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GOOD MORNING! Over the years a number of sincere Christians and a greater number of Jews influenced by missionaries have asked me the following question:
Q & A: WHY DON'T JEWS BELIEVE IN CHRISTIANITY?One of the best books on this topic is The Real Messiah? by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. While there are many valid reasons, Rabbi Kaplan presents the following four of Paul's major teachings of Christianity and the irreconcilable Jewish viewpoint:
- Christian Doctrine: Jesus was the Messiah predicted by the
Prophets of the Bible and awaited by the Jews. He is also the Son of
God, and like any son, is essentially the same as his father.
Jewish Viewpoint: Jesus could not have been the Messiah. The Prophets predicted a world of peace and love after the Messiah's coming, and this certainly does not exist today. Furthermore, any talk of the Messiah as being "son of God" is totally unacceptable. In no place do the Prophets say that the Messiah will be anything more than a remarkable leader and teacher.
- Christian Doctrine: Man is evil and sinful. All mankind is damned because of Adam's sin. The Torah cannot save man, since its many commandments make it too difficult to keep. The only thing that can prevent man's utter damnation in Hell is the belief in Christ.
Jewish Viewpoint: Although the Torah does speak of Adam's sin, it teaches that man can rise above it. Man might not be able to perfect himself, but it was for this reason that God gave us the Torah. It is absurd to think that God would give a Torah that was impossible or too difficult to follow. In no place does Judaism teach that one can be saved from damnation by mere belief. Any true belief in God must lead a person to also follow His commandments.
- Christian Doctrine: The Jews were originally God's Chosen People, but they were rejected when they refused to accept His son, Jesus. The name "Israel," God's chosen people, is no longer carried by the Jew, but by those who accept Jesus as the Messiah. Only these share God's love. Everyone else is damned in Hell.
Jewish Viewpoint: It is impossible to imagine that God would ever reject the Jewish people. In many places, the Bible clearly states that His covenant with them will be forever.
- Christian Doctrine: There is only one law now that Christ has come, and that is love. One must follow the example of Christ's sacrifice, and patiently hope that God will be gracious in return.
Jewish Viewpoint: In many places, the Bible says that the Torah was given forever. It is therefore impossible to say that it has been replaced by a new law or testament. Love alone is not enough, for one must know how to express it, and for this, we need the Torah as a guide. Love is only one of the Torah's commandments, and good deeds are its necessary expression.
It is more important for Jews to know why they are Jews than why they are not something else. This, however, is a topic that is becoming more and more important as Jews know less of their heritage and teachings. Missionary groups are spending $100 million per year to target Jews for conversion around the world. I highly recommend Rabbi Kaplan's book. You can also check out aish.com for more articles, like: "Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus" and Aishaudio.com for Rabbi Motty Berger, founder of the Baltimore branch of Jews for Judaism, on "The Doctrine of Judaism & Christianity "and Ken Spiro on "Why the Jews?" You can listen free on-line or download these classes in mp3 format - absolutely free! Also, see jewsforjudaism.org for more.
Torah Portion of the Week
Moshe relays the Almighty's commands to refrain from building the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) on the Shabbat, to contribute items needed to build the Mishkan, to construct the components of the Mishkan and the appurtenances of the Cohanim. The craftsmen are selected, the work begins. The craftsmen report that there are too many donations, and for the first and probably the only time in fundraising history, the Jewish people are told to refrain from bringing additional contributions!
Pekudey includes an accounting of all the materials that went into the making of the Mishkan (the portable sanctuary) and details of the construction of the clothing of the Cohanim. The Tabernacle (another translation of Mishkan) is completed, Moses examines all of the components and gives his approval to the quality and exactness of construction, the Almighty commands to erect the Tabernacle, it's erected and the various vessels are placed in their proper place.
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And Moshe commanded, and (the wise men in charge of the Sanctuary's construction) caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp saying: No man or woman shall do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary." (Exodus 36:6)
What can we learn from the wording of the decree that will help us in our relationships with others?
They were asked to contribute the material necessary for the building of the Sanctuary. With great enthusiasm, they responded with the various items that were needed. When the men in charge of the collection reported to Moshe that they were receiving an abundance of material, Moshe commanded the people to suspend further work on their offers. Sforno notes that Moshe did not instruct that the people should not bring any more items, but that they should discontinue doing additional work.
Some of the people had already completed doing work for the Sanctuary and had they been told not to bring what they had already prepared, they would have been most disappointed. Moshe, therefore worded his announcement in a manner that would not cause them anguish.
If someone does something for you which ultimately proves to have been superfluous, be considerate of his feelings. Do not tell him that his efforts were not actually needed, since this will cause him needless disappointment. Likewise, if you have heard a joke before, listen with rapt attention as if it is the first time and laugh heartily. The teller will feel better ... and so will you!
CANDLE LIGHTING - March 19:
(or Go to http://www.aish.com/candlelighting)
Guatemala 5:54 Hong Kong 6:16 Honolulu 6:23
J'Burg 6:01 London 5:53 Los Angeles 5:45
Melbourne 6:11 Miami 6:13 Moscow 6:24
New York 5:49 Singapore 6:58
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Better to understand a little
than to misunderstand a lot.
With thanks to