As Jeremy returns from his cross country tour, he and Ari discuss the historically unparalleled phenomenon of Torah studying gentiles who love Israel and the Jewish people. What is at the core of this movement? What is the motivation? Tune in as Ari and Jeremy address both the harmony and the tension that this revolution is bringing to the world.The Land of Israel
Posts Tagged ‘gentiles’
The battle lines are drawn. Some Orthodox Rabbis say that we should try to bring reform Jews closer to Torah. Other Orthodox Rabbis relate to them like lepers out to destroy Judaism. If you want to know where I stand, I love reform Jews. First of all, many of them aren’t Jewish at all, and the Torah teaches us to love all people, even gentiles. Rabbi Kook writes:
“The heart must be filled with love for all: for all of Creation, for all mankind.
“Love must embrace every single individual, regardless of differences in views on religion, or differences of race, or country.
“Hatred may be directed only toward the evil and filth in the world. We must realize that the kernel of life, in its inherent light and holiness, never leaves the Divine Image in which mankind was created, and with which each person and nation is endowed” (Midot Ha’Riyah, Ahavah).
Certainly, if we should have a love for gentiles, we should love gentiles who think they are Jews.
For instance, I have a relative who divorced his Jewish wife and married a non-Jew, who had some kind of reform “conversion” which, of course, didn’t make her a Jew. They had a child, who, of course, wasn’t a Jew, but even though the child never had a Jewish education, his parents told him that he was a Jew. When he grew up, he married a Jewish girl, and they joined a reform congregation. Their children are Jews since the mother is Jewish. He became the president of his congregation, even though he is a gentile. America is loaded with mixed up situations like this.
Beyond the walls of the Orthodox world in America, it is becoming impossible to know who is Jewish and who is pretending, even though he or she believes it for real. Nonetheless, according to Rabbi Kook, even though this relative of mine isn’t Jewish, I should love him all the same. And even though his Jewish wife is a reform Jew, I should love her too. And that love should extend to their Jewish children as well, even though they are reform Jews.
The truth is, I love all Jews.
I love good Jews and I love bad Jews. I love fat Jews and I love skinny Jews. I love reform Jews and deformed Jews, progressive Jews and regressive Jews. I love assimilated Jews and Jews who have married gentiles. I love homosexual Jews and lesbian Jews. I love leftist Jews and Peace Now Jews. I love Jews who call me nasty names and Jews who say I’m a lousy writer. I even love Diaspora Jews. Some people say I’m too hard on them, but that’s because I love them so much.
If you see a blind man about to fall off a cliff, you yell out to warn him, right? What is this similar to? If a person who never heard about heart transplants wandered into the operating room of a hospital and saw a team of doctors removing the heart of a patient, he’d think they were monsters trying to kill him – but the very opposite is the case. The surgeons are trying to save him. It’s the same thing with me. Precisely out of the passionate love I feel for my brothers and sisters in exile, I try to open their eyes.
Since the Three Weeks are approaching when we mourn the destruction of Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash, this is a good time to stir up the embers of the love we feel for our fellow Jews, even the reform Jews amongst us. Rabbi Kook taught that since the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed because of senseless hatred, it will be rebuilt by gratuitous love.
In truth, most reform Jews are people who don’t mean any harm. They never learned anything about real Judaism, so they don’t know better. They don’t observe the commandments, not out of spite, but because they don’t believe that the Torah was really given by G-d, or they don’t believe that religion should have laws, or for whatever other reason, how errant it may be.
The problem arises with the “professional” reform Jews who wage a campaign against real Judaism. They go out of their way to wage a war against the Orthodox world and its time-honored traditions. These are the reform Jews that are rightly seen as destroyers. But Rabbi Kook teaches that we should even love them – not for the evil in them, but for the good which exists in all people. He writes:
“Though our love for people must be all-inclusive, embracing the wicked as well, this in no way blunts our hatred for evil itself – on the contrary, it strengthens it. For it is not because of the dimension of evil clinging to a person that we include him in our love, but because of the good in him, which our love tells us is to be found in everyone. Since we separate the dimension of the good in him, in order to love him for it, our hatred for the evil becomes unwavering and absolute.
“It is proper to hate a corrupt person only for his defects, but insofar as he is endowed with a Divine Image, it is proper to love him.”
In other words, we can disagree with a reform Jew and even despise his opinions, but we should love him for his connection to the Jewish Nation. In the same light, the evil actions of a Jewish homosexual or child molester should be loathed as abominations, but the person himself should still be loved for the Divine Image he shares with the rest of mankind, and for his connection to Clal Yisrael (the Community of Israel). If, for instance, a Rabbi or an Israeli politician succumbs to an evil inclination and inner sickness of the soul that drives him to engage in sexual transgression, his evil actions should be despised, but this should not negate our love for the good that surely exists in him as well.
Rabbi Kook explains:
“The pious of the generation, lofty holy men, must disregard any deficiency or flaw in every Jewish soul that is in any way attached to the Rock from which it was hewn. Instead, they must strive to raise up the point of connection to Clal Yisrael that exists in every individual soul to its heights and exalted holiness. Nothing can diminish our unlimited love for the Nation, the source of our life, as it says: ‘He has not seen beheld iniquity in Yaacov, nor has He seen perverseness in Israel’” (Orot, Orot HaTechiyah, 24).
So, as the period of the Three Weeks approaches, let’s try to love one another as much as we can, reform and Diaspora Jews included.Tzvi Fishman
Rabbis have been busy preparing the traditional Birkat Kohanim, the Blessing of the Priests, set for Thursday.
One of the most moving events in the entire holiday, Jews and Gentiles alike flock to the Western Wall from around the world to be present for the blessing.
The benediction is given solely by Jewish males who are descended from kohanim – those who are in the patriarchal line from members of the priestly class dating all the way back to the time of the ancient Holy Temples. Those who recite the blessing cover themselves (and any children they may have with them) with their prayer shawls, spreading out the shawl in such a way so that they are unseen by others as they recite the benediction.
The blessing at the Western Wall is recited during the morning service by thousands of Kohanim during Chol Hamoed, the intermediate days of the festival of Passover. It is also recited during the intermediate days of the festival of Sukkot.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews come to visit and pray at the Western Wall in the Old City in Jerusalem during this holiday, and many arrive only for the purpose of being present to receive this special blessing.Hana Levi Julian
In this morning’s video pick, a recording of the late Christopher Hitchens discussing the inherently immoral notion of someone dying for someone else’s sins, a kind of spiritual cannibalism, really, reader Alex Rivera entered the comment: “I take it the editor has never read Isaiah 53…”
Since Isaiah 53 is being used as one of the foundation strategies of missionary tricksters in seeking proof for their pagan ideas in our holy scriptures, I decided to respond immediately, lest this drivel have a chance to spread further.
Now, this article is directed at both Jewish and Christian readers, as an attempt to set the record straight. If you’re a Jew, I expect this should satisfy any doubt you may have had regarding the most remote possibility that the missionary claims bear any validity; if you’re Christian, I hope that this would serve as an opening to explore further the deep seated errors of your faith.
Isaiah 53 is an amazing piece of poetry, besides bearing a stirring prophetic message. I cannot understand how one would be able to get it without a thorough knowledge of Hebrew – even if he or she don’t have preconceived notions about the Christian message. This is precisely why the missionaries are able to fool our Jewish brothers and sisters who aren’t fluent in Hebrew – but now they can all come to the JewishPress.com and see the Jewish version of Isaiah 53.
To start, the original Hebrew texts had no chapters, and we read them based on their content, referring to each as a distinct episode, or a distinct poem, with their own cohesive content.
The segment in Isaiah 53 actually starts in Isaiah 52:13, flowing into Isaiah 53:1:
52:13 goes: “Behold, My slave has become wise, he has risen and become superior and very high.”
The nation of Israel, in the singular, is called God’s slave throughout the book of Isaiah. In one particular verse, Isaiah 41:8, the text refers to our nation using both names of our patriarch: “And you Israel, my slave Jacob whom I have chosen, seed of Abraham my lover.”
Both Isaiah and Jeremiah use the term “My slave Jacob” six times, four of them with the Divine’s call to “fear not.”
In both cases, the prophets are borrowing the names of our forefather Jacob-Israel, whom God addresses with that calming call on the eve of his journey down to Egypt, in the context of his becoming a great nation, the nation of Israel:
“He said, I am God, the God of your father, fear not going down to Egypt for I shall turn you into a great nation there.” (Gen. 46:3)
So that there’s no doubt in any Hebrew reader’s mind that the prophetic poem in Isaiah 52-53 is referring to us, the nation of Israel, children of Jacob. Nothing here about some guy telling folks he is the messiah.
The scene described by Isaiah is that of the nations of the world, kings and all, who are reviewing the progress of the nation of Israel—very much the way they do today, when 9 out of 9 UN resolutions are against Israel, when the president of the United States and his secretary of state cannot tear themselves away from discussing the extra bathroom the Berkowitzes wish to construct in their East Jerusalem apartment, when the faraway, impoverished nation of Iran is devoting $175 billion, at last count, to build a weapon that would finally annihilate all the Jews of Israel – this is precisely what the prophet describes, this obsession of the entire world with the children of God.
And so, God shares His own report with them:
52:13 “Behold, My slave has become wise, he has risen and become superior and very high.”
God proceeds to describe our history:
52:14-15 “Just as many were appalled by your appearance, saying: he is so disfigured, worse than any man, and his form worse than any human being, so he will humiliate many nations, kings will stand speechless over him, for that which had not been told them they’ll see and that which they had not heard they’ll ponder.”
The prophet continues:
53:1 “Who would believe what we have heard, and to whom has God’s arm been revealed?”Yori Yanover
Rosemary Bernardi, a 7-year member of the Evesham, NJ, school board, has issued an apology for remarks she made at the May 23 board meeting that were called insensitive and discriminatory, according to the website South Jersey Local News.
Bernardi emailed the following statement on May 27 to her fellow board members:
“Let me begin by expressing my heartfelt apology to the people of Evesham Township for my remarks at the school board meeting. Categorizing individuals on the basis of their religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation has no place in our society, and most especially in our public discourse.”
It all started, apparently, with a board discussion of moving the first day of the next school year from Friday, Sept. 6, to Monday, Sept. 9, because the 6th coincides with the second day of the two-day Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah.
First of all, like most of you, I’m sure, I have to say I didn’t realize Rosh Hashanah is coming so early this year. Second, it doesn’t look to me like such a big deal, starting school on Monday instead of on Friday. In fact, who starts anything on a Friday? Let the folks—Jews and non-Jews—stay on the shore until Sunday night, like human beings, and then make them drive home in bumper-to-bumper traffic the way God intended.
At the meeting, Bernardi objected to changing the school calendar, because she thought it would affect all the students just in order to accommodate a few students.
But the way Bernardi said it is what got the good people of Evesham all riled up. She has been accused of having singled out those few students by calling them “Jews.”
That’s right. She had the audacity to call students who attend Rosh Hashanah services by the J word.
As a person who has been addressed by that word so many times, I know how it must feel when a public official actually uses it to define an entire group of students. Shocking.
But that was not all. In a May 25 Philadelphia Inquirer article, Bernardi stated that she did mention at the meeting that there were five Jewish members on the board, which is why her attempt to keep school open on Rosh Hashanah “won’t happen on this board because there’s five members of the Jewish faith on this board. They have a majority.”
Incidentally, the school board vote on pushing the calendar to Monday resulted in two gentiles voting against, one gentile abstaining, and five Jews voting for the move.Yori Yanover