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SANTA FEH

Don’t Let Santa Fool You

Just so the jolly little elves and white-bearded Santas don’t fool you, it pays to recall the truth about Christianity.
Israeli soldiers stand face-to-face with Palestinian protesters dressed as Santa Claus.

Israeli soldiers stand face-to-face with Palestinian protesters dressed as Santa Claus.
Photo Credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash 90

A friend just back from New York says it’s beginning to look a lot like Xmas everywhere you go. Xmas trees, manger scenes, Salvation Army Santas, stockings and candy canes in window displays along Fifth Avenue, Jingle Bells tinkling in the stores…. Frankly, I don’t understand how any self-respecting Jew can live in a Christian country like America when he could live in Israel instead. It baffles me.

Here, in Yerushalayim, our pleasant Hanukah menorah decorations are lit up over our streets. There’s absolutely no sign of Xmas at all. In fact, if you didn’t get lost on the way to Rachel’s Tomb and end up in Bethlehem on Xmas day itself, you’d never know that such a pagan holiday existed. Thank the good Lord that my kids don’t have to walk the streets of America at this time of year and feel like second-class citizens amongst the idol worshippers. I challenge someone to disagree with me if I’m wrong.

Just so the jolly little elves and white-bearded Santas don’t fool you, it pays to recall the truth about Christianity.

During the midst of World War 1, Rabbi Kook understood that Christianity was to blame for all the slaughter:

“The moral repression found in the profane culture which exerted vast dominion over the nations, brought oppression to their hearts, and caused evil traits, diseases, and anger to multiply and be pent up in the depths of their souls. And now these are erupting their fetters through the horrendously bloody and awesomely cruel wars, which are more in keeping with their still unrefined natures” (Orot, 2:4).

Rabbi Kook comes to explain how an enlightened, industrialized, and cultured Europe could unleash such destructive barbaric forces that brought the world to war. What went wrong?

The “profane culture” he writes about which has come to dominate Western civilization is the outgrowth of Christianity, whose doctrines of repression have now burst through Christianity’s outer guise of gentility and brotherhood in a monstrous storm of violence and hate. This is because, in denying the Torah and its commandments, Christianity separated mankind from the true ladder to God. Unlike the constant self-correction and moral improvement demanded by the Torah, through the hard work of perfecting character traits, Christianity’s false show of morals, and instant salvation for belief in its virgin-born messiah, proved impotent in uplifting man’s baser traits. Only the Torah has the unique power to refine man’s nature. All other disciplines, whether religious, secular, or philosophical, can add to man’s quantitative knowledge, but they cannot effect any inner change.

Christian civilization, and the profane secular culture which grew out from it, know what is evil, but does not know how to correct it. It learned about morals from the Hebrew Bible, but in cutting itself off from Israel and the commandments of the Torah, it severed mankind from the one and only path to God and true morality. It left man simmering in darkness in a cauldron of unrefined passions and lusts which finally exploded in the devastating world wars of the previous century.

Judaism, in contrast, presents a practical path and down-to-earth guidance to character perfection. Our Sages teach us how to actualize the proper midot (character traits) in our lives, defining the measure of each and every trait, and their proper time and place. For example, in his “Introduction to the Mishna,” the Rambam presents his famous doctrine of “the Middle Path,” whereby man reaches a balance between the extremes, not repressing his baser emotions like lust and cruelty, but learning to give each emotion its proper expression in the proper time and place, so that sexuality becomes a holy union between man and wife, and cruelty is called upon when uprooting the wicked from the world.

“L’havdil” a thousand thousands of differences, Christianity, under a guise of holiness, condemns man’s natural passions from birth. But mankind cannot adhere to the repression of character traits that Christianity imposes, because it does not provide man with a true means to holiness and moral refinement. Cut off from the Torah, Christianity breeds a culture which dooms man to guilt, aggression, and a festering rage which explodes in violence and war.

Inevitably, the target of the world’s murderous rage turns against the Jews. Behind the hatred for Israel lies the recognition that it was the Jewish People who introduced the Divine moral framework to the world. Cut off from the true word of God, mankind remains in its barbaric state. The Divine moral message of Israel is received as an obligation and burden. Mankind wants to wallow in an uninhibited sensual and material lifestyle. The Jewish People get in the way by reminding the world of God and the allegiance due Him. Unable to kill the beasts within themselves, the gentiles resort to killing the Jews.

Although Rabbi Kook was unequivocal in his condemnation of Christianity, it is important to note that he never encouraged open conflict with its doctrines. He advocated that other religions be enlisted in the universal task of leading the world to God:

“As to alien faiths, I will tell you my opinion, that it is not the goal of Israel to uproot and destroy them, just as we do not aim for the general destructions of the nations, but rather for their correction and elevation, the removal of their dross, that they will link themselves with the source of Israel, where dew drops of light and blessing will fall over them, as it says, ‘I will take away the blood form out of his mouth, and his detestable things from between his teeth, and he too shall remain for our God’” (Zechariah, 9:7. See “Letters of Rabbi Kook” 112).

Only in the near future, when Israel’s light shines in its full glory from the Land of Israel, will the nations realize that the true enlightenment and joy is not in Santas and fairy tales from Bethlehem, but in the Torah of Israel, and then they will rush gladly to the Lord’s House in Jerusalem to learn the ways of Jacob, and “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah, 2:2-4).

May it be soon. Amen.

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." For the past several years, he has written a popular and controversial blog at Arutz 7. A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press


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8 Responses to “Don’t Let Santa Fool You”

  1. Roy Neal Grissom says:

    As an identifying Noachide (for 22 years now), I will never understand the attitude that "Xianity is a terrible, awful religion, but it's okay for non-Jews." Did I do something wrong by leaving Xianity for Noachidism? Are non-Jews "supposed to be" Xians (so long as it is an "elevated" kind?). The ultimate fulfillment may await Mashiach HaMelekh (and I don't deny this), but what about those of us who become Noachides prior to that time? Are we supposed to return to Xianity? Stop educating our family and friends? Or maybe we should just go away?

    If you're going to condemn Xianity in such stark language, then commit to educating non-Jews about the Laws of Noach. If you're not going to do this, then what is the point of such articles as this?

    For the record, I'm very condemnatory of Xianity myself. But I don't immediately add "It's all right; it just needs to be elevated."

  2. Robert Birdwell says:

    Hummm… Xews are beginning to sound a lot like Xuslims.

    If you can't include "Christ" in "Christmas," then don't write it at all, XXXhole!

  3. I am a christian. But I grieve at this time of year. Christmas (Christ day) originated with the early Catholic church as a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. I'll never understand why it was done since your birthday was of no great significance during the time of the Roman Empire. Be that as it may, in modern times Santa Claus, elves and reindeer have all but replaced the original meaning of Christmas, much the same way as the Easter Bunny has, in many christian homes, superceeded the death, burial and resurrection of this same Jesus. When I was a child it was fun to celebrate Christmas. But as a mature christian it grieves me to know that while the fantasy stories of Santa, reindeer, elves and the North Pole are repeated to children every year not much is really said about the birth of Christ. To that extent I would agree that Christianity has allowed pagan beliefs to enter into the mainstream of our beliefs.

  4. Don Mcglaun says:

    As a Christian, I must admit much of what this writer says is true. I love my country, but as an American I can see the country becomming more pagan. There's no denying Christmas, for most, has ceased to be about the birth of our Saviour and instead become the single biggest commercial event of the year. And yes, thru the centuries countless wars have been fought in the name of Christianity. Don't tar all professing Christians with the same brush. Whether or not you believe in Jesus, know that He did not teach His followers to behave as many have behaved down thru the centuries. Just as the Jews and the Torah have been distorted, so have Christians. Remember, we too believe The Messiah will set up His world Kingdom in Jerusalem. Jesus did not teach us that because we believed in Him as the Messiah we replaced the Jews as His People. The Jews and Israel have and always will be God"s Chosen People; and He will curse those that curse you and bless those that bless you.

  5. Liad Bar-el says:

    “The History of Christmas”.
    http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm

    Moses Nachmanides and The Debate in Barcelona, Spain, 1263.

    The most famous of all Jewish-Christian disputations was between the apostate Jew Pablo Christiani and Moses Nachmanides (the Ramban).

    Nachmanides argued that the central issue separating Christianity and Judaism was not the issue of Zezus’ messiahship, but whether or not “Zezus” was divine. There was no basis in Judaism, Nachmanides said, for believing in the divinity of the Messiah or, indeed, of any man. To Nachmanides, it seemed most strange "that the Creator of heaven and earth resorted to the womb of a certain Jewess and grew there for nine months and was born as an infant, and afterwards grew up and was betrayed into the hands of his enemies who sentenced him to death and executed him, and that afterwards… he came to life and returned to his original place. The mind of a Jew, or any other person, cannot tolerate this." Nachmanides told the Spanish monarch, "You have listened all your life to priests who have filled your brain and the marrow of your bones with this doctrine, and it has settled with you because of that accustomed habit." Had King James heard these ideas propounded for the first time when he was already an adult, Nachmanides implied, he never would have accepted them.

    Other fakes like the tooth fairy, Bat Man & Robin and those who like to picture themselves like birds are from the family of The Joker for their beliefs are nothing but a joke.

  6. So like this one, Bobby- agreed!

  7. Benjamin Rau says:

    Seeing an Idol worshiped where the throne of Ha-Shem should be is better than santa clause and manger scenes how?

  8. Anonymous says:

    there is time for religion when your in your house and in private. religion and state don't mix with each other. that's the difference of free and modern.
    countrys in western europe and dicatorships like israel.

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Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
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