A Leading Jewish Rabbi Exposes the Duplicity of Jewish anti-Christian Missionaries!

One of the leading rabbinic Jewish philosophers and scholars, the late rabbi Joseph Immanuel Schochet, candidly admitted in his review of a work by a fellow Jewish scholar that rabbis often employ weak (meaning not so honest) arguments to refute Christians which they know do not necessarily reflect the actual Jewish position of a particular subject. One of the examples he uses to illustrate this fact is the counter-missionary claim that Isaiah 53 is not speaking of the Messiah, but of the nation of Israel!

  1. Dr. Berger relies heavily on arguments in mediaeval [sic] polemics. It is of major concern to him that “one of the defining characteristics of Judaism in a Christian world will have been erased” by the possibility of a resurrected messiah (p. 31, and see also p. 35). In truth, of course, the Jewish faith is defined by its own tradition and not by its differences from Christianity. Polemical debates, regardless of its participants, are neither definitive nor authoritative. The Talmudic rabbis engaged in such debates as well. Oftentimes they conceded that they rebuffed their opponents with “straw” or “broken reeds,” i.e., that their responses were no more than polemical tactics and not their true positions.

A typical example would be the Jewish responses about “the suffering servant” of Isaiah 53. The polemicists follow the majority opinion of mediaeval [sic] Jewish exegetes that it speaks of the Jewish people, as opposed to the Christian claim that it speaks of the messiah. This view is found also among some Talmudic rabbis. IT DOES NOT NEGATE, however, the validity of the PERVASIVE Talmudic-Midrashic-Zoharic interpretation that the subject of that chapter IS INDEED MASHIACH.

In this self-same context, Dr. Berger draws ammunition for his attack from the fact that Christian missionaries now argue that the claims of messiahship for the Lubavitcher Rebbe support and vindicate the Christian allegations of a “second coming.” He ignores the fact that for the longest time they have claimed that authentic Jewish sources support and vindicate the messiahship of Jesus. They keep republishing books which cite numerous passages from Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, Jewish Bible-commentaries and other works, to validate their arguments. Are we now to erase these quotations from our heritage? (The Professor, Messiah, & Scandal of CalumniesThe Rebbe – The Messiah – and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference by David Berger. The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, Portland 2001;195pp. Review Essay by Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet, https://web.archive.org/web/20020219192400/http://shmais.com/chabad_Detail.cfm?ID=279; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

There you have it folks. Next time an anti-missionary tries to employs a “straw” or “broken reed” to rebuff the Messianic interpretation of Isaiah 53, simply quote to him the words of this prominent and renowned Jewish scholar and philosopher of the 20th-21st century.

 

 

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