Forums Jews and Judaism How do we answer Jewish apologists like Jews for Judaism?

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    • silverfish2910
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      Post count: 1

      Apparently, we just re-wrote the Tanach to fit the New Testament.

      https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/christian-proof-texting

    • james777
      Participant
      Post count: 1

      Thanks Francis. It is one of the areas I would like someone to chime in to address. I assumed when reading the NT that Matthew was literally quoting the Tanach.

    • Elizabeth Puntel
      Participant
      Post count: 4

      I think pp. 46-51 of Benedict XVI’s book Jesus of Nazareth: the Infancy Narratives addresses some of this issue.
      P. 49 sums up four hypotheses of interpretation of the passage, then concludes none of them quite fit.
      In Benedict’s exegesis, though, he translates ‘almah’ as ‘virgin’ and perhaps it’s not difficult to see that a ‘young woman’ could be that. Perhaps in fact with the hindsight of seeing that God pulled off the impossible and that the Virgin Mary did conceive and bear a son even Isaiah would testify that that word is an excellent translation!
      At any rate, Matthew’s choice of ‘virgin’ is not a proof text so much as a celebration of what had become reality. It is ratified by Joseph’s whole experience in Mt. 1 and with Luke’s Gospel’s announcement of the Annunciation.

      Finally, I really liked Benedict XVI’s summary on p.50 into 51-
      that the sign was not addressed merely to Ahaz or even to Israel, but to humanity (through Israel, with Mary and Joseph as the ‘root Israel’:
      “The prophets prediction is like a miraculously formed keyhole into which the key of Christ fits perfectly.” (quoting Marius Reiser from Bibelkritik, p. 328) So, again, it’s not a ‘proof text’ but a source of amazement for those who believe.

      I’m not an expert but you can see I’ve been doing a little thinking on it.
      To conclude, here is a page on a website about Our Lady of the Sign: (the author uses Isaiah’s ‘young woman’ without batting an eyelash!)
      https://austindiocese.org/icon-of-our-lady-of-the-sign-is-complex-very-symbolic

      Hope this helps.
      Betsy(no number)

    • Brother Gilbert Joseph
      Participant
      Post count: 48

      I don’t think any rhetoric on this issue really achieves much. We know that it means virgin and it really doesn’t make sense as a miraculous sign otherwise. However, for those who are determined to not accept the virgin birth or that Jesus is the Messiah they will never accept that almah means anything but a young woman in this context.

    • Brother Gilbert Joseph
      Participant
      Post count: 48

      Hephzibah: As Ancestor and Mother of the Messiah

      In 2004 Sarah an Hasidic Jewish woman (who is a secret Catholic) wrote:

      “We know from the Mishna that betrothal carried almost all the same legal standing as full marriage. Jewish law is like Canon law, not like secular law. If a betrothal was legal, before two witnesses and with a written contract or an object of monetary value exchanged, the couple were bound together before God as a married couple is today, forbidden to others but not together under the same roof. The wedding ceremony would follow within a year. This is Mishna, not Gemara, meaning this is ancient law, not later Rabbinic law. Mary and Joseph were in this legal category at the time of the Incarnation. Ancient Jewish betrothal should not be confused with modern day engagement. A woman could be released from the betrothal only by divorce. The ancient betrothal ceremony and wedding ceremony was later combined into the wedding ceremony we have now. The ketubah (Jewish religious wedding certificate) combines the betrothal and the wedding agreements on the one form. There should be no doubt about this fact.”

      Thus Jesus was born into a Jewish family with a legally recognised mother and father. In all legal sense Jesus was thus the son of Joseph and a legal descendant of Joseph’s ancestors going back to Solomon and David. Jesus was not born to an unwed mother as some like to speculate. However God even likes to cover all the bases by making his Son also biologically descended from David and Solomon. Luke’s Gospel shows Jesus maternal ancestry back to Nathan bar David a brother of King Solomon.

      A Chabad Hasidic article states:

      “…However, it is interesting to note that while it is clear from all of the above sources that the Messiah will be a descendant of King Solomon, the Zohar seems to state that Moshiach will actually be a descendant of Nathan, a different son of David. Expounding on the verse (Isaiah 40:9), “Upon a lofty mountain ascend, you who brings good tidings to Zion,” the Zohar states: “You who bring good tidings to Zion” is Hephzibah, the wife of Nathan son of David, who is the mother of Messiah, Menachem son of Amiel. She shall go out and bring the tidings . . .” The famed 20th-century Jewish scholar and kabbalist Rabbi Reuven Margolies explains that the Zohar is careful to describe the Moshiach as being a descendant of Nathan’s wife, rather than of Nathan himself. Nathan had passed away childless, and Solomon his brother married his widow, according to the laws of yibum, levirate marriage. In a levirate marriage, the firstborn son of the widow and the brother of the deceased is considered to be a continuation of the dead husband’s line. Therefore, Moshiach is referred to here as “offspring” of Nathan, even though he is a descendant of King Solomon. “

      Davidic status can also pass through the female line. The descendants of Hillel are considered Davidic Nasii but were only Davidic through a female line and from the Tribe of Benjamin on their direct male line. Menachem a Jewish man who has researched this issue in great detail writes:

      “…To be Moshiach one needs only descend through David/Shlomo ‘Beit David’ from a physical parent be it maternal or paternal. The individual descended on either the paternal or maternal side would still need a Jewish mother to be halachically Jewish since the son of a male Davidic descendant and a Gentile woman would not produce a Jewish child. Maternal descent must be maintained for all Jewish people. There is no specific requirement that the Davidic descent passes through the male paternally only. This is the position Lubavitch takes so that the Rebbe can fulfill a Messianic claim within halacha. The Rebbe’s great grandfather the Tzemach Tzedek was married to Devorah Leah Shneuri daughter of the Alter Rebbe. The Alter Rebbe, Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi was descended through the Maharal of Prague (Beit David) and was the inheritor of the Nesius of the Baal Shem Tov via the Maggid of Mezritch. The Rebbe’s connection to David was maternally based. Now I asked this question to a Sephardic authority regarding what happens when a Jewish child who has a Jewish mother does not have a Jewish father be he a Gentile (or in the case of Jesus a Virgin Birth). What nusach does he take from since he has no father? If the temple existed, which of the 12 gates would he enter? He replied, ‘When the father has no background or is not Jewish, then the children follow the Nusach of the mother. As it says: Shema’ beni Torath immekha “Hear, my son, the Torah of your mother.” When both parents are Jewish and both know their background, then, obviously, the children follow the father…”.

      Sefer Zerrubbabel also speaks about Hephzibah as the Mother of the Messiah. In some English translations it says she is the wife of Nathan the prophet whereas I emended this to Hephzibah the prophetess the woman (isha) of Nathan[‘s lineage]. Isha can mean wife or woman and it alludes to the Woman (Isha) who will be the Mother of the Messiah in Genesis 3:15. The quote from the Zohar (3:173b) demonstrates the validity of my translation.

      “Then Michael said to me: ‘This is the Messiah of the Lord: (he has) been hidden in this place until the appointed time (for his manifestation). This is the Messiah of the lineage of David, and his name is Menahem ben ‘Amiel [Comforter Son of God’s People]. He was born of the Kingship of David, king of Israel, and a wind bore him up and concealed him in this place, waiting for the time of the end.’ Then I, Zerubbabel, posed a question to Metatron, the leader of the host of the Lord. He said to me: ‘The Lord will give a rod (for accomplishing) these salvific acts to Hephzibah, the mother of Menahem ben ‘Amiel. A great star will shine before her, and all the stars will wander aimlessly from their paths. Hephzibah, the mother of Menahem ben ‘Amiel, will go forth…The rod which the Lord will give to Hephzibah, the mother of Menahem [ben] ‘Amiel, is made of almond-wood; it is hidden in Raqqat, a city in (the territory of) Naphtali. It is the same rod which the Lord previously gave to Adam, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and King David. It is the same rod which sprouted buds and flowered in the Tent (of Meeting) for the sake of Aaron. Elijah ben Eleazar concealed it in Raqqat, a city of Naphtali, which is Tiberias… Hephzibah—the woman (Isha) of Nathan’s [lineage]- the prophetess mother of Menahem ben ‘Amiel—will go out with the rod which the Lord God of Israel will give to her, and the Lord will place “a spirit of dizziness” upon them (i.e., the Persian army), and they will kill one another, each (slaying) his companion or his countryman. There the wicked one (Šērōy) will die.’… In the fifth (year) of the week Nehemiah b. Hushiel will come and gather together all Israel. In the sixth (year) of the week Hephzibah, the woman of Nathan- the prophetess, she who was born in Hebron, will come and slay the two kings Nōph and ’Esrōgan. That same year the ‘shoot of Jesse’ (Isa 11:10), Menahem b. ‘Amiel, will spring up. “

      Here in the Sefer Zerrubbabel Hephzibah (who is the Lady of Zion) is described in her end time role as the Heavenly Warrioress – Matronita and Kneset Yisrael (community of Israel personified as the Lady or Daughter of Zion). This is Our Lady Miriam ha Kedosha as the prophetess of the Latter Days. Sarah the Hasidic lady mentioned above also describes Mary’s virginity in the context of the burning bush which is also an image found in Catholic and Eastern Orthodox devotion.

      “It’s about her perpetual virginity. As Mary conceived without injury she also gave birth without injury. What is this like? It is like the bush that burned without being consumed. The tradition says it was a thorn bush, the lowliest of all bushes, which He chose because of its humility, and He sustained and protected it from injury.”

    • Brother Gilbert Joseph
      Participant
      Post count: 48

      Birth of the Messiah

      Rabbi Shusterman writes in the “Chabad Weekly”:

      “MOSHIACH IS BORN ON TISHA B’AV Tisha B’Av is known by our Sages as the birthday of Moshiach. In simple terms this means that at the moment of the destruction of the Holy Temple, the potential for the Final Redemption, through Moshiach, was born. The Rebbe clarified the exact meaning of this: “Our Sages explain that this cannot refer to Moshiach’s actual birth, because Moshiach will not be an infant when he redeems our people. But rather, it refers to a strengthening of his influence. For our Sages refer to a birthday as a day when mazalo govair, ‘the spiritual source of one’s soul shines powerfully.’ On the day when Moshiach’s spiritual source is powerfully revealed, there is a unique potential for the Redemption to come . . . . Each year, for the past two thousand years, on Tisha B’Av, Moshiach receives new power and new strength, and from year to year, this influence grows more powerfully. “Thus, Tisha B’Av is a unique time, when the potential for the Redemption is at its peak. Through this insight into Tisha B’Av we are introduced to a basic concept in chasidic philosophy, which teaches that the greatest ascent comes after the greatest descent. Let us use the time properly and bring about the greatest ascent, the revelation of Moshiach and the Final Redemption, NOW.(From: Living with Moshiach ]”

      The Jewish tradition speaks about the birth of the Messiah before the destruction of the Second Temple and they celebrate his birth on Tisha B’Av the fast in commemeration of the destruction of both Temples. However Tisha b’Av is also called a ‘mo’ed’ a feast or festival because it is also a day to commemerate the Messiah’s birth. Thus the Jewish tradition teaches that the Messiah is already born and has been taken up to a hidden place to await his return in a glorious manifestation towards the end of the Messianic Era. When Judaism speaks of and expects the coming of Messiah it is this return they are expecting. When the Jewish traditions speak of a future ‘birth’ of the Messiah in the world they are speaking metaphorically of the spiritual revelation of his presence (sometimes called the Gillui Shekinah) which will usher in after a spiritual struggle (called Jacob’s trouble) an Era of Messianic Rest in History. In these traditions the Mother of the Messiah is called Shekinat (the female presence) and Hepzibah [the one in whom he delights] and as the suffering soul of the Universe she is called Miriam. In regards to the coming of Mashiach the Jewish cry is ‘hinei zeh ba’ which can be translated as ‘Behold he has come’ or ‘behold he is coming’. He has come as Mashiach ben Joseph at Bethlehem and he is coming in glory as Mashiach ben David. HINEI ZEH BA!!!!!

    • Brother Gilbert Joseph
      Participant
      Post count: 48

      The Infancy Narrratives: A Hebrew Catholic Opinion

      The differences between the Infancy sections of Matthew and Luke’s Gospel accounts are due to the authors selecting those events that would most fit the audience and purpose of their Gospel. Luke’s Gospel is addressed to Theophilus who is most likely to be the former High Priest and a Hellenistic influenced Jew as is St Luke according to some scholars.[1] [2] Matthew’s audience is more Judean and Pharisee in composition. The genealogy of Matthew is that of St Joseph and the genealogy of St. Luke is that of Our Lady. They reflect the differences of approach and audience where Matthew’s Infancy is showing Jesus as the Davidic Messiah son of David and son of Joseph and Luke’s Infancy, Jesus as the son of Mary (Miriam), the living Ark of the Covenant (Luke 1:35,42). Luke’s Infancy is more priestly and Temple based and focused on the Divine Presence. Matthew’s Gospel focuses on Jesus as the messianic son of Joseph and son of David who fulfills the Biblical prophecies of the coming King Messiah.

      The clearest evidence of the shadow of the cross in Luke’s Infancy is the Benedictus of Simeon in Luke 2:34-35 where Jesus is set for the fall and rise of Israel and a sign of contradiction with a Marian insight of the sword piercing Mary’s soul at the foot of the Cross. Matthew 1:21 also contains this shadow of the Cross in referring to the child’s future as the one who will save from sin. However to balance this rather Dominican and Western Roman Catholic emphasis on the shadow of the Cross one could also emphasis the light of the Resurrection linked to the mystery of the Incarnation which is a more Franciscan and Eastern Orthodox approach. While Paul does focus on Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2) he also proclaims in Romans 11 that “resurrection of Israel” as well as “attaining the resurrection” in Philippians 3:10-12.

      In regards to the genealogies of the two Gospels-there are diverse opinions on this. However, I would agree that Matthew’s one is the line of St Joseph from Solomon and Mary’s lineage is in Luke. Heli or Eli refers to Eliakim or Joachim the father of Our Lady from Nathan a brother of King Solomon. However the Zohar and other Jewish writings state that Nathan didn’t have any children but according to the Jewish law of yibum (Levirate marriage) Nathan’s wife Hephzibah had a son with Solomon who was considered the yibum son of his brother Nathan. The Zohar states that the Messiah will be descended from the woman Hepzibah. No doubt Salathiel was also a yibum son of the House of Solomon but biologically from the House of Nathan.

      Question: Does an overemphasis on the differences between the two Infancy accounts by some scholars show more their theological prejudices rather than a critical and respectful exegesis of the texts?

      [1] Professor E.Earle Ellis, The Gospel of Luke (USA: Eerdmans, 1980), 52-4
      [2] John Wenham, “The Identification of Luke.” Evangelical Quarterly 63, no. 1 (1991): 3-44.

    • Elizabeth Puntel
      Participant
      Post count: 4

      Has anyone ever commented or written on Aron Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger’s reflections on Matthew ch. 2, found in three chapters of his book The Promise?

      • Brother Gilbert Joseph
        Participant
        Post count: 48

        I read it some years ago but I haven’t seen anyone comment on it. Why don’t you do that?

    • Elizabeth Puntel
      Participant
      Post count: 4

      Why don’t I? I would need your prayers with Our Lady of the Miracle and then I will have the wisdom to make a good decision about that, the courage to try and perhaps the grace to do it reasonably well. Thanks for the challenge, Brother.

      • Brother Gilbert Joseph
        Participant
        Post count: 48

        No worries Elizabeth. I always think others could do a better job than me-but often they don’t do it so then I do the best I can and hope that will inspire someone else to do it better.

    • Elizabeth Puntel
      Participant
      Post count: 4

      Great thought, Brother. Thanks.

      In further reply to post #9291:
      I listened to Dr. Larry Feingold’s first lecture “Mary and the Old Testament” in which towards the end he explains that the word “almah” is translated as ‘virgin’ in the LXX. In the Hebrew, it is only used 5 times in the Bible and each time as referring to an unmarried ‘maid.’ Very helpful!
      I notice the translation of Gen. 3:15 on usccb.org uses ‘they shall strike at your head while you strike at their heel’

      Then, I found this in “Mary, the Church at the Source” (Hans Urs Von Balthasar and Joseph Card. Ratzinger, c.1997), p. 86:
      “…In this passage <Mt.28:19-20)> Jesus now reveals himself as the God-with-us whose new kingdom embraces all nations in its span, because there is but one God for all. Correspondingly, Matthew, in his account of Jesus’ conception, makes one alteration to the words of Isaiah. He does not repeat the phrase “she <the virgin> shall call his name Emmanuel.” Instead, he says “they shall call his name Emmanuel (which means God with us).” This “they” is an allusion to the future communion of believers, the Church, which shall call Jesus by this name.
      Footnote: Ratzinger footnotes that from p. 21 of J. Gnilka, Das Matthausevangelium, vol 1 (Freiburg, 1986)

      I found both sources really helpful.

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