Responding to Attacks on ‘Kosher Jesus’

January 10, 2012 12:53 pm 36 comments

Kosher Jesus by Shmuley Boteach.

Rabbi Yitzchok Wolf’s vicious attack against me and my new book, Kosher Jesus – to say nothing of the insane comments attending his diatribe, some of which called on me to be ‘burned out from the Jewish people’ – betrays a malignancy growing among we orthodox Jews that should be resisted and combated by all who are concerned for the heart and soul of the Jewish community.

I am prepared to give Rabbi Wolfe the benefit of the doubt, which he denied me, and assume he wrote his tirade calling for me to be ejected from the Chabad movement (does he think Chabad is a football game and he is the referee?) because of his concern, as he states, for the ignorant who may be misled. Still, his fanatical screed would seem more appropriate being pasted on a wall in Meah Shearim than posted on the home page of a Chabad website. His knee-jerk reactionary assault against a book which he admits he has never even seen betrays a growing tendency among a small, extremist fringe in Chabad toward uninformed criticism, anti-intellectualism, contempt for scholarship, disrespect for Jews searching for a way back to Judaism, venomous personal attack, and uninformed personal vendetta. Chabad, whose very name means Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, is better than that.

A curious thing happened last week in Jerusalem at the official press conference where we launched Kosher Jesus. All the Jewish and mainstream news outlets that covered the event loved the book, but some Evangelical Christian reporters took offense. They argued that my book, which demonstrates from Christian and Jewish sources that Jesus was a Torah-observant Jew who condemned any fellow Israelite who did not observe every last letter of the Law and never claimed to be divine, is insulting to Christianity.

I countered that, to the contrary, in this new era of Christian-Jewish alliance for the security and safety of Israel, it was time for our Christian brothers to reject the false legacy of Jesus as an anti-Semitic enemy of his people and embrace the fully observant, Jewish patriot who never sought to create a new religion and devoted his life to reinforcing Jewish observance, as Christian scripture makes clear.

That Rabbi Wolf never read my book does not matter. I did not expect him to. That he condemned it without so much as knowing a single paragraph of its content is perhaps to be expected. But what is utterly unforgivable is how he did not use the very same computer with which he sent his harangue to collive.com to simply Google my name where he would have encountered tens of audio and video debates between me and leading Christian missionaries all over the world where I am at the forefront of combating efforts to evangelize Jews and reverse the trend by bringing Jews who have converted to Christianity back to Judaism.

Those efforts are the reason that Christian missionaries are taking umbrage at my book. How bizarre to now find Rabbi Yitzchok Wolf in the company of the world’s leading Christian missionaries who hate Kosher Jesus.

Mind you, I mean no offense to Christians. My evangelical brothers and sisters are stalwart supporters of the Jewish state and through great men like Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein – one of the biggest supporters of Kolel Chabad and countless other Jewish social-welfare charities – give more than $100 million a year to poor Jews in Israel. God bless them. But it is time that our Christian brothers reject all efforts to proselytize Jews and come to the Jewish community to learn about the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. It is not Jews who must learn from Christians about Jesus but rather the reverse.

Jesus was a Jew. He lived a life totally devoted to Torah and Mitzvos, as should every Jew. He resisted all efforts to change Judaism. As my book clearly demonstrates from Christian sources, Jesus drew upon the Torah for everything he taught and states emphatically that “those who do not keep every last letter of the Torah will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:18) It is high time that Judaism received credit for the riches it has brought the world through Christianity. It is also time that our Jewish brothers lost to us through conversion to Christianity come back to the religion Jesus himself practiced, namely, Judaism.

Contrary to what Christians have learned, Jesus hated the Romans rather than the Rabbis. He fought the Roman Emperor and was put to death for opposing the tyranny and paganism of Rome. Later, after the Jewish revolt of the year 66-70 that saw the destruction of the Temple, when the Jews became the most hated group in the Roman Empire, the story was changed to strip Jesus of his Jewishness and Romanize him. Added to this was the abominable charge that the Jews killed one of their own, a blood libel which would later claim the lives of countless Jews for the past two millennia. Using reams of scholarship my book puts the nail in the coffin of the greatest lie of all time, that the Jews, rather than the Romans, killed Jesus. Kosher Jesus combats these falsifications that have had such bloody consequences for our people.

It is also time, although Rabbi Wolf does not seem to much care, that the Rebbe’s vision for spreading the Noachide Covenant, be realized by Christians discovering the humanity and Jewishness of Jesus rather than emphasizing his divinity.

I have no doubt that many of my Christian brothers and sisters will take issue with my book, although I believe that the scholarship is sufficiently sound to hold its own. Kosher Jesus involved 10 years of scholarly study and public debate and has been praised by Publisher’s Weekly in the book’s very first review as an “informed and cogent primer on Jesus of Nazareth…. a brave stab at re-evaluating Jesus through an intensive look at the New Testament and historical documents… and a well-researched analysis that will certainly reopen intrafaith and interfaith dialogue.”

What I did not expect was that Rabbis who have watched tens of thousands of Jews lost to Christianity without a fight would attack a book that can reverse that trend without knowing the first thing about it.

As a Lubavitcher and self-proclaimed Shliach, Rabbi Wolf should know better than this.

Judaism is a wondrous religion that has infinite beauty to share with the world. But its riches will be darkened and tarnished if it is overtaken by fanatics.

Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” is the international best-selling author of 27 books, was the London Times Preacher of the Year at the Millennium, and received the American Jewish Press Association’s Highest Award for Excellence in Commentary. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

36 Comments

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  • I am trying to answer A REAL American but the reply icon is not showing up.

    I will like to reply to your comment word by word because you seem to be very confused in regards to the Torah.

    Firstly,

    you said different comments such as:

    But not everything single thing that G-d creates in this world is 100% GOOD.

    Cancer is not GOOD
    Murder is not GOOD
    Idolatry is not GOOD
    The Holocaust was not GOOD

    I answer you:

    In regards to Cancer
    what makes you to understand the deepest meanings of life and to understand a masterplan or the reasons of why ? why you said is not Good?

    Our sages taught us that every single molecule is connected to the creation. 613 organs of our body are connected to the 613 Mitzvoth and each is connected to the corners of our tzitziot, which are connected to Hashem through the Torah.

    If we brake one mitzvoth at the time it will remain 612, than 611 than 610 and so on. Each organ of our body dies in that process and that is how we get sick and we get cancer (organ cells that die).
    do you see the connection of the why?

    In regards to Murder

    the action of Murder NOT GOOD AT ALL. and it is BAD
    But if we are connected to Hashem, dont you believe that Hashem will protect us form it. How? when i pray every morning i ask to be protected even from my own people as the Siddur says.
    But, hold on, Hashem provides me with wisdom so i can perceive evil and the “something bad will happen”. so i protect myself and my family and pay attention everywhere i go and don’t just live a live as is. but in wisdom and always keeping my eyes open, and with the help of Hashem i can predict evil and take another direction.
    I am sure it is times when things needs to happen for reasons i cannot explain but even so, IT IS HASHEMS PLAN and At the time that happen i will not understand but i assure you that years later i will understand why did happen.

    In regards to Idolatry

    Every time we put our ideas and our life or money or business or anything in from of Hashem is a form of Idolatry.
    If the Torah explain a Mitzvoth of do not do this and do not do that, and then I decided to add the extra comment so “just in case” and question the Mitzvath is a form of Idolatry because I am trying to act as G-d and that is Idolatry.
    We commit this plenty times and we don’t even realized. We Jews always want to add the extra, so just in case…
    The mitzvah is simple and we make it complicated. thats Human behavior and part of our yetzer hara.

    even so Idolatry is bad and against the Torah, Hashem has mercy and forgive us. and even this happens for a reason and we do not know why right now but in the day when Mashiach shows up we will know the why.

    In regards to the Holocaust.

    This is very very sad and at points we question G-d the reason why this happen. My grandparents lost their family members because Hittler send soldiers all the way to the Greek islands to pick them up and I even ask myself why this happen.
    It is a bad and horrifying thing but even so, we do not understand the master plan and why Hashem allow this to happen so we cannot just say. ohh things happen for a reason but not this one.

    Like i said, i cannot explain why Hashem allowed the Holocaust but one thing i can say is that the following happens after the world saw how much damage and killing they did to our people:

    1) The gathering of the Jews worldwide into their homeland
    2) The rebirth of Israel in a single day
    3) The rebirth of Israel in the year 1948
    4) Israel’s possession of Jerusalem
    5) The nations of the earth aligned against Israel

    and lastly this will happen

    6) The war of Gog / Magog

    7) Mashiach comes.

    All this happen and will happen after the holocaust. after we lost so many Tzadiks and brothers and sisters.

    Why our sages taught us when a Tzadik dies, it elevates it soul and redemption comes promptly. example our Rabbis Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri and so many Rabbis. why is taught?
    you know, it is taught that when the soul of a tzadik dies hi brings the coming of mashiach promptly.

    now the right question to the understand the master plan will be:

    why did Hashem allow the holocaust to happen? why so many Tzadiks die in the holocaust?
    perhaps to bring Mashiach promptly?
    perhaps to create the state of Israel?
    perhaps are things that we do not understand yet, but i assure you when Mashiach comes he will explain and you will remember me.

    I apologize for my English since the comments sometimes may come offensive but that was not my mind.

    When i mention about the antisemitism comment, i read your comment and i realized how i came across and i noticed my mistake. so i deeply apologize.

    In the other hand.

    I cannot write here answers to your many comments because it will take me all day. please email me at sepharadflorida@gmail.com so i reply properly.

    I believe that everything happen for a reason, so if Rabbi Boteach writes a book to make Christians understand that they religion is based in our intellectual property it needs to be explain.

    Most of Christians understand Jesus from their ancestors point of view, before they become protestant they were Catholics and Catholics maneuver their religion to make it Antisemitic.
    So what we Jews know about Christians is from their own writtings that are corrupted and from the horrifying events that happen in history in the name of Jesus, killing US and persecuting US.

    I believe is times for the Gentiles to understand who was the real Kosher Jesus ( a Jew who was a JEw). and to come back to Judaism as Noahides and learn from Us once again.

    The book rabbi Boteach wrote will raise lots of questions between the gentile world and belive me, they will come to Judaism to ask questions.

    When that happens, You will teach them Noahide laws and teach them to be righteous people among the nations.

    That is the way I see the master plan. and that is part of the plan before Mashiach comes.

    I just got a copy of the book. You should buy it, read it, but with out having your mind set, read it as you reading a book to analyze the context. and if you don’t like it, return it.

    Shabbat Shalom.

  • As a person who was raised a secular Jew, I have so much to learn on my journey to become a more observant Jew.

    I study gemorrah and mishnah every Shabbat with my rabbi and 10 other people right before Maariv and I study with another of my rabbis the weekly parsha. There’s so much more for me to learn.

    Frankly, I dont have the time or the desire to read about Jesus–for doing so will not make be a more educated Jew.

    Thanks anyway R. Boteach–but I have much more to learn from our sages, gedolim, etc–than to learn about one individual Jew named Jesus.

  • A REAL American

    I was waiting for one of the professionals in the counter missionary world to issue a declarative statement before I replied to Shmuley’s book. I was waiting for someone with authority and years of experience countering missionaries needed to say something. Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Schochet said,,,

    “While it is not mormally my style to write letters of condemnation, having read the book, I feel it posses a termendous risk to the Jewish community and therefore imperative to state my halachic opinion that it is forbidden for anyone to buy or read this book…” He goes on to state, “…in the 40 years I have spent combating missionaries across the globe, I have never read a book, let alone one authored by a a purported frum Jew that does more to enhance the evangelical missionary message and agenda than the aforementioned book. The grossly distorted message of the book violates the basic premises of original and authentic Jewish tradition…”

    Rabbi Wolf’s reply was good, but he opened himself up to some level of criticism by not reading the book. However I agree with Rabbi Wolf, I don’t think you don’t have to read a book like Mein Kampf to criticize its effects. Shmuley’s reply to Rabbi Wolfe was absolutely ridiculous “…to simply Google my name where he would have encountered tens of audio and video debates between me and leading Christian missionaries all over the world where I am at the forefront of combating efforts to evangelize Jews and reverse the trend by bringing Jews who have converted to Christianity back to Judaism.”

    Can you toot your own horn a little more Shmuley???

    I think most people after listening to Shmuley’s debates, can agree on one thing—that Shmuley Boteach is NOT on the forefront of countering missionaries, he is on the forefront of debating (and not winning the debate with) missionaries!! Jews for Judaism on the other hand is on the forefront of countering missionaries and I don’t see them embracing this book or Shmuley’s methods.

    Shmuley’s book does NOT serve as a weapon to use in the war against missionaries as Shmuley intended. Instead it will be used by missionaries in their war to convert Jews. This book is a “kosher” seal of approval from “America’s Rabbi”. Its an open invitation for missionaries to discuss Yoshke with Jews. I don’t understand how Shmuley can be so delusional to think the book will be used in any other manner.

    Shmuley believes that Jews who are in danger of being missionized are going to read his book and somehow be saved, but these Jews are not the one’s who are going to read this book. They are being targeted because they are not connected to Yiddishkeit, but reading this book will not connect them to anything but Yoshke–which is dangerous even if it is Shmuley’s version of a “kosher” Yoshke. Now the missionary and the targeted unaffiliated Jew have something in common to discuss. That is the way every organization is trained to recruit, to find the things you have in common with your target and use them to become a trusted friend. It works with fraternities and it works with missionaries too.

    And the Jews who have already been missionized aren’t going to magically give up their misguided beliefs. As seen in nearly all of the web commentaries, these people are using this book as a proof of that their misguided belief that Yoshke is indeed “kosher”. This book doesn’t drive them away from Yoske, it invites them in cementing their beliefs. This book gives power to the idea that discussing Yoshke and (chas v’shalom) accepting him is indeed “kosher”–with the details of how he can be accepted to be debated (or ignored) at a later date. Someone who is already programmed into this belief system is going to ignore the inconvenient details Shmuley brings up and only read what they want to into his words—which is why they are stuck in this mindset in the first place.

    I don’t see anyone renouncing their deeply held beliefs on account of this book as Shmuley intended. I believe Shmuley might have had good intentions writing this book, but I feel the outcome does a tremendous disservice to the Jewish community and to the fight against missionaries who will use Shmuley’s “kosher” seal of approve to strengthen their work proselytizing Jews.

  • I don’t know for whom this book was written. If for Jews, why do we need an education on Jesus? If for Christians, does Boteach expect that he’s going to prove to them that Jesus is not the messiah? And how exactly does this help interfaith relations? The only group it helps is the J4J. In fact, as I read here and other places, almost all the commentary supporting Boteach is from the J4J. Rabbi Wolf is, indeed, a wise man.

    • No one is going to persuade any one about the rightness of their beliefs.

      Once we step outside of history, that becomes impossible.

      R. Boteach’s re-examination of history to me seems fair and balanced.

      I don’t think there will ever be agreement on the conclusions. I agree with R. Wolf that Jewish and Christian readers are going to see that in their own terms.

      Therefore, even if the Jesus of history was a halachic Jew, this does not change the Jewish answer about his not being the messiah nor does it change the Christian insistence he has already been the one who has come and gone.

      So then what was the point in writing the book?

      • Indeed! However, I don’t know if Boteach’s history is fair and balanced, if I’m understanding you. Is that possible with the subject matter? But regardless, this book will never been seen as a history book, but as a Jewish authoritative viewpoint from a Jewish religious leader. And that’s at least part of what’s upsetting so many people.

        I don’t believe it’s possible to do interfaith work from a religious viewpoint. We should find common ground in other ways, creatively, sharing moral values, maybe in academics or pop culture, anything but religion. Least that’s been my experience and probably why our mothers always told us to never talk religion with anyone. (Mother being always right…)

  • - Jesus was a normative Pharisaic rabbi of his day who opposed Rome and was ultimately misunderstood.

    - Jesus was not divine, not born of a virgin, and never claimed to be.

    -The Gospel accounts are heavily corrupted but contain the kernel of the original biography of Jesus.

    -Paul is to blame for the shift from a thoroughly Jewish messianic movement to what eventually resulted in non-Jewish Christianity.

    All the basic ingredients of what modern scholarship knows about the historically Jewish context of Jesus – and the subsequent development of Christianity – are included in the pages of a new book written by none other than “America’s Rabbi,” Shmuely Boteach.

    Eventually the book concludes that Jesus was definitely not the messiah but that his ethical teachings are a potential vehicle – when understood to hail from a historically Jewish milieu – for a proposed unity between Jews and Christians.

    As someone who has researched extensively the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth, nothing in this book came as a surprise or stood out as being a particularly new or previously unpublished viewpoint. The majority of Boteach’s thesis – by his own admission in the introduction – is taken directly from the works of the late British Talmudic scholar and Judaic historian, Hyam Maccoby, as well as several other well-known Jesus scholars as noted in the bibliography. “Kosher Jesus” is simply the accumulated results of current historical Jesus studies presented in a light, easy, non-academic style, intended for the common American consumer.

    Many in the Messianic and Christian worlds will no doubt hail this book as being a step forward in the struggle to get Jesus recognized by Jews as being “kosher.” And why shouldn’t they? This book comes with many qualities that would at first give the impression that it is a step in their direction: Shmuely Boteach self-identifies as an Orthodox rabbi, he excuses Jesus from responsibility for Christian anti-Semitism, and he shakes a literary finger at the Orthodox Jewish community for not accepting Jesus as a fellow member of their religious tradition. At first glance, it would seem that all is becoming right in the world for history’s most controversial Jew.

    However, let me say that I categorically disagree with Shmuely Boteach on almost every issue he discusses – including this one. Not that I think that amongst the corrupted texts and historical revisionism that an essentially Jewish, fairly normal Jesus cannot be found. To the contrary, I am sure that the Jesus of history would be opposed to Christianity for very Jewish reasons. However, writing a book that completely exonerates Jesus and promotes Jewish respect for him is something that I find grossly naive and severely imbalanced in light of the overall picture of history and early gospel texts.

    “Kosher Jesus” is a one-sided coin that presents a single perspective while being ignorant of all others.

    In short, Boteach should have studied a little more and written a little less.

    (Excerpts from my article at http://www.chizzukemunah.com)

  • One thing about Shmuelik, he’s a master of self-publicity.

  • Boteach I urge you to seek psychiatric help.

  • It is our own moral failure and not any accident of chance, that while preserving the appearance of religion, we lost its reality. -Cicero-

  • More than anything else, it behooves our Rabbinic and educational leadership to prepare our children and younger generation to confront non-Jewish faiths with knowledge, facts, interpretation and reason. We do so with treif, with bein adam l’zulato, Shabbat, tzniut, taharat hamishpacha, etc. Our children know both sides of all the permitted and prohibited issues regarding these matters. Even avoda zarah. They can handle it if done properly. To go ballistic on Boteach is counter-productive and will increase his book slaes.

    I commented here:
    http://myrightword.blogspot.com/2012/01/mda-almost-all-way.html

  • Betty Michaels

    When I was growing up my Father (a Methodist Minister) taught me to accept and study all religions and people associated with these religions. I was taught that of course Jesus was a Jew. He was a lot of things to many people and followed Jewish teachings. He did not create the Christian church, the Roman church and the catholic church wrote their own interpretation. By doing that they have really screwed a lot of people up. There is an ad on tv, the guy speaking, says that Jesus created the catholic church. NOT

  • See the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s response here:

    Its in English.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhvEVPGgseY&feature=player_embedded

  • with all to respect to you, you attack rabbi wolf of attacking you without reading your book, and failing to conduct intellectual dialogue, while you are guilty of the same by not responding to his basic reason for attack “what of all the jews who will read the title without the book, and will look at it as a orthodox rabbi certifying jews for jesus?”

  • Rabi Shmuli, I appreciate your publication of this book, Kosher Jesus.

    I feel deeply, the “Historical Jesus” – namely Yhoshua – is a good Jew, a monotheistic, Tora-observing, halakhic Jew. It is my personal conviction, even a tsadik.

    I had powerful and positive experiences of God within Christianity, in the context of the American Catholic Church. I dedicated much of my life to studying the New Testament, especially Yhoshua in his ancient archeological context. It is obvious to me, Yhoshua is truly a Jew, in every way, even an admirable one.

    Slowly I began to realize, everything I love most about Christianity, the Infinite God, Tora, Resurrection of all humans, Love, Compassionate Actions, the Divine Presence, Trust, Miracles, Yisrael, and Yrushalayim, are actually Judaism. Because these are in fact the faith of Yhoshua himself, a Jew. And everything I identified with less, worshiping a human, the “mystery” of the Trinity, “eternal” suffering, coercion of belief, were aspects that evolved among Nonjewish cultures, centuries after Yhoshua.

    I am converting to Judaism – because this is the spiritual tradition where I feel most at home, most myself, and most at peace. I am not worthy to be a Jew, to do a life of Tora. I hope HaShem makes it happen anyway. Becoming a Jew is a unique journey that my soul needs and chooses to do.

    I feel strongly, most Nonjews need to remain Nonjews, and the spirituality of humanity is less without a diversity of nations.

    I have a powerful “born again” experience within Christianity. Yet it is my study of Jewish mysticism that explains my personal experience of the infinite and certain intuitions about this encounter, more accurately and more precisely than Christian traditions can.

    I continue to love Christianity, in some ways more than ever. I know I am whole as a Jew, but I am so glad for the Nonjewish Christians in this World. God needs humans who love halakha, and God needs humans who can care less about halakha. My soul needs to do Tora, and at the same time, I am grateful to have experienced a Christian life to know God without Tora.

    I apologize for divulging so much about my own personal experience. These are meant for me, and, sort of like dreams, tend to be irrelevant for any one else except me.

    But Shmuli, this is the comment that made me want to give a sense of where I was coming from. You mentioned your concern about possible “disrespect for Jews searching for a way back to Judaism”.

    This is so true. Every soul from Sinai has a UNIQUE journey. Each one is vital.

    I have a friend who is a Russian Jew who married an American Jew. To my shock (but I guess not my surprise), he had converted to Christianity while in Russia. He felt guilty about attending synagogue, no longer attending Church, and was pressuring his wife to go to Church with him. He knew my Christian background and asked my opinion about it. I love Yhoshua, and among Hilel, Ben Yokhai, Rambam, Ari, and a few other mystical-rational Khakhamim, he is a hero of mine. I have an intuition about my friend, he needs to be Jewish. I told him unequivocally, he must attend synagogue, must support the Jewishness of his wife, and must raise his future children as Jews. Yet because of my own knowledge about the Historical Jesus, I could tell my friend honestly and knowingly, everything that Yhoshua cares about my friend can find in a modern synagoge, and Yhoshua himself wants my friend to be Jewish.

  • John Zimmerman

    In my opinion Rabbi, you are heading in the right direction in that you are making a bridge between Christianity and Judaism . Who cares if all your opinions do not match mine. There is too much hyper critical examination of each other’s beliefs instead of, as you would have explained, acceptance of what we can accept.
    Now we need a Christian to write a book explaining how the Christian world (not all of it-Mormons exempted) has done a grave injustice and disservice in their attempts to displace (saying it mildly) the descendents of Jacob as his chosen people. The author would show that to accomplish this required throwing out essential scriptures of both the Old & New Testaments (yes there are some in the latter)). Obviously this would not take a book but a few pages. Then the author would make the only conclude possible, that we were wrong and must now acknowledge the Jews as His chosen, covenant people, or rather our chosen covenant people, as the Lord did not appoint them this role for his sake only but for all mankind. Then the scales would fall off our Christian eyes as we recognize the Jews for what they are and see them as He sees them. Lastly we would learn how many are in the world and when we find out we will ask, “How can there possibly be so few?” And when we ponder on the answer we will shed tears and determine that the descendents of Jacob are a treasure and must be treated as they and the Lord expects us them to be treated.

  • I indeed have gone on Amazon.com and clicked on the book, which is a drawing of Jesus with his pierced hand from his crucifixion. I clicked on the book and in the introduction saw it say Christians and Jews can unite in their common hero of Jesus, depicted as a Jewish “patriot” against Rome. Rabbi Boteach apprently believes he is doing a great service by taking the Deity figure of a Religoun with trillions of followers and publishing him as a non-deity (not a god or son of god – I am assuming) Orthodox Jew. Of course “Rabbi” Boteach has a strong need to make the godly figure of Christianity into a frum yid because maybe then the Chrsitians will become like him? Maybe this is an outgrowth of the declarations for years by many in LUbavitch that the Lubavithcer Reebe that died over 10 years ago is Moshiach. It wouldnt be a big jump then to say – then why cant this dead man be Messiah. I wonder what the Rambam or Rashi or Shulchan Orach or Rama or even Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and Rabbi Aaron Kotler havew thought about Jesus? Never mind the thousandsof Jews that gave their lives not to accept him in the Crusades or Inquisition o pogroms. No Compromise on Jesus has been the Judaic stand. Just as no Compromise on Idolatry. Of course we must respect other religouns – and not white wash Our Own at the same time! As a former spiritual; advisor to Michael Jackson and Al Sharpton, perhaps his head got to him. I’d rather read Jewish Response to Missionaries by Rabbi Kaplan or V’da Mah SheTashiv by Ben Solomon available on Amazon.com for the True Judaic perspective.

  • Barrett Pashak

    Why all the vituperation? There are many Jewish scholars who have tackled this subject: Jacob Neusner, Geza Vermes, David Flusser, Samuel Sandmel, Leo Baeck, Joseph Klausner, to name just a few.

  • Shmueli’s response to my criticism of his book says much about everything other than the quotes of his book published ib the January 8th Haaretz article.

    Yet, he appears quite upset that I am relying on Haaretz and on the book’s title without reading the book. One may argue, must a Jew read the New Testament to reject Christianity? After all there are several other books of his with the title Kosher. Kosher means just that, it is Kosher and acceptable.

    For those who are not convinced that Shmueli wants to embrace JC here are some actual quotes of his book and you be the judge.

    “Jesus was a man who worked to rekindle Jewish ritual observance of every aspect of the Torah and to counter the brutal Roman occupation of his people’s land. He never wavered in this mission even when he realized the consequences would be fatal.”

    “All Jews can embrace Jesus as part of a grand tradition of heroic leaders who fought to free Israel from tyranny. Looked at from this angle, Jesus was a great, world-changing patriot for Judaism.”

    “Once we strip his life story of its patina of paganism and the supernatural, Jews will see they need no longer reject the beautiful ethical teachings of Jesus, which find their source in Hebrew scripture and the teachings of the rabbis among whom he counted himself.”

    “Fundamentally, Jews have the duty to ask themselves: Do we really profit by shunning a Jewish patriot who fought and died for our freedom? Jesus certainly was one of the most famous Jews that ever lived. Should he be forever lost to his people?”

    “Once we see Jesus outside the anti-Jewish textual additions of the Gospels’ redactors, Jews can finally re-embrace him as a fallen patriot and beloved son.”

    I can go on and on with Shmueli’s embrace of J…. but do I have to bring the words of this new modern day Gospel to Jewish readers?

    I urge you dear readers to decide if Shmueli’s embrace of his true newly found J… is part of Jewish tradition or is it the good old fashioned Christian attempt to proselytize Jews with new wrapings?

    Rabbi Yitzchok Wolf

    • No R. Boteach, Christians are not our brothers and sisters. They are not in the covenant of Har Sinai. It is that and only that brit that defines Israel, the living. Those that add or subtract or are selective in their Torah observance are not in the covenant.

      R Boteach is getting very, very, close to the actual history. I will read the book and see if he mentions the Talpiot Tomb. Wolf and others will not stop the floodgates of science and history that have been uncovered concerning the Torah observant man, Yehoshua ben Yoseiph. He and the others that will not listen to logic, archeology, history, and science – they will be the ones finally marginalized.

      Why is it so difficult for them to consider that Rome did rewrite Yehoshua’s life story and then force it down the throats of those that survived Roman butchery in Israel and the rest of the world.

      R. Boteach must make it clear that the name J*zeus continues to carry the baggage of the lie and always make the distinction to call the historical man by his given Torah/Jewish name.

      Actually all the valid research R Boteach has done, was done over thirty years ago and is available at netzarim.co.il Get the URL correct or you will come up with zevel.

    • Shalom, Rabbi Wolf –

      Respectfully, I feel I must strongly admonish what is happening here between you and Rabbi Boteach. When people disagree and verbalize their points, they should do so with all integrity. The party that doesn’t stick to truth loses all validity.

      The truth is, Rabbi Schmueli is hardly a an “old fashion Christian attempting to proselytize Jews”! Good gracious! Rabbi has repeatedly stated he does not believe Yeshua (Jesus) to be G-d or G-d’s Son. He does not recognize Yeshua as diety in any fashion.

      Surely you recognize that this belief is pivotal to christianity?

      • R. Boteach is an Orthodox Jew and he is NOT promoting the Christian Jesus to Jews.

        He is exploring the history and ideas of the historical Jesus the Jew. That has been investigated by Jewish scholars in the past.

        Jews don’t need to worry about proselytization to Christianity in new wrappings. Judaism is strong enough to handle the truth.

        The question is whether Christians can do so. Thousands of years of dogma and unquestioned beliefs are not easily revised. In that respect, I don’t think it will change the world.

        R. Wolf is not arguing with the presented facts. He is pointing out even if they are true, it just reinforces what Jews have always believed and if they were false, it wouldn’t affect Jewish belief in the slightest.

        The real question is whether Jesus the Jew would in fact be acceptable to a world that still hates Jews.

      • A REAL American

        Simcha,

        Not a word in Rabbi Wolf’s reply said anything or implied anything of the sort. Instead he merely quoted Shmuley’s own words using them to prove his point.

        There is no reason for a Jew to read this book, it serves no purpose. There is no reason for a Jew to (in Shmuley’s own words)”…embrace Jesus as part of a grand tradition of heroic leaders…” That also serves no purpose.

        What Shmuley believes is not at issue here, but what Shmuley wrote in his book is. And not a single word in Shmuley’s book is “kosher”.

    • Rabbi Wolf, I would have hoped you would have displayed more discretion and refrained from further comment.

      Had you read the book, it would have been as evident to you as it has been to everyone else that Rabbi Boteach’s effort is an extraordinary kiddush Hashem.

      I would also respectfully note my concern at how easily you would embrace the Haaretz review, a newspaper on record as having an anti religious agenda, at face value.

      In many ways that concerns me most of all- that and the manner in which you publicly addressed Rabbi Boteach.

      Rabbi Boteach respectfully referred to by your title. At the very least, you could have extended the man the Rebbe saw fit to hold close, the same courtesy.

      Lesson by example is incredibly important, especially in what is now a community more divided than ever.

      Derech eretz still matter, absence of the Rebbe notwithstanding.

    • Firstly I am a 33 Sephardic Jewish man that grow up in a Sephardic home and use to live in Brooklyn NY, and use to go to 770 eastern parkway for Shabbos and high holydays.

      From that, you can deduce my Judaism and my background.

      What Rabbi Boteach is simply saying is that Jewish people from all corners grow up thinking that Yeshu was the same Yeshu that we read in the Talmud, and the Christians grow up thinking that Jesus was a guy who went to Church on Sundays and attended Sundays schools, no beard, did not cover his head and wear some kind of “poncho” in top of his white tunic so he look cool.

      Well, this is not the case!

      Rabbi Boteach describes his book “Kosher Jesus” a work of scholarship. It took him several years to learn about the subject for some ignorant so called made-in-america Rabbi Wolf to write such an ignorant comment out of his tooshy without any history background in the matter of else. I think if the so called “Rabbi Wolf” would at list read the book Kosher Jesus he would of praise the work Rabbi boteach did, instead of making ignorant allegations.

      You have to understand, Rabbi Boteach cannot seat still and just let someone with no historical source or good Yeshiva background talk the talk, specially is this someone goes to Haaretz and make the comments public on the internet in the second largest news paper read it by people worldwide.

      So Rabbi Boteach replies, because is in his right to and to shut up that so called rabbi wolf.

      In the other hand.

      Jews belong to Jews and Christians need to learn the Judaism of Jesus and the Noahide Laws so they really “re-born” again and became good Christians. I mean, I read the New Testament and let me tell you, I may not agree with few things because its complicated to explain but the many things I agree is huge:

      Jesus was a Jew and his name was Yeshua( Aramaic) or Yehushua (Hebrew)
      Jesus had a beard, a cover his head, put tefilllin, wear his tallit and tzitzit as he describes when he says he was going to morning services or prayers AKA Shacharit.
      Jesus did his Mikveh rituals before High Holydays as he did in the Jordan river because the temple Mikveh was for the rich and wealthy (Sadducees who control the temple).
      Jesus save peoples life braking Shabbat as we are obligated to do today. Pikuach nefesh. But the Sadducees who contradict the school of Hillel who was a Pharesse did not, so they where all over Jesus for braking the Sadduceeic Hallakhak which contradicted the Phariseeic Hadaka. The Sadducees did not believe in the oral torah whatsoever, but Jesus did because he was a Pharisee from the school of Hillel, a mean Jesus was almost the mirror of Hillel in all the teachings and you can even see it in the sermon of the mountain. All that sermon was a duplicate of the Talmud teachings and things that Hillel teach before Jesus.
      Jesus eat kosher
      Jesus did not touch dead people
      Jesus practice all Jewish Holidays, as is described in the NT.
      The list is long…. But you get my point

      Now about Paul:
      I read all Pauline scriptures and I see that he did not wanted to convert gentiles to Judaism, he taught them Judaism for Gentiles AKA Noahide Laws. For gentiles to become righteous gentiles. And went he found Jews who were half Jews from mother been Jewish and father that was not, he make sure that he circumcise them and brought them back to Judaism. For example:

      Rabbi Shaul (Apostle Paul) continued to live an orthodox Jewish life, a real Tzadik as is called in Judaism. In Acts 16:3, we find that Paul circumcised Timothy whose father was Greek, but he was born Jewish because his mother was Jewish. This is something we see commonly in America when a Gentile marries a Jewish woman; the child is Jewish if the mother is Jewish.
      Acts 16:3
      Paul wanted this man (referring to Timothy) to go with him, so he took him and had him circumcised because of the Jews who lived in that region, because everyone knew that Timothy’s father was a Greek.

      Quick Note:

      When Rabbi Shaul perceived that Timothy, a half Jewish male living in the Diaspora was Jewish (because if his mother is Jewish the child is Jewish) he wanted to circumcise him. You must understand that Timothy was raised as a normal Greek boy, just like any American conservative Jew who does not know anything about his traditions, and is clueless about Judaism. Most American Jews as Timothy do not practice Judaism and some don’t even circumcise so they can be part of the American society, some even change their appearance intermarrying Europeans to look more European and be accepted in the western society. Or they simply marry a nice looking Gentile that treats them better.

      Paul circumcised Timothy according to our ritual and commandments in the Torah. Why? Because Timothy was a Jew (because if his mother is Jewish the child is Jewish), for Paul this was enough to perform his duty as a Rabbi and Pharisee. This did not apply to Onesiphorus who was a gentile; gentiles do not need to be circumcised.

      Onesiphorus was a Gentile and a friend of the Rabbi Shaul (Apostle Paul), who mentions him twice when writing to Timothy.
      2 Timothy 1:16-17
      16 May the L-rd show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus; because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.

      2 Timothy 4:19
      Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

      Did he do this just to be a witness since in Christianity is taught that circumcision was abolished? Not according to Galatians 1:10: “For do I now persuade men, or G-d? Or do I seek to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of the Messiah.” Paul didn’t do things to please men. He also did not push for Gentile circumcision as others did when they wanted Titus circumcised in Galatians 2.

      Paul still went to the synagogue on Shabbat, as we find in Acts 13:5, 13:42, Acts 14:1, 17:2, 17:10, 17:17, 18:4, etc. It’s interesting to see that in those days the small Jewish communities lived together and were observant (keepers of the Torah and Mitzvoth). Paul was allowed to speak in synagogues as in the above verses from the Book of Acts. For someone outside the community to be allowed to speak, he had to be an observant Jew, or a Baal teshuva (someone that returns to Judaism in repentance or in Christianity known as born again), or a ger (someone that converts to Judaism).[5] To give a drash (or commentary on the scriptures), you had to be well-thought, know Hebrew and Aramaic well and know the scriptures. A heretic or member of another religion, or a Jew who converted to another religion would not have been allowed to talk on Shabbat [6] in the synagogue. Also, when he entered a town, he could have ignored the synagogue and set up a strictly gentile ministry but he went to the synagogue because:
      1) He loved his people, and
      2) He was still an observant Jew.
      When we get to Acts 18:18-19, we find that not only did Paul go to a synagogue, but he also took a Jewish vow, a Nazarite vow, because he had his hair cut off, he shaved his head. [7] Was he in Jerusalem? No, he was in Cenchrea, an area with very few Jews, but even there he followed a very Orthodox Jewish custom outlined in Bamidbar 6. In Acts 19:8, he was again in the synagogue.
      Acts 18:18-19
      18 Paul stayed in Corinth for some time after that then said good-bye to the brothers and sisters and went to nearby Cenchrea. There In Cenchrea he cut his hair, for he had taken a neder (a vow) according to the Jewish custom written in the Torah. [Bamidbar 6:2,5,18]. Then he set sail for Syria, taking Priscilla and Aquila with him.
      19 Then they arrived in Ephesus, and Paul left them there, but he joined the minyan (a group of Jews praying in a synagogue) in the synagogue and debated with the Yehudim (Jews).

      Quick Note:
      Debating is part of the Jewish tradition when you study the Torah, since you are allow to challenge your Rabbi and ask questions. This practice continues today in all orthodox synagogues. If you go to any synagogue today in Israel right after the service is the learning time, we pull a table in the middle and we all seat together and talk about the Torah, the interesting thing is that when a person that is not Israeli walks by notices us studding, we often hear: why are these Jews fighting? Or why are they so laud? Or why they yell so laud? Well because that is the custom and is been practiced since always. You see the similarities in the Mediterranean cultures when they seat in a table and talk about other matters, they are laud! It’s just the culture. Hands and facial expressions are part of that as well. This is what the Greek translation means by debating with the Jews.

      In Acts 20:16, Shaul was in a hurry to return to Jerusalem for Shavuot (Pentecost), as Jews were commanded to make a pilgrimage[8] to Jerusalem for the three pilgrimage festivals—again following the Torah.
      Acts 20:16
      Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Shavuot (Pentecost or festival of the weeks).

      Extended Note:
      Here we are noticing that Paul had a rush to get back to Jerusalem so he will not miss the Jewish festival of Shavuot (Pentecost) which is part of the High holidays. Shavuot is very important in the Jewish calendar celebrated today by all faithful Jews around the world. Evidently and unmistakably Paul was still practicing Judaism and all its holidays. He was an orthodox Jew and die as one. As is written in the Torah:

      Debarim 16:10
      Then you shall keep the Feast of Shavuot unto the L-RD your G-d by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the L-RD your G-d has given you.

      What is Shavuot?

      The Torah was given by G-d to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai more than 3300 years ago. Every year on the holiday of Shavuot we renew our acceptance of G-d’s gift, and G-d “re-gives” the Torah.

      The word Shavuot means “weeks.” It marks the completion of the seven-week counting period between Passover and Shavuot.

      The giving of the Torah was a far-reaching spiritual event—one that touched the essence of the Jewish soul for all times. Our sages have compared it to a wedding between G-d and the Jewish people. Shavuot also means “oaths,” for on this day G-d swore eternal devotion to us, and we in turn pledged everlasting loyalty to Him.

      By knowing this now we understand much deeply why Paul wanted to rush and go back to Jerusalem. He was an orthodox Jew, a keeper of the Torah and Mitzvoth, a real Tzadik (righteous one).

      In Acts 21:20-29, it is especially apparent in the Greek text that the rumors that the brothers had heard about Paul were not true. So here Paul takes another Nazarite vow along with the purification rites.[10] The Nazarite vow signified a desire to live as kodesh life or a holy separated life as a Jew before G-d. The term “Nazarite” comes from the Hebrew word nazir meaning “consecrated” or “separated. Bamidbar 6:1-21
      Acts 21:20-29:
      20 When they heard this, they praised G-d. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law (Mitzvoth of the Torah). 21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22 What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23 so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow (Nazarite vow). 24 Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved (see Bamidbar 6:1-21). Then everyone will know there is NO TRUTH IN THESE REPORTS ABOUT YOU, BUT THAT YOU YOURSELF ARE LIVING IN OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW (MITZVOTH). 25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”

      26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.

      Extended Note:

      Firstly the meaning of: Paul took the men and purified himself along with them
      Is that prior to any Jewish Holiday you must go to a local Mikveh so you can purified yourself for the holiday. Mikveh is a ritual immersion in Judaism, The word “Mikveh” literally means a “collection” and is the act of immersion for purification purposes. Did Paul Baptize himself? No by no means, he was doing his immersion cleansing as it was commanded by G-d in the Torah prior to Jewish Holidays and Shabbat. Also notice that Paul took other men with him, meaning he took other Jewish men and did the same thing, they went to the Mikveh and did what they were suppose to do as observant Jews.

      When a Gentile converts to Judaism they are immersed in the Mikveh. Paul did not convert Gentiles to Judaism but he taught them the laws of Noah which we will be learning in the next pages.

      It is essential to understand the word “Torah” or “Mitzvoth” is not Law. The word Torah comes from the root word yarah meaning “to shoot an arrow” or “to hit the mark. Properly used, the word means “teaching” or “instruction”.
      So when you read the NT and find the word Law, it’s meaning Torah and Mitzvoth.

      Notice above that Paul is extremely cautious with Jews who are followers of Mashiach in keeping the Mitzvoth; at the same time he is very cautious with the Gentiles who also convert to believe in the Messiah and reminded them to abstain from their old pagan ways.

      Keep in mind that Paul did NOT want the Gentiles to convert to Judaism but instead he instructed them the Seven Laws of Noah which evidently he recalled over and over in his epistles. 25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”

      The Seven Laws of Noah that the apostle Paul taught the Gentiles.

      1- I will not worship anyone or anything other than the One Creator, who cares for the creatures of our world, renewing the Act of Creation at every moment in infinite wisdom, being life for each thing.

      In this include prayer, study and meditation.

      2- I will not show disrespect for the Creator in any way.

      This may be seen to include respect for the beauty and life of the whole Creation.

      3- I will not murder.

      Each human being, just as Adam and Eve, comprises an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle. Every human being that G-d has created is obliged to provide for others in need.

      4- I will respect the institution of marriage.

      Marriage is a most divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman is a reflection of the Oneness of G-d and His creation. Dishonesty in marriage is an assault on that Oneness.

      5- I will not take that which does not rightfully belong to me.

      Deal honestly in all your business. By relying on G-d, rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.

      6- I will not cause needless harm to any living thing.

      At the outset of his creation, Man was the gardener in the Garden of Eden to “take care of it and protect it.” At first, Man was forbidden to take the life of any animal. After the Great Flood, he was permitted to consume meat–but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.

      7- I will uphold courts of truth and justice in my land.

      Justice is G-d’s business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the act of sustaining the creation.

      Essentially Christianity teaches these laws today without even knowing that this is completely Jewish for Gentiles. We do not see any good Christian practicing idolatry or murder or theft of sexual immorality. G-d Forbid! Thanks to Paul and his knowledge about rabbinical Judaism open up a much brighter knowledge about Judaism and brought him to the world. Paul’s teachings were essential keys for Gentiles to become righteous gentiles.

      Imagine if we Jews have carried this message to Jews only, perhaps today the whole world will be pagan and G-d forbid! Today’s Jewry would not be alive! Because Monoteism will not exist, Christianity will not exist and perhaps America will be pagan and consequently America will never support Israel as it does today!

      Consequently no goverment grants for religius organizations, no hannukkah in the white house, white supremacy will run the country and forget about the constitucion because is no bible to based it uppon.

      This is a Master plan from above and a comments like Rabbi Wolf without historical background are stupid and ignorant.

      so from this point lets answer your point:

      Rabbi boteach is a because he wrote in his book:

      “Jesus was a man who worked to rekindle Jewish ritual observance of every aspect of the Torah and to counter the brutal Roman occupation of his people’s land. He never wavered in this mission even when he realized the consequences would be fatal.”

      Answer: evidently, he was a Jew, besides the fact that he never claim to be the messiah, the tittle was called by others. And as a Tzadik he wanted Rome out, he wanted the Saddusees out, he wanted the real Judaism, the same Judaism The luvabicher rebbe taught about all his life. Rabbi Shmuley is a Chabad Rabbi and as one he sees the perspective which you cannot understand.

      His mission: Bring the Jews back to observing the Torah! so that makes Rabbi Boteach a Christian? because he wronte that Jesus wanted Jews to come back with Tshuvah and live a righteous lifes!

      do me a favor and go back to Yeshiva! Judaism is all about saving Jewish Neshamas to bring them back!

      • A REAL American

        Moshe Kaduri

        I attempted to read your long rambling reply, but your English and your point is almost completely undecipherable. I have absolutely no idea what your point was or why you bothered to ramble on for so long about something of such unimportance.

        For example, you wrote “Rabbi boteach is a because he wrote in his book…”.

        Say what?

        Also, please get your facts straight–Rabbi Wolf is a Shaliach of the Rebbe who is world renown educator, Shmuley is not a shaliach of anyone except for Shmuley. Putting aside for a moment Shmuley’s intentions, the only thing that can possibly be accomplished by writing a book defending Yoske is to destroy Jewish n’shamot, not save them.

        • as you can see I am Israeli. You evidently do not understand the meaning of things that are happening and evidently you believe that things happen just because.
          Following the teachings of the Rebbe, We believe that nothing happens for no reason and even the small little blade of grass grown because G-d’s decision.

          From that perspective, you evidently read my long explanation with the already Anti-Semitic version of your mind, same way the anti-Semitics made comments about us, same way they have an answer already made and premeditated. You act the same. What differ you from them? do you sparkle light? your comments are irrational and out of context.

          Firstly, Jesus name was Yehoshua and not Yoshke (the way we insult Jesus when we talk despicable about another Jew, even so the Talmud and the Torah explicitly tell us not to talk like that about a fellow Jew)secondly, America was created by Christians and those Christians today stand by outside fighting against Evil, and if it was not for the American Christians today we will not be FREE JEWS living in America.

          So STOP calling a Jew, Yehoshua despicably Yoshke.

          NOW

          In the book Rabbi Boteach said in simplified form:

          Jesus was a Jew, the whole book of Mathew talks about Jesus been a Rabbi, a Jew committed to the Torah and to keep every Mitzvoth of the Torah. It was later the Roman Empire who made his a god, son of god and all that crap that unfortunately people believe today, because of the disconnection form Judaism.

          From that perspective, Rabbi Boteach wants to approach Jews who are mostly living in ignorance about the Torah here in USA, and before they are converted to Christianity by the missioners, he provide them with another perspective about Jesus, a Kosher Jesus, a Jew who never call himself god, or blaspheme against G-d or the Torah.

          What is written in the Talmud about Yehoshua ben Yoseph is about a person that live 100 years before him. And was written in the Talmud 250 years after the commun era!! with no proof or evidence whatsoever!! but from the pain, because the atrocities committed by the Roman Empire using now this Jesus that was created by them.

          If I believe today that the Rebbe Schneerson is the messiah, it makes me a lesser Jew or a non Jew?
          NO.
          Did the Rebbe Schneerson ever call himself the Messiah? NEVER… but we have plenty Chabad people that call him the messiah and believe that he is the Messiah.
          Does this makes this people lesser Jews because they believe that the Rebbe Schneerson is the Messiah! G-d forbit!

          In the same perspective,

          If a Jew who keeps the Torah, the Mitzvoth, Shabbat and everything is required to be called a Tzadik believes in another Jew been a Rabbi makes him/her a normal Jew, why should someone be lesser Jew for believing that Yehoshua ben Yoseph was the messiah is a Rashah!! it makes no sence.

          I believe that our messiah will come soon, but analyze this from the perspective the Rebbe Schneerson analyzed when people ask him if he was the Messiah and he said no.

          Rabbi Shmuley book in Syntheses:

          Jews for Jews
          Christians for Jews via Noahide Laws.

          analyze what will happen if gentiles that read the book about Kosher Jesus discover that Jesus was not god, was not the messiah and was in fact Rabbi Yehoshua, a Jew that kept the Torah and kept all the Jewish holidays and kept everything is required for a Jew to be called a Tzadik.

          What will happen to all this goys?

          THEY WILL LEARN FROM THE JEWS!

          they will come back to the roots and they will ask US to teach THEM about the TORAH.

          So we will teach them NOAHIDE LAWS!

          SHALOM!

          • A REAL American

            Moshe Kaduri,

            Everything happens in this world by G-d’s design and nothing happens without a reason. To say I don’t understand this is to belittle my intelligence and to over inflate your own.

            But not everything single thing that G-d creates in this world is 100% GOOD.

            Cancer is not GOOD
            Murder is not GOOD
            Idolatry is not GOOD
            The Holocaust was not GOOD

            No offense, but if you claim to understand why these things exist, then I know you are truly full of crap.

            Xtians can be good and Xtians can do good, but Xtianity is not in and of itself GOOD. America is a great country not because it is Xtian, it is great because Americans believe in Hashem–so Hashem gives power to America. No one loves this country more than I do, but that doesn’t mean I love Xtianity. I love the Xtians who believe in Hashem.

            You tell me I should have respect for Yoshke because he was a yid. But in a strange and convoluted way you then went on to call me an anti-semite or at the very least compared my mindset to them. I have no idea what you said because it made little sense in the same way your long and rambling post made little sense. Maybe its your poor grammatical skills in English, but whatever the reason it prevents anyone from understanding your point.

            For example, you wrote….

            “From that perspective, you evidently read my long explanation with the already Anti-Semitic version of your mind, same way the anti-Semitics made comments about us, same way they have an answer already made and premeditated. You act the same. What differ you from them? do you sparkle light? your comments are irrational and out of context.”

            Let’s break your words down a little.

            From “that perspective”? That perspective of what? You didn’t write a subject of what my perspective was. Was it my perspective as a Torah observant Jew? Was it my perspective that anything that contradicts in any way Torah observance is not acceptable? And please explain to me exactly how is that perspective anti-Semitic? How exactly does a person “sparkle light” and how do we know if we are “sparkling light”–do I have to sit in the dark to find out?? And what does that have to do with Torah observance and how is this “irrational and out of context”? Out of context of what? Of sparkling light??

            Not a word of this makes sense. It is completely incoherent and together amounts to a bunch of gibberish. Your writing reminds me alot of a friend of mine who is ADHD and cannot formulate a thought without mixing it up with other thoughts.

            Now for Shmuley’s book.

            Everyone knows Yoshke was a Jew–did Shmuley Boteach really have to write a book in order to inform Jews of this? Why not just write a book telling us that water is wet? While it is nice to know that Yoshke might have been a Rabbi too, how does this help Jews become Torah observant? Do you believe that Jews would magically become Torah observant if they knew Yoshke was a Rabbi?

            As for your claim that Yoshke was Torah observant where is your proof? If its from the NT why would I believe a word from that piece of TRIEF? Even the NT contradicts its claims of a Torah observant Yoshke in the following two examples….

            The NT tells us that Yoshke cursed a fig tree that didn’t bear him fruit even though the fruit wasn’t in season. Why would a Torah observant Jew curse a tree–let alone one that didn’t bear fruit out of season? The best explanation is that the person in this story didn’t believe the laws of nature applied to him. A Torah observant Jew knows that everything in creation comes from Hashem and that includes the laws of nature. If they are cursing the tree for not bearing fruit out of season, then they are really cursing Hashem for not creating a miracle to transcend nature on his behalf.

            The NT quotes Yoshke last words as “Oh Father, why have you forsaken me”? Even a non-observant Yid knows a Jew’s last words should be Sh’ma. Daniel Pearl a secular Yid who was beheaded by Moslems said the Sh’ma. So one has to ask why were Yoshke’s last words to ask Hashem was he was being abandoned? If Yoshke was a Torah observant Jew, would these be his final words?? And if the answer is that he did not same them or that these weren’t his final words, then the follow up question is simple. If this is inaccurate then is there even a single word in the NT that is trustworthy?? And if even one word of the NT is not trustworthy how can we prove any words in the NT are trustworthy? People why write things that are inaccurate cannot be trusted. And we all know that the people who compiled these works had a political and religious agenda, so why would we take any word from the NT to be accurate or trustworthy.

            Maybe Yoshke observed some Halacha and not others? Maybe the people who wrote the Gospel are completely full of crap? Maybe they completely altered his words and deeds to meet their own agenda? Who knows and to be frank, who really cares??

            Jews shouldn’t care because these stories not only indicate that Yoshke was not a Torah observant Jew but they are spewn with TREIF pagan concepts such as human sacrifices (sacrificial lamb) and virgin births that contradict each other and the Torah. Shmuley Boteach’s examples of things Yoshke supposedly said (how can we trust that Yoshke even said or did any of those things??)–might have similarities to concepts expressed in the Torah, but since these concepts are already expressed in the Torah in a direct and undiluted form, why would the remote possibility that Yoshke said them too be at all relevant to a Jew 2000 years later?

            Having spoken and debated many times with missionaries and Jews who accept Yoshke, I have developed an understanding of their mindset. They constantly take things out of context and refuse to put them back into the context from which they were taken. They read interpretations into passages and extract a meaning from these passages that was clearly not intended. You cannot prove them wrong because they have been programed to reject alternative possibilities and sources.

            Isiah 53 “the suffering servant” is the best example of this. No matter what you do, you cannot convince a J for J that this refers to all of Israel, not just one person. All of the suffering that Jews have faced in 3300 years is meaningless to them because in their delusional interpretation this can only have one possible meaning—to allude to Yoshke. What about Yirmiyahu or someone else who suffered? NO–only Yoshke. Even when you tell them the passage has nothing to do with Moshiach, they deem this as irrelevant. They ignore every word before this passage and every word after it because they are inconvenient to their argument that this passage is about Yoshke.

            How is Shmuley Boteach’s book on the “kosher” Yoshke going to change this outlook for them and convince them that this interpretation is completely ignorant? How is knowing the “kosher” Yoshke going to bring them back to a Torah observant life? How is knowing the “kosher” Yoshke going to prevent a missionary from selling their BS to the Jews that target who have little or no knowledge of Torah?

            Jews for Judaism do a much better job of exposing missionaries farcical interpretation for what they are and debunking all of their claims.

            You and Shmuley both claim this book will educate Jews in advance in order to stem the tide of missionary conversions. You said…”From that perspective, Rabbi Boteach wants to approach Jews who are mostly living in ignorance about the Torah here in USA, and before they are converted to Christianity by the missioners, he provide them with another perspective about Jesus, a Kosher Jesus, a Jew who never call himself god, or blaspheme against G-d or the Torah.”

            That makes no sense whatsoever. The Jews who are most vulnerable to missionaries are the ones with little or no knowledge of Judaism and little if any positive experiences being Jewish. That is why they are most vulnerable. Forget for a moment that these people are very unlikely to read the “kosher” Yoshke–please explain to me how a book on a “kosher” Yoshke is going to make them less vulnerable to a personal one on one contact with a determined missionary with almost unlimited resources who is willing to deceive his target in order to gain a conversion? How is arming them with “another perspective on Yoshke” better than arming them with knowledge of Judaism and positive Jewish experiences? Why devote time and resources to a “kosher” Yoshke when it will do nothing to solve the missionary problem and everything to exacerbate it.

            There is a good target audience for this book–the Xtians. It will debunk some of the mythology they have allowed into their religion and possibly lead them on a path to becoming a noachide. My problem with this book is the title and Shmuley’s attempt to market this book as a solution to the missionary problem.

            Arming Jews with knowledge of Yoshke, even Yoshke as an alleged mitzvah observant Rabbi is extremely dangerous and will surely backfire because it will be used by the missionaries as an opening to a dialogue and a gateway to accepting Yoshke as something he clearly isn’t. It will do nothing to combat missionaries preying on unaffiliated and under educated Jews because these Jews will not read this book. And the Jews who have already been missionized will either not read the book or attempt to read between the lines interpreting meanings that Shmuley Boteach never intended. Why? Because that is what they do and what got them into this mess in the first place. And the people get involved with are also prone to this type of intellectual dishonesty.

            And even if these vulnerable Jews do read this book, the missionaries they encounter will either embrace the book selling them unintended meanings or dispute Shmuley’s findings citing alleged falsehoods while embracing his overall message of a “Kosher Yoshke” with a heksher given by “America’s Rabbi”. This book is an open invitation by Shmuley Boteach for Xtian missionaries to discuss the previously TREIF Yoshke with Jews. And instead of saying Yoshke is treif, they will have Shmuley’s blessing to engage in this topic with a better trained and better educated missionary that is prepared to spend countless hours and dollars missionizing a single Jew.

            And how do I know of the damage this book will cause? Because if you read the blogs regarding this book on Algeimener and other websites which published a review, most of the people commentating are J for J or missionaries types who are already using Shmuley’s book as proof that Yoshke is “Kosher” for a Jew to believe in. Which seems to be at least part of the point you are making. This book is bringing the TREIF Yoshke to a whole new market–one that never would allow this concept in without Shmuley’s name on the cover. The entire concept physically REPULSES me and make me want to VOMIT.

            As for you conversation about the Lubavitcher Rebbe. First of all the Rebbe is not Moshiach at least he is not Melech ha Moshiach. How do we know this? Because the Beis Hamikdash has not been rebuilt. While the Rebbe did everything in his power to reach out to not only every single Jew on the planet, he also reached out to gentiles as well infusing them all with direct and unambiguous messages from the Torah and has led hundreds of thousands of Jews to perform Mitzvahs. The Rebbe was the leader of his generation and a direct descendent of Dovid Ha Melech. While I dispute that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is Moshiach, at least the Rebbe was a descendent of Dovid Ha Melech and he led generations of Jews back to performing mitzvoth. The Rebbe has an indisputable track record and leaves a living legacy that is growing on a daily basis.

            One certainly cannot say the same about Yoshke–either the NT one or the one you and Shmuley are alleging to have existed. Yoshke is TREIF to Jews and the conversation of Yoshke as Moshiach is ridiculous and absolutely out of bounds for any Jew. You haven’t even provided a single proof of his eligibility let alone his qualifications. In the past 3300 years there have been MILLIONS of Jews who were Torah observant, many of them scholars and Rabbis–which is your only claim for Yoshke. Why would you pick someone to be Moshiach who lived 2000 years ago and didn’t accomplish anything positive that was recorded in Jewish annuls of history. Do you even know his family bloodline? Can you trace him to King David? Where is the Beis Hamikdash Shlishi?? How many Jews did he lead to do Torah mitzvot?

            You said…”If a Jew who keeps the Torah, the Mitzvoth, Shabbat and everything is required to be called a Tzadik believes in another Jew been a Rabbi makes him/her a normal Jew, why should someone be lesser Jew for believing that Yehoshua ben Yoseph was the messiah is a Rashah!! it makes no sence.”

            Say what??

            “If a Jew…. believes in another Jew been a Rabbi makes him/her a normal Jew…” What does that mean? I stripped out the stuff in-between to try to simplify your sentence in order to determine what it is you are trying to say and I still have no idea what you are talking about. Are you questioning why a Torah observant Jew who believes Yoshke is Moshiach is considered to be a Rashah by the entire Jewish community?

            Let me put this in the simplest terms I can. Yoshke is treif to Jews. Trying to separate the alleged “kosher” Yoshke from the overtly Treif Yoshke recorded in the NT is like separating Cholov Yisroel cheese and Pas Yisroel bread from a ham sandwich and declaring them acceptable. It is impossible to eradicate the trace elements of the treif ingredients from the alleged “kosher” ingredients which is why the whole entire sandwich is TREIF. No Torah Observant Jew would partake of such a thing.

            Moshiach has not arrived yet so there is no way you can honestly make a claim for someone who lived 2000 years ago to be the Moshiach when the Beis Hamikdash hasn’t been re-built and the majority of Jews are still not keeping Torah.

            Until this happens, no man can claim to be Melech ha Moshiach and no follower of this man can claim to be within normative Halachic Judaism while making this claim.

    • woah there. careful now. we don’t have to agree with everything in the world. you can say you don’t agree with it but if something is done in good spirit, a non-harmful opinion, idea, concept, unless you fear his book is so dangerous and so influential it will start converting jews all over the place, just let people be and say what they want to say.
      its unhealthy to stifle a voice. yours should not be stifled either, so you are welcome to speak up. just remember what you believe in should not be what everyone else must believe it.

      lets all be positive here.

    • To be fair, I have reservations about the title.

      Leaving mythology and Christian theology aside, no one disputes Jesus was born and died as a Jew.

      The relevant question is not whether Jews need to embrace him but whether Christians need to embrace him as a Jew, not as a deified man-god.

      Its not Jews that have a problem with the authentically Jewish teaching he taught, lived and died for but the Christian World’s rejection of them and instigating centuries of hatred and persecution of the Jewish people.

      The world’s movement away from paganism, as we saw in the Holocaust was only skin-deep. Recovering ethical values and a love of G-d is not just a Jewish concern. It should be every one’s concern.

      One people realize that, then will we be on the way to the Messianic Era.

  • David Sabghir

    With his intentional choice of controversial book titles, Reb Shmueli surely stepped into a minefield. However,the subject has long needed clarification for the perplexed Jew and for the interested non-Jew (of which I believe there are many), who are confused by the myriad confusion of Christian sects which purport to represent the authentic Jesus.

    From its contents, even if in a brown paper cover, it would seem to have a vital place on the shelves of Chabad House libraries for the benefit of visitors, whether or not Jewish, who truly want to find a way back to emes.

    • A REAL American

      David Sabghir,

      With all due respect, this book serves absolutely ZERO purpose for a Jew, let alone one “who truly want to find a way back to emes.”

      Even if Yuskah did say the things cited in this book and live his life as a Torah observant Jew, from a Jewish perspective he didn’t say or do one thing that was original or worth learning about. We have 10′s of thousands of other teachers to learn from who’s words and deeds have not been used to destroy Jewish souls.

      I guarantee that you will never see this book within a stones throw of a Chabad house unless they are having a book burning.

  • The rebbe had a vision to spread the noahide laws. Never did he use the concept or hint in any way that this should be done through realizing the humanity and Jewishness of yoshke. I find it a shame that you use your power of speaking and power of writing to change historical facts. I use to be a big fan of yours, but you lost me and my friends be uase of this book.

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