Goldberg vs. Brown

My article entitled ‘Response to the Line of Fire 9″ ended with the following appeal to Dr. Michael L. Brown:

I would like to end this critique with an appeal to Dr. Brown.

The myth of the “blindness of the Jew” is an ugly stain in the history of mankind. Dr. Brown, instead of working to perpetuate this myth, I appeal to you to educate Christians of the fallacies of this myth. Explain to your audience that as long as the Jew sees the teachings of Christianity as a contradiction to the Scriptures with which we were entrusted by God – it is the moral duty of the Jew to REJECT those teachings. Encourage your audience to try to read the Jewish Scriptures as a Jew would have read them before the advent of Jesus. Encourage your listeners to attempt to acquire a complete world-view on the basis of the Jewish Scriptures alone – and ask them – how would they view the doctrines of Christianity in the light of the Jewish Scriptures.

Dr. Brown responded to this appeal on his blog with the following post:

Rabbi Blumenthal, to be sure I’m following your proposal, you are also willing to discard all Jewish tradition from your thinking — as much as possible — and look at the Tanakh alone to ask: What should the Jewish people been expecting 2,000 years ago, even though, from your own testimony, you ultimately know the Tanakh to be God’s Word because of that very tradition, and without that tradition you cannot rightly understand the Torah? Is that correct?

Also, we don’t have to speculate about what Jewish people were expecting 2,000 years ago, since we have numerous writings from different Jewish groups — the Pharisees being one of them — indicating a wide-range of beliefs (including eschatology as well as how to understand Torah). More importantly, our people often strayed from the path and God had to send prophets to bring us back to truth. Yeshua came in that respect as Prophet as well.

I could write much more (time escapes me again), but I don’t see the rationality of your proposal as you see it. Furthermore, for Christians here, they know the Tanakh is true because of Yeshua. If your arguments against him were true and he was neither Messiah nor Savior nor Son of God, they would have no reason to continue to believe in the Tanakh either. They have come to know the God of Israel through him, they have received forgiveness of sins through him, their lives have been transformed through him, and if he was not who he claimed to be, then for them, the Tanakh would be another book of myths and fairy tales. I might as well tell you, “The Torah is true but there is no God, so follow the Torah.”

Yes, we have the Tanakh in common, both you and I believing it to be God’s Word, but I ultimately recognize it as God’s Word because of Yeshua — the one who saved me from my sin and rebellion and darkness — not because of other important, but ultimately secondary reasons. (This is parallel to a counter-missionary rabbi telling me that he is ultimately sure that God exists because of the Jewish people.)

A Jewish fellow named “Goldberg” posted the following response to Dr. Brown’s response – I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Hi Dr. Brown.

Let me make clear up front that I am an Orthodox Jew. Not that there will be any doubt.

I think that your last response to Rabbi Blumenthal seriously blurs the basic ground rules of what these dialogues are all about. With that said I’d like to take a step back and reestablish for your readers what I believe to some of the axioms of these discussions

1)Countermissionaries, like Rabbi Blumenthal, exist ONLY because there are missionaries like yourself. Jews do not believe in a compelling need to undo the belief systems of non-Jews. It is only because Christian missionaries engage in what they believe to be their sacred responsibility to persuade Jews to embrace Jesus that countermissionaries engage in their efforts to “counter” that activity. Fair is fair. Put more simply – and it is extremely important that your readers understand this – if there was no one engaged in any effort to convert Jews to Christianity, the likelihood is that almost all of the countermissionary works that we are discussing and that your readers find so puzzling, if not offensive, would never have been written. While Jews obviously don’t believe Christianity to be truth, they also don’t believe Islam, or Hinduism to be truth. One need ask then, why is there so little – if any – counter-islam and counter-hindu Jewish literature out there, despite the fact that the two faiths together outnumber Christians. To be honest, I find the title of your series “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus” to be itself misleading and a tad offensive. (As if Jews, by their nature, walk around muttering the objections to Jesus. How medieval.) Jews don’t walk around “objecting to Jesus”. The more honest, if not market-friendly, title should have been “Answering Jewish Objections to Christian Evangelical Overtures” You know very well that it is almost exclusively in this context that Jews “Object to Jesus”. I received 17 years of Yeshiva education and I’m not sure I can recall a single instance of any teacher devoting any time to a serious discussion of Jesus. It’s a non-issue – untill the missionary raises it.

2)Sophisticated missionaries, like yourself, know very well that the theology of Judaism is based on the scriptures as defined by the OT canon. Moreover, sophisticated missionaries – like yourself – acknowledge that this belief system of the Jew is valid which is why sophisticated missionaries – like yourself – have written so many thousands of pages of material with the intended to demonstrate that belief in Jesus is not only justified but inescapable, purely on the basis of the OT on its own terms.

3) Therefore:

a. This is a fight picked by the Christian not by the Jew.

b. The burden of proof is therefore on the Christian not the Jew.

c. If the proof is there in the OT as you believe it is, then

d. You must concede that Rabbi Blumenthal’s challenge to those who would engage in this debate, to read the OT purely on its own terms and then and only then consider the case for Jesus, is not only a resonable challenge but a necessary precondition, or there is really no point to the discussion.

4) If however, the real point is, as you so eloquently put it in comment number 44 above is that “…we have the Tanakh in common, both you and I believing it to be God’s Word, but I ultimately recognize it as God’s Word because of Yeshua – the one who saved me from my sin and rebellion and darkness – not because of other important, but ultimately secondary reasons…”, then my response to you is, I am happy that you found a basis for cleaning up your life and living meaningfully.

So have I.

Have a nice day.

You can view all the comments on Dr. Brown’s blog here – http://www.lineoffireradio.com/2011/06/09/dr-brown-answers-the-rabbis-part-2/#comments

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Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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71 Responses to Goldberg vs. Brown

  1. John says:

    Rabbi Goldberg, I read what you had to say with interest. Do you believe that Jewish people can decide to follow Jesus without a missionary ever speaking a “word” to them? A missionary friend of mine in Jerusalem whose ministry is to the Palestinians in Jericho and Gaza, told me that many Muslims are having “visions” (whatever they are), and turning to Yeshua (what the call Jesus), without ever “hearing about Jesus” prior to that vision. When I accompanied her (Living Bread International Ministry) to Jericho last spring and set up a “make-shift” dental clinic in the church she started in there, I had the opportunity to speak with and hear about the visions. So, my point is, I’m sure there are Jewish people who leave their faith tradition for reasons other than being “evangelized”!
    Blessings to you Rabbi, and shabbat shalom.

    • Sophiee says:

      John — Jesus is mentioned in the Koran so I doubt there is a Muslim alive who has not heard of Jesus.

    • elskid says:

      YOU SAID: many Muslims are having “visions” (whatever they are), and turning to Yeshua (what the call Jesus)

      How would you feel is people were have visions of Mary and becoming catholic? I am willing to bet you would simply discredit it. Yet you hold up the same type event as evidence that christianity and Jesus are true. Muslims converting are not valid evidence, just as miracles are not.

  2. Len Hummel says:

    Yes. There are many ways GOD USES to open the eyes of those blinded to the Truth of Yeshua Messiah.

    MANY ways. … http://www.clearlight.7t.net/7/

    • Len
      Dr. Brown teaches (opening lines of his June 9 2011 radio show) that experiences are NOT the yardstick through which we can measure truth – they can be demonic or self-induced. Do you disagree with him?

      • Joel says:

        Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.”

        Experiences may or may not be helpful in discerning truth. It depends on the origins of those experiences.

      • Dr Brown writes: “Yes, we have the Tanakh in common, both you and I believing it to be God’s Word, but I ultimately recognize it as God’s Word because of Yeshua — the one who saved me from my sin and rebellion and darkness — not because of other important, but ultimately secondary reasons.”

        This is key. Dr Brown negates that the central tenant of his belief system is not that the Tanakh is G-d’s Word, but rather because emotionally, psychologically, Jesus saved him from himself. His reliance on his belief in Jesus is tied up with his emotional and psychological state. Its only natural that a dog, who is on the brink of death, saved by a murderer, will affect a certain loyalty and self-sacrifice to an otherwise bitter, selfish, egocentric murderer, purely because of the recognition that the dog was saved from destruction by this person. (Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not making a total analogy here, just showing that morality, spirituality and emotional, psychological responses are independent of each other). Dr Brown sees logic, the fact that the Word of G-d is encapsulated in the Tanakh, that logic, historical methodology, good reasons are secondary points to his belief. He values his save from death as more fundamental and more real, and more reflective of truth than pure, sound reasoning.

        To be fair, many people undergo similar degrees of emotional, psychological responses to major events in their lives. For what Stephen Hawkings has achieved scientifically is remarkable. However, he is a paraplegic, permanently reliant on a breathing apparatus, he cannot speak without aid, and he cannot move. I can understand from an emotional, psychological perspective that he denies that G-d exists, and believes that some or other force created the universe or that it was always around. He is not in a position to talk about the issue because he is biased emotionally.

        From a purely objective, logical perspective we have to analyze the issues from a neutral perspective not from one founded on emotional, psychological distortions. Emotions and psychological responses cloud our judgment.

        My answer to Brown is that, the means that you felt “connected” to G-d is through a fictitious character. That doesn’t negate any profound, emotional connection you have to the Creator of the Universe. It is misguided, albeit genuine. The point is that you were given the tools to overcome adversity, how you got there now is irrelevant. You can deny Jesus and everything he represents purely because your success was G-d given. You achieved self-mastery, not Jesus, you. After you have accepted this point, the next step is to compare, honestly, without emotional influence the basis for Christianity. 15 000 people convinced of Paul’s ‘vision’ on the way to Damascus (Gal. 2)….pales into insignificance compared to the revelation at Sinai of 3 million people who all heard G-d speak! (Deut 4)

  3. Stan says:

    Dr. Brown fully an completely understands that the New Testament constantly contradicts G-d’s Word from the Tanach(OT) but will continue to ignore that fact or else need to admit that Jesus is not messiah.
    How can a book so full of errors be a book of G-d? IT CAN’T
    In my opinion, anyone with a decent education, with good reading comprehension, with the ability to think with reason and logic would instinctively know that the teachings of Christianity have nothing whatsoever in common with G-d’s Word in Tanach (ot) and in Judaism.
    The main weapon that Christianity loves to use to try to prove Jesus as being messiah are their constant quotes from the Rabbinical writings. They do so without having any knowledge of the methodology of the Rabbis and thus twisting the teachings and the meanings of the Rabbi’s. For example in Isaiah chapter 53, some Rabbi’s allude messiah to certain verses and since Christianity claims Jesus to be the suffering servant, they will quote the Rabbi’s as proof that our Rabbis agree with Christianity that Isaiah 53 is about messiah..
    Lets set the record straight about Isaiah 53. This is the fourth of the four servant songs and contextually this chapter is about the suffering of the people of Israel at the hand of the gentile nations while in exile/captivity beginning from the time of the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 AD.
    How could the Rabbi’s be teaching that Isaiah 53 is about messiah since messiah has not come yet?
    Let me show you how Isaiah can allude to messiah. What the Rabbi’s are teaching through the means of Midrash and Homily is that in the future, the end days, when the final redemption occurs, this would apply to the messiah. His suffering would be speaking about the events of the war of gog and magog. However there are sources that state this does not need to occur, that repentance by Israel will prevent that war from occuring.
    Isaiah 53 occurs at the end of days, future from today..There is a conversation going on between G-d

  4. FR says:

    John, the point is that had missionaries not started an attempt to convert the Jews, the Jews would never have been forced to formulate arguments against them. In other words, Christianity picked the fight with Judaism, and thus they have the burden of proof. Dr. Brown, when he starts going on about ‘blindness’ of the Jews, is making a tacit admission that the arguments he has, has proven insufficient in convincing the Jewish people about Christianity.

    John, about the Muslims in the west bank- they certainly are already familiar both with christianity and the teachings of jesus- after all, the NT predates the koran.

    However, no, the Jewish people, without evangelization, would have no interest in Christianity. It is not a coincidence that modern times, when the highest numbers of Jews are looking into other faiths (buddhism, christianity, eastern religions), is the time when Jews are the most secularized and disconnected to Judaism, but also more connected to people of other faiths than they have ever been.

    So yes, the missionaries have introduced Christianity to the Jewish people, and as a result, they have to show why we ought to accept it. If they cannot convince the Jewish people logically, they often resort to the ‘blindness’ attack, a sign of desperation and frustration.

  5. John says:

    Stan, I’m glad that you were clear in the beginning of your post by saying “in my opinion”, that it is and will always be “one’s opinion” (you, me, Dr. Brown, etc), which would also apply to the “rabbis” of old, which apparently were often debated among themselves. I enjoy Rabbi Blumenthal’s blog very much, and continue to learn much. However, at the end of the day, all that we read on these sites, as well as “writings” outside of Tanach and the New Testament, then and now, are merely “opinions” of men.

    • Iti'El says:

      You seemed to have left out that the NT writers were also men who were giving us their different opinions about another man who seems to have made little impression to anyone (neither the vast majority of Jews nor the many Romans soldiers or “businessmen” nor the many non-Jews in the Galil) other than his few followers. You see all sorts of division between his followers and believers. The NT states that even while he was supposedly alive there were imposters and then later there were “anti-christs”, heretics, and apostates (most were actually fellow followers of Jesus). Paul says some were preaching different gospels (other than Paul’s gospel which was different from the ones coming from Jerusalem) and some Christians even wrote letters forging Paul’s signature. That is within the NT; non-canonical Christian sources shows us that there was much more diversity of belief about Jesus. Much more heresy and forgery and pseudo-egraphy (spell check needed) in the 2nd to 5th century c.e. You probably know that the doctrine of the trinity wasn’t there in the earliest Christian texts; it was voted on and barely passed. Some churches (Coptic, Eastern Orthodox, etc) had fewer or more books in their canonical NT’s than in yours. In some Christian’s opinions Iesous ( or “Yeshua” or Jesus) didn’t ever exist as a man, some believed Jesus was divine only after an ascendancy, some thought immediately after his death, some thought after he was baptized, some thought only after he was born, & some believe without any proof except man’s opinion that he was created before “the foundations of the world”.

      But reason, logic, and research can weed out the unhistorical events and characters and show us the contradictions, the invalid, the illogical, the absurd, and much of the intentional lies and scams and many of people’s biases. But there are truths out there and there are basic principles of life or of God. My concept of unity & one God rejects the philosophical ideas about a trinity. Unity of God rejects any notion of a divine son above or equal to God, but not the biblical idea of mankind or a nation of people, like Israel, as a Son. The biblical concept that God is not a man is a higher theology than that theology (common among pagans) which is based on “manifestation of a god in the flesh” which is the one of the very definitions of the word, idolatry. My mind and my body rejects negatively to the idea (even symbolically) of drinking blood and eating flesh.

  6. stan says:

    Dr. Brown fully an complely understands that the New Testament constantly contradicts G-d’s Word from the Tanach(OT). How can a book so full of errors be a book of G-d? IT CAN’T..
    In my opinion, anyone with a decent education, with good reading comprehension, with the ability to think After reading the above statements by Dr. Brown I have to laugh at just how disengenuous his statements are. with reason and logic would instinctively know that the teachings of Christianity as it pertains to G-d’s Word in Tanach

  7. stan says:

    I would ask any christian and those who specifically take Dr.Brown seriously. He says that the christians here know G-d through Yeshua. What I would like to know is where is Yeshua spoken of in the Tanach (ot)?
    Where in the Tanach does G-d clearly and unambiguously tell His people Israel that since the 2nd Temple will be destroyed they will no longer be able to offer blood sacrifices for atonement and that there will be an alternative to blood sacrifices. That G-d will manifest into flesh as messiah, die for sins and resurrect after 3 days, and if you believe this to be true your sins will be forgiven and you will attain eternal life..
    It is mind boggling that when a believer reads the NT they have clear statements for them to know what is expected , i.e; (paraphrasing) the only way to the father is through the son…That is so clear that even a 3rd grader would fully understand what is being directed.
    We Jews are entitled to the same clarity from G-d since it is a matter of live or death for those who do not heed G-ds word. G-d is not going to allegorize a directive that if not followed would mean they would not receive salvation.
    Let the believers search the scriptures and show anywhere where G-d clearly and unambiguously directed his people that they must believe in a messiah who dies for sins and resurrects. As said in an earlier posting, the burden of proof belongs to the NT believers, not traditional Judaism.
    Stan

  8. Susan says:

    Wow – amazing how many people who can read this whole page & still not get it. I, for one, thank you for presenting such a complete & concise picture of the problem. I must be in a bad mood today because, after this, & the 2 responses, I think the next missionary who comes near me is going to get the hell beat out of him. Or her. I’m sick of the self-centered bigotry, especially after seeing that no amount of patience & maturity will ever pierce it, much less cure it.

  9. Susan
    I am sure you mant that figuratively. In any case I believe that only patience and maturity will eventually “cure it”. Every idolater is a monotheist crying to be set free. Our job is to play our part as faithfully as we can – its all up to Hashem – who created us all.

    • Messianic says:

      Every idolater is a monotheist crying to be set free. Our job is to play our part as faithfully as we can – its all up to Hashem – who created us all.< from Y P F, I am confused as to why this individual feels he can determine all of Christianity is in idolatry?

      • Messianic
        I am not looking at Christianity as an “individual” – I see it through the eyes of God’s witness nation (Isaiah 43:10) – since Jesus wasn’t present at Sinai – so worship of him is idolatry (Deuteronomy 4:35)

      • Messianic says:

        Messianic
        I am not looking at Christianity as an “individual” – I see it through the eyes of God’s witness nation (Isaiah 43:10) – since Jesus wasn’t present at Sinai – so worship of him is idolatry (Deuteronomy 4:35)

        <Every idolater is a monotheist crying to be set free

        So God's witness 'nation' is required to make kalam -cosmological statements on 'hidden' reverts/monotheist,in idolatry?

        <since Jesus wasn’t present at Sinai – so worship of him is idolatry (Deuteronomy 4:35)

        Does this mean worship of Aaron is ok?

      • Thomas says:

        Messianic,

        Israel was never commanded to worship Aaron, either at Sinai, or anywhere.

        Sinai is where Israel met its G-d.

        This is the formative moment where Israel knows who it’s G-d is, and G-d highlights how central this moment was (deut 4) for Israel to know who G-d is.

        Therefore, any being claiming worship who was NOT introduced to Israel at Sinai is of no interest for Israel- it’s not the G-d they were ever commanded to worship.

      • naaria says:

        You may want to tell them what idolatry really is and why worship of Jesus is not idolatrous. Maybe tell them why it is wrong to follow Aaron, who fashioned the golden bull (although he repented), unlike Saul from Tarsus who revealed the mystery of the Melchezedek priest and king (but why did Abram have a problem with him?). Please show them how Ephraim was wrongly accused and called ba’alists and idolators when ba’al simply means lord and they were calling on the name of the lords. Tell them that Nebuchannezar seen “one like a man” in the fire and he worshipped him. And how it took a pagan roman centurion to see Jesus was a son of his god, when no one else could.

  10. Danny Friedman says:

    Dr Brown missed the boat.

    1. Jews believe the Torah to be true because G-d spoke to 3 million people (100% of the relevant population) at Mount Sinai. G-d said that this is the Torah I’m giving to Moshe (Moses). Obey it, keep it, look after it. And for 3000 years, the Jewish people have been doing just that…..(Deut 4)

    2. Dr Brown has this absurd notion that the “Rabbis created some sort of tradition” that in effect disables any serious discussion of the Torah. Dr Brown has failed to acknowledge that the right of interpretation of the Torah is not left to people, but G-d. It stands to sound logical reasoning that if G-d wishes His people to follow, read and obey the Torah, G-d has to explain it, at the very least to Moshe. Its funny that G-d does precisely this, and Moses teaches the elders and so on, until every single person in the entire nation, hears not only G-d’s revelation, but also G-d’s interpretation and explanation. G-d told His people how to interpret, understand, read and carry out the instructions of the Torah. (Exodus 19)

    3. Dr Brown has some very vague (mis)understanding of prophecy. He fails to acknowledge that Moshe (Moses) is the greatest prophet that has ever lived and will ever come. (See Deut. 34) It stands to pure logic that anyone who would be greater than Moses could simply replace, change and mis-interpret the Torah beyond recognition. (Deut 4:2). The fact is that there is no such prophet, and hence the Torah is always the ultimate, unequivocal source of G-d’s word. It is precisely because Moses brought the Torah to the people, and that Moses is the sole giver, that in effect means that anyone who contradicts Moses in effect contradicts the very Torah, and G-d Himself. Jesus could never hope to be a prophet since he has no connection to Moses, and since Jesus (assuming he existed and that which he said in the NT was actually what he said) contradicted the words of the Torah etc….there is no point to making him part of any meaningful discussion. http://www.virtualyeshiva.com/counter/wanted.swf / http://www.virtualyeshiva.com/counter/sinless.swf

    4. Ultimately Dr Brown’s vision without Jesus is not only disturbing from a moral point of view, but also from a psychological and logical point of view. Brown is obviously not involved in seeking the truth. His only desire is to show that Jesus fulfills is psychological and emotional needs. “and if he was not who he claimed to be, then for them, the Tanakh would be another book of myths and fairy tales. I might as well tell you, “The Torah is true but there is no God, so follow the Torah.” The Torah is not another book of myths and fairy tales because of Jesus. The opposite, Jesus allegedly arrived on the scene some 2000 years ago with a claim at being who the prophets of old (see Ezekiel 37) spoke of. He failed in this claim, but nonetheless, the Tanakh and its so-called “myths” were around before Jesus. That shows us that the Tanakh is to be regarded on its own terms. Dr Brown fails to acknowledge this point, and therefore it is rather pointless in having a logical, sound debate with him. In this then, Brown has admitted defeat: what point is there in discussing whether or not the Tanakh is true or not, if Jesus is irrelevant to the discussion? Every point. The point is that G-d exists, the Torah exists and the Jewish people exist, and have done so before Jesus. This all hinges on one fact: G-d gave His Torah to the Jewish people to follow and live at Sinai. Everything else pales into insignificance. (Deut Chapters 4 & 5).

    5. Dr Brown asks: “What should the Jewish people have expected 2000 years ago?” To Dr Brown there is an important and yet overlooked answer: Precisely what happened: That the Temple was destroyed, the Jews were flung into the farthest reaches of exile, and 2000 years later they would return to rebuild and reunite their home. The Torah makes a remarkable prediction (Deut 28:15-29:8) That the Jewish people would not listen to G-d, and would ultimately see their own destruction, and that is precisely what happened. G-d in His abundant mercy, instead of wiping the Jewish people off the face of planet, instead, simply sent His children on a long and bitter exile that is still going on. Dr Brown’s question is like a child asking his father: “What should I have expected you to do when I ran into the street to collect my ball?” Dr Brown wants to tell the child: “you deserve a sweet and a pat on the back”. The Father tells his kid, you got what you deserved: a good old-fashioned hitting, so that you learn never to run into the street again – you behaved irresponsibly without thinking.” The father just saved his child’s life. Dr Brown on other hand has done irrevocable damage. The ultimate point of the Torah is to follow it: Deut 13:5, Deut 30:15-20.

  11. agadah says:

    It may be true that Jesus (or his new-age reincarnation as Yeshua or a dozen+ other variants of Yehoshua) believers may reject what they call the Old Testament after they reject the New Testament, but I found that many ex-Christians may actually discover the Tanakh for the “1st time”. It has been reported that the latest fad or cult movement in Christianity is for Christians to “return to their Hebraic roots” (which they never had roots in) and believe also in the “name” of Yeshua (beside the name of Jesus) in order to get closer to their version of God. Quite a few of these “Yeshua” believers or “messianic Jews” (over 85% were not Jewish to begin with), who have become disenchanted have since become “Noachides” or have converted (or returned) to traditional Judaism. Many who reject parts of the NT or the Jesus story or the “churches” still desperately cling to “Yeshua”, but it is highly likely (if they do not completely close their mind) that the more they study the history of Christianity and the more they study Judaism, the more likely it is they will agree with Jews who only consider Torah and Tanakh as Holy Scripture. This is an early sign that indeed, the Jewish prophets (& Jewish messianic beliefs/teachings) were and are True and from God.

  12. Stan says:

    This is an open letter to Orthodox Jews only.
    I have never been more frustrated as a Jew as I am at this moment.
    I am not a Yeshiva Scholar, nor am I an observant Jew. Lets get this straight before we begin.

    About 15 years ago I had the honor and the privilege of attending the lectures of Rabbi Tovia Singer which influenced me to study comparative religions and especially between Judaism and Christianity.

    His goal is to show that the claims of Christianity about Jesus being Messiah are baseless when compared to the teachings in Tanach and other sources.

    I want to cut to the chase and let you know the problem I am having.

    In those 15 years I have met many Orthodox Jews who are also counter -missionaries and what I have noticed is that when debating believers of the NT, it has been my experience that the knowledgeable Rabbi’s stick to the p’shat when giving an understanding, using mostly Rashi for the basis of that understanding.

    I have also read i.e: in an article by Rabbi Moshe Shulman from his http://www.judaismsanswer.com, “what is midrash” where it says, “It is well known to those familiar with Rabbinic writings that, in general, the Rabbi’s wrote in a style which was NEVER meant to be taken literally. Dr. Michael Brown who constantly distorts the rabbinical writings oddly enough has stated in agreement that ““Talmudic citations are not meant to be precise interpretations of the biblical text but are often based on free association and wordplays.”

    Then there are three places in Tanach where it clearly says that “a verse cannot depart from its simple meaning” (meaning G-d’s simple intended meaning.). * would like to know if the Rabbi’s adhere to that statement?

    Then you have the Rambam (Maimonides) who says that the ones who are really knowlegeable are the ones who understand that the words of our sages are very deep and not what they seem to be.

    There is a format online called “Paltalk” which is a site similar to Yahoo where discussions are held in rooms for a specific subject. In this case it is in the religious and spirituality section of Paltalk.
    In one specific room, there is a man who calls himself an orthodox Jew as well as being an academic.

    When I am debating a missionary and staying true to the methods used by Rabbi Tovia Singer, this orthodox Jew who also has administrator status, would almost constantly interrupt me by saying I am not being completely honest by not saying that i.e; Isaiah 53 is also about Messiah. He is suggesting that the midrash is as true as the written word and thus can be taught as being pshat..

    Having shown the above examples of what appears in the article “what is midrash”, can this be true?
    Are there different teachings amongst orthodox rabbis that differ on this.
    Rashi says that Isaiah 53 is clearly about the suffering of Israel while in exile.Is that pshat or is that midrash.

    Are the rabbis actually meaning to interpret Isaiah 53 as being about Messiah or are they borrowing from verses throughout the Tanach in order to teach a religious lesson or to make a point. Admittedly in some cases the midrash is used to give a pshat understanding when context is unclear. Are the rabbis doing so in the case of Isaiah 53?.Also, how do you determine that this was their intent rather than to teach a religious lesson or to make a point?

    What is puzzling, there is one chabad Rabbi who is a counter missionary representing Jews4Judaism and another Orthodox Rabbi who is not a counter missionary, both seem to disagree somewhat with Rabbi Moshe Shulmans article “what is midrash” at http://www.judaismsanswer.com .

    They seem to be saying that p’shat and midrash are not mutually exclusive.

    Should we be sharing our Talmudic secrets with missionaries when debating the likes of Isaiah 53?
    If attributing messiah as the suffering servant is p’shat then wouldn’t the counter missionaries when asked, explain how the messiah fits as a suffering servant?

    Based on the words in the talmud,”a verse cannot depart from it’s plain meaning”, so how do the Rabbi’s get around this when they attribute messiah to Isaiah 53?

    In the Video on youtube “the disputation of barcelena” the Ramban (Nachmonides) was asked about the Rabbi’s stating that the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 is messiah. His response to Pablo Christiani was, “we Jews do not always agree with everything we find in the Talmud. Obviously when 2 Rabbi’s disagree, which happens on every page, both cannot be accepted as being right, so therefore are not binding on us.This does not pertain to Halacha, only to agadah.
    Thank you and I look forward to your kind response.;)
    Stan

  13. Stan
    P’shat is the literal contextual meaning of a verse – Midrash is a spiritual ethical or moral teaching that is taught in relation to the verse – but not as an EXPLANATION of the verse.
    It is wrong for the missionaries to use medrash when debating because medrash has no more authority than the Rabbi propounding the midrashic teaching – and missionaries do not accept the authority of the Rabbis – a second reason that missionaries cannot use medrash is because in the midrashic method – there is no way of knowing how the rest of the passage will be interpreted. for example – although many midrashim use Isaiah 53 to talk of the Messiah – not one of them has the messiah dying – although the literal interpretation would have the servant suffer death – but midrash is not literal
    Having said that – still and all – as Jews who do trust the rabbis – we need to understand the midrash – and while it is indeed true that the midrashim are often not meant literally – and it is impossible to accept every medrash because they often contradict each other – but the theological underpinnings of the medrash – the axioms that the propounder of the medrash assumed before he started – would have to be accepted by Jews who trust these teachers. – it is therefore appropriate to explain the midrash when it is quoted to us in a debate. In the case of Isaiah 53 – I personally believe that the medrash and the pshat are not mutually exclusive (as is often the case) – and that not only is there no proof in this passage to the claims of Christianity – but that this passage is one of the strongest arguments against Christianity – https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/isaiah-53-teaches-that-jesus-is-not-the-messiah/
    – I hope I answered your questions – please feel free to keep on asking

    • Stan says:

      yourphariseefriend, I was just informed that the response you sent me was from none other then Rabbi Blumenthal. I am so honored because of your fabulous reputation and for your skills in your responses to Dr. Michael Brown. I have seen your videos on youtube as well. May I ask what you mean by “the medrash and the pshat are not mutually exclusive”..If you can use Isaiah 53 as an example then that woud be great but as well please do use other examples if you don’t mind..
      Bless you,
      Stan

  14. Stan says:

    NEW TOPIC: Messiahs lineage to King David. Patrilineal or Matrilineal?
    yourphaisse friend, I understand you are in a private conversation with one of the Rabbis on the subject of can messiah ascend to the throne of david through matrilineal descent as opposed to patrilineal descent. It has been taught by someone who was formerly in Judaism but now a catholic that if one went to any orthodox yeshiva and especially ones that study kaballah, and you asked the Rabbis if messiah can come through the mother and their answer would be yes. He gave examples of naming the likes of Ramchal, Arizal, and even Rebbe Schneerson, that they were all considered to be potential messiahs but neither of them descended to david through their father. They said that the Rebbe claimed his line was from Rashi, but Rashi only had 2 daughters. They also say that the kaballah teaches about transmigration of souls as if this had something to do with someone being able to ascend to the throne of david through that means.
    Please explain why many orthodox Jews would have acknowledged these great Rabbi’s as being potential messiah’s since their line to David was not through the father. Are they missing something important whereas these three Rabbi’s actually did have a line to David. Did the one who Hillel declared to be messiah know whether that person was a true desendent of David through his son? How about Bar Kochba, did he qualify??
    I look foward to your response.
    Stan

  15. Stan says:

    PS. CORRECTION TO MY LAST POST. “through his father, not through his son..

  16. Stan
    About P’shat and Medrash not being mutually exclusive
    If someone believes that the P’shat of Isaiah 53 is taking of Israel – then he will expect this prophecy to be fulfilled through Israel – this same person can also believe that on a midrashic level it is taking of the Messiah – and it will be fulfilled in Messiah – note however – there is not one midrash that has the Messiah dying as a fulfillment of Isaiah 53 – so the fulfillment through the Messiah will not be the same as fulfillment through Israel.
    What kind of scenario would I imagine for a fulfillment in the Messiah? – imagine when the Messiah appears – he will certainly be identified as a Jew – the same theological reasons that Islam and Christianity use to discredit Israel as God’s servant (- her suffering) will apply to the Messiah – they will wonder: “how could a member of this group be God’s servant? Doesn’t their suffering “prove” that God was displeased with them?”

  17. Stan
    As for Patrilineal vs. Matrilineal descent – there is no question on this matter – all rabbinic authorities agree that the royal lineage is patrilineal. If anyone believed that someone wa a credible candidate for a potential Messiah – they would also have to believe that this potential candidate was a descedant of David on his father’s side. – as you say – tracing back the lineage through Rashi would not help.

  18. Stan says:

    Rabbi Blumenthal, during my ongoing conversations with others regarding medresh and pshat and how they relate to isaiah 53. An Orthodox Jew made this statement to me……
    “any attempt to place Isaiah 53 as about something is medrash as defined by the middot of hillel, Ishmael, and eliezar”
    Rabbi, do you agree with the above statement?
    Be well,
    Stan

  19. Stan
    I don’t understand that statement – so I don’t know if I agree with it or not – what is the context of the statement?

  20. Stan says:

    Rabbi Blumenthal, regarding my post that I was sharing that you did not understand the question or the context. Here is hopefully the question in a more clear manner.

    Stan,

    The Context is ” this is in regard to Rabbinic Interpretation methods for any given verse or chapter in the hebrew bible. That if a rabbi is going to give an interpretation of Isaiah 53 the Middot of the Rabbis are used to determine that interpretation in Orthodox Judaism. If The chapter is about Israel it came from one of these middot used for interpretation of the bible in Rabbinic tradition.”

    Ask these questions of Rabbi Blumenthal: Are the Middot of Hillel, R. Ishmael and R. Eliezar used in the Orthodox Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 53?” Do you agree or disagree that Isaiah 53 is Poetic rather than narrative(compare to the style of chapters 1-39)? If Poetic, then how is the peshat determined by any other method other than the middot of the Rabbis and the use of Medrash to interpret it? If Not poetic, How do you explain the linguistic style and difference between the first 39 chapters and the latter portion of the book of Isaiah? Even then the first question is relevant.

  21. Thomas says:

    Hi messianic,

    The Hebrew Bible forbids worship of any being who was not introduced to the Jews at Sinai (as an object of worship). But furthermore, Aaron was never introduced as an object of worship at Sinai, or anywhere else. But the point is that Sinai is to be the reference point for Israel’s understanding of G-d.

    Deut. 4, among other chapters, teaches that Sinai is where the people “met” G-d., and it is from there they are to determine who or what is G-d. Sinai is where the Jewish people met their G-d, so if we are being asked to worship Jesus (who was not introduced to the Jews at Sinai), then this being is forbidden to worship.

    Jesus is a stranger to Israel in that Sinai is where Israel was introduced to its G-d, and if Jesus was not there, Jesus is not Israel’s god.

    • Messianic says:

      Hi Thomas,

      You make an excellent point on worship of God alone, This is obvious.. I am not sure how to respond to this, because my original point seems to be lost in translation.

      Making a cosmological appeal on hidden monotheist hidden under the masque of idolatry seems a bit forced and out of touch with the subject.

      Monotheism can only be defined by practice, Not by avowals to determine this, you actually need to witness an active faith in the individual to determine a monotheistic faith.

      • Thomas says:

        Messianic,

        I don’t know what you are talking about- can you please clarify what your point is?

        The message here is straightforward, and direct- G-d tells Israel that whoever was not identified to Israel as G-d at Sinai is not the G-d they are to worship.

        You write: “Monotheism can only be defined by practice, Not by avowals to determine this, you actually need to witness an active faith in the individual to determine a monotheistic faith.”

        Again, I’m not sure I understand your point here, but Israel continues to worship the G-d who was revealed to them at Sinai, so what are you trying to communicate?

        Looking forward to your clarification.

    • Thomas says:

      As an addendum, Messianic, I think that while you may say my point is “obvious” about Sinai and the worship of G-d alone, but the entire thrust of the rabbi writing it here is to demonstrate that worship of Jesus is contrary to G-d’s commands in Deut. 4. I’m a bit confused also by your discussion of cosmology- it seems to be veering far off-subject, but hoping you can clarify.

      • Messianic says:

        Your Pharisee friend- made a kalam cosmological point, not to be confused with cosmology, Kalam philosophy is seen in works by the gaon, and early islamic apologist.

        With this statement :Every idolater is a monotheist crying to be set free. Our job is to play our part as faithfully as we can – its all up to Hashem – who created us all.

        I am not commenting on ‘is jesus god’ – i don’t believe him to be God,I am commenting on the statement above, where a cosmological appeal is made to create an empathetic answer,
        Kalam can be interpreted as “theological philosophy.”

      • Thomas says:

        Hi Messianic,

        You’ll have to ask yourphariseefriend, who wrote that statement about “G-d creating us all,” which I assume is what you’re taking issue with.

        But in any case, I think we are missing the point of his comment- which was on what basis can he call the worship of Jesus idolatry. But if that’s not the issue you are addressing, then I guess you’ll have to ask him about what he meant.

        Just to repeat, though, that the central part of his comment was about on what basis he can call worship of Jesus idolatry, so I do think this point you are raising is independent of this main issue- you’re raising a specific, indpendent point. If so, you’ll have to ask him I guess.

        Best,
        Thomas

  22. naaria says:

    This is just a side note (an interjection worth less than 2 cents) from someone outside of Orthodox Judaism, but one needs to be careful when arguing or using midrash in a discussion about “prophecies” that are very important to most Christians, especially when debating with Christians that may have sbeen raised in a Jewish household or who may have some knowledge of the Oral Torah. The 2nd type may be trying to show that all rabbi’s don’t agree with the majority or with the traditional interpretations, which means that the Christian opinion or midrash is just as valid or more so because Jesus or the NT said so. Or if some Jewish midrash uses keywords that Christians also use in their “midrash”, like messiah in Isa 52/53, then they will use that to show that rabbi’s agree with them. But with many other Christians, if the “Jews” said or wrote it, it is automatically believed to be wrong, because of the “blindness of the Jews”. Or the rabbis are intentionally distorting the literal meaning of the text, unless some “scholar” tells them that Jews “admit” that Christians are right.

    The thing to remember is that most Christians believe that the narrative is literal and it is a “literal prophecy” about Jesus. Or others, believe that Isaiah was written by 3 different authors and many also see Isaiah as poetic and symbolic. If it is poetic, they think that they have the right meaning of the verses and Jews just interpret it differently (and wrong).

    Isaiah is “poetic”, but that does not mean it is fiction nor that it is open to many different interpretations. There is a literalness or plain, simple, clear meaning to the text or symbols, no matter which reader honestly reads it, especially if they read the story in context and as history, either poetically or as strict, non-fictional narrative. It can be read honestly as not being “abstract poetry”, nor prophecy nor as “secret revelation to the few”. It is clear in most of Isaiah that Israel, the nation, is the “servant”. Or Judah or the remnant of Israel. Or sometimes Isaiah clearly states he is talking about Zion and/or Jerusalem. Plainly Isaiah not only says Israel is a “you” or a “he”, a human king can be a “he”, but also Zion can be a “he”, Jerusalem can be a “he”, the prophet writing and/or speaking is a “he”.

  23. Iti'El says:

    I don’t believe he was making a cosmological appeal, since he was critiquing Michael Brown’s belief in the “blindness of the Jews” (despite calling himself a Jew), and Brown might say also that he is a monotheist and has similar cosmological beliefs/philosophy/theology. But perhaps coming from that theological viewpoint, he sees the behavior and the philosophy of “idolators” as inconsistent and contradictory. First, it is not true that monotheism, which is a belief or philosophy, can only be determined by the practice or demonstration by the individual. How one practices their faith (actively or casually), may not indicate to any observer what the true basis is for the beliefs of the ndividual or of the “nature of their god or gods”. But the individual may state that they ascribe to a certain set of beliefs and that they object to another set of beliefs, although both sets are supposedly based on the same basic view of God. You can argue against the set of beliefs whether they are practiced or not. If I believe that the spirit of god can enter a totem pole and one can potentially pray to that pole to “get to god”, I believe in the idol, although I don’t even need to see the pole, much less actively practice any idolatry.

    It is also not true that “all idolators” are monotheists, since idolators can be polytheists (although erroneously they may believe that they both believe in and practice a monotheism). As polytheists, they may actively worship or believe in different objects, or ideas, as different gods with different powers and with different “bodies” or “substances” (pray to the clouds for rain and pray for the sun to stop the rain). Some modern philosophers or “scholars” believe that “monotheism is unnatural” and that it (Judaism, Christianity, or Islam) is the cause of so much of our political or economic or social or psychological problems in the world today (some people blame any type of “religion” in general for those problems). But the polytheist need not actually see nor actually believe that the different gods are separated, but they may believe different powers are just different “aspects” of one god. That may be why some people believe that the same god can have different relationships to people and to other spiritual beings (angels, demons, a devil (an evil god?) warring against the supreme, good god, etc), including “manifestations” in statues or totem poles or icons or in certain, particular human beings. And that this one god can also contain different aspects, such as a father along with a son of that same father, and a separate but equal “holy spirit”, etc. So the blog host may just be an observer of “idolators” who are exhibiting behaviors or others who are stating beliefs, that are contradictory in nature, but they are trying desperately to reconcile those differences into one coherent whole, while yet still clinging to their initial spiritual experiences, that may have been based on acceptance of a simple set of beliefs that are increasingly too difficult to maintain. The babe, the child in faith, longs to grow up, but yet fears giving up their “security blanket” and becoming an adult in what appears to them to be a hostile world filled with all sorts of “bogey men”, demons, etc. They fear that they will enter into a “fallen state” and that the “garden of their imagination” will be lost forever, unless hopefully the creator of the garden wills it, which to them is not really guaranteed, neither soon nor even in the distant future. But the “adult” sees God from a different perspective. We are still beloved children of that God and we are given orders to live this life now in this world, since we are not hopelessly fallen but have the innate ability to “be Holy as God is Holy”. We’ve already tasted the “fruit” and will not, can not, forsake it nor forget it.

    • Messianic says:

      Thanks Iti’el
      Making the statement all-idolaters are hidden monotheist is a kalam cosmological appeal, as to the formation of monotheism in modern academic discussions yes it normally leans to a conclusion similar to what you have positioned.

      I would not call a covenant relationship a ‘bogey’ man, it would dismiss your position as cynicism .

      The rest of your comments are poetic and offer a world view that does not allow for comment.

      Thomas, thank you for the dialogue

      • Iti'El says:

        ? Hopefully that “covenant relationship” is not one with “bogey men or demons”. Nor was I thinking about the typical “fear of the Lord” nor about “God-fearers”.

    • Messianic says:

      Hi Iti’El, I will respond more fully today to your post, it is very thoughtful.

      Thanks

  24. Stan says:

    Rabbi Blumenthal, have you responded to this question yet?
    Ask these questions of Rabbi Blumenthal: Are the Middot of Hillel, R. Ishmael and R. Eliezar used in the Orthodox Jewish interpretation of Isaiah 53?” Do you agree or disagree that Isaiah 53 is Poetic rather than narrative(compare to the style of chapters 1-39)? If Poetic, then how is the peshat determined by any other method other than the middot of the Rabbis and the use of Medrash to interpret it? If Not poetic, How do you explain the linguistic style and difference between the first 39 chapters and the latter portion of the book of Isaiah? Even then the first question is relevant.

  25. Messianic says:

    Hi Thomas , I wanted to reply to the original thread on Dr Brown, below is a brief summary of how I view his particular approach to inter-faith dialogue.

    ”The myth of the “blindness of the Jew” is an ugly stain in the history of mankind. Dr. Brown, instead of working to perpetuate this myth, I appeal to you to educate Christians of the fallacies of this myth.”

    I agree there should be an appeal, the following is a critque of Low Expectation Messianism- as developed by Michael Brown.

    Christianity’s cosmological appeal in view of spiritual knowledge has always been in error and I say this as a christian .

    Michael Browns use of a cosmological appeal is based in protestant theology developed under ‘The bad guy’ .

    A great book detailing the transmission of this is called Theologians Under Hitler,

    There is also a documentary film, ” Theologians Under Hitler ,”it examines post-war allied revisionism .

    Michael Brown has discarded the teachings of the early Christians in favour of his post modern revisionist cry of hate to an entire group of individuals to justify his own world view on God.

    He makes the following statements :

    Rabbi Blumenthal, to be sure I’m following your proposal, you are also willing to discard all Jewish tradition from your thinking — as much as possible — and look at the Tanakh alone to ask: What should the Jewish people been expecting 2,000 years ago, even though, from your own testimony, you ultimately know the Tanakh to be God’s Word because of that very tradition, and without that tradition you cannot rightly understand the Torah? Is that correct?

    Michael Brown has forgotten that *Origen and *Jerome both relied heavily on Rabbinical models of interpretation in order to produce the works that form the basis of our texts in there present form .. I don’t believe Dr Michael Brown understands the body if texts we would need to discard to develop his utopian view of the bible .

    The RaDak/ David Kimhi and his works were heavily relied upon by Christian Hebraist ,He was the Hebrew teacher of Christian Hebraists of the Renaissance, such as Johannes Reuchlin and Sebastian Muenster , without his work ‘The Sefer Mikhol’ the KJV bible would not even exist .
    The list is endless in the dependency Christianity has had on Rabbinical Judaism, in order to understand its own faith correctly .

    That Michael Brown seems unaware of this to the degree of his rallying cry to end spiritual blindness is astounding coming from a man I supposed had received the rudiments of an educational experience.

    From hebrew grammar to geography the christian world and it’s religion has always had a symbiotic relationship with Rabbinical Judaism, to advocate a Rabbi discard it ,to experience what sounds like a drug induced coma is the height of ignorance,

    Thanks

  26. darahtel says:

    messianic,
    I would be inclined to agree that there appears to be an astounding lack of historical knowledge of his own faith presented by Mr. Brown. That he would not be aware of, as you worded it so well..the “symbiotic relationship” that existed between Christianity and Judaism is troubling from one who attempts to speak from a position of authoritative knowledge. To remove the Rabbinical influence from Christianity would be to literally cut off the legs upon which it stands in its present and I would venture in its historical form. The survivors of the first and second century revolts were pharasaic (rabbnical) and messianic jews. They co-existed for a period and shared much. I would suppose Mr Brown supposes the messianics threw off the vestiges of their Judaism and became protestants?
    Mr. Brown seems to take what has come to be known as a
    “pauline” theological approach, while I would disagree that he agrees with the NT writer Paul, it is a protestant gone wild approach to nullifying any “Jewish” concepts, thoughts, interpretive traditions or understandings within the foundations of Christianity.

  27. naaria says:

    First, let me say I am no fan of Brown. But, I am not sure that the last 2 posters really know who Michael L. Brown is nor what his standing in the Messianic Judaism movement has been for over the last 20 years. Those who would undermine his teachings do much damage to the credibility of all those “who believe in Yeshua” and undercuts the teachings of most, if not all, messianics. You may want to check out his article “The place of rabbinic tradition in messianic judaism” at his website at realmessiah.com. You may also want to check out what a messianic Jew in the UK says about the errors of much of the messianic movement, including “messianic Israel”, Ephraimites and their errors, “2 House theorists”, etc at messianicornerliterary.com.

    The “messianic Jews” of the first and second century c.e. had little in common with modern messianic believers or Christians. For those who believed a messiah and those who believed “their messiah would come back again”
    to save them, would be greatly disappointed. There are some legends and some modern speculations and theories about a Yeshua, but what we have that is written is not a “Hellenized Yeshua” but a Judaized Christ. Undermining Paul (or Rav Shaul) also does much damage to the credibility of the NT and undercuts the foundation of all messianic teachings and of Yeshua (no matter which version of Jesus/Yehoshua you believe in).

    • naaria says:

      I was in a rush and forgot to mention one of my major points, that Brown’s goal is to negate Jewish (not just Rabbinic) objections to Jesus/Yeshua. He is smart enough to know that most non-Jews and even some Christians read the Tanakh objectively and just like Jews do (and have no or little knowledge of the Talmud or of “rabbinic interpretations) and reject Jesus. The objection to “Yeshua” is not just a rabbinic one, but most who can read the OT or Tanakh in context and honestly.

  28. darahtel says:

    naaria,
    “The “messianic Jews” of the first and second century c.e. had little in common with modern messianic believers or Christians.” This statment has little or nothing to do with the context the term was used in, in my post. I personally am well aware who Michael Brown is. And the point of my context was to disagree with his points from a historical academic approach. Undermining the nt was not a point in my statment. As a Jew I leave that to the christian apologist :).

  29. Stan says:

    naaria, this is my first communication with you.

    Is it not Dr Brown who teaches that Isaiah 53 is speaking about Jesus?
    When missionaries quote our rabbinical writings, are they doing justice to their words? Do they know the methodology of the rabbi’s to know how they are applying messiah to this chapter?. You do realize there is a major difference of meaning between speaking of messiah literally to that of alluding certain verses to him.

    Let’s examine the claims by Christianity and compare them to the Rabbi’s. Christianity claims that Isaiah 53 is about the suffering and crucifiction of Jesus during the time that 2nd Temple was still standing.

    The Rabbi’s are speaking about the time when messiah comes in the future during the final redemption when he will see to the removal of Israel from its current exile..
    So what is the purpose of the Rabbi’s teaching that Isaiah 53 is about messiah? To convey a moral teaching or a religious instruction and consolation, it is called a ‘Midrash Agadah’(homily).

    They are “alluding” to messiah in certain verses. Please look up the word ‘allude”. It is defined as (to make indirect reference). They are applying messiah in verses that are eqaually true for both messiah and physical Israel, (this will apply to both when messiah comes in the future)
    e.g; Isaiah 52:13, the servant shall prosper, be exalted and lifted up…

    Most importantly, the Rabbi’s never say or believe that the messiah will die but all the Rabbi’s believe that Israel has suffered and has died at the hands of the gentile nations.

    One final point about Dr. Michael Brown.
    Dr. Brown in his work ‘Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus’[2] states: “Talmudic citations are not meant to be precise interpretations of the biblical text but are often based on free association and wordplays.”
    He knows very well that the Rabbi’s are not translating Isaiah 53 as Christian missionaries claim. You then have to ask yourself, why does Dr. Brown repeatedly contradict himself since in his books and other books by mssionaries he continues to present outright misuse and distortion.

    It appears to me that the evidince keeps getting stronger and stronger, that missionaries cannot win any debates with learned Jews by sticking to G-d’s word in the Tanach, so they have a need to cloud the picture, disort the words of our Rabbi’s who in no way support the claims of Christianity.

    In short, missionaries have no clue as to their methodology of the Rabbi’s. They are desperate and will continue to make false claims about our Rabbi’s because they know that placing Jesus throughout our scripture is purely allegorical and fiction.

    In your last post, you said that most Christians read the Tanach objectively and honestly. I cannot help but to raise my eyes in disbelief for that statement.

    Is it objective and honest to read Isaiah 7:14 and teach that this is about the virgin birth of Jesus when the Hebrew and the context do not support that? Even Dr Brown in one of his books has admitted that you can’t prove the virgin birth of Jesus using Isaiah 7:14.

    Is it objective and honest to say that Jesus fulfills the law regarding the line to David since the
    Law clearly states that the messiah must come through the line of David through biological descent (patrilineal) and also through the line of Solomon? Jesus did not have a biological father nor did he come through Solomon which is required.

    Is it objective and honest to say that Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 9:5(6) which most
    Christians claim when not one gospel writer ever quotes that verse to prove fulfillment of prophecy? Obviously they were never aware that this chapter was about Jesus or for sure they would have quoted it verbatim.

    Is it objective and honest to say that Romans 11:26 is saying the same thing as Isaiah 59.20
    (lets examine the two) Romans is saying that messiah will turn Jacob from ungodliness but Isaiah 59:20 contradicts Romans and says that messiah will come to Jacob only after he turns from ungodliness..(talk about distortion).

    Is it objective and honest for your Christian (ot) to mistranslate the Hebrew word “bar” in psalms 2:12? How can your scholars make such a mistake? “bar” in Hebrew means “pure”,
    “clean”, “clear”, “undefiled”. So, the verse should read, Kiss in purity, or embrace purity, or desire purity etc..Christianity is using an aramaic word that is in the possesive construct and thus does not stand alone. There is no aramaic in the book of psalms, so you see the Christian
    translators are not being honest here. Just 5 verses earlier, the word son appears with the Hebrew word b’nei being used…If there were aramaic words in the book of psalms, the verse
    would read, “kiss the “son of”..that would beg the question, kiss the son of whom..But the Christian translators did not do that, they translated the verse as “kiss the son, lest he be angry”.

    Is it objective and honest for your Christian (ot) to mistranslate the Hebrew word mashiach in
    Dan 9:25,26?..Do not your Christian scholars know better? The Hebrew word mashiach means “anointed one”. The use of the word “messiah” is post bibilical and should never be used when translating G-d’s Word.

    The word mashiach appears in the Jewish Tanach a total of about 68 times and 68 of 68 times it appears, it is translated as “anointed one”.

    In the Christian (ot) it appears the same amount of times and 66 of 68 times it is translated as “anointed one” but deviates from that meaning twice in Dan 9:25,26..

    Why do you think the Christian (ot) deviated from what they know is the true meaning of the word mashaiach? You guessed right, they had to do that in order to try to place Jesus living at the time of the 2nd Temple.

    Are you aware that they are also trying to influence your understanding of Dan 9:25-27 by means of mistranslating the Hebrew word “v’eem-lo” to mean “but not for himself” suggesting a vicarious atonement?. The real meaning is “be no more”.

    One final and very key point regarding this chapter.
    Accoding to the way the Hebrew language works regarding numbers. The way verse 25 reads from Hebrew into English, it is 7 weeks and for 62 weeks..
    When 2 numbers like this appear, the rule is that one of the numbers must end in a zero which would allow for the two numbers to be added together as one time period..e.g; 60+ 9. But as you can see, one of the two numbers do not end in zero.

    That tells the reader that after the 7th week (49 years) from the destruction of the 1st temple an event occurs, which is that King Cyrus is anointed by G-d to call for the removal of Israel from exile, and calls for the building of the Temple and the building of the City. (Isaiah 44:28, 45:1,13), Ezra 1:1-3.

    Christianity uses some form of numbers not seen in any other language to say “7 weeks, three score and 2 weeks”..

    If you were true to the Christian (ot) translanslation, that means that your messiah would have come in the 483rd year, one week before the Temple was destroyed.

    Judiasm does not trust in secular dating but rather strictly goes by Biblical dating.

    The 2nd temple stood for 420 years. The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. Subtract 70 AD from 420, you get the building of the Temple in the year 350 BC not 545 BC as you have been taught.

    Do you need more examples? we have plenty more but for now this should suffice and give you a chance to study these yourself.

    I look forward to your response,
    Stan.

    .

    • naaria says:

      Stan,
      I agree with you. Except, I believe you misunderstood what I was trying to say to others. I guess I was much too subtle; you have to watch how I mean to use quotation marks & parentheses. I totally disagree with Brown and any other “messianic” or Christian theologian. I was raised Christian and I have some formal studies in Christianity, but I have never seen Jesus as a “messiah” (even when attending an evangelical church that is prominent in the “Hebraic Roots” movement.) I see the use of the name Yeshua as an attempt to either “make Jesus “Jewish”” or to cover over many basic pagan principles that are engrained in Christianity. Saying Jesus was “Jewish” neither makes his teachings Jewish nor does it make his teachings valid or in harmony with the word of God in the Jewish bible, or Tanakh. Nor does the existence of Christian writings, like gospels, prove that there even was a historical Jesus.

      I was trying to bring up some points to those who may disagree with Brown, yet who still believe that there is some other historical basis for belief in “Yeshua”, or Jesus, or any other name of a “messiah” that some believe has “already come”. I wanted them to start thinking of the consequences of undercutting one who is one of the best, most knowledgeable spokesman for messianic Judaism or believers in Yeshua. If they can believe that someone like Brown is wrong on some points that greatly diminishes his credibility overall. He is not some young upstart, “know it all” messianic. His book/s (1500 pages) was well researched, well thought out, edited, etc. His response to Rabbi Blumenthal was not during something like a “drug induced coma”. It was not some “off the cuff remark”, or something he regrettably stated in an the “heat of debate”. But I don’t disagree with Brown just because of a few words spoken, but because the large quantity of “evidence” he has presented (as well as that brought by others) has failed to convince me.

      • Messianic says:

        So you have low expectations for a ‘expert[brown] and apparently to your own faith, Your disbelief and naive worldview just echo every other atheist ready to jump off the nearest sinking ship, swim or sink 🙂

        Yes M ‘L’ Brown is a revisionist and as such easily dismissed .

        Thanks

      • naaria says:

        I also did not say “most Christians” read objectively and honestly, I said “EVEN SOME” do so. I (and I know of others) who do not see anything about Jesus in Isa 7:14; nothing about a virgin giving birth yet still being a virgin (or else Ahaz would have almost died from laughter), nor could virginity be any type of visible sign; nor does the name of a child make the child a god (Immanuel means God is with us and it does make Jesus divine, since it does not even allude to Jesus, although many, if not most, Christians are taught that it does). The plain or pshat or most literal meaning of the suffering servant in Isaiah 52/53 is Israel the nation (or the Jews or Judea or the “remnant”). If you say it is also about the messiah, I can see that. But many people who have no idea what prophecy is nor what a messiah is, may misinterpret that as agreement that it is about Jesus or “Yeshua”. But many people believe that if certain writers quote a few words from the “Hebrew bible” (even if it is taken out of context or even if the rest of the verse or neighboring verses contradict the point the writer is trying to make), it is “prophecy”, it is proof. In that case, the “real messiah” was discovered to be a chicken according to a tale told by some Chasidic Jew many years back.

        In short, I was convinced by every single argument you made above, 12 or more years before you made them. My arguments are made to those who haven’t been convinced, especially to Jews who have come to believe the promised messiah came 1900 years ago and to those Christians who make up 85% of the “messianic Jews” (according to some study, I can’t name or vouch for).

  30. naaria says:

    To one who believes I have low expectations for an expert; no, just liitle agreement with the evidence that I’ve seen presented. Disbelief?; no, why should I have or maintain a belief in contradiction and absurdity? Atheist?; no, just the opposite, but my God is not small like a man and my God is so much, much more than a messiah. If I were to have a narrow, shallow worldview, then I might call myself messianic, but that would greatly belittle God and my relationship with God. On the ship?; no, some of those people who know me would give the excuse that I was never on the ship to begin with and it would be very naive to believe that their, Brown’s, or Christianity’s ship was somehow sinking. I doubt if things will change soon enough in this world, for them to be surprised about what the future may hold for them. Brown?; he isn’t the first revisionist and he won’t be the last. There are already some who disagree with him, because of their own new-age revisionist ideas.

  31. Stan says:

    Rabbi Blumenthal, as many of us are aware, G-d created the thought of messiah long before he created the world and mankind. If I am not mistaken, did G-d create messiah for the gentiles or was it spefically for Israel.

    Gentiles like to claim messiah as being for them but for way different reasons that G-d sends messiah for Israel.

    Since the gentiles are not in exile but Israel is in exile, what role does messiah have for the gentile nations since his known role is too bring about the physical final redemption of Isreal.
    Does the messiah have any role for the gentiles other than to break the gentile yoke off Israel’s neck?.

    It appears to me that the messiah will have relationship with the gentile nations only after
    he sits on the throne of David as King and will be the eartly ruler of both Jews and gentiles. Then messiah will bring forth Torah from Zion and teach gentiles the parts of Torah that apply to them.

    Am I wrong?

    Stan

    • Iti'El says:

      You may want to re-read Goldberg’s response above. And Rabbi Blumenthal gave you an email address, if you want detailed answers or a more lengthy discussion. Also look at websites such as Jews for Judaism, Outreach Judaism, Messiah Truth websites as to how to respond to questions or challenges. You may also go to the “Answers section” on Yahoo and see how Jews will briefly answer (in a few words or a few paragraphs. You only can answere once, but you can always edit your answer and add to it) questions or challenges.

      When debating or discussion with others you must first determine what your goal is. And your goal is based on who your audience is. Are you defending Judaism? Or are you trying to persuade others to not leave Judaism or is it to persuade someone to do Teshuvah? Or are you simply answering a single challenging question from a non-Jew (Yahoo Answers).

      If you are discussing or debating with non-Jews, you need to stay close to the pshat meaning as much as possible. The pshat meaning should be the same thing as the “contextual meaning”. Pshat though is a word that many not understand, but they should know what it means to read a verse in context with the surrounding paragraphs or chapters. How would the verse have been understood 2000 years ago? But when people are arguing against you and they are trying to convince you (instead of you challenging them) they can’t complain that you defend yourself with what they call “rabbinic subjective interpretations”. If their arguments, (which most likely is also a subjective interpretation) fails to answer that interpretation, they lose the argument. They can’t just you are wrong and you don’t won’t to admit, you’re blind. Just say they failed because they have no light, no wisdom, no higher understanding.

      Now when many people are talking about messiah, they really mean G-d. They are thinking about messiah in their terms, not yours and not that of Israel’s prophets. Now when you say that messiah will come sometime in the future, what are you offering them now in the meantime? Nothing much, except maybe “so go ahead and wait in darkness and in their godless, pagan state”? They want G-d now! And you or we are not being a light, so they settle for a falsehood that says that their messiah/savior is also G-d. Since they feel they are no longer in the darkness of their past, then hasn’t the “messiah come already”? It must be G-d they say! How can you convince them they had NO “spiritual experience”? But you know they are still in darkness, you know they believe countless numbers of errors, you know the smallness of their god. To paraphrase Brown in the quotes above, take away Jesus and you leave them without a god, only a Tanakh. Hear what he says why he is still in darkness, Tanakh is only a tool to justify his faith and G-d is secondary to the feeling that saved him. You need to show that there is a G-d for them now, not that there will be one in the “rabbi’s” promise of a first coming (which they call it the “2nd” coming).

  32. Stan says:

    Rabbi Blumenthal, when debating a missionary , i.e; dan 1-27, do you relate pshat to contextual understanding? Is there a difference between Rabbinic contextual meaning and that of acaemic contextual meaning..It is being suggested that when I am debating a christian missionary that I am using rabbinic subjective jewish contextual understanding..I am getting beat up all over the place because they are saying that when I debate the missionaries , I am using Jewish tradition to debate but saying I am not using the contextual understanding. Is there a difference between pshat and contextual meaning? I am thinking of giving up counter missionary work because of the abuse by some rabbi’s who are playing semantic games with me..
    Stan..

  33. Stan says:

    Rabbi Blumenthal, since gentile believers claim messiah for themselves, is it not true that the role of messiah 1. Bring Israel out of exile. 2. Fight any battles against the gentile nations should the need to be fought. 3. Bring Israel back into the promised land . 4. Build the Temple, 5. form a senhedrin, 6. Sit on the Throne as King of Israel. 7. Bring forth the Torah from Zionuntil he brings Israel out of exile and back to the promised land and also fights any battles against the gentiles, would you not agree that the messiah is sent only to Israel and not the gentile nations? I do realize that the role of messiah after he frees his people and sits on the throne of david, that he is to bring forth torah to the world which includes the gentiles. But until that time comes, wasn’t the messiah created in thought by Hashem to be the one to bring peace to Israel and not for the purpose of coming for the gentile nations?

    Stan

  34. Stan
    Please send these questions to me at iblumenthal@yeshivanet.com

  35. stan says:

    I have a question for the thread, while in a debate with Christian believers I was bringing up verses where the Christian translations were different from the translations found in our Tanachs. For example, Psalms 2:12..The Tanachs translate this verse as follows.

    1. embrace purity. 2. yearn for purity. 3.desire purity. etc. The hebrew word in question is ‘bar”.
    Five verses earlier the word for son appears which is “ben'”. The christian bibles for the most part translate this verse as ‘kiss the son”, lest he be angry.

    According to the Orthodox Jew and the former Orthodox Jew, now Catholic, they claim that the word ‘bar” in this verse can mean son, citing Ibn Ezra and Rav Cook who according to them translate the word as son.. The orthodox Jew said the following. :..”I used Ibn Ezra’s grammatical analysis to demonstrate that there was a linguistic justification for a Christian scholar to say “kiss the son”…..”where in the world would they have gotten the idea from if it weren’t somewhere in Jewish tradition.”

    I was told by several well educated Jewish Scholars that there is no aramaic found in the book of
    Psalms and that the word bar means “purity” the way the Jewish Tanach’s translate it.

    My question to you is as follows. Why does Ibn Ezra translate the verse as kiss the son ? Is he saying that the Hebrew word means son? or is he treating the word as being aramaic.
    If it were aramaic does that mean there is aramaic in psalms 2:12?
    I believe if it were aramaic, bar would be in the possesive construct and therefore the verse would have to read, “kiss the son “of” lest he be angry..

    I was told told that Rashi says it means ‘like a pure heart”, David Altschuler, says “pure”.
    I am not sure what Malbim says on the subject.

    Any help on your part to understand this confusion would be greatly appreciated..

    Stan

    • Sophiee says:

      Stan — I want to respond to your comment “the word ‘bar” in this verse can mean son, citing Ibn Ezra and Rav Cook who according to them translate the word as son.. The orthodox Jew said the following. :..”I used Ibn Ezra’s grammatical analysis to demonstrate that there was a linguistic justification for a Christian scholar to say “kiss the son”…..”where in the world would they have gotten the idea from if it weren’t somewhere in Jewish tradition.” . . .

      Ibn Ezra was utilizing Midrash Aggadah (homily — using the “bar” as a jumping off point — his comments were not his literal interpretation. I’m going to quote from an article by Uri Yosef on the subject of Psalm 22 which you may find online at http://thejewishhome.org/counter/Psa2.pdf First Uri Yosef explains that this mistranslatin did not appear in even Christian translations until sometime between the 5th and 16th century of the common era — early Christian translations have the more correct “lay hold of instruction” or “worship in purity.” From the article:

      “Curiously, the likely source for this mistranslation may come as a surprise to many:
      the two great Jewish Sages, Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra [1089-1164 CE], the Jewish-
      Spanish Bible exegete and philosopher, and Rabbi David Qimhi [1160-1235 CE], the
      Jewish-French/Spanish Bible exegete and grammarian. Rabbi Ibn Ezra offered the
      interpretation Kiss the son by linking the phrase נַשְּׁקוּ־בַר to the anointed individual
      referred to as My son in Psalms 2:7, and he suggested that it is a reference to
      מָשִׁיחַ . Rabbi David Qimhi accepted Ibn Ezra’s interpretation.

      They explain that the anointed one, who will be pure, i.e., he will be righteous by keeping Torah, is מָשִׁיחַ and, therefore, people should pay homage to him. In the Hebrew Bible, a way of paying homage is at times expressed through the act of kissing someone or
      something:

      1Samuel 10:1 – And Samuel took the vial of oil, and poured it on his [Saul’s] head, and kissed him. And he [Samuel] said [to Saul], “Indeed, the Lord has anointed you to be a ruler over His inheritance.”

      This interpretation caught the attention of the church which seized upon it and applied it as referring to Jesus, the Messiah of Christianity. Rabbi David Qimhi (Kimchi), aware of this misapplication, issued a detailed refutation to this Christological retrofit of his and Rabbi Ibn Ezra’s interpretation of this phrase.10 The fact that most Christian Bibles have retained Kiss the Son indicates that it is widely accepted as the proper translation, since it serves to enhance the Christological relevance of the entire Psalm. However, the Christian adaptation of Ibn Ezra’s interpretation of the phrase as its legitimate translation is flawed as explained in the following important points:

      The phrase נַשְּׁקוּ־בַר is an interpretation, not a literal translation and, therefore, it should not be considered as the pshat, i.e., the plain meaning of the text

      The fact that both Rabbi Ibn Ezra, who interpreted the phrase as Kiss the son, and Rabbi Qimhi (Kimchi), who accepted this interpretation, relate it to v. 7 and give it messianic significance is a confirmation that it is not the pshat, because the plain reading and context of this psalm is not messianic. . .”

      • Sophiee says:

        Oops — obviously meant Psalm 2 not Psalm 22 — I am not allowed to go back and edit, sorry.

      • stab says:

        Sophiee, I had this same debate when debating 2 orthodox Jews from pal-talk. It appears to me that based on what the expert scholars of the Hebrew language are telling me about the proper meaning for the Hebrew word “bar”, they say it means “pure”, clean”, “undefiled”, “clear” and even “grain”. Not once will you find anywhere in Tanach where the Hebrew word “bar” is translated as “son”. Therefore I proposed that Ibn Ezra was using Midrash when he was translating Psalms 2:12..I suspect that Rashi also thought that Ibn Ezra was using Midrash and gave the normal accepted translation of “embrace purity”. From what I have learned from those who are experts in the Hebrew language, the Aramaic word “bar” also means son but not as a stand alone meaning. It is in the possessive construct and if there were Aramaic in the book of Psalms, i.e: 2:12, the verse would have to read, “kiss the son of” which leads to another questions, son of whom?
        No one believes that Aramaic is in the book of Psalms so it is far fetched to think that Ibn Ezra was using anything but Midrash..I was also informed that in Aramaic there is a word for son that would be the equivalent of the Hebrew word “ben” and that is B’rei..Why didn’t they use that word for son if Aramaic was in Psalms 2:12?
        Stan

  36. Stan – I will try to respond to this question to your personal e-mail address

  37. This is a general response to everyone who has posted here;
    It amazes me that lengthy discussion amass all the while ignoring, what exactly G-D himself has to say.
    G-D clearly states, that veiwing him as being in the form of “anything” including a man is by definition “Idolatry” Deut. 4:15-19 What exactly is it that isn’t understood here? This alone nullfies all of the pointless arguements.
    Another fact is; G-D also states: That he will NOT send anyone for you, and that it is within yourself to do what is expected of you to do, and what might that be? obey his words and follow his Torah!
    Deut. 30; This language is repeated throughout the Tanakh, “Example: Isaiah 43:10-12
    People here keep stating so and so said this, and so and so said that; ignoring the simple truth.
    G-D isn’t a monotheist, polytheist, or any theist at all for that matter!
    FYI theology is: The study of theos ” a Greek G-D
    Philosophy is: “The love of Sophia” The 1st CE Virgin wife of god of the christian church, which WAS definately polytheistic, and whom of which had three daughters Faith, Hope, and Charity 1 Cor. 13:13 Sophia and her daughters became martyrs 137 CE, and again 304 CE Sophia bore jesus as a virgin, and later became the avatar Mary in the christain bible as the Catholic church took power and eliminated all the other christian text, such as the nag hammadi, etc. and declared christianity its official religion in 313 CE Which previously was illegal within the Byzantine empire, this was called the edict of milan.
    Rome sought to bring all pagan religions under one roof.
    Judaism resisted, however it was tolerated, but had to pay a tax; which later led to revolts by the Jews.
    Pre-dating the christian church was Platonism, which brought about hellenistic idea’s that would later evolve into christianity.
    The fact of the matter is that christianity never was, and will never be originated in Judaism, that it attempts to replace with pagan beliefs and idea’s; people run around making themselves experts on Judaism, rather than learning from Judaism, and become educated in schools of Sophism, and rhetoric, then, go around trying to convert everyone by persuasion through deceptive actions in order to feel vindicated in their beliefs, and not feel ignorant; all the while nectlecting to study and resaerch history and the facts for themselves.

  38. Blasater says:

    Michael Brown wrote: “More importantly, our people often strayed from the path and God had to send prophets to bring us back to truth. Yeshua came in that respect as Prophet as well.”

    The prophets were in fact sent to us back to truth. But was that truth something other than HaShem? Something other than Torah observance? Did they point us to a god-man savior? Of course not. R’ Blumenthal is spot on. Study the Tanakh and only the Tanakh and you will not come away with Christian doctrine. It is only the polemical nature and misapplication of scripture of the NT, along with an eassssy “new” halacha, that attempts to bring a new truth, one which our forefathers did not know.

    Furthermore, messiah is never portrayed in Tanakh as bringing or furthering spiritual blindness, like the man from Nazareth says he is doing. The mashiach of the Jewish people will not intentionally cloak his message in parables to the Jewish people, to confuse them, to divide or filter out some “undesirables”. Nor will he “make those who are blind see and those who see become blind” What a perverse thought! Mashiach will bring the light of Torah, for ALL to see. Great and small, the Jewish people will be united in serving HIm, observing ALL that He has commanded.

  39. Pingback: Without Preconceived Notions | 1000 Verses

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