The Infamous Second Aliyah of Timothy Layne Buckles

The Infamous Second Aliyah of Timothy Layne Buckles

The first infamous Aliyah of Timothy Layne Buckles, Tim Buckles or Timothy Layne had taken place previously at a power minyan in Seward Seattle in 2014. A trusty minyan attendee was suspicious and started looking into Tim’s background after he named his new born girl during the Keriat haTorah with aplomb.Image may contain: 1 person

Timothy Layne as of 2014-2016 is not Jewish, he may still be one of the leaders of the Tzemakh David Messianic group in Everett WA1, well at least as far back as 2014-2016. Now what would a modern “Hasidic” – looking Jew be doing in Everett? What kind of Jewish life is there up there? You see, Seward Park is just too darn expensive….. Word on the Jewish grapevine is that he has already been rumbled for deception in at least two other Jewish locations in the United States.

The Big Aliyah

Mr. Buckles and his wife Anna (Michelle as per facebook) Buckles (also Williamson) have made it to Israel and Tim has a job working in a cafe in Jerusalem. The cafe may be just one place where he proudly announces to all who may listen, that he has made Aliyah and may be a convert to Judaism also. No doubt based on the first infamous Aliyah of Timothy Layne Buckles, he now may make similar bold claims in the place he may be residing(?). The neighborhood where he works may be also just too darn expensive to reside, so where do they live? Perhaps you know of a Buckles family near you?

Facebook appears to indicate change of location to Israel circa 2017. Of course anyone who has actually genuinely made Aliyah, has a burden of proof of Jewish status if one was to become a genuine citizen of Israel. Have they established the burden of proof of Jewish status? Have they converted through the appropriate channels?

If so we have a problem Houston!

The problem includes, that a non-Jew may be called up to recite brochot upon our Holy Torah. The food he/she cooks and serves to Jews in the cafe may be cooked by a non-Jew. An employer may end up paying maternity pay on the basis of a possibly false pretense of being halachically Jewish when in fact there may be a scam going on.

The Buckles may be in Israel illegally on the basis that their Aliyah may be predicated on a genuine Jewish conversion which may not in fact be the case given the messianic posts of just two months ago (see points below). They may be involved in missionary work which is obviously problematic.

If they have ‘properly’ converted or not we still have a problem:

  1. An article (https://ffoz.org/discover/torah/messiah-the-bird.html), by Tim Buckles, as recently as 2 Jun 2019 by the messianic missionary group known as the First Fruits of Zion2 (FFOZ). Tim is obviously currently involved in the belief and propagation of the aims of FFOZ for the evangelisation of Jews.

  2. If you look at the bottom of the article above, you will see that it states … “ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tim Buckles resides with his family in Israel. He is the author of the children’s book Avram and the Idol Shop” published by FFOZ.

  3. You will note in the comments section of this Messianic page “Ladder of Jacob” that on 30 May 2017, Tim’s brother in law (Randy Mitchell) posted that Tim and Anna are working for FFOZ having made Aliyah:creepy

  4. Even a gofundme page for Tim Buckles to go back to USA to bury his Father. Here they claim “Tim and Anna Buckles recently made Aliyah and moved their family to Jerusalem”. Fundraiser by Angela Morales Help bring Tim home for funeral
  5. A Youtube Video “Standing in the gap” which after 30 seconds he states the topic of the video “what about all those Jews who aren’t following yoshke”; at around 4.35 mins he starts talking about Paul and quoting Romans; around 7.40 mins for the next minute he talks about yoshke.

The problem is that many Jews and genuine converts to Judaism have made significant sacrifices to make genuine Aliyah here in Israel. Why should we be subject to missionary deceptions here also? If missionary conversions are ‘genuine’, then based on present evangelical output (as shown above), we Jews can only hope for a retro-active annulment of conversions[if any] and a kick out from the country. Meanwhile, we may be polluted by your presence and evangelical agenda, masquerading as Jews3 which extends to at least where you work, where your children got to school and the Synagogues you attend.

But we know where you are and what you get up to!
__________________________________________________

1 Tzemakh David has been formed as a kiruv community and gateway to greater involvement in Jewish life, culture and mitzvot for interested Jewish Christians. Tzemakh David also intends to provide community for Messianics in the Puget Sound area and to stand with Christian communities as we share the message of Christ to the nations. https://yellow.place/en/tzemakh-david-everett-usa

2 ABOUT US

First Fruits of Zion is an educational Messianic Jewish organization.

We believe that the Torah of Moses (Genesis­–Deuteronomy) is God’s initial revelation and self-disclosure not only to Israel, but to all of humanity. It is the foundation for the Scriptures, the basis of covenant relationship with God, and the revelation of Messiah. We are dedicated to educating followers of Yeshua—both Jewish and Gentile—in the whole counsel of Scripture.

We teach Torah through books, publications, study programs, audio-visual products, and seminars and conferences. However, and this is an important “however,” we teach more than Torah—we like to think that we teach a very high form of discipleship to the Master. Let me explain.

In Judaism it is often said, “Keep Torah for the sake of Torah” which communicates that one should not keep Torah for the reward, the benefit, or even the joy but rather as a simple act of obedience. While we understand this principle, we do not keep Torah for the sake of Torah alone; we keep Torah as a matter of discipleship. We always place the emphasis on being a “disciple of the Master” rather than being “Torah observant.” Our interest in Torah, tradition, Jewish studies, etc. begins and ends with our desire to be better disciples of Yeshua.

Our hope is to see disciples of the Master take up God’s commandments as an expression of love and devotion to the Father, not out of a sense of mandate or burdened obligation. We pray that all believers will let their good deeds shine forth as a beacon of light to the world.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.(Matthew 5:16)

These are exciting days of restoration! I am grateful to be alive and a part of these prophetic times. Thanks for considering our resources; I pray they will be a blessing to you, your family, and your community.

Boaz Michael, Founder and Director, First Fruits of Zion. https://ffoz.com/about-us.html

3 In the “International Religious Freedom Report for 2017: Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank, and Gaza,” it says, “There is also a community of approximately 20,000 Messianic Jews, as reported by the Messianic Jewish community.” https://www.state.gov/reports/2017-report-on-international-religious-freedom/israel-golan-heights-west-bank-and-gaza/

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Students at Edinburgh University voted to boycott Israel

Students at Edinburgh University voted to boycott Israel. A professor and expert on Middle East taught them, point by point, why they were so wrong. A must read!

Dr. Denis MacEoin, a non-Jewish Scottish professor, wrote a letter to his students who had voted to boycott Israel, explaining why that was so wrong.

The Edinburgh Student’s Association (EUSA) had put forward a motion to boycott all things Israeli, claiming that Israel is under an apartheid regime.

Dr. Denis MacEoin

MacEoin is an expert in Middle Eastern affairs and was a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly. Following is his letter to the students:

TO: The Committee Edinburgh University Student Association.

May I be permitted to say a few words to members of the EUSA? I am an Edinburgh graduate (MA 1975) who studied Persian, Arabic and Islamic History in Buccleuch Place under William Montgomery Watt and Laurence Elwell Sutton, two of Britain ‘s great Middle East experts in their day. I later went on to do a PhD at Cambridge and to teach Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University . Naturally, I am the author of several books and hundreds of articles in this field. I say all that to show that I am well informed in Middle Eastern affairs and that, for that reason, I am shocked and disheartened by the EUSA motion and vote.

What About the Facts? Reality?
I am shocked for a simple reason: there is not and has never been a system of apartheid in Israel. That is not my opinion, that is fact that can be tested against reality by any Edinburgh student, should he or she choose to visit Israel to see for themselves. Let me spell this out, since I have the impression that those members of EUSA who voted for this motion are absolutely clueless in matters concerning Israel, and that they are, in all likelihood, the victims of extremely biased propaganda coming from the anti-Israel lobby.

Being anti-Israel is not in itself objectionable. But I’m not talking about ordinary criticism of Israel. I’m speaking of a hatred that permits itself no boundaries in the lies and myths it pours out. Thus, Israel is repeatedly referred to as a “Nazi” state. In what sense is this true, even as a metaphor? Where are the Israeli concentration camps? The einzatsgruppen? The SS? The Nuremberg Laws? The Final Solution? None of these things nor anything remotely resembling them exists in Israel, precisely because the Jews, more than anyone on earth, understand what Nazism stood for.

It is claimed that there has been an Israeli Holocaust in Gaza (or elsewhere). Where? When? No honest historian would treat that claim with anything but the contempt it deserves. But calling Jews Nazis and saying they have committed a Holocaust is as basic a way to subvert historical fact as anything I can think of.

Likewise apartheid. For apartheid to exist, there would have to be a situation that closely resembled how things were in South Africa under the apartheid regime. Unfortunately for those who believe this, a weekend in any part of Israel would be enough to show how ridiculous the claim is.

Sad Comment on the State of Modern Education
That a body of university students actually fell for this and voted on it is a sad comment on the state of modern education. The most obvious focus for apartheid would be the country’s 20% Arab population. Under Israeli law, Arab Israelis have exactly the same rights as Jews or anyone else; Muslims have the same rights as Jews or Christians; Baha’is, severely persecuted in Iran, flourish in Israel, where they have their world center; Ahmadi Muslims, severely persecuted in Pakistan and elsewhere, are kept safe by Israel; the holy places of all religions are protected under a specific Israeli law. Arabs form 20% of the university population (an exact echo of their percentage in the general population).

In Iran, the Bahai’s (the largest religious minority) are forbidden to study in any university or to run their own universities: why aren’t your members boycotting Iran? Arabs in Israel can go anywhere they want, unlike blacks in apartheid South Africa. They use public transport, they eat in restaurants, they go to swimming pools, they use libraries, they go to cinemas alongside Jews – something no blacks were able to do inSouth Africa.

Israeli hospitals not only treat Jews and Arabs, they also treat Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank. On the same wards, in the same operating theatres.

In Israel , women have the same rights as men: there is no gender apartheid. Gay men and women face no restrictions, and Palestinian gays often escape into Israel, knowing they may be killed at home.

It seems bizarre to me that LGBT groups call for a boycott of Israel and say nothing about countries like Iran, where gay men are hanged or stoned to death. That illustrates a mindset that beggars belief.

Intelligent students thinking it’s better to be silent about regimes that kill gay people, but good to condemn the only country in the Middle East that rescues and protects gay people. Is that supposed to be a sick joke?

Students Who Have No Idea How to Think
University is supposed to be about learning to use your brain, to think rationally, to examine evidence, to reach conclusions based on solid evidence, to compare sources, to weigh up one view against one or more others. If the best Edinburgh can now produce are students who have no idea how to do any of these things, then the future is bleak.

I do not object to well-documented criticism of Israel. I do object when supposedly intelligent people single the Jewish state out above states that are horrific in their treatment of their populations. We are going through the biggest upheaval in the Middle East since the 7th and 8th centuries, and it’s clear that Arabs and Iranians are rebelling against terrifying regimes that fight back by killing their own citizens.

Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, do not rebel (though they are free to protest). Yet Edinburgh students mount no demonstrations and call for no boycotts against Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iran. They prefer to make false accusations against one of the world’s freest countries, the only country in the Middle East that has taken in Darfur refugees, the only country in the Middle East that gives refuge to gay men and women, the only country in the Middle East that protects the Bahai’s… Need I go on?

The imbalance is perceptible, and it sheds no credit on anyone who voted for this boycott. I ask you to show some common sense. Get information from the Israeli embassy. Ask for some speakers. Listen to more than one side. Do not make your minds up until you have given a fair hearing to both parties. You have a duty to your students, and that is to protect them from one-sided argument.

They are not at university to be propagandized. And they are certainly not there to be tricked into anti-Semitism by punishing one country among all the countries of the world, which happens to be the only Jewish state. If there had been a single Jewish state in the 1930’s (which, sadly, there was not), don’t you think Adolf Hitler would have decided to boycott it?

Your generation has a duty to ensure that the perennial racism of anti-Semitism never sets down roots among you. Today, however, there are clear signs that it has done so and is putting down more. You have a chance to avert a very great evil, simply by using reason and a sense of fair play. Please tell me that this makes sense. I have given you some of the evidence. It’s up to you to find out more.

Yours sincerely,
Denis MacEoin

In follow up to the above

Edinburgh University BDS vote overturned

The board of trustees of Edinburgh University Student’s Association (EUSA) has refused to enforce the BDS policy passed by the student council earlier this year.

Image result for edinburgh university

The motion to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) policy was passed on 31 March by 249-153 votes with 22 abstentions, giving a majority of 74.

The Israel Engagement Society (IES) described the motion as “irresponsible” and “intolerant” and welcomed the move, saying that “EUSA’s dropping of the policy follows a precedent set by other universities, recognising the illegality of BDS and the significant risk of increasing intolerance against minority groups on campus that it poses.”

Theo Robertson-Bonds, IES vice-chair, said he was “delighted” by the verdict.

“Singling out and boycotting the world’s only Jewish state is a reckless, divisive policy that does nothing to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said.

“I am delighted that EUSA’s Trustee Board has taken this issue seriously and ensured our campus remains safe and inclusive for all students by refusing to enact it. IES will continue to work with the university and EUSA to promote peace and discussion around a two-state solution on campus.”

Although the BDS motion will not be enacted, EUSA’s website will continue to show the policy as having passed at the Student Council.

At the time of the vote, concerns were raised about the legality of the motion by both IES members and representatives of EUSA, and IES maintains that the turnout of 1.19% of student electors “makes the mandate of such a divisive motion highly questionable.”

Danger from Within by Promoting from Without

In the days of mighty King Nimrod, there lived in Mesopotamia a young man named Abraham. Now, Abraham’s father was an idol maker named Azar, who carved the wooden gods worshiped by his people. But Abraham was a believer in the one God, and not in the gods made by hand.

Image result for nimrod and abraham

Azar would send Abraham and his other sons to sell his idols in the marketplace. But Abraham would call to the passersby, “Who’ll buy my idols? They won’t help you and they can’t hurt you! Who’ll buy my idols?”

Then Abraham would mock the gods of wood. He would take them to the river, push their faces into the water, and command them, “Drink! Drink!”

At last Abraham said to his father, “How can you worship what doesn’t see or hear or do you any good?”

Azar replied, “Dare you deny the gods of our people? Get out of my sight!”

“May God forgive you,” said Abraham. “No more will I live with you and your idols.” And he left the house of his father.

Now, the time came for one of the festivals of that town. The people gathered in their temple and placed offerings of food before their gods.

Abraham walked among them, saying, “What are you worshiping? Do these idols hear when you call them? Can they help you or hurt you?”

But their only reply was, “It is the way of our forefathers.”

“I am sick of your gods!” declared Abraham. “Truly I am their enemy.”

When the people had gone out, Abraham took some of the food and held it up to the idols. “Why don’t you eat?” he mocked them. “Aren’t you hungry? Speak to me!” And he slapped their faces.

Then Abraham took an ax and chopped the idols to pieces—all except the largest idol, the chief god of the people. And he tied the ax to the hand of that idol.

When the people returned, they were shocked to find their gods broken up and scattered about the temple. Then they remembered how Abraham had spoken, and they sent for him.

“Abraham,” said the head man, “was it you who did this?”

“Surely it was someone!” he replied. “Their chief stands there with an ax in his hand. Perhaps he grew jealous and destroyed the rest. But why don’t you just ask him?”

The head man said, “You know they neither strike nor speak.”

“Then why worship gods that you make?” demanded Abraham. “Worship instead the Maker of all!”

But few of the people would listen. Abraham was seized and brought to King Nimrod for punishment.

When Nimrod had heard the accusers, he turned to Abraham. “Who is this mighty God you spoke of?”

“He it is Who gives life and death,” answered Abraham.

“But I too give life and death,” said Nimrod. “I pardon a guilty man sentenced to die—then I execute one who is innocent!”

“That is not the way of my Lord,” said Abraham. “But listen to this: Each morning, my Lord brings the sun up in the east. Can you make it rise in the west?”

Then Nimrod grew angry. He had a great fire built, and he ordered Abraham to be tied up and thrown into it. But the fire only burnt away the ropes, and they saw Abraham sitting peacefully among the flames. Beside him was an angel in Abraham’s likeness, comforting and protecting him.

After that, Nimrod did not dare try to harm Abraham again. Abraham returned to his town, where he gathered those who believed in the one God. Then he set out west, placing all faith in the Lord1.

Fast Forward to the Present Day2

For up to $27 a month or $270 a year (there are three pricing levels, “in the spirit of Leviticus 5:6-11”), subscribers to Root Source can access prerecorded lectures on topics that include biblical Hebrew, women in the Bible, Jewish prayer, the Holy Temple, God, Moses and the Book of Proverbs.

Although it may be a bit off-topic, one of the most popular courses offered at this online school is apparently “Islam – Insights and Deceptions.” A blurb about the course notes that it “uses scriptures from the Old Testament and occasionally even the New Testament to make the case that Islam is extremely dangerous.”

Torah School for the Nations, founded by Lambert Adler earlier this year, focuses more on face-to-face learning. Her project offers evangelicals visiting Israel during the three biblical feasts – Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot – the opportunity to participate in a full day of Torah study.

ADLER1

It held its first such teach-in last Passover in the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, where Lambert Adler lives. “But so many people wanted to join that the next two times, for lack of space, we had to move it to Jerusalem,” she says. The price is $75 per participant per day, including a kosher lunch.

“Ultimately, my dream is to have a brick-and-mortar facility that operates year-round,” she says……..

The forerunner of all these initiatives was the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding & Cooperation (CJCUC), the first Orthodox-Jewish institution to offer Jewish-taught Bible classes to Christians. CJCUC was established in January 2008 by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, a prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi, in the West Bank settlement of Efrat.

Unlike some of the newer initiatives, it reaches out to Christians across all denominations – not only evangelicals.

Israel Jewish Council for Interreligious Relations   IJCIR

Interfaith Bible classes have also found their way to the Israeli parliament. Among the participants at a recent class in May was Michele Bachmann, the former U.S. presidential candidate and co-founder of the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement3.

The Fallout

“So what if its harmless (?) nonsense” you can imagine some of our people thinking to also include that its also good for business! And all under the guise of educating Christians about their Christianity!?

However, this not the case for Abraham a man born into his idolatrous family and community. An enlightened Abraham clearly had his purpose to educate his family and community concerning idolatry. As described above, he demonstrated explicitly and repeatedly the foolishness of idolatry to a point after which he had to leave to the West [Israel] to be free of its influence. Is the foolishness of idolatry not the essence of what we say at our Passover Seders. To be free from the idolatrous religious practices/ beliefs of the other nations and instead to join our Torah nation? We readily admit in our Haggadas “Our forefathers were idol worshipers” and yet we should understand the very act of slaughtering a lamb was a rejection of the lamb god of the Egyptians4? And now we are facilitating and furthering the idolatry of Christianity? Christianity which claims in direct contradistinction to our own understanding to:

Get rid of the old yeast, that you may be a new unleavened batch, as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 1 Corin 5:7

By helping non-Jews to understand Christianity and practice their Christianity more meaningfully whilst making a hefty buck ($) at the same time?

We as Jews must make no mistake that we are coming under the fluffy warm blanket of political correctness, tolerance, love and mutual respect promoted from our own people. The very same tactics that Christians use themselves in their efforts to convert Jews to Jesus/ Yeshua! After all, as the Christian missionaries say “believing in Jesus makes you a completed Jew”. It is very clear from a Christian missionary perspective as mandated by the New Testament (see Mark 16:15, 16) that we Jews have something lacking…. the idol Jesus/ Yeshua.

Some Jews are in a denial that they are not playing with and exposing our people to the idolatry of Christianity. The denial because after all the proper get out safety clauses are disposed throughout their materials in their efforts to educate non-Jews about Christianity by equalizing it with an ‘understanding’ of Judaism. Their material and statements are without any reference to idolatry and why explicitly Christianity is idolatry. Those who expose such things are of course ignorant, prejudiced and fail to understand the mi$$ion to the Christians:

“Once they start having what they call a ‘heart for Israel,’ they realize that Jesus was Jewish. And in order for them to understand Christianity, they have to understand the Hebraic roots of Christianity. In other words, the lifestyle that Jesus lived – and that happens to be very similar to the way religious Jews live today, especially in Israel,” explains Lambert Adler.

No it is not very similar to the way religious Jews live today but unfortunately if more of this idolatry is promoted from those from within it may well be so in the near future.

Jews do not need to enhance the idolatrous beliefs of others by reinforcing it with Judaism, G-d forbid! Abraham did not and why should we?!

______________

Quotations from Haaretz article https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-you-ll-never-guess-who-s-flocking-to-learn-bible-at-israeli-yeshivas-1.6763029?fbclid=IwAR3nxbEWhBNgsKp04P6R7oHU8gLatiETsGMRMfAb8xzUahoYFGJZIA0-KXw for which quotations / pictures from are clearly indicated so and in accordance with ‘fair use’, to serve an educational purpose of this blog post. Examples of ‘fair use’ include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. ‘Fair use’ provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author’s work.

ibid

A biblical proof that the lamb was a god of the Egyptians is by consideration of Exodus 8 which concerns Moshe’s request of pharaoh to allow a sacrifice in the desert. Considering verse 22: And Moses said: ‘It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God; lo, if we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us? Exodus 8. A question may be asked if the sacrifice (lamb/ sheep) was an abomination to the Israelites or the Egyptians? The answer to the rhetorical question asked by Moshe causes us to consider what would the basis be for the Egyptians to stone the Israelites, if not for Israelites sacrificing the god of the Egyptians?

‘Rabbi’ Itzkak Shapira the Gift that Just Keeps on Giving

So called “Rabbi” Shapira has a way of bouncing back into the fray by immediately poking the the hornets nest and dousing it with petrol. A war is now on between the camp of Deanne Loper [no doubt battling over mi$$ionary funds like Shapira] who has written a book entitled “Kabbalah Secrets Christians Need to Know: An In Depth Study of the Kosher Pig and the Gods of Jewish Mysticism”

dumb and dumber KP.png

In her own words:

The Return of the Kosher Pig is the book by ‘rabbi’ Itzak Shapira that is admired by many christian theologians deluding people that the “kosher pig” that will return is no other than Jesus Christ the Messiah. So many are excited over the Jewish Rabbi recognizing Jesus as the Messiah however they overlook that “Yeshua” he is describing is not the true Jesus Christ of the bible. Would Jesus agree with kabbalah Zohar and the Talmud?

Even a video assessment including Deanne is provided which shows Shapira engaging the famous Benny Hinn. One of the scholarly claims by Shapira is that Esav (עשו) is Christianity and Yeshua (ישוע) spelt backwards gives the word Esav. Other Scholary gems of Shapira may be accessed here.

Kosher Pig 1.png

The scholarly ignorance and deceptiveness of Shapira versus the classic antisemitic propaganda promoted by Deanne Loper is really something to behold!  Talk about the blind leading the blind.

Creating the (copy)Right Impression

Before you post anything should it not be checked for its accuracy? After all once something is in the public domain its fair to utilize materials (videos, blog/Facebook posts) under fair use for the purpose of warnings to vulnerable individuals.

Itzhak Shapira or more accurately ‘Rabbi Ignoramus’ has been at it again. A plethora of material demonstrating his ignorance in video format is currently being trolled for copyright purposes (see here and here). No doubt its all part of the public image in the latest venture to team up with the “Kosher Pastor” franchise:

koshpast

koshpast2

Rest assured with the Kosher Pastor being a man of integrity and his teaming up Rabbi Ignoramus, another man of integrity, he is onto a winner!? From the website:

Pastor Matt McKeown has studied under Messianic Rabbi Itzhak Shapira for nearly 4 years.  This learning and discovery has led the pastor and the rabbi to create a 3 course online program that teaches Christians about the Jewishness of Jesus and the Bible.

Here is an example of the integrity of Rabbi Ignoramus who recently took over a Chabad House to propagate his ideas:

shap5

chabad

Could there be a more apt use of the famous non-testament term “the blind leading the blind? Here below (more here) in full is a scholarly appraisal of the scholarly value of Shapira:

DECEMBER 27, 2013 By Rabbi Eli Cohen – Jews for Judaism Australia[1]

A Critical Review of The Return of the Kosher Pig

Justinas Pranaitis' credibility rapidly evaporated, however, when the defense demonstrated his ignorance of some simple Talmudic concepts and definitions, such as hullin, to the point where "many in the audience occasionally laughed out loud when he clearly became confused and couldn't even intelligibly answer some of the questions asked by [Beilis'] lawyer"

Justinas Pranaitis’ credibility rapidly evaporated, however, when the defense demonstrated his ignorance of some simple Talmudic concepts and definitions, such as hullin, to the point where “many in the audience occasionally laughed out loud when he clearly became confused and couldn’t even intelligibly answer some of the questions asked by [Beilis’] lawyer”

The explosive debate surrounding the belief in a divine Messiah has engaged many great minds across the spectrum of religious beliefs. The most recent contender for a seat at this debate is Christian evangelist[2] “Rabbi”[3] Itzhak Shapira, author of The Return of the Kosher Pig.

In their endorsements of this book, respected Christian leaders have labeled Shapira “a Jewish insider”[4] with “encyclopedic knowledge of rabbinic sources”[5] and described this book as a product of “careful study.”[6] With these recommendations, Shapira has been promoting himself in Christian and Jewish circles as a “scholar” in rabbinic studies.

After reading The Return of the Kosher Pig and examining the sources, I feel a responsibility to present my findings. It would require several volumes to discuss the broad spectrum of blunders in Shapira’s book.[7] For the purpose of this review, I have selected a mere sampling of distortions found in the pages of The Return of the Kosher Pig (TROTKP), as well as errors that can only serve to disqualify Shapira from this debate.

When engaging in the difficult study of rabbinic literature, as Shapira purports to do, background knowledge and textual competence are a basic requirement, not a luxury. My hope is that by the end of this review, irrespective of your religious background or persuasion, it will be crystal clear that Shapira’s supporters were totally duped, and that his proficiency in the study of rabbinic writings is a sham.

Introduction

Shapira and his book bring to mind the famous “Beillis trial” that took place in Kiev in 1913. In this trial, Mendel Beillis, a Russian Jew, was accused of murdering a Christian child to take his blood for alleged Jewish rituals. During the trial, a Lithuanian Catholic priest named Justinas Pranaitis was called upon as a religious “expert” in Judaism for the prosecution.

In his book Blood Accusation, Maurice Samuel describes how Ben-Tzion Katz, an advisor to the Beillis defense team, exposed Pranaitis as a sham to the non-Jewish jury. “After listening to Pranaitis for a few minutes he [Katz] perceived that the man was a quack with the merest smattering of Hebrew and no knowledge of Aramaic, the language of the Zohar and most of the Talmud. Any Jewish boy with a cheder (elementary Hebrew school) education would have perceived it, but the jury of course had not even that.”[8]

Katz recommended that Pranaitis be asked the meaning of words such as Hulin, Yebamot and Erubin without letting him know that these were titles of volumes of the Talmud. Katz was positive that Pranaitis would not know the answers. It was obvious to Katz from the way Pranaitis had pronounced the words that he had picked up his “erudition” from scurrilous pamphlets with which Katz was familiar. Following this advice, the attorneys took turns asking these questions, with Pranaitis answering each question “Ne znayu” (I don’t know).

The exchange climaxed when one of the attorneys asked Pranaitis, “When did Baba Batra live and what was her activity?” Baba Batra is the name of a tractate of the Talmud. The word baba is also a common Russian term for grandma. Thus, when Pranaitas answered “Ne znayu”, he demonstrated that he was completely unfamiliar with even the names of the volumes of the Talmud, not just their content.

Samuel then quotes from a telegram sent to Moscow by one of the Tzarist agents, “[The] questioning of Pranaitis reduced the convincing power of his testimony, revealing ignorance of texts and insufficient acquaintance with Jewish literature. In view of the superficiality of his knowledge and his helplessness, Pranaitis’s testimony has very little significance.”[9]

First Impressions

The following video has been removed (see graphic below)

What an incredible error of translation!!! He translates the Aramaic word “Asei” (see strong’s concordance H858) which means “come”, as if it were the Hebrew word; “Atah” “you”.

However, on page 119 of The Return of The Kosher Pig, Tzahi Shapira writes:

“Daniel 7:13-14 speaks in the singular structure as it uses the word אתה ( “You” singular) and not אתם ( “You” plural).”

Shapira’s teachers at IAMCS appear to have neglected tell him that Daniel is partially written (ch 1-7) in Aramaic, the remainder in Hebrew. Any google rabbi could have told him that!!

What an incredible error of translation!!! He translates the Aramaic word “Asei” (see strong’s concordance H858) which means “come”, as if it were the Hebrew word; “Atah” “you”. even more incredible that he repeats the same mistake twice in a video clip.

Shapira has indicated previously that his book contains a number of mistakes and that a second edition has been made. A recent post of his book very surreptitiously hides the page number and Shapira admits a small mistake:

mistake

Ignorance of Shapira that chapters 1-7 of Daniel is in Aramaic, the remainder in Hebrew is a small mistake?

shap 2

Shapira doesn’t even get off the ground without running into serious problems. In explaining the provocative title of his book, Shapira tells us that the pig will become kosher in the Messianic Era. Furthermore, he claims that according to the rabbis, the return of the “pig” is also a euphemism for the triumphant return of the Messiah. He therefore believes that in the future the Jewish community will embrace both the pig and Jesus as kosher.

In TROTKP, Shapira attempts to trace this idea back to a book written by Rabbi Yehuda Hayon, a respected rabbi currently residing in Israel. In his book Otzarot Acharit Hayamim, Rabbi Hayon examines the status of scriptural prohibitions in the Messianic Era. One of the biblical prohibitions he explores is that of the pig. He cites a Midrash that explains the meaning of the Hebrew name of the pig, hazir (which can also mean [to] return). “Why is his name called hazir? Because in the future, G-d will ‘return’ it to Israel.”[10]

This Midrash, if it were to be taken literally, would imply that the scriptural prohibition against eating pig would be abrogated in the Messianic Era. In an endnote,[11] which is the focus of Shapira’s discussion, Rabbi Hayon addresses this dilemma and presents several interpretations of this Midrash that would still hold to the belief that the Law of Moses will not be abrogated in the Messianic Era. Rabbi Hayon presents the following collection of interpretations from the writings of respected Jewish commentators:

Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar (Ohr HaChaim) interprets this Midrash literally with the following explanation: Since the pig does not currently chew its cud, Torah law forbids it [Leviticus 11]. However, in the Messianic Era the pig will undergo a physiological change and will begin to chew its cud. At such time, when the pig possesses the two characteristics required of a kosher animal – split hooves (which it already has) and chewing its cud – it will be rendered kosher. This will be in keeping with Torah Law and does not constitute a nullification of Torah Law in the Messianic Era.

Rabbi David ibn Zimra (Radvaz) interprets the Midrash allegorically in order to avoid the problems presented by a literal interpretation. He offers two possible explanations: a. The Midrash is using hyperbole to illustrate the abundance of meat that will be available in the Messianic Era. There will be so much meat at that time that it will be as if pig had become Kosher. b. The Midrash can be understood on an esoteric level. The hazir (pig) is a reference to a celestial angel named Hazri-e-l who is currently a prosecutor of Israel in heaven. In the future, this angel will turn (lit. return) from being the prosecutor of Israel to becoming their defender.

Rabbi Hayon’s discussion concerning the “pig” closes with two alternative textual versions of this Midrash which both see the “pig” as a euphemism for Edom – Rome. These renditions are found in the works of Rabeinu Bachaya, a respected 13th century Spanish rabbi. In Rabeinu Bachaya al HaTorah, it is explained that the return of the “pig” refers to Edom coming in the future to build the ThirdTemple in place of the SecondTemple which they destroyed.

The concluding remarks of Rabbi Hayon’s discussion read as follows:

“[One can] adopt the [following] version of the Midrash cited in Bachaya al HaTorah, Parshas Shmini (Leviticus 9:1-11:47): Why is this nation [Edom – Rome] compared to a pig? Because G-d will, in the future, turn (lit. return) upon them the attribute of judgment. Or else [one can] adopt the other version brought by [Rabeinu Bachaya]: Why is his [Edom’s – Rome’s] name called hazir (pig)? Because in the future he [Edom – Rome] will return the crown to its former glory.” (i.e build the ThirdTemple.)

In TROTKP, Shapira argues that “the term used by Rabbi Hayon, atara leyosh’nah [[the] crown to its former glory], literally means that the angel will not only return to redeem, protect and defend Israel, but he will also return to his lawful place as King [Messiah] as the crown belongs to him!”[12] In reality, Rabbi Hayon never suggests in any of his comments that the name “pig” is a euphemism for the Messiah or that the return of the “pig” is a code for the “triumphant return” of the “pig” (Messiah). Moreover, no respected rabbi within Judaism ever refers or referred to the Messiah as “pig”.

Shapira accentuates this error when he marvels aloud, “What a wonderful commentary by our sages, who clearly explain that the pig is represented by a messenger [Angel] who will return to Israel to save and to protect, to bring back the crown that was lost.”[13]

The entire premise for the title of Shapira’s book rests on his staggering confusion. Not only does he distort the final comment of Rabbi Hayon, but he also conflates this distortion with the comment of the Radvaz about the “pig” being a reference to a heavenly angel called Hazri-e-l. Had Shapira bothered to check the source provided by Rabbi Hayon before jumping to his erroneous conclusion, he may have chosen a different title for his book.

The Hypothesis

The main theme of Shapira’s book is his contention that “by the standards of the 1st and 2nd century sages, some expected a Divine Messiah who would come and suffer for the sins of Israel and rule as king.”[14] He would have us believe that if it were not for the rabbis in the Middle-Ages who took a “sharp and violent turn against the idea of a Divine Messiah,”[15] the belief in a divine Messiah would be a part of contemporary Judaism; or, at the very least, tolerated.

Before addressing some of the “evidence” cited by Shapira, it is worth noting what scholars say on the matter. Lawrence Schiffman, an internationally recognized authority on SecondTemple and Rabbinic Judaism, writes: “Justin Martyr (100-165 C.E.) composed a Greek record of a supposed dialogue with a Jew. Apparently, this work is a literary device, purporting to be a dialogue with the famous Mishnaic sage Rabbi Tarfon. The debate shows that the theological battle lines had already been drawn by the mid-second century C.E.”[16] One of the quotes that Schiffman brings from Justin’s Dialogue reveals that the belief in a divine Messiah was a Christian departure from the established tenets of 1st and 2nd century Judaism.

“‘… it would have been better for us,’ Trypho concluded, ‘to have obeyed our teachers, who warned us not to listen to you Christians, nor converse with you on these subjects, for you have blasphemed many times in your attempts to convince us that this crucified man was with Moses and Aaron, and spoke with them in the pillar of the cloud; that he became man, was crucified, and ascended into heaven, and will return again to this earth, and that he should be worshipped.’”[17]

In a similar vein, John J. Collins, professor at YaleDivinitySchool, writes, “Christian claims for the divinity of Jesus eventually went beyond anything we find in the Jewish texts.”[18] According to Collins, “The most significant Christian departure from Jewish notions of the messiah was the affirmation of the divinity of Christ.”[19]

N.T Wright, Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at University of St. Andrews in Scotland, echoes these views, stating, “No Second-Temple Jews known to us were expecting the one God to appear in human form, let alone to suffer physical death.”[20] As we can see, Shapira’s account of Judaism’s “transformation” in the Middle Ages doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The idea of a divine Messiah was equally repugnant to the sages of the 1st and 2nd centuries.

Insincerity

Shapira’s schizophrenic attitude towards the sages of traditional Judaism is another red flag. On the one hand, he claims to love and respect the sages, describing them as “men who loved God with all their hearts.”[21] Moreover, Shapira tells us that after 15 years of studying, he has personally “grown to love the words of these precious men” and “gained much understanding”[22] from them.

But Shapira’s display of admiration is disingenuous. Speaking out of both sides of his mouth, he praises the Rambam and Rashi, two of the greatest Jewish teachers of the Middle Ages, for their “wonderful and rich”[23] commentaries. But then he turns around and describes them as “creative interpreters”[24] who “contradict themselves”[25] and have “elected to go against the words of the Torah itself,”[26] “to create their own strange, complex interpretations.”[27]

Shapira exhibits his openness to “learn” from the rabbis whenever he sees an opportunity to “create a deep connection, kesher, between the divine Jewish Messiah and the words of Hazal [the Jewish sages].”[28] However, the moment Shapira feels that the rabbis are not supportive of his belief in Jesus, he immediately accuses them of “twisting, modifying, and changing the words of the Torah” and making “a series of decisions to circumvent the scriptures,”[29] due to their rejection of Jesus.[30] Most incredibly, even after his attempts to discredit these rabbis, Shapira still tries to use their writings in support of his heresy!

The Return of Pranaitis

The main focus of Shapira’s thesis revolves around the functions and titles that are given to Messiah. When the Messiah is called “king”, for example, Shapira asks, “If God is ‘the King over Israel’, how can the Messiah also be called king? How can God be called ‘The King of the earth’ if the Messiah is the king of the earth?”[31] His solution is that when a verse like Isaiah 44:6 describes G-d, “[it] not only speaks of Hashem, but also refers to King Messiah who is part of Hashem.”[32] In his final analysis, Shapira concludes that “it was God Himself who took the form of man,”[33] which is the Christian doctrine of the incarnation.

Shapira seems to be blissfully unaware that in Jeremiah 27:6-8 Nebuchadnezzar is made king over Israel and the nations; in Ezra 1:2 we are told that G-d had given to Cyrus all the kingdoms of the earth; and in 2 Samuel 5:12 King David is established by G-d as “King over Israel.” If Shapira cannot fathom how, in Judaism, a human can be given dominion without becoming divine, how can he expect his words to be taken seriously?

Kal V’Chomer

In the gospel of John chapter 5, Jesus is recorded as chastising the Jews of his day, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”[34] Shapira tells us that in these verses, Jesus had “applied a rabbinic form of argument titled Kal V’chomer (from the light to the heavy),”[35] referring to himself as the second Moses and claiming to be greater than Moses. In other words, if the Jews rejected Moses, kal v’chomer (how much more so) they would reject Jesus who is greater! Clearly, Shapira doesn’t grasp how a kal v’chomer is applied, or he doesn’t understand the straightforward words of Jesus – or both.

A kal v’chomer is a “simple method of deduction that exists in all methods of logic, permitting a deduction from a minor case to a major case or from a light to a severe case.”[36] In Jeremiah 12:5, for example, we have a kal v’chomer in the form of a rhetorical question: “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?”

In John 5, Jesus was saying to the Jews, because you refuse to heed to the words of Moses, you therefore reject me. In other words, according to John, Jesus was the supposed fulfillment of the words of Moses; any rejection of Jesus must have been rooted in the rejection of the words of Moses. In short, Jesus does not claim in John 5:46-47 to be a second Moses. His argument against the Jews who had rejected him has absolutely nothing to do with a kal v’chomer argument.

Gezerah Shava

Another rabbinic convention which Shapira completely mangles is the gezerah shava principle. A gezerah shava is an exegetic rule with restricted application. This rule is usually applied when two Scriptural verses contain similar words. If one verse is clear and the second is unclear, the verse with greater clarity is used to clarify the ambiguity that exists in the other verse.

Rabbi Adin Steinzaltz, a world-renowned Talmudic scholar, warns about the potential exploitation of the gezerah shava rule. “This important exegetic rule may prove dangerous if employed indiscriminately, since many words appear in different sentences and any desired conclusion may be obtained.”[37]

Rabbi Steinzaltz is correct in his warning. However, what he couldn’t possibly imagine is what Shapira actually does in TROTKP under the pretense of employing Judaism’s gezerah shava rule. With the intention of proving that “King Messiah [is] none other than the one who is riding upon the skies”[38] (i.e. G-d Himself), Shapira connects three verses that contain similar sounding Hebrew words:

Psalm 68:5, which speaks about praising G-d: “Sing unto G-d, sing praises to His name; ‘solu’ (extol) ‘l’rochev b’arovot’” (to the One who rides upon the skies);

Isaiah 62:10, which speaks of the future exaltation of Israel before all the nations: “Go through, go through the gates, clear the way of the people; ‘solu solu hamesilah’ (cast up, cast up the highway), take out the stones; lift up a banner for the nations;” and

Isaiah 40:3, which speaks of G-d’s comfort to Israel: “A voice calling out in the wilderness; make clear a path for the L-rd, make straight ‘mesilah’ (a path) ‘b’aravah’ (in the desert).

Shapira ultimately fuses these three verses to identify the Messiah as the one “who is riding upon the skies.”[39] No matter how hard Shapira will try to defend this convoluted argument, one thing is clear: This cannot be considered a legitimate use of the rabbinic gezerah shava rule.

Wrenching Out of Context

One illustration where Shapira reads the words of our sages out of context is his citation from Midrashei Geulah, which, when read in this inappropriate manner, does seem to portray the Messiah as divine.

Shapira presents the following quote:

“In the future, the Holy one, blessed be He, will seat Messiah in the supernal Yeshivah [House of Study], and they will call him ‘Lord,’ just as they call the Creator… And the Messiah will sit in the Yeshivah, and all those who walk on earth will come and sit before him to hear a new Torah and new commandments and the deep wisdom which he teaches Israel…”[40]

When you read the Midrash in the original,[41] however, a completely different picture emerges! In the paragraph immediately preceding Shapira’s cherry-picked quote, the Midrash states that in the Messianic Era,

“…All the righteous of Jerusalem and the pious of Jerusalem will be seated, by G-d, upon the Throne of Glory as it says in 1 Samuel 2:8, ‘And make them inherit the throne of glory,’ with a crown on each of their heads; and the radiance of the Shekhina upon their faces as it says in Judges 5:31, ‘Let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength;’ and [G-d] places before each of them three groups of angels that will be reciting Holy, Holy, Holy before them, just as the serving angels do before [G-d] in the Heavens above, as it says in Isaiah 4:3, ‘And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy – everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem’…”[42]

The Midrash then continues, and here I will give a fuller quote than the one provided by Shapira,

“And Messiah, in the future, will be seated by the Holy One, Blessed be He, in the supernal Yeshivah [House of Study], and they will call him ‘Lord,’ just as they call the Creator as it says in Jeremiah 23:6, ‘And this is his name whereby he shall be called, The L-rd Our Righteousness.’ And Jerusalem, Messiah and the Holy One, Blessed be He, are all called ‘Tzur’ [Rock] as it says in Deuteronomy 32:4, ‘The Rock, His work is perfect.’ And even Abraham is called Rock as it says in Isaiah 51:1-2, ‘Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father.’ The Holy One, Blessed be He, is called ‘Good’ as it says in Psalm 145:9, ‘The L-rd is good to all.’ And Moses too is called ‘Good’ as it says in Exodus 2:2, ‘and she saw him [Moses] that he was good.’ The Holy One, Blessed be He, is called ‘Elo-him’ as it says in Psalm 47:9, ‘Elo-him sits on His holy throne.’ And Israel are also called Elo-him as it says in Psalm 82:6, ‘I said: you are Elo-him’ … And the Messiah will sit in the Yeshivah, and all those who walk on earth will come and sit before him to hear a new Torah and new commandments and the deep wisdom which he teaches Israel…”[43]

This Midrash, which Shapira has quoted out of context, is simply pointing out that the descriptions, names and titles that are ascribed to G-d are also conferred upon Messiah, Jerusalem, Abraham, Moses and Israel! Not even Shapira would suggest that they are all divine.

It is also worth noting that in John J. Collins’ careful examination of ancient Jewish texts, which speak of the Messiah in highly exalted terms, he concludes that “the Jewish Messiah, no matter how noble and how spiritual, is nevertheless a human being, a king of flesh and blood of the house of David, and is only an instrument for the great work of the God of Israel, the God of the universe.”[44]

It’s surprising that with his supposed “encyclopedic knowledge of rabbinic sources,” Shapira is unaware that in the context of Judaism, conferring divine titles or names upon a human being, city or object has nothing to do with attributing divinity to them.[45]

The Epitome of Chutzpah

Shapira’s chutzpah peaks as he desperately tries to extract a divine Messiah from the mouth of his most articulate opponent, the Rambam (Maimonides). Whenchutzpah Shapira quotes Isaiah 60:20 [“Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; for the L-rd will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended.”] he claims that the Rambam in the Guide for the Perplexed “interprets this verse to speak of the Messiah.”[46] This is patently false.

In his Guide for the Perplexed, the Rambam explains the metaphors of an “enduring sun” and a “darkened sun” used by Isaiah. The “enduring sun,” he explains, is a symbol of victory as in the case of the Kingdom of Israel in the Messianic Era in Isaiah 60:20. The “darkened sun” is a symbol of defeat as in the case of Sancheirib in Isaiah 13:10.[47] Contrary to Shapira’s claim that the verse refers to the “Messiah himself,” it is clear that the Rambam is interpreting the sun in Isaiah 60:20 to be speaking of the enduring victory of the Kingdom of Israel in the Messianic Era. We can see from Shapira’s misuse of this source that he was totally oblivious to what the Rambam was actually teaching in this chapter.

Save Us from the False Scribes

Shapira’s reprehensible abuse of Targum Yonatan, an Aramaic translation/interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, deserves special attention. In his discussion about Moses and the Messiah, Shapira focuses on the comments of the Targum on Deuteronomy 18:18 which, according to Shapira, speak of the supernatural birth of the Messiah.

The Targum to Deuteronomy 18:18 reads as follows: “I will raise up for them a prophet from among their brethren in whom the Holy Spirit [will] dwell, similar to you [Moses], and I will put my words of prophecy in his mouth and he will speak with them everything I command him.” The Targum explains that just like Moses, who was filled with the Holy Spirit, so will this future prophet be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Shapira manipulates the Aramaic of the Targum by presenting a partial quote and mistranslating it to read, “[a] Prophet I will raise to them from their brother[s], From the Holy Spirit.” Based on this corruption, Shapira falsely attributes to the Targum the view that the Messiah was “conceived through the Holy Spirit”[48] and is both “human and divine at the same time.”[49]

The Targum makes absolutely no mention about a supernatural birth of the Messiah. This kind of shameless illiteracy and textual high jacking is simply outrageous![50]

Above video removed.

 

Scripture Twisting

In TROTKP, Shapira contends that G-d will withhold His mercy if we lack faith in the Messiah. He bases this assertion upon his twisted exegesis of Hosea 4:1, in which he explains that; “due to the lack of the Messiah (the emet), the mercy and the grace of G-d do not exist.”[51]

Hosea 4:1 reads, “Listen to the word of the L-RD, O sons of Israel, for the L-RD has a case against the inhabitants of the land, because there is no [emet] truth or kindness or knowledge of G-d in the land.” Hosea is speaking here of G-d’s case against the Northern Kingdom of Israel for failing to conduct their lives with truth, mercy and knowledge of G-d: the core principles that G-d demands throughout Scripture.[52] The word emet (truth) in this verse is clearly not a reference to Messiah.

Furthermore, this verse says nothing of G-d’s mercy and grace being contingent upon the Messiah. It is unfortunate that Shapira’s uneducated guess, which turns out to be a perversion of scripture, is left unchallenged.

Here Come the Judges

If there is still any question whether Shapira and his book are anything more than a clumsy circus act, the final witness in this review should remove all doubt.

Pretending to be a scholar of grammar, Shapira argues vigorously against the possibility of the nation of Israel being the “son of man” in Daniel 7:13-14.[53] Here is one of his major points:

“Daniel 7:13-14 speaks in the singular structure as it uses the word אתה (“You” singular) and not אתם (“You” plural).”[54] According to Shapira, since Scripture uses the singular word for “you” (atah) and not the plural word for “you” (atem), it is clear that Daniel 7:13 couldn’t possibly be referring to the nation of Israel.

Shapira has confused the Aramaic word asei, which means come, [55] with the Hebrew word for you singular, atah.[56] This is simply an incredible display of biblical illiteracy, never mind rabbinics!

To accuse Shapira of being deceptive would wrongly imply that he possesses the ability to read the sources in the original and purposely withholding that information. Shapira is a classic “Google scholar” who has sifted through various online articles and biased missionary publications while faking proficiency with the original sources. His incoherent translations and paraphrases of these sources confirm time and again that he has virtually no understanding of the texts he is reading.

In light of the superficiality of his knowledge and his helplessness, the Russian jury dismissed Pranaitis as a hoax. In stark contrast, Christian leaders have promoted Shapira and his inane book as the epitome of scholarship. Were they unable to recognize the glaring mistakes made by Shapira? Or do they simply not feel a sense of responsibility to shield their followers from such a sham?

 ____________

[1] I would like to thank Rabbi Yisroel Blumenthal and Rabbi Michael Skobac for their editorial assistance.

[2] He disingenuously suggests otherwise: “I am not a missionary.” TROTKP, p. xii.

[3] Shapira holds a “full rabbinical ordination” from the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues, which is a Messianic/Christian school. This organization subscribes to every detail of Christian theology and its only association with Judaism is its appropriation of some of Judaism’s outer trappings.

[4] Endorsement to TROTKP by Messianic leader Jeffrey A. Adler.

[5] Endorsement to TROTKP by Messianic leader Michael Wolf.

[6] Endorsement to TROTKP by President of Fire Ministry, Dr. Michael L. Brown.

[7] For a more detailed (although not exhaustive) review cataloging over 80 errors see the review by Rabbi Yisroel Blumenthal available at http://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/the-school-of-matthew/

[8] Blood Accusation, Maurice Samuel, p. 214.

[9] Ibid, p. 216.

[10] Otzarot Acharit Hayamim, volume 1, chapter 12.

[11] Otzarot Acharit Hayamim, volume 1, chapter 12, endnote 30, which can be accessed here: http://www.aharit.com/A-12.html

[12] Ibid, pp.13-14.

[13] Ibid, p. 14.

[14] Ibid, p. 35.

[15] Ibid, p. 35.

[16] Texts and Traditions, Lawrence Schiffman, p. 418.

[17] Ibid, p. 419 (translation from Greek by ThomasB.Falls).

[18] Ibid, p. 209.

[19] The Scepter and the Star, John J. Collins, p. 208.

[20] The Resurrection of The Son of God, N.T. Wright, p. 573.

[21] TROTKP, p. 53.

[22] Ibid, p. 53.

[23] Ibid, p. 49.

[24] Ibid, p. 95.

[25] Ibid, pp. 35, 158, 103.

[26] Ibid, p. 47.

[27] Ibid, p. 49.

[28] Ibid, p. 6.

[29] Ibid, p. 48.

[30] C.f. ibid, pp. 120, 145.

[31] TROTKP p. 158.

[32] Ibid, p. 158.

[33] Ibid, p. 277.

[34] John 5:46-47.

[35] TROTKP p. 196.

[36] Essential Talmud, Rabbi Adin Steinzaltz, p. 258.

[37] Essential Talmud, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, p. 259.

[38] TROTKP, p. 115.

[39] Along the way, Shapira also asserts “that the one who is ‘riding in the clouds’ in Daniel 7:22, who comes to judge the world, is the ‘Son of Man,’ who is also known as the ‘Ancient of Days.’” Ibid, p.115

[40] Ibid, p. 174.

[41] The original Midrashei Geulah can be accessed here: http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pagefeed/hebrewbooks_org_33218_398.pdf

[42] My translation.

[43] My translation.

[44] Collins is quoting (in complete agreement) from Joseph Klausner’s “The Messianic Idea In Israel”. The Scepter and the Star, John J. Collins, p. 55

[45] See Genesis 33:20, Exodus 17:15, Judges 6:24, Jeremiah 33:16.

[46] TROTKP, p. 190.

[47] Guide for the Perplexed, part II chapter 29.

[48] TROTKP, p. 215. Earlier, on the same page, Shapira corrupts the Targum’s words in Deuteronomy 18:15, distorting the message of the Targum. The Targum’s words describe this future prophet as being similar to Moses b’ruach kudsha (in [possessing] the Holy Spirit). Shapira mistranslated b’ruach kudsha as “from the Holy Spirit.”

[49] Ibid, p. 215.

[50] Shapira repeats this mistake on video: http://youtu.be/pT8BzPOdeqc

[51] TROTKP, p. 160.

[52] C.f. Proverbs 16:6, Daniel 4:27, Ezekiel 18:12-13, Jeremiah 7:5-6, 22:3 etc.

[53] This ignores the fact that Scripture itself interprets the “son of man” of Daniel 7:13-14 as the people of Israel. See Daniel 7:18, 22, and 27.

[54] TROTKP, p. 119.

[55] See Strong’s Concordance H858.

[56] Shapira repeats mistake this on video: http://youtu.be/JptjVJCg-9w

 

Rogues Gallery

itachi6 Rabbi with a Tattoo. A Kosher Pig and the return of Justinas Prinatis

 

kosher pig copy

The Guilt of Books

Posted on June 1, 2014 by yourphariseefriend
The Guilt of Books

Books don’t commit crimes, people do. If we are going to discuss the guilt or innocence of a given book, we need to first define and delineate what the discussion is going to be about.

Image result for guiltThere is no discussion about the commitment of the crime. It happened and it is still happening. People are still using the canards of the Christian Scriptures to delegitimize, dehumanize and to create an unjust negative image of the Jewish people and their beliefs. This is not open to discussion, this is a fact of history and it is a fact of life.

The question that is being discussed is the question of the intent of the authors of the Christian Scriptures. If the authors of the Christian Scriptures had no malicious intent then we cannot rightly accuse them of criminal activity. Perhaps they were negligent, perhaps they were foolishly naïve, but in order to determine that they were participants in the crimes of Christian Europe we will need to demonstrate malicious intent.

There are a few concepts that need to be set aside before this discussion can take on any meaning. For those who are convinced that the origin of the Christian Scripture is divine, then this discussion can have no meaning. For those people, and for many centuries this was the outlook of Christian Europe, virtue and sin is defined according to the Christian Scriptures. So if the Christian Scriptures dehumanize the Jew, then it is virtuous to dehumanize the Jew and it is sinful to consider the Jew human. If this is the outlook then there can be no discussion about the guilt of the Christian Scriptures.

Fortunately, we live in an age where most people recognize that if the Christian Scripture had an intentional hand in the crimes committed by Christian Europe toward the Jewish people, then that book cannot be divine. This then is the basis for our discussion.

Another concept that needs to be defined if not set aside is the idea of seeing a book as an entity that stands alone. Until the Protestant Reformation, no one saw the books of the Christian Scriptures as the sole authority on Christianity. It was understood and accepted that the attitudes and teachings passed on by the body of believers in Jesus were the heart and soul of Christianity. The books of the Christian Scriptures were part and parcel of the total outlook, but no one dreamed of seeing them as an entity that stands apart from the community that birthed them.

With the rise of the Reformation, the theoretical concept that became popular was that it is only what is written in the book that defines Christianity and no other body is authorized to define Christianity. I say that this concept is theoretical simply because it is not practiced by any denomination of Protestant Christianity. Every denomination of Protestantism accepts beliefs and attitudes from the community that preceded it, at least as they relate to the makeup of the Christian Scriptures.

This theory is relevant to our discussion because if Scripture alone is authorized to define Christianity then whoever it is that we are talking to can easily say that his or her interpretation of Scripture is the only accurate interpretation and therefore all of our findings are meaningless. This argument makes it that much more difficult to demonstrate the guilt of the Christian Scriptures because we now need to demonstrate the guilt of the book according to the interpretation of the individual we are addressing.

The fact is that the Christian Scriptures are so guilty, that even with our hands tied behind our back we can still demonstrate the guilt of this book.

One more concept needs to be clarified before we begin. A book is not a product of an individual it is a product of a community. Yes, individuals write books, but without the community the books would disappear into oblivion. If the community does not find in the book something that speaks to its heart, or if the community finds the book distasteful, then the book will never be copied and the future generations will never know that it existed.

With all of these concepts in place we can now proceed to the trial. What is the accusation that we bring against the authors and the community that birthed the Christian Scriptures? We are not accusing them of directly instructing their posterity to commit the crimes of the Inquisition, the holocaust and the centuries of cruel persecution of the Jewish people. But we are accusing them of laying the groundwork for those crimes.

Before Christian Europe began persecuting the Jew, they first saw the Jew as an entity that stood apart from the rest of humanity. In the mind of the Christian, the Jew was guilty of heinous crimes against God and against humanity, the Jew had a different spiritual nature than other people and the Jewish rejection of Jesus was rooted in the inherently evil nature of the Jew. The Christian also believed that all of these evil qualities of the Jew were taught by the teachers of Judaism as if they were the highest virtues. The Inquisition, the pogroms and the holocaust would not have been possible if the European would not have first believed that the Jew and Judaism were children of the Devil.

There is no question that this description of the Jew and of Judaism is recorded in the Christian Scriptures. This is how generations of Christian teachers understood the words of the Christian Scriptures and this is how they taught it to those who would listen to them. As the horrors of the holocaust became clear, many Christians recoiled from this interpretation of the Christian Scriptures. The modern claim is that this was not the original intent of the authors when they wrote those words.

Another defense thrown up by those trying to cling to the righteousness of these books is that the Hebrew Scriptures also speak ill of the Jews. Christian Europe also used the writings of the Jewish prophets to dehumanize and to delegitimize the Jewish people.

At this point we need to introduce another accusation against the community of people who believe in Jesus. This community usurped the Jewish Scriptures and wrenched them out of their original context. It is only when the Jewish Scriptures are read in the unnatural context of Christianity that they can be misused to dehumanize the Jew. And here is where our story begins.

What community was it that produced the Christian Scriptures? Who were the enemies of this community and what challenges did they face? How did this community define themselves and the world around them?

The community that produced the Christian Scriptures was a community that saw belief in Jesus as the most important factor in defining a human being. They defined themselves according to that belief and they defined others according to their lack of belief in Jesus.

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So powerful are the lies of their book they even claim to be the authentic representatives of Jews posing as Rabbis.

Belief in Jesus means believing in him as the Messiah predicted by the prophets of Judaism. Now the Jews, by and large, did not believe in Jesus. This created an obvious problem for the community of Jesus believers. And this community was strongly motivated to dehumanize the Jew and to claim that the natural instincts of the Jew are evil and that as children of darkness they cannot come to the “light.” Furthermore, this community was motivated to teach that the Jew cannot understand his own Bible. It is only the believer in Jesus whose eyes are “opened” to the truth of the Jewish Bible. But the Jew’s heart and eyes are closed to the truth.

These were the teachings of the early community of believers in Jesus concerning the Jew and this is reflected in the writings of that community, including the Christian Scriptures. The criticism of the Jew in the Christian Scripture was never read as an internal self-criticism of the community of Jesus believers. It is still not read in that sense, even by those who would disassociate the crimes of Christian Europe from this set of books. Until today, the negative words that the Christian Scriptures has for the Jew are read as an explanation for the Jewish rejection of Jesus.

The criticism of the Jewish people that is found in the Jewish Scriptures was also read by the Christian community as a criticism of their theological opponents. Even when the Church taught that the Christian had replaced the Jew in the covenantal relationship with God, still the Christian never read the censure of the Jewish prophets as a criticism of the Christian community. The Christian always read the criticism of the Jewish prophets as a declaration of the evil of those who stand on the other side of the divide; those who don’t believe in Jesus.

The true context of the Jewish scriptures is entirely different. The prophets themselves declare that the Jewish Scriptures were given to the Jewish people to the exclusion of any other entity (Psalm 147:19,20). The Jews have always read the censure of Isaiah and Jeremiah as internal self-criticism and they still read them that way. They never read these words as a description of their theological enemies. To compare the criticism of the Jews found in the Jewish Scriptures with the caricature of Jews and Judaism found in the gospels is to compare good with evil. The one was always read by its target audience as self-criticism while the other was always read by its target audience as the dehumanization of their theological challengers.

But it didn’t have to be like this. The early community of believers in Jesus was faced with a challenge. The theological doctrines that they held most dear were rejected by the Jewish people and this rejection was not easily dismissed. After all, it was the Jewish people who were waiting for the Messiah so why did they reject the Messianic claims of Jesus? The community of believers in Jesus needed to formulate some type of response to this Jewish rejection. They needed to explain to themselves as well as to others why it is that the Jewish people could not agree that Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies.

At this juncture, the followers of Jesus had several paths open to them. They could have simply ignored the Jewish people and their claims and remained silent (“turn the other cheek”). Or they could have restated their case for the Messiah-ship of Jesus with greater clarity, attempting to assess what it is that the Jewish people don’t understand about their claims (“do unto others as you would have done unto yourself”). If the followers of Jesus had chosen either of these paths then the history of the Jewish people would have been that much different. There would have been no holocaust, no Inquisition, and the life of millions of Jews would have been so much more peaceful.

But the community of Jesus believers took a different path. They took the path of hatred and slander. They came up with fantastic theories that delegitimize the Jew’s opinion and discount the arguments of the Jew before they can be heard. The Jesus centered community taught their followers that the God centered community loved lies and hated truth. That they enjoyed murder and their religion was legalistic, cruel, hypocritical and arrogant. As blind children of darkness and the devil, there is no reason to take the arguments of the Jew seriously. This then was the path chosen by the community of Jesus believers; the path of delegitimizing and hating their theological opponents.

Hatred of the Jew and Judaism remained a hallmark of the community of Jesus believers. The subsequent writings of that community are all laced with deep antagonism towards Jews and Judaism.

So this is the situation. We have a community that had a vested interest to delegitimize and dehumanize the Jew. This community produced a series of books that contain precisely this sentiment. And we are to assume that this is a wild coincidence? That the authors and editors of the book were not guided by the base hatred that saturated the hearts of the rest of the members of the community? If you look at the history of the community that produced this book, you cannot but conclude that this book reflects the petty hatred of that community.

So when John’s Jesus “explains” that the reason that people don’t believe in him is because they love darkness and/or because they are children of the devil, it is a reflection of the hatred that festered in the heart of the community that authored and edited the book of John. This is precisely what that community wanted to believe; that they are children of God and children of light while their theological opponents are incapable of loving the truth because they are inherently evil. This saved them the trouble of considering the arguments of their enemies.

When Paul teaches his audience that the Jews have a veil over their eyes when they read the Torah and that they are blinded from seeing the truth of Scripture, he was setting the Jew apart from the rest of mankind. With these arguments Paul and the editors of his writings avoided the inconvenience of seeing the Jew as a human who has the capability of discerning right from wrong.

When Matthew’s Jesus describes the Pharisees as a brood of vipers and as a people steeped in hypocrisy, he was teaching his community exactly what they wanted to hear; that the Jewish concept of virtue is precisely the opposite of true virtue and there is then no need to take the Jewish rejection of the claims of the Jesus centered community with any seriousness.

Perhaps you are still unconvinced. Perhaps you think that is a complete coincidence that the community that was so motivated to delegitimize the Jew produced a work of literature that does precisely that. You still want to cling to the belief that the Christian Scriptures say nothing negative about Jews who don’t believe in Jesus, and all of this negative talk refers to a very limited group of people or that it refers to all who don’t believe in Jesus without singling out the Jews in any way shape or form.

In case that is your belief, then I have a question for you. Why is it, that until today, people from the Jesus centered community find it difficult to acknowledge that the reason Jews cannot accept their claims for the Messiah-ship of Jesus is because they love God? Why is it so difficult for them to acknowledge that it is a loyalty to God and to His goodness that does not allow Jews to accept Jesus? Why can they not admit that they have yet to provide a convincing case for the Messiah-ship of Jesus to the Jew who loves God and who loves His word?

Is it perhaps because of the teachings of the book that they hold so sacred that prevents them from acknowledging this simple truth?

Denmark has got it wrong. Yes, the burka is oppressive and ridiculous – but that’s still no reason to ban it BORIS JOHNSON

Ah Denmark, what a country. If any society breathes the spirit of liberty, this is it.

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It was only a few weeks ago that I was in Copenhagen for some international conference, and as ever I rose early and went for a run. As I passed through some yuppie zone of warehouse conversions and posh restaurants I saw to my amazement that the Danes had also got up early for exercise – and they were diving stark naked into the bracing waters of the harbour. And I thought to myself – that’s the Danes for you; that’s the spirit of Viking individualism. I mean, we have a climate warmer than Denmark; but even so, would you expect to see Brits disrobing and plunging into the waters of Canary Wharf, or even Greenwich? We are pretty easy-going, but not that easy-going.

Women wearing niqab and headscarves take part in a demonstration on August 1, 2018, the first day of the implementation of the Danish face veil ban, in Copenhagen, Denmark

If you wanted to visit a country that seemed on the face of it to embody the principles of JS Mill – that you should be able to do what you want provided you do no harm to others – I would advise you to head for wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen.

Denmark is the only country in Europe, as far as I know, that still devotes a large proportion of its capital city to an anarchist commune, called Christiania, where I remember spending a happy afternoon 25 years ago inhaling the sweet air of freedom. It is the Danes who still hold out against all sorts of EU tyrannies, large and small.

 

They still chew their lethal carcinogenic tobacco; they still eat their red-dyed frankfurters; they still use the krone rather than the euro; they still refuse to let foreigners buy holiday homes in Jutland; and of course it was the heroic population of Denmark that on that magnificent day in June 1992 stuck two fingers up to the elites of Europe and voted down the Maastricht treaty – and though that revolt was eventually crushed by the European establishment (as indeed, note, they will try to crush all such revolts), that great nej to Maastricht expressed something about the Danish spirit: a genial and happy cussedness and independence.

It is a spirit you see everywhere on the streets of Copenhagen in the veneration for that supreme embodiment of vehicular autonomy, the bicycle. The Danes don’t cycle with their heads down, grimly, in Lycra, swearing at people who get in their way. They wander and weave helmetless down the beautiful boulevards on clapped-out granny bikes, with a culture of cycling in which everyone is treated with courtesy and respect. Yes, if you wanted to visit a country that seemed on the face of it to embody the principles of JS Mill – that you should be able to do what you want provided you do no harm to others – I would advise you to head for wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen.

If you tell me that the burqa is oppressive, then I am with you. If you say that it is weird and bullying to expect women to cover their faces, then I totally agree.

 

So I was a bit surprised to see that on August 1 the Danes joined several other European countries – France, Germany, Austria, Belgium – in imposing a ban on the niqab and the burka – those items of Muslim head-gear that obscure the female face. Already a fine of 1000 kroner – about £120 – has been imposed on a 28-year-old woman seen wearing a niqab in a shopping centre in the north eastern town of Horsholm. A scuffle broke out as someone tried to rip it off her head. There have been demonstrations, on both sides of the argument. What has happened, you may ask, to the Danish spirit of live and let live?

If you tell me that the burka is oppressive, then I am with you. If you say that it is weird and bullying to expect women to cover their faces, then I totally agree – and I would add that I can find no scriptural authority for the practice in the Koran. I would go further and say that it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes; and I thoroughly dislike any attempt by any – invariably male – government to encourage such demonstrations of “modesty”, notably the extraordinary exhortations of President Ramzan Kadyrov of Chechnya, who has told the men of his country to splat their women with paintballs if they fail to cover their heads.

I am against a total ban because it is inevitably construed – rightly or wrongly – as being intended to make some point about Islam.

If a constituent came to my MP’s surgery with her face obscured, I should feel fully entitled – like Jack Straw – to ask her to remove it so that I could talk to her properly. If a female student turned up at school or at a university lecture looking like a bank robber then ditto: those in authority should be allowed to converse openly with those that they are being asked to instruct. As for individual businesses or branches of government – they should of course be able to enforce a dress code that enables their employees to interact with customers; and that means human beings must be able to see each other’s faces and read their expressions. It’s how we work.

 

All that seems to me to be sensible. But such restrictions are not quite the same as telling a free-born adult woman what she may or may not wear, in a public place, when she is simply minding her own business.