Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Freedom and Torah Supremacy

Many accuse the Jewish people of running a vast worldwide conspiracy in allegedly controlling various media outlets and governments. Former Senator David Ernest Duke wrote a book entitled, Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening on the Jewish Question, which echoes the accusations made against the Jewish nation in the well-known forgery The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. “Jewish supremacy,” as the notion is popularly referred to as, is a non-existent concept. There are so many Jews in the higher echelons of world society simply because Jews generally have greater minds than their gentile counterparts do. Scientifically, this can be explained by Natural Selection in which the higher intellect has been naturally selected in the Jewish communities over the past thousands of years[1]. Contradistinctively, in the Christian communities, higher intellect has been selected against because their best and brightest have been pressured to become priests and nuns with a vow of celibacy to discontinue their lineage from that generation and on, without passing on their intelligent or enhanced genes. Since only the Jews have a commandment to follow all 613 mitzvahs –especially to learn the Torah— HaShem gave them better minds to be able to complete their special tasks. In an ideal world, all Jews should use this intellectual potential for their spiritual pursuits, to devote their mental power to Torah. However, it is a sad reality that many Jews do not follow the proper path and take advantage of their God-given minds to excel in the improper fields (such as politics, sports, sciences, movies, television, and other such mediums). Even if the Protocols accusations against World Jewry were true, those who would have been running the conspiracy would be doing so against the Torah.

Many charge that Judaism is an anti-gentile iconoclastic religion and that Jews hate goyim[2]. Although everyone should hate those who are the enemies of G-d, only those who are licentious, corrupt, and evil deserve the hatred due to them. All of humanity should join in the battle against evil. However, those who act correctly—Jews who keep their commandments and non-Jews who keep their commandments—should be commended and loved by all. The parents of the Jewish Nation, Abraham and Sarah, were renowned for their extreme hospitality. Their tent was open from all four sides to invite all guests looking for a place[3]. They were the epitome of humanism in a place where, not too far away in Sodom, people were being lynched for acts of kindness and guests were regularly murdered. Their tent came to be the embodiment of kindheartedness and benevolence. Even after their deaths, the couple's tent was still a place to which people turned[4]—the museum of hospitality. There were no Jews in the times of Avraham and Sara; ergo, their hospitality must have been to non-Jews. This lesson of being hospitable to non-Jews is something that all Jews, as the inheritors of the Abrahamic tradition, should learn from their ancestors.

Due to the unique relationship between HaShem and His chosen nation, the Jews, HaShem granted the Jews certain privileges and merits. A mere four generations after Abraham lived, the wicked King Pharaoh of Egypt, tricked Abraham's family, the ancient Israelites, into becoming his slaves. Jews in the licentious and ethically degenerated Egypt were at the complete mercy of their immoral Egyptian masters. Their backbreaking slave labor produced no results, as they were building a city on quicksand[5]. Such fruitless toil should theoretically have lead to the demise of the Jewish people, but as history shows, they survived. The Midrash famously explained that those Jews preserved their Jewish identity by retaining their names, clothes[6], and language. In addition, the holy Torah, which was studied by the tribe of Levi, who were exempt from work, united the people. However, these positive factors did not negate the coerced, hard work that the Jews did, which eventually worsened their spirits. The depravity and corruption of the Egyptians also began to influence the Jews and so their level of purity began to degenerate. As a result, after two hundred and ten years, the morale and morality of the Jewish people was at an all-time low. Therefore, it was the perfect time for salvation. Miriam broke the standard of her time of possessing a submissive and docile attitude and persuaded her parents, Jochebed and Amram, to remarry. This sanctified union produced Moses. Moses exhibited the characteristics of a slave: he was timid and bashful. On the other hand, he grew up in the royal palace of Egypt and thus attained the necessary traits for a leader. He was the ideal candidate to lead the Jewish people out of Egypt, and so he did on HaShem’s imperative command, after initially refusing the position.

At first, HaShem warned the Egyptians ten times with His “finger”[7] like a father who shakes his finger to caution his child. He then saved the Jewish nation at the Red Sea from the Egyptians by using His outstretched hand[8] to punish the Egyptians like a father who finally has to smack his child with his hand, after having warned him many times already. On 14 Nissan 2448, HaShem took the Jewish people from servitude in Egypt to the Sinai desert. In doing so, HaShem took off the description “slaves” from the Jewish people, and redeemed them from their Egyptian overlords. Additionally, as a sign of freedom from Egypt, HaShem took them into the desert and put them under His wings for forty years to display their servility to the King-of-all-Kings. After passing numerous tests of loyalty to HaShem, HaShem finally brought His nation to the land of Israel and gave it to them as an everlasting inheritance, just as He swore to their ancestors. Over half a century after they first departed, the conquering and dividing of the blessed land of Israel between the tribes supplemented the nation’s newly earned freedom. They finally achieved their well-earned freedom. No longer was the Jewish nation responsible to a king of mere flesh and blood like Pharaoh; they now reported directly to HaShem, the eternal King, who would grant them a gift—the Torah. The ultimate freedom is keeping the laws of HaShem and learning His Torah because in doing so one is not bound by physical restrictions and thus has a limitless spiritual potential. The Torah is the raison d'etre of the Jewish existence, for it not only unifies the Jewish nation, but also dictates the exact lifestyle that of a Jew to serve better his creator. The Zohar explains that HaShem, Israel, and the Torah are one unified entity[9]; after all, the Torah was the blueprints from which the world was created.

Immediately upon the Jews’ exodus from Egypt, they were attacked by the Nation of Amalek. The utter cruelty and negligence involved in baselessly attacking a weakened nation of recently freed slaves caused HaShem to command His people to destroy the nation of Amalek. The commandment is, in essence, to wipe out such overly evil from the world and make the world a haven. Maimonides explains that the obligation is not to actually kill the descendants of Amalek, but rather to cause them to accept upon themselves the Seven Noahide Laws and thereby rid themselves of their inherent evil. Throughout history, malicious people have been given the appellation “Amalek” as if to say those people inherited their cruelty from the hated ancient civilization of Amalek. A recent example of such branding is the World War Two/Holocaust Germans/Nazis; Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (1849-1932), Chief Rabbi of pre-War Jerusalem, was reputed to have called the Kaiser of Germany a descendant of Amalek, and therefore he refused to meet with him when the latter came for a visit to Jerusalem[10]. Similarly, Rabbi Chaim Volozhiner (1749-1821) purportedly described the royal family in Tsarist Russia as being descendants of Amalek. Haman, the notorious villain from the book of Esther, is also branded in rabbinical literature a scion of the Amalekite clan. To abate the Amalak-like influences in the world will cause a decline in anti-Semitism because Amalek is the fighting antithesis to the Jewish ideal.

It was highly appropriate that in 2006 the National Geographic published its findings regarding the Gospel of Judas around the time of the year that NBC plays The Ten Commandments, that is, the Easter and Passover season. The Gospel of Judas (carbon-dated to circa. 200-300 A.D.) tells a story in which Judas Iscariot did not betray his supposed teacher, Jesus, but rather handed him over to the Roman authorities because his teacher told him to do so. All the anti-Semitism that the Passion play stories, especially around the Easter and Passover season, have caused throughout history were by insinuating that all Jews are betrayers of Jesus like Judas was. However, this logic does not really follow because many of Jesus’ students were Jewish, so if one betrays him that should not necessarily brand all Jews greedy, avaricious, mosers. When the French bishop Irenaeus (ca. 130-202 CE) banned the Gospel of Judas, he purposefully wanted the church to become anti-Jewish. If the Christians were only exposed to the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John they would get a bad picture of Judas and effectively apply that to all Jews. Even if this was not his intent, he at least, wanted to distinguish Christianity from Judaism for whatever reasons[11] by demonizing the Jew. The Gospel of Judas will never be given the same credit as the other gospels within the Christian communities because it would take away their justification for many acts of anti-Semitism they committed throughout history.

The Sabbatarians (e.g., the Seventh Day Adventists) claim that Saturday was kept by all Christian groups as the Sabbath until the second and third century, by most until the fourth and fifth century, and a few thereafter, but because of opposition to Judaism after the Jewish-Roman wars, the original custom was gradually replaced by Sunday as the day of worship. They often teach that this history has been lost, because of suppression of the facts by a conspiracy of the pagans of the Roman Empire and the clergymen of the Catholic Church. From this, one sees that even Christians themselves agree that the Church changed itself in order to distance itself from Judaism and the Catholic Church concealed this information. It is therefore very likely that they did the same concerning Judas' Gospel in order to justify their Amalek-like actions over the past centuries. Church reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) also exhibited this type of hypocrisy: in his early writings, he praised the Jewish Nation, but then vilified them in his later writings[12]. Once he realized that the Jews were not going to support his cause against the Catholic Church, he had no need for them, so he denigrated them.

According to a Jewish tradition[13], the Rabbis were very scared of early Christianity and knew that the religion would go on to become successful. In order to save future Jews from both death and definite assimilation, the Rabbis of the time sent a man to infiltrate the Christian communities and change the Christian doctrine to become so distinct from Judaism that it is proselytizing will focus on gentiles and not Jews. He was also to change the Christian doctrine to become favorable to Jews, even outlawing the murder of Jews. This man was named Saul, who later became known as Paul. Paul, who may or may not have been a student of Rabban Gamliel,[14] helped shape the Pauline doctrine that forbade Christians from killing Jews[15] and switched the Christian day of rest from Saturday to Sunday to alienate more Jews as a way of maintaining Judaism without having more Jews succumb to the Christian religion[16]. The first pope, Peter Kephas, is known as Shimon Keifa in Jewish tradition, and he was the author of the liturgical poem Nishmas Kol Chai[17]. Rabbi Yehuda HaChassid of Regensburg (1150-1217) even called[18] Peter a righteous man who had good intentions in his seeming apostasy. Others explain that he was not a secret agent of the Pharisee Rabbis in an attempt to undermine Christianity, but rather he was a total apostate and only repented on his deathbed whereupon he wrote Nishmas.

Philo-Semitism is also a practice, which can be dangerous to the Jews. Many Evangelical Christians seem to practice Philo-Semitism and Zionism and in attempt to fulfill a prophecy of all Jews returning to Israel before the Second Coming of their savior. When Televangelists like Reverends John Hagee and Pat Robertson seem to support the state of Israel, they are actually supporting its demise. Many Christian Zionists view Israel as a fulfillment of a prophecy whereby all Jews will either convert to Christianity or be killed in the "end of days." Some scholars, like Norman G. Finkelstein[19] (b. 1953) and Daniel Jonah Goldhagen (b. 1959), argue that Philo-Semitism and Christian Zionism are actually the latest incarnations of the now-socially unacceptable Anti-Semitism. Indeed, Christians have a potential for causing more damage to World Jewry by pretending to befriend the Jews than by outright attacking them as the present-day Muslim fascists do. Their “friendly influence” includes global missionaries whose sole purpose in life is to cause Jews to believe in the Christian savior. If more Jews that are uneducated fall for this trap, they will end up, heaven forbid, losing their special protection afforded to them by G-d. They will stop keeping the Mitzvos and learning the Torah, which makes them into ordinary gentiles, but even worse, into apostate Jews. Indeed this friendliness is what Jacob, feared from his brother Esau, when Esau was acting like his brother as opposed to acting like his arch-nemesis[20]. There is no such thing as the Judeo-Christian culture or ideals, Judaism and Christianity are two distinct concepts.[21]

A pattern has developed throughout Jewish History: Every time that the gentiles plan to destroy the Jewish Nation, they use a two-pronged attack like Esau. Esau both prepared to do battle with his brother Jacob to physically to destroy the latter, but when that did not work successfully--because all of his four hundred general deserted him[22]-- he decided to "kiss" Jacob[23] and befriend to assimilate him. Both failed. Generations later, the Moabites wanted to destroy the Jews physically, so their king hired Balaam to curse the Jewish nation. When this failed, they sent Midianite women to entice the Jews to sin (and of course, intermarriage is the worst type of assimilation). Again, they first attacked the physical being of the Jews and then their spiritual being. Afterwards, King Ahasuerus invited all the Jews to his party in an attempt to assimilate, when, in the end, this attempt failed, Haman convinced the king simply to wipe out all the Jews by the sword. The Syrian-Greeks and later the Romans did the same, first outlawing Torah observance, and then simply killing Jews. Emperor Napoleon of France, the man who brought about the European Age of Enlightenment attempted to destroy the Jewish community through the Reform Judaism movement. He proved unsuccessful in his efforts, but Adolf Hitler tried to finish the job by trying to murder all the Jews. In present times, the Christian Zionists are continuing the goal of Nazism by preaching assimilation for Jews in their thinly veiled support for the Jews using the State of Israel as a proxy.

As stated above, the Jews evaded assimilation whilst exiled in Egypt by retaining their names, clothing, and language. The Yalkut Shimoni states[24] that in the merit of four things were the Jews redeemed from Egypt: They did not change their names, they did not change their languages, they did not speak slanderously about each other, and they did not violate the rules governing sexual relations. Not only were all of these necessary precautions to avoid assimilating into the Egyptian culture, but they are also the methods with which current Jews can battle assimilation. It is less likely that someone named "Tzvi Dov" was assimilate into his surrounding non-Jewish society than it is that someone named "Harry" would do so. Furthermore, it is less likely that someone whose native language is Yiddish or Yeshivish would assimilate than it is likely that someone whose native language matches those of non-Jews (or non-practicing Jews in the case of Secular Israel). This is why the born-and-raised American Rabbi Avigdor Miller (1908-2001) never spoke English at home; he wanted his family to be separated from their gentile neighbors and so he encouraged Jews to speak Yiddish. Rabbi Mordechai Gifter (1915-2001), a friend and contemporary of Rabbi Avigdor Miller, had a different approach. He felt that Jews should speak a higher brow level of the English language to distinguish themselves from the generally lower brow vernacular of the common people. As Rabbi Dovid Grossman (of Los Angeles, the voice of Shaspod) explained, the point is that a Jew should not speak goyish, but rather should speak in a distinctly Jewish fashion. Although in some places, the Midrash says[25] that the Jews in Egyptian were redeemed because they refrained from speaking slanderous tales about each other, in other places, the Midrash says[26] that it was because they refrained from revealing each other's secrets. In practice, both explanations are the same because revealing others' secrets is forbidden in Halacha just as spreading slanderous—even if true—tales about another is forbidden; this is about what the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation is trying to spread awareness. The fourth cause for merit was the fact that the ancient Israelites retained their clothing. By maintaining the modest attire, which so appropriately defines Torah Judaism, temptations for forbidden sexual acts were drastically decreased to the point that no one broke any of those prohibitions and that served to help the Jews merit their redemption. In the current exile too, Torah True Jews have a distinct dress, which cut back on such evil temptations and serve as a uniform for the army of HaShem. The Chareidi[27] men wear black shoes, black socks, black slacks, black velvet yarmulkes, black jackets, black hats, and white neatly tucked shirts with Tzitzis hanging from its sides. The women wear likewise modest garments so as not to attract needless attention to them, an idea that organizations such as Bnos Melochim are trying to spread throughout the Jewish communities.

Rabbi Shimon Yerucham Green (Rosh Yeshiva of Bircas HaTorah in the Old City of Jerusalem) points out that both the Western World and the Moslem World agree on one fundamental point. They both preach that G-d and Freedom are opposites; one cannot have both religion and Freedom. The only difference is that the Muslims choose G-d, while the West chooses Freedom (i.e. secularism, even if not atheism, but a theistic secularism by separating church and state). However, both the Muslim approach and the Western approach are wrong. It is the duty of the Jews to show the world that proper worship of G-d is indeed in of itself a freedom. The Jewish nation was freed from slavery in Egypt only to be indentured as slaves again, but this time to the Almighty. In the first of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments), G-d tells the Jews[28], “I am HaShem your Lord, who took you [singular] from the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves.” The implication is that the Jews are no longer slaves in Egypt; they are now slaves to Him. The American[29] religious philosophy can be summarized in a few words, as President George W. Bush said, “Freedom is not America’s gift to the world; it is G-d’s gift to mankind.” True freedom is the ability to serve HaShem in the way He intended.

Only Jews merited HaShem saving and redeeming them from slavery throughout history. Concerning only the Jews, does HaShem reveal himself to the world and “personally” punish his enemies and liberate his nation, just at the right moment. With regard to other nations who were indentured as slaves (i.e. the Africans who were bought and sold as if they were mere property, or young women who would “sell” themselves as prostitutes in order to make a living), HaShem allowed human intervention His own plan to save them. In those instances, HaShem’s role remained debatable because the hand of HaShem did not directly bring about their emancipation.[30] However, as is historically proven, HaShem Himself redeems the Jews. The conclusion of Tosafos Shantz[31] to the fifth chapter of Sotah reads, “He redeemed us from Pharaoh, He redeemed us from Sisra, He redeemed us from Nebuchadnezzar, and He will continue to rescue His nation accordingly until the ultimate salvation with the coming of the Moshiach, speedily and in our days: Amen.

[1] See "The Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence" by Professor Gregory Cochran in the Journal of Biosocial Science, summer 2005.
[2] This term literally means "nations" in Hebrew, but in popular usage in Yiddish and its derivatives, goyim refer specifically to the gentile nations.
[3] Genesis Rabbah 48:9
[4] See Sotah 10a
[5] Sotah 11a
[6] Mechilta to Exodus, Chapter 5
[7] Exodus 8:15
[8] Exodus 14:30
[9] See Nefesh HaChaim, which explicates this general concept in detail.
[10] Perhaps this is the source of the popular idea that Adolph Hitler was also a descendant of Amalek.
[11] National Geographic hypothesizes that they possibly tried to appease the Romans of their anger at the Jews who participated in the Bar Kochba Revolution, even though that revolution occurred almost one century before Irenaeus lived.
[12] The most famous of which was published in 1543 as “On the Jews and Their Lies" and served as the blueprints of Hitler’s “Final Solution”
[13] See Otzar Midrashim pg. 557 (1915 edition, edited by Judah David Eisenstein, 1854-1956)
[14] Acts 22:3
[15] Those murders of Jews, which were carried out during the Crusades in the name of the Christian faith, were actually done by the Knights Templar and the Freemasons, who were Noahidic pagans not believing Christians. Freemasons rejected the teachings of Paul and Peter whom they believed corrupted the "true" teaching of Jesus. The American founding founder Thomas Jefferson, a freemason, was ridiculed as a heretic by his Christian contemporaries for excising the Pauline books from the biblical canon. Jefferson once wrote that "Paul was the first corrupter of the teachings of Jesus." Indeed, he was unknowingly correct.
[16] See Toldos Yeshu
[17] See Machzor Vitri compiled by students of Rashi. Although elsewhere in Machzor Vitri, an opinion is recorded that one who believes that Peter wrote Nishmas would be obligated to bring a Korban Chatas when the Holy Temple will be rebuild.
[18] Sefer HaChassidim §191
[19] This son of Holocaust survivors has been attacked as being a denier of the Holocaust, although that discussion is not relevant here to Finkelstein's stance on philo-Semitism.
[20] See Genesis 32:12 and the Beis HaLevi to that verse
[21] It should be noted that other scholars, like David Klinghoffer, preach that Christian embracement of Judaism is a good thing. Klinghoffer himself argues in Why the Jews rejected Jesus that the Jewish rejection of Christian theology is itself what caused the Christian success in the last two millennia. He cites a comment from the Netziv (Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin, 1817-1893) who wrote (in his commentary to Genesis 33:4) that the Jews should recognize their “brothers” who descended from Esau (i.e. Rome and the rest of Christianity and Western society) and should reunite with them after many years of estrangement. Perhaps one can trace the dispute between modern secular academia regarding the proper Jewish response to a dispute between the great Roshei HaYeshiva of Volozhin (although no comparison of the individuals or their rationale is meant, only of their practical ideals). The Beis HaLevi and the Netziv argued about many issues, eventually causing the former to leave Volozhin and serve as the community Rabbi of Slutsk, Warsaw, and Brisk. As cited above, the Beis HaLevi felt that Philo-Semitism is a dangerous concept, while the Netziv urged his readers to embrace their Christian brethren—just not their ideals.
[22] Genesis 32:7
[23] Genesis 33:4
[24] Torah, Emor §657
[25] Song of Songs Rabbah 1:12, Leviticus Rabbah 26:5
[26] Midrash Tanchuma, Balak §16
[27] This is the politically correct term for what was called "Ultra-Orthodox Judaism."
[28] Exodus 20:2
[29] Regarding the general European attitude towards G-d (i.e. European Secularism) and their role in the conflict between the Western society and Islamofascism, see Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis Is America's, Too by Claire Berlinski (2006)
[30] Although a person with a strong conviction in his belief in HaShem should be able to see His part in everything.
[31] Compiled by Rabbi Shimshon of Sanz in the early 13th century

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