Archive for February, 2012

Quotes on “Kosher Jesus”

February 4, 2012

Christianity meets Judaism and it is intensifying. In the discussions on internet about the new book “Kosher Jesus” from Shmuley Boteach I found some interesting quotes. I watch the debates with great interest. What Shmuley would do with his book for Christians works out precisely the opposite way for Jews. Allthough, rabbis are afraid of that. I think it’s not that much attracting for orthodox Jews but what it shows clearly is that there are put efforts in re-picturing the Jew Jesus. One who laid a very worthy basis for both camps is the high respected rabbi Jacob Emden. (17th cent.) His approach of Jesus and Christianity is of great significance for Jews.

So I will begin with citing rabbi Jacob Emden from a post of Shmuley.

“In his commentary Eitz Avos (40b-41a) on Pirkei Avot (4:11), Emden describes Christianity as a ““religion in the service of God,” a religion which God sees as good and, therefore, He sustains it; it came to spread the word of God to those ‘who, until then, had worshipped wood and stone, who denied the existence of God altogether, who did not believe in good and evil, or in the afterlife. Christianity spread the notion of one God, one Ruler of all the universe who metes out justice to His creations. Christians accept the seven Noachide Laws and many other mitzvot which they voluntarily take upon themselves. In addition to these good qualities, God also gave them prophecy through their righteous ones, and through these prophets gave them laws and commandments by which to live. Because of all this – because they met these tests of a holy community – their religion was upheld and maintained by God.” Emden continues: these two families, Christianity and Mohammedanism, which God selected as vehicles to bring faith into the world, were never brought under the yoke of mitzvoth (commandments) of the Torah; their fathers never gave it to them, nor did they stand at Sinai; neither were they slaves in Egypt; therefore, they are not obligated for the 613 mitzvos and are thus exempt from the prohibition of shittuf (loosely translated here as the Trinity).  Emden concludes with the repetition of a previous theme: though some of their evil ones cause us sorrow with their violent actions and false accusations, there are righteous ones who protect us from those who rise up against Jews, and wise ones among them who search for truth in our works and find no fault in our faithfulness to our Torah and mitzvot.”

In the same article Smuley said also:
“We (the Jews) must teach Christians about the Jewishness of Jesus rather than Christians teaching Jews about the Christianity of Christ. Jesus was always a Jew and never a Christian. Period.”

“It is time for the Jewish community to stop playing defense and go on offense. We should stop fearing assimilation and start sharing with the world the universal wisdom and values of Judaism, beginning with demonstrating the Jewish sources of Jesus’ teachings.”

“The political bridge of support for Israel is not enough. A theological bridge between Jews and Christians must exist as well. Kosher Jesus proposes that Jesus the Jew, rather than Christ the Christian, be that bridge. It is not for Christians to teach the Jews about Jesus, as has been attempted for so many centuries, but rather, for the Jews to teach Christians about how Jesus lived, prayed, worshipped, and died as a Jew.”

“Today, Christians want to learn from us.”

“Christians need Jews to discover the truth about their faith”

Rabbi Smuley sees that times has been changed. The most catching saying of him perhaps is this one: “ Christians are our best friends today. “ This is a very interesting one because this is new since WWII (the Shoa). I think the older rabbi’s (with great respect) aren’t able to say this. But younger ones have new perspectives. We are heading a new era. History is a big shame, it’s a scandal. There are no winners at all. We lost. We, all human beings, we lost. And of course, as a Christian I believe that Yeshua, yet the stumbling block but in future the corner stone, will win. (Rabbi Skobac identified the book as a stumbling book.)

Rabbi Smuley wants to “allow a new era of Jewish-Christian reapproachement to begin.”

But, probably he asked too much from his fellow Jews. As Rabbi Blumenthal called it: insensitive.

The book is banned by rabbi Immanuel Schochet. Read the ban here.

There is more at hand. Chabad is also drawn more and more towards Christian tenets. As I read here: “This is fascinating, because what we have seen in the last 20 years is Chabad publicly adopting tenets of Christianity long rejected by Jewish communities and scholars worldwide – most notably a messiah that will come from dead, a second coming.”

The world is changing…