expelled from a Jewish school as a young teenager (never becoming a rabbi).
The Christian lawyer (Bacon) had letters from Rabbis from Europe who all swore that Joszovics / Cohn was never a rabbi. I know some modern sources say "who knows" if Cohn was a rabbi or if he was Joszovics, a scam artist. . . but given the sheer number of people in the book who testified against him I side with Bacon -- who was a religious Christian who felt that Cohn was just a scam artist bilking the Christians.
Bacon had no problems with trying to convert Jews to Christianity. He was a Baptist himself! His issue was with Cohn / Joszovics who he perceived as a fraud out to bilk Christians out of money.
Here is a partial list of information given in the book by various people who testified in multiple court cases:
Yet, if you check the Chosen Peoples' Ministries "About Us: History" page even today you will see that they still claim that their founder, Cohn (Joszovics) WAS a rabbi, even though the man's own lawyer admitted that he was not a rabbi and had never been a rabbi.
To continue the list of witnesses from Bacon's book:
Cohn claimed that one rabbi in Hungary gave him a letter stating he was educated enough to be a rabbi. He says he was a rabbi in Hungary for some time. Yet in Hungary (at that time) it took a Beit Din of three rabbis to confer a semicha (ordain a rabbi). One rabbi couldn’t do it by himself.
Cohn never produced a letter or any other written proof that he had ever been a rabbi.
Samuel Bettelheim, a Rabbi in Hungary, supplied Bacon with information on the rabbinical standards in Hungary and also informed him that for 50 years there was no record of a Leopold Cohn or Izsak Joszovics ever officiating as a rabbi in the county of Maramaros in Hungary. A copy of the letter is found in the book.
The Supreme Court, Appelate Division has information on one of the cases available online. Link. The case was held in the Supreme Court (state of New York) between Alexander H. Neuowich, Plantiff against Leopold Cohn, Defendant. The case was dismissed, but there are some interesting quotations in the document. "Izsak Joszovics was born in Berezna, Maramaros, Hungary, in about 1862. . . When about thirty years of age, Izsak Joszovics was convicted of forgery and sentenced to three and one half years in prison and a fine of 500 gulden. The case was appealed, but when the conviction was affirmed Izsak Joszovics could not be found. . .
""Izsak Joszovics fled to the United States; changed his name to Leopold Cohn; pretended to have been a rabbi in Hungary; was "converted" to Christianity; became "missionary to the Jews" and has, as such, accumulated a large fortune in real estate and personal property. . . He has made money out of his "conversion" and seems to have an insane desire to have people arrested, especially those who knew him in Hungary. . ."
The book includes court records, court testimony and supporting documentation from people who knew Joszovics in Hungary and America as well as Rabbis from Hungary who swore he had never been a rabbi there. The book is free on Google books. Cohn denied the claims of these many people, and even today the Chosen Peoples' Ministry touts him as a former Orthodox Rabbi. But ask yourself: why would a respected Christian lawyer who was a strong believer in evalenglizing Jews go to such trouble to expose Cohn as Joszovics if it were not true?
SoAmazing how the so-called "Orthodox Rabbis" whom missionaries point to as converts to Christianity turn out to be nothing of the sort. Go to YouTube and check out videos by one "Simcha Pearlmutter" who, it is claimed, was an "Orthodox" rabbi who became a believer in Jesus. The only problem is that Pearlmutter was never an Orthodox anything, let alone a rabbi. In a book he authored Pearlmutter gave biographical information. He claimed a bachelor's degree from Boston along with attending two years of law school there. He then states that he became a law clerk in Miami, Florida. Nowhere did Pearlmutter ever claim that he studied Judaism as an adult, let alone that he was an Orthodox Rabbi with a סמיכה / smicha (rabbinical ordination). He became a Christian while living in Miami, Florida.
A missionary website writes of Pearlmutter "In the early 1960s. . . Simcha Pearlmutter established a Messianic congregation in Miami, Florida. However, he made aliyah (moved to Israel) in 1964 with much of his congregation. Those who stayed behind did not keep the congregation going. However, Pearlmutter eventually established a Messianic synagogue in Ir Ovot, in the wilderness south of the Dead Sea, which continued until his death in December 1999."
Pearlmutter founded a Christian cult in Israel where he called himself "rabbi." In 1982 his Jewish wife left him, along with her three children. He barricaded himself with his son and would not allow his son to be taken away. The case made it up to the Supreme Court of Israel. The community became smaller and smaller as more people left. Link. A 1983 newspaper article about Pearlmutter states the following about Pearlmutter and the kibbutz he ran in Ovot, Israel: (link)
"The children learn (in) Yiddish (not Hebrew). . . They do not recognize the state of Israel and do not participate in elections.. . They do not serve in the IDF (armed services). . .Pearlmutter, was a graduate of Political Science and Law in Boston (actually, he only attended 2 years of law school and did not graduate).. He immigrated to Israel with two women, one Jewish and one Christian. . . The core of the kibbutz was founded in 1966 in Miami, USA. It was a handful of people who also believed in Jesus, but most of them dispersed and only a few remained. . .
"It became clear that (Pearlmutter is a) Haredi (Orthodox Jew) pretender to hunt souls for the sake of Christianity. Thanks to. . .Yad L'Achim (an Israeli counter-missionary organization) this Tribunal published the ultra-Orthodox community meeting. . . stern warning. . . "we warn each and everyone of Israel that never step foot in that place."
Pearlmutter was considered quite a nut, according to an article published in 1990 in the Jerusalem Post.:
"His neighbours want him out of the Arava. His community lost its official status years ago, and most of his followers have long since packed and abandoned him. Seven of his nine children have dropped the dream of building a new community in the desert. Most of them do not even maintain contact with him.
And yes, Pearlmutter once had two wives simultaneously, the mothers (plural) of his nine children. He does not like to talk about that part of his past, but news stories have attributed to him the view that Jewish law permits men to have more than one wife after they have returned to their own land. . .
(Where he lives is) s a desolate expanse of rock-strewn desert sand. A few decaying cinder-block buildings coexist with a handful of standard-issue caravans that are commonly used for temporary housing in new settlements. . . .
Twenty-four years after he made aliya, Simha Pearlmutter still lives in a caravan. If the authorities get their way however, he won't even have that much. It seems that everybody - from the Arava regional Council and the Israel Lands Administration to the Jewish Agency and the Water Commission - wants to get rid of Simcha Pearlmutter . . .
AS FAR AS the overwhelming majority of Jews are concerned, these are nothing more than the rantings of a crackpot. Religious Jews believe he poses a serious threat to the Jewish faith, while their secular compatriots just laugh at his seemingly crazy ideas. . . ": By Carl Schrag, Week for the Jerusalem Post, April 21, 1990.
Why is it that so many people follow these apostate Jews and believe them? Why do none of them do the modicum of research it takes to discover they are "emperor's with no clothes"?
Pearlmutter, long since dead, made videos which are all over the internet. In one of them he claimed that orthodox Jews ask for atonement in the name of "Yéshu'a" on Yom Kippur.
First of all, if Jesus had a Hebrew name no one knows what it might have been. Not knowing what Jesus' Hebrew name might have been (since there are no early writings with a Hebrew name) the messianic Jewish movement, who wanted to make everything Christian "sound" Jewish, chose יֵשֽׁוּעַ Yéshu'a. In earlier times the name Yéshu was thought to have been Jesus' Hebrew name, as it was a fairly common name 2000 years ago (abbreviation of יְהוֹשֻֽׁעַ / Y'hoshu'a / Joshua).
Various iterations of יְהוֹשֻֽׁעַ / Y'hoshu'a / Joshua came about over time. One version, popular in the Babylonian Exile, was יֵשֽׁוּעַ / Yéshu'a. This was shortened to יֵֽשׁוּ Yéshu after the return from the Babylonian Exile (second Temple period). If Jesus had a Hebrew name, given the period in which he supposedly lived the name is far more likely to have been יֵֽשׁוּ / Yéshu, not יֵשֽׁוּעַ / Yéshu'a. The plain fact is that the Christian bible was written in Greek, not in Hebrew. The earliest "names" for Jesus are not in Hebrew, it's Greek: Ἰησοῦς / Iesous. There simply is no early known Hebrew name for Jesus.
Would Ἰησοῦς / Iesous transliterates יֵשֽׁוּעַ / Yeshu'a? Nope. The closest transliteration would be יֵֽשׁוּ / Yéshu -- the name missionaries do not want to use because they think it insults Jesus. The Greek names given for Jesus do not represent the Hebrew form יֵשֽׁוּעַ Yéshu'a because that form would transliterate into "Jesuas," not Jesus. Jesuas is not a name used for Jesus -- meaning יֵשֽׁוּעַ Yéshu'a is simply made up and doesn't fit the known early Greek names for the man.
Why do missionaries dislike the name יֵֽשׁוּ Yéshu and think it is insulting? Some think it was an acronym insulting Jesus. The purported insulting acronym is supposedly taken from the phrase יִמַּח שְׁמוֹ וְזִכְרוֹ / yimmaḥ sh'mo v'zichro which translates to: “may his name and memory be blotted out." The only problem with this missionary theory is that no one uses the acronym when insulting a person, for example insulting Hitler by using the acronym would be “Hitler yéshu" -- but no one says that. The insult is made with the words themselves (for Hitler) would be "Hitleryimmaḥ sh'mo v'zichro."
In the 1970s the "messianic" groups started trying to say that Jesus' Hebrew name was יֵשֽׁוּעַ Yéshu'a so they could pretend it is the same as the common noun יְשׁוּעָה y'shu'ah (which is feminine and means "salvation"), The words are not even pronounced the same. The vowel of the first syllable of יֵשֽׁוּעַ Yéshu'a is tzere, -- the accented syllable is the שֽׁוּ -shu. The word for salvation (the feminine noun) points the yod in יְשׁוּעָה y'shu'ah iwith sh'va na, a "snatched" half-vowel that has no sound of it's own.
But, back to Pearlmutter's contention. He claimed the prayer in question is Ashkenazi (European Jewish) and claimed he was reading from the Machzor Rabbah published by Eshkol.
There is no prayer in that machzor as he claimed. There is a poem (not a prayer) -- a silent meditation (it is not read out loud). The poem is mystical in nature and harks back to a desire to once again have a Temple in Jerusalem. Poems are not generally considered "literal," yet missionaries (starting with Pearlmutter) try to latch on to this particular poem because it has the name יֵשֽׁוּעַ / Yéshu'a in it.
The person mentioned in the poem is not Jesus, it is a kohen gadol (high priest) who is mentioned in the T'nach (Ezra and Zechariah). Yet simply because the name sounds similar to the recently "made up" Hebrew name for Jesus the missionaries have plastered this poem all over the interent. Do a search for yourself on "yeshua" and "rosh hashana prayer." Quite a few entries pop up claiming that "Jesus is mentioned on Rosh HaShanah"! Just how many people do you think have had that name through the ages (it is an abbreviation of the name "Joshua").
The poem in the machzor (high holy day prayer book) is found at point when the shofar (ram's horn) is blown, and a time when verbal prayers are not allowed. Speech of any type is forbidden during this time in the service. The Ga'on of Vilnius stated that while this passage was appropriate for silent meditation it was not to be read out loud (as a prayer). Here is a translation:
“…sound be embroidered into the [heavenly] curtain by the appointed angel [טרטיא”ל], just as You accepted prayers through Elijah, who is remembered for good; יֵשֽׁוּעַ/ Yéshu'a (Ben (son of) Yehozadak), minister of the Inner Chamber; and the ministering angel [מט”ט]; and may You be filled with mercy upon us. Blessed are You, Master of Mercies.” Rosh HaShanah Machzor, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, K’hal Publishing,pg. 449.
The passage in the machzor (mystical in nature and read silently while the shofar is blown) mentions Elijah (the prophet) and two others, one of whom is יֵשֽׁוּעַ / Yéshu'a -- a kohein gadol (high priest) mentioned in the books of Ezra and Zechariah. Yéshu'a (Ben (son of) Yehozadak - (Jeshua) was the High Priest at the time of the rebuilding of the Temple and together with Zerubavel led the people who returned to Israel from Babylon. Link.
Why do missionaries assume that every person named "Joshua" in history must be the Jesus of their religion?
For further information about this poem read Menashe Walsh's blog post (link). He writes "Yeshua ben Yotsadak. . . was the High Priest at the time of the rebuilding of the 2nd Temple and together with Zerubavel led the people who returned to Israel from Babylon."
This is much ado about nothing. The name יֵשֽׁוּעַ / Yéshu'a was highly unlikely to be the Hebrew name of Jesus (as discussed above). Even if יֵשֽׁוּעַ / Yéshu'a had been Jesus' Hebrew name it does not mean that the name in the poem in the Hebrew poem refers to Jesus. Do missionaries think that no one in the world (other than Jesus) could possibly have been named יֵשֽׁוּעַ Yéshu'a? There were actually quite a few real live men with that name, one of whom is mentioned in that poem.
Many missionary websites have taken Pearlmutter's warped explanation and will claim all over the internet that this prayer mentions Jesus, but that is ridiculous. As discussed (above) if Jesus had a Hebrew name no one even knows what it might have been. The only names for Jesus were in Greek. The Greek name does not equal the Hebrew form יֵשֽׁוּעַ Yéshu'a because that form would transliterate into "Jesuas," not Jesus. I recommend reading "The Yeshua Name Game" by UriYosef for more information on how missionaries have tried to invent a Hebrew name for Jesus.
When a missionary claims that a person is a "former Orthodox Rabbi who became a Christian" do your own research! It was not difficult to find out the facts about Pearlmutter. The same can easily be done for "Rabbi Leopold Cohn" the founder of "The Chosen People's Ministry" -- another who was never a rabbi, let alone an "Orthodox" one despite his claims.