From The Mouths of Ministers

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10 Responses

  1. Charles B. Hall, PhD says:

    “the pastor’s approach to Torah (that it is true)”

    This is not correct. Christians rejected the Oral Torah early in their history and continue to do so.

  2. Garnel Ironheart says:

    I think it was Rav Dovid Gottlieb in one of his lectures who noted that, on a strictly ideological basis, an Orthodox Jew has far more in common with an Evangelical than he does with a Reform Jew. Eric Yoffie seems determined, through action and speech, to prove this.

  3. David N. Friedman says:

    It is not only pastor Hagee’s approach to Torah which is more Jewish–his stand with Israel is far preferable to the Jewish left and his love of the Jewish people is a clear compliment and a blessing. The fact that he is Christian means he has a different theology which can have sure striking differences with Torah Judaism. Please understand how this Christian weighs and balances what he cherishes about Judaism vs. what he might find reason to contrast.

    His public stands are so greatly tilted towards how he loves Israel and the Jewish people–this is the best possible outcome under the circumstances. Indeed, it is precisely the inclination to judge to the positive and de-emphasize differences that is a model of good character.

    Rabbi Shafran is correct to note that the Reform leader is not comfortable with the truths of the Torah. It is also apparent Yoffie is not comfortable with someone else expressing unconditional love and support for the state of Israel and the Jewish people.

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    It is ironic that the current leader of RJ, which was built on imitating the liberal Protestant segments, viewed no mitzvos as binding, which was anti Zionist until the middle of WW2 and which did nothing against the Shoah, lectures a friend of Israel in such a manner. We tend to forget that theodicy based “answers” about the Shoah and all types of theological responses from Satmar to RZ to RYBS are a strong part of the Torah tradition. We may not agree with all or some of these responses, but they are rooted in Tanach and part and parcel of every Musaf on Yom Tov.

  5. One Christian's perspective says:

    “Tonight I humbly ask forgiveness of the Jewish people for every act of anti-Semitism and the deafening silence of Christianity in your greatest hour of need during the Holocaust.”

    I am having a real difficult time trying to understand this plea. How does this work with Christians and Jews today ?

    Deafening silence ?

    I ask the Pastor: Didn’t Christians save Jewish people during the Holocaust? Didn’t Christian men and women volunteer to fight these evil empires during WWII and with great loss of life ? Didn’t many Christian nations offer refuge because it was the right thing to do ? Granted outside of Denmark, Sweden and England (Kindertransports) there was hardly a national response. Yet, G-d did prevail in the hearts of men and women as individuals and the Jewish people are alive and strong today as a testament of His great love.

    Don’t many Christians today have a genuine love for the Jewish people because of an even greater awareness of all the gifts they have given us ? Don’t many Christians today support Israel ? Don’t many Christians today recognize that the Jewish people are G-d’s chosen ? Don’t many Christians today pray for the peace of Jerusalem ? Don’t many Christians today study the very Words of G-d that the Jewish people revere – the Hebrew Bible. Don’t many Christians today even learn Hebrew individually and in seminaries to better understand the Word ? Don’t Christian scholars search out Jewish commentaties and texts to gain greater understanding ?
    The answer is yes on all accounts. Not because we are so righteous but because G-d is so good.

    Tell me how far back does one go for generational sins ? Did G-d intend forgiveness to work this way ? I thought I was responsible for my own sin as a result of generational sins of my relatives.

    As a Christian, I know I need to take a spiritual inventory of myself often and offer forgiveness to those who hurt me (morally and deeply) and make amends to those whom I have harmed as a result of past sin in my life. Notice the operative word is “I” as in there is a very real connection of me and my sin before G-d.

    To ask for forgiveness for the sins of others in times past, to me, is like blindly refusing to recognize that G-d was/is an active participant in the history of mankind and in the process of sanctification in the life of His children – today… well as in the past. G-d alone is the ultimate Judge and Deliverer of wrath against the unrepentant/unrighteous as well as the loving Father and Revealer of sin in the righteous.

    Did Jacob offer forgiveness to Egypt for their sins over 400 years in the time of Moses ? NO ! G-d Himself delivered Israel and punished Egypt. The G-d of Moses and of Jacob has not changed.

    To ask Jewish people to forgive the sins of others from long ago past doesn’t work for me and I cannot understand how it can work for you.

  6. rejewvenator says:

    Neither R. Yoffie nor Pastor Hagee believe in the Oral Torah as a Torah from Hashem. However, where R. Yoffie believes that Hashem will never break His covenant with the Jewish people and will protect and redeem them, Pastor Hagee believes that Hashem has a new covenant and that the Jews will either become Christians, c”v, or be destroyed utterly. With friends like these…

  7. Friar Yid says:

    It is disingenuous and dishonest to talk about contemporary Reform Judaism as if it were the same entity it was over 100 years ago. There has been a monumental turnaround in the Reform position on Zionism and Jewish education (if not the full obligation of mitzvot) since the 1960s. Furthermore, until the middle of WW2 there were plenty of other Jewish groups that were also ambivalent about Zionism and activism to prevent the Shoah. Steve Brizel would be better served by addressing specific issues with the Reform movement today, instead of tilting at irrelevant anti-Zionist windmills of yesteryear.

  8. Toronto reader says:

    Rabbi Shafran misrepresents Rabbi Yoffie and Reform Judaism. Consider for example when Rabbi Shafran says that Rabbi Yoffie has written that Jews “must examine each mitzvah [Torah commandment] and ask the question: ‘Do I feel commanded in this instance…?’ ”

    Here is the quotation again (from Commentary magazine, August 1996) with more detail: “The heart of Torah is mitzvah–the individual divine command. … Torah was transmitted to Moses and his spiritual descendants–the prophets and rabbis who fashioned our tradition and passed it on to subsequent generations. But in recording divine revelation as they experienced it, they did so as fallible human beings … I will seek guidance from rabbis and teachers, but ultimately I must examine each mitzvah and ask the question: do I feel commanded in this instance as Moses was commanded? …”

    Rabbi Yoffie is continuing a long tradition of studying and questioning and searching for the Torah’s meaning.

    If you read the rest of Rabbi Yoffie’s statement in Commentary you will find that his beliefs, while certainly not Orthodox, are quite different from what Rabbi Shafran alleges.

  9. Charles B. Hall says:

    My understanding was that the large majority of Orthodox rabbis were anti-Zionist until well after World War II, and that Agudath Israel still is today. Am I incorrect?

  10. tzippi says:

    Re Dr. Hall, (9): not being pro-Zionist doesn’t make one anti-Zionist.
    Maybe I’m just uncomfortable with the prefix “anti”, vs. say, “non.”

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