YourPhariseeFriend’s 365 theses: A thesis a day keeps the missionary away

In Rabbi Yisroel Blumenthal (YourPhariseeFriend) “The Applicant with 365 references,” he strives to show the falsehood of “the prophecies listed on a piece of missionary literature that was mailed to members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood New Jersey. This list presents 353 prophecies allegedly ‘fulfilled’ by Jesus.”

Before he begins his list, Rabbi Blumenthal says:

“The Jew doesn’t see the scriptures as some secret code that needs to be unlocked or as a mystery novel that needs to be solved. The question that the Jew asks himself as he reads the Scriptures is: “what is the prophet trying to tell me?” The interpretation of Scripture that you will find here will be based on the straightforward contextual reading of the passages.”

It seems that the “straightforward contextual reading of the passages” has radically changed with the development and entrenchment of Kabbalah whose most famous creator/compiler was Rabbi Isaac Luria (Arizal).

Here, according to Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, is the “standard narrative” of Judaism up to advent of the Kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luria. “Until the Ari, the standard narrative scripted the human being into a passive role in his own redemption: G-d had made a magnificent world; human beings had messed it up. You now had a choice of doing mitzvahs, cleaving to G-d and being good, or continuing to contribute to the mess. Better to be good, because the day will come that G-d will take retribution from those who were bad and dispense reward to those who are good.” (Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, “Eighteen Joyous Teachings of the Baal Shem Tov,” p. 18).

Then comes Arizal:
“The Ari, says Freeman, stood all that on its head, providing humanity a proactive role: G-d made the mess, he said; we are cleaning it up.” http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1395566/jewish/In-Context.htm

See also https://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/when-the-jew-cleans-up-the-holy-one-of-israels-mess-messiah-will-he-come/

The “straightforward contextual reading of the passages” (Rabbi Blumenthal) is called the P’SHAT (surface level). Rabbinic Judaism adds three other levels of meaning of which the deepest is the SOD (secret level). The SOD is the main domain of Kabbalah.

Since Rabbi Luria, the secret is out: the standard narrative, P’SHAT, is (thrown) out, namely, the Jew made the mess, and the SOD is in, namely, it is God who really made the mess. Not only did God make the mess, the Jew is given, or rather, takes over the job of cleaning it up.

Rabbi Freeman above, who described the switching of roles – Jew as saviour, God as saved – represents Chabad Judaism, which considers Rabbi Luria’s writings as part of the Oral Torah. Rabbi Blumenthal of “Jews for Judaism” seems to be close to Chabad Judaism. For this reason, I don’t think Rabbi Blumenthal will contradict Chabad too soon. This is not to say that once Rabbi Blumenthal verifies what Rabbi Freeman has said about Arizal’s “mess,” he will not speak out, thus: “No, Arizal’s SOD is wrong; the P’SHAT of the Tanach says that man made the mess, not God.” Until such time, I won’t be taking Rabbi Blumenthal’s 365 “theses” too seriously.

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7 thoughts on “YourPhariseeFriend’s 365 theses: A thesis a day keeps the missionary away

    • Another Talmudic/Kabbalistic idea is that to keep up to scratch, God has to devote a few hours a day to studying Torah. Apparently there’s a lack of diligence in this regard.

      Horrible Hebrew Calvinist. (Moi, that is).

      • Hi Bography
        First of all I am not “Jews for Judaism” – I allow that organization to use my material but I am not employed by that organization. Neither am I Chabad and I don’t agree with Rabbi Freeman’s formulation – but your attitude here is demonstrative of your general issue
        You are going to dismiss the fact that the proponents of Jesus need to lie in order to push their propaganda because you think you found an inconsistency in the opposing belief system?! – so “two wrongs make me right”? – if this is your affinity for truth you will not influence anyone seeking for truth

        • Rabbi Blumenthal, if you disagree with Rabbi Freeman’s (a spokesman for Chabad, which Rabbi Boteach calls “de facto Judaism”) formulation of Arizal’s “mess,” I would be grateful if you could give what you consider the correct formulation. And then perhaps there might be reason to reconsider my words. As for getting rid of “that crab,” I think it’s too late for that. The antennae of the web stretch far and wide. In any event, I don’t see why I should rescind anything I said, so far.

          • I just love the way you avoid the main point and take shelter in the “problem” that you “discovered”
            I don’t think a blog post can do justice to the Arizal – I will say this – in Judaism the pillars of faith are all rooted in the simple reading of the text of the Jewish Scriptures – and in teh experiences that God used to establish His testimony in our midst

            • Rabbi, if you told me what Freeman says Arizal said, of course I would write off everything you ever said and will ever say about biblical truth. About the simple reading of the text, I have given several other examples in other posts that the “experiences” of rabbinical Judaism often does not stick to a simple reading.

              Examples

              A course on rabbinical Judaism (http://courses.washington.edu/judaism/Lectures/Lecture%206.ppt) teaches that interpretation is ”bound to a text with wide room for interpreting its meaning?” In the room are seventy rabbis, each doing his own thing, or rather one rabbi with seventy faces. “There are seventy faces to the Torah: turn it around and around, for everything is in it” (Midrash Bamidbar [Numbers] Rabba 13:15); everything in the sense that it contains the building blocks of everything in and under heaven, which Jacob Neusner calls the “grammar” of rabbinical theology.

              History for Rabbi Neusner is his story. Jacob Neusner, a spokesman of rabbinical theology, speaks of “the documentary record” (the rabbinical canon) that points to “God’s presence in history.” In normal historiography, the “documentary record” aims to establish what really happened in history. In rabbinical Judaism, in contrast, “history” has little to with real events. For example, Rabbi Hillel‘s stories were “made up”; they are “documents of culture, glyphs of faith.” (Jacob Neusner, “A counterpart to the problem of the historical Jesus,” in “Judaism in the Beginning of Christianity, pp. 77-88).

              “l wonder, however, says Neusner, whether in the context of faith – whether concerning Moses, Jesus, or Muhammad, such a thing as “critical history” in the nineteenth-century sense indeed can emerge. I ask myself whether, to begin with, the sources came into being with any such purpose in mind. And I question whether when we ask about history in the sense at hand, we address the right questions to sources of such a character. And, anyhow, what ‘critical historical’ facts can ever testify to the truth or falsity of salvation, holiness, joy, and love? (A counterpart to the problem of the historical Jesus,” p.88. (Jacob Neusner, “Judaism in the beginning of Christianity.“ See Jewish scholars and the play dough of interpretation”).

              And:

              “What counts is not what happened then – did Sodom really perish in fire and brimstone, or was it an earthquake? – but what scripture teachers us to make of what is happening now…what God wants of me. And to people who ask Scripture to explain what is happening now, to lessons and examples of the sages of Judaism have much to say.” (Jacob Neusner, “Christian faith and the Bible of Judaism: The Judaic encounter with scripture, William B. Eerdmans, Michigan,1987, p. xii)(See Jacob Neusner and Rabbinical Theology). https://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/category/rabbinical-theology/

              Rabbi, it seems that you would reject Neusner’s view that what counts is not what really happened.

              Which of the many kinds of Judaisms would you recommend Christians should study?

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