Skip to comments.Orthodox Rabbi Condemns Boteach's 'Kosher Jesus'
Posted on 02/05/2012 12:26:56 AM PST by Cronos
A prominent Orthodox rabbi in Toronto has condemned the latest book by celebrity Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and pronounced it is forbidden for anyone to buy or read it.
In an open letter published on the Jewish news website The Algemeiner, Rabbi Immanuel Schochet denounced Boteachs newest book, Kosher Jesus, as heretical.
The book poses a tremendous risk to the Jewish community, wrote Schochet, an emeritus professor of philosophy and religion at Torontos Humber College and spiritual leader of the citys Congregation Beth Joseph.
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, Schochet said. 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.
The volume must be rejected for being heretical, he said.
The latest offering from Boteach, who had come under fire from fellow rabbis years ago for offering spiritual advice to the late singer Michael Jackson and for authoring the 1999 book Kosher Sex, explores the Jewish roots of Jesus and whether the exploration should lead modern Jews to rediscover and celebrate the extent to which the Hebrew Bible shaped his thinking.
In a lengthy response that has been widely disseminated online, Boteach shot back, saying he must retain the right to defend myself against the appalling and libelous charge of heresy.
Boteach said his book paints Jesus as a Torah-observant Jew whose mission it was to restore Jewish observance fully among his Jewish brethren and fight Roman persecution.
Its time these universal Jewish ideas that have so influenced the world be traced back to their original source, Boteach wrote in defense of his book. Its time that the Jewishness of Jesus be rediscovered by Christians.
As for Schochets charge that the book will embolden Christians to convert Jews, Boteach said it is the ultimate argument against Christian missionaries [because it offers] significant information to argue convincingly against any Christian attempt to evangelize Jews.
Boteach is wrong.
Unless, of course, Jesus was really the Messiah. Then the Jewish Rabbis are only guilty of rejecting their Saviour.
Diversity is our strength except, evidently, when it is forbidden.
It is been a hallmark of the Jewish American experience to invite inquiry and debate. In fact one could safely make the assertion that Jews have traditionally been in the forefront of many progressive intellectual and social movements, always on the cutting edge of that which is upsetting to the establishment especially the Christian establishment. In this role, Jews to their credit have invariably called for open discussion. They formed and staffed with people like Ruth Ginsburg the American Civil Liberties Union to advance their arguments under the banner of free speech and free inquiry.
I have long thought that it is perfectly proper for a religious leader to declare variants of religious belief to be heretical. I bitterly opposed Danny Deutsch in his contrives criticism of Ann Coulter in which he affected to be offended by her religious principles calling for the "perfection" of Jews. I pointed out that rejection of Coulter's proposition is in itself a rejection of Christianity and could be viewed as equally offensive.
Here we see a Jewish religious leader calling for the exclusion of a new view of Jesus because it is heretical. I fully endorse his right to do so within the lights of his theology. However, the next time a Christian is rebuked we ought to consider that the principle can be applied selectively.
Boteach and Ann Coulter have the moral and legal right to their assertions without being called anti-Semitic and Danny Deutsch and the Rabbi have and equally moral and legal right to call them heretical but no moral right under the circumstances to call them,"offensive".
One logical result is that Christians will convert to Judaism, a religion that Jesus never left.
I was not responding to anything the Algemeiner Rabbi said. I think it is anti-Judaism to forbid learning whatever you can above and beyond what sages and experts and/or religious leaders tell us we must believe. THAT is why I have my own G-d given mind. I also believe that is what G-d EXPECTS from us.
No. I was responding purely to Boteach’s assertions. Without getting hip deep into a religious war, I simply think he is wrong. That is my opinion and I don’t expect anyone else to agree. Freedom exists for this reason, so a person can think and not be afraid to think. I think Boteach is a hustler who panders for money. Pure simple.
I don’t think Christians who are not of Jewish origin can convert to Judaism, at least not to Orthodox Judaism, imho
Why are Jews so afraid that they might be converted?? Especially by a book? One CANNOT be converted truly UNLESS they WANT TO?????
Why are Jews so afraid that they might be converted?? Especially by a book? One CANNOT be converted truly UNLESS they WANT TO????? I should say, UNLESS the Holy Spirit calls them to Jesus.
“I dont think Christians who are not of Jewish origin can convert to Judaism, at least not to Orthodox Judaism, imho”
You are incorrect. I personally know scores of people who were observant Christians who have formally converted to Orthodox Judaism, having studied for several years with an orthodox rabbi to do so. In fact, those who do the most deep thinking about why they want to leave Christianity and convert to Judaism choose Orthodox Judaism. Some actually converted first to Conservative or Reform Judaism and realized once in those movements that there was so much missing there that they underwent another conversion in an orthodox setting.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
It is my understanding that your mother must be Jewish for you to be considered Jewish.
If you’re not Jewish upon birth, you cannot become a Jew. You are considered a Jewish convert. Provided that you marry a Jewish woman, you’re children would become Jewish.
That is incorrect. If you convert to Judaism, you are considered just as Jewish as anyone, and your conversion is not to be mentioned by anyone. If a woman converts to Judaism and marries a Jewish man, their children are still deemed Jewish.
I don’t being wrong.
Jews give a listen:
Rabbi Schochet is not a diversity peddler. Jews and Christians are fundamentally different and there is no overlap. He works to strengthen not-yet-religious Jews against missionaries and charlatains (”messianic” Christians.) So give a listen and agree to disagree...strongly!
“One logical result is that Christians will convert to Judaism, a religion that Jesus never left.”
And give up their bacon cheeseburgers? What’s the likelihood of that?
It seems narrow minded religious prejudice is not restricted to any one faith.
Yes, but the majority choose not to listen.
Some of us never have had to "rediscover" this. We know as it's as clear as day from Scripture.
I hesitate to jump into these religion threads since they tend to become quite vicious, but my explanation to my Jewish friends about my thinking on the subject is that Jesus and later Paul opened the way for we barbarian gentiles to become Junior Auxiliary Jews. We are obliged to love, honor, and protect our elder brothers and sisters and pray for the day they see and understand what we see and understand about Yeshua Moshiach.
It's actually stunning to find out what most Jews think the New Testament says vs. what they find when they actually read it. And forbidding anyone to read it will only get you so far, Rabbi Schochet.
Is Titus only in the King James Bible?
“...but my explanation to my Jewish friends about my thinking on the subject is that Jesus and later Paul opened the way for we barbarian gentiles to become Junior Auxiliary Jews. We are obliged to love, honor, and protect our elder brothers and sisters and pray for the day they see and understand what we see and understand about...”
There are no ‘junior auxiliary Jews.’ There are non-Jews who also acknowledge G-d and fulfil His commandments (613 for Jews [oy what a challenge] and 7 for non-Jews.) By the way, a commandment in Hebrew (the language with which G-d ‘spoke’ and created the world) is ‘mitzvah’ [mits-va.] The root of this word hs a synonym, ‘to connect.’ So by fulfilling what is commanded of us, we connect to G-d.
Non-Jews...go ahead and keep ‘praying for the day...’ (and take a bit of time please to learn what G-d expects of you: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1313/jewish/Discovery-of-Planet-Earth.htm)
Jews, see the link I posted above and for questions, go ask you local orthodox rabbi or Chabad house.
Boteach (who is far more popular among Christians than Jews) defends his book this way:
...Kosher Jesus goes back to the original gospel source materials to uncover the real story of Jesus and portray him for whom he was prior to later Christian editors significantly modifying the story to accommodate the Romans.
Jesus was, as many have argued before me, a Torah-observant Jew whose mission it was to restore Jewish observance fully among his Jewish brethren and fight Roman persecution. For doing so he was turned over by the Roman collaborator, High Priest Caiaphas, who owed his office to the Romans, and was murdered by the Roman prefect Pontias Pilate the Saddam Hussein of the ancient world for doing so.
Jesus was a martyr for his people who never claimed to be divine, who never changed the Torah, and who would be scandalized to see his teachings nearly all of which I trace back to their earlier Jewish sources misused to persecute his people.
It was Paul, who never met Jesus, who later deified him and said he came to get rid of Torah practice. But Jesus himself said the opposite, in Matthew 5:18, that anyone who does not keep the whole Torah would be cast out of heaven...
Heebow: Jewish Football Star
Crank That Kosher Boy
Who are the many who have argued before you? JC seemingly tries to nullify (G-d forbid) the Torah. And that is from Christian sources....the Jewish ones are quite sharp in their descriptions of him.
The ones I know are all Christians, though some call themselves 'Messianic Jews'. Therein lies the problem...
A more likely version of the Jewish Jesus is a .pdf file at
all of the speculation is unfortunately moot, unless someone discovers the original Hebrew /aramaic Matthew- which may never be found.
Sorry but this is the challenge with ‘revelation’ to one man versus revelation to an entire nation. This is what we crazy Jews point out all the time. It’s easier to find sacred texts when the entire nation heard the words of the text (in part, for example, the first two of the 10 commandments) directly from G-d.
It’s not in my Oxford Study Bible.
11For the grace of God has dawned upon the world with healing for all mankind; 12and by it we are disciplined to renounce godless ways and worldly desires, and to live a life of temperance, honesty, and godliness in the present age, 13looking forward to the happy fulfilment of our hope when the splendour of our great God and Saviour a Christ Jesus will appear. 14He it is who sacrificed himself for us, to set us free from all wickedness and to make us his own people, pure and eager to do good.Though verse 13 appears to be defective with an indefinite article inserted before Christ. It should read, "Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." The language is a bit clunky overall.
Thanks....it’s only a couple of pages and I missed it.
Yeah, it’s a little bitty thing. Not as short as Philemon, though, but a lot of interesting verses.
The following two statements that you’ve made are erroneous: “It is my understanding that your mother must be Jewish for you to be considered Jewish.
If youre not Jewish upon birth, you cannot become a Jew. You are considered a Jewish convert. Provided that you marry a Jewish woman, youre children would become Jewish.”
Here are the facts Once anyone concerts to Judaism through an orthodox Jewish conversion, the person is a full-fledged Jew, considered to have received a new soul. The person’s father is called “Abraham,” and his mother “Sarah.” The person is as legally and spiritually Jewish as any Jew on the planet. Judaism does not let anyone remind the person that he/she is a convert. A common description of a convert to Judaism is the phrase “holy convert.’ The phrase even appears in our daily prayers. Converts are full Jews. Perhaps you are confusing a full orthodox conversion with some kind of lesser conversion, as through the Reform or Conservative Movements. Anyone would call a convert to Judaism a “convert” is not behaving according to Jewish law. The children of a female convert are as Jewish as any other Jew in the world and marry freely with offspring of even the most orthodox of Jews.