(See follow on post from this one “Jesus (Matthew?) and Anti-Pharisaism”).
In “The Gift and the Poison: Tolstoy and Luther on the Jews,” I examined the two extremes of Tolstoy’s glorification and Luther’s condemnation of the Jew: Tolstoy’s “The Jew is that sacred being who has brought down from heaven the everlasting fire…” contrasted with Luther’s “that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God , to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country. ” Tolstoy gushed overboard, while Luther sunk low. I concluded that the LORD Jesus Christ is the only one of the three able to walk on water.
In this post, I want to examine further the fallibility of man contrasted with the perfection of the LORD Jesus Christ.
At the Roshpinaproject, there is a discussion on whether Christianity has caused more harm than good. I was asked by “YourPhariseeFriend,” Rabbi Yisroel Blumenthal:
“Why do you consider only the nice things that Jesus said “what Jesus taught” – he said pretty nasty things as well – presenting them to an audience hostile to Jews and to Judaism – you have to be blind to deny Jesus’ evil influence on the history of Europe…”
Here are a few pertinent – or impertinent – verses (depending on whether you believe it is God who speaks or not) from Isaiah 1:
4 Ah, sinful nation,
a people loaded with guilt,
a brood of evildoers,
children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the LORD;
they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him.
6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
there is no soundness—
only wounds and welts
and open sores,
not cleansed or bandaged
or soothed with oil.
9 Unless the LORD Almighty
had left us some survivors,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah.
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your evil assemblies.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even if you offer many prayers,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood;
16 wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds
out of my sight!
Stop doing wrong,
In Isaiah 6 the LORD appoints Isaiah as a prophet. “Send me,” Isaiah pleads. And what is the first instruction from the LORD?
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
9 He said, “Go and tell this people:
” ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”
God’s potion contains large doses of suffering – and death. Man’s remedy is never a potion, but always a poison. Christianity is ultimately a love story (which the Jew regards as a hate story). But this love story is unlike “Romeo and Juliet,” where the poison gets mixed up with the potion. To be able to distinguish the two is – according to Jesus – a gift from God, and not, as a German Jew would say, a gift (a poison) from hell. (German gift “poison”).
(See follow on post “Jesus (Matthew?) and Anti-Pharisaism”).
1 “Poison” from Old French puison (12 century) “a drink,” later “a potion, poisonous drink” (14 century), from Latin potionem “a drink,” also “poisonous drink,” from Latin potare “to drink.”