There is an old missionary lie that the Rabbis "hide" Isaiah 53 from the Jews, and if Jews only READ Isaiah 53 they would immediately realize that Jesus is the messiah and all convert "en masse" to Christianity.
This is such a ridiculous and outlandish lie, but perhaps that is why it is so very popular! Do an internet search on "the forbidden chapter in the bible," or "the missing Haftarah portion," or some such and you will find YouTube videos, articles, etc. all asserting that because Isaiah 53 is so "obviously" about Jesus the Jews had to hide it!
Jews DO read Isaiah 53. Unlike many a missionary who seems only to read that chapter, Jews actually read the entire BOOK of Isaiah -- along with all of the other books in the T'nach (Jewish bible). There is no reason to hide Isaiah 53 as it is clearly NOT about Jesus.
If Isaiah 53 were about Jesus:
These are just a few of points regarding Isaiah 53 not "fitting" Jesus (he was not a man accustomed to long illness either). . .
So where does this missionary untruth come from -- that the rabbis "forbid the reading of Isaiah 53"?
One can only guess that one day a missionary, while perusing the הַפְטָרָה / Haftarah, noticed that Isaiah 53 was not one of the Haftarah portions that we read in Synagogue during our פרשת parshat readings.
Around 175 BCE there was a Syrian king named Antiochus Epiphanes who attacked Jerusalem, killed many Jews and amongst his edicts he forbade the study of Torah. (Levush, Shulchan Aruch 284).
The Rabbis gleaned through נְבִיאִים / Nevi'im (Prophets) to find stories that had similar morals to the Torah portion (parsha) of the week. (Jews read the Torah cover to cover every year). After the decree was lifted Jews continued to read the Haftarah as well as the Torah portion weekly).
Now keep in mind this was nearly 200 years BCE yet the Christians would have you believe that we expunged Isaiah 53 from our weekly Synagogue readings so that Jews would not read it and "realize" that Jesus WAS the promised messiah and convert instantaneously to Christianity. Just how insane does that sound???
Has no missionary ever picked up a copy of a Jewish T'nach (bible) and seen that Isaiah 53 is right there, in between chapters 52 and 54?
So, hmmm if the Haftarah was created 200 BCE then WHAT DOES the lack of reading it on Shabbat have to do with Jesus????
New Testament. Acts 13:15 states that "after the reading of the law and the prophets" Paul was invited to deliver an exhortation. Another reference is found in Luke 4:17 has Jesus reading from Prophets in the Synagogue, too. Ergo the practice of reading from Prophets in the Synagogue was recognized by the anonymous authors of the Christian bible (it was not something the rabbis "invented" later).
Two ancient Midrashim, Pesikta D’Rav Kahana, and Pesikta Rabbosei D’Rav Kahana tell the story about the creation of the Haftarah. It has been unchanged since its creation. 200 years BCE.
Antiochus forbade the reading of Torah and thus the Rabbis created the Haftarah -- stories from Prophets that had similar moral themes to the normal weekly parsha.
You know us Jews and traditions -- even when we were allowed to once again read Torah we kept the tradition of reading the Haftarah, too.
From the Jewish Virtual Library: "The custom of reading the haftarah predates the Talmudic period. Some date it back to the time of King Antiochus, a 2nd century BCE Syrian-Greek who forbade the Jews to read from the Torah but did not extend this ban to the Prophets. The haftarah is selected because of a thematic relationship to the weekly Torah reading or to that day or time period. A boy often reads the haftarah at his bar mitzvah. In non-Orthodox synagogues, a girl reads the haftarah at her bat mitzvah."
Sophiee Saguy has been countering false missionary claims about Judaism and the T'nach (Jewish bible) for nearly twenty years. You may find her on FaceBook and at the Messiah Truth forum.