The Return of Justinas Pranaitis

The Return of Justinas Pranaitis

A Critical Review of The Return of the Kosher Pig

By Rabbi Eli Cohen – Jews for Judaism Australia[1]

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

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

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

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

Introduction                                                                                                                         

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

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

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

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

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

First Impressions     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hypothesis

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

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

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

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

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

Insincerity

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

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

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

The Return of Pranaitis

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

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

Kal V’Chomer

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

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

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

Gezerah Shava

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

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

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

  1. Psalm 68:5, which speaks about praising G-d: “Sing unto G-d, sing praises to His name; solu’ (extol)  l’rochev b’arovot’” (to the One who rides upon the skies);
  2. Isaiah 62:10, which speaks of the future exaltation of Israel before all the nations: “Go through, go through the gates, clear the way of the people; ‘solu solu hamesilah’ (cast up, cast up the highway), take out the stones; lift up a banner for the nations;” and
  3. Isaiah 40:3, which speaks of G-d’s comfort to Israel: “A voice calling out in the wilderness; make clear a path for the L-rd, make straight ‘mesilah’ (a path) ‘b’aravah’ (in the desert).

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

Wrenching Out of Context

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

Shapira presents the following quote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Epitome of Chutzpah                                                            

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

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

Save Us from the False Scribes

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

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

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

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

Scripture Twisting

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

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

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

Here Come the Judges

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[9] Ibid, p. 216.

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

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

[12] Ibid, pp.13-14.

[13] Ibid, p. 14.

[14] Ibid, p. 35.

[15] Ibid, p. 35.

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

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

[18] Ibid, p. 209.

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

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

[21] TROTKP, p. 53.

[22] Ibid, p. 53.

[23] Ibid, p. 49.

[24] Ibid, p. 95.

[25] Ibid, pp. 35, 158, 103.

[26] Ibid, p. 47.

[27] Ibid, p. 49.

[28] Ibid, p. 6.

[29] Ibid, p. 48.

[30] C.f. ibid, pp. 120, 145.

[31] TROTKP p. 158.

[32] Ibid, p. 158.

[33] Ibid, p. 277.

[34] John 5:46-47.

[35] TROTKP p. 196.

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

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

[38] TROTKP, p. 115.

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

[40] Ibid, p. 174.

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

[42] My translation.

[43] My translation.

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

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

[46] TROTKP, p. 190.

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

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

[49] Ibid, p. 215.

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

[51] TROTKP, p. 160.

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

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

[54] TROTKP, p. 119.

[55] See Strong’s Concordance H858.

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

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11 Responses to The Return of Justinas Pranaitis

  1. Dina says:

    This is so clear! The “prominent Christians” who endorsed this book must take their heads out of the sand and withdraw their endorsement if they are to maintain any credibility at all.

    • LarryB says:

      Those prominent christians will have to circle the wagons since their guilty of similar scripture twisting if they want to keep any credibility with their readers. Having a christian rabbi in their camp is like manna from heaven.

  2. Renato SGrun says:

    I agree with Dina. But I’ll go deeper. How embarrassing to Pastor Shapira realize that all his lousy arguments put together are not even equivalent for a single good one.

  3. Rabbi Eli says:

    This review is a drop in the ocean of what I really wanted to say. As you can see it takes quite a bit of work to untangle the complete mess Shapira has made. For the sake of clarity and brevity, I was forced to leave out literally dozens of further examples not yet covered by myself of rabbi Blumenthal.
    I have absolutely no desire to see Shapira insulted or jeered, I pray that he recognize that my hope for him is that he rejoin his people who are waiting with open arms to welcome him back and share with him the beauty of Torah in the setting of the Mesorah.

  4. I am telling you the truth, the time is coming, and is even NOW at the door, when you will see face to face the PRINCE OF LIFE whom YHVH sent into the world bringing SALVATION to ALL of HIS OFFSPRING, beginning with JERUSALEM, for the promise was made to AWRAHAM that through his SEED all nations of the world would be BLESSED, for in YITZ’CHAK shall AWRAHAM’S seed be called, so the blessed SEED has come from YA’COV of JUDAH his son from the seed of PEREZ his son that all which has been written in the SCRIPTURE OF TRUTH would have its fulfillment, and I say unto you who will hear it, SOON NOW, ISRAEL, the HERITAGE OF YHWH OF HOSTS, will be the glory, the song, and the joy, and the praise of all nations of the earth for ALL ambassadors shall gather unto JERUSALEM to learn the TORAH OF YHWH OF HOSTS, and the priests, the Levites, of the sons of ZADOK, will teach the peoples the difference between the clean and the unclean (Ezekiel Chs. 40-48) – ELOHIM’S NEW SANCTUARY. I am telling you the truth, the REDEMPTION OF ISRAEL and ALL flesh is now at hand to come, and YOU will see YOUR MASHIYACH FACE TO FACE in the day of HIS GLORY. Blessed be ELOHIM MOST HIGH, the ELOHIM of our fathers, and the ELOHIM of the spirits of ALL flesh, for HE will be GLORIFIED IN HIS OFFSPRING – HUMANITY, and the place of HIS REST shall be on the MORIAH which HE LOVES.

  5. junzey says:

    Dear Rabbi Yisroel, Hope all is well with you. As we conclude 2013, my prayer for you is a blessed and fruitful New Year in Hashem. Was at a concert and Bible Study tonight and thought of you. The teacher was speaking out of Luke 24 where the disciples were on the Road to Emmaus, disappointed that Yeshua had been crucified. They were distraught, when Yeshua joined them, but they didn’t recognize Him. It reads that Yeshua went through the Scriptures with them telling them all that was prophesied of Him from Moses to the Psalms and the Prophets …

    The Study was so excellent that I pictured you there… it began with Genesis 3 … speaking of the ‘seed of a woman’ … and … it is the man who carries the seed for a natural birth … this prophecy implies that The Anointed One would be a virginal birth. The teacher went on to speak about Moses and the Exodus and spoke of a lamb for each household to deliver the family from the death of the first born. The blood of the lamb was put on the Lentals and Doorposts so The LORD would passover! It was spoken by Yochanon when he saw his cousin Yeshua coming to be baptized … he said, “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” … The teacher went on to speak from Psalm 22 … he expounded how in Yeshiva the Rabbi asks questions … or quotes the beginning of the verse .. and the students complete the verse … he said how when Yeshua spoke, My God My God why have You forsaken Me … it was a Word to our people to go to Psalm 22 … for David began Psalm 22 prophesying what The Messiah would speak on The Cross. It was like the Rabbi quoting the beginning of a verse and the student identifying where it was written. So the disciples on the road probably had the best Bible Study this world has ever known!!! He was speaking not that this is exactly what was spoken as much as realizing over 330 prophecies that Yeshua was expounded on. He spoke of Isaiah 53 and also mentioned how our people don’t read or hear in the Hoftorah reading Psalm 22 or Isaiah 53 which was not so until about 100 years after the Resurrection of Yeshua.

    I realize for whatever reason we have not been doing a study .. but I thought to go over Old Testament Scriptures which you are more familiar with than myself to share this special time of the year for us all.

    God bless you and Shelly sends his fondest regards. You Fellow Jewess, June

    • d says:

      June, allow me to point out that you cannot be the rabbi’s fellow Jewess, because he is a man. It does not surprise me that someone who blurs the distinction between man and God would also confuse gender identity between man and woman.

      Furthermore, the word “Jewess” is outdated.

      Most important, however, is that every one of your arguments has been handily refuted on this blog in both the articles and comment sections.

      I pray that you come back to your people and join us in worship of the one true God of Israel.

      Your Jewish sister,
      Dina

      • Dina says:

        Sorry, the tablet I’m typing on did something funny. I’m still Dina :-) .

        • Dina says:

          June, I don’t know if you’re reading this, but I hope you are because I have something more to say.

          You know, I was just kidding around with the word “Jewess.” I thought that was a funny mistake, and I pounced on it. But now I’m dead serious. You said something really troubling in your comment on this page. You said something about your not being as familiar with Tanach as Rabbi Blumenthal.

          Now, I don’t expect you to be as familiar with Tanach as Rabbi Blumenthal. I certainly am not! But if you would be as familiar with as anyone who has received a standard Jewish education, your “amazing” and “inspiring” bible study teacher would have failed to amaze and inspire you.

          Just one example: when he talked about the seed of Eve being a messianic prophecy, had you a standard Jewish education, you would have piped up and said, but what about the seed of Hagar in Genesis 16:10 (the Hebrew word zera is used, which means seed)?

          June, how could you be so careless to make an uninformed and uneducated decision about something as precious as your soul?

          Study our Scripture, and discover the truth for yourself.

          Peace and blessings,
          Dina

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