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Questions for Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef


From the Israeli news media:

Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said that non-Jews should not live in the Land of Israel if they do not abide by a set of seven laws mandated by Judaism.

 “According to Jewish law, gentiles should not live in the Land of Israel,” Yosef said Saturday in a sermon. “If a gentile does not agree to take on the seven Noahide Laws, we should send him to Saudi Arabia. When the true and complete redemption arrives, that is what we will do.”

The only reason non-Jews were still allowed to live in the Jewish state was the fact that the Messiah had yet to arrive, he said. “If our hand were firm, if we had the power to rule, that’s what we should do. But the thing is, our hand is not firm, and we are waiting for the Messiah,” he added.

I personally do not think that the Torah, which is believed containing all God’s guidance on creating a better world for everybody, can direct us the Jews to be isolated from the others since God created everybody, Jews and non-Jews, in His own image and likeness as equals – of course, with a special mission for the Jews as the Chosen. However, I am not asking the Rabbi to clarify this my thought – I am trying to clarify for myself his thinking on the Torah-guided role of the Jews in the contemporary world.

It looks like the Rabbi believes the Jews have to be isolated from the non-Jews since only strict isolation prevents assimilation and provides ideal conditions for following the Torah and serving God. It looks like the Rabbi believes that everyday collaboration and encounter with the non-Jews is detrimental to the spiritual health of the Jews.

My own Torah-guided definition of being Jewish conflicts with all that and I am asking the Rabbi to address my concerns.

  • (1) If the Rabbi believes, our Jewish spiritual health requires the total separation from the non-Jews, does the Rabbi reward the non-Jews with the right to preserve their Gentile spiritual health by separating themselves from the Jews – in other words, does the Rabbi provide a very spiritual justification for the anti-Semitism?
  • (2) If the Rabbi believes, we the Jews have to separate spiritually themselves from the non-Jews, does the Rabbi rewards the non-Jews with the right to build a God’s better world (politically, socially, economically, spiritually) without Torah guidance provided by Jewish intellectuals?
  • (3) If the Rabbi believes, the Jews have to be separated from the non-Jews, does the Rabbi reduces the Torah-guided mission of the Chosen mostly to prayers and family/synagogue life preventing the Chosen from fulfilling their God-given mission of the Chosen – the mission of assisting everybody in building a Torah-guided better world for everybody?

Many Jews and non-Jews are eager to see/listen to the answers.

 

Mutual Judeo-Christian spiritual foundation of Judaism and Christianity


Sometime ago I appealed to the rabbis to acknowledge mutual spiritual foundation of Judaism and Christianity in an article “Priests recognized spiritual unity with Jews – the time for Rabbis to follow”. And the rabbis responded – of course, not to my appeal but rather to their own urge to correct spiritual mistakes of the past.

Indeed, recently some orthodox rabbis responded positively to the Vatican’s statements acknowledging Judaism as the foundation of the Christian Church and the Jews as the elder brothers of the Christians. On December 3, 2015, Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation issued the Orthodox Rabbinic Statement on Christianity where the following was emphasized:

After nearly two millennia of mutual hostility and alienation, we Orthodox Rabbis who lead communities, institutions and seminaries in Israel, the United States and Europe recognize the historic opportunity now before us. We seek to do the will of our Father in Heaven by accepting the hand offered to us by our Christian brothers and sisters. Jews and Christians must work together as partners to address the moral challenges of our era. …

Both Jews and Christians have a common covenantal mission to perfect the world under the sovereignty of the Almighty, so that all humanity will call on His name and abominations will be removed from the earth. We understand the hesitation of both sides to affirm this truth and we call on our communities to overcome these fears in order to establish a relationship of trust and respect.

We Jews and Christians have more in common than what divides us: the ethical monotheism of Abraham; the relationship with the One Creator of Heaven and Earth, Who loves and cares for all of us; Jewish Sacred Scriptures; a belief in a binding tradition; and the values of life, family, compassionate righteousness, justice, inalienable freedom, universal love and ultimate world peace.

So what are the mutual values of life, family, compassionate righteousness, justice, inalienable freedom, universal love and ultimate world peace?

First, we have to recognize we are looking for the values we have to promote and strengthen in the public place where the Jews and the Christians are working together for creating a better world for themselves and the others. The values, which are important for the internal Church/Synagogue life, should be left for various religious denominations to deal with without interference of the others. These internal Church/Synagogue values could be found in thousands of commentaries made by the rabbis for the last two millenniums, and undoubtedly by the priests in Christianity.

The mutual Judeo-Christian values, which are crucial in the public place, could be derived from the Ten Commandments.

Belief in Hashem

Here the most important is to believe in His Ten Commandments as the guidance for addressing the contemporary spiritual, social and political challenges. Both the Jews and the Christians have to be guided by the Hashem’s Ten Commandments – not by the politically correct Human Rights or Social Justice made to replace the Hashem’s Ten Commandments.

Do not have other made-for-yourself gods

The most common “other god” in the contemporary public life is a government. Our politicians have elevated themselves to the position of a god by replacing the Bible-based laws by the human-rights/social-justice laws invented by the politicians themselves to cement their own god-like power. We have to dethrone the government from the position of a god by forcing a government to compete with private sector in various areas of public services.

Do not use Hashem’s name in vain

When we say “God bless America” we are not asking God to bless America replacing the Biblical laws by the human-made laws – we are asking God to bless our work of implementing the Biblical laws.

Observe Shabbat

One day a week should be devoted to a sort of spiritual refreshment to analyze whether the past week accomplishments have been along the lines of Biblical guidance, and how to deal with the next week challenges along the same lines. For the Jews and some Christian minorities, this day is Saturday; for the Christian majority this day is Sunday.

Honor your parents

Honoring your parents means preserving and applying to always changing life circumstances the core spiritual values of your parents – that is what the true Jews and Christians have been doing from the very beginning. Replacing the spiritual values of your parents, which your parents were trying to instill in you, by human-made politically correct values, is dishonoring the parents.

Do not murder

Do not murder for any economic gains as was common and even honorable in the pre-Biblical era. However, do not hesitate to defend you spiritual space and values even if such defense would require killing the enemy who is trying to do so.

Do not commit adultery

The adultery is a violation of the values of traditional family. The traditional family is at the core of our Judeo-Christian civilization. However, remembering the Biblical Free Will, the faithful of the traditional families should not persecute the non-traditional families assuming the non-traditional families are not trying to change the Biblical status-quo through government legislative actions.

Do not steal

Theoretically, Do not steal is at the core of any contemporary judicial system. However, the stealing is wildly acceptable and even encouraged under the social justice slogans – it is done through government redistribution of wealth from those who are earning their wealth to those who do not earn enough and are considered less fortunate. Of course, we have to help the less fortunate but this help should be provided through Biblical mitzvah/charity actions – the government may create legislative incentives to do so.

Do not testify falsely

That is already at the core of Judeo-Christian morality – “I do you solemnly swear that I will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God”.

Do not covet

Do not covet the wealth and possessions of the others who have more, and even much-much more, than you have. Theologically, everybody would agree with this. However, the Biblically forbidden coveting appears in many different forms such as condemning the wealth inequality, regulating the minimum wage, excessively taxing the wealthy people, accusing the Wall Street of robbing the Main Street. Asking the government to fix all that is using the government as the cover for your coveting.

If the Jews have so much in common with the Christians, many people ask, what fundamentals spiritually separate them? 

What separates religions of Judaism and Christianity? One “simple” thing separates them – the Jews are the Chosen at the God’s order with the mission of helping the others to follow the God’s laws of creating a better world for everybody. Of course, they are separated by many theological dogmas and hostile history but that is not fundamental as compared to what unites them spiritually.

Once again, Anti-Semitism is an evidence of success of Jewish “Chosen” mission


Anti-Semitism is rising in Europe and in the Middle East:

UK: Laughing gas canisters thrown and ‘Heil Hitler’ yelled at London Jews.

France: Marseilles Jews Targeted in Machete Attack.

Germany: in an Islamic attack, two men claiming refugee status assaulted and robbed a Jewish man at a northern port.

Ukraine: a Molotov cocktail thrown at a synagogue.

Iran: Iran’s supreme leader calling for the elimination of Israel.

Palestinian Authority represented by its president Mahmoud Abbas: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we will not agree to the presence of one Israeli in it.

USA: Jewish home in a New York suburb plastered with six swastikas.

Thus, anti-Semitism is alive and well as has been for over two millenniums.

Many Jews think that anti-Semitism is the intolerance and hate of the Jews as a race or even as humans.

That might be true. However, something more fundamental distinguishes anti-Semitism from any other racial hate. Any other racial hate exists when humans of a hated race are among those who hate them. Anti-Semitism exists even when there is no Jews among those who hate them.

In many Muslim countries, there are no Jews but the hate of the Jews is seen everywhere. In the 15th century Spain after all Jews were expelled, the hate of the Jews remained. In the 19th century Russia, the Jews were prohibited to live in most of the cities – nevertheless, the hate of the Jews was evident in those Jew-free cities.

Anti-Semitism is not just the intolerance and hate of the Jewish people – anti-Semitism is the fearful resistance to the Jewish Torah-guided ideals for the human existence. Those ideals are stubborn and they flourish in many places where there are no Jews – those ideals are the foundation of most religious, political or cultural developments in Western Civilization.

The fate of the Jews and their ideals is unique because, as the true Jews believe, the Jews are fulfilling their God-given mission of the Chosen, which is to help the others build a better world for everybody – a better world on the foundation of Torah-guided spiritual/moral principles. The others do not object to the idea of building a better world – but not for everybody, only for themselves; and not on Torah-guided ideals, on their own ideals.

Many in the historic past hated the Greeks when the Hellenistic empires of the Middle East introduced their ideals to the captive countries. However, when the captive countries freed themselves from the Greeks, the Hellenistic ideals were defeated as well. The anti-Hellenism had not been developed since there was no need to resist the non-existent Hellenism.

Many in the recent times hated the Nazis and Communists when the Nazi Germany and the Communist Russia introduced their ideals to the entire world and implemented them in the captive countries. However, when the captive countries were freed by the USA and UK (in the WWII and in the following Cold War), the Nazi/Communist ideals were defeated as well. The anti-Germanism or anti-Russianism had not been developed since there was no need to resist the morally dead Nazism and Communism.

With the anti-Semitism, it is a completely different story.

The Jews are hated since they are, as the Chosen, successfully introducing the Judeo-Christian ideals into religious, political and social spheres of human life. Those ideals are replacing the old heathen ideals and the contemporary heathen people resist.

The Muslims as a group hate the Jewish ideals since the Jewish ideals are replacing the universal Sharia-based dictatorial morality by the individual freedoms.

The Atheists as a group hate the Jewish ideals since the Jewish ideals are rooted in the guidance from the Supreme Power above, which is mandatory for the humans, while the Atheists want to introduce their own ideals.

Some Western Christians hate the Jewish ideals since the Jewish ideals emphasize the building a better life for everybody here in this world while the old-fashioned Christians are longing for a better life in the Heavens.

Some Eastern Christians hate the Jewish ideals since the Jewish ideals promote the true Western-type democracy over the spiritual slavery by dictatorial government.

The unstoppable anti-Semitism reflects the unstoppable success of the Jewish mission as the Chosen and the true Jews and the true Rabbis should appreciate this as a sort of sign of spiritual success.

 

How our rabbis can help strengthen Judaism and Judeo-Christian civilization


This blog is exploring the Torah-guided Judeo-Christian world where the Jews may live in spiritual harmony with the Christians both building a better world for everybody. You may find in the blog much more on this topic in addition to this post such as for example This blog is exploring the Torah-guided Judeo-Christian world where the Jews may live in spiritual harmony with the Christians both building a better world for everybody. You may find in the blog much more on this topic in addition to this post such as for example “Judeo-Christian and anti-Judeo-Christian communities of Western Civilization”, “To the dismay of some, here what we have to do to restore our Judeo-Christian spirituality”, “The only way to win the war against Islamists in Paris and elsewhere is to strengthen our Judeo-Christian spirituality, “The origin of Judeo-Christian spirituality and why some hate it”.    

 

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How our rabbis can help strengthen Judaism and Judeo-Christian civilization  

Yes, our rabbis can help strengthen Judaism and Judeo-Christian civilization. To do this, they have to include in their own education curriculums, and encourage the non-Jewish educational organizations to do the same, the following Torah/Bible-based topics.

The meaning of “we the humans are created in the image and likeness of God”

We have to teach everybody – Jews and non-Jews, religious and non-religious – what is the reason for us the humans to exist, and it does not matter how we have arrived to realizing that is the reason – through religion or without it.

One vital attribute of God in the Torah is God is the Creator who created our world not as something static and unchangeable but rather dynamic and permanently changing along the laws created by God Himself. Therefore, we the humans have to continue His creative work to build an always evolving better world for everybody, the Jews and the non-Jews.

Another vital attribute of God in the Torah is that His image is a spiritual one – not of any physical image a human may imagine. If it is so, the God’s image may be even a set of divine laws the violation of which brings the anguish while the respect of which brings the happiness. To avoid the anguish, we have to find those divine laws, both in material and spiritual spheres, and that is what we the humans are doing from the very beginning in our scientific and religious institutions.

Thus, the reason for our human existence is to communicate with God in all possible ways, study the God’s material and spiritual laws and build a better world along the lines of these laws.

The meaning of being “the Jews as the Chosen”

All humans are split into different groups. Each group may consider itself as a sort of “chosen” by God, nature or history to be different. The Jews are different as well. We have to teach the Jews the true meaning of being the Chosen – being different from the others in a friendly, helpful and inspiring way – being different not in an antagonist way. Moreover, we have to teach the others about the true meaning of the Jews being the Chosen.

As described in the Torah, God made the Jews the Chosen. The Jews are the Chosen not to rule over the non-Jews as the anti-Semites are trying to convince the world. The Jews are the Chosen since God made them the Chosen with the mission of helping the non-Jews to replace their heathen-guided traditions (which split all humans into murderous adversary groups) by Torah-guided laws (which split all humans into the friendly competing groups in all spheres of human endeavor). The Jewish achievements in all spheres of human endeavor demonstrate the Jews are successfully fulfilling their mission of the Chosen.

Thus, the reason for us the Jews to be Chosen is … to do what we have been doing from the very beginning and be proud of it.

The Torah and the Religion

We have to teach everybody that the God’s Torah is not a religion – it is the guidance for everybody, Jews and non-Jews, on how to continue God’s creative work in our world.

The people of Judeo-Christian world themselves, not God, created the religions – the religion of Judaism for the Jews (the Rabbis codified it in the Talmud and other authoritative rulings) and then the religion of Christianity (the priests codified it in the Christian Bible and other authoritative documents) to tailor the Torah guidance to their different traditions.

Judaism and Christianity define what is “good” and what is “bad” in their own unique way; various spiritual streams inside Judaism and Christianity define “good” and “bad” in their own way as well. However, the fundamentals of what is “good” and what is “bad” are the same, the Torah-based ones.

That is not the case for Islam since the Islamic majority believes that Quran demands the entire world to be Quran-guided and without the infidels who are the Jews and the Christians. Quran consists of two different parts. The first part, a nice peaceful one, was written when there was Islamic hope that the Jews and the Christians accept the Supreme Power of Islam and all become Muslims. However, when the Jews and the Christians did not accept Islam and did not decease spiritually, the second part of Quran was created – for the world where the Jews are eliminated and the Christians are second-class citizens. Unfortunately, now the first-part-Quran peaceful Muslims are silent and the second-part-Quran Muslims are terrorizing the world. Those terrorizing Muslims are not the strangers whom we have to treat justly – they are an enemy whom we need to fight.

Thus, we the Jews have to strengthen our spiritual connections with the Christians and with the first-part-Quran peaceful Muslims, and fight against the second-part-Quran Muslims who are terrorizing the world.

The Religion and the Government

We have to teach the duty of a government based on the true meaning of the state-religion separation. This duty is to prevent any one religious denomination from becoming an authoritative power in government decisions. This duty is not to separate the Judeo-Christian spiritual guidance from the government legislative work.

The government role is to reinforce the religious guidance on what is “good” and “bad” through government legislative work: in Israel, the guidance of Judaism; in other nations of Western civilization, the guidance of Christianity.

Of course, when a nation is replacing the Judeo-Christian religious values by something else, and for some nations that is the case, a government begins reinforcing this “something else”. We have to resist such “replacement”.

The Jews and the Christians have a common spiritual foundation based on the Old Testament and now, after many centuries of hostility and hatred can live in peace building a Bible-based better world for everybody including those Muslims who are willing to live in peace in Judeo-Christian world without trying to demolish it. The Judeo-Cristian world has nothing against peaceful Quran-guided Muslim countries, which are not trying to destroy the Judeo-Christian world.

Thus, the Jews and the rabbis have to resist separation of the Torah-guided Judeo-Christian morality from government legislative work.

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This blog is exploring the Torah-guided Judeo-Christian world where the Jews may live in spiritual harmony with the Christians both building a better world for everybody. You may find in the blog much more on this topic in addition to this post.

The Jewish past is being reexamined to meet the Jewish future: an Obama-Netanyahu confrontation


The Jewish past is being reexamined to meet the Jewish future: an Obama-Netanyahu confrontation

In the Jewish past, the Jews were considered by non-Jews as the subjects who should be gainfully used but kept spiritually suppressed – in the Jewish past, a Jew was successful in non-Jewish surroundings only if he followed the directives of a non-Jewish master. The legacy of the Jewish past is still alive in some Jewish left-wing-oriented circles where the obedience to a government master is supreme – not the Torah/Bible-based spiritual challenge to the government master.

In the Jewish future, the Jews will be reestablishing their spiritual role as the Chosen – in the Jewish future, the Jews will be spiritually uplifted in the non-Jewish surroundings where they will be among leaders in creating a better world for everybody, Jews and non-Jews. In the Jewish future, the Jews will be challenging a government master if it legislates contrary to the Torah/Bible guidance.

Now we are in the transition times from the Jewish past to the Jewish future and Obama-Netanyahu confrontation is a good example of this. Obama is trying to reinforce the Jewish past while Netanyahu is strengthening the Jewish future. Read the rest of this entry

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