Who Needs Yeshua-Judaism?

I’m behind on reading the comments. This week we are running a children’s day camp at Tikvat David and I am a tent leader. Fun, it has me away from the computer nearly the whole day. This post is an answer to a brilliant comment by Gene Shlomovich. I will try to catch up and do some more commenting and replying as well.

The discussion has been helpful. We started with the issue of promoting Yeshua-faith and how important it is or should be for Messianic Judaism. We have had a number of helpful responses and some good questioning and dialogue. One that stood out to me was Rabbi Brumbach’s comment that being a Yeshua-community should precede promoting Yeshua-faith. Yesterday I posted a response: “The Way to Have a Message.”

Then yesterday Gene Shlomovich added a bombshell of a comment:

. . . everything you listed is already practiced by those devout non-MJ Jews who go above the letter of the Torah (imperfectly, of course, but then again, what you listed here is an ideal few if any will ever attain), and of course all this is already part of the traditional Jewish teaching. Ironically, historically speaking and at least after the first century, the Jewish community has a much better record in all of the above than a Christian community (you can say that Jews, overall, have been better ‘Christians” without actually being them – including suffering for one’s faith even unto death and persevering in the face of great adversity). Is there more to the message of Yeshua that would make these Jews desire to become Yeshua-disciples?

In other words, given the teachings of Judaism, who needs Yeshua?

Here are some steps along the way to an answer:

  • We should not discount the goodness and rightness of Judaism. Gene understands, but many readers do not, that Judaism is right and true. It does not belong, as some Christians think, in the category of “false religion.” The overlap between Judaism, Messianic Judaism, and Christianity is vast. I do think that in a Jewish community, where faith in Yeshua is absent, most but not all of the ideals of a kingdom community can be realized. Yet I also think that Yeshua adds crucial and vital elements missing in mainstream Judaism, as I will delineate below.
  • Yeshua gives us a more specific view of God. Judaism is all over the place on the nature of God (to be fair, many Christianities have deficient views of God, but the difference is we can say that these Christianities are not being true to Jesus). In Judaism, it is easily possible to believe in the God of the philosopher, the Maimonidean rational being, who is completely transcendent. In Yeshua, we must say that God has come down to us and even joined with humanity in the person of Yeshua. The God of Yeshua is transcendent and immanent, far and near, above and within, hidden and active. Some in Judaism share this view of God (I am enamored with Abraham Joshua Heschel’s view of God as being so very much like the God Yeshua reveals). Ultimately, and this is vital, Yeshua shows us that God is beyond knowing, that he sends manifestations to reveal who he is, and that we must always revise our views of God to be beyond the horizon and approachable through Yeshua (not on our own).
  • Yeshua gives us a more specific view of the kingdom (world to come). Jewish ideas of the messianic age are all over the board. Jewish ideas about how to bring about the messianic age are also very diverse. Many ideas in these categories are right and true. Yeshua gives many specifics about the world to come or kingdom and its timing, how to bring it about, and what to expect. In Yeshua our knowledge of the kingdom and our hope and our course of action is much more clearly defined. This is not to say that Yeshua’s teaching is counter to Judaism — it fills out the Jewish hope and gives it specificity, at once narrowing the options and expanding the view.
  • Yeshua shows us what certain aspects of Jewish hope look like when they come to pass. The most obvious Jewish hope that is answered by Yeshua is the Messiah concept. If you want to know more about who and what this deliverer and teacher of righteousness will look like, look at Yeshua. How good is it to get beyond vague, shadowy concepts and see the real thing? How good is it to leave behind a variety of false options about Messiah and discover the true Messianic King? There are many other aspects of Jewish hope that Yeshua brings to new levels of revelation. I might mention what is probably the second greatest category: purity and holiness.
  • Yeshua brings the Presence in a new, more concentrated fashion and also in a universal fashion. If you are not aware of the biblical and Jewish traditional notions of the Presence of God (shekhinah, Glory, Word, Memra, Dibbur, Sefirot, etc.), it is a fascinating topic. There are levels of dwelling Presence. In the incarnation (the Son of God becoming human), the Presence comes to us in a new, liberating way. In the ascension (the Son returning to the Father, the Word going back to be with God), the Presence is released upon God’s people in a new way: the Spirit dwelling on the disciples in community. It is what Israel experienced at times and was to experience ideally: the communal dwelling of the Spirit on the people. It is in the messianic promises of Israel’s prophets. It is not automatic and I have to admit Christianity and Messianic Judaism have largely been missing it much as Israel has largely been missing it. But in Yeshua the way is open for the communal dwelling of the Spirit on all peoples well beyond the borders of Israel.
  • Yeshua opens the way to direct and unveiled access to God. The Tabernacle and Temple left people separated, standing outside, with God behind a veil and inside the sanctuary with the people outside. The offerings of animals brought people near to God, but not all the way into the Presence. The purity and holiness system of Israel enabled Israel to live with God in the midst, but left persons unclean, unable to be with God individually. The death of Messiah leaves people clean, pure, holy and able to dwell with God directly. This idea needs much more explanation and has been too cheaply understood. The Christian theological category is “theories of atonement” and I recommend Scot McKnight, A Community Called Atonement.
  • Yeshua has demonstrated the resurrection and given us his actual resurrection to firm up what has been a vague hope in Judaism. Jewish ideas about afterlife have been diverse and contradictory. The right and true notion of bodily afterlife in a renewed world is a strong theme in Judaism as in Christianity, but Judaism has also had many competing options. I might mention reincarnation as the most damnable. In Yeshua we have the revelation of resurrection, the demonstration of resurrection, the realization of resurrection causing the kingdom to be present as well as future.

I want to thank Gene for bringing up the issue. I want to challenge us all to think much more specifically about the question, “Why Yeshua?” At one time I accepted a simplistic idea: God sent Jesus and requires all people to believe in him (just because God makes the rules and can do this if he wants) or he denies them hope beyond this life. That is massively inadequate. It makes Jesus (Yeshua) simply a whim of God, a new requirement just-because. We need to see what Yeshua truly adds.

This entry was posted in atonement, Life to Come, Messiah, messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism, Yeshua. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Who Needs Yeshua-Judaism?

  1. Yahnatan says:

    Derek,

    I think one important answer to the question is the historical/eschatalogical one. As Michael Wyschogrod concludes in his book The Body of Faith, any true Judaism must be a Messianic Judaism. In other words, Judaism’s view of history requires a divine act of deliverance through a Messiah to reach historical and eschatalogical completion.

    Yeshua is that Messiah/King: this is a vital reason why Judaism needs Yeshua.

    Yahnatan

    • Derek Leman says:

      Yes! Thank you, Yahnatan.

    • “Yeshua is that Messiah/King: this is a vital reason why Judaism needs Yeshua.”

      That is all true. The bigger problem, of course, is convincing a Jew who already does believe with all of this heart that Judaism, Jews and indeed the whole world desperately needs Messiah/King that Yeshua is the one (even though he physically appeared to a relatively small number of believers, and then disappeared two thousand years ago, with most Jews somehow missing him and then caughting hell from that messiah’s supposed Gentile followers).

      I talked to an Orthodox rabbi during the Shavuot all-night study about Yeshua, Christianity, and Judaism. He told me that he does believe that “Jesus” was real figure in history, however, his position on why Jesus couldn’t have been true messiah for Israel is that when G-d finally does reveal his Messiah it will not be a secret reserved only for a dozen chosen disciples or even a few hundred followers, but as was with G-d speaking to Moses and Israelites from the mountain initiating the Covenant and giving of the Torah, EVERY Jew everywhere will know that he came and there will not be any doubt in any Jew’s mind about Messiah’s identity. In other words, “every eye shall see him” or else he cannot be the right one, which, strangely enough, sounds exactly like the sort of thing that Yeshua himself spoke of (as well as Shaul and others), but only in regards to his second coming.

      How do we answer that?

      • Yahnatan says:

        Great points, Gene.

        Based on the contents of the early preaching in Acts, I think the apostles viewed the crucifixion as fully public knowledge and the resurrection as a fairly public event as well (confirmed by over 500 eyewitnesses). I think the rapid, widescale public acceptance of their message (thousands in Jerusalem) caused them to view the movement as on the rise / no longer a secret in Jerusalem. They believed that the doubting of some was part of the eschatalogical separating of Israel’s righteous from unrighteous, in accordance with the prophets and with Yeshua’s teaching. Thus, their task was to faithfully wait for his soon return and to spread the word to all those outside Jerusalem who had not had the opportunity to hear. The “every eye will see” moment is the final coming in authority to judge.

        I’m not sure where the rabbi gets his view that the revelation of the Messiah’s identity will be like Sinai, an unmatched prophetic event in which every member of the people of Israel simultaneously receives the revelation. I’m no expert, but it seems to me that the dominant Biblical and historical pattern of would-be Messianic figures has included some prophetic revelation of one’s calling as a youth (a la Moses, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Amos), a group of Jewish followers in adulthood, some sort of climactic pronouncement of Messiah-ship, and/or a crisis event which is supposed to precipitate the full revelation of Messianic identity.

        So far I’ve tweaked the rabbi’s reconstruction of the resurrection event and challenged his assertions about the nature of the revelation of the Messiah’s identity, but I haven’t really answered your question, Gene, which I think has everything to do with how we convincingly argue for the validity of a second coming. The rabbinic recognition of the potential for two Messianic comings (one “lowly and on a donkey,” the other “with the clouds in glory”) depending on whether Israel merits one or the other does acknowledge the presence/possibility of the two in the Scriptures (albeit in an either/or configuration); however, appealing to that only gets us so far. I think the problem can be further divided into two distinct issues: (1) the possibility of a “second coming” at all and (2) the fact that in Yeshua’s case we’re arguing for a 2,000 year delay b/w the first and second comings. I heard one prominent Jewish New Testament scholar say that two thousand years ago there’s a good chance s/he would have entertained (1), but by now (2) is too tough to swallow.

        One possible response to “why the wait?” is to emphasize how deeply God has bound the process of redemption to the free will of the Jewish people on this matter. Yeshua promised that he would not return until Israel acknowledged/welcomed him. Did he really mean it? Even if two thousand years pass by…or more? I say yes; God cares that much.

        If we’re right about Yeshua, then in a sense God is waiting on the Jewish people (all the while, of course, working towards ultimate redemption).

        The ball is in our court. Will we believe?

        • Yahnatan says:

          P.S. You also highlighted another related objection: the one about millions of Jews “catching hell” (quite literally) if Christian theology is correct. Again, I’m no expert, but it seems to me that the most objectionable aspects of this belief (at least to Orthodox Judaism) are not the existence of a hell per se, but the idea of hell being eternal (as opposed to a type of punishment that is judgment for your sins but is also finite). The second objection would be to the idea of an implicit rejection of Messiah being an offense meriting (eternal) punishment. In other words, a Korach-like rejection of the Messiah might merit be swallowed alive by the earth, but I think it’s hard to see how Jews minding their own business in the shtetl, never even thinking about Jesus, merits the same punishment. Of course Christian theology properly understood teaches that a person’s sins (unatoned for) are what earn a person judgment, so Christian who teach that not believing in Jesus sends a person to hell are oversimplifying things.

          Sinners are in spiritual Egypt, 49th level of impurity, about to descend forever. Yeshua is Moses leading the way out.

          • Yahnatan, EXCELLENT analysis.

            You said “The “every eye will see” moment is the final coming in authority to judge.”

            That’s true, although is it not also true that at least in Israel’s case Messiah’s coming [according to us, his second] will mean salvation and redemption (e.g. “All Israel will be saved”) just as was the case for the minority of Israelites in his first coming??

            “I’m not sure where the rabbi gets his view that the revelation of the Messiah’s identity will be like Sinai, an unmatched prophetic event in which every member of the people of Israel simultaneously receives the revelation. ”

            That rabbi’s main point was about how most religions (in general) get started. With that in mind, he looks at Christianity as a separate religion with a singular founder (Jesus) getting a special exclusive revelation when he then passes down to a relatively small number of adherents. Then, the new religion is spread out to non-witnesses to the events through missionary work. The rabbi points out that in that regard Judaism is singular – all of the people witnessed and accepted the new religion.

            Also, Jesus made the claim that he initiates the giving of the New Covenant. Because of that, it certainly seems fair to compare this to the initiation of the Mosaic Covenant (where ALL Israel was a witnesses) and not just a messianic-type figure. In the New Covenant’s initiation the DIRECT witnesses to the miraculous events and especially resurrection (not just the crucifixion, which was relatively common and easy to dismiss as another unfortunate retribution by the Romans) – not the subsequent “proselytes”- were a relatively small portion of Israel (keeping in mind that already the great majority of Jewry lived in Diaspora).

          • Lrl79 says:

            Gene,
            “Because of that, it certainly seems fair to compare this to the initiation of the Mosaic Covenant (where ALL Israel was a witnesses) and not just a messianic-type figure”

            To me, it’s like you’re accepting the Jewish argument that belief in the Messiah, which we agree is Yeshua, is a “Christian” thing and therefore a “new” religion.

            But I don’t see it that way because it was Jews who received the revelations from G-d (His Torah, Tanakh etc) that spoke of the Messiah coming in the first place and Yeshua was coming to HIS own people who had the foundation laid already. They were supposed to recognize him, and many, MANY did, but the leadership didn’t.

            And apparently, G-d held them accountable for this in places like Luke 19:44 “. . .because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
            I reject that belief in Yeshua constitutes a “new” religion, and maybe that’s why so many Jews are twisted up about MJ, because the old arguments don’t stand up in the face of a Jew realizing that Christianity got it wrong when they preached that a Jew must give up G-d’s direct commandments to them to keep Torah.

  2. Lrl79 says:

    “It does not belong, as some Christians think, in the category of “false religion.””

    I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say this before in Christian circles! I was always struck at how Judaism was just ignored. Trying to find out about it in the 80’s got me nowhere.

    Personally, I don’t think it’s a false religion at all, however I do think it’s incomplete, and unnecessarily so. I say that because I think Christianity is also incomplete in that it has not all been realized yet.

    But imagine if a Jew said he accepts Abraham but not Moses. Or vice versa. What if a Jew claimed that the concept of G-d allowing a 90 year old woman with a dead womb to give birth (from a 100 year old father) is just to fantastical and obviously not possible? How much of Judaism would you then have to toss?

    Probably a bad example, I’m not to the intellectual level as most of you are, so maybe you will think about this conceptually and get my point.

    Messianic Jewish people are, to my mind, a thrilling presence. It is they who are actually continuing the the faith once given to the saints in the most authentic of ways in that they come to Yeshua while being Jewish and maintaining their covenant to G-d. Sometimes it just overwhelms me.

  3. Dan Benzvi says:

    “Messianic Jewish people are, to my mind, a thrilling presence. It is they who are actually continuing the the faith once given to the saints in the most authentic of ways in that they come to Yeshua while being Jewish and maintaining their covenant to G-d. Sometimes it just overwhelms me.”

    Nothing is authentic when MJ wants to get rid of the Gentiles in their midst. Yeshua never taught this. Yes, you will hear all kind of theological gymnastics here when they try to deny it, but the aim of their brand of MJ today is that Jews will have their own congregations and that the Gentiles will go back to the Churches….As simple as that. As a believing Jew whose people have faced recial discrimination throughout the generation, I for one will never be able to fathom this….

    • Totally false (about MJs being “recial” [sic]).

      Anyway, let’s focus on the discussion at hand instead of starting the whole fruitless back and forth again.

    • Lrl79 says:

      “Nothing is authentic when MJ wants to get rid of the Gentiles in their midst.”

      I am not aware of this issue, and if it’s true I don’t agree with it, but at the same time it doesn’t nullify my comment because:

      1. All of humanity is sinful and goes it’s own way. Jew and Gentile alike. And, not that I can speak for all of MJ but it is weird to see so many Gentiles be so DANG insecure about their position and try to rob Jews of their place. It makes me HUGELY uncomfortable. If that is the reasoning for those who wish to rid MJ of Gentiles I can’t say that I blame them, even tho I don’t agree it’s correct to do so.

      2. I am speaking not of the whole of MJ, more the individual, who comes to faith in Yeshua and lives out the covenant. (even those who are only taking small steps in this direction count, in my mind, because I believe G-d is gracious and, thankfully, patient )

  4. Dan Benzvi says:

    Lrl79,

    It goes back to what I said before, our identity is in Messiah, not in Judaism. As aJewish person, unlike Gene and the others here, I am not at all afaraid that the Gentile boogy man will rub me of my identity.

    • “I am not at all afaraid that the Gentile boogy man will rub me of my identity”

      I wouldn’t want anyone to “rub” off my Jewishness:), but it I do not nor have I ever advocated that Gentiles be kicked out of Messianic Jewish Congregations. That, as you Dan like to say so often, is a “red herring”. Rather, 1) I would like Messianic Jewish Congregations to focus on their primary audience – Jews, and 2) that Gentiles who do join MJ congregations do not “play Jewish” or desire to appropriate various observances halachically reserved for Jews. Now, is that too much to ask?

      Now, can we get back to discussing the topic of this post?

      • Keith says:

        So Gentiles are “hijacking” Jewish observances if they want to, for example, celebrate the Feasts?

        • “So Gentiles are “hijacking” Jewish observances if they want to, for example, celebrate the Feasts?”

          I do not think that celebration of the “feasts” is wrong for Gentiles, but it depends more on the attitude. Do they feel that the Jewish holy days belong to them, do they think that they MUST observe them, do they insist on their fellow Gentiles observing them, do they view themselves as ‘Israel’, do they present themselves as Jews (wearing Jewish garb) when they observe them, etc.

          Jewish sages taught that Gentiles MAY observe even Shabbat (which is even higher than most feasts), as long as they do not do it in exactly the Jewish (halachic) manner (the point being is that if you are not a Jew, do not go through the motions of being one).

      • Lrl79 says:

        Oh, I don’t know what that is called, 1 house, 2 laws, 3 turtle doves? But that is what I like. I am a woman, why should hide it or be ashamed of it? Likewise, I am a shiksa (kidding, I just love the word) and I would ONLY convert, or take on a Jewish persona if it was because G-d demanded it in order to be right with Him. He doesn’t, as far as I can see so I reject the notion of JEWISH= good/holy and GENTILE= bad/unholy just like I never accepted the notion that men are better than women. We’re just different.
        And now I’m on my soap box, can I say how repugnant it is to see certain women in the “women’s movement” try to out dude the dudes? I mean WOW! I’ve always said, “we already HAVE men, let’s be women and bring our strengths to the table and work together.”
        Ok, I’m jumping down now. 🙂

        There is a purpose for all of us

    • Lrl79 says:

      Hi Dan, I agree that all of humanity needs to find their identity in G-d and not turn their back on His gracious provision. To have ones identity in Judaism isn’t much different, in my opinion, to having ones identity in Catholicism. All religion is man made, although the Judaism of Moses (I don’t know the proper term) and the prophets did come as directives from G-d.
      For example I really hate it when people say things like keeping sabbath or dietary laws are Jewish traditions. As if they just came up with it on their own like Irish traditionally drink whisky ( ha, kidding, well, not really). I mean they do it because G-d Himself TOLD them to. It’s different.

  5. Dan Benzvi says:

    “Primary audience-Jews..”

    The most serious statement of the Year!!!

  6. Derek Leman says:

    Keith:

    I have mostly stayed out of the comments (busy with children’s summer day camp) but I wanted to answer your question. Over time, as more and more non-Jews have been keeping Jewish observances, it has become apparent to many that theological, biblically, and in terms of what rituals and prayers to use, there needs to be clearer distinction between non-Jews and Jews in these matter.

    In the case of the Yom Tovs, as with many other observances, it will likely become increasingly clear that non-Jews can observe them with some distinctions being made. Some prayers in the traditional Passover haggadah, for example, assume the pray-er is part of Israel’s covenant at Sinai.

    Some simple distinctions in practice are going to be the answer for many people to the question: how do I draw near to Israel and Jewish customs without assuming a pseudo-Jewish identity?

    Derek Leman

    • Keith says:

      Thanks for the response Derek. I appreciate you making time for the reply, even though you were busy. I can get on board with everything you said.

  7. Dan Benzvi says:

    “Some simple distinctions in practice are going to be the answer for many people to the question: how do I draw near to Israel and Jewish customs without assuming a pseudo-Jewish identity?”

    Good question you should ask yourself, Derek…..

  8. Derek Leman says:

    Dan:

    Given that you are older than me, it is hypothetically possible I could attend your funeral someday. I can just see it, as they throw the pine box in the ground, and you shout up to me: “Derek, you’re not a Jew!”

  9. Dan Benzvi says:

    Well, Derek, they don’t burry Jews in pine boxes, I though you know that…..But thanks anyway for wishing me to die……LOL!

  10. louise says:

    Why Yeshua?

    Gentiles ask the same question in all sorts of ‘churches’. Christianity has as many variations as does rabbinical Judaism. i know because i experienced worship in a good number of them before coming to Jesus as personally as did any one of the sinners He forgave. All of these arguments you guys have ring hollow unless you begin to care about the individual who sins and who knows he/she can do nothing at all in themselves to be clean before God. Why Jesus? Because He is the Word made Flesh. Because by His stripes we are healed. Healed. Because this Lamb bled drops of blood from His body in agony, because only He, God in the Flesh, could experience the absolute horror and death of what sin can do if it is not forgiven. Because only He represents in the flesh a God Who is wiling Himself for suffer like a man and shed real blood and get real stripes and a crown of thorns, to be mocked, robbed of all His Divinity, humliated, hurt, all this to conquer death not just for collective humanity but for each individual humanity represents. Death is not an academic thing.

    If churches are not preaching THIS reason for His first Coming, then shame on them. and shame on MJ congreations if they also are not doing that.

  11. Carl Kinbar says:

    The statement that “our identity is in Messiah, not in Judaism” is based on a false dichotomy. Just as the human body is a complex of major organs and systems and of minor ones, identity includes much more than Messiah. E.g., my identity includes my relationship with God and Messiah, Judaism/Jews, the Kinbar family both near and extended, social affiliations, my nationality, etc. Some of these are more vital to my identity, but all of them are part of it. Sometimes these don’t fit together so seamlessly, but that’s who I am.

    For Jews, choosing “Messiah or Judaism” should be no more appealing than choosing between heart and mind, or lungs and liver.

  12. rey says:

    “In Judaism, it is easily possible to believe in the God of the philosopher, the Maimonidean rational being, who is completely transcendent. In Yeshua, we must say that God has come down to us and even joined with humanity in the person of Yeshua.”

    Assuming you don’t mean that Jesus is God incarnate (and you might), could not the regular Jew say the same of Moses? “In Moses, we must say that God has come down to us and even joined with humanity in the person of Moses.” How does God join humanity in Jesus if Jesus is not God…and if you say he is God, I say you are not Jewish. The Ebionites believed Jesus was the prophet like Moses, but not God. They were Jewish. But anyone who says Jesus is God Himself, they are not Jews.

    • Derek Leman says:

      Rey, I’m spending an hour or so answering your twelve comments this morning and enjoying it. Yes, I do mean that Yeshua is God incarnate. You say this is not Jewish. That’s an old, tired argument, but if you would like to have this argument, answer me this: how can the Infinite dwell in the Tabernacle or appear in the fire in the cloud or show Moses his Glory? Answer: God manifests himself in finite forms and has done it repeatedly. Can God dwell in a human form, fully human while remaining Divine? You bet. You might check out Michael Wyschogrod’s Abraham’s Promise, in which he admits there is nothing un-Jewish about the incarnation concept. That is, you might check it out if you are actually open to learning and thinking (as opposed to criticizing). I hope you are not too close-minded to check some things out, but we will see.

      Derek Leman

  13. rey says:

    “We need to see what Yeshua truly adds.”

    Extra contradictions to your body of scripture, and an impetus for twisting the Tanakh. Jesus must be proven the Messiah at all costs, even if it means twisting Jeremiah 34, Hosea 11:1, Micah 5, Isaiah 7, and a host of other passages, and invented out of thin air a new non-existent passage “He shall be called a Nazarene” which Matthew quotes as a passage from the prophets though it exists not.

    Futher, Jesus adds the silly command “lend to all who ask, turn no-one away, and do not ask for it back.” Lend to all who ask, and let them keep it forever? Ok, so lend your car to Hitler, if he asks, and never ask him for it back. Sounds good right.

    But let’s compare Jesuses! Let’s compare the Jesus of the regular Jews with the Jesus of the Christian Jews. That is, I mean, let us compare Joshua ben Sira (Jesus son of Sirach) with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ says lend to all who ask and so on, but Jesus ben Sira says in chapter 12 of his book (Wisdom of Jesus ben Sira) :

    “When you would do a charitable deed, know to whom you would do it. Help the righteous, but do not help the wicked. Give alms to the righteous, but hold back your bread from the wicked, lest he overmaster you thereby! For you will receive double the punishment for whatever good you do to him, for God hates the wicked and has reserved him for the day of vengeance. Give alms to the righteous, and so you will have a recompense, and if not from him, from the Almighty.”

    Which saying is wiser? Which Jesus is wiser? Lend to all who ask and never turn them away and let them steal what you lend. Or, lend only to the righteous and help not the wicked for you will be punished for funding wickedness. Give no alms to the drunk, lest he increase his drunkenness and go out and kill or rape. Give not alms to the crackhead, lest he buy more crack, and sell more crack, and increase wickedness in the land, and the land be defiled through your alms.

    • Derek Leman says:

      Rey, thanks again for the onslaught of comments you rained down on me yesterday and I even enjoy your hostile tone. Hey, controversy is fun. Your contention, which I will address more in response to one of your other comments, is that Jesus does not meet the test of Messianic prophecy. Hey, man, you are reacting to a certain kind of Christian reading of the prophecies, not a Jewish one. I’m wondering if you have read a lot of midrash. I’m certainly no expert, but I have had some coursework in midrash, I have translated a few parables here and there, and you have not found me arguing for some kind of formulaic Messianic prophecies which “prove” Jesus’ messiahship. I’m thinking, BTW, that you meant Jeremiah 31.

      Derek Leman

  14. rey says:

    “Yeshua has demonstrated the resurrection and given us his actual resurrection to firm up what has been a vague hope in Judaism. Jewish ideas about afterlife have been diverse and contradictory.”

    And those views that do not include physical resurrection are best; because physical resurrection is silly. Particularly when Jesus says in the resurrection we will be sexless like the angels; a human body without sex, is it human at all anymore? Might as well be a disembodied spirit! There is no point in such a body.

    • Derek Leman says:

      Rey, thanks for the 12 comments you left yesterday. I’m definitely trying to determine where you are coming from. I had you pegged for Orthodox at first. But this comment makes me wonder. To be clear, Yeshua said we would not marry. He didn’t say we would cease to be male or female. Is there sex in the world to come? Yeshua’s words make it sound like there is not. But perhaps you find it philosophically repugnant to think of a world to come without sexual pleasure? What is your basis for finding that to be “silly”?

      Derek Leman

  15. rey says:

    “At one time I accepted a simplistic idea: God sent Jesus and requires all people to believe in him”–and having left this point you still can’t leave the idea that belief in him as messiah is somehow necessary, despite the fact that it really adds nothing to Judaism. Nothing except forcing your to accept on some level the heresy of Paul that justification is by faith alone; which is the undoing of Judaism!

    • Derek Leman says:

      Rey, I’m enjoying the 12 (count them, 12) comments you made here yesterday. You have a lot to say. Regarding this comment, unfortunately, your reading of Paul appears to be based on outdated scholarship and paradigms. I’m guessing that you read Paul and commentaries about Paul a few decades ago? The paradigm shift to reading Paul as a Jew began, perhaps, with an essay by Krister Stendahl, “The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West,” in 1963 (Harvard Theological Review, 56). From there, the watershed really started flowing with E.P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism, 1977.

      Derek Leman

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