Tuesday, April 12, 2016

NO Proselytiziing, Please, and I'll Tell You Why

Nadene Goldfoot                                                               
Moses with the Strongest Deal in the World
"You shall not recognize the gods of others in My Presence!"
Moses told all of Israel to hear the decrees of the deal.  
"Hashem, our G-d, sealed the deal (a covenant) but with us-we who are here, 
all of us alive, today.
Face to face did Hashem speak with you on the mountain, from amid the fire.  I was standing between Hashem and you at that time, to relate the word of Hashem to you-for you were afraid of the fire and you did not ascend the mountain--saying:
I am Hashem, your G-d, who has taken you out of the land of Egypt, 
from the house of slavery.  "
Remember that this happened in days when Greeks and Romans and Egyptians believed in many gods
and people that were part gods.  This was one of the first 5 commandments we were to learn.The Israelites were children of Abraham and children of others  and had learned that there was
only one G-d in the universe from Abraham, but had been slaves for 400 years of the Egyptians.  
Moses was an adopted Egyptian Prince from the line of Abraham and educated in the Egyptian royal academy.
He wrote the first 5 books of what non-Jews call the OLD TESTAMENT-we Jews call the Torah while on the 40 year trek from Egypt to Canaan, the Jewish Homeland.  

For over 2,000 years, people have been busy proselytizing Jews to follow their other religion, and Jews have remained adamant about not leaving their own religion.  This happened with Christian knights, the Crusaders  from Europe, taking Jerusalem from the Muslims.  The pressure never really stopped, but only got worse when Spain, which had become Catholic, turned against the Jewish population and said it was either conversion time or hit the highway, and if you stayed and continued to remain a Jew, it was the stake for you.  Many who were able to, left for Portugal and other places.  Now I see we have missionaries hitting Sderot on the border of Israel and Gaza who are proselytizing those Jews who have been enduring bombs from Gaza.
Egyptian soldiers drowning in the chase after the Israelites

Here's a message to proselytizers of Christians and of any Muslims who think that Jews are an easy target to convert.  We're not easy targets.  We've lasted in our beliefs for 2,000 years since so many of us had to leave our country in 70 CE , and we're not a stupid people. Moses was our leader and so we Israelites have followed his laws  from about 1311 BCE till today. That's 3,327 years.    Our ancestors who left Egypt as slaves signed an oath with Moses that they would not deviate from our beliefs, and that they would pass on the knowledge to their descendants. It was the deal of all time, a deal stronger than what Donald Trump would make with the Iranians, and we are keepers of our deal with G-d.   Moses had been told things by G-d and our ancestors took it very seriously.  When they didn't, they received punishment.  Moses was special.  He made a believer out of our long ago relatives.  He made it very clear that we were to believe that there was only ONE G-d, and we were to follow commandments that he handed down to Moses.

Jews have always been faced with people who said they were a prophet, and they wound up proving that they weren't.  So false prophets or false messiahs have been in our past history.  Moses warned us that this would happen.  He said, "If there should stand up in your midst a prophet or a dreamer of a dream, and he will produce to you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes about of which he spoke to you, saying, "LET US FOLLOW GODS OF OTHERS THAT YOU DID NOT KNOW AND WE SHALL WORSHIP THEM!," Do not hearken to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of a dream, for Hashem (the NAME)G-d, your G-d, is testing yu to know whether you love Hashem, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul.  Hashem, your G-d, shall you follow and Him shall you fear;  His commandments shall you observe and to His voice shall you hearken;  Him shall you serve and to Him shall you cleave.  Deuteronomy 13: 1-5).  He was talking about false prophets.  Even Christianity has hearkened to this and teaches it; no false prophets.  All 3 religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam accept Moses as a prophet.  Jews see it differently in that Jesus and Mohammad are regarded as false prophets. For Jews, the things that were to take place when the Messiah does come did not happen with Jesus; in fact they were persecuted more, and lost the Temple and their empire and were scattered like grain by the winds of war.  It's in these days that they have been found, harvested back and returning to Israel once again.
Jeremiah, As Michelangelo depicted him
Jews were also reminded of this teaching of Moses by Jeremiah, a later prophet of the 7th-to 6th century BCE. He started to prophecy in 625 BCE, and it was helpful that he belonged to a priestly family of Anathoth near Jerusalem.  His prophecy started with scolding the Jews for their idolatry, and after King Josiah of Judah's  reform in 621 BCE, warned it to keep the covenant then made with G-d.   This was after the Assyrians had attacked Israel in 722, 721 BCE when the best and strongest of the people of 10 of the 12 tribes were kidnapped and taken away.   He was angry about false prophets he was encountering and said that G-d spoke to him saying that, "These prophets prophesy falsehood in MY NAME!  I did not send them nor command them nor speak to them.  A false vision, divination, emptiness, and the deception of their heart are they prophesying to you.  128 years later the Babylonians attacked twice, once in 597 BCE and again in 586 with  Nebuchadnezzar leading his soldiers, they attacked and destroyed the land and took people away.  Jeremiah was a scolder, giving out gloomy news which caused bitter resentment.  It was in 605 BCE, when Nebuchadnezzar sat on his Babylonian throne that Jeremiah said that he would conquer Judah, and was arrested by King Jehoiakim who feared such news would have a bad effect on the people.
Zechariah of 6th Century BCE, prophesied  positive things; about events of the day, foretold prosperity, ingathering  of exiles, liberation from foreign yoke, and expansion of Jerusalem.
  His visions and their interpretation he said were by an accompanying angel.
Encouraged people to rebuild the Temple.  
Zechariah, the Prophet,(born in first half of 6th century BCE) was a prophet living during the period of the return from the Babylonian Exile.   He reminded people that G-d would judge His people through false prophets. He was told by G-d,  "For behold, I am setting up a shepherd in the land:  he will not pay attention to the decimated ones;  he will not seek out the youth;  he will not heal the broken one;  and he will not nurture the weak one;  but he will eat the flesh of the healthy one and break their hooves."  Zechariah was referring the Edom (the Roman Empire), in whose lands the exiled Jews would settle and be maltreated.  Also, Herod, the notorious king placed on the Judean throne by the Romans, who reigned towards the end of the 2nd Temple period.  They were not to be believed or followed.

We almost had a Messiah.  It was a Jewish general, Shimeon ben Kosiba, known as Bar Kokhba (son of a star).   Rabbi Akiba, one of the greatest scholar in Jewish history, believed that Bar Kokhba was the mashiach.

Now we have 2 very similar words to learn. " Mashiach" is a Hebrew word.  The root of it as well spell it out is Mem-shin-chet, which means to paint, smear or annoint.   The word "Moshiah" comes from the root spelled out as Yod-Shin-ayin, which means to help or save.  They both use a shin "sh" which is the most common letter in Hebrew, and the mem "M" which they both start with.  M is a common prefix used to turn a verb into a noun like the verb tzavah (to command) become mitzvah (a commandment).  The word Mashiach is not related to Moshiah.  the logic of that is like saying that "RING" IS RELATED TO SURFING BECAUSE THEY BOTH END IN ING."  The English derivitave of Mashiah is Messiah, the annointed one, the ultimate deliverer and mashiah is used as an adjective referring to kings, who are people that had to be annointed in order to serve the post. which meant that they received Divine sanction and the unique inviolability of status.   Jews do not believe they need saving.  They save themselves by their own mitzvahs-good deeds.
Shimeon Ben Kosiba/ Bar Kokhba, died 135 CE
Charismatic, brilliant revolutionary leader, nephew of Rabbi Eleazar of Modiin
and known to be of Davidic descent.  He had to fight against Hadrian, Roman General.
Letters from him were found near the Dead Sea where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.
The revolt came because the Romans had turned Jerusalem into a Roman colony and the Romans
prohibited circumcision, major factors.  
The prerequisites of the Messiah is that he must be descendant of King David who would be able to break the alien yoke and establish a golden age.  Today with DNA testing, and this would be testing the male line I presume to be of J1 for King David's Y haplogroup, there are many Jewish men carrying this line.  Bar Kokhba almost fit the bill.  He fought the 3 year war from 132 to 135 CE  against the Roman empire and caught the 10th Legion by surprise and retook Jerusalem.  He again resumed sacrifices at the site of the burned Temple and made plans to rebuild it.  He established a provisional government and began to issue coins in his name.  Ultimately, the Romans were stronger and crushed his revolt and killed him, but that was the longest anyone had ever held out against the Romans.  After his death, his followers realized that he was not the talked about Mashiach.

The Jews are waiting for one of  the following to happen.  Some people believe that G-d has a specific date for the man, the mashiach, to appear.  Most feel that the conduct of mankind will decide the time of the mashiach's coming.  He is to come at a time when he is most needed or in a time when he is most deserved.  Perhaps one of these factors will happen to bring him about.
1. If Israel repented a single day
2. If Israel observed a single Shabbat properly
3. If Israel observed 2 Shabbats in a row properly
4. In a generation that is totally innocent or totally guilty
5. In a generation that loses hope
6. In a generation where children are totally disrespectful towards their parents and elders.

Ezekiel ( 6th century BCE Prophet-member of the priestly family of Zadok, may have served in the Temple before its destruction in 586 BCE.  He was exiled before that date to Tel Abib on the river Kebar in Babylonia where he prophecied over a period of about 22 years) said that before the time of the Mashiach, there shall be war and suffering. In Ezekiel  38:16, he said,  "and you advance against My people Israel like a cloud covering the earth.  It will be at the End of Days that I will bring you upon My land, in order that the nations may know Me, when I become sanctified through you before their eyes."  Many people feel we are now in the End of Days.  What with Iran coming into atomic powered weapons such as missiles shortly to be used against Israel, it is no wonder people feel this is happening.

Jews do not believe that the Messiah is any part of G-d or divine in any way, so that is not what we have been waiting and praying for.  Our only salvation comes from G-d, not an intermediary.  Jews do not concern ourselves with the Messiah's identity for he is to be a regular person and his appearance will not change our relationship with G-d.  Any idea that G-d would appear to us in the flesh is abhorant to us.  The idea is like  idolatry and we cannot follow such ideas.

It is not respectful  of anyone in our history from Abraham to Moses to any of the prophets or the 10 Commandments to try to proselytize us to another religion.  It shows disrespect and lack of understanding of what we believe and why.  We haven't proselytized anyone to ours, and the old adage that is found in Jewish teaching of the Golden Rule is to not do to others something you do not want done to you.

After 1985 when I returned from Israel after living there for 5 1/2 years, I heard about some proselytizers who had been in Israel on a kibbutz of Holocaust survivors who had lost their faith in G-d, people who were the most susceptible to these proselytizers, broken people.  They had gone through so much and had survived, to make it and heal again in Israel, and here were the vultures picking on their bones, trying to wean them away from why 6 million of their people had been brutally slaughtered.  They had the chutzpa to brag about it in an interview for a local newspaper.  You can't imagine how angry I was or what I did about it.  So here I am writing, please lay off, proselytizers.  Respect our religion.  You don't have to be Jewish, just respect us as we respect you and yours.  We're not harming you.  In fact, Israel has been doing a lot of mitzvahs in the field of science and has been helping people so much in the medical fields.

Resource:  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/124254#.Vw1dPNQrJkg  Missionary Activity in Sderot
Tanakh, (Bible) the Stone Edition  which includes prophets, writings, 

No comments:

Post a Comment