Continued Incitement Over My Kosher Jesus Book

January 11, 2012 11:17 am 60 comments

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Photo: DRosenbach.

The only reason I have decided to respond once again to Rabbi Wolfe and the legion of hatemongers he now heads, is for the sake of my children. I raised them to love Chabad for its ahavas Yisrael, its heart, and its humanity. Read the comments that are attached to Rabbi Wolfe’s attacks on me and what you’ll see is something utterly unrecognizable. A frenzied rabble accusing me of being a Christian, invoking Hitler’s name and mine in the same sentence, demanding that I be thrown out of Lubavitch – or worse! And rhetoric so inflammatory that is borders on incitement.

I just returned from Israel where the country was up in arms over a Charedi man who spat in the face of an eight-year-old girl and where another Charedi man was arrested the next day for calling a female soldier a ‘whore’ on a bus for refusing to move to the back of the bus. Read the comments attached to Rabbi Wolfe’s diatribe and it is the natural continuation of such dangerous, religious fanaticism. Only this time, tragically, it is Chabad. We are witnessing a battle for the very soul of the movement. Will Chabad be overtaken by ignorant extremists who condemn a book that they have never even seen, let alone read, and call for the excommunication of a Rabbi who has devoted his life to fighting the battles of the Jewish people? Will they call for the book to be burned if not banned?

My children go to school in Crown Heights, and I am becoming very concerned at these sickening, stomach-turning comments and attacks. The incendiary comments being posted on Crownheights.info and Collive.com (two communal Chabad websites) are a violation of Judaism and Jewish values. The incitement must stop.

One would expect that Rabbi Wolf who is an educator would be more responsible before launching a rabble-rousing personal attack. One shudders to think of the example he is setting for the impressionable young minds who are his charge. Rather than engaging in an intelligent discussion of the subject, based on Jewish sources and facts, he continues to indulge his rank ignorance of the Second Temple period and early Christianity, libelously claiming that I am advocating that Jews embrace a Christian Jesus while in fact the very essence of the book is that the true story of Jesus is of a Jew who adhered to Jewish law and taught his followers to do the same.

Kosher Jesus is a work of scholarship and it is difficult to convey its complexities in a defensive article on a website. But one of the core ideas which Rabbi Wolf in his abysmal illiteracy of the development of early Christianity and the Talmudic take on Jesus overlooks is that, according to the Talmud, there are at least two major Jesus figures. He is confusing the Talmud’s Yeshu , who was a student of Yehoshua ben Perachia (Talmud Bavli, Sotah, 47a), with the Jesus who would later be connected to Christianity. The two cannot be the same person since no one disputes the fact that Yehoshua ben Perachia died about one hundred and thirty years before the destruction of the Temple, that is, at least one hundred years before Jesus was even born, which makes it impossible for Christianity’s Jesus to have been his disciple. The Seder Hadoros likewise explains, based on these Talmudic sources, that there were two major Jesus figures. (Josephus goes further and speaks of approximately 22 historical figures of the time with the name Yeshu). Hence, Rabbi Wolf’s continued insistence that I am asking Jews to embrace Jesus is a deliberate attempt to simplify an extremely complex and scholarly argument. That’s the problem with the knee-jerk religious extremism. It dismisses nuance and seeks to create bogeymen.

My book Kosher Jesus explains all of this. It is designed to educate Jews like Rabbi Wolfe who are utterly ignorant of the source materials. Indeed, one of the reasons that Jews fall prey to Christian missionaries is that they don’t know the facts. Rabbi Wolf would prefer to keep them in the same darkness where he himself resides, even if it robs them of the immunity to missionary arguments that Kosher Jesus offers. The reason missionaries make inroads in converting Jews is that most of our people are utterly ignorant of missionary arguments and how to respond, and Rabbi Wolfe has now done terrible damage in our ongoing efforts to combat Christian missionizing.

Rabbi Wolf could have easily read the book, or at least got in touch with me, prior to his unforgivable call that a Jew and fellow Rabbi be expelled. He did not do so because his purpose is seemingly to attack rather than enlighten.

His focus on the Israeli Haaretz newspaper account of my press conference in Jerusalem was deliberately taken out of context. I said that Jews should embrace the truthful version of Jesus as opposed to the heavily edited Christian depiction. What missionaries seek to do in converting unsuspecting Jews is portray Judaism as a failed religion that was replaced by Christianity. Their intention is to show Jews that without a divine Jesus they cannot achieve salvation from sin. But contrary to those preposterous claims, Christian scripture is itself absolutely clear that Jesus kept the entire Torah and advocated that any Jew who did not would be cast out from heaven. It is this Jewish Jesus that I am asking Jews to reclaim. My intention is inspire Jews who have embraced Christianity to come back to their people and keep every letter of Jewish law as Jesus himself both advocated in the New Testament and adhered to himself. Jesus, according to even Christian scripture, led a completely Jewish life and was killed by the Romans for opposing their tyranny and paganism, as the source material quoted in Kosher Jesus explains. How absurd that Jews would accept a deliberately distorted version of Jesus’ life – designed to appease Rome and blame the Jews for Jesus’ death – rather than discovering the truth.

Rabbi Wolf could easily have used 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 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 feeling so threatened by the book and working overtime on a response.

In my book I actually included blurbs from leading missionaries who condemn my conclusions due to how it proves that Jesus never intended to do anything but get Jews to keep Rabbinic Judaism. That is why at the press conference it was Christian reporters rather than the Jewish journalists who debated the book’s conclusions. (The full audio and video of the press conference will be made available on my website.) They argued that my book, which demonstrates from Christian and Jewish sources that Jesus never claimed to be divine and struggled to uphold the Torah, is insulting to Christianity.

I have repeatedly said that I mean no insult to Christianity. But I do intend to trace back the major teachings of Jesus back to their original sources in the Torah as a means of demonstrating, not only that Jesus never meant to found a new faith, but also to show how the light of Judaism has permeated the world, even if our faith is given little credit and today goes by a different name.

Here are some simple and basic examples from the Sermon on the Mount:

Jesus: Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

Torah: The meek will inherit the earth, and enjoy peace and prosperity. (Psalms 37:11)

Jesus: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)

Torah: Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart. (Psalms 24:3-4)

Jesus: If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. (Matthew 5:39)

Torah: Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him… (Lamentations 3:30)

Jesus: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

Torah: Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4)

Jesus: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

Torah: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)

Jesus: Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:23)

Torah: Away from me, all you who do evil… (Psalms 6:8)

Jesus: Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (Matthew 7:6)

Torah: Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words. (Proverbs 23:9)

Rabbi Wolf should let up on his vicious attacks and read the book or at the very least call me to discuss the source materials. He should tell his braying masses that there is no place for hate-mongering in Judaism. To bring an end to this madness, I am prepared to meet him in public debate on this subject at any reasonable time and place of his choosing to end this madness. It is a serious offer and I await his response.

Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” is the international best-selling author of 27 books, won the London Times Preacher of the Year competition at the Millennium, and is recipient of the American Jewish Press Association’s Highest Award for Excellence in Commentary. Kosher Jesus will be published in February 1st by Gefen. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

60 Comments

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    Some of these comments from some of you Orthodox do more to promote anti-semitism than a dozen American Hitlers. Speaking of whom some of you greatly resemble him in your hatred of all other Jews who are not just like you.

  • The book has stirred up a hornet’s nest among Jews and been met with almost total indifference by Christians. Not what Boteach was hoping for surely?

  • While Rabbi Boteach’s stated intent of preventing Jews from converting to Xianity is admirable, there is no need to study “the new testament” or reconstruct a “real J*sus.” HaShem gave Israel the Torah on Mt. Sinai three thousand years before Xianity, and that Torah serves as the supreme revelation by which all other religious claims must be judged. Given this fact, there is no need in seeking the permission of a “kosher J*sus” to be a Torah Jew!

    Furthermore, Xianity is forbidden not only to Jews but to non-Jews as well. HaShem gave all non-Jewish humanity the Seven Noachide Laws. Jews should learn Torah rather than engage in “interreligious dialogue” and non-Jews should seek out Torah Jews to learn about the True G-d and the obligations they have received from Him.

    Let all Torah Jews immerse themselves in Torah and teach non-Jews the Noachide Commandments. “Ecumenical dialogue” and secular politics (which seek absolute secularism as the answer to strife among peoples) are both dead ends.

    The answer has been there all along.

    • About 1313 years not 3000, but who’s counting anyway right, or are we not allowed to count either…

      The problem is just as Rabbi Boteach says that Christians ARE converting Jews and those Jews don’t have the right “ammo” to protect themselves. Rabbi Boteach tries to provide this in order to protect Jews against evangelizing efforts. What you say is very nice but only works in an ideal world which, I hate to burst your bubble, we don’t live in….

    • About 1313 not 3000, but who’s counting anyway right, or are we not allowed to count either…

      The problem is, just as Rabbi Boteach explained, that Christians ARE converting Jews and they don’t have the right “ammo” to protect themselves. This is exactly what Rabbi Boteach tries to supply against their evangelizing efforts. What you are saying is very nice but only works in an ideal world which, I hate to burst your bubble, we dont live in.

  • “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”

    MATTHEW 23:37-38

  • Pork is more kosher then yoshke.

    The most fundamental value of Judaism is monotheism. The Torah not only forbids us to worship idles it also expects us to take grate pains to stay far away from idles and anything connected to them.
    If something is worshiped as an idle, it is forbidden to benefit from it in any way, it is forbidden to eat sell or even smell. Kosher on the other hand means it is permitted to derive full benefit from it.

    Now can there be anything more misleading then taking a world famous idle and calling him kosher? I believe such a title is both non kosher by Torah standard and also illegal by American standards. You can shout till you are blue in the face that you don’t worship him, but the fact is that if millions of people worship him as such for centuries makes him an idle, and all the laws of idle worship apply to his name.

    • Nafets Sreyem

      Jesus was killed by the religious, people of that time because of his answer to this question “tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” …
      “Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.
      Mat 26:66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.”
      Jesus healed the blind, deaf, lame, sick, brought the dead to life, who can do this but God? Therefore, if Jesus is an idol, so then is Hashem, because the Father and the Son are ONE.
      I know my redeemer liveth. Who could have changed my life but Him?
      Please read Isaiah chapter 53 if you dare. Those who do not read and no better off than they who cannot read.

    • Crystal Thorne

      Then do not ask for the return of Eliyahu, whom is idolized, and do not ask in your prayers for Mashiach to come and set up His kingdom.

      Think about who this Mashiach is to come to the Jews. Who is He? If there is no Mashiach at all, do not send your prayers for Him to come and set up His kingdom of shalom.

      You believe in One, do not believe in Mashiach either, for that is idoloatry.

  • Rabbi Mendy Bogomilsky

    It is shocking to see that the Algemeiner, founded by R’ Gershon Ber Jacobson a”h, whose father was one of the ten who were ready to give up their lives for Yiddishkeit, has allowed their website to become a platform for this total kefira. Shomu Shomayim!
    The website that is being publicized over and over by the “paqid” character in 15 different aliases clearly and unambiguously promotes non-jews to declare they are Jewish, while continuing to follow yoshke as the “moshiakh”, while attending “modern-Orthodox” shuls, but of course only after being trained by them through “distance-learning” how not to stand out and look like imposters in these shuls.
    WHAT IS COMING OFF HERE?!!

    • What “aliases”??? Produce them. Be explicit.

      Document what — explicitly and specifically — what the “heresy” is here. Each — every one — of your accusations are misinformed, false and slanderous. Thanks for providing your name. I’m looking for a stand-up lawyer.

      • It’s interesting, too, that your answer is to muzzle the website and suppress free speech. That’s because muzzling and slander are the only answers you have. It’s failed spectacularly for 2000 years. Time for Jews to wake up and study the history of that period, what really happened and get to the bottom of it for a tectonic change.

        • A REAL American

          Paqid,

          The thing that has “failed” for the last 2000 years is Xtianity–a religion built almost entirely on pagan mythology. A religion that murdered untold millions all in the name of Yoshke.

          The best thing about Xtianity is that pagans now recognize 3 G-ds (trinity) instead of a whole slew of them. The true path for these people would become B’nai Noach.

          And if anything in Judaism has “failed” over the past 2000 year it probably because the followers of Yoshke were determined exterminate those of us who consider Yoshke to be TRIEF.

  • Dear Rabbi Shmuley,

    I am a fan of yours. But I must say I don’t see how your ideas of J are not in line with Jewish thought. I did not read the book (yet) but I want to comment on your newspaper interview – which I did read. You talk about his “beautiful teachings”. The Talmud didn’t exactly find his techings beautiful. (Yes, many of his qoutes are paraphrased from the Torah. So if that is so why do we need him? Can’t we just stick with the original Torah?)
    And as for his own interpretations, see the Talmud (Avoda Zara 16b-17a) where a rabbi deeply regreted even agreeing with one of J’s teachings!
    (This is not the same J as you say Rabbi Wolf was confused with, as per Sotah 47a, because this story involves Rabbi Akiba who lived many years later.)

    Rabbi Shmuley, I would like to know your comments on the Talmud A.Z. 17a.

    With much love

    • “But I must say I don’t see how your ideas of J are not in line with Jewish thought.”
      The word “not” wasn’t meant to be there.

  • Rabbi,

    First, I agree with you about Jesus.

    I hold the (sometimes objectionable) position that Christianity is “Judaism for Dummies,” like a book in the series of “For Dummy” books out today. The scholars of the day saw Judaism as a solution for the Paganism and social miasma which existed. Judaism gave structure and rules and moral climate to people, as well as a cultural center. It set limits and socialized people, gave them a sense of belonging and structure for their lives, as well as a sense of holiness and specialness.

    But Judaism is a very difficult religion to follow, so Paul and his ilk took Judaism and made it easier, keeping the basic moral code and rules and eliminating the things which they considered too difficult or obscure to observe. TA DA! Judaism for Dummies.

  • Dear Shmuley, I think the only appropriate thing to say right now is that we the Jewish people are one. And we the family who lives on Crown St. and loves you and all your kinderlach feel no divide from you and yours. We have only Ahavas Yisroel in our hearts and souls. We feel really badly for all the opposite of love you are feeling and we will continue to pray for an end to our suffering, complete ahavas Yisroel with the coming of Moshiach NOW!!!!!!!!

    ps maybe we should just try to think GOOD and it will be GOOD! Maybe everyone with an opinion should find a mitzvah to do instead. GOTTA GO, I’m talking to myself too, places to go mitzvahs to do, GOOD SHABBOS

  • As Jews we pride ourselves on the fact that we are open to questions and to really understanding our religion rather than just accepting it ‘because it says so.’ To be a good Jew you do not NEED to learn or understand the teachings of Jesus. You also do not need to learn pottery or skiing or English literature or any number of other things that people choose to learn for whatever reason. We do not NEED to know what past scientists have discovered and been proven wrong about and we do not need to study dead languages. We do these things for two reasons: a. interest and b. learning from those who have come before us. No one is forcing you to read this book. No one is forcing you to teach this to your children. I have not read the book, but it sounds to me that it is a recounting of Jesus as an historical figure and a portrayal of him from a Jewish standpoint. This is not a call to conversion or a Rabbi’s endorsement of Christianity. If your faith is at risk due to exposure to the beliefs of another religion that is not anyone’s problem but your own. As for the children, it is your job as a parent to protect them and teach them, but you need to take responsibility for that not expect something to not be published just because you do not want your child reading it! Believing something simply because you refuse to learn anything else is not belief. It is ignorance, and the two are absolutely NOT interchangeable.
    I have read numerous excerpts from the book. I disagree with many of them, but that is my prerogative as a thinking and educated individual. I can see where some of the statements might be inflammatory, but that does not make them apikorsus. You cannot say someone is a heretic simply because what they have to say makes you think for yourself and defend your beliefs. Rabbi Boteach has painted Jesus in a friendlier light than we are accustomed to and the response seems to be ‘If we do not agree or believe in it than it must be evil’. I am a frum Jew, I think that Jesus was responsible for a terrible thing. However, and I repeat, that is my prerogative to believe so because I have a solid enough learning foundation to believe that despite the fact that I believe Christianity has a number of good qualities and good people it is wrong.
    The responses both to Rabbi Boteach’s work AND to his critics are embarrassing to me as a frum Jew. Are you really going to publicize this fighting on the internet? Are you all so busy being holier-than-thou that you have forgotten basics like not making a chilul Hasham? Ahavas Yisroel ring a bell? In case any of you have forgotten, one of the main causes for the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash was sinas chinam (baseless hatred). If you genuinely believe there is cause then take it to Bays Din. If not then take some time and focus on how you can be a better Jew and a better person instead of focusing on what others are doing wrong.

  • This one is going to be long but if you have time to copy and paste it and print it to read it later, please do it because it has alot of good stuff.

    my email:
    sepharadflorida@gmail.com

    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 Christianity will not exist, and America will be pagan and will be never support Israel as it does today!

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

    Next year in Yerusalem with Mashiach!

    • Elliot J. Stamler

      Mr. Kaduri: I know you are absolutely in love with your own words but you are not ona pulpit or on a professorial lecturn—learn a little humility and BREVITY. It surprises me ALGEMEINER lets you and a few others herein drone on and on and on as if you think you are some kind of rabbinic sage. Didn’t you ever learn how to ED
      IT your remarks to keep them sufficiently brief and cogent so that people will read what you have to say. What do you think you are doing: writing a new book of the Bible?

  • Shmuley, you are entitled to the controvesy you so much look for. But to lie and slander is another thing.

    You start your article with:
    “I just returned from Israel where the country was up in arms over a Charedi man who spat in the face of an eight-year-old girl and where another Charedi man was arrested the next day for calling a female soldier a ‘whore’ on a bus for refusing to move to the back of the bus”

    In both instances you are wrong!! No one spat INTO THE FACE of an eight year old girl. And NO ONE CALLED A FEMALE SOLDIER a W***RE.

    See : http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4170357,00.html

    If you dont check your facts, and you repeat this Motzi Shem Rah on your fellow Jews, especially in a fashion which you include/blame the whole charedi communtiy IN PUBLIC, how can you be trustworthy on any other issue?

    STOP THE HATRED MAN!

    And hey!
    Watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhvEVPGgseY
    That’s probably what the Rebbe would have told you!!

  • Shmuley, your math regarding yeshu the student of yehoshua Ben perachiah is off. Although he is still too early to be the teacher of Jesus, the two are not separated by 100 years. Yehoshua Ben perachiah is alive in the reign of Alexander Janaeus, about 80 BCE. Jesus was born as best anyone can tell, sometime around 6 BCE. If Jesus was a student somewhere, it would have been in sephoris, which was less than 2 miles from his house and had a bet midrash.

  • As someone who has spent many years in the mental health profession (and unzere have afforded me great job security) the unsubstantiated and ill conceived attacks on Rabbi Boteach are more than a little troubling.

    Frum Jews are supposed to be fiercely devoted to critical thinking skills. Nowadays we see 14 year old kanoim applauded by their parents and treated as if their critical thinking skills were equal to adults because they can parrot maamarim and sichos as if they actually understood what they were talking about. The absurdity of allowing uninformed opinion to be taken as legitimate is absurd.

    Supposed talmidei chachomim are especially expected to be comfortable with critical thinking skills and ought to be concerned these necessary tools are passed on. It seems however teachers are satisfied if their talmidim mimic their own beliefs and ideas. This has become more evident in a community ripped apart by ideological differences. Substance matters little. It is all in the numbers and which side is perceived as ‘winning’.

    To imply it is not necessary to read Boteach (who on more than one occasion received the Rebbe’s brocho and has spent a lifetime of what is by any measure an extraordinary shlichus) is the height of not just of self serving narcissism but rather of a malignant narcissism that serves to undermine the community. Is this the message that ought to be sent- ‘we don’t need to read what he has to say? We, in our infinite wisdom know better because we are, well, us?

    Here’s a secret: In the zman of the vikuchim, our talmedei chachomim knew exactly what they were talking about. Like Boteach, they read plenty and were familiar with all the arguments. Are they treif as well? Was engaging the non Jews in order to defend Yiddishkeit a matter of apikurses? You might argue those times were different, in terms of persecution etc., but in fact our times are far more challenging to the community simply because there is no big bogeyman threat.

    Many who fall off the derech will say what prompted them was the refusal by many they thought they admired to answer questions. Yes, it all begins when questions can’t- or won’t- be answered. For example, the 16 year old (or for that matter, the kollele yunger man) knows nothing of evolution- but believes he does because his rebbe made a few slick and snide remarks. Maybe it’s better the kid with questions goes to the likes of Shmuley Boteach for answers because when all is said and done, no amount of indoctrination will shield a thinking mind of questions.

    Perhaps that is why the Rebbe saw fit to bestow brochos on Rabbi Boteach, year after year after year. He understood the need to address not just the mainstream but the questioning outliers as well.

    But of course, the bochurim know better than the Rebbe, right?

  • A REAL American

    Shmuley, does Rabbi Wolfe posses a first name, a location, or any other traits, titles or expertise or are you attempting to dehumanize him simply because he disagrees with your book???

    I have not read your book. After reading several excerpts from your book I don’t see any reason to read the actual book. There is no reason for a Jew to know anything about the teachings of Jesus. His teachings are not new, they aren’t revolutionary and they are not unique to Judaism. We Jews have over 3300 years of our own teachers and scholarship to learn and study.

    While I see a purpose in introducing the “Jewish” Jesus to the Christian world, there is no purpose to introducing this figure to the Jewish world. Your desire to do this just feeds the delusion of the minority of Jews who worship Jesus as divine being or at the very least see him as some sort of prophet. Several of them have already commented on your book using their delusional views now justifiable by the words written by “America’s Rabbi”. In other words you are EMPOWERING the missionaries who prey on Jews by giving your stamp of approval to the “Jewish” Jesus.

    Rabbi Wolfe’s criticism of your book is completely justified if for no other reason, based on your unintended empowerment of missionaries alone.

    • “There is no reason for a Jew to know anything about the teachings of Jesus. His teachings are not new, they aren’t revolutionary and they are not unique to Judaism. We Jews have over 3300 years of our own teachers and scholarship to learn and study.”

      This is the kind of ignorance that has plagued Jews for thousands of years -and it hasn’t worked,has it?

      The same with Christians!

      By the way ,your statement is completely false!

      Ribi Yehoshua’s teachings were ALL from Torah,and according to historical documentation,they gave structure and status to Judaism which wasn’t there before,and elevated women to a status they never had!

      Firstly , “Christianity is an assumed faith” and

      Secondly, “Jews get all their information about Christianity from Christian sources and Christians.”

      If you’re smart,you should be seeing the problem already!

      It’s called ,reasoning “Ex Falso Quodlibet!”

      Every ‘Inventor’ has been a victim this kind of ‘hate’ and Judaism is rampant with it right now;the same kind of ‘hate’ that contributed to the second temple’s destruction!

      The Hellenist-Roman Church post 135 CE,did and still does control ‘history.’

      Thankfully,largely due to the internet and recent discoveries such as The Dead Sea Scrolls(1957) and (http://www.netzarim.co.il )[over 40 years of linguistic and historical research HELPING BRING JEWS BACK TO JUDAISM,and GEIRS out of Xty],the truth is coming out:

      The REAL WAY to stop Xty is -’cut it off at the roots!’

      STOP wasting time in arguing ‘messianic scriptures’ against a “straw man(see below!).” -and sticking your head in the ground and saying “we don’t have to deal with that issue!”

      YES,YOU DO!

      1)Eusebius said in his Eclessiastical History that “The Rabbi From Natzrat[pop:Nazareth]” was known by the title ‘Ribi Yehoshua” or “Yeshua” in Aramaic.

      note:”There is NO legitimate historical connection between the post 135 CE,2nd-4th century Hellenist-Roman counterfeit man-g-d image “J-e-s-u-s<latin : I-e-s-u-s<Greek: I-s-o-u-s<I-e-z-e-u-s='healer of Zeus' and the real "rabbi from Nazareth" "Ribi Yehoshua."

      I have not read Rabbi Boteach's book yet,but can say that the one BIG mistake he and Jews still make is confusing "J-e-s-u-s" and "Ribi Yehoshua/Yeshua." THEY ARE and BE THE SAME PERSON!

      SECONDLY.the Talmud authors are fighting the ‘counterfeit-man-g-d image’ portrayed by the church,NOT the historical figure,who nobody even remembered.Therefore,it is CRUCIAL to separate “the heavily gentile redacted NT” and “church spun history” from “the REAL historical and linguistic facts.”

      ******

      Eusebius made it clear that he(“Ribi Yehoshua”) and his Talmidim were Jews and Netzarim[they were JEWS,not Christians],an offshoot of the P’rushim(Pharisees),who survived until 333 CE,when they finally and,unfortunately,were completely eradicated by Constantine -because they REFUSED to compromise TORAH!

      Basically,what happened is:

      *circa 30 CE: – a Pharisee TORAH-keeping Rabbi named “Yehoshua/Yeshua” runs afoul of the Pseudo-Tzeodkim(‘Sadduccees’) [and Herod...]and the Romans.

      circa 30 CE: he’s ‘cut off’ for ‘sedition against Rome.

      circa 34 CE :The Hellenized Jews['Hellenai" >Evionim.Ebionites] flee to Pella,from persecusion by the P’rushim and Netzarim[who never left Yerushaliyim until 135 CE-forcibly!]

      *An apostate,Greek speaking Jew,Saul of Tarsus,pops his head up.

      *Religious Jews and Greek Jews did NOT speak the same language.

      *62 CE -the first Netzarim Paqid,Yaacov HaTzaddik(hellenized to “James The Just”),brother of Ribi Yehoshua is killed by a Sadduccee Kohen.

      *70 CE….the destruction of the Temple.

      *135 CE-the start of Christianity after DEPOSING the 15th Netzarim Paqid ‘Yehudah HaTzaddik.’

      *conterfeit man-g_d image “Yeshu.”ie:”The Rabbi From Nazareth” is deified.

      *200-299 CE -the fist fragments of the N.T. (which Eusebius testified the NETZARIM Jews NEVER accepted)derived from “Roman Syncretisms” and “corrputed stories passed down by Hellenized Jews”

      -the rest is history.

      Think I’m wrong – DOCUMENT IT!

      • “*62 CE -the first Netzarim Paqid,Yaacov HaTzaddik(hellenized to “James The Just”),brother of Ribi Yehoshua is killed by a Sadduccee Kohen.”

        Dont forget to mention: The Prushim (Pharisees) took vengence, after this Tsadoki (Sadducean) chief priest murdered Yaakov, the brother of Yhoshua (Historical Jesus). The Prushim then sent emissaries to the Emperor of Rome, to have this chief priest removed from power. And succeeded. Evidently, Yhoshua and his whole family continued to remain good-standing members of the Prushi community.

        “*135 CE-the start of Christianity after DEPOSING the 15th Netzarim Paqid ‘Yehudah HaTzaddik.’”

        Of course, the reason for this “deposition” sotospeak was. The Jewish students of Yhoshua never left Jewish community – and during the Bar Kokhba War – the Romans murdered the Jewish students of Yhoshua along with the other Jews in Judea. The Romans murdered the Jewish “bishop”, who succeeded Kef (Peter). The Romans decreeing Yrushalayim Judenrein, also decreed any future “bishop” there must be a Nonjew, hence a follower of Paul. In this tragic way, Nonjews take over leadership of the legacy of Yhoshua.

        I am confident Yhoshua is innocent, even tho something went wrong with the movement that he founded. Rather than blame Yhoshua, I feel it is fair to explain the “stumbling” of his students as yet another aspect of the failure of Jewish hopes generally, above all the destruction of the Temple of God.

        In any case, while the Nonjewish followers of Paul never became Jews, and the Jewish followers of Jesus never ceased to be Jews. Today, the Jewish legacy of Yhoshua is simply a component of Judaism.

      • It is important to distinguish between Jewish and Nonjewish traditions about the Historical Jesus, namely Yhoshua. Nevertheless, it is unnecessary to villify the Nonjewish students thru Paul.

        After all, the Romans who did all this damage were still pagans at this time. The Nonjewish students suffer from imperial violence just like the Jewish students do.

        Modern Christians can do historical research too. They can recognize the authentic Judaism of Yhoshua. They can come to the appropriate conclusions. It seems unnecessary for Nonjews to leave Christianity. All Christians need to do is clarify the doctrines to secure the monotheism re Trinity and to remove the appearance of idolatry re Yhoshua. In other words, the can satisfy the Laws of Noakh.

      • A REAL American

        Richard Bligdon

        I barely understood a word you in your LONG rambling exhortation. I certainly could not find any meaningful point or direction in what you wrote.

        I said…

        “There is no reason for a Jew to know anything about the teachings of Jesus. His teachings are not new, they aren’t revolutionary and they are not unique to Judaism. We Jews have over 3300 years of our own teachers and scholarship to learn and study.”

        I will stick by every single word in that statement using over 3300 years of Torah scholarship to prove my point.

        And yes, this has worked BRILLIANTLY over the 3300 years which is why after numerous persecutions and attempts at extermination by the most ruthless bastards to ever set foot on this planet the Jews still exist as a people. You cannot say the same for the Greeks, the Romans, the Babylonians, the Egyptians the Mayans, etc.

        You have to decide one way or the other–either Yoshke turned his back on Halacha–in which case he is completely TREIF for any Jew, or he kept Halacha, in which case everything he said and did would be in keeping with the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees (“His teachings are not new, they aren’t revolutionary and they are not unique to Judaism”).

        One thing Yoshke did NOT do is provide structure to Judaism as you falsely claim, that was done by the men of the Great Assembly and all of the Jewish leaders before and after. And if Yoshke revolutionized anything (such as women’s rights), that would mean he deviated AWAY from Halacha. Making legal decisions in concert with Halacha is the job of the Sanhedrin and the Beis Din–not Yoshke.

        So pick a side. Either he was a brilliant leader who revolutionized his own religion or he was a G-d fearing frum Jew who kept Halacha–BUT NOT BOTH.

    • “There is no reason for a Jew to know anything about the teachings of Jesus.”
      Seriously??
      As Jews we pride ourselves on the fact that we are open to questions and to really understanding our religion rather than just accepting it ‘because it says so.’ To be a good Jew you do not NEED to learn or understand the teachings of Jesus. You also do not need to learn pottery or skiing or English literature or any number of other things that people choose to learn for whatever reason. We do not NEED to know what past scientists have discovered and been proven wrong about and we do not need to study dead languages. We do these things for two reasons: a. interest and b. learning from those who have come before us. No one is forcing you to read this book. No one is forcing you to teach this to your children. I have not read the book, but it sounds to me that it is a recounting of Jesus as an historical figure and a portrayal of him from a Jewish standpoint. This is not a call to conversion or a Rabbi’s endorsement of Christianity. If your faith is at risk due to exposure to the beliefs of another religion that is not anyone’s problem but your own. As for the children, it is your job as a parent to protect them and teach them, but you need to take responsibility for that not expect something to not be published just because you do not want your child reading it! Believing something simply because you refuse to learn anything else is not belief. It is ignorance, and the two are absolutely NOT interchangeable.
      I have read numerous excerpts from the book. I disagree with many of them, but that is my prerogative as a thinking and educated individual. I can see where some of the statements might be inflammatory, but that does not make them apikorsus. You cannot say someone is a heretic simply because what they have to say makes you think for yourself and defend your beliefs. Rabbi Boteach has painted Jesus in a friendlier light than we are accustomed to and the response seems to be ‘If we do not agree or believe in it than it must be evil’. I am a frum Jew, I think that Jesus was responsible for a terrible thing. However, and I repeat, that is my prerogative to believe so because I have a solid enough learning foundation to believe that despite the fact that I believe Christianity has a number of good qualities and good people it is wrong.
      The responses both to Rabbi Boteach’s work AND to his critics are embarrassing to me as a frum Jew. Are you really going to publicize this fighting on the internet? Are you all so busy being holier-than-thou that you have forgotten basics like not making a chilul Hasham? Ahavas Yisroel ring a bell? In case any of you have forgotten, one of the main causes for the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash was sinas chinam (baseless hatred). If you genuinely believe there is cause then take it to Bays Din. If not then take some time and focus on how you can be a better Jew and a better person instead of focusing on what others are doing wrong.

      • A REAL American

        RL

        “As Jews we pride ourselves on the fact that we are open to questions and to really understanding our religion”

        No, as a Jew we pride ourselves on serving Hashem by following his commandments. If you learn Jewish law (Halacha) you follow it because that is what we are commanded to do. Judaism is not a “religion” its a way to serve Hashem and the path has been set out for us. You may question it all you want, but at the end of the day ​”na’aseh-v’nishmah”–we will do and we will hear. In case you don’t get what this means–it means we will follow Halacha and we will try to understand (if we can) later. We don’t pick and choose and create our own Halacha.

        There are two reasons why (while I like and respect much of Shmuley’s work) I reject his assertions about this book.

        There is no reason for a Jew to know anything about the teachings of Jesus. His teachings are not new, they aren’t revolutionary and they are not unique to Judaism. We Jews have over 3300 years of our own teachers and scholarship to learn and study.

        One of Shmuley’s intentions in writing this book was for it to educate Jews in order to counter missionaries. He wrote a long commentary defending the book claiming he is on the forefront of combating missionaries claiming all one has to do to understand his role in this endevour is to google his debates with missionaries. Shmuley is on the forefront of DEBATING missionaries (and losing many debates to them like he did with Christopher Hitchens), but I cannot see how loosing several debates with missionaries puts him on the counter missionary forefront. The PROFESSIONALS who spent decades deprogamming Jews and combating missionaries like Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Schochet and the Rabbis at Jews for Judaism see this book as tool that will be used by missionaries in their attempt to convert Jews–not the other way around as Shmuley claims. I have to agree. The people who Shmuley wants to help will never read this book. And those who already fell victim to the missionaries will only read what they want to into this book because that is what got them into this hole in the first place. I cannot see sharing this book with my co-worker who is a J for J–because it will only cement his beliefs in Yoshke, not change them. The only way out of this hole is to LEARN ABOUT JUDAISM—not about Yoshke.

        Shmuley is giving his “kosher” seal approval from “America’s Rabbi” on Jews discussing Yoshke which is an open invention for Christian missionaries to discuss Yoshke with Jews. I certainly do not posses a holier than anyone opinion of myself. I like Shmuley and I wish him well on all of his endeavors aside from this one. I just think this book is completely misguided and dangerous and see NO REASON for any Jew to read it.

  • “What Jesus said that was Good, was not new.
    What Jesus said that was new was not Good.”

    and

    “The religion of Jesus is called ‘Judaism.’
    The religion about Jesus is called ‘Christianity.’

    • A REAL American

      Aliza–Kol ha Kavod–you successfully encapsulated the entire argument against this book in just a few succinct words.

  • Jews for Judaism beat R’ Boteach to the punch with their booklet “The Davinci Code: A Jewish Perspective” (search it on Google). If R’ Boteach is guilty of apikorsus then so is Jews for Judaism’s R’ Skobac!

  • Dear Rabbi Shmuley:

    I am sorry to hear of the viscious attacks against you over your new book “Kosher Jesus”.

    Sometimes people become hostile when they hear the truth. Perhaps they are scared.

    You point out things that even many Christians ignore.

    You have pointed out something very important regarding Jesus. He kept all the laws and did not advocate doing away with them. He also kept the holy days. Furthermore, nowhere does it mention to change the Sabbath day to Sunday. Jesus told his followers to walk as He walked.

    I can’t wait to read your new book. I appreciate all the good work you do.

  • Rabbi SB;
    Yes! The new book seems like a masterpiece! Thank you!
    BUT..(woops)
    1. The title/cover can be (is) misleading as to the contents, therefore you should not harbor *any* ill feelings towards those that attack you and the book.
    1b. Maybe you should subtitle the book on its cover.

    2. Please ignore the naysayers, regardless of viciousness, they mean well. (And even those that harbor an older grudge, should be ignored, imho.) No need to twit/fb/write about your attackers, or amplify that part.
    Simply do your thing, write your articles like this one (sans the counter attack) and may Hashem bless you with saving many of our brethren.

  • Rabbi, do your thing, don’t fear the haters.

  • I am waiting to get hold of and read Rabbi Boteach’s book. In the mean time I can only relate my own findings WRT Jesus. It would appear that a heavily redacted New Testament portrays in fact at least two versions of Jesus. One version of Jesus who advocates keeping the mitzvot as a means to enter into life. The other is an evangelical paradigm I believe was slipped in later on.The evangelical paradigm, however, according to the New Testament, with the coming of Jesus, changed everything! Now, according to the prevailing evangelical paradigm, all of these Jews AND non-Israelites were fundamentally lost, unless and until they accept Jesus as their personal savior. The evangelical paradigm still to this day requires Jews AND non-Israelites to accept Jesus as their personal savior or they are doomed [See Mark 16:16, John 3:18, 5:24, 1 Corinthians 1:18].

    Moreover, the evangelical paradigm asserts that full citizens of Israel, to the exclusion of any previously held beliefs and parameters of Israeli citizenship are now changed. Instead, Israeli citizens are only believers of Jesus and his ‘does it all, once and for all’ sacrifice. The bottom line is that non-Israelites (who do not want to convert fully) are allowed to reside as residents of the nation of Israel by believing in the G-d of Israel. The New Testament annuls and ‘upgrades’ the revelation of the will of G-d (Torah) by its promotion of Jesus and the receiving of the Holy Spirit turning Shavuot into Pentecost. Ruth the convert however, did not ‘upgrade’ by virtue of belief in a divine/ human messiah for her citizenship because no such thing is mandated in the Torah. Rather Ruth chose the requirements for citizenship as shown in the Torah (i.e. 613 commandments):

    12 And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? 14 To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the LORD set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. Deut 10

    Gentiles and Jews are BOTH deceived if they think they are full Citizens of Israel by being believers of Jesus.

  • Kol Hakavod rabbi boteach, I share your sentiments. It is refreshing to see this!

  • I am sorry this other Rabbi is out to get you. He is threatened for sure. But, I along with other Bible believing Christians must say that your premise of Christ’s life is completely wrong. Didn’t He say it was ok to save a man on the Sabbath, that what comes out of the mouth of man is more important than what goes in it…didn’t He say it was better to pray in private than on the street corners as the Jewish leaders…didn’t He through His life and example show that what we do on the outside isn’t important unless we change on the inside…He did not “uphold the Torah”. His entire life was so that we would see “the exact representation of God in human form” Hebrews 1:3
    Jesus was “the express image of His [the Father's] person” (NKJV, KJV) or “the very image of his substance” (ASV), “the exact representation of His nature” (NASB), “the exact representation of his being” (NIV). The context describes Jesus as the Creator, far above the angels so that He deserves to be worshipped (as will be considered in more detail later.)

    “Express image” (charachter) means “the exact expression … of any person or thing, marked likeness, precise reproduction in every respect (cf. facsimile) …” – Grimm-Wilke-Thayer (cf. Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich).

    “Person” (hupostasis) mean “the substantial quality, nature, of any person or thing …” – Grimm-Wilke-Thayer. Or “…substantial nature, essence, actual being, reality … a(n exact) representation of his (= God’s) real being Hebrews 1:3…” – Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich.

    Hence, Jesus is “the precise reproduction in every respect” of the “essence, actual being, reality” of God. How can Jesus be an exact expression of the real being of the Father without Himself possessing true Deity?

    We will see that God possesses certain characteristics that are so unique that no one but God can possess them (eternal, all-powerful, etc.). If no one but God possesses these, yet Jesus is the exact reproduction of the essence of God’s nature, then He must possess these qualities. But if Jesus possesses all qualities that are unique to God, He must be God, He must possess Deity.

    Please do not commit to God anything about Him that is not true.

    • Carolyn, I want to comment on some of the claims in your post.

      “Didn’t He say it was ok to save a man on the Sabbath?”

      Actually, this is pure Judaism: the halakhic principle of the Preservation of Human Life. If a violation of Shabat can reduce the risk of danger to a human life, it is required to do that violation to save that life. It was around the time of the Historical Jesus, when this difficult halakhic question became interesting. Notably, Jesus is on the “correct” side of this Jewish debate. Just about a century before him, the Tora sages concluded decisively Jews must be able to defend themselves during war, even when this obviously violates Shabat. Since then, a number of similar cases regarding Shabat and the preservation of human life came to light.

      “What comes out of the mouth of man is more important than what goes in it?”

      Actually what Jesus said was, what goes into the mouth doesnt defile. This is a fact. Just because pork is “unclean”, doesnt make the person who eats it unclean. In the context of the Nonjewish followers of Paul, the significance is, Nonjews can eat unclean food and still be clean themselves. Jews, of course, continue to refrain from eating uncleaning food because God Godself – in the Bible – commands Jews to refrain.

      “Didn’t He say it was better to pray in private than on the street corners as the Jewish leaders?”

      Let me ask you this. Your Teacher, Jesus, commands you to pray in private. Does this mean you must never go to Church? Of course you go to Church AND you pray in private! You do each one for different reasons. It is the same thing for Jews. Jews go to synagogue for public reasons AND pray at home for private reasons. This is exactly what Jesus himself did: for example, he would go on long walks to pray in private, “alone”, AND he would go to synagogue on Shabat to pray in public to celebrate the Tora. By the way, the same goes for fasts. Jews do some fasts publically, such as Yom Kipur, and do other fasts privately for completely personal reasons. Similarly, many Christians fast publically during Lent or on Good Friday, and also fast “secretly” for personal reasons.

      When you know about Judaism, and then look carefully at what Jesus is doing, it is obvious Jesus is doing normal Judaism. Notably, certain debates that were controversial in Judaism during Jesuss lifetime, are simply taken for granted as fact in Judaism today.

      • Stein, thank you for your insights. I do appreciate them. I am a simple person,yet I believe the complexities of the Word. I am not a biblical scholar, for that I do not apologize. I feel that sometimes being a scholar interferes with evident truth. Much like the Pharasies. I have nothing against Judaism.I believe that God used this group of people for His purpose and for that I have a great respect. I guess I always have wondered how in knowing the scriptures as it is obvious you do and others,even in Jesus’ time…do not see, or do acknowledge the revelation of God in human form? Didn’t Isaiah explicity describe His coming? Weren’t there many forms and shadows of the Saviour in the Old Testament? Didn’t Jesus fulfill everyone of the prophecies? Why is He not considered the Messiah by the Jews? Was it because of His lowly coming? Was it because He didn’t fit the preconceived idea of a royal King?Though He was born through a kingly lineage. One other thought after reading some of these comments…Jesus taught, there is neither free or slave, Jew or Gentile…etc. He is for all people and when it comes down to the bottom line…we all need to go to God and ask Him to show us the truth…not what we have been told or what we think.

        • Carolyn, a post isnt enough space to fully answer each of your points. If theres an item you need me to explain, let me know, and I will try.

          “I feel that sometimes being a scholar interferes with evident truth.”

          Remember, Jesus himself is a scholar – quite a sophisticated one. Everything he teaches comes from the Tora, sometimes paraphrasing it directly, but often indirectly thru technical rules of interpretation(midrash) to explore deeper levels of meaning. His mastery of Tora is impressive.

          “I have nothing against Judaism. I believe that God used this group of people for His purpose and for that I have a great respect.”

          True. In fact, God continues to use this group of people, Jews, even today. For example, every time you see a news report about Israel, it is God using Jews (whether Jews like it or not) to continue transforming the entirety of humanity, preparing all of us for the Messianic Era.

          “God in human form.”

          ALL humans are to be the “image of God”. Not just Jesus.

          Its actually complicated, but the jist of it is: All humans are parts of a singular divine image. This world is a world of darkness. A person reveals the Light of this divine image by doing compassionate actions.

          The Bible is deadly serious about avoiding idolatry. Do not literally worship a human.

    • Carolyn:

      You are speaking against R. Boteach’s premises from the ‘heavily-Gentile redacted Greek N.T(especially “the King James Perversion”).’ which Eusebius testified the Netzarim never accepted -which is why they were eradicated in 333 C.E.

      Having said that,there is NOWHERE in the N.T. anybody gave authorization for ‘Sun-g-d-day’ keeping,nor where anybody said ‘the law is done away with.”

      This would be against Devarim(hellenized to Deuternomy)13:2-6.

      That ALL (along with all your other quotes)originated from the Hellenist-Roman Church,post 135 CE,and were fully developed under Constantine(cf. Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 2 and 7 “the fourth beast -Pagan Rome>Papal Rome and her ‘daughters.’

      PROVE all your statements from Torah and Tanakh…

  • Jesus did not keep the whole torah, nor did he advocate that others do so. He violated the Sabbath and advocated that others do so. He allowed his followers to take tzedekah money and spend it on perfurmed oils that his female followers rubbed on his body. He said that he came to start a war and to pit family members against each other. He told his followers it was more important for them to have a sword than a coat. He physically attacked priests in the temple.
    All of the things mentioned above are in the Christian ‘new testament’. These are things about Jesus that Christians choose to ignore, because they do not conform to their current portrayal of him. It is an essential doctrine of Christianity that Jesus never violated the torah, even though he clearly did. We should not be aiding Christianity in it’s deception. Jesus was a Jew, but he was not on a mission to bring all Israel into observance of the Torah. He was on a mission to throw off the Roman oppression and have himself installed as king of Israel and he failed at it.

    • Excellent observations

    • David,

      You’re assumption that Jesus tried to overthrow the Roman government proves the writers point about not understanding what He was. He never told people that they should not follow Shabbat, he never said that people shouldn’t follow Torah, for that matter. He said that not a jot or title would be erased the the Law until the return of the Kingdom of HaShem. What you and the pious Jews of the day do not understand is that he came to set up a kingdom of the Heart. HaShem has never been interested in “ruling” people, otherwise, He would not have given us free will. He would have prevented Adam and Eve from biting that fruit in the Garden of Eden, or just destroyed them, and started over instead of tossing them out of the garden. What HaShem has always wanted, and what Jesus was trying to show, was that of the heart. Hence, if His word, “if you look at a woman lustfully, you have comitted adultery with her in your heart”, or “if you say fool, fool, you have comitted murder in your heart”. It was always about the Heart of the Jew, not toppling the regime of the Romans. He was trying show HaShem’s true intentions for Torah, for it to be a law of the heart…

      • Lawrence, I am very well acquainted with who Jesus was. I have an advanced degree on the topic. I spent over a decade doing college and graduate work on who Jesus was. He was a failed pretender to the throne of David. All other interpretation of his life is after the fact reworking of the story. Of course this won’t ever be clear unless you really understand first century Judaism… Jesus’ followers genuinely hoped he would be messiah. The Jews in the movement fell away as it became obvious that he was not messiah. But non-jews who were attracted to the magical side of the story, particularly the idea of overcoming death, became new followers and from very on comprised the core of the movement. Christianity was just another mystery religion from the east. Without a clear understanding of Judaism to ground the story, pagans saw Jesus as a classic demi-god, but with the secret knowledge appeal of the mystery cults. Putting Jesus back into his real context, spoils the whole story, takes away all the uniqueness of the actual man. Actually reading the text of the gospels as a history rather than a theological document reveals a different Jesus than the guy who people expect.

    • You need to re-read the gospels. How did Jesus violate Shabbat? Was it Torah commands he violated or the traditions of the Pharisees?

      • Sarah, the traditions of the “Pharisees” are Torah traditions. The Torah commands us to listen to our Rabbaim. Their interpretations of the Written Torah through the Oral Torah is key to Avodas Hashem.

        You can’t separate the Written from the Oral, and the Pharisees were the Talmidei Chachamim who kept us on the derech.

      • A REAL American

        Sarah,

        There is no difference between “Torah commands” and Traditions of the Pharisess. Mostly because the Pharises didn’t have “traditions” they had 1300 years of Talmud (oral law) passed down from Moses.

        Yours was a very poor characterization of Jewish law showing a contempt for the teachers and scholars of the time and ignorant view of the issues of the day. According to Shmuley Boteach Yoske was amongst those scholars so you had better watch where you throw those stones because it is your glass house that will come tumbling down.

        Anyone who studies Torah understands that the Torah is meaningless gibberish without the Talmud. The Torah is just columns and columns of paginated text with no punctuation or vowelization. The oral Torah tells us what the vowelization is and explains the meanings of the text in the Torah.

        The two were never meant to be separated and cannot be seperated. Without the oral torah, the written torah has no meaning. The best example of this is because there is NO VOWELS in the written Torah. Take the very first sentence. vayi eruv vayi boker. without vowels that could read OREV instead of EREV. OREV is a plague like the mixture of animals. Or it could read EYRUV which means combine or mix together. BOKER could read BOKAR which means cattle. So the first line in the Torah could be there was a mixture and there were cattle. Only from the ORAL Torah do we know the line means There was night and there was day. The king james bible, without the vowelization from the oral Torah would be complete and utter gibberish.

        (paraphrased from The Bible Unauthorized by A. H. Moose)

        Those of you who are not educated in this are really not qualified to comment on this subject with declarative statements (or misleading questions) like the ones made by Sarah.

    • David…you are completely wrong in stating that Jesus came to throw off the Roman oppression and have himself installed as king of Israel. Even before I became a Christian I never read into scripture that intention. Not sure where you got that.

      • Carolyn, what you know as the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, is a re-enactment of the ceremony by which kings were installed in Israel. The bit at the end that would have happened had it gone as with the kings, the high priest would have anointed Jesus (this is where messiah comes from… Meshiach means anointed). Instead, Jesus runs afoul of the temple authorities, overturns tables attacks priests and retreats. He returns to the temple the next day, but fares no better and leaves knowing he is a man marked for death.

  • At 13, when I told my parish priest I didn’t really believe in a personal G-d, he suggested I read a book he had read in a course called “The Life of Christ” by Riciotti. It hardly mentioned J. It gave a scholarly study of the history, politics, religious groups, etc. of the day. I finally “got” what J was saying because I had context for the first time. It seems he was trying to tell each Jew, no matter their social standing, that the Kingdom of G-d was there for each one of them. It reminds me so much of what the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of Righteous Memory, taught. It’s time to turn the light on the man, not to embrace what was manufactured and distorted by others. I can’t wait to read the book.

    • Georgianna, as a religious Jew the thought has never crossed my mind that the Kingdom of G-d ISNT for everyone. You want a portion in Olam Habah? Then you need to reach out with your heart to Hashem and do tshuvah. You don’t have to be a Jew to do that – and there is nothing in the Torah that says you do…. Shevah Mitzvos… and you can have your portion.

      Shevah Mitzvos.

      • Sheva (seven) mitzvos (commandments) for anyone to attain olam haba is not so clever, completely inaccurate and therefore very dangerous. It is for the ignorant. First you add to the Torah by saying something that is not found in any form whatsoever in the Torah/Tanakh, then you make this verse of the Torah go away,

        תורה אחת יהיה לאזרח ולגר הגר בתוככם׃

        One Torah there will be for the native born and the Ger that lives among you. Shemote (Exodus) 12:49

        So you both add and subtract from Torah in one heinous teaching.

        The correct answer is what is quoted directly from the Torah above. Find an orthodox Beit Din and tell them you are committed to keep the whole Torah. They should welcome you and teach you what you must do. Learn Hebrew to verify their knowledge and to learn for yourself. netzarim.co.il Be careful to type in the exact URL.

        • By the way, I am a Jew that keeps Torah including Shabbat, kashrut, tahara hamishpacha, and all of the other logical halakha. Perhaps religiously observant, according to logical halakha, would be a good description.

        • A REAL American

          Elyhau Kohn,

          You said you are “religiously observant, according to logical halakha”

          In other words you pick and choose your Halacha, which kinda like being a little pregnant or a little deceased.

          I find it very interesting that you so vigorously state that you cannot add and subtract to Halacha while you openly admit to only following “logical” halacha. So you are subtracting from the halacha that comes from Hashem when it does appear to be logical to you, which is in direct violation of Halacha which commands us NOT to do this. The Torah laws are divided into things that can have a logical interpretation and things that have no logical interpretation and we commanded to follow the illogical commandments (i.e. the red heifer and shatnez and separation of chalav and basar) in the same manner we observe the logical Torah commands.

          Please stop telling gentiles they need to go to a Beis Din. That is NOT a Jewish concept. They could go to a Beis Din if they feel the need to become a Torah observant (not just the logical but the illogical too) Jew, but that is not completely unnecessary for the vast majority of gentiles. There is no need for a gentile to accept the entire Torah–it was offered to the other nations before Matan Torah (Sinai)–and they did not accept it. So they do not need to accept it now. Instead they need only to follow the NOACHIDE laws which were in place for ALL OF HUMANITY to follow prior to the giving of Torah. And are still in place for the gentile world.

          BTW-the interpretation of Ger (strangers) that live amongst you means those in your household. It does not mean the mass multitude of the other nations (GOYIM) need to go to a Beis Din!!

          Check out http://www.bneinoach.org/

        • A REAL American

          Eliyahu Kohn

          The Lubavitcher Rebbe said to teach the gentiles the laws of B’nai Noach.

          Who are you to dispute a single letter of a single word that came from the Rebbe????

          You admittedly pick and choose your Halacha, which means you are not qualified to make any statement on halachic matters. An observant Jew follows ALL Halacha, not just the logical ones.

          You can keep trying to be a little pregnant if that is what you wish to do, but please stop telling others whom and what to follow.

    • A REAL American

      Georgianna,

      G-d’s command for us is to make this world a holy place. We are not supposed to be fixated on the world to come (Olam Habah) but Olam HaZeh (THIS WORLD). And in doing so, our rewards will be (G-d willing) be judged favorably.

      I have no idea way Xtianity has a focus on what comes after we are no longer physical beings. We need to focus on what we do while we still have a physical body and elevate the sparks of G-dliness in this world. That is the message of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

      I don’t see where anything that Yoshke said or did had anything to do with this.

      Some of our greatest sages (JEWISH sages) have voluntarily given up their portion of the world to come in order to elevate this world. And it is told that the simplest of man can have a lager portion than the greatest TZADIK (righteous person). No offense, but Jews didn’t need Yoshke to reveal the obvious to them. The messages Yoshke is quoted to have said are not new or unique in Judaism which is why Jews have no need to study his words when so many others said the same things quoted directly (and undiluted) from the Torah without the Gospels Treif stuff wrapped around it.

      As Yehudah suggested, anyone who not Jewish who is interested in following a righteous path should live by the 7 commandments given to Noah (Shevah Mitzvos).

      Check out http://www.bneinoach.org/

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