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Friday, May 9, 2008

How Many Lies Can You Spot in this Lying Rabbi's Lying Article published in a Lying Kosher-Catholic Journal?

Jewish Views of Other Faiths

By Rabbi Gilbert S. Rosenthal | MAY 19, 2008

America The National Catholic Weekly

P ope Benedict XVI’s recent revision of the “Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews” in the Latin text of the 1962 Good Friday liturgy set off a wave of questioning by puzzled Catholics and anxious concern among Jewish observers. Did the revival of language calling for the conversion of the Jewish people signify a departure from the ideals of the Second Vatican Council and its landmark document Nostra Aetate, which marked a radical change in the relationships between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people? Jews were wary of a return to preconciliar times, when the “teaching of contempt” marked the relationship between the two faiths. In restoring the 1962 liturgy, why did the pope not simply insert a Latin version of the lovely prayer adopted by Pope Paul VI and in use since 1970 in the vernacular services—a prayer that does not offend Jews and yet embodies the church’s hope for the union of the faiths at the end of days?

The concern expressed by Jewish leaders about a return to proselytizing Jews provoked two puzzling and unexpected reactions—one from Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, the other from Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. Cardinal George asked why Jews did not expunge passages in the Talmud that are insulting to Christians and refer to Jesus as a bastard. Cardinal Kasper reaffirmed “the freedom of Catholics to formulate our own prayers” and noted that “Jews have prayers in their liturgical texts that we don’t like.”

Are the charges true? Are there anti-Christian passages in the Talmud? Are there anti-Christian prayers in Jewish liturgy?

Censoring the Talmud

Over 5,800 pages long, the Talmud is a vast sea of learning that contains the opinions of thousands of rabbis, many of whom are not even named, on a variety of subjects, including law, lore, history, theology, ethics and many other topics. The Talmud does not represent authoritative law or theology or liturgy. There are perhaps four references to Jesus—all badly garbled, all written at least a century or two after his death. It is not at all clear if Jesus of Nazareth is even the intended subject of those citations.

In 1240, when Rabbi Yehiel of Paris had to defend the Talmud in a public disputation, he maintained that another man named Jesus, who lived a century before Jesus of Nazareth, was the subject of references in the Talmud. Jesus, after all, was the Greek name for Joshua, a common name at the time. In fact, Rabbi Yehiel argued, there was reference to another Jesus in the New Testament itself. But even if Jesus of Nazareth was the intended subject of some of these troubling passages, they reflect the opinion of one man, not the consensus of Jewish thought then or now.

Several polemical passages in the Talmud reflect the sharp controversies between rabbinic Judaism and the minim—a generic term that means “heretics or schismatic sects.” Whether the minim referred to in these passages are Judeo-Christians (Nazarenes, notzrim) or some other sect, like the gnostics, is not always clear from the text. Certain of these polemical passages were probably aimed at the new Jewish sect that split away from the synagogue and engaged in sharp theological and religious debates in the first centuries of the Common Era. Interestingly, the Talmud (Shabbat 116a-b) quotes only one passage from the New Testament, Mt 5:17—“I come not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.”

In any case, the heavy hands of the censors removed the offensive passages. Sparked by the vindictiveness of apostate Jews who, for whatever personal or psychological reasons, maligned their former faith, cartloads of copies of the Talmud (and other Hebrew books) were torched in Paris in 1242. This happened again in Italy in the years 1553 to 1559. Censorship of all Hebrew books was introduced and enforced by agents of the Inquisition, often ex-Jews who turned with mindless fury on their former faith. Frequently the censors deleted inoffensive material; sometimes they substituted absurd and ridiculous texts for the original.

In 1554 in Italy, as a result of the relentless attacks on Jewish writings and in order to preserve the ability to publish Hebrew texts, Jewish communities installed a system of self-censorship so that no book would be published in the community without the approval of three qualified rabbis. As a result, no European edition of the Talmud contains anti-Christian texts or anti-Jesus statements. Texts published in oriental lands, however, were not subject to censorship, and they continue to contain the few offensive passages. Current editions of the Talmud text published in Israel indicate in the footnotes the original texts and explain the reasons for their elimination.

Problematic Liturgical Passages

Turning to the Jewish liturgy, we find it is virtually free of any references to other faiths except paganism and idolatry. There is not a single reference to Christianity or Islam in all the prayers. Yes, there are prayers that some day pagans will cease worshiping idols and come to acknowledge the God of Israel, the Father and Creator of all human beings, but surely no Christian or Muslim would object to these expressions of hope for the future?

Cardinal Kasper may have been thinking of two problematic passages in the liturgy of past centuries. The 12th blessing in the daily Amidah prayer, the so-called blessing of the slanderers, reads currently: “May there be no hope for those who slander and malign us and may all evil be crushed and all evildoers disappear.” This is a very ancient prayer; it was revised and rewritten any number of times in antiquity. It may have initially been formulated in the days of the Maccabees as a curse against the Hellenizing Jews who betrayed their people and the God of Israel. Later on, it was applied to the traitors who went over to the Romans and spied on the Jewish people. It was revised yet again as a prayer against the various sects and cults that contended with rabbinic Judaism: the Samaritans, the Sadducees, the gnostics—and for a time, the notzrim, the Judeo-Christians. In time, however, those ancient Palestinian texts were discarded. The version I have cited is the one universally used in the synagogue liturgy today—as it has been for centuries.

The second problematic text is the well-known Aleinu prayer, recited at the close of every synagogue service since the 14th century. The prayer has been attributed to the distinguished Babylonian sage Rav and his school of liturgists, who worked in the early third century, although recent scholarship has demonstrated that the prayer predates Rav and may well go back to the time of the Jerusalem Temple. The text clearly expresses the hope that some day the pagans who worship idols will accept the God of Israel and, in the spirit of the Prophet Zechariah, will unite in serving the one God. The line that has generated controversy reads, “For they bow to vanity and emptiness and pray to a god who cannot save, whereas we bow and prostrate ourselves before the King of Kings.”

As there were few Christians in Babylonia with whom Rav (if indeed he was the author) came in contact, the prayer is obviously directed against pagans, not Christians. Moreover, the passage is a fusion of two verses from Isaiah, 30:7 and 45:20, words uttered centuries before the appearance of Christianity. Once again, apostate Jews ignited the controversy. They claimed that the numerical value of the Hebrew letters in the offending passage equals the name of Jesus. Other apostates went even further: they insisted that the numerical value of the phrase equals Jesus and Muhammad. Rabbi Lippmann Muelhausen in Germany successfully refuted this slander in 1399, but the matter refused to die. Finally, Frederick the Great of Prussia ordered the passage stripped from the liturgy in 1703, installing guards in the synagogues to confirm that the phrase was deleted. And so it has remained in European liturgy until today. The Italian rite changed the verb to the past tense, “For they used to bow to idols and pray to a god who cannot save,” etc. Jews from the Middle East and orient retained the original text. Current Israeli prayer books often restore the text, sometimes placing it within parentheses. But I doubt if many or even any interpret the text as directed against Christians or Muslims. Needless to say, Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Jewish prayer books have eliminated the passages in question.

Moving Forward

What conclusions may we draw from this information? Centuries ago, a few bizarre statements about Jesus and Christianity could be found among the tens of thousands of rabbinic statements. These passages, however, have been deleted for many centuries. A denunciation of the new Judeo-Christian sect possibly was inserted in the Palestinian liturgy perhaps 19 centuries ago, a reflection of the sharp and often bitter theological polemics that raged at the time. That passage, too, has been long banished. A line in the Aleinu prayer that was surely intended as criticism of paganism and may have been misconstrued by some was deleted.

But all of these controversial passages together are dwarfed by the oceans of anti-Jewish preaching and teachings that attacked Judaism from the first century on. John Chrysostom alone (fourth century) delivered eight vitriolic anti-Jewish sermons—and this comprised but a fraction of the literature.

No anti-Christian material was ever inserted in our most sacred liturgy on Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur, but the Good Friday service—one of the most sacred for Christians—codified anti-Jewish sentiment and, until 1962, slandered the “perfidious Jews,” who are blind to God’s truths and whose hearts are veiled to Jesus’ saving light.

It was not just the combination of external and internal censorship, however, that nudged Judaism to its stance. Jews concluded with the Prophet Malachi (3:10), that we all, indeed, have one Father, one God who has created us all. And the sages reasoned, perhaps as early as the second century, that “the righteous of all nations have a portion in the age to come” (Tosefta Sanhedrin 13:2). There should be no place in our liturgy or teachings or preaching for the demeaning of any other faith. This explains why Jews—and many Catholics—are so puzzled and disappointed by Pope Benedict’s changes to the 1962 liturgy. Does this return to a language of conversion reflect an erosion of the advances of Vatican II and its landmark documents, which have been part of the magisterium of the Catholic Church? Are we to forfeit the remarkable legacy of the late, lamented Pope John Paul II? We all pray that we will not retreat, but rather move forward in our relationship, the relationship of elder and younger brother, to borrow Pope John Paul II’s matchless language, so that we both may be a blessing to each other and “a blessing to the world.”


Rabbi Gilbert S. Rosenthal is the executive director of the National Council of Synagogues and the author and editor of 11 books, including Contemporary Judaism and The Many Faces of Judaism.



http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=10824

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aside from the verses shown in the labels at the bottom of this article, Maimonides clearly states in the Mishnah Torah Chapter 10that Christians and Jesus of Nazareth Himself are considered Minnim.

"The Talmud does not represent authoritative law or theology or liturgy."

The worst of this nebulous, relativized , normative nothingness was later codified in Shulkhan Aruch, Mishnah Torah and other Jewish Halakhah. The Zohar III, 282a refers to Esau, Ishmael, Jesus and Muhammad as dead dogs who reside amid filth and vermin.

During the Renaissance, copies of the Talmud began using code words for Christ, Christians, non-Judaics and apostate Judaics.

Anonymous said...

My apologies if this is slightly off topic, but can anybody here confirm with a specific reference whether or not the Kaballah teaches that Gentiles are "limbs of Satan"?

Anonymous said...

I hope that the person above posts precisely that comment on the site!

Here's one amusing post:

Parse Rosenthal's words carefully. His position is this: "There is nothing objectionable in the Talmud and rabbinical writings —but if you find something objectionable, it isn't really there." I am surprised that America would publish something so transparent that the most cursory investigation proves Rosenthal a deceiver.
By Pontian on May 10, 2008 at 11:30 AM

Anonymous said...

Is it possible for you to post downloadable scans of such gems as these below?

"... The rabbi constituted the projection of the divine on earth. Honor was due him more than to the scroll of the Torah, for through his learning and logic he might alter the very content of Mosaic revelation. He was Torah, not merely because he lived by it, but because at his best he constituted as compelling an embodiment of the heavenly model as did a Torah scroll itself." [Rabbi Jacob Neusner, "The Phenomenon of the Rabbi in Late Antiquity: II The Ritual of 'Being a Rabbi' in Later Sasanian Babylonia," Numen, Vol.17, Fasc. 1., Feb., 1970, pp.3-4]

"On the surface, Scripture plays little role in the Mishanaic system, The Mishnah rarely cites a verse of Scripture, refers to Scripture as an entity, links its own ideas to those of Scripture, or lays claim to originate in what Scripture has said, even by indirect or remote allusion to a Scriptural verse of teaching... Formally, redactionally, and linguistically the Mishnah stands in splendid isolation from Scripture....the Mishnah constitutes torah. It too is a statement of revelation, 'Torah revealed to Moses at Sinai.' But this part of revelation has come down in a form different from the well-known, written part, the Scripture. This tradition truly deserves the name 'tradition,' because for a long time it was handed down orally, not in writing, until given the written formulation now before us in the Mishnah.... Since some of the named authorities in the chain of tradition appear throughout the materials of the Mishnah, the claim is that what these people say comes to them from Sinai through the processes of qabbalah and massoret --handing down 'traditioning.' So the reason... that the Mishnah does not cite Scripture is that it does not have to." [Rabbi Jacob Neusner, The Mishnah: A New Translation. New Haven CT: Yale University Press, 1988. pp. xxxv-xxxvi]

Joe O said...

There is not enough space here to list his lies. What I find interesting are his amazing admissions about the Talmud being intentionally censored by the rabbis so as not to around suspicion amongst Christians

Anonymous said...

It would be a good thing for the editor's mailbox to be full of erudite critical commentary. You can use the comment box, but should also use email:

letters@americamagazine.org,
articles@americamagazine.org,
subscriptions@americamagazine.org,
development@americamagazine.org,
cbc@americamagazine.org,
ads@americamagazine.org,
reprints@americamagazine.org,
AdvertAsst@americamagazine.org,
reviews@americamagazine.org,
businessoffice@americamagazine.org,
america@americamagazine.org,
jesuit@americamagazine.org

Anonymous said...

...and you can also exhort the SS ("...those who say they are... but are not, and do lie):

rabbi@templeisrael-lawrence.org, info@templeisrael-lawrence.org, cantor@templeisrael-lawrence.org, religiousschooldirector@templeisrael-lawrence.org, totspot@templeisrael-lawrence.org, mjkatz@earthlink.net, kzuckerman@cullenanddykman.com, wgoldberg@cox.net, barbatarnan@fivetownsjcc.org, liz@templeisrael-lawrence.org, info@rabbinicalassembly.org, jmeyers@rabbinicalassembly.org, eschoenberg@rabbinicalassembly.org, jkaufman@rabbinicalassembly.org, jschonfeld@rabbinicalassembly.org, agottlieb@rabbinicalassembly.org, lfeld@rabbinicalassembly.org, sgunther@rabbinicalassembly.org, hbrowne@rabbinicalassembly.org, cjls@rabbinicalassembly.org, jklor@rabbinicalassembly.org, pneiman@rabbinicalassembly.org, spowell@rabbinicalassembly.org, staff@jrbcj.org, eb@bwd.us, kosherq@ou.org, execthw@ou.org, eedelman@ou.org, amiller@ou.org, davido@ou.org, maseb@ou.org, frank@ou.org, malkal@ou.org, grossmane@ou.org, rabbidave@ou.org, cheryl@ou.org, ipadc@ou.org, sallyg@ou.org, burgs@ou.org, lichtmanj@ou.org, rabbischrader@yahoo.com, haberi@ou.org, aberman@ouisrael.org, rabbi@shomreiemunah.org, president@shomreiemunah.org, execdir@shomreiemunah.org, office@shomreiemunah.org, bulletin@shomreiemunah.org, jalpert@reconplacement.org, jbraman@jrf.org, JEisenstat@jrf.org, NEpstein@jrf.org, MFriedenberg@jrf.org, SGluskin@jrf.org, EHirsh@jrf.org, ISaposnik@jrf.org, SZevit@jrf.org, scarlettah@wipfandstock.com, suzannef@bocafed.org, commdept@usccb.org, hs@davidproject.org, rabbinic.cabinet@ujc.org

It is good for the SS to know practicing Catholics are not so gullible or ignorant as they imagine.

Anonymous said...

While we are awaiting Michael A Hoffman II's "Judaism Discovered," you may wish to publicize this, received from a friend:

The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History

by E. Michael Jones Ph.D.

hardcover, 1,200 pp $48 plus $8 S&H ISB+929891-07-4

Fidelity press

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South Bend, IN 46617

For Visa and MasterCard orders, call Norma at 574-289-9786



The Revolutionary Jew would like a word with you.

If you are thirsting for truth, a tired of political correctness, and unafraid to delve into what the rest of society sees as a forbidden area of knowledge; if you want to know the real story about Jewish culture, Jewish intellectualism, Jewish politics, and even Jewish chutzpah; if you are ready to take a sober and critical look at the revolutionary philosophy of Jewish icons such as Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Eric Fromm, Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Ann Landers, Abbie Hoffman, Alan Dershowitz, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Abe Foxman, Irving Kristol, Ariel Sharon, and hundreds of other Jewish pillars of society who have become virtual household names; if you're ready to see the evidence of how and why Jews worldwide have orchestrated a subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle war against Christ, Christianity and the New Testament with their unrelenting quest to dominate modern society by imposing upon us their humanistic philosophy, then E. Michael Jones' book, the Jewish revolutionary spirit, was simply not allow you to stop turning its pages. I've read a lot of historical, political, and religious books in my lifetime, but this has got to be the very best upon which I've laid my eyes, mainly because it gives you the God's honest truth, throwing caution to the wind in the face of ideologues who have made it known that they will brand any such penetration into Jewish culture with the showstopping label of "anti-Semitism."

This book will give you the key to understanding or turbulent, godless, and agenda-driven modern civilization as no book before it has done, or shall we say, had the courage to do. As you pick your jaw up from off the floor watching Jones show you what has been going on behind the scenes, you will frequently hear yourself saying, "Oh, now I see it! It makes so much sense. Why didn't anyone ever tell me this before?" Anyway, Jones' book is like a sequel to the Bible. About 85% of the Bible deals with conflicts between: (a) Jews and God, and (b) Jews and the rest of the world. Jones merely extends the description of the conflict beyond the words of Jesus and the pen of St. Paul, through the Middle Ages and landing right smack into the heart of the 20th century. Jones, with the precision of a brain surgeon and the courage of David against Goliath, make an indelible impression upon our minds as he adds two millennia of documented facts and figures onto St. Paul's final and sobering assessment of the Jews: "the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us; they do not please God, and are opposed to everyone, trying to prevent us from speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved, but constantly filling up the measure of their sins" (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16). Jones will also show you the sad story of how Catholics and Protestants in high places have often caved in and even promoted Jewish humanism, sometimes from fear of being labeled "anti-Semitic" and at other times from fanatical interpretations of Saint John's Apocalypse. But Jones gives his own apocalyptic scenario. All his facts and figures are for the purpose of showing us that Saint John's label of godless Jews as the "synagogue of Satan," the spirit of Antichrist, is not only alive and well today but has almost completely overwhelmed our modern society, thus serving as a public omen to the world that the Apocalypse has, indeed, come upon us, in full and furious force. You would do well to read this book and prepare for the worst and/or hope for the best.

Robert A. Sungenis, Ph.D.

Maurice Pinay said...

The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History

by E. Michael Jones Ph.D.

... Robert A. Sungenis, Ph.D.


Wouldn't it be gentlemanly of E. Michael Jones and Robert Sungenis to acknowledge Michael A. Hoffman's work on the topic of Judaism?

Alex Jones has finally seen fit to end his suppression of Hoffman's work, even as he admits to having read his books for a decade. We know that E. Michael Jones and Robert Sungenis have also been aware of Michael Hoffman's work for quite some time but haven't seen fit to mention it to their readers for some strange reason. Maybe they'll come around soon. Maybe not. Their readers will figure it out either way--those that haven't already, that is.

Anonymous said...

In Acts 9 we see that, though struck blind and confronted by Jesus, Saul of Tarsus still required intervention from an instrument of God to let the scales fall from his eyes.

Instead of smiting them, let us be like Ananais in helping Jones and Sungenis.

I submit that in their cases it is time for honey and rapprochement, not vinegar and recriminations. Harboring grievances, no matter how just the grievances, does not advance the fight against the synagogue of Satan. We must all put our pride and hope for justice in this life behind us. Our eternal rewards and punishments are for our next life.

Drs. Jones and Sungenis's email addresses are a matter of ready public record (and Mr. Hoffman knows them both).

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Gilbert Rosenthal can be emailed directly at anngil2@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Quote:
"Wouldn't it be gentlemanly of E. Michael Jones and Robert Sungenis to acknowledge Michael A. Hoffman's work on the topic of Judaism?"

Do you believe that Hoffman's work on the topic of Judaism is superior to that of Jones and Sungenis, and if so, why?

John Zebedee said...

All very commendable,and who could argue with sincere attempts at 'inter-faith dialogue'...However, unless I missed something, the Rabbi never mentions the name of the One whom they refer to as 'that man'.

Anonymous said...

Hm hm.. that's quiet interessting but to be honest i have a hard time determining it... I'm wondering what others have to say....