Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Infinite: Three terms that describe the Infinite Being.

The Infinite
By: Rabbi Moshe Zeldman

Three terms that describe the Infinite Being.
Chapter 1: The Creator
Point 1
Every Jew must believe and know that there is a first existence, primal and eternal, which brought all things into existence and continues to sustain them. This is G-d.
Let us continue our exploration of the Ramchal's opening line ofThe Way of G-d. The Ramchal uses three different adjectives that all revolve around the concept of infinite. So let's define: What does "infinite" actually mean?
Literally, infinite means: not finite. When we describe something as being infinite, we're saying that it has no limitations, no "edges."
Infinite also implies that it has no specific properties, because if it were hot, red or funny, that specific characteristic would serve as a limitation. If something is red, it is not blue, nor green, nor white.
Even though in daily discourse we express ideas like, "He's infinitely rich" or "I've been waiting for this phone call forever," these are just popular idioms. Can a person's net assets be infinite? Impossible. We might mean that a person is so wealthy that it's difficult to imagine the vastness of his wealth, but the bottom line is a certain sum of money. If this person's investment portfolio would double over the next year, he'll be more wealthy, which means he could not have been infinitely wealthy. Something big can always potentially get bigger. Something infinite cannot get bigger. If it could, it must not have been infinitely big to begin with.
We face the same issue with the phrase "forever." Forever describes a time that will never come. There's no such moment as forever.1
There are three adjectives being used to describe this infinite G-d:

(1) First Existence
By calling G-d "first" ("matzui rishon" in Hebrew) the Ramchal is essentially saying that something must exist that caused the existence of everything else. No matter how far back we go in the history of the universe, we're faced with the question, "What came before that?"
The evolutionist feels secure in the theory that we descended from earlier hominids, which evolved from earlier life forms, which came from a primordial soup, which came from inorganic matter that spontaneously formed into reproducible life, which came from energy. But the question still remains: What came before that? As long as the response is some other finite cause, we can probe further back until we arrive at the first cause.2 (Where did G-d come from? That will be answered in a future essay.)

(2) Primal
Calling the infinite existence "first" is not as significant as calling it "primal" (Kadmon in Hebrew). Primal is the backdrop in front of which everything else can come into existence. It points to the notion that G-d cannot not be. This will be further explored in a future essay.

(3) Eternal
Calling the infinite existence "eternal" (Nitzchi in Hebrew) refers to G-d's future existence. Because G-d was never brought into being, there is nothing that can bring G-d out of being. A table has the possibility of going out of existence by the same or similar agency that brought it into being. Similarly, as the moon came into being due to a combination of forces of nature, those forces could also lead to the destruction of the moon.

Active Sustainer
"...and continues to sustain them"
Here the Ramchal is going beyond the idea of G-d as Creator, to describe G-d as Sustainer. The distinction has huge implications. When relating to G-d as Creator, we are seeing G-d in a historical role of having, once upon a time, created the world. This offers no implication that G-d still has active involvement in His creation.
It's not altogether different than believing that someone created the chair you're now sitting on. Does the creator of the chair have any ongoing involvement with it? If he passed away tomorrow, will something happen to the chair? We would say that the chair needed the maker, in a manner of speaking, in order to come into existence. But once the chair exists, it no longer needs the involvement of its maker.
If we related to G-d only as Creator, we would have the same view. We would view G-d as having, once upon a time, created a world and set it into motion. He "programmed" it with laws of nature and now it runs on its own, like computer software.
The Ramchal is using the opening line of The Way of G-d to present a radically different paradigm. G-d not only created, but is now still sustaining (present tense) the world He created. It's almost like holding a cup in your hand: You not only created its suspension in the air, you are now, actively, still sustaining the cup in the air. It's an ongoing connection.
The implications are huge. For example, how do we understand natural disasters? According to the "G-d as Creator-only" theology, G-d may have been there at the beginning of time to set up the initial conditions of the universe, but after that He "stepped back" (or lost interest, or died) and no longer has any involvement in His creation.
The Ramchal is saying two important things: 1) G-d is now actively sustaining the entire creation, and 2) one must believe and knowthat this is so. Like in class #2, the Ramchal is proposing that I can have knowledge -- not a leap of faith -- that G-d not only exists, but that He is sustaining every aspect of reality at every moment.
This idea presents many difficulties. While a person may be able to accept the existence of a being that created a world many eons ago, it's harder to accept a being that's continuously involved in a moment-to-moment basis. Especially when we look at the evil and injustice in the world, it may be difficult -- logically and emotionally -- to believe in a deity who allows for tsunamis to drown hundreds of thousands of people. It's all the more difficult to believe in a being that actively and directly controls the waters that drown those men, women and children.
These are the kinds of questions that the Ramchal anticipates as being on our minds, and in due course he will present the Torah's answers to them. But to build a strong foundation toward clarity on these issues, we still have more work to do in appreciating the nature of an infinite being. The Ramchal will use the rest of Chapter 1 to elaborate and clarify. Stay tuned.

Infinity in Mathematics
Even though we said above that finite things cannot be infinite, the one finite area that seems to allow for the concept of infinite is in mathematics, especially the theoretical end of mathematics.
For example, we talk about a function on a graph that "approaches infinity." Or the fact that two parallel lines will "infinitely" never intersect. Or that the decimal expansion of the number pi is infinite (3.1415927...). Mathematics also says that the set of real numbers R={0,1,2,3,...}, is also an infinite set that goes on "forever." There's no "last" or "biggest" number.
We have to keep in mind that the reason the concept of infinity works here is precisely because it is nothing more than that -- a concept. When we talk about the set of real numbers, we're not describing an actual thing that exists in our physical world. We're describing a theoretical notion. There is nothing in the real world of finite objects that is actually infinite. It's logically impossible.
In fact, the whole notion of theoretical infinite has its own internal paradoxes. How many numbers are there? An infinite number, right? Then how many even numbers exist? Half as many? But still an infinite number? Hmmm.
All numbers
R={1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12...} = Infinity?
Even numbers
E={2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20...} = Infinity?
These are the kinds of paradoxes and self-contradictions that one runs into when trying to take a concept like "infinite" and use it within the realm of the finite, like real numbers and even numbers. There are many concepts that work well within their own realm of application, but it would be wrong to extend these theoretical notions into the domain of the real physical world in which we live. In our discussion, we want to probe the existence of the actual, real "infinite source to finite existence."

• Is there anything in this world that actually has an infinite quality to it?
• What are implications of defining G-d as: first, primal, and eternal?
• Why is it so fundamental to the Jewish approach to G-d, to see G-d as Sustainer, rather than just as Creator?
• Why is it not possible to believe in a G-d that has some limitations or deficiencies?

Watch an 8-minute video: "The Question of God's Existence" with Rabbi Moshe Zeldman

Why Jews Don't Believe In Jesus

For 2,000 years Jews have rejected the Christian idea of Jesus as messiah. Why?

with thanks to Rabbi Michael Skobac, Jews for Judaism
One of the most common questions we receive at is: "Why don't Jews believe in Jesus?" Let's understand why ― not in order to disparage other religions, but rather to clarify the Jewish position.
Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:
  1. Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.
  2. Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of the Messiah.
  3. Biblical verses "referring" to Jesus are mistranslations.
  4. Jewish belief is based on national revelation.
But first, some background: What exactly is the Messiah?
The word "Messiah" is an English rendering of the Hebrew word Mashiach, which means "anointed." It usually refers to a person initiated into God's service by being anointed with oil. (Exodus 29:7, 1-Kings 1:39, 2-Kings 9:3)
1. Jesus Did Not Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies
What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? One of the central themes of biblical prophecy is the promise of a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of God. (Isaiah 2:1-4, 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34)
Specifically, the Bible says he will:
  1. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
  2. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).
  3. Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)
  4. Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: "God will be King over all the world ― on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One" (Zechariah 14:9).
If an individual fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, then he cannot be the Messiah.
Because no one has ever fulfilled the Bible's description of this future King, Jews still await the coming of the Messiah. All past Messianic claimants, including Jesus of Nazareth, Bar Cochba and Shabbtai Tzvi have been rejected.
Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming. Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright; in the Bible no concept of a second coming exists.
2) Jesus Did Not Embody the Personal Qualifications of Messiah
A. Messiah as Prophet
The Messiah will become the greatest prophet in history, second only to Moses. (Targum - Isaiah 11:2; Maimonides - Yad Teshuva 9:2)
Prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry, a situation which has not existed since 300 BCE. During the time of Ezra, when the majority of Jews remained in Babylon, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophets ― Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.
Jesus appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended, and thus could not be a prophet.
B. Descendent of David
Many prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4-5)
The Messiah must be descended on his father's side from King David (see Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23-24). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father ― and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father's side from King David. (1)
According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, (2) nor will he possess supernatural qualities.
C. Torah Observance
The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance. The Torah states that all mitzvot remain binding forever, and anyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false prophet. (Deut. 13:1-4)
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus contradicts the Torah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable. For example, John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation of Shabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), "He does not observe Shabbat!"
3) Mistranslated Verses "Referring" to Jesus
Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew text ― which reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation.
A. Virgin Birth
The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an "alma" as giving birth. The word "alma" has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as "virgin." This accords Jesus' birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.
B. Suffering Servant
Christianity claims that Isaiah chapter 53 refers to Jesus, as the "suffering servant."
In actuality, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme of chapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. The prophecies are written in the singular form because the Jews ("Israel") are regarded as one unit. Throughout Jewish scripture, Israel is repeatedly called, in the singular, the "Servant of God" (see Isaiah 43:8). In fact, Isaiah states no less than 11 times in the chapters prior to 53 that the Servant of God is Israel.
When read correctly, Isaiah 53 clearly [and ironically] refers to the Jewish people being "bruised, crushed and as sheep brought to slaughter" at the hands of the nations of the world. These descriptions are used throughout Jewish scripture to graphically describe the suffering of the Jewish people (see Psalm 44).
Isaiah 53 concludes that when the Jewish people are redeemed, the nations will recognize and accept responsibility for the inordinate suffering and death of the Jews.
4) Jewish Belief is Based Solely on National Revelation
Throughout history, thousands of religions have been started by individuals, attempting to convince people that he or she is God's true prophet. But personal revelation is an extremely weak basis for a religion because one can never know if it is indeed true. Since others did not hear God speak to this person, they have to take his word for it. Even if the individual claiming personal revelation performs miracles, they do not prove  he is a genuine prophet. All the miracles show ― assuming they are genuine ― is that he has certain powers. It has nothing to do with his claim of prophecy.
Judaism, unique among all of the world's major religions, does not rely on "claims of miracles" as the basis for its religion. In fact, the Bible says that God sometimes grants the power of "miracles" to charlatans, in order to test Jewish loyalty to the Torah (Deut. 13:4).
Of the thousands of religions in human history, only Judaism bases its belief on national revelation ― i.e. God speaking to the entire nation. If God is going to start a religion, it makes sense He'll tell everyone, not just one person.
Maimonides states (Foundations of Torah, ch. 8):
The Jews did not believe in Moses, our teacher, because of the miracles he performed. Whenever anyone's belief is based on seeing miracles, he has lingering doubts, because it is possible the miracles were performed through magic or sorcery. All of the miracles performed by Moses in the desert were because they were necessary, and not as proof of his prophecy.
What then was the basis of [Jewish] belief? The Revelation at Mount Sinai, which we saw with our own eyes and heard with our own ears, not dependent on the testimony of others... as it says, "Face to face, God spoke with you..." The Torah also states: "God did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us ― who are all here alive today." (Deut. 5:3)
Judaism is not miracles. It is the personal eyewitness experience of every man, woman and child, standing at Mount Sinai 3,300 years ago.
For further reading: "Did God Speak at Mount Sinai?"
Waiting for the Messiah
The world is in desperate need of Messianic redemption. To the extent that we are aware of the problems of society, is the extent we will yearn for redemption. As the Talmud says, one of the first questions asked of a Jew on Judgment Day is: "Did you yearn for the arrival of the Messiah?"
How can we hasten the coming of the Messiah? The best way is to love all humanity generously, to keep the mitzvot of the Torah (as best we can), and to encourage others to do so as well.
Despite the gloom, the world does seem headed toward redemption. One apparent sign is that the Jewish people have returned to the Land of Israel and made it bloom again. Additionally, a major movement is afoot of young Jews returning to Torah tradition.
The Messiah can come any day, and it all depends on our actions. God is ready when we are. For as King David says: "Redemption will come today ― if you hearken to His voice."
For further study: • Jews for Judaism
• "The Real Messiah," by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
• "The Path of the Righteous Gentile," by Chaim Clorfene and Yakov Rogalsky
(1) In response, it is claimed that Joseph adopted Jesus, and passed on his genealogy via adoption. There are two problems with this claim:
a) There is no biblical basis for the idea of a father passing on his tribal line by adoption. A priest who adopts a son from another tribe cannot make him a priest by adoption.

b) Joseph could never pass on by adoption that which he doesn't have. Because Joseph descended from Jeconiah (Matthew 1:11) he fell under the curse of that king that none of his descendants could ever sit as king upon the throne of David. (Jeremiah 22:30; 36:30)
To answer this difficult problem, apologists claim that Jesus traces himself back to King David through his mother Mary, who allegedly descends from David, as shown in the third chapter of Luke. There are four basic problems with this claim:
a) There is no evidence that Mary descends from David. The third chapter of Luke traces Joseph's genealogy, not Mary's.

b) Even if Mary can trace herself back to David, that doesn't help Jesus, since tribal affiliation goes only through the father, not mother. Cf. Numbers 1:18; Ezra 2:59.

c) Even if family line could go through the mother, Mary was not from a legitimate Messianic family. According to the Bible, the Messiah must be a descendent of David through his son Solomon (II Samuel 7:14; I Chronicles 17:11-14, 22:9-10, 28:4-6). The third chapter of Luke is irrelevant to this discussion because it describes lineage of David's son Nathan, not Solomon. (Luke 3:31)

d) Luke 3:27 lists Shealtiel and Zerubbabel in his genealogy. These two also appear in Matthew 1:12 as descendants of the cursed Jeconiah. If Mary descends from them, it would also disqualify her from being a Messianic progenitor.
(2) Maimonides devotes much of the "Guide for the Perplexed" to the fundamental idea that God is incorporeal, meaning that He assumes no physical form. God is Eternal, above time. He is Infinite, beyond space. He cannot be born, and cannot die. Saying that God assumes human form makes God small, diminishing both His unity and His divinity. As the Torah says: "God is not a mortal" (Numbers 23:19)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Sun of God

The Jewish elders in the city of Rome were once asked by a heathen, "If your God is displeased with idols, why does He not destroy them?" 

The answer was, "Because among the worshiped objects are also the sun, the moon, and the stars, which are necessary for the world. Should God destroy the world on account of the fools that worship those celestial bodies?" "

But," rejoined the questioner, "why then does your God not destroy those worshiped objects which are not absolutely needed for the existence of the world?" And the elders replied, "This would merely confirm the heathen the more in their false belief that the sun, the moon, and the stars must be worshiped as deities, since they can not be destroyed"


Sunday, October 20, 2013

‘Modesty police’ ban colorful bras, panties

613 Shades of Grey

‘Modesty police’ ban colorful bras, panties

Ultra-Orthodox group sends letter to shop owners in Beitar Illit, demanding strict modest standards in sale, display of female undergarments

A group of female ultra-Orthodox “modesty policewomen” recently sent a letter to clothing shops in Beitar Illit, imploring them to maintain high standards of modesty when selling female undergarments and forbidding them from including colorful underwear or bras among their wares.
“As you know, our city has a special character,” the letter read. It went on to explain that as the West Bank ultra-Orthodox city has a “holy public” of “Torah scholars” and “important Hassidic communities,” shop owners must maintain strict standards of modesty in dress, how they display their wares and in who they allow into their stores,

Haredi All Female Modesty Squad Orders Clothing Stores To Follow Their Underwear Modesty Rules

Alleged victim 2A haredi all-female modesty squad sent letters to all clothing stores in Beitar Illit that warns store owners that they must adhere to the following rules modesty rules pertaining to – lingerie.

Beitar Illit Clothing Store Modesty Rules Female Modesty Squad 10-2013
A free translation of the rules sent by, D.O., the person who sent the letter to me:
The following rules are the bare minimum which one must adhere to:

1) All saleswomen must be dressed modestly (no uncovered parts, tight or short clothing etc.)

2) Items displayed without packaging must be stored in drawers or shut closets, where the doorknob twists like wings (not sliding doors). Items which are kept behind closed curtains, may only be of the traditional sort.

3) The intention of the previous sentence, is in reference to Item e' (ayin) and item t' (taf) - (female lingerie)

4) One must not sell these items in all types of colors and/or bold and brash styles. Therefore, there should not be items in stock (or drawers) in the color red, bright pink, orange etc. Or with words or pictures.

5) It is strictly forbidden under any circumstance for a saleswomen to suggest, advise or to guide women - and especially brides - to purchase such items which are not in traditional colors: white, beige or black.

6) It is strictly prohibited for men or children to enter the store

7) If immodest images appear on the packaging, they must be covered up with tape.

8) Advertisement must be modest in style and design.

9) From time to time, women will be sent to track and monitor that all these rules are kept strictly kept, and not in a perverse manner.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Read The New Testament – We Have!

Read The New Testament – We Have!

They were so anxious for us to read it, so we did. And there are problems. Jesus denied being either good, or a god: “Why callest thou ME good? There is none good but one, that is God.” (Matthew 19:17). Subsequently, however, he claimed to be God: “The Jews answered him saying, for a GOOD work we stone thee not; but for BLASPHEMY; and because that thou being a MAN, makest thyself GOD! Jesus answered them, Is it not written in YOUR Law, I said ye are gods?” (John 10:33-34). Jesus taught us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), but in another passage he said: “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me!” (Luke 19:27). Jesus considered the Gentiles inferior beings: “It is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs.” (Matthew 15:26), and stated unequivocally that he was NOT sent to them: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (ibid. 24). He forbade his disciples to approach them: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles!” (Matthew 10:5). He confirmed and upheld the authority of the Pharisees: “The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. ALL therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their WORKS for they SAY, and DO NOT!” (Matthew23:2-3). And this, in spite of the fact that they were transgressors of the Law by virtue of their tradition: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3). Nor did he practice what he preached (compare Matthew 15:2 with 23:3). He admitted clearly that he was NOT of Davidic descent: “What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he? They say unto him, the son of David. He saith unto them, how then doth David in spirit call him lord, saying, the Lord said unto my lord, sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him lord, how is he his son?” (Matthew 22:42-45). And this in spite of the long and contradictory genealogies in Matthew and Luke, which “prove” his Davidic ancestry. He, the Prince of Peace, came to bring not peace but a sword: “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34). He came to bring division and strife: “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you nay; but rather division!” (Luke 12:51). He promised his speedy return, scheduled to occur nineteen centuries ago, as the triumphant King Messiah: “But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing HERE, which shall NOT taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:27). “For verily I say unto you, ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the son of man be come.” (Matthew 19:23). He connected himself with the serpent: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” (John 3:14), but the serpent is the symbol of the satanic forces of death and evil! He did not die willingly: “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto THEE; take away this cup from me!” (Mark 14:36), yet he claimed to be God. He was forsaken of God: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, My God My, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), yet he is called a “saviour”. In his name the bloodiest religious wars, persecutions, crusades, inquisitions, pogroms were perpetrated, and yet we are supposedly “saved” by believing upon his name.
If Jesus was not actually related to Joseph but conceived of the “Holy Ghost”, to what purpose are the genealogies proving Joseph’s Davidic ancestry? Why is there such a flagrant discrepancy between Matthew’s and Luke’s genealogies? If one of these genealogies is Mary’s, and not Joseph’s, why isn’t her name mentioned in either? Since only the paternal descent is significant, what could be the purpose of recording Mary’s genealogy? If Jesus were really “David’s son”, why did he specifically ridicule the “Pharisaic” tenet that Messiah is to be of David’s seed (Luke 20:41-44; Mark 12:35-37)? Why did Jesus say, “How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?” (Mark 12:35), implying that scripture did NOT say the same? When the multitudes asked how it was that Jesus, as the Messiah, comes from Galilee, why weren’t they told that he was actually born in Bethlehem (John 7:41-42)? If this “fact” was unknown to the disciples, how was it discovered by the Gospel authors who lived a century later?
Why was Jesus called “Jesus”, and not “Immanuel”, if he was the “child” promised by Isaiah (7:14)? If Jesus was “Immanuel”, God with us, the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity, why did he say, “Why callest thou ME good? There is none good but ONE, that is, GOD.” (Matthew 19:17) implying that he was neither good nor divine?
Why did Jesus say, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” (ibid.), if no man is justified by works of the law? (Romans 3:20,21,28, etc.).
Why did Jesus say that whosoever breaks even the least commandment and bid others to do so (Matthew 5:19) shall be called least in his kingdom; but whosoever shall do and teach the commandments shall be “great”; if men could be justified by faith in him (Jesus) without the works of the Law (Galatians 2:16)?
If Jesus was the “light unto the Gentiles” why did he consider them inferior beings (Matthew 15:26)? Why did he deny having been sent to them (ibid. 24), and why did he forbid his disciples to approach them (Matthew 10:5-6)?
If John had actually seen a dove descending from heaven over Jesus’ head, and heard the voice proclaiming him as the “beloved son”, etc. (Matthew 3:16-17; Luke 3:22), why did he later send two of his disciples to ask whether Jesus was the awaited redeemer, or “do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2-3 : Luke 7:19-20)? If John the Baptist was “Elijah” as Jesus claimed (Matthew 11:14), why did John say that he wasn’t (John 1:21)?
“John” – “Elijah” was to turn the heart of the fathers to the children, etc. (Malachi 4:6), before the coming of the Day of the “Lord”. Is it not strange that Jesus should declare his own purpose as being the very opposite (Matthew 10:35; Luke 12:51-53)? If Jesus was the “Prince of Peace” why did he claim “not to send peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34)? If it was Jesus’ purpose to lay down his life for the sins of the world why did he so fear and chastise the Jews who sought to kill him (John 8:37-40)? If Jesus had the power to lay down his own life or to save it (John 10:18), why did he say, “Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as THOU wilt.” (Matthew 26″39)? Why was Jesus forsaken of God (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34; etc.)? If Jesus came to intercede for sinners, why did he say, “I pray NOT for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” (John 17:9)?
Jesus promised his speedy return as the triumphant King Messiah. This was to happen before his disciples had a chance to preach in all the cities of Israel (Matthew 10:23), and during the actual lifetime of his listeners (Matthew 16:28; Mark 9:1). That was nineteen centuries ago. Why then are we to expect a “second coming” at this late date?
Why has the Church resorted to crusades, inquisitions, heresy trials, pogroms, etc., to persuade mankind as to the “truth” of the Gospel? Which of the thousands of rival, squabbling sects is the true “Church of Christ”? Why are thousands of missionaries necessary to prove that Jesus was the Messiah, if we are already living in the messianic era? If Christianity has saved mankind why is the so-called “Christian” world still torn and ravaged by war, hatred, and injustice?
We suggest that Christians ”reread” the new Testament to discover whether or not they are on the wrong track! We sincerely believe they are!
Submitted by:
Israel League of Former Christians
M. Alfandari
Jerusalem, Israel

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Anti-semitic Gospel of John

How can the gospel of John be called anti semitic when Jesus and his disciples were all Jews?

The author of the Gospel of John clearly places himself, and those whom he represents, as separated from the Jews. He speaks of "the Passover of the Jews" (John 2:13, 6:4, 11:55), the religious rules of the Jews about purification (John 2:6), a religious festival of the Jews (John 5:1), the Festival of Tabernacles of the Jews (John 7:2), the Day of Preparation of the Jews (John 19:42), and the way in which Jews prepare a body for burial (John 19:40).
And quite as clearly he regards Jesus as not "a Jew." In talking to the Jews, Jesus speaks of "your Law" (John 7:19, 8:17, 10:34) and "your circumcision" (John 7:22). Abraham is "your father" (John 8:56). When the Jews say to him, "Our ancestors ate manna in the desert" (John 6:31), Jesus replies, "What Moses gave you was not the bread from heaven" (John 6:32), and later on says, "Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert" (John 6:49).
It is true that twice Jesus is called a Jew: by the Samaritan woman (John 4:9) and by Pilate (John 18:35). But in both instances the term is used in its sense of "person of Judah," contrasted with the Samaritan and the Roman. The same applies in John 4:22, where Jesus says to the Samaritan woman, "You [Samaritans] do not really know whom you worship; we [Jews] know whom we worship, for salvation is from the Jews." For John’s Jesus, "Salvation is from the Jews" does not refer to the Jewish people per se. "Salvation" is now the inheritance of the true worshiper of God as defined by Jesus (John 4:23).
Apart from those two instances, it is only in John 1:11 that Jesus is identified as a Jew, in the statement that he comes to "his own country," but "his own people" did not receive him. This passage, however, does not go against the Gospel as a whole, in which Jesus is shown as not being a part of "the Jews." Jesus appears as no longer a member of the Jewish people or its religion but speaks to the Jews as if he were a non-Jew. The Fourth Gospel is not about a Jew or written for Jews and expresses contempt for Jews and Judaism.

Posted in: Missionary Claims and Jewish Responses, New Testament Anti-Judaism

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Leaving Jesus Challenges All Christians and Messianics

James Woods author of the book "Leaving Jesus" has a challenge for Christians or Messianics. Bible students studying for bible quiz compititions may want to give this one a shot. BibleQuizzing

By James Wood

Here is my challenge to Christians or Messianics…
It seems to me that this should be a very easy challenge to meet being that the entirety of Christianity is embodied in this principle so surely there must be many scriptural passages that support this.

If you have any reason to believe that Jesus was the messiah and that he was God then you would have to believe this because you believe the Tanach* told you.
According to the New Testament believing in the Messiah and his dying for your sins is the only thing that can reconcile you to YHVH and give you eternal life. Where in the Tanach is this idea presented to Israel in plain language so they would be able to know before the messiah came so that they could accept / receive / believe in him?
Remember, YHVH doesn’t desire for anyone to perish but the sinner to turn to him, so it must have been presented to them so even a little child could have been able to understand this. In other words, where is this plainly prophesied in the Tanach?
Remember also YHVH does not change and that he does not lie.
Remember the words of Jesus that unless you become like little children, you will never enter into the kingdom of God. So it must be very easy to discern and understand or a child would not be able to do it.
I posted this years ago and have never had anyone respond except to curse me and damn me to hell…
Can you respond to this challenge?  
* Christians call the Tanach the “Old Testament”

Leaving Jesus Challenges All Christians and Messianics | Leaving Jesus:

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Fasting on Yom Kippur Which Falls on Shabbat

Fasting on Yom Kippur Which Falls on Shabbat

Painting by Alex Levin (
Painting by Alex Levin (


Since it is forbidden to fast onShabbat, do we fast on Yom Kippur if it falls on Shabbat?


Your premise is correct; all other fast days are postponed until Sunday when they fall on Shabbat.1 However, unlike all other fasts, Yom Kippur is not postponed, and is fully observed even on Shabbat.2 The Torah dubs Yom Kippur Shabbat Shabbaton—the “Shabbat of Shabbats,”3 implying that it takes precedence over Shabbat.
According to chassidic teachings, Yom Kippur falling on Shabbat doesn’t “deprive” us of the pleasures—eating, drinking, resting, etc.—which Shabbat normally affords us. Rather the extremely holy nature of Yom Kippur accomplishes the same objectives, albeit in a higher, more spiritual manner.
Here are two explanations on this topic, culled from the chassidic works:
1) King David says,4 “Behold, G‑d’s eye is directed towards those who fear Him, to those who hope for His kindness, to rescue their soul from death and to sustain them in famine.” The Hebrew words for “to sustain them in famine”
(להחיותם ברעב) can also be translated as “to sustain them with hunger.” In a spiritual sense, “famine” refers to the soul’s yearning for closeness to G‑d, a yearning which derives from the fact that the soul is “a part of G‑d above,”5 and always desires to reunite with its Source. On Yom Kippur, when the soul and its needs and wants are bared, this hunger alone, the quest for spirituality, is sufficient to satiate and satisfy a person. On the holiest day of the year, we are fueled not by carbohydrates or proteins, but by the revelation of our very essence and its intrinsic relationship with G‑d.6
2) The human’s physical need for nutrition stems from the soul’s need to be energized by the divine sparks inherent within every physical creation. This is because the soul has many levels, and only its lowest levels are normally expressed in the body, and these soul-levels require the spiritual nutrition derived from various foods. The essence of the soul, however, is far higher than these sparks, and therefore has no need to be fortified through their consumption. Thus, on Yom Kippur, when this essence is revealed and expressed within every Jew, there is no need for eating or drinking.7
May we all experience a spiritually uplifting Yom Kippur, a Yom Kippur which will cast its holy glow—and have a concrete effect—upon the entire blessed new year.
Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

The exception to this rule is the Fast of Esther, which, if it falls on Shabbat, is moved up and observed on the Thursday beforehand (because Sunday is the holiday of Purim).
The only difference in observance between a weekday Yom Kippur and a Shabbat Yom Kippur is that (in Ashkenazic communities) the Avinu Malkeinu prayer, which is normally recited four times in the course of the Yom Kippur services, is recited only once on a Shabbat Yom Kippur, at the conclusion of the final (Ne’ilah) prayer.
Job 31:2; Tanya, ch. 2.
Likkutei Torah (by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi), Song of Songs 14b.
Likkutei Torah, Shemini Atzeret 87a.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Fast of Gedalia

The Fast of Gedalia

The day after Rosh Hashanah marks the Fast of Gedalia, one of the "minor fast days" in the Jewish calendar year. The fast begins in the early morning at dawn, and ends in the evening at dusk.
What is the meaning of this fast, and why does it occur during the intermediate days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?
The Story of Gedalia
After the destruction of the First Temple 2,500 years ago, the majority of the Jewish people were exiled to Babylon. The conqueror, Nebuchadnezzar, eventually eased some of his harsh restrictions and allowed some Jews to remain in the Land of Israel. He even appointed a righteous Jew named Gedalia to administer the territory. Gradually, more Jews who'd escaped from the horrors of the war into neighboring countries began to return to their homes in Israel.
Gedalia was realistic about the limitations of Jewish sovereignty. He understood that for their own self-preservation, the Jews in Israel needed to fully cooperate with the nation who had conquered their land.
But this political subservience was intolerable to some Jews. A man named Yishmael ben Netaniah, spurred on by jealousy and foreign influence, arose and ignored the King of Babylon. On the third of Tishrei, Yishmael treacherously killed Gedalia as well as many other Jews and Babylonians.
Answer On Yom Kippur
In the aftermath of Gedalia's murder, the Jews feared reprisal from the King of Babylon. They thought to flee to Egypt to save themselves. But since Egypt was a morally corrupt society, the Jews were in a quandary ― weighing the physical threat against the spiritual danger. So they turned to the prophet Jeremiah, who was secluded in mourning, to ask for advice.
For an entire week, Jeremiah pleaded with God for an answer. Finally, on Yom Kippur, he was answered. Jeremiah called the Jews and told them to stay in Israel and everything would be fine. God was planning to make the Babylonians act mercifully toward the Jews, and before long, all the exiled Jews would be permitted to return to their own soil. But, Jeremiah told them, if the Jews decided to go to Egypt, the sword from which they were running would kill them there.
Unfortunately, the prophet's words did not penetrate, and the people refused to believe. All the Jews remaining in Israel packed their bags and went down to Egypt. They even kidnapped Jeremiah and took him with them! Now the destruction was complete; the Land of Israel was completely barren.
You can guess what happened next. A few years later, Babylon conquered Egypt and tens of thousands of Jewish exiles were completely wiped out. The lone survivor of this massacre was Jeremiah. His prophecy had become painfully true.
The initial event ― the murder of Gedalia ― has been likened to the destruction of the Holy Temple, because it cost Jewish lives and brought the end of Jewish settlement in Israel for many years. The prophets therefore declared that the anniversary of this tragedy should be a day of fasting. This day is the third of Tishrei, the day immediately after Rosh Hashanah.
Lessons for the Fast of Gedalia
Lesson #1 ― The Jewish people had sunk to one of their lowest levels in history. The Temple was destroyed, the majority of Jews were exiled, and things looked hopeless. But God changed their desperate situation and had the righteous Gedalia appointed. Yet Gedalia was murdered by a Jew and all hope was wiped out.
It was at this point that Jeremiah prayed to God for some insight and assurance. This was during the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This story is memorialized to teach us an important message for these days: No matter how far away you are, you can return and God will forgive you.
Lesson #2 ― The Jews who went to ask Jeremiah for advice were subconsciously sure that God would give the answer they wanted to hear. So when God answered differently, they rebelled.
Yet these were not evil people. What happened?
Though these Jews were in one sense dependent on the will of the Babylonians, they were unwilling to be dependent on the will of God. The lesson is that attaching oneself to God means following Him at all times, not just when it happens to coincide with what you want.
A good rule in life, when faced with a tricky moral dilemma, is to ask yourself: "What would God say? What does He want me to do?"
Lesson #3 ― When one Jew murders another, it is a deep, terrible tragedy, which can have enormous historical repercussions. There is no excuse for such violence. Do we have philosophical and political differences? We must work them out with calm and tolerance. It is the only acceptable way.