‘No Book Does More to Enhance the Evangelical Missionary Message’

January 18, 2012 12:02 am 15 comments

Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Schochet. Photo: Shturem.

Following the recent controversy surrounding the upcoming publication of ‘Kosher Jesus’ authored by Shmuley Boteach, anti-missionary activist J. Immanuel Schochet sharply condemned the book in a letter submitted to The Algemeiner.

The full text of the letter is below:

Greeting and blessing.

Regarding the recent controversy surrounding a book released by Shmuley Boteach entitled ‘Kosher J’ I am writing this letter to express my authoritative view in response to those who have sought my opinion on this matter.

While it is not normally my style to write letters of condemnation, having read the book, I feel it poses a tremendous risk to the Jewish community and therefore imperative to state my halachic (Jewish legal) opinion that it is forbidden for anyone to buy or read this book, or give its author a platform in any way shape or form to discuss this topic.

It is not my intent, nor   does it serve any purpose to engage in any polemic. It only enhances the sensationalism surrounding the book’s release. However, in the 40 years I have spent combating missionaries across the globe, I have never read a book, let alone one authored by a purported frum (religious) Jew, that does more to enhance the evangelical missionary message and agenda than the aforementioned book. The grossly distorted message of the book violates basic premises of original and authentic Jewish tradition, thus unavoidably must be rejected for being heretical.

It is my sincerest hope that the author recognizes the error of his ways and looks to make amends by retracting the book.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Dr. J. Immanuel Schochet

The original letter sent to The Algemeiner by Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Schochet.

15 Comments

  • Carmine Fragione

    according to Tradition ,the Jew who steps out of line from the collective, has a messianic spirit and so according to the prophets, the Messiah will always be rejected by the Jews and cut off. In the end, God personally cuts off the life of every Jew, and then the Jew no longer wishes to give to God a “Legal Opinion” The Tradition is Idolatry, it is all Graven Images, whose power to cut off the One, by the Collective, is a rebellion against God. They would not even wait for God to speak , for they know their eternal doom, that God shall never speak to the Tradition , for God Himself is the One bearing the sword against them, and the Collective are a den of Sorcerer’s Apprentices.

  • I respect both of these Rabbi’s. Shochet and Boteach.
    Both ordained Rabbi’s with great expertise in their respected fields. Both Chabad Chassidic personalities in their personal life. Both have fought relentlessly for Jewish and Family values. Both, in their own way have fought missionaries and debated the highest ecehelons of society. “Clealry they have different methods”. Rabbi Shochet is an official Chabad Rabbi and representative. Rabbi Boteach is not.Rabbi Boteach is a Rabbi to the world – as those who know his repetoire well will note. There is no reason why a man who is well versed and very learned, witty and sharp, can not write a book which was written with true sources and intentions only because another man may not like it. Rabbi Boteach was not representing Lubavitch in writing this book, as he does not represent Lubavitch in his TV Show or world lectures or on CNN. He is a talented and well versed indiviual who has a massive sphere of influence, positivley influencing Jew and gentile alike. A spehere soo broad
    perhaps in the hundreds of thousands even millions. A Sphere of influnce any Rabbi wishes they can have. I beleive Rabbi Boteach is a man with a “Global view”, and no old age view or small local view will work for him. Perhaps, when you see the world through the lenses of Rabbi Shmulley only then will you see things a bit different and stop being so critical. Our Rebbe as Maimondies himslef, has stressed time and time again the importance of influening the entire world – he has mastered this. Although Judaism has had profound influence on what is known as the Judeo-Christian law system, the American and Western system of law; ironically Judaism has sadly been on the back burner of open and honest Global Philosophical Discussion from the times of Plato through middle ages till today. It is always a good time to bring the widsom of the Torah and it’s inherent core values to the world. Rabbi Shmuelly isone man who figured out how.Think about it. Yakiru ViYeidu Kol Yoshvei Tevel…

    • Dovid Davidovitch

      I always wonder how many posts Boteach puts up under psudonyms. I can can’t at least 2-3 on several websites including this one and the last comment or two.

  • “it is forbidden for anyone to buy or read this book” – more enticing words to buy and read it had never been spoken. This moron is a rabbi?

  • Rabbi Schochet’s letter confirms what a lot of us baalei baatim have known but have been afraid to say for a long time: Chabad as we have known it is over.

    Once a refuge and harbor for progressive Torah thinking, Chabad has become no different than the Charedi community in Israel. This very same community that encouraged Rabbi Schochet has now ensured there will be no more like him.

    Daas Torah- that is, self serving Daas Torah- has replaced the fresh air and oxygen successive Lubavitcher Rebbe’s gave to the world. Torah and madaa could and should exist, Torah feared no challenge and nourished the needs of every neshama, from the most simple, to the lamdan to the scientist to the philosopher.

    The Rebbes corresponded with Freud and Einstein and a host of others. They learned from each other- and that was passed on to the kehilla. Now, we are told to fear everything. Now, we are forbidden to think and explore for ourselves- and if we do, it is done in secret.

    Yes, this is about Daas Torah ‘uber alles’ and the power that bestows. Daas ballei baatim means nothing anymore. The consequences of Daas Torah above all are meaningless, no matter how traumatic those consequences are.

    Recall R’ Elchonon Wasserman, who when asked by his kehillah if they should leave for America prior to the European churban, was emphatic in his denial. America was terrible, America was treif. The baalei baatim pleaded with him, but to no avail. Most listened to R. Elchonon. We all know how the story ends.

    Daas Torah is not inviolate, Rabbi Schochet, not in the least.

    His letter of prohibition is odd in that he cites not a single specific reason why Rabbi Boteach’s book crosses a line. Not a single example. One would think a scholar such as he would answer in an a cogent and appropriate fashion. It seems he cannot be bothered. Daas Torah does not require him to answer to either Rabbi Boteach or the baalei baatim he so clearly dismisses. He is answerable to no one.

    A simple refutation may be enough to satisfy the bochrim at 770 but the rest of us deserve a bit more. To put that in perspective, Rabbi Schochet would do well to ask himself how he would respond if his community were told he was no longer a source of credible information and opinion and his works rejected outright. No reasons give, but that henceforth he was persona non grata.

    I wonder what’s next? Will R.SR Hirsch become treif too? Will R. JB Soloveitchik be easily dismissed? Maybe R.M Feinstein who made a habit of consulting with expert baalei baatim before paskening will be dismissed as well. It is ironic how Chabad now has more in common with Satmar than anyone else.

    The Rebbe really is gone now. Congratulations to Rabbi Dr. Schochet and his ilk for highlighting that reality.

  • frania kryszpel block

    My father told me that one must look out for two things in the society where they live. #1. When the government makes you state your religion on an identification papers. #2. When Jewish books get burned. I do not know exactly what the fuss is so strong about. But since it is, why not have a panel of learned Rabbis who make decisions on Jewish law, all come together so we can hear their thoughts. Not just any Rabbis. But ones revered for their objectivity and wisdom. I wonder how bad this book can be if it caused such a stir.

  • I am shocked the algemiener published this article. Did Shmuely quit writing for the paper?

  • >it is forbidden for anyone to buy or read this book, or give its author a platform in any way shape or form to discuss this topic.

    How sad and pathetic is this? Is your brand of theism so weak, it’s followers so docile and without the capacity to think that one book will flip them from your superstition to another?

    Does the power of Jesus scare you so? Or is it that Christmas is just so much more fun that lighting candles and eating fried potatoes?

    Book banning! The stuff of fascists and dictators, borne of evil and arrogance.

    Combatting missionaries? How strange that your god has you, a mere mortal, cleaning up it’s mess. Why did your all powerful god let this Jesus business go on for the last 2,000 years anyway? Does it like fighting? Does it draw power from the bloodshed?

    • Savage, why do you continue to post your ignorant replies to this website?

      Don’t you have anything better to do with your time than to troll websites in which you clearly do not agree, and post your ignorant comments on topics which you clearly have no understanding?

      How pathetic and empty of a life you must have for you to be so consumed by this mission. I feel sorry for you, I really do.

      • >Savage, why do you continue to post your ignorant replies to this website?

        Because I enjoy it, I find religion and theists fascinating obviously.

        >Don’t you have anything better to do with your time than to troll websites in which you clearly do not agree, and post your ignorant comments on topics which you clearly have no understanding?

        Again, obviously, not.

        So what am I ignorant about specifically? See you’re just calling me names which is really pointless, why don’t you tell me what I’ve gotten wrong rather than just telling me to go away?

        Unless of course you can’t and that’s all you can do, then carry on!

        >How pathetic and empty of a life you must have for you to be so consumed by this mission. I feel sorry for you, I really do.

        No, I don’t think you do and it’s not a mission, it’s a web site that says stuff and has a section for people to comment on that stuff.

        You seem to miss an awful lot of obvious things, you should work on that.

        But whatever you do DON’T READ THAT JESUS BOOK! Someone like you is sure to fall under its malevolent spell and next thing you know you’ll turn goyim!

  • Helen L Browne School Teacher

    If indeed the book has now been read, SB should endeavor to remove it from the shelves. Although not Jewish myself, the book brought great anger to the Jewish people I love and respect.

  • Algemeiner usually ends an article with the background of it’s author.

    This time I”ll do it for them:

    Rabbi Dr. Jacob Immanuel Schochet Ph.D is Professor-Emeritus of Philosophy and Comparative Religion, at Humber College, Toronto, Canada.

    He has served as adjunct-professor on Jewish Bioethics at University of Toronto Medical School. As well as Professor of Jewish Law and Philosophy, and Dean of Degree Studies at Maimonides College in Toronto.

    He has written over 30 books and lectures extensively on Jewish ethics and theology around the world

  • Interestingly enough, the Hebrew verse Rabbi Schochet qoutes at the end has the word “Boteach” in it. Pun intended?

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