Anti-Semitic Sculpture Outside Luther’s Church Creates Controversy

The highly anticipated 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is coming up in 2017 and the epicenter of the Reformation, Wittenberg, Germany, has been preparing for years. Visitors from around the world are already trickling in to visit historical sites such as the Castle Church where Martin Luther is purported to have posted his 95 Theses condemning the Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences.

However, St. Mary’s, or the Town Church, in Wittenberg, where Luther regularly preached, married his wife Katharina von Bora, and baptized their six children, is currently drawing greater attention because of a challenge to remove a 700-year-old anti-Semitic sculpture from its facade:

Anti-Semitic Sculpture Outside Luther's Church Creates Controversy

Do You Mind The Gap?

A popular T-shirt sold as a souvenir of the London Underground sports the phrase “mind the gap”. The gap of course is in between the tube train and the platform edge. The warning “mind the gap” is painted on the floor of the platform as well as being announced gapinside the tube train before and after the tube train stops at the station and opens its doors to let people on and off. The warning has been sounded and painted on tube platforms for many years and like many of the nursery rhymes like “rock a bye baby”, have been sung so many times, people are blissfully unaware of the meaning and ramifications of what they are singing! The warning of “mind the gap” in reality points out the potential horror of what could happen if somebody does not mind the gap: you fall under a train and you don’t have to be drunk to fall under a train either. Falling under a train and the train moving off again does not paint a pretty picture!

Travelling the religious tube train also comes with a “mind the gap” warning too. Chronologically speaking the earlier stations of Judaism as defined by the written torah certainly indicates a journey comprising the following:

12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? 14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. Deut 10

The book of Deuteronomy provides a grand summary and exposition of all that has been stated previously in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. The rest of the Jewish scriptures shows a ‘warts and all’ history of how we the Jewish people with failure, success and ambivalence have and still to this day keep to the journey which G-d had planned out for us: to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you. for the naysayers we have the final word from the final prophet Malachi of the original testament:

“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.

If the above admonition was not sufficient for us we also have further “mind the gap” warnings to the effect that even if someone from our own people comes along and performs miracles and tells prophecies which come to pass BUT instead offers a different journey to the journey G-d commands we are to put that dreamer or prophet to death (see Deut 13).

Other “mind the gap” moments of recent history include the attempts of the two clowns at One for Israel Ministry to convince Jewish folks of the historical validity of so called ‘messianic’ Judaism all married up with modern day evangelical Protestantism as with thehistory.png case of a recent propaganda article to fill in the gap with a short history of messianic Judaism. The history of messianic Judaism is indeed short rather like the short history of the Palestinian people. The facts on the ground is that so called messianic Judaism was invented in the 1960s as a syncretic movement that combines Christianity—most importantly, the Christian belief that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah—with elements of Judaism and Jewish tradition[1]. Prior to the invention of messianic Judaism in the 1960s there is a gap which goes way back to the time of the New Testament and the Gamliel test recorded in Acts 5:

38 So in the present case I advise you: Leave these (apostles including Peter) men alone. Let them go! For if their purpose or endeavor is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God.” 40 At this, they yielded to Gamaliel. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and released them.…

To go along with the idea of a continuum in the time gap between the Gamliel test and the present day invention of messianic Judaism, one must assume that the Apostles including Peter, were pork eating Sunday keeping Baptists. The reality is that there is no historical record of a messianic Judaism historically existing between the Gamliel test and the present day invention of messianic Judaism. In other words, Peter and the apostles failed the Gamliel test. The dangerous time gap includes therefore such wonderful pagan ideas of the Trinity, the virgin birth  and a divine messiah.

To defend the historical fact that so called messianic Judaism failed the Gamliel test, One for Israel Ministry would insist that the continuum in the time gap between the Gamliel test and the present day invention of messianic Judaism has so called ‘authentic Judaism’ of Moses replaced by so called “Rabbinic Judaism”. Is there really such a thing as Rabbinic Judaism?

heritage.png

The book Torah’s Goal published by One for Israel Ministries is an example of a theological agenda projected onto the Jewish Scriptures and Judaism. The theological agenda is a seriously flawed agenda emphasized right from the beginning of the book in the ‘definitions’ section. The definition section refers to the “Oral Law” as the “rabbinic traditions”.

Did the Sages “invent” Rabbinical Judaism? Did they change Judaism to fit their own “image” of G-d?

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Paradoxically messianic Judaism quotes Sages (Rabbis) who post-dated Yeshua himself. Another thing to note is that 100% of these Rabbis themselves said what they said and rejected the possibility that Yeshua was the Messiah let alone a divine Messiah. In other words, what the Rabbis said and meant by their words was COMPLETELY different to how messianics quote their words and then reinterpret them within their own Christian traditions and their latest spins doing the rounds of the various messianic circuits. Nothing could be further from the truth! Read the T’nach! Rabbis are mentioned in the Torah (just not by that term) – they are the judges and the teachers (just as they are today). They were the men Moses told you to listen to! The system of justice (rabbis are judges), then as now, follows the mitzvot (the “do” and “do not” rules) in the Torah — this includes how courts are established and how they “operate.” The Jewish system of judges began under Moses. 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.

From the time of Moses to today there have been Rabbis in every single generation from Moses which includes judges / teachers who have maintained the Torah and Jewish law. There has never been a break in that chain. “Rabbinical Judaism” has been handed down לדור ודור / l’dor v’dor (from generation to generation).

Messianic Judaism and its marriage with evangelical Protestantism fails to realize before it was written, the Torah already existed in our world as a lesson from Moses to the people (especially the elders) and their discussion with him. That’s what we call “the oral Torah,” which, contrary to popular misconception, preceded the written Torah. You could say, then, quite literally, that the fullest manifestation of that G-dly wisdom we call Torah is not how it is written in a book, but how it exists in the minds of the people that received it and put it into practice. And since the Torah is a way of life for all seasons, the Torah includes all the discussions and innovations that have organically emerged from it through the medium of those people over the past 3,300 years. A modern day innovation for example concerns what to do with electricity on Shabbat.

After all, a G-dly wisdom must be given by a G-d who is above time and foresees all. He gave us His Torah through Moses like a gardener plants a seed or a forester a sapling; yet unlike those, knowing all that would sprout and grow over the long life of that tree. “They are the shoot of My planting,” He says, “the craft of My hands in which I take pride.” Like a gardener, He plants the seed. Like a craftsman, He forms the final product, step by step.

Simply stated, with Judaism there is no gap to fall into unlike the gap between the Gamliel test and the present day invention of messianic Judaism. The gap of so called messianic Judaism invented and funded by evangelical Protestantism would have us believe in the idolatrous idea of a divine messiah which has to be part of a Triune godhead if their missionary funding is not to dry up that is!

In contrast any messiah according to what has always been understood by Judaism will always lead people to belief in G-d alone and for his people to follow his commandments according to the historically verifiable ongoing continuous discussions and innovations of our teachers and leaders over the centuries under a system established originally by Moses. The added bonus of being G-d’s chosen people is that we are already described as a kingdom of priests (Ex 19:6) and also that each one of us is a messiah (moshiac, see Psalm 105:11-15). In sum our ongoing traditions, innovations and discussions as an anointed and holy priesthood of people will be to the attraction of the gentiles:

19 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months [Rabbinic festivals folks] will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”

20 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, 21 and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’ 22 And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him.”

23 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”

 MIND THE GAP!

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[1]  Melton, J. Gordon. Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Infobase Publishing, 2005, ISBN 978-0-8160-5456-5, p. 373. “Messianic Judaism is a Protestant movement that emerged in the last half of the 20th century among believers who were ethnically Jewish but had adopted an Evangelical Christian faith… By the 1960s, a new effort to create a culturally Jewish Protestant Christianity emerged among individuals who began to call themselves Messianic Jews.”

Business is Business, Right?

Me and Stu

Me and Stu

There is a popular term often used as a catchall phrase to justify the most strangest of actions. ‘Business is Business” is to convey the meaning that the purpose of business is to make a profit, and that other things, such as personal feelings and other inconsistencies, must not be allowed to prevent the making of the profit.

With respect to the Messianic Judaism business model, inconsistencies in theology are similarly ignored for the sake of the mission and its ongoing agenda. The ongoing agenda is of course to convert Jews to Jesus.

In a very slick donor donation video presentation by the Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (MJTI), we have a gambit proposed with all the familiar characters including Dr. Stuart Daurmann, in the context of academic achievement. No doubt addressing the problem of mixed marriages[Stuart’s pet subject], students a la MJTI studies may be able to use impressive academic terms such as “an anticipatory or proleptic position”, “a post-supersessionist position” or a “post cryptosupersessionist position”, to help them in their evangelistic efforts with their Jewish in-laws. Yep I think you are onto a winner with this one Stuart! The bottom line in the donor video presentation is that the Jewish community at large and real Rabbis in particular are going to be so impressed that they will jump over to the ‘truth’ of Jesus/ Yeshua!!

the ceremony

Graduates of MJTI

The gambit of the donor video then maneuvers from the idea of ‘educated’ evangelists in Jewish matters providing that vital link of acceptability to providing video support from another familiar face emerging onto the messianic scene. The familiar face is Diane Cohen who is now a MJTI board member and was one of the first people to be interviewed by Stuart Daurmann in one of his radio shows.

Diane Cohen board member

The fly in the ointment of course is that Diane Cohen has appeared in a video for One for Israel Ministries. One for Israel Ministries is probably one of the most aggressive messianic endeavors which is complete with angry attacks on rabbinic tradition, lies about the content and purpose of Talmudic passages, and open invitations for Jews to convert to Christianity—all of it in fluent, eloquent Hebrew, delivered by two clean-cut, bona fide Israeli salesmen.

A top video of One for Israel is titled “The Oral Torah — the Big Lie.” Its content is a familiar accumulation of arguments against rabbinic law which began as far back as the pre-destruction split between the Sadducees and the Pharisees, continued with the Karaaites of the 7th century, was picked up by Spinoza in the 17th century and reached its full blossom with the Reform movement in Germany in the 1820s. The effect, however, coming from extremely manipulative speakers, and directed at an Israeli audience with limited knowledge of their own traditions, is yet to be seen.

Diane Cohen is not the only fly in the ointment for Stuart Daurmann who has in the past addressed an article published in a popular Christian venue, in which the author Ron Cantor, a Messianic leader in Israel, proceeded to discount the validity of the Jewish claim of a divinely authoritative Oral Law. Stuart says this kind of literature is grievous and damaging to the cause of representing a credible Yeshua-faith to ‘our fellow Jews’. Stuart then closes with a request to Ron and others in the me$$ianic business. The request is to a principle known as “pikuach nefesh” which states that short of idolatry, murder, and adultery, one may do anything to save a life, including breaking any of the mitzvot. As an example Stuart cites Rahab the Harlot who lied to the representatives of the King of Jericho when he came looking for the Jewish spies. Saving lives was more important than “telling the truth”. Stuart argues that for the sake of saving Jewish lives, of commending ‘our Messiah’ to ‘our people’, Stuart encourages Ron and the others in the messianic believers’ movement to become followers of Rahab: and lie. Tell people that the Oral Torah and the religious legacy of ‘our people (Jews)’ are honorable, beautiful and holy, even if that is not your view.

2 Nahum Sokolov Street/ Keren Hayesod Street Jerusalem

The not so secret location Of the MJTI on 2 Nahum Sokolov Street/ Keren Hayesod Street Jerusalem

Well not really, is it Stuart? In his article “On Keeping Your Mouth Shut and Saving a Life” seems to have some rather hard dynamics to understand when actually discussing the religious legacy of ‘our people’! Not even when it comes to things which are not even Oral Law but instead just plain biblical (see how Nehemiah sorts out the intermarriage problem in Neh 13:23-28 and Ezra 9:1-2 which also validates Oral Torah too BTW, Jewish status is established through the mother and not the father or via a halachic conversion). Hiding in the smokescreen of “matters of interpretation” will not avail you much in your agenda ‘rabbi’ Jews for Jesus Dauermann because even the ‘older’ Jewish scriptures prove you to be wrong. Intermarriage is not an example of obeying Torah it is in actual fact a violation of it.

The bottom line, no matter how Messianic Jews try to ‘spin it’ in the present with various new tricks, we can at least appreciate Ron Cantor’s candor and an increasing band of others in their rejection of Oral and Written Law and see that in fact Stuart Daurmann’s claim that the Oral Torah and the religious legacy of ‘our people’ is honorable, beautiful and holy is absolute hogwash!! Not only hogwash but morally questionable in view of his possible ‘illegal’ misappropriation of “pikuach nefesh” but then again ‘they’ are saving those Jewish lives are they not with that evangelical paradigm, so that must make it OK?

And after all Business is Business and there is no business like the Me$$ianic Bu$$ine$$.

Falsifying The Facts

JH and etan copyNot happy with having a go at bashing the oversized John Hagee for a slice of the mi$$ionary pie, the two ballerina clowns of One for Israel Ministry have once again produced yet another false video to slander Rabbi Mizrachi.

The One for Israel Ministry video relies on folks not knowing Hebrew and dishonestly splices together two disparate sections of a Rabbi Mizrachi video. Then the One for Israel Ministry video superimposes the two ballerina clowns onto the bottom right hand corner to create the false and vain idea that Rabbi Mizrachi is talking about them.

deceptive

Of course in the true spirit of grabbing a slice of the mi$$ionary pie, appeals are made at the end of the video for folks prayers and donations to help them in this terrible situation of a death threat to them by Rabbi Mizrachi.

One for Israel ministry basically take what Rabbi Mizrachi says in his video at 21.09- 21.20 and bolt it onto something else he says later on in the video. The discussion in the video is about the punishment of idolators and Sabbath breakers according to Jewish law. Of course such penalties are not capable of being implimented presently.

The above approach by One for Israel Ministries is a popular tactic often used by the left wing liberal media and messianic missionaries to re-cast halachic works as incitement to hatred of others/ themselves in order to garner support for their agenda. An example in point being the King’s Torah book.

What a couple of desperate losers!!

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Messianic Leader Makes Astonishing Discovery*

*Thanks to Ronnie for the inspiration.

In a bizarre sequence of mystical events we have the story of Lionel [his friends call him Richie], a man who came to know Jesus through divine inspiration and for him to rediscover the depth of his Jewish upbringing. In this exclusive interview Lionel told us how he was brought up in a secular Jewish family and how suddenly realised the Messianic Christian outlook to:

“Allow room for the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit.”

Lionel’s journey illuminated by the Holy Spirit all started as a result of an investigation under the hood of his family car. Lionel realized that a part was missing from the family vehicle. Luckily for Lionel who did not know much about cars, this was one part of the family vehicle which was very distinctive. Unlike other parts of the engine the part had a part number. Armed with the part number Lionel went off to his local garage to get a new part to replace the part missing from the family vehicle.

At the garage Lionel talked to the garage owner Billy Bob or BB for short. BB was a jovial character who was always happy and different from the other mechanics in the garage. Before speaking to BB the other mechanics in the garage just laughed at Lionel when he first enquired about his missing part. After all why should they laugh, he was able to make their job easier by being able to give them the part number?

Intrigued by BB, Lionel decided that he was going to ask BB what made him so happy. Lionel was intrigued because like his car was missing part, Lionel also felt he had a part missing from his life too. It was in the garage office that BB told and showed Lionel what it was that made him so happy. Out of a desk drawer BB pulled out a huge Bible which he showed to Lionel. BB told Lionel that it was his daily reading from the bible and his personal relationship with Jesus that made him so happy.

Almost immediately an instinctive part of Lionel kicked in, Lionel blurted out that as a Jew he and his family did not believe in Jesus. In fact Jesus was directly responsible for the death and suffering of his people. BB was not phased by Lionel’s outburst, instead he said to Lionel that to know real joy and happiness you just have to try Jesus and left things at that.

Back at home in the evening Lionel’s wife Alex also had some good news to share. Alex inexplicably had made the decision that day to be happy and fulfilled, so she announced to Lionel that her decision was to accept Jesus as her messiah. The  instinctive part of Lionel kicked in once again that day and Alex and Lionel had a big argument that evening.

The next day Lionel knew that he was estranged from his wife and he desperately hoped for a solution. To make matters even worse his daughter was diagnosed with a tumour which was cancerous……… This was the moment according to Lionel that he decided to pray sincerely for the first time in his life. He prayed to ask God to see if this whole Jesus thing was true and as a sign his daughter would be healed from her tumerous cancer.

A number of weeks went by, what with all the worry and concern Lionel had forgotten his prayer. Then the phone call Lionel and Alex were waiting for from their daughter, would it be good news or bad news? Miraculously and inexplicably his daughter’s cancer had just simply disappeared. The doctors could find no trace of the tumour. It was a miracle!

Later that evening upon quite reflection, Lionel remembered his prayer. He decided to tell his wife about his prayer and his decision to follow Jesus too just like his wife.

Epilogue

After experiencing an exhilarating experience Lionel and Alex learned even more about their Jewish ancestry and that Jesus’ real name was Yeshua. Lionel and Alex met a wonderful Rabbi an expert in Hebrew who was able to confirm and strengthen the faith of Lionel and Alex. Even to give a profound meaning to Lionel about the part which was missing from the family vehicle. Not only did the part have a part number 710 but the part number was the Hebrew letters samech vav dalet, Sod (סוֹד), the esoteric/mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation. Now based on all these experiences in Jesus / Yeshua they were free from the curse of the law and still able to retain their tacit Jewish status. A classical case of secular Jews now with the gospel still being able to carry on with the well-known principle of loving God and doing as you please!

And as with all truly born again Christians Lionel and Alex trusted to; “Allow room for the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit.” and do not let rational thoughts or facts get in the way of what you want to believe.

Why Lionel and Alex?

If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. 5 That prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. That prophet or dreamer tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you. (Deut 13)

OILY

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Lies and Video

There are some things which are down right despicable. A case in point is a recent video promoted by One for Israel Ministry which promotes a lie. The lie is that the Rabbis purposely removed Isaiah 53 from the weekly haftarah readings. Here is a montage of the lie:

facts copyRabbi Singer and others [1] remarking on the lie many years ago says:

This well-worn claim that the Jews have deliberately removed Isaiah 53 from the Haftorah because rabbis are “so scared” that their worshipers might bolt from their synagogues for the local baptism pool upon hearing this chapter read aloud from the pulpit is a popular argument used by missionaries to sustain their Christological interpretation of Isaiah 53.

This contention, however, is so devoid of merit that I often find it difficult to know where to begin in my response.

Let’s start by exploring the origin of the Jewish tradition to read a portion of theHaftorah on the Sabbath day.

Those unfamiliar with the source of the custom to read the Haftorah might conclude from this missionary argument that the Jews read all of the Prophets during the yearly cycle (as we do the entire Pentateuch), and we somehow only leave out Isaiah 53 from the annual reading of the Haftorah. Actually, less than five percent of the prophets are read during the Sabbath service throughout the year.

The Jewish people adopted the custom to read the Haftorah long before the advent of Christianity. During the traumatic events that led to the festival of Chanukah, Antiochus Epiphanes IV (ruled from 175-164 B.C.E.) decreed that it was forbidden for the Jews to read the Torah in his effort to eradicate the Jewish faith. To circumvent this spiritual crisis, the Jewish people began to read from a selected portion of the Prophets on each Sabbath to substitute the designated reading from the Torah. This custom was retained after the decree was rescinded.

The particular Sabbath portion of the Prophets was carefully selected for one of two reasons. Either because the theme of a segment of the Prophets closely correlated to the portion of the Torah read that week, or because that section of the Prophets thematically corresponded to a festival or a historical circumstance during that Sabbath. It is therefore easy to understand why Isaiah 53 is never read in the synagogue. Isaiah 53 bears no relationship to any of the chapters of the Pentateuch and is unrelated to any holiday or historical circumstance on the Jewish calendar. Therefore this chapter was not included in any Haftorah portion.

Needless to say, this missionary argument is particularly preposterous when we consider that the custom to read the Haftorah in the synagogue was implemented more than 2,150 years ago, long before the Christian era. It is puzzling why missionaries are unaware of this fact when the custom to read the Haftorah is mentioned quite clearly in the New Testament (Acts 13:14-15), long before the Jewish people could have an inkling that a heretical sect would emerge that would misinterpret this extraordinary chapter.

This remarkable claim that the Jews expunged Isaiah 53 from the Haftorah is probably the most anti-Semitic argument used by missionaries. It thrives on and perpetuates the medieval Christian portrait of the Jews – a cunning, scheming, diabolical bunch – who are capable of rejecting Jesus, although deep down – in their heart of hearts, believe in him and have conspired to make sure that every other Jew rejects him. Only the Devil is capable of this dastardly deed. In other words, although the Devil knows the truth and believes in God, he rejects Him and seduces others to do the same. This dark portrait of the Jew as the Devil (John 8:44) is as old as Christianity itself, and things haven’t changed much.

How long must we endure this re-cycled garbage by the Christians who call themselves messianic Jews?

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  1. CLAIM: The Rabbis read Isaiah 52 and 54 in the Haftorah but they purposely skip Isaiah 53 because it would show that Jesus is the Messiah.
    Why, among all the Haftorahs read during the whole year, Isaiah 53 is not included, is one of the issues that comes up from time to time. Some actually make the claim that the Rabbis ‘skipped’ it on purpose by reading Isaiah 52 and then jumping to Isaiah 54. All of this is just based on a weak knowledge of the reasons for Jewish customs and a deep-seated hatred for Judaism and the Rabbis. The answer to this question is easily found when one looks into the history, purpose and application of the custom with regards to the Haftorah.

    Why do we read the Haftorah? The Rabbis teach us[1] that at one time[2] an occupying king made a decree that the Jewish people could not publicly read from the Torah scroll. In order that the people should not forget about the readings from the Torah, a reading from the prophets was instituted. This selection of the prophets mentioned something related to the weekly Torah portion that was to be read. From this everyone could know what the portion was, and the main subject of it. When the decree was rescinded, this custom remained.[3]

    This custom is attested from the ancient times. Two ancient Midrashim, Pesikta D’Rav Kahana, and Pesikta Rabbosei D’Rav Kahana have a number of ‘sermons’ for these Haftorahs. In fact in the New Testament book of Acts[4] we read: “After the reading of the Law (Torah) and the Prophets…” This is understood as referring to this customary reading. We see that the Haftorah was a well-known custom even in those days.

    If we look at all the Haftorahs read over a full year they only represent a very small portion of the books of the prophets. We find that Isaiah 9:5-6, an important Christian messianic text, is included as one of the Haftorahs. Likewise, since we read all of the Torah portions, with none of it skipped, including Christian proof texts, it would seem absurd to claim that just this was excluded.

    To understand the issue better we need to look into what texts from the prophets were selected. The Haftorahs are divided into 3 groups. The first part, the majority of the Haftorahs, are those that are associated with the weekly Torah readings. If we look at the first 5 readings we see:
    Bereishis – Isaiah 42:5-43:10. Bereishis deals with the creation of the world, and this Haftorah starts off with the words: ‘Thus says, the G-d, HaShem Creator of Heaven…’
    Noach – Isaiah 54:1-55:5. Noach talks about Noah and the flood, and verse 54:9 mentions the ‘waters of Noach.’
    Lech Lecha – Isaiah 40:27-41:16. This talks about Avraham his wars with the kings and other events. The Rabbis found a hint at this in 41:2-3.
    VaYeira – 2 Kings 4:1-37. Here we learn of the promise and the birth of Yitzchok and the Haftorah talks about the prophet Elisha and how he promised that someone would give birth to a son.
    Chayah Sarah – 1 Kings 1:1-31. This talks about the aging and death of Avraham, and the Haftorah talks of the same with regards to King David.
    And so it continues for all of the weeks except those special ones, which I will shortly explain. However since none of the weekly readings deals with the subject of Isaiah 53 in any manner, we cannot say that it has been excluded, as there is no reason to include it.

    The second part, are those Haftorahs that are read on the Shabbos of a one of the Jewish festivals, or one of the ‘special’ Shabboses. Here are a few examples:
    Yom Kippur there are two Haftorahs. In the morning we read Isaiah 57:14-58:14, and in the afternoon we read the book of Jonah, both of which relate to the theme of tshuva.
    First day of Sukkos we read Zechariah 14:1-21 which mentions the festival of Sukkos.
    First day of Passover we read Joshua 3:5-7, 5:2-16, 6:,27, which mentions the celebration of the festival of Passover.
    First day of Shevous we read Ezekiel 1:1-28, 3:12 which deals with the revelation that the prophet had which is similar to the experience of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

    The final part, are the Haftorahs read during the 10 weeks before Rosh HaShanah. They are divided into two parts. The first are three Haftorahs read before the fast day of the 9th of Av. This is a period of mourning leading up to that fast day. Then the seven Haftorahs read from the Shabbos following the 9th of Av, until the Shabbos before Rosh HaShanah. These are portions dealing with the consolation of the Jewish people, for the destruction. Portions were chosen for INCLUSION, based on a criteria, and not excluded. It is interesting to note that all of them are taken from the book of Isaiah and specifically from after chapter 40.

    The first three Haftorahs, before the 9th of Av, deal with warnings of punishments and are a prelude to the 9th of Av the day that commemorates the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
    Jeremiah 1:1-2:3
    Jeremiah 2:4-28, 3:4
    Isaiah 1:1-27

    Following this seven Haftorahs of consolation are read:
    Isaiah 40:1-26
    Isaiah 49:14-51:3
    Isaiah 54:11-55:5
    Isaiah 51:12-52:12
    Isaiah 54:1-10
    Isaiah 60:1-22
    Isaiah 61:10-63:9
    If we look at these seven Haftorahs of consolation, they all are taken from the last part of Isaiah, but none of them follow directly any other one. Also the third week is the only one out of numerical order.

    The missionaries make the claim that between the fourth and fifth week, Isaiah 53 is purposely left out. But there are a few problems with this proposition. First, we see many of the chapters in this part of Isaiah are skipped. For example all of chapters 42-48 and 55-59 are left out. Second an examination of these passages we see that they give messages of comfort for the Jewish people in exile. However, no matter what the interpretation of Isaiah 53 one takes, there are no words of comfort for the Jewish people.

    There appears to be support for the view of the Rabbis, from the Dead Sea Scrolls, that Isaiah 53 does not relate to any consolations for the Jewish People. This is from the documents 4Q176, which is referred to as 4QTanhumin[5]. Scholars see this fragment as a collection of verses consoling Israel. What is interesting is to notice what passages from Isaiah are included and the order of these passages.
    Isaiah 40:1-5, Isaiah 41:8-9, Isaiah 49:7, 13-17[6]
    Isaiah 43:1-2 [7]
    Isaiah 43:4-6[8]
    Isaiah 51:22-23[9]
    Isaiah 52:1-3, 54:4-10[10]
    Of the first five of the Haftorahs of consolation, all are represented here. And interestingly, there is the same skip of Isaiah 53 in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which predate Christianity!! It is not logical to claim that the compilers of the Dead Sea Scrolls were part of the ‘Rabbinic Conspiracy.’

    From this we see that the Rabbis specifically chose the Haftorahs, and did not skip or exclude any to fool people, or hide some errors they ‘knew’ in their own religion. __________________________________________

    [1]   This is in the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 284 in the name of the Avudraham and the Lavush. It is found in the Bach and Taz.

    [2]   Most like Antiochus in the 2nd century BCE.

    [3]   There are other customs, like the wording of ‘keser’ in the musaf prayer that have remained as reminder of decreees that were repealed.

    [4]   13:15

    [5]    Tanhumin means comforting.

    [6]    Fragment 1 + 2

    [7]    Fragment 3

    [8]    Fragment 4+5

    [9]    Fragment 6 + 7

    [10]    Fragment 8-11. It is interesting to note that these two chapters appear contiguously in the fragments.

    © Moshe Shulman 2003 http://www.judaismsanswer.com

TUTUS

The Goal of Torah?

A new pamphlet is on sale on Amazon by OneforIsrael ministries which presents a new approach to an old problem. The old problem is how to fit a square peg into a round hole or in other words how to make the ‘Old’ Testament fit the ‘New’ Testament. In what areas might there be questions? From their own advertising blurb:

  • Are we under the law?
  • Should we follow Rabbinic traditions?
  • Should we keep the Torah? How?
  • What is the purpose of the law?
  • Did Messiah come to point us back to the law?
  • Why did God give the Torah in the first place?

Much to the disgust and dismay of one of the authors I did the unspeakable yet again; read the book and make a comment about it.

The pamphlet Torah’s Goal is an example of a theological agenda projected onto the Jewish Scriptures and Judaism. The theological agenda is a seriously flawed agenda which is emphasized right from the beginning of the book in the ‘definitions’ section. The definition section refers to the “Oral Law” as the “rabbinic traditions”.

By default Christians peddling the pamphlet will say that “2000 years ago there were various forms of Judaism and the rabbis “changed” Judaism so it is not really “true Judaism.” The rabbis changed everything”. Besides Galatians tells us we are free from the law anyway!!

Consequently the reader is immediately forced into ignoring the context of the Torah which is the custom and practice of the Jewish people and how they applied their book hundreds centuries way before the New Testament.

You see how the Jews have applied their book, the book of the ‘Old’ Testament hundreds centuries way before the New Testament in the book itself. Included in the book are the details of how Jews accommodated at least one exile and one destruction of the first temple. A common question and the ‘trump’ card of Christians is how do Jews get atonement when there is now no temple in reference to the second temple and its destruction. The common question of course ignores what did Jews do for atonement after the destruction of the first temple. If Jeremiah is considered, the issue of sacrifices and the Exodus from Egypt is NOT focused on a sacrificial system as being the be all and end all of Jews and Judaism:

22 For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. 23 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’

So troubling is the above to Christian theology, that the New International Version (NIV) of Jer 7:22, 23, adds an extra word to the translation which the Hebrew does not support:

22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.

The extra word ‘just’, parachuted into the NIV translation of verse 22 gives the reverse idea that G-d did command the Israelites to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings for sins in stark contrast to the man initiated sacrifices found in the Torah (prior to Sinai) without reference to sin! Moreover, the ‘but’ of verse 23 renders verse 22 in the NIV illogical!

However, I digress, what about the definition of the book that the “Oral Law” is the “rabbinic traditions”?

Rabbis are mentioned in the Torah (just not by that term) – they are the judges and the teachers (just as they are today). They were the men Moses told you to listen to! The system of justice (rabbis are judges), then as now, follows the mitzvot (the “do” and “do not” rules) in the Torah — this includes how courts are established and how they “operate.” The Jewish system of judges began under Moses. 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.

From the time of Moses to today there have been Rabbis (teachers / judges) from all the tribes who teach and mete out justice. Every single generation from Moses to today had judges / teachers who have maintained the Torah and Jewish law. There has never been a break in that chain. That is right, “Rabbinical Judaism” has been handed down לדור ודור / l’dor v’dor (from generation to generation).

The Torah’s Goal from the Torah itself:

12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? 14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. Deut 10

What the Torah says about itself is what peeves the missionaries the most!!

Moti Vaknin (1)

Cannot answer a point? revert to a personal attack instead!!

Cannot answer a point? Revert to a personal attack instead!!

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