God’s Wall

Hasidic

One of the greatest privileges of living in Jerusalem, is that you can visit the Western Wall at any given time for just $1.75!

The Western Wall is a small remnantof the majestic Herodian wall that encircled the Temple Mount. The wall served as a fortification for the Temple, but more importantly, it was the border of the common world and the Divine. Outside these walls is the world of money, power, greed and lust; within these walls is God’s Presence, and therefore, love, charity, blessing and purity.

In 70 C.E. when the Romans conquered the Holy Land and destroyed its cities, the Jews of Jerusalem found refuge in the Temple. The people were protected by the Temple, and the Temple was protected by the mountain’s Wall.

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Perspectives by Concerned Reader

When a Christian hears Jesus’ message, he/she hears that they should be peaceful, should go the extra mile, be a good Samaritan, and always aide one who is suffering. (because those teachings are in there.)

That is not what a Jew sees when they read a New Testament. A Jew sees Pharisees (the ancestors of their Talmudic rabbis,) mocked as cold, unbending, heartless, religious hypocrites who love to do the will of their father the Devil. This is not only dangerous rhetoric, it is patently false rhetoric as anyone knows who has actually studied the way rabbinic Jews apply their laws in daily life.

You yourself have seen Dina post the rabbinic equivalents of Jesus’ core ethical principles. Do you know why the gospel authors don’t point out those parallels? Its because they never even tried to learn the Jewish position, because the New Testament portrays the rabbis as venomous white washed walls. Its a tough (almost unconscious) wall that Christians are hard pressed to break through.

Though there is only one verse in the New Testament where Jesus actually says, “take those who would not have me be king over them, and kill them in front of me,” the vitriol against Judaism’s leaders was bound to spill over and effect innocent people. It was an inevitable outcome when those episodes were in sermons preached to illiterate peasants every Sunday. Are you aware of passion plays? At Easter? Imagine a mob of Lutherans going and burning a Shul down after a passion play. That used to happen a lot.

Consider that the Christian Bible makes it worse when it says there are no truly innocent people, based on reading a couple verses from Tanakh.

While it is very true that Jesus instructs Christians in some very good moral lessons, some of his other teachings actually negate the effectiveness of his good teachings.
When Jesus tells his disciples to wipe the dust from their sandals when they encounter an unperceptive city, or he instructs people not to resist evil, this leads (possibly unintentionally) to a very deadly ambivalence towards violence, an ambivalence to the plight of others in Christian thinking, and I don’t think Christians realize it.

Since Christians believe that man has a fallen nature, they have the unfortunate tendency (as I have experienced it 1st hand,) to say, “well, that’s how its supposed to be,” when they see injustice in the world. Many a time have I heard, “it will only get better when Jesus comes back.”
That is diametrically opposed to Abraham’s example of acting.

There were indeed voices of tolerance in the Church, lights in the darkness, etc. but there were throngs of people who stood back and waited, or worse, participated in the climate of evil via their indifference.

They did not resist evil when it came to take their Jewish brethren to put them in Ghettos. Religious Christians (for centuries) have had great apathy to suffering due to their interpretations of curses of the law, and because of their views of man’s nature.

You can have the holiest message in the world, but if you do not act in favor of the G-dly bits, you are just as much a cause of the issues.

This is the core issue with the Christian argument that Catholics are not real Christians, or Eastern Orthodox are not real Christians, or those who did evil were not real Christians.

In the Christian world, I often heard the saying as a kid, “there was only one real Christian, Jesus Christ.” IE we can’t stop the evil when it arises, Jesus said so.

This is the toxic apathy that I mentioned earlier. Guys like Luther, Calvin, Chrysostom, etc. used rhetoric very similar to what we find in the gospels, (and much much worse) but nobody ever voiced outrage at what these men wrote, or against the actions they advocated.

Nobody wrote volumes of literature asking, “How do these literary works jive with the ethics of Christ?”

Ethics of Christ weren’t as important as faith in Jesus and his cross to save your sinful soul.

When Dina says Hitler couldn’t have got off the ground without Christianity, it doesn’t mean that the New Testament lacks the ethical teachings that could have prevented the violence in the holocaust.

Its literally highlighting the fact that the New Testament message hinders your ability to carry out those ethics. It does not actively encourage you to act when you see another who fits your view of a sinner suffering.

Suffering is always deemed as a just chastening, and as a redemptive gift to a Christian view. Its not something to actively be resisted according to the gospels. That apathy is part and parcel of Yeshua’s message, and its the most dangerous aspect that bred the wickedness that made Hitler’s atrocities inevitable.

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A Tale of Two Teachers

Teacher #1 has a vision. In it he sees his students living lives of justice, charity and truth. It is this hope that moves him to stay up late at night preparing lessons that will enter the hearts of his students. By keeping his ultimate goal in mind he is able to patiently negotiate the faults, foibles and problems that his students are burdened with. And his yearning for a better world gives him the energy to persevere and to succeed.

Teacher #2 has a vision in which he is idolized by his students. He recognizes that if he motivates his students to be better and more virtuous people, they will look back at him with reverence and fondness. This hope motivates him to sacrifice himself for the advancement of his students. This vision of self-aggrandizement gives him the strength to make himself into the saintly teacher that he is not. And this yearning for honor and glory gives him the energy to persevere and to succeed.

It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between these two teachers. Both of them are paragons of virtue and patience. Both are excellent teachers and both are revered by their students. Perhaps it is not always productive to discover the difference between these two teachers. If the teacher is doing his or her job, why should we care about their motives?

But in most cases, Teacher #2 will not be able to hide his agenda. His attitude toward other teachers of virtue might give him away. His demand for undue honor might reveal his heart. And his resistance to criticism might tell us what he is trying to hide.

We could also look at the respective students of these two educators and learn the hearts of the teachers. Both teachers will have students that focus on the virtue they taught. And both teachers will have students that focus on the person of the teacher as opposed to the content of his message. It will be the statistics that give it away. And when you look at the numbers, you realize that it might have been productive to distinguish between Teacher #1 and Teacher #2.

https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/movies-and-manifestations/

https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/ambassadors-and-prophets/

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Innocence of the Guilty

The most recent political election cycle in the U.S.A. (2016) was particularly acrimonious. One of the major parties was running a candidate that was under several federal investigations. These investigations focused on allegations that this candidate had used one of the highest offices in the land for personal gain. This shady candidate proceeded to lose the election but the liberal media did not ascribe the election results to any suspected wrongdoing on the part of the losing candidate.

The typical mudslinging of a political campaign was redirected in the course of this election. The campaign of the shady candidate did not limit their mudslinging to the person of the opposing candidate. All those who considered voting for the current (2017) President of the United States were cast in a negative light by those who opposed him. The narrative of the liberal media would have us believe that those who voted for one candidate are all evil. And this was not the candidate who is accused of selling his country down the river for personal gain.

By placing the argument in the realm of virtue versus wickedness the liberal media has effectively shut down rational discussion between the people who backed the opposing candidates. Those who voted for the shady candidate were educated and enlightened by the liberal media and they now “know” beyond the shadow of any doubt that those who voted differently than themselves are paragons of injustice. How can you talk about democratic ideals with people who are intolerant, racist, xenophobic, insensitive, bigoted and narrow-minded?

Imagine if someone would read a collection of liberal articles 2000 years from now. You would get the impression that a large group of evil people crucified a knight in shining armor. They voted against her precisely because she stood for every virtue and for everything good. And this was all because they were evil and intolerant.

I never met the historical Jesus and I don’t know anyone who has. But this much is clear. The authors of the Christian Scriptures used the same smear tactics that the liberal media is using today to shield their hero from the criticism of his opponents and to further their own agenda. They effectively shut down rational conversation about the pros and cons of their position. If Jesus was so righteous then why did his followers need to use Hillary Clinton’s tactics to defend his character?

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Non Prophet

Non Prophet

Christian missionaries contend that the Jewish people should accept Jesus as a true prophet.

We can’t.

Because he wasn’t.

How can you be so sure?

Simple – The same system that tells me that Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were true prophets, tells me that Jesus was not.

Well, how do you know that the prophets of the Jewish Scriptures were authentic?

I will tell you in a minute – but before I answer your question, I have a question of my own for you. Did you ever think about this? Did you ever wonder how it is that we know that the prophets of the Jewish Scriptures are for real and that the writings of the Jewish Scripture were authored with Divine inspiration?

Did you have a clear and straightforward understanding of the method that we should use to sort out the true prophets from the frauds – and then did you carefully and patiently apply this test to Jesus – and only after he passed with flying colors – then, and only then, did you accept him? Or did you perhaps accept Jesus before you ever thought about this question?

So how do we know that the Jewish Scriptures are authentic?

We must first recognize that God appointed a witness nation (Isaiah 43:10, 12; 44:8). God had demonstrated to the Jewish people in a clear and unequivocal way – that He is the Lord and that there is no other (Deuteronomy 4:15, 35).

We are confident that Israel is His witness nation because no national entity claims any experience that could be compared to ours (Deuteronomy 4:32-35).

When the claimant to prophecy presented their claim – the Jewish people asked themselves: is this man or woman speaking in the name of the God we know from Sinai? (Deuteronomy 18:20) Is he or she encouraging worship of an entity other than the God we know from Sinai? (Deuteronomy 13:3)

Jesus did not pass this test.

There is another test that God provided to sort the true prophet from the fraud. If a prediction of the prophet fails to materialize, then we can be sure that the prophet is a fraud (Deuteronomy 18:22). This one is tricky though. You see, the followers of false prophets were never short of excuses when the predictions of their “prophet” failed to materialize. How could we know if our bias, for or against, the claimant to prophecy is confusing us or not?

In these situations we are directed to turn to the judges of Israel(Deuteronomy 17:8, 9 – 2Chronicles 19:11).

We know their verdict.

If you do not accept the authority of Israel and her judges to pass judgment on Jesus, please be consistent, and reject her Bible as well.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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Fifth Response to Gil Torres

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Fifth Response to Gil Torres

Dear Gil

I want to begin by thanking you for taking the time and the effort to move this discussion forward with gentleness, sincerity and humility. When I asked for your “intention” I was not questioning your motivations – I was asking for clarification as to what you meant.

I will attempt to respond to the three points you made in response to my most recent letter. In the course of responding to your second point, I will also attempt to respond to a point that you made to Annelise. I then hope to articulate some general observations about this conversation (I refer here not to our personal conversation but the 2000 year conversation that has been going on between our respective communities).

1) You say that Jesus’ prediction of his death and resurrection and the subsequent fulfillment of this prophecy drew you to Jesus.

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Matthew Admits that Jesus was Never Resurrected! – by Jim

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

CP,

It will take me a few comments to respond to your comment here: https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/conversation-a-note-from-jim/#comment-29404 . In this first comment, I would like to address the supposed proofs that the religious leaders had. Peter escaping from prison and Paul remaining in prison are not proofs of the resurrection, and I see no purpose in your mentioning them. So I will only write about the priests that believed in Acts 6 and the events in Matthew.

Regarding the priests, they disprove your argument not support it. If they had believed in Jesus from seeing him at the resurrection, they would not only be coming to belief in him in chapter 6 of Acts when some time has passed. They did not believe because they had “first hand evidence”. According to Acts 6:7: “The word of God continued to spread; the numbers of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a…

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