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9 years ago  ::  Apr 23, 2009 - 7:49AM #41
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,932

Apr 22, 2009 -- 12:13PM, Happycat wrote:


Hi, I have for most of my life felt pulled towards Judasim and a few years ago found out for the first time that my maternal grandfather was Jewish.  I stopped going to church aged 14 because I could not accept the divinity of Jesus, nor could I accept communion.  I cannot accept or believe in the basic tenets of Christianity and I feel the loss of shared worship and fellowship with others who believe in what I do.  I have a couple of Jewish friends I met online and they well me I am Jewish if I want to be.  But, I miss the being part of a group.


I have felt like this for the past 40 odd years and as I get older I feel I need some sort of formalisation but, I live in a community with few Jewish people in it.  My late father told me that I would be turned away 3 times, that study would be hard and long.  I feel lost and alone and would love a mentor or somebody to guide me.




BS"D


If by "miss the being part of the group" you mean a personal connectedness to a people, then please read the book of Ruth and tell me what it speaks to your heart.  If something stands out in that story let me know.  Meanwhile, as FFB already stated, only you can walk your own path.  You must take the steps necessary to make contact with those with whom you would join yourself forever. Judaism is not a proselytizing peoplehood in general so unless you want the ephemeral surface-only temporary high of fundamentalist garbage or over-exhuberant sectarian fanaticism which fades with knowledge and experience then it might be time for you to begin your journey in earnest to seek out who your people are or who they will be.  To that end make contact with two different Jews with whom you feel you can make friends and get to know them and see if the way they live as Jews is something you would like to be part of.

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9 years ago  ::  Apr 23, 2009 - 11:28AM #42
Happycat
Posts: 4

Hi, I have read the Book of Ruth and her story comes to my mind time and time again.  I think it is time I re-read, thank you for your interest.  I live in a small very Christian, fundamentalist society and I personally know nobody from the Jewish community, bar one lady who is probably in her mid 80's now. I only know of her from another friend.  tomorrow I am playing hostess to 3 people all very arch Christians who are trying their best to get me to be Born Again.  One of the party tells me my interest in Judadism is G/d's way of leading me to Christianity!!Thank you again.  

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9 years ago  ::  Apr 24, 2009 - 8:10AM #43
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,932

Apr 23, 2009 -- 11:28AM, Happycat wrote:


...One of the party tells me my interest in Judadism is G/d's way of leading me to Christianity!!Thank you again.  




BS"D


That's a good one.  (*-barf-*  Heheheh)  I believe that a person should chart their own path.  If Christianity is for you that is fine.  There are MANY shades of Christianity including variations that are solidly anti-Trinitarian.  And in the other direction there are many variations of Judaism from the solidly anti-religious humanist to the solidly anti-secular ultra-orthodox and all shades in between.


IMHO it is human companionship that you are after, and NOT religion.  You are absolutely correct that religious proselytization is NOT a good foundation for any human relationship.  I wonder if these people would be your friends if you told them you were Jewish or anything other than Christian.  Friendship and relationships should not be based upon religion IMHO.  Religion can be an enhancement or a hindrance to any relationship but it should NEVER be a foundation IMHO.


We are human beings.  We must define ourselves before we seek a relationship that will define us as part of another's universe IMHO.  It is good to seek your own path and even better to seek your own path with friends.  Each person as they define themselves will help to define you as well.  You will know how you are similar and how you are absolutely unique and will choose what to allow to grow and what to let die.


In Judaism, my variation at least, we learn to do a certain standard of what we call good.  After that foundation, we seek to be fully human and religion takes care of itself.  Every person should be free to incorporate their own identity into the community.  But the community must exist in order to begin.  Before you choose a community you must know yourself.  Whether the community thrives or perishes, you must still live with yourself. 


I wish you success in your journies.  You will be a credit to whatever people or community you attach yourself to.  All that matters is that you thrive and strive as you IMHO.

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9 years ago  ::  Apr 24, 2009 - 12:38PM #44
Happycat
Posts: 4

Thank you BNS for your reply.  Firstly may I say that it isnt human companionship that I am after.  I have many friends and family too and I see several on a daily basis.  I enjoy the few hours of solitude I am able to fit into my day.  If I put it another way maybe you will understand.  If I want to be educated I will want a teacher and a class as I will get feed back and more learning in a school environment.  If I want to learn a new language I could buy the text book and a CD but I would learn faster and much better in a class.  At my advanced age I am learning to play the piano. I have teach yourself books but I also go to a half hour class a week with a professional music teacher.  I learn more in that half hour than I do reading a text book.


 

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9 years ago  ::  Apr 25, 2009 - 3:16PM #45
LagunaMom
Posts: 12

What truly separates Jews from Christians is the issue of original sin. 


Jews believe that being made in God's image, we are basically good.


Christians believe that because Adam and Eve disobeyed God's command, our natures are bad or evil, and humans must be saved through a messiah, and that is Jesus. 


The Jewish notion of a messiah is not one of a supernatural being.  Rather, it's supposed to be a person who brings peace to the world.  Clearly there is not peace in the world. 


This is why one cannot adhere to the belief in original sin and its related idea of a personal savior and be Jewish.  They are absolutes.


 


 

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9 years ago  ::  Apr 25, 2009 - 3:39PM #46
Happycat
Posts: 4

Yes, I agree, I have from a young age never accepted the concept of original sin.  To say a baby is born sinful is anathema to me. 

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9 years ago  ::  Apr 25, 2009 - 3:48PM #47
Pam34
Posts: 2,795

Just to be a bit persnickety -


Judaism does not think we are 'born good'. Judaism teaches we are born INNOCENT. That's not the same as 'good'.


 


We are born with the capacity to be good, and the capacity to be evil. It's our choices that make us 'good' or 'bad' - not anything that our parents or ancestors did or didn't do. No matter what, we are the only ones 'responsible' for our actions, in the end. Our choices may be limited by circumstance, education, situation, or state of ability/intelligence, but we have choices nonetheless, even if it is only in our attitude.

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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9 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2009 - 11:17AM #48
Aryeha7
Posts: 18

Apr 25, 2009 -- 3:16PM, LagunaMom wrote:


What truly separates Jews from Christians is the issue of original sin. 


Jews believe that being made in God's image, we are basically good.


Christians believe that because Adam and Eve disobeyed God's command, our natures are bad or evil, and humans must be saved through a messiah, and that is Jesus. 


The Jewish notion of a messiah is not one of a supernatural being.  Rather, it's supposed to be a person who brings peace to the world.  Clearly there is not peace in the world. 


This is why one cannot adhere to the belief in original sin and its related idea of a personal savior and be Jewish.  They are absolutes.


 


 



LagunaMom:


 


Hi!!  Enjoyed your insights, but I think I should clarify something you raised.  You stated that “what truly separates Jews from Christians is the issue of original sin”.  While that is partially true, it isn’t entirely true.  That is only the symptom of a much deeper issue that goes back to the very notion of G-d Himself.


 


The real issue that separated what would later become Christianity from Judaism was the very notion of the nature of G-d.  Remember, it wasn’t Judaism that separated from Christianity; it was early Christianity that separated from Judaism.  The very fact that the Christians elevated a leader from a man to being a godling ( a son of god—lowercase).  That elevation conflicts with what not only Judaism stated about G-d, but also with what G-d Himself stated in His own Torah that He is not a man, nor the son of man.  In addition, the two versions of the Ten Commandments explicitly state that G-d has no form and will not tolerate any god (even that which claims to be Him) before “My Presence”.  In the book of Deuteronomy alone, Moses will reiterate in the opening four chapters, no less than four or five times that G-d has no form; that at the Sinai Revelation 600,000 people heard the Voice but perceived no form. 


 


Which brings to light what feel is the most compelling issue.  Only the Jewish People had National Revelation.  Jews (and converts like myself—it is not completed yet so I have to make a distinction) know the Nature of G-d because the Jewish People were there at Sinai when G-d revealed Himself to more than half a million people (maybe more!).  We heard the Voice of G-d.  We were commanded to tell this to subsequent generations.  We were never told that there was any original sin (Bereshith was actually composed AFTER Devarim but due to its contents was placed first) and the Jewish People had and have an ETERNAL covenant with G-d.   You can’t fake a national revelation.  If you try, within two to three generations, the whole concept will be challenged and another will come to fake a new one, and the entire people’s spiritual infrastructure and cohesion will be destroyed within four generations.  So this is how we know the Torah is true—the Israelites/Jewish people were there!


 


Now, let’s contrast this. While it is true that Christianity plundered the Torah in order to not only create a disease (Original Sin) but its cure (Vicarious Atonement), one must never forget exactly where this concept originated.  It did not originate in the pages of the Torah, but rather via the pagan cults –namely, Zoroastrianism (which taught the polarity of the soul/body) and the Mitras-bull cult wherein worshippers were cleansed of their sins by having the literal blood of the bull (later substituted with a lamb and/or water) poured upon them. All of these have resurrection stories similar to those found in the Gospels and all occurred around the same time (early spring).  Any resemblance to the G-d of Israel and Judaism was/is strictly INTENTIONAL and retrofitted to appear as if they were “fulfillments” of Prophetic accounts.


 


As for the concept of the Messiah, the term Moshiach is a JEWISH concept, (though a Torah concept, reached its epitome and concrete definition after the rise of King David and G-d’s explicit eternal covenant with King David and his natural descendants from his son, Solomon) and this concept/figure carries with him enormous responsibility and specific obligations.  The Messiah will be born to human parents (of the house of King David) and will actually create a dynasty.  Now how this will happen when the curse of Jehoachin) is still present, (which precluded all candidates, including that of the supposed Jeesus) is only for G-d and the Sanhedrin to wrangle with.


 


The Messiah’s duties are not merely to bring peace, but to establish the Throne of David, re-establish the Sanhedrin, rebuild the Temple, subdue Israel’s enemies, vanquish Amalek, reveal and restore the “lost” tribes of Israel, (though they will be under Judah and under the Torah—as during the days of King David), remove enmity, defeat the enemies who will come against Jerusalem, create a spiritual revival/tshuvah and then spearhead the Messianic age wherein there will be ultimate peace and the return of the Shechina to the Temple.  All of this done with or without “miracles”.  Miracles and portents do not a Messiah make.


 


It is very worth noting that all the Jewish prophecies pertaining to the duties of the Messiah are inclusive; meaning, it will not take any faith to affirm the messiah any more than it would to look at your right arm and say “I affirm that you are my right arm”.  It will be self-evident.   If a candidate does not accomplish these duties in his lifetime, he is not the Messiah, end of story; his potential dies with him. 


 


Also, the Messiah and the Messianic age are linked, they cannot be divorced or separated into “Part I (Advent)” and “Part II (Second Coming)”.  If that were so, then even I could be the Messiah in my second “coming” or reincarnation.  In addition, it is G-d, not the Messiah, who is worshipped and revered.  In fact, the Messiah submits to the validity of the Torah and the Sovereignty of G-d; he fears G-d.  Now if he were G-d, how could he fear himself??


 


By contrast, as we all know, Christianity took a JEWISH concept and fused it with the “savior” notions of the Greco-Roman world.  Jeesus became a hero ala Apollo, Mitras, Hercules, etc (all born of virgins who were impregnated by a third-party element of the gods), who had to cure the world of a vice born of human sin.  Once he returned from the underworld and defeated its god(s) and after he has received his mandate from his father (Zeus, Aries, etc) on high, he was to return to earth and subdue all his enemies and bring people to the “holy” mount.  The godling and the gods/goddesses are reunited and humanity is “saved”.  As one teacher of mine quipped “Rome did not convert to Christianity, Christianity converted to Rome”.  The ideas and concepts of this “one god” were not borne of a revelation but rather of a fusion; marrying the concepts of savior worship with the concepts of the Tanakh to attempt to give it legitimacy among those who had been incredibly interested in Judaism, but, for whatever reason, could not undergo full conversion to Judaism.  It’s important to know the history and yes, even the historical theology of the respective religions.


 


So while Jews and Christians may speak the same language and use the same terms such as:  “G-d”, “salvation”, “atonement”, “savior”, “Torah”, “Prophecy”, “End of Days”, “Messiah”, “deliverance”, “righteousness”, “redemption”, “holiness”, etc.  it is very, very important to realize and remember that the TaNaKH and G-d Himself define these words with an entirely different and pure rendering than the same words which are both mouthed and touted by the Christians.  The source of these differences do not go back to Eden.  They go back to each group’s understanding of G-d.  Even then there is an even more striking distinction.  Sinai is the defining moment, wherein G-d not only gave the Jewish people the Entire Torah (Written and Oral), which contains the “Origin” account, but He also spoke directly with the Jewish People.   


 


I think this is very important to remember in dealing with any Christian and any polemic transaction they wish to initiate with Jews.  Simply put, we do not worship the same G-d, but one day, thank G-d, we all will.



 


 


 



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9 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2009 - 12:23PM #49
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

Aryeh:





Which brings to light what feel is the most compelling issue.  Only the Jewish People had National Revelation.  Jews (and converts like myself—it is not completed yet so I have to make a distinction) know the Nature of G-d because the Jewish People were there at Sinai when G-d revealed Himself to more than half a million people (maybe more!).  We heard the Voice of G-d.  We were commanded to tell this to subsequent generations.  We were never told that there was any original sin (Bereshith was actually composed AFTER Devarim but due to its contents was placed first


Not quite. Deuteronomy was composed around the time of the reign of King Josiah and was completed in its original edition at the time of the Babylonian Exile. Bereishit is comprised of the Jahwist, Elohist, and Priestly traditions all of which pre-date the Deuteronomistic tradition.


and the Jewish People had and have an ETERNAL covenant with G-d.   You can’t fake a national revelation.  If you try, within two to three generations, the whole concept will be challenged and another will come to fake a new one, and the entire people’s spiritual infrastructure and cohesion will be destroyed within four generations.  So this is how we know the Torah is true—the Israelites/Jewish people were there!


Sorry, but that doesn't wash. A "national revelation" can totally arise over a period of several generations. Your argument, the "Kuzari argument," assumes that the story of the Sinai event was composed all at once. That's not how national folklores develop. Something happened at "Sinai," and this was an important tradition for some of the groups that eventually united to form the people Israel. When that happened, it became part of the shared cultural myth of identity. Such myths are designed for people to find themselves in them, to give a sense of unity and identity and so over time people began to locate their own ancestors at the time of the event to lay ownership to the myth. It happens all the time. A good example from our history is the number of people who try to claim descent from passengers on the Mayflower. Your argument also ignores the absense of modernity's omnipresence of documentation and the fact that the ancients were much more gullible about stuff like this than we are today (well, most of us). Why else would anyone believe in the other fanciful mythologies that human cultures have created? How is the Jewish mythology different? It isn't. Just because it didn't really happen as actual fact, however, doesn't mean it's not true. The Sinai event is true and the Torah is true because we make it so.


 


 As for the concept of the Messiah, the term Moshiach is a JEWISH concept, (though a Torah concept, reached its epitome and concrete definition after the rise of King David and G-d’s explicit eternal covenant with King David and his natural descendants from his son, Solomon)


There is no reference to the Messiah in the Torah. The concept of the Messiah did not arise until after the fall of the First Commonwealth, built on the belief in the eternal covenant between the House of David and God. There would be no need for a Messiah if the monarchy had not fallen.


 


 




 It’s important to know the history and yes, even the historical theology of the respective religions.


Yes, especially Judaism.


 




 

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9 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2009 - 8:08PM #50
Aryeha7
Posts: 18

Apr 26, 2009 -- 12:23PM, nieciedo wrote:


Not quite. Deuteronomy was composed around the time of the reign of King Josiah and was completed in its original edition at the time of the Babylonian Exile. Bereishit is comprised of the Jahwist, Elohist, and Priestly traditions all of which pre-date the Deuteronomistic tradition.


Sorry, but that doesn't wash. A "national revelation" can totally arise over a period of several generations. Your argument, the "Kuzari argument," assumes that the story of the Sinai event was composed all at once. That's not how national folklores develop. Something happened at "Sinai," and this was an important tradition for some of the groups that eventually united to form the people Israel. When that happened, it became part of the shared cultural myth of identity. Such myths are designed for people to find themselves in them, to give a sense of unity and identity and so over time people began to locate their own ancestors at the time of the event to lay ownership to the myth. It happens all the time. A good example from our history is the number of people who try to claim descent from passengers on the Mayflower. Your argument also ignores the absense of modernity's omnipresence of documentation and the fact that the ancients were much more gullible about stuff like this than we are today (well, most of us). Why else would anyone believe in the other fanciful mythologies that human cultures have created? How is the Jewish mythology different? It isn't. Just because it didn't really happen as actual fact, however, doesn't mean it's not true. The Sinai event is true and the Torah is true because we make it so.


 


 As for the concept of the Messiah, the term Moshiach is a JEWISH concept, (though a Torah concept, reached its epitome and concrete definition after the rise of King David and G-d’s explicit eternal covenant with King David and his natural descendants from his son, Solomon)


There is no reference to the Messiah in the Torah. The concept of the Messiah did not arise until after the fall of the First Commonwealth, built on the belief in the eternal covenant between the House of David and God. There would be no need for a Messiah if the monarchy had not fallen.


 


 




 It’s important to know the history and yes, even the historical theology of the respective religions.


Yes, especially Judaism.


 


 


First off, I am NOT interested in the "scholarly" nonsense you presented.  Whenever the truth of the National Revelation is raised, there are these supposedly "scholarly" findings presented in order to disprove it and try to say it was a JEP "committee".   This whole theory has been disproved in the mid 90s.  I am not at all interested in your reworkings and this "modern revisionist" nonsense.


Deuteronomy was not written by Josiah.  The passage in question states it was FOUND.  I trust the sages and the Tradition that unified and preserved the Jewish people over some revisionist nonsense from some atheist, even if he is Jewish.  This whole attempt to discredit and disqualify the Sinai Experience and relegate it to a creation by some committee is a bona fide event regardless of what modern revisionists try to disqualify. 


In addition, the concept of messiah is very much rooted in the Torah (but how can you have a torah since you claim Deuteronomy isn't part of the Torah?), the term Moshiach comes from the verb "moshach" ("anoint") which is very much part of the Torah.  This verb first appears with the Tabernacle and the oil of anointing (shemen moshach); wherein the articles of the Tabernacle were anointed as were Aaron and his sons.  While the concept most certainly came into own with the rise of the Davidic Dynasty, it by no means was formulated with King David.


As for the monarchy "falling", the Covenant G-d made with King David still stands.  For sure, the kingship/monarchy is not currently a reality, but it by no means is it a relic from the TaNaKh.  It will be revived.


So all in all, while modern thought can help us understand the current world as well as to help us understand the ancient world/mindset.  However, I feel that its limits are reached and established when it tries to tamper with that which WAS given at Sinai and established by a Living G-d.  


 


 


 




 



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