The seal of G-d is truth (Sanhedrin 64a)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Zaidy Made Us Laugh

A tribute to my beloved grandfather, of blessed memory: "Zaidy Made Us Laugh". Featured in The Jewish Press.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Demon Within (audio)

Reflections on the religious Jewish leaders, figures, and communities that are aiding the evangelical xtians in their missionary efforts in Israel. The lure of economic and personal benefit gain is evidently too much for some to resist.

Evangelical Christians: Friend or Foe? via @ArutzSheva_En

Evangelical Christians: Friend or Foe? via @ArutzSheva_En

 Thanks to Rodney Bryant and Ira Michaelson of Arutz Sheva's "A Light to
the Nations" radio program for affording me the opportunity to weigh in
on the subject. My reflections on this topic.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Netanyahu Unmasked. Once Again.

The righteous man will rejoice when he sees revenge; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked. Men will say, “There is, then, a reward for the righteous; there is indeed, divine justice on earth.” (Psalms 58:11-12)

Then Samson called to the L-rd, “O L-rd G-d! Please remember me, and give me my strength just this once, O G-d, to take revenge of the Philistines, if only for one of my two eyes.” (Judges 16:28) JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh

Benjamin Netanyahu’s die-hard lackeys can spin his latest debacle as they wish (and they will), yet once again Netanyahu displayed his trademark timidity, this time by refusing to support the proposed death penalty bill for Arab terrorists. The Prime Minister had an opportunity to implement a modicum of justice for victims of Arab terror, to actually combat terror, and to raise the degraded Jewish morale a little bit higher, in a country lacking the most basic attributes of self-respect, dignity, and the ever critical belief that you have the right to exist.
Netanyahu’s decision to subvert justice by forming a committee to “examine” the proposed death penalty bill for terrorists is typical. What part of “capital punishment for terrorists” requires explanation? What normal, moral man has a problem punishing Arab terrorists with death? Answer: A normal man wouldn’t. A normal people would insist on the legislation of such a bill. 

Ultimately, the failure of the masses and our leaders to adhere to the halachic injunction to throw all hostile Arabs out of the country is the real problem we face. Yet even among those who lack Torah knowledge and wisdom to see the ultimate problem and understand the solution, anyone with a modicum of sanity should demand the harshest of penalties for punish Jew killers. And yet somehow, this proposal comes off as controversial in liberal circles, of which the reigning moderate Likud party is part of. And Netanyahu is the face of the fraudulent Right.
The consequences are set in stone. Netanyahu killed the bill by initiating a protracted process which will render any bill (if it ever sees the light of day) as toothless. And yet as frustrating as Bibi is, he’s predictable. I am far more annoyed by those who tolerate his endless charade and keep electing him.

Jewish Revenge 101

Despite what liberal Jewish bloggers would have you believe, revenge is a Jewish concept when applied according to Halacha. Judaism prohibits revenge against other Jews, even when the drive for action to right a wrong beats in our hearts. Prohibited. But vengeance against Jew killers? It is not only a moral expression, it is something to celebrate. 

Several weeks back, Sarah Tuttle-Singer, a writer for the Times of Israel expressed her disgust when she read of Jews celebrating the death of an Arab terrorist on Facebook. She was particularly appalled by the “likes” and comments. In “Who “likes” dead bodies?” Sarah opined:

“…….To hand out “likes” on a dead man’s picture the way so many of our enemies hand out candies in the street after they’ve killed one of our soldiers?
When did we make this OK?”

You don’t get it, Sarah. There is no godliness within evil men. Such people forsake any connection to G-d when they abandon their souls. Hitler had no godliness in him. Neither did the Arab terrorist who was crushed by a jeep, Baruch Hashem! 
As far as the oft distorted verse from Proverbs, which Sarah referred to in her article, it refers to other Jews, not to evil men who try to kill us. For such people, we celebrate their deaths with a fancy Kiddush in shul, replete with chulent and good whiskey. We sing shirah, just as we did at the Red Sea, when the Egyptians suffered a watery death. “Az Yashir Moshe…..” 

There is a reason that Saadya Gaon referred to the seventh day of Passover as “Chag ha-Hashmadah,” roughly translated as “The Festival of Extermination.” RASAG knew a thing or two about Judaism. 
The desire to see evil men punished is normal. Those who would argue otherwise invariably fall on the wrong end of the moral spectrum. Such people are usually more concerned with the “rights of women” than with protecting the life of an unborn fetus. And according to this stream of thinking, celebrating the death of an Arab terrorist is deemed aberrant, while the deviant union of man and man is seen as beautiful. Yet such twisted thinking is hardly Jewish.
Like the RHINO republicans in the U.S., the Netanyahu led Likud constantly cow-tails to liberal sentiments. The fraudulent right in America purports to represent conservative traditional values, and yet time and time again, on issues of security, illegal immigration, Obama’s unbridled unconstitutional power grabs, unrestrained liberal judicial activism, the disingenuous right-wing marches to the totalitarian beat. They have no principles to stand on.
The same is true with the Likud of 2015. The days of longing for both sides of the Jordan are long gone, as is the desire for a “Greater Israel.” “Fire and blood” in defense of Jews? These beliefs are as dead as Jabotinsky. At the end of the day, Netanyahu is an articulate symbol and a slogan and nothing more. A veneer, a façade, a man more interested in retaining power than doing the difficult things that Israel needs to do. When you need a good speech on Yom HaShoah, then Netanyahu is your man, if you’re satisfied with rhetoric. Leave it to Netanyahu to gauge the wind, and sacrifice Jewish justice to appease the liberal world. 

The most basic fundamentals of Jewish justice demand that the blood of every murdered Jew be paid for in kind. Blood for blood. Again, I pose the question. What kind of person would oppose such measures? Only leftists and unprincipled politicians.
Capital punishment against terrorists will ensure Jewish justice. The quislings among us will maintain that we are feeding the serpents by martyring them. So be it. If they wish to be martyred, then martyr everyone who desires such a fate. Killing these savages ensures that politicians won’t ever release these animals to kill again. It will send a clear message to Arabs, particularly if it is applied swiftly (on the spot) and consistently. They will learn that terrorism of any sort warrants the death penalty. On the day that the average Arab understands that by even raising his hand to throw a stone he earns a bullet to the head, a great many of them will reassess what their life is worth. 

Yet even the possible deterrent factor is irrelevant. We have a moral imperative to avenge the Jewish dead.

The Language of the Arab Scimitar

Capital Punishment. Arab society understands violence, which as much a native tongue as is Arabic. Violence is the language of the Arab home, the street, religion, and the political process. Violence is the way to subjugate the weak, be it a man, child, or woman. Especially woman. Honor killings. Revenge killing. It predates Islam. Pagan Arab butchered his brother with ease, because violence was as natural as breathing. And Islam ultimately flourished, because violence in the name of a blood deity was an attractive notion. 
Applying the capital punishment to Arab terrorists will expose the myth of moderate Arabs. There are untold numbers of Arabs in the penal system who would qualify for this punishment. And this would in turn expose how rampant terrorism is in our country. 
Of course Bibi has no intention of ever allowing such a bill to pass. He knows how Obama and the liberals in America would react to a newly instituted death penalty. He knows how JStreet will react, and the rest of liberal American Jewry. He knows that the EU will excoriate him. He is playing to the crowd, out of a clear understanding that sometimes the masses demand things. So he has given them a spectacle, the false hope of a national policy on the Arab question with some teeth. Netanyahu is the master of orchestrating “the spectacle”, of waxing poetic on matters of pride and nationalism, and even on Jewish heritage, to galvanize the respectable masses who form his power base. 

At the end of the day, under the wrong conditions, Netanyahu would release another thousand Arab murderers if it was politically expedient to do so. The Messiah will arrive long before Benjamin Netanyahu allows a policy of executing terrorists.
Those who hoped for a right-wing government were foolish. Shame on them for their naiveté. They are Exhibit B which explains Exhibit A, i.e. Israel’s unprincipled leadership. A motley crew of new and old misfits, vying for positions of power they have neither the qualifications for nor the moral basis to ever assume.
Our murdered brothers and sisters cry out for vengeance. No one hears. We hear the cries of those left behind. The shrieks of funerals and orphans and of parents who will never know be normal again. The ability to feel pity defines a Jew. Yet there is a time to burn with rage and to demand Jewish justice. Ignoring the cries of the murdered does nothing to silence them. Their blood continues to churn.
Just as the noose was appropriate for Eichmann, it is equally warranted for all who walk the path of Amalek. A politician who postpones or delays the implementation of such a bill speaks volumes with his actions. No more life sentences for Jew killers, whose duration often mirrors the life span of a gerbil. (Some gerbils live longer than the duration of Arab “life sentences”.) The immediate formation of a national firing squad, which will rid us of 1000+ Jew-killers day if necessary, until the next Yovel (jubilee).
And now that the treasonous Barack Hussein Obama and John Kerry, yemach shmam v’zichrum made a deal with the Iranian Amalekites, the need for a swift Jewish sword against our enemies is even more apparent. Netanyahu diagnosed the Iranian threat perfectly, because he thoroughly understands the problem. The only remaining question is what he will do to prevent Iranian from obtaining the kinds of weapons they seek to actualize their desire to exterminate us. 

One needn’t be a military strategist to know that barring an absolute Divine miracle, Israel will need to take drastic military action to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb. And the Arab world will surely take advantage of Israel’s vulnerable position by escalating acts of terror against Jews, both in Israel and abroad.

What better way to punctuate a strong Jewish response that to immediately institute the death penalty for ALL Arab terrorists, including those who are apprehended before they take a life.
Death is the only tongue that the Arab terrorist understands. So be it. Let him know it intimately.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The New Jews For Jesus

“Hear, O Israel! The L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd alone.” (Deuteronomy 6:4) JPS Hebrew-English TANAKH, 2003

“The very existence of the State of Israel is a denial of basic Christian doctrine, according to which the Jews lost the rights of Eretz Yisroel and their role as the Chosen people. The Christian church seeks to resolve the contradiction between the State of Israel as a historical entity and the Evangelion, by conversion of the population.”(Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, “The Rav Speaks: Five Addresses on Israel, History, and the Jewish People”; pg. 122)

The spiritual enemies of the Jewish people who harvest the Samarian vineyards take no sabbaticals during shemitah. They of course refrain from picking grapes for the year, as they must, out of deference to the enduring Mosaic shemitah Law. Yet the most important crop of all is harvested year-round regardless of season. Evangelicals see every season as a time to bring the “good word” to Jews, or to be blunt, to harvest Jewish souls. For the devout evangelical, the Jewish soul is sweeter than grapes, and like all difficult quarry, the religious Jew is most desirous, since he represents the challenge of an elusive prey who poses an eschatological road-block. The kind of prey who supposedly can’t be caught, yet according to their religious beliefs, must be caught, in order for the “Second Coming” to arrive.

Trying to bring religious Jews to the cross is no easy task, as long as Torah Jews remain insulated from evangelicals. As such, they require the aid of Jewish insiders to penetrate the castle. And they have found them. Previously insular communities in Israel are no longer a fortress. The missionaries have discovered that for the right price, their religious Jewish friends will open the door. More than that, at least one prominent religious-Zionist rabbi has even sanctified his presence in the agricultural fields by declaring that “the harvesters” are fulfilling prophecies. And these same Jewish friends battle on their behalf by hurling defamation and invectives towards the few Jews who have the courage to say anything.

And so it should come as no surprise that Tommy Waller’s “Hayovel Ministry” is working overtime during shemitah, even as the vineyards of Samaria remain dormant for the year. The off season is when they return home to their American congregations and communities to amass their forces. Now is the time to schlep Jewish representatives around with them on the speaking circuit, to generate energy and excitement as they try to bring “the good word” to Jews in Israel. It is a labor of love. This is where their cadre of Jewish friends come into the picture; those perplexing individuals with kipot and tzitzit who have participated in some of the most outrageous interfaith events to date. 
“Religious” Jews for Jesus?
Most Jews have heard of “Jews for Jesus” and recognize the spiritual threat they pose to our people. But how many Jews know about the growing number of religious Jewish leaders and advocates who have become a new kind of “Jews for Jesus”? How many know about the particulars where these same Jews have trampled upon Halachic boundaries and thrown themselves into the forbidden waters of interfaith dialogue? How many Jews are privy to the gradual process where these Jews are sanitizing Jesus and making him kosher for Jewish consumption? How many are aware that these individuals are inadvertently aiding the missionaries in their ultimate goal of converting Jews? Allow me to clarify:

• When I speak of “religious Jews for Jesus” I am not speaking of actual messianic Jews who believe in Jesus and accept him as divine, but of those religious Jews whose clarity has become so blurred and distorted due to their involvement and exposure to evangelicals. I speak of rabbis who have described Jesus as a rabbi, and as a “kosher” concept that Jews can embrace without sacrificing their most basic Jewish beliefs.

• I speak of “Halachic” Jews who have either unconsciously or otherwise mastered the tongue of Christian theology, as they try to harmonize inherently contradictory teachings, out of a desire to strengthen an alliance with Christians.

• I speak of those who are engaged in activities that no religious Jewish leader in history ever engaged in. I speak of those who would been condemned by great Rabbis in previous generations, when we had strong Torah leadership.

Hayovel and other evangelical missionary groups require such Jews. They require individuals like Jeremy Gimpel, a renowned Jewish advocate, radio personality, and ordained orthodox Rabbi, who has done as much as anyone on the scene, to grab the evangelical hand and pull him in for an interfaith bear hug. “JewishIsrael” recently came out with a shocking expose regarding Gimpel’s participation as the main speaker at a Hayovel sponsored event in Nashville. Every Jew must read this disturbing article and watch the accompanying video. The jaw-dropping finale featured Caleb Waller inviting the notorious Jew obsessed missionary, “Papa” Don Finto, onto the stage to bless the audience. (A brief internet search will tell you all you need to know about Finto.) Don Finto proceeded to lay his hands on Jeremy Gimpel to bless him and Hayovel, and even concluded with a recitation of Birkat Kohanim! And all throughout this whole disgraceful episode, Gimpel remained on stage.

I need not go into great detail, since the article presents all that transpired. Yet I would like to reiterate one salient point to the reader. Bear in mind that this is yet another documented example of Hayovel’s missionary agenda.  Despite the same shrill cries of their Jewish enablers, Hayovel’s sponsored event saw Caleb Waller invite a notorious Jew missionary to bless the audience. Those who would still deny their intentions are either cognitively impaired, naïve to the point of cognitive impairment, or lying for any number of reasons. There are no other logical explanations.

The following article will address another disturbing event. On February 16th, 2015, the same Jeremy Gimpel participated in an interfaith Question & Answer session at the Fellowship Bible Chapel in Columbus, Ohio. The chillul Hashem that transpired from his involvement in such an affair, as well as the responses he gave to the audience was astounding; and they require an uncompromising response to bring clarity to the picture. I will be addressing several of Gimpel’s more outrageous statements point by point. (Those with strong stomachs can also view excerpts of this video here.)
As an aside, while I have never met Jeremy Gimpel, he and his co-host Ari Abramowitz were kind enough to have me as a guest on their Voice of Israel radio show a while back to discuss my articles addressing the dangers of evangelical support for Israel (minute 27). I found them to be genuinely friendly and warm, and they gave me a fair opportunity in the allotted time to present my views. In short, I harbor no animus towards Jeremy or Ari. I liked them both.

There is nothing personal here, save for my concern over what I consider grotesque violations of Jewish behavior, in the form of the most extreme examples of prohibited interfaith dialogue. As I hope to show, from a Torah perspective, Jeremy’s responses were outrageous. Many were inaccurate and theologically ambiguous, and some even bordered on the kinds of positions that could be deemed heretical or worse. Indeed, Jeremy’s own words could Heaven forbid be used one day to ensnare Jews.

A quick word on interfaith dialogue, since this is the back-drop to this whole tragic affair. How did this all come about? In recent years, prominent “modern-orthodox” (I hate the term) leaders and others laid the groundwork for the various forms of interfaith dialogue we are witnessing today. They created a forum for discussion/meetings which never existed, and by doing so, many of them trampled upon their rebbe’s Halachic position. As is well known, Rav Soloveitchik (of blessed memory) prohibited any form of religious discussion, debate, or dialogue with members of other faith communities, and his position was articulated fully in his classic essay “Confrontation”, his subsequent  addendum, and other written works. The Rav's views represent the most comprehensive ideological approach to date on the matter of interfaith relations/discussion, and his position both asserted and demanded that we Jews respectively maintain a distance between the two faith communities, and refrain from any attempts to merge them. (Naturally, since this essay was written in the context of the American Jewish experience, allowances were made for situations where Jew and gentile shared communal concerns and only addressed such non-religious matters. In Eretz Yisroel, the biblical prohibitions inherent in the discussion render many of the points of the article less relevant or perhaps even irrelevant, since the Halacha clearly defines which gentiles may even enter the land.)

In one of the more egregious examples of blurred theological lines that invariably ensue from such encounters, one former student of “The Rav” even adopted the language of the missionary, and he was featured several years ago in videos where he called Jesus "Rabbi Jesus," and used such ideologically problematic terms as "branches" and "grafting," which are laden with unmistakable Christian associations. The missionaries had a field day with this trove of material. Is it any wonder that we have a new category today, of a religious Jewish activist who engages in the kinds of things that none of our forebears would have ever thought possible or permissible?

Jeremy’s Q&A Session at the Fellowship Bible Chapel
Those Jews who may have met or heard Jeremy Gimpel speak, may be taken aback by my remarks. I allow Jeremy’s own words to speak for themselves. Again, I advise the reader to refer to the video footage of this encounter. Here are some of the highlights:

      Quoting the Gospels: Early on in the session, Jeremy referenced the “humble of spirit” and participated in a rare spectacle which boggles the mind. Consider the image of an ordained rabbi standing before an audience of evangelical missionaries, quoting from the book of Matthew (5:5). “The meek will inherit the earth,” declared Jeremy, “that is the spirit of the bible.” My response: When a rabbi quotes “Matthew” what more can one say? Can there be a greater desecration of Hashem’s name?

      “A Jew Is a Jew”: In response to an inquiry from a participant about the status of a Jew who converts to Christianity, Jeremy responded that despite a Jew’s attempt to leave the faith, he nevertheless remains a Jew. While this is generally accepted as true according to Halacha, Jeremy failed to emphasize that despite the Jew remaining a Jew, acceptance of Jesus as either divine or a messiah is inherently incompatible and contrary to Jewish beliefs. Even Jeremy’s mentor, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, (who has been involved in questionable interfaith- exchanges himself) has explicitly stated: “Jews can never accept Jesus as the Messiah – anyone who does so is ipso facto not a Jew…” Acceptance of Jesus is the antithesis of Jewish belief. Jeremy’s failure to point this out plays right into the hands of the missionaries who maintain that such a belief actually makes the Jew more “Jewish” by “completing” him.

      Granting Legitimacy to Christian Interpretations: When one woman inquired how a religious Jew such as himself would interpret a certain prophecy of Zachariah, Jeremy went into a convoluted, inaccurate, and dangerous response, which legitimized the standard Christological distortion of the verses, and exposed a confused perspective on a host of Jewish concepts. It was patronizing and pandering, and his answers illustrated the dangers and futility of trying to harmonize incompatible beliefs. Ironically, the questioner seemed equally dissatisfied with his responses. Here was the exchange:

Jeremy: “To answer really simply, maybe everything that you believe in the book of Zachariah, that the messiah will do, we believe too. I mean that’s why the argument is sort of like…uhh …it’s not a waste of our time… but like….When a man comes and he fights the wars of Israel, defeats the enemies, builds a temple, peace on earth, the leader that did that, we will all kneel before the king. (Jeremy actually kneels down.) Do you know what I mean?

Whoever that is…so your vision of that, you say it’s a second coming, OK, we say it’s a first coming…we actually do…what do we...we know that we don’t know…that’s sort of like where the Jews are at right now…we just like…uhhohh (inaudible sound)…I guess when the messiah comes, the messiah comes. Right now, that’s just not uuhhh…right now, what do we have to do? We got to be good with G-d. We have to like bring G-d into our lives, that’s really important.”

At this point, Jeremy made a clumsy effort to reconcile the impossible divide, and reassure the woman of our “shared visions”:

…….”your vision of the messiah’s second coming is our vision of the messiah’s first coming. All of the messianic prophecies that will be fulfilled, when they’re fulfilled, we’ll recognize that as messiah.”

Response: There is no commonality whatsoever between the Jewish understanding of a righteous human Messiah who will fulfill all the Halachic criteria and fights the wars of G-d, and the pagan notion of a divine man (part of a triune godhead), who died for mankind’s sins, was resurrected, and will eventually return in a Second Coming. The latter belief is for those who sacrifice their rational faculty to accept a theology borrowed from the major pagan religions of the ancient world. In a final attempt to harmonize the validity of the two faiths, Jeremy expressed his perspective on how the arrival of the messiah will play out, in a way that accepts the legitimacy of both.

“I always feel like how is that gonna to play? Are we…is one of us just gonna have a theological crisis…I mean like oops…or is it going to be like somehow we are both right? I don’t know. I feel like G-d’s ways are more than what we think. I intuit… that somehow both of us are gonna to be right, but not in the ways we think we are gonna to be right. I don’t know.”

Response: Moshe Emet V’Torato Emet. The words of Moses are true and his Torah is true. Judaism 101. With all due respect to the other faiths who maintain a similar position about their own beliefs, we are not both correct. The truths of Judaism are inherently in opposition to Christianity and there can be no harmonizing of the two faiths. The truths of Judaism and Torah are the only truths. There is no theological crisis.

“For in point of fact, Judaism and Christianity are not basically one but are, as Professor Freidrich so aptly states, fundamentally opposed to each other.” (Judaism and Christianity: The Differences, Trude Weiss-Rosmarin; pg. 10)

      Jesus- as played by Gimpel the actor: Jeremy borrowed a page from basic Christian theology which posits that the Mosaic Law is impossible to keep, when he “admits” that as a Jew, “Jews, often get lost in religion.” (Where have we heard that before?) And in a theatrical performance that in this internet age will never go away, he fell into the character of Jesus by explaining:

“That was what Jesus was talking to Jews. He’s like folks, you’re getting lost in the law. You’re getting lost in the details. Don’t forget the big picture.”

Response: How to convey the shock one feels when he hears a Jew speak this way? Images of classical Christian anti-Semitism come to mind, replete with invectives hurled towards “the Pharisees.” There is no way to get lost in the law for one who truly upholds it. As an example, to the extent that man’s adherence to the law could cause him to behave in an ill manner to his fellow man, this is hardly proof of getting caught up in the law. On the contrary, this constitutes proof that the individual never truly followed the law! When properly kept, the Halacha is the only solution for the religious Jew. Torah is not merely law. It is a way of life required by Hashem, and it remains the only way for man to perfect himself. Jeremy gave the missionaries an unexpected gift with these statements. This is precisely what they argue when they try to explain how G-d’s law is no longer relevant or obligatory, at that only a blind acceptance of Jesus can bring one “salvation.”

 Since Jeremy referenced a historical Jesus, a few words need to be said about the question of the historicity of Jesus. Jews who speak of a historical Jesus who was both “religious” and even a “rabbi” are playing a dangerous theological game. The obvious conclusion of such thinking is that you can “follow” him and still remain a good Jew, the same position which the messianic argues. The missionary’s challenge is to expand upon this concept and convince the Jew how to follow Jesus. Not only is this a perilous path, which from the onset is contrary to Jewish thought and Law, it also blindly accepts the notion of a historical Jesus as a fact.

Did Jesus Exist?
Short answer for the Jew. Who cares? There is no definitive evidence that a specific historical Jesus existed that has any commonality with the many contradictory and mythical accounts in the gospel. Any scholarship that argues such a position is premised on a particular historian's viewpoint, which is contested by many other scholars. From a Torah perspective, whether or not Jesus was a real Jewish figure, a composite of several figures, or based upon two different figures in the Talmud, Judaism doesn’t venerate his memory. If he existed at all, he was not a good Jew. The ancient historians certainly don’t provide a strong case for a historical Jesus. In 26 Reasons Jews don’t believe in Jesus”, Asher Norman notes: 

The works of 41 historians who lived during the first century and early second century and wrote about Judea and Rome have survived. Significantly, none of them mentioned Jesus, his alleged disciples, his apostles, or any of the so-called “miraculous” events described in the gospels. It is difficult to understand how this is possible, if the gospel stories about Jesus described historical events.” (Page 182)

The Talmud never mentioned a “Jesus of Nazareth.” The Tosefta and Baraita reference two different men that people mistakenly associate with Jesus. Take Yeishu Ben Pandira for example. He was never crucified. He was stoned to death for sorcery and hung from a tree. This occurred one hundred years before Jesus, during Alexander Jannaeus's reign in Jerusalem. Yeshu Ben Stada presents other problems. He lived one hundred years after Jesus.  And while his manner of death and subsequent hanging for sorcery on the eve of Passover are the same, he was killed in Lydda. These were clearly two different personalities, and neither of these men were killed by Romans. They were executed in different towns, and neither was killed via crucifixion. The dates don't correspond to the dates of Jesus that Christians accept. Did Jesus exist according to rabbinical sources? Rabbi Jehiel ben Joseph said that the Yeshu referenced in rabbinic literature was a disciple of Joshua Ben Perachai, and NOT Jesus the Nazarene. Nachmanides rejected the idea that the Talmud referenced Jesus, whereas Maimonides maintained that it did. (Norman, 186-187).

Believing in an historical Jesus is not a fundamental tenet of Judaism. Ultimately, the historicity of Jesus is irrelevant for the believing Jew. But believing in the ideas associated with him is not irrelevant, and they constitute a rejection of everything Jewish, and a descent into idolatry. And the theology that is based upon the figure of Jesus is prohibited to the Jew as idolatry according to all rabbinic positions.

      Jeremy Kashers Jesus: Jeremy continued to stumble, by explaining that a theoretical belief in Jesus as the Messiah is not problematic, as long as he is not deemed divine.

“It’s much less a problem for Jews, the Messiah part of things.”

As proof, he cites the unfortunate case of what has transpired in the Chabad world which is rife with the tragic belief that their deceased Rebbe is the messiah. Jeremy incorrectly maintained that this aberrant belief is acceptable to mainstream religious Jews, in a sense, by arguing that it boils down to the theological equivalent of one’s preference for apples and another man’s penchant for oranges.

My response: The reality on the ground says otherwise. Outside the influence of Chabad circles, mainstream religious Jewry finds these notions anathema to Judaism. What transpired in Chabad is terrible and has created a dangerous un-Jewish belief system which threatens fundamental Jewish beliefs. The notion of a dead Messiah is abhorrent to mainstream Torah thought. (I don’t want to get side-tracked but I would like to say one thing. As someone who doesn’t follow Chasidism, I nevertheless revere the legacy of the Lubavitcher Rebbe of blessed memory. What has occurred today is a disgrace to his righteous name.) Jeremy continues:

“When Christianity became like woe, that’s different, is the divinity of Jesus that too much for Jews to swallow….. If we hold that G-d is one there should be no other G-d’s before him, G-d is G-d the father and there is no other trinity manifestations. It’s just one. That’s where the real challenge becomes.”

My response: What challenge? What a foolish use of words. There is no challenge for us. G-d is One. These are the basic tenets of Jewish thought and belief as expressed in our sacred Shema prayer. It is a concept of Oneness that is unlike anything else in the world, including our standard perception of the concept of one. Defining it as a challenge is dangerous for two reasons:

1)     It suggests that the challenge can be intellectually met, and that theoretically someone could present an idea that could bridge this gap and make the idea palpable to Jew.
2)     It challenges the missionaries to overcome this hurdle. It also defines the “hurdle,” and feeds the missionary agenda.

As if that wasn’t enough, Jeremy dropped another bombshell:

“As far as the messiah, there is no problem to believe that Jesus is the messiah…really, according to Jewish law. You could believe that. And you can follow in his ways, like literally hold him as a Rebbe…and even the idea of a righteous rabbi dying for atonement is not a foreign idea in mystical Judaism. So there is so much that there is what to work with.”

Response: Here I find it difficult to convey what I am feeling, because I am screaming inside. WHAT? No problem to believe in Jesus as the messiah? Of course there is! Jesus, real or imagined, never fulfilled the criteria to be the Jewish messiah! Furthermore, we Jews believe in the coming of the messiah, not the messiah himself. Allow me to explain. The messiah will not require a blind belief, because by fulfilling the criteria, he will identify himself to be the correct individual. Jesus met none of these criteria. Judaism rejects Jeremy’s notion of atonement as being compatible with Jewish belief. It is not. He can cite “mystical Judaism” which is a vague term that doesn’t mean anything. We don’t believe in a dead messiah who didn’t complete his mission. By its very definition, death is the most obvious proof that one was not the Messiah.

Yet the most troubling notion can be found where he states, “So there is so much that there is what to work with.” What does this mean? If ever there was an open invitation to the missionaries of the world to accept Jeremy’s ambiguity as a call to try harder, this is it. This is a call for missionaries to become more creative by working with Jeremy’s concept of a flexible ideology, in order to harmonize Jesus. This was an outrageous statement that was as dangerous as a hail of bullets shot into a crowd of Jews. What is there to work with? What does that even mean?

      Jeremy Panders To Christians Regarding The Temple Mount: Jeremy spoke about the unfortunate situation on the Temple Mount, where the Jordanian Waqf prohibits Jewish prayer. The problem with this exchange was that he reinterpreted the prophetic vision of a Third Temple, as one where Christians can pray as Christians under the rubric of Isaiah’s “House of prayer for all nations.” Christian prayer and worship are certainly not acceptable on the Temple Mount, neither in its current state of ruin, nor in the eventual Third Temple. Halacha will determine who can even enter the land, not to mention who can ascend the Temple Mount, and how prayer can be offered. (As for those righteous gentiles who intend to truly call out in Hashem’s true Name, the Third Temple will certainly be a place where they will have a means of expressing proper expressions of thanks and praise to The Almighty.)

Reflections: Jeremy and others often present these interfaith events as a unique and new opportunity in Jewish history to engage in a form of Jewish outreach to Christians. When I was interviewed on his radio show, he admitted to me as much. I rejected the notion that even if one could avoid the problems of interfaith dialogue, one could never engage in outreach with evangelical missionaries. I recommended that we Jews invest our time with the righteous gentiles of the Bnai Noach world instead. There are so many of them today.

It is interesting to note that at the conclusion of this event at the chapel, Pastor Steve Mitchell reiterated and reaffirmed for the audience, the primary Christian beliefs, as I see it, to negate any of Jeremy’s final words. These evangelicals are clearly not open to becoming B’nai Noach, and they themselves do not want their flock to believe that Judaism offers an alternative path to the truth. They are firm believers in their faith, and their uncompromising belief in a divine Jesus, and we should understand this without accepting the naïve notion that it’s a mitzvah to engage with them. Our own people will only lose spiritually in such an encounter, because the evangelical isn’t interested in reason, but the blind faith of dogma and indoctrination. And his theology allows him to engage in duplicity to lure the Jew in.

Human Psychology
Selective Vision. As the old adage goes, we see what we want to see. As complex people we all engage in this delusional process to some extent. Selective sight allows us to continue to live the way we want, and avoid the things we refuse to confront or accept. There are many reasons we ignore the obvious. Some dwell in darkness because ignorance can be comforting. Some of us prefer not to dwell on things that make us wince. We sometimes wear filters over our eyes to ensure that our world schema remains intact. 

And yet, taking human psychology into the equation, I still cannot fathom how Jews allow themselves to be deluded by these dangerous organizations. As I’ve noted many times before, there is a world of documentation confirming the dangers of the evangelicals in Israel. And thanks to JewishIsrael’s recent article, we now have yet another piece of video footage exposing the notorious Waller family and their Hayovel Ministry’s missionary agenda. The vitriolic responses of those self-appointed Jewish leaders who aid Waller and others, cannot negate the facts, even if they choose to cast them aside.

Most native born Israelis have no understanding of the evangelical personality and are ill-equipped to read his pulse. Their unfamiliarity with English renders them vulnerable to the evangelical’s clever use of language to convey theological beliefs. But the fact remains: the missionaries are here in Israel, and many of them are relying upon religious Jews to sanitize their image. People like Jeremy Gimpel, who are well intended, but are nevertheless engaged in spiritual Russian roulette, and others who have been featured in some of my past articles, are harming the Jewish people. As Jewish boys and girls continue to be exposed to a strange admixture of holy and profane, it won’t be long before some of them eat the forbidden fruit. It is a subtle process, which Hayovel’s beloved messianic preacher “Papa” Don Finto understands well. He is ecstatic, because he and his ilk understand that they never had such an opportunity in history to enter religious communities and break down the barriers between Jew and Christian. He foresees the day when more Jews will (Heaven forbid) kneel before the cross and accept “that man.”

Various efforts are underway to apprise major Jewish leaders and organizations of the full extent of this spiritual menace, which is not monolithic, but an elaborate network of missionary organizations. Many Jews are ignorant of the problem. Many more allow themselves to remain so. There are several good rabbis who are mortified about what is going on, and yet for some reason, they lack the courage or the organizational ability to take a strong stance. So we continue to fight the lonely battle to chip away at their resistance. Because if we don’t fight the good fight, the spiritual death toll for the Jewish people will be incalculable. 

Every Jew in turn can do his part by writing about this problem, speaking with other Jews, and informing their community leaders. Jews need to write letters to major Jewish organizations both in Israel and across the diaspora, demanding that they publicly acknowledge the problem and articulate an aggressive plan of action. Of course, the battle needn’t be left to religious organizations. All concerned Jews are welcome to contribute. A major part of the effort to combat this spiritual period of “shmad” requires that we publicize all of the major personalities who work with these evangelicals. As such, the actions of Jeremy Gimpel and others must be exposed. “Good intentions” are no excuse, when Jewish souls are in danger.

Ironically, many of the same Jews who promote the evangelicals are upset when Israel consistently appeases the murderous beasts of Fatah who mask their true intentions, which mirror the genocidal dreams of Hamas and Hezbollah. Yet they fail to recognize Fatah’s spiritual equivalent, and on this issue at least, they show the equivalent stupidity of any card carrying member of “Peace Now.” Learn to recognize the missionary equivalent of the duplicitous Arab. Learn to recognize “Brother Esau” who comes to us with a smile, lots of cash, a willingness to harvest grapes for free, and an undying enthusiasm to bring the “good word” to us. Learn to scream, “mechabel” - “terrorist” - even when the assailant holds nothing in his hand but a cross and a fervent desire for you to kiss it.

Learn to comprehend his duplicitous language, so that you can read what is really in his heart. Here’s a brief lesson to get you started. Conversational Evangelical Language 101: When he says “the Father” he really means Jesus.

“V’alu moshi’im B’har Tzion, lishpot et Har Esav…..” – Ovadyah 1:21
Don’t delude yourself. Our visions and beliefs are incompatible. Santayana’s words are certainly true for the Jew. History always repeats itself. Har Ha’Carmel 2015.
Where is Elijah?

*I would like to thank Avraham Leibler and Ellen Horowitz of JewishIsrael for their contribution to this article.