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October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘christianity’

Is Christianity’s Notion of Abortion Based on Mistranslated Text?

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

For four decades abortion has dominated the social values-debate in America and deeply divided our nation into factions of pro-life and pro-choice. This year Republicans paid a huge price at the ballot box for extreme positions, like not allowing abortion even in the case of incest or rape, with two Republican Senate candidates going so far as to speak of ‘legitimate rape’ and divinely-sanctioned pregnancies that result from rape.

What is lost in this discussion are the Biblical underpinnings of abortion and how this is not primarily a legal issue but a religious one. Opponents of abortion do not look to the Constitution to cement their opposition but the Bible, and, as such, it is worth reviewing the Biblical text pertaining to abortion, which yields surprising results.

The Hebrew Bible makes only one reference to abortion, and this is by implication. Exodus 21:22-23 states: “And if two men strive together and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow, he shall be surely fined, accordingly as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, though shalt give life for life.”

There is a significant parting of the ways in the interpretation of this passage between Judaism and Catholicism which will, in turn, mark the much more lenient rulings on abortion of the former and the much more severe views of the latter.

According to the ancient Rabbis, the text is to be read simply as written. The Bible talks of a woman who is hurt by a man in a fight and loses her child. Monetary restitution is paid for her miscarriage. But if the woman dies, then one must take a life for a life. The passage does not say that a fetus is alive but that the mother is.

The words if “no harm follows” the ”hurt” to the woman refers to the survival of the woman following her miscarriage. In that case, there is no capital guilt involved since the woman did not die and the fetus is not considered to be fully alive. The attacker is therefore merely liable to pay compensation for the loss of her “fruit,” her fetus. “But,” the Bible continues,” if any harm follow,” i.e., if the woman, rather than her fetus, is fatally injured, then the man responsible for her death has to “give life for life.”

The interpretation is straightforward and matches the Hebrew original precisely. According to the Jewish interpretation the Bible only says that the woman, rather than her fetus, is living.

This interpretation that a fetus is not fully alive and the destruction of a fetus does not carry a death penalty is also borne out by the rabbinical interpretation of the verse defining the law of murder: ”He that smiteth a man, so that he dieth, shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21:12), which the rabbis construed to mean “a man, but not a fetus.”

These passages clearly indicate that the killing of an unborn child is not considered as murder.

But the Christian tradition disputing this view goes back to a mistranslation in the Septuagint, the early Greek translation of the Bible that sometimes contains significant errors (see my book Kosher Jesus for a comprehensive list). There, the Hebrew for ”no harm follow” was replaced by the Greek for “[her child be born] imperfectly formed.”

This interpretation, distinguishing between an unformed and a formed fetus and branding the killing of the latter as murder, was accepted by Tertullian and by later church fathers and was subsequently embodied as canon law and in Justinian law. In the Christian interpretation, therefore, both parts of the verse are referring not to the mother’s life, but to the fetus’s. And the verse concludes you must ‘give life for life,’ meaning, a fetus is fully alive and destroying a fetus constitutes murder punishable by death.

This is the source for the Catholic position of viewing a fetus’s life as being the equal of a mother’s life and, therefore, even if the mother’s life is at risk one cannot perform an abortion as it constitutes murder.

Judaism, however, strongly disputes this interpretation which is not faithful to the Hebrew original. Therefore, the Talmud declares (Ohalos 7:6): If a woman is in hard travail [and her life cannot otherwise be saved], one cuts up the child in her womb and extracts it member by member, because her life comes before that of the [the child]. But if the greater part [or the head] was delivered, one may not touch it, for one may not set aside one person’s life for the sake of another.” A fetus is only alive when it is born, not before.

The Messiah Ain’t JeZeus, That’s for Sure!

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

In response to yesterday’s blog about Mashiach, I received a few questions about Jezeus, the heralded Xtian messiah, so before continuing with our discussion about the true Jewish Mashiach, I will try to shatter this terrible Xtian myth that has plunged mankind into darkness for the last 2000 years. Hopefully, this knowledge will give you the ammunition you need should you encounter one of the Jews for Jezeus missionaries who are crawling like cockroaches all over the globe in search of hapless Jewish victims.

It is explained in the Talmud that the first missionary, the “one from Nazereth,” was a student of Rabbi Yehushua ben Prachia, one of the great Sages of the time and leader of the Great Assembly. Traveling together on a journey, they stopped at a lodge along the way. After a lady innkeeper attended to their needs in a diligent fashion, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Prachia praised her for honoring Torah scholars in the appropriate manner. Pure and saintly as he was, he remarked in an innocent fashion, “How pleasant this innkeeper is.” The commentator Rashi explains his remark as referring to, “her deeds.” However, the “Nazereth” jumped up and exclaimed, “But her eyes aren’t pretty!”

When Rabbi Yehoshua ben Prachia heard his student say this, he proclaimed, “Evil person! You are preoccupied with this!?” meaning looking at women. And he drove him away in the most severe manner, as the Talmud records, “He thrust the Nazereth away with both hands” (Sotah, 47A).

In his lectures about the Mashiach at the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook, of blessed memory, explained that the Sages of the Talmud deliberately stated that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Prachia “thrust the Nazereth away with both hands,” as opposed to pushing him away with the left hand and drawing him close with the right, in the usual educational manner. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Prachia reacted in this emphatic way in thrusting the “Nazereth” away to show that he was clearly not the Mashiach.

The task of the Mashiach (or the Messiah, as he is known in English) is to save the Jews from its enemies and rebuild the Nation of Israel, yet the followers of Jezeus have slaughtered millions and millions of Jews and done everything in their power to keep Israel lowly and weak. Referring to Christianity’s renegade founder, the great Jewish Torah Sage, the Rambam (also known to the English-speaking world as Maimonides), writes:

“Can there be a greater stumbling block than this one? All of the Prophets spoke of the Mashiach as the redeemer of Israel, and as its savior, who would gather their dispersed, and strengthen their observance of the commandments, while this one caused the annihilation of Israel by the sword, and caused their remnants to be scattered and scorned. He caused the Torah to be altered, and brought the majority of the world to err, and to serve a god other than the Lord” (Rambam, Laws of Kings and Their Wars, 11:4, see the uncensored edition of Mossad HaRav Kook Publications).

Thus, if you come across a missionary for Jezeus, you have permission from the Talmud and from the Rambam to thrust him away with both hands.

The prohibition against idol worship tops the list of the Ten Commandments. No one is allowed to make or worship a graven image. As the Rambam explains, “The essential principle concerning idolatry is that people are not to worship anything created – neither angel, planet, star, the elements, or something derived from them” (Rambam, Laws of Idol Worship, Ch.9).

This includes great golden Buddhas, Hindu monkey gods, totem poles, statues of Jezeus, and the like. I would post a few photos in illustration, but it is even forbidden to gaze upon the picture of an idolatrous figure, as it says, “Turn not after their idols” (Vayikra, 19:4. See Rambam, 2:2, loc. cited).

In his writings on Christianity, which he calls, “Minut,” Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook explains that it began as a breakaway sect of Judaism which grew in influence and ultimately led the world astray with its doctrines. He categorizes it as idol worship, and says that its founder brought the majority of the world to err by serving a god other than the Almighty. By abandoning the mitzvot, Christianity enshrouded the world in a seemingly legitimate offshoot of idol worship. While imitating many of Judaism’s values and beliefs, Christianity actually led the world away from the true service of God.

Suspended For Being Too Jewish?

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

http://notajew-jew.com/?p=55

My earliest thought of Judaism came in Catholic school, when I cussed out my grade three teacher for being an anti-Semite.

I was no Biblical expert at the age of nine, but even my cursory understanding of the Bible told me that Christians had a heck of a lot in common with Jews.  But my grade four brain, trapped in a grade three class, couldn’t yet formulate the brilliant observations of a Dennis Prager or Rabbi Joseph Telushkin about the Jewish foundation of ethical monotheism that Christians and the rest of the world inherited.  Or the passionate Christian defense of Judaism from the great Pastor John Hagee (for whom I have had the great honor of writing; more on that later).  No, I just stood up and cussed out my grade three teacher for crapping on Jews.

Perhaps that was the first indication of my latent Jewish tendencies: not what I said to my teacher, but my instinct to stand up and say it.  Outspokenness.  A rather Jewish trait, I’m told, which did not serve me well at any level of school, anywhere (I bounced around to every school in town, and to one of them twice).  Witness my suspension notice for “persistent opposition to authority,” and my Grade 3 report card, which observed that I have “a good religious knowledge but fails to relate to his peers due to his ‘superior’ attitude.”

So it appears, as early as grade three, that I was already exhibiting early-onset symptoms of “chosenness.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/not-a-jew-jew/suspended-for-being-too-jewish/2012/05/15/

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