Thursday, January 24, 2008

No Tricks Up My Sleeve...

"And another sidenote for those who have been involved in my anti-missionary discussion: Coincidentally, the Canadian head of 'Jews for Judaism' gave a speech at my synagogue the other day so I know all of the typical missionary tricks." - BK

(NOTE: I can't speak for the others who are my brothers and sisters through Yeshua, I can only speak for myself, here, but I will refer to the community on my side of these debates in trying to get my point across. )

BK, why do we debate these issues? These debates serve purely as an intellectual exercise for you, do they not? If so, why get offended and/or caught up in name-calling and hurling accusations? If all of these debates and discussions have been in the order of intellectual enlightenment, then why bother getting caught up emotionally and communicating your disgust for others who hold to a different takeaway or understanding of the shared knowledge? You have assumed all, or some, of us are intent on “missionazing” you.

I initially approached you in defense of a lovely Messianic Jewish woman whom you had criticized in a not-so-nice manner; it was not my intention to “missionize” you. As we know, Karin is perfectly capable of standing up for herself (and regardless of her husband’s beliefs, he surely stood up to protect her heart) – she is smart and strong by all means – but I’ve always been one to defend others when I see them being mistreated or dealt with harshly, I was being true to character… no hidden agenda, no tricks. So, please, remember I did not come to you in a dishonest fashion with the intent of “missionazing” you. However, in all honesty BK, based on what I know and believe, I inherently/ intrinsically/ naturally have a concern for your eternal disposition! However, why should the revelation of my unspoken concern (to this point) bother you if you're sure about what you believe?

What is the purpose of these debates and discussions? Why are you so offended by Christians outside of the history we had no control over? Why be concerned about non-Jews “sinning” because you think we believe in errant, pagan theology? According to Orthodox Judaism, we will all get a chance to correct our misguided and errant beliefs after death, Jews and non-Jews alike, right? Why bash Messianic Jews, Karaite Jews, Reform Jews, and atheistic Jews when they will get the chance to ascend from Gehinnom after an adequate period of introspection and remorse? Why bash Christians and Messianics for their beliefs? According to your community’s belief about the after-life, even Adolph Hilter and Eichmann get a second chance if they are truly remorseful during their 12-months in Gehinnom, right? Why are you so worried about Christians stealing the souls of Jews? Apparently, their souls will be restored after they have felt the pain of their wrong-doing and are truly remorseful… then they will ascend from Gehinnom, right?

Wait a minute… is there a possibility that their heretical Jewish souls and our pagan Gentile souls might not make it out of Gehinnom or that the essence of our lives will be snuffed out all together according to your belief regarding the after-life? If your answer is “yes” to either of those questions, then you have treated me most egregiously! I thought there was a higher purpose to our debates other than intellectual enlightenment. I thought you cared about my eternal disposition! If you believe I may be forever stuck in Gehinnom in an unending, deep state of remorse, void of any sense of joy, or my life’s essence will forever cease and you have not been proselytizing, then you have failed in your calling to be a “light to [this] Gentile!” If you’re not proselytizing in any way, shape, or form… you continue to fail at every opportunity to ensure I understand the truth of the Torah and Oral Torah, and you could cost me my life, and at the least, any sense of eternal joy (Ezekiel 3:18-21).

If the above is an adequate rendering of your belief, how awful of you to not have it in your heart to see me convert to Judaism while there’s still hope! You see, I really don’t know what you believe, but how can I fix what I don’t know unless you teach me about the Torah, right? Most sincerely, I don’t ever foresee denying Yeshua, but you don’t know what may or may not happen, right?

BK, again, my intent is not to “missionize” you. My intent is to learn more about the Hebraic/Jewish roots of my faith and the Hebrew language in an effort to correctly understand my Jewish Messiah in the context of His Judaism, His Tanakh, and His culture. I don’t mind that we disagree about the translation of pivotal Scriptures; I am learning, none-the-less. You do need to understand, though, that I have an inherent concern for your eternal disposition based on what I believe. (I wish you had the same concern for me.) Do I pray for you based on what I believe? Yes, but have I ever expressed my belief and concern for you, "missionazing" you, in any of our debates absent of you asking me what I believe about the after-life and how my belief applies to you? No, I have not. I have only answered your questions regarding such.

Do you want to know why I have not explicitly stated my belief without being prompted by your questions?

(1) Yeshua said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” (John 6:44-45)

(2) I haven’t said anything because I know you’ve been inundated with the knowledge of Yeshua and our belief that He was G-d, veiled in flesh, the Messiah – the rescuer and redeemer of our souls. He was the formless G-d who draped Himself with flesh, not a mortal man that He should lie.

Yet, you choose not to believe Yeshua is who He claimed to be – and you have every right to choose not to believe Him!

I’ve never gotten upset with you for teaching me about your perspective and beliefs regarding the Scriptures we both adhere to, even though our interpretations are different regarding the Messiah. I may argue passionately, but I'll not purposefully insult you. (I did inadvertently insult you the other day, but I didn't know it was going to insult you! I wasn't trying to use a derogatory term... now, I know better.)

You think I'm a pagan and a heretic because I do not rely on the Oral Torah, although, a lot of it is beautiful and meaningful to me, but not where it flies in the face of G-d's written Torah or the rest of the Tanakh. The only thing that bothers me in your posts or comments is when you make erroneous or derogatory blanket-statements about Christians or Messianic Jews, such as "...I know all of the typical missionary 'tricks.'" Is that really necessary when we’ve all entered these debates based on wanting to teach each other and learn from each other - its an intellectual exercise that has enlightened the lot of us. Like Karin used to tell us, “As iron sharpen iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17.) (G-d bless you, Karin!)

But really, in summary, shouldn’t I expect you to be proselytizing me if you care about my end? The thought of you intrinsically proselytizing me during these debates doesn't bother me in the least. I wish you would flip that notion around and apply it to me and others so we can enjoy our debates. Besides, if someone explicitly tells you that you're in error based on their heart-felt beliefs, you should be honored that he/she cared enough about you to want to inform you. You shouldn't feel "tricked." I felt honored when you shared the Noahide Laws with me when we first started debating, even though I believe it takes much more than living in accordance with the Noahide Laws to stand rightly before G-d.

You haven't offended me, by the way, I just wanted you to know that I don't have any tricks up my sleeve!


Bar Kochba said...

I didn't mean my comment that way. I merely wished to share the coincidence hthat in the midst of our discussions, the head of a major anti-missionary group came to speak at my shul. However, I'm coming to the realization that I cannot criticize or discuss Christianity without gettint irate e-mails or comments from angry Christians. I want you to know that although we disagree, I deply respect you and enjoy our discussions very much. I would ever suggest that, even though we differ in faith, that you do not have a share in the World to Come. (The whole idea of temporary purgatory only applies to the average person, not the wicked). I do not believe that Christinaity i pure paganism and is definately infinetely higher than the worship of sticks and stones. (and the concept of heresy only applies to Jews.) I just wanted to clarify: I love our discussions and do not wish to insult or mock you. I only have a few minutes now during lunch...

PS I'll deal with your other post most likely on Sunday. Lots of work.

Yehudi01 said...

I love your heart, Deborah.

Jungle Mom said...

I have felt the same sadness that none of my Jewish friends seem concerned for my eternal soul.
My faith is so strong that I feel compelled to at least pray for them.

Bar Kochba said...

I answered your comment at my blog.


I'm glad to have made a difference. May we both continue to grow strong in Torah, mitzvot and maasim tovim.

Let me deal with your questions:

1) I believe that this is the origin of the Sanhedrin. Rashi writes on this verse: He sat like a king, and they [everyone who came to be judged] all stood. The matter displeased Jethro, that he [Moses] belittled the respect due [the people of] Israel, and he reproved him about it, as it is said: “Why do you sit by yourself, and they are all standing?” [from Mechilta] from the morning until the evening. Is it possible to say this [that Moses actually sat in judgment from morning until evening]? But this [teaches us that] any judge who issues a true verdict-as truth demands it-even [if he spends only] one hour [reaching his judgment], Scripture deems it as if he had engaged in [the study of] the Torah for the entire day, and as if he were a partner with the Holy One, blessed is He, in the [act of] Creation, in which it says: “and it was evening, [and it was morning…]” (Gen. 1:5). [from Mechilta, Shab. 10a]

2) Rashi explains on Exodus 19:3 that 'say to the house of Jacob' refers to the woman, to instruct them the commandments in a gentle tone, the commandment directed towards women such as shabbat candles, mikveh, modesty... and "tell the sons of Israel" refers to punishments and the details [of the laws] being explained to the males, the harsher aspects of the Torah. The idea, I believe, is that it is most important to convince women of the Torah as they are the ones who set the tone for the entire household (that's why Judaism passes by maternal lineage).

Deborah said...

Todah rabbah for answering and answering as quickly as you did...
I fowarded your comments regarding the questions to the Shabbat home group. Here's the response of one of the men to your comments:

Thank you for the quick turnaround on the questions you raised. The answers are interesting not only for their content, but also because they come from Rashi.

I'm going to think about the answers before replying, but this is a good way for us to proceed.

...So, Mike thanks you, too!

Karin said...

I loved your post! You have such
a heart for G-d. Shalom to you and your family...I pray that you all are well.
Hello BK I pray all is well with you also.
With all my Love through our Messiah!

Anonymous said...

Why bash Messianic Jews, Karaite Jews, Reform Jews, and atheistic Jews when they will get the chance to ascend from Gehinnom after an adequate period of introspection and remorse?

As a Qaraite Jew I'm here to tell you this is a preposterous statement to make.
It's high time the writer/speaker put their ignorance and Mideival style intolerance behind them now that we've been through one Holocaust and are threatened by yet another courtesy of Iran's Hitler wannabe. The Jewish people might not be able to survive this sort of rabbinical "my way or the highway" attitude.

I'd like to point out that the ranks of Qaraite Judaism are starting to expand exponentially through 1.1 year long formally recognized conversions now that 75 gentile individuals are studying in the Karaite Jewish University's conversion course -- up from just 14 converts last year. We might hear next year of 150 or 200 students, so I advise the person who made the above quoted statement to come to terms with the existence of a Jewish movement that is here to stay that rejects rabbinic authorty. In a few decades time or centuries, this movement may become a force to be reckoned with within Jewry.

Deborah said...

Dear Anonymous Qaraite,

Thank you for your comment, I think what you're saying is important and I want to better understand your position. I'm not sure I comprehend the full nature of what you're saying. I'm the one who made the comment you've highlighted, but the notion of ascending from Gehinnom after a person has had an adequate period of introspection and feeling remorse for their sins is the Orthodox Jewish position, not mine. I was debating my friend BK, a rabbinical Jew, who believes ALL Jews will ascend into God's kingdom/presence/reality after they spend time in purgatory (Gehinnom). Thus, it was my round-about way of asking him why rabbinical Jews are so hard on Messianic and Qaraite Jews and believe them to be heretics when he essentially believes ALL Jews will be okay in the nether-world. In that case, why give Messianic and Qaraite Jews such a hard time?

Anonymous, I love ALL Jews, even when they despise and hate me. The same who proverbially spits upon me today, I forgive and will take into my home tomorrow to hide, feed, and protect if/when Islam rises to power and requires the lives of Jews. I will do all I can do as one person to protect and save Jewish lives should another holocaust ever happen, God forbid! I say, "NEVER AGAIN!" However, I wholeheartly agree with your assessment of Ahmadinejad and his intent. I know Islamic Jihadists intend to kill all infidels, starting with the Jews first and then the Christians. Islam teaches that Jews and Christians have been turned into monkeys and pigs since we reject [a]llah ( There's a saying in Jihad, "Kill the monkeys on Saturday, kill the pigs on Sunday."

I am a Christian Zionist who believes the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people by God's promise, a promise that was made to Abraham concerning his son of promise, Isaac, NOT Ishmael! It is my heart to ensure (by prayer, contributions, and politics) that every Jew who wants to make Aliyah is able to make Aliyah, no matter his/her beliefs!

I believe your comment may be directed more at rabbincal Jews than at me, but I may be wrong. I do want to understand your position, however. I just learned of Karaites (or as you spell it "Qaraites") last month. I had no idea there were religious/spiritual Jews who rejected rabbinical Judaism. If you don't mind taking the time to teach me, what do you believe about the after-life?