Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Birth of Christianity - From a Jewish Perspective

From the Seed of Resentment

God gave Jews the gift of Torah. This provoked hate among Gentiles against Jews who were thus singled out and made special by God.

People also begrudged God's other gift to the Jews - the Holy Land of Israel, given at the expense of its previous inhabitants.

Some Jews, feeling sorry for their detractors, seek to remedy relations by sympathizing with the other side. This Jewish fringe might sometimes succumb to the tug of Gentile temptations and desert their sacred Torah.

In order that Judaic ideology appear vincible, for the sake of granting free choice to man, God gave counterweight distractions to appeal to human sentiment. For some, therefore, all does not appear to glitter on the Jewish side of the fence. Always there is a small circle of malcontents.

Thirteen centuries after receiving the Torah, a splinter group of resentful Jews broke away from traditional Judaism and, along with Gentiles, concocted their own religion. How did they manage this feat? Unlike mainstream Jews at the time, who had the capability to perform miracles - but wouldn't, knowing implementation of such secret Torah powers would clash with nature that God created and cherished, the renegade Jews spurned God's wishes and performed unnecessary miracles - in order to draw Gentiles into their mix. Gentiles, unaccustomed and therefore fascinated by miracles, couldn't resist.

Was this new religion's launch based on resentment? We get a clear sense that it was, based on the restored Talmudic text released from centuries of censorship. The very fact censorship happened in the first place indicates the truth had upset Christian authorities.

A good lie cannot be launched unless it contains some truth. These Jews could not take that which commanded enormous respect in the entire world and simply sideline Torah or denigrate it, for everyone knew the history of the Jews that traced back to the Sinai event. They could only lose credibility trying that. Instead, they took Torah and piggybacked their new religion upon it.

These Jewish organizers, seeking self-aggrandizement, which traditional Judaism frowns upon, rationalized away the yoke of Torah and the values it imbues, by imputing to it inferior status, to give their own artificial code the boost it needed. They used miracles to impress their Gentile counterparts. And they gathered to them some ignorant Jews who simply knew no better. To be sure, not one of the thousands of sages living at the time sanctioned this affair. Nor, to be sure, was any one of them approached for consultation for what certainly would appear as idiotic; Like a thief asking a bank manager permission to rob the bank.

Thus began the new religion that regarded the basis of the former religion as "old" and the new writings, which promoted a "fresh" view, as the "new" one. The rationale was that the previous code was divine, of course, only that now divinity took a new course, and those following the "old" course were missing out and not "getting it".

Did the ruse work? Most certainly; Many indeed were mesmerized. And until today, that which a fringe Jewish element began in rebellion, transformed into a leviathan walking on its own.

The Essence of Torah

Of course, there’s nothing “old” about the original testament. Calling it "old" denigrates its author, the creator of the universe, for the implication of obsolescence also implies a rejection of God's omnipotence and omnipresence, as if God could not produce perfection from the start, or could not foresee future conditions. In fact, by making this claim - they unwittingly admit God could make yet another such "mistake" that would require a 3rd testament once the prior two, which includes theirs, become obsolete.

A more fitting name for the original testament would be “The Living Testament”. Even more fitting is the translation of its Hebrew name, Torah -– “The Manual [of Life]”. God, Who creates the world continuously, had given the world, through His representative people, His eternal testament and will, through which He can guide His creation and whereby they, in turn, can remain faithful to Him in their daily interactions.

Torah serves as the framework from which mankind must draw its behavioral guidelines – forever. This book is absolutely perfect. It never underwent revision and never will. The work of an infinite God needs no revision (Eccl. 3:14). The words in Torah today are the same words God dictated to Moses over the course of 40 years, in the desert South of Israel, between the years 2448 - 2488 [since creation].

Jewish people today, e.g., Yemenite Jews, who until recently had been separated by millennia and by continents from their brethren in Europe, possess the exact same Torah, down to the last letter.

All of Jewish literature, which was produced in the whole world over the millennia, stands as a vast, upside-down pyramid standing on its tip. The tip holds it all up. That tip is the one, single premise - that Torah is infallible and eternal. Find one mistake in it, and the entire logical structure would come crashing down.

All Jewish books on code of law, all writings of the sages, former and latter, all customs and all oral tradition in everyday life in every corner of the world, the prayer books of every synagogue, every book in schools of Torah learning - all these mountains of Hebrew/Judaic literature (for Jews are prolific thinkers and writers) - stand on the one essential premise: That every Hebrew word in Torah, every letter therein, every punctuation, cantillation and mathematical attribute, the shape of every letter, including the "serifs" of each letter - depend on one unalterable, solitary absolute truth - that Torah and its oral tradition are perfect.

All of Jewish (orthodox) literature would fold like a house of cards were merely one fact in Torah proven to be false. There would be no point in upholding Torah, for perfection cannot embrace even a slight error. For example, if one day a species is found with split hooves but does not chew its cud, other than the swine, Torah would be deemed worthless. For Torah specifies that only the pig, of all species in the entire universe, has these two features. By the same token, were they ever to discover a fish with scales but no fins (Niddah 51b), or, for that matter, an animal with horns without split hooves, then too you may as well reject the entire Torah, for our sages assert this fact based on Torah, and if they were found wanting, all of Talmud and Torah should be discredited. Torah informed us of these facts millennia before taxonomists came upon the investigative scene, and, as far as the ocean is concerned, we haven't explored even 5% of its vast domain. But Jewish thought will not wait nor be hindered for lack of factual evidence meantime because, as said before, Torah facts are taken as true, with or without the evidence.

For those faithful to God, this colossal, ongoing, worldwide, Jewish confidence in God is merely a sign of God's omnipresence. For how could it be otherwise; Were God not to have this universal mandate, how would that look for Him?

There will always be detractors of Torah but this too derives from the benevolence of God. For were it absolutely universally accepted, then what free choice would remain for men to find reason to reject it? God wants man to think for himself and make choices, unlike the dog who given two opposite choices, would always choose the predictable one.

What does Torah tell us about the formation of new religions? It forewarns anyone who gets the bright idea to modify any of it. God warns us in Torah, "Do not to add to it nor subtract from it" (Deut. 4:2, 13:1) That command is an eternal obligation. Implying Torah has built-in obsolescence not only subtracts from it, but a replacement for it subtracts all of Torah, let alone that it belittles the greatness of The Creator and shuns His commands!

There is more than just audacity that hides behind the drive to antiquate Torah. It maneuvers to undermine the unity, perfection and goodness of G-d, as well as His Jewish nation and Judaism. Christian worshippers in our current era may not sense this because they no longer get offended by Judaism or Jews, as they used too centuries before, but surely the upper echelons of the church have to sense this. They claim that they are the beneficent and God in Torah is less so; They have the answers and God in Torah no longer does.

Torah naysayers have no shame to defy G-d, defy His eternity, His perfection and oneness; They defy His people, defy His plan for Israel as the ultimate Jewish homeland, defy the status of Jerusalem, defy the eventual rebuilding of the Temple and defy the Jewish Messiah. Their own agenda supersedes the God of Torah’s agenda.

What would be the right lesson for Gentiles to learn from Torah? I discuss this here.

Just as a producer of complicated machinery offers a user’s manual on how best to use his product, so too G-d gave guidelines to mankind -– all of mankind –- how best to have a good world and a good life. That manual is the Torah. It speaks for Jews and Gentiles alike.

Noah and his family, the progenitors of humanity, after “The Great Flood” in 1657, received 7 laws to live by –- the “Seven Noahide Laws”. On the other hand, Jews received 613 laws from the Torah.

Jews are special in G-d’s eyes because of a mission He gave them. They are meant to be His nation of Priests. They have the obligation to enlighten a world caught up in spiritual darkness. Jews are G-d’s lamplighters, teachers of Torah, an eternal people/nation vested with the responsibility to convey the 7 Noahide laws to the other peoples of the world. To be sure, it was not a glorious task during anti-semitic times. But today, when persecution of Jews has much abated, it becomes a less onerous task to undertake.

Yes, Torah is old; In fact, it’s now 3,324 years old; But it’s as relevant for everyone today as the day it was first given. It is a blueprint for contemporary living.

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