In my daily devotional readings, I always include a chapter from the Old Testament prophets. Yesterday, I began with chapter one of Isaiah; and I wondered: Are there any…ANY modern American or European rabbis who in front of their congregations would lecture or preach from such biblical material as this-- read it, and acknowledge that this material FITS modern Judaism and preach a sermon that convicts his congregation? Knowing what I know, I don’t think so.
ISAIAH CHAPTER 1
---“Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity.” (1-4)
--- “Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! (1:10)
--- “Bring no more vain offerings…I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly… They have become a burden to me…” (1:13-14)
--- “Your appointed feasts my soul hates.” (1:14)
--- “How the faithful city has become a whore.” (1:21)
This is a chosen nation, but now they are characterized by God as a “sinful nation.”
The very feasts that God instructed them to keep have turned into a burden for Yahweh (the Lord).
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For the past three generations or so, the liberal American and European Jewish establishment has disregarded God. They left their previous life in the shtetl (Jewish villages) from the eastern borders of Germany to the deep regions of Russia. And then….
Well, way back in June, 1953, The Jewish Spectator stated: “There is little faith in God in the American Jewish community.” (Arthur Kac: The Rebirth of the State of Israel)
Now, I hesitate to say it, but the liberal Jews are contributing to the decline of the West—America and Europe. And the way they do it? Some examples:
--They are sacrilegious; and it’s easy to see it, because they have no respect for the name of God which they are taught to honor. (In fact, the traditional Jews are taught to say “THE NAME” (Hashem) instead of saying “God” to make sure they do not dishonor His name.) They dishonor Him further by not giving thanks to Him. They remain as ignorant as children in things pertaining to the scriptures—the revelation of God to man. And so…. on we could go with this criticism.
-- They join with other “liberals” to promote diversity, tolerance and multi-culturalism without considering core values from the Torah-- their previous source of values.
-- They contribute to societies’ permissive stances on sexual sins—fornication, adultery and homosexuality.
-- They join with secular liberalism to champion abortion rights and gay marriage,
ignoring basic biblical ethics in which their ancestors believed and practiced.
-- In living this way, many are self-satisfied and arrogant.
ISAIAH: “For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty.” (2:12)
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Mark Golub is one of my favorite YouTube conversationalists. He is a liberal Jewish rabbi. To him, defining a Jew has nothing to do with faith or God. To be Jewish is to be a family. And the one pre-occupation of this family is….get this: “to be a beautiful person.” That’s it in a nutshell!
He says: “The Jewish Tradition does not begin with God.” Also: “The Jewish tradition is all about people.”
He further says: “The Jewish Tradition cares little about what a person believes.”
As for salvation from sin—delete “sin” and use this definition of “salvation”—“achievement of an integrated personality.”
This, he says, is classical Judaism. The rabbis taught this 2,000 years ago. Actually, from the 3rd century before Christ to the 6th century after Christ, classical Judaism evolved.
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So, does the beginning of the prophecy of Isaiah apply to 20th century Western Jews? It certainly does. Because it is still the same God who calls the Jewish people out of their stubborn rebellion.
The problem of all problems concerning the American Jewish community is that no one seeks after God. They may say that they “have a faith,” and they may “have a synagogue and a rabbi,” or “they are spiritual.” But that doesn’t count for anything, because they are blind.
Who can blame them? Who is their judge? We cannot. However, we can, with open eyes, see what is taking place. Only the Lord can redeem. Now, says Paul, “apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed and is attested by the law and the prophets” (Romans 3:21)-- apart from the Torah, the synagogue, the Talmud and its studious rabbinical schools, the Messiah fulfills all the law. He outshines all efforts to save ourselves and the world around us.
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But now, Isaiah quickly lifts our eyes from spiritual sickness to a vision of the future in the first part of Chapter Two—just one poem five verses long—as a ray of sunshine gladdens us in a stormy, cloudy day as if to indicate that iniquity and arrogance will not forever prevail. The Lord is at work. He has a day that is coming.
It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
and many people shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths….
O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.
--Isaiah 2:1-3, 5 (ESV)
A basic problem among Jewry: mixing—assimilation.
A basic principle of Judaism--separation—one to which the Old Testament and orthodox rabbis return obsessively.
That is very different from American society: we celebrate e pluribus unum--from the many one. Most Americans believe that mixing is good, though we have white nationalists among us. But we refer now to the Jews.
In the story of the Tower of Babel, everyone got together. Easy, wasn’t it? Why? Because everyone spoke the same language. Did the Lord God approve? No indeed. He fixed them….and He did it by causing them to speak many different languages. He wanted distinct groups. There you have a divine prohibition on being One People, especially when the purpose was to make themselves like gods. So, the people scattered and necessarily broke into groups. Thus, the modern movement of One Worldism is one of Godlessness.
After that separation, God called Abraham to move out of Chaldea and led him to Canaan, promising him that a new, separate, distinct ethnic group would emerge from his loins. And Isaac was born, then Jacob/Israel.
Israel was to remain apart from the nations. When they took on the life style of other nations, it displeased the Lord. They were intended to STAY APART.
Remember how King Balak of Moab hired Balaam the prophet to place a curse on Israel as Israel was approaching Canaan. And God said, “Oh no you don’t.” So Balaam didn’t. And as the king and the prophet together looked down from a mountain, they viewed the beautiful and orderly camp of Israel below. And the prophet Balaam said:
“How can I curse whom God has not cursed?....Behold, a people dwelling alone, and not counting itself among the nations.”
It was obvious to what Balaam had learned about Israel—they lived apart. And that very incident is often referred to by Jewish scholars and rabbis, and for all I know, some observant, faithful Jews. They are aware of this. They are not to MIX. They are separate.
David Gerlertner says: “The rabbis see the dangers clearly; they see chaos in the inevitable rising tide. They have always seen the danger that Judaism will vanish, as kosher [now]mixes with treif (non-kosher food), holidays [mix] with normal days, Sabbath [mixes] with the rest of the week, as they marry [mix with] Gentiles, do as Gentiles do, and sink back, with a well-earned sigh of relief into the muddy ocean of mankind….”
It can be likened to the physical process of entropy – a gradual decline into disorder. The universe runs down, mixing the elements together. In human society, a people disperses—mixes with other peoples—and gets lost like a little mound of earth into the whole mix of material, earthy things…losing distinctions.
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Sorry to say: even in Israel, the highest priority for liberal Jews there is that their new state will be democratic. That means that if the Palestinians would outnumber the Jews, it would be wrong and impossible to have a Jewish state democracy—the highest priority in Israel for liberal Israelis and their liberal counterparts in America and Europe.
But most Israelis believe that Israel should be a Jewish state. In 2013 the Israeli Knesset passed a bill which stated that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. The Jewish State” is mentioned five times. But note this: the bill was highly controversial, says Daniel Gordis, the author! Controversial? Yes, even among many Jews. Why? Because it singles out the Jews instead of being like America. Because it makes constitutional the second-class status of Arab citizens.
But as Daniel Gordis wrote: “The United States was created to welcome to its shores people from around the globe, whatever their backgrounds. Israel was created to foster the recovery and renewed flourishing of the Jewish people.” (We Stand Divided, p. 169)
QUESTION: What helps keep the Jewish principle of separation?
ANSWER: The Jewish people have retained their identity all these past millenniums first, because of rabbinical training. This is lacking in America. But secondly, the principle of separation has been greatly assisted by the persecution of Jews. Conversely, where the Jewish people are fully accepted, as in America, there you have the gradual loss of Jewish identity.
Check the statistics: In America, the number of liberal Jews, which is most of them here, is decreasing, causing a sense of alarm among the larger Jewish denominations—Reform and Conservative. Many American Jews simply want to be known as “Jewish”. Don’t call them “Jews”—just “Jewish.” Just another of all the ethnic groups in our society. American Jews want to mix, to assimilate… without a lot of concern for their identity as a Jew (Hebrew), without any interest in the Hebrew language, or with the rich traditions of their ancestors, or with the Jewish witness in the world….and certainly not any interest in the coming Messiah.
Secondly, there would be much more mixing of the Jewish people with Palestinians if they, the Palestinians, were not a fiercely antagonistic people. This antagonism insures against assimilation and the loss of Jewish identity. My opinion: the Lord God is behind this.
And so, the State of Israel stands as separate from other nations of the world, because it is the will of the Lord of Nations that this prevails.
What do you think?
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“You are a people holy unto the Lord your God,
And the Lord has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession,
our of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”
-- Deuteronomy 14:1-2 (ESV)
QUESTION: Did you know that among the Jewish people there are different ethnicities?
ANSWER: Yes, Jews from different parts of the world have developed distinct cultures and customs, with different languages and skin color.
1. Jews from Germany and Eastern Europe are known as “Ashkenazim”. The Jews of America are mostly of this group that has made the Yiddish language, matza balls and black hats familiar to us. Ashkenazy Jews were the first to return to Palestine and whose leaders are well-known, such as Theodore Herzl and David Ben-Gurion.
2. Jews from Spain are known as “Sephardim”. Then when they were expelled from Spain and Portugal in the 15th century, they fled to other parts of the world.
3. Jews from North Africa and the Middle East (even India) are called Mizrahim. They hail from such countries as Libya, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Morocco. Their Jewish communities are probably the very oldest, dating back to the Babylonian exile in Jeremiah’s time.
The Mizrahim are the ones who have our attention here. Without a European education their way of life was not as refined. They spoke Arabic, Persian, Kurdish and other languages. Most lived under Muslim rule since the Islamic takeover in the 7th century A. D., some in relative peace, but many living as 2nd or 3rd class citizens.
The Mizrahi Jews Expelled
In the 20th century these Jews, though they were thoroughly assimilated into their societies, experienced an increase in harassment especially when the Jewish nation was being formed in Palestine. Their adopted nations in which they had lived so long, became furious that Palestine would be opened to the Jews of the world.
And few Americans and Europeans heard about their plight.
The great fires of intended annihilation of the Jews was transpiring in Europe, making those Jews who were against Zionism--against the return to their homeland--change their minds.
Arab leaders conspired with the Nazis to annihilate the Mizrahi Jews. After the United Nations voted to recognize Israel as a nation in 1947, many Mizrahim (plural) were massacred in government-sponsored rioting. Yet, some of these governments made it a crime for the Jews to leave! Many who tried to escape were hunted down and tortured in prisons.
Those who decided to leave, or were forced to leave, their adopted countries sacrificed all they had, knowing that the emigration officials would take all their possessions and money. So they left as paupers—850,000 of them—and fled, some to America, but most to Israel.
For the new State of Israel, this created problems. The Jewish Agency which was in charge of immigration balked at taking in so many at one time. I get the feeling that they hadn’t considered beforetime the possibility of all these Mizrahi brothers and sisters moving in to their native land.
But, someone WAS thinking of them. The Lord who called Israel into existence was calling the Mizrahis as well as the Ashkenazim and the Sephardim. Yes, the Mizrahis were a lower-class people, but…they were loved by the God Who had chosen His people.
God was calling as the nations were expelling. And these precious Mizrahim were chosen to bring THEIR own special style and abilities to mix with the rest of the Jews.
But the Mizrahi are from Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia—many from big cities like Bagdad, Aleppo and Casablanca. They are good storytellers and have a special kind of music to share. They are people of color, literally and figuratively.
Israel’s story is that she welcomes all Jews from the ends of the earth. But at certain times after her independence, she was a poor nation and therefore could not admit all the Jews wanting to immigrate.
Then, as Wikipedia reports, Mizrahi immigrants and refugees were placed in rudimentary and hastily-erected tent cities, often in development towns on the peripheries of Israel. Many had to live in cooperative farming villages even if they knew nothing of farming. They brought with them their more lowly culture and customs and spoke Arabic.
QUESTION: Is there “racial discrimination” in the State of Israel today?
ANSWER: For decades there has been segregation and some discrimination—yes, against the Mizrahi. That’s not a well-kept secret. But things are changing for the good—changing through acceptance, intermarriage and sharing the workplace.
Yes, in Israel, there have been difficulties in accepting this lower class of Jewishness.
But it is happening.
God has called them, though they are different, one ethnic type from the other—the Ashkenazi, Sephardim and the Mizrahi. He has called all His chosen people from 100 nations including some tiny islands of the seas—called them home.
But you, Israel my servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend,
You whom I took from the ends of the earth
And called from its farthest corners,
saying to you: ‘You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off…’
-- Isaiah 41:8-10 (ESV)
Maybe I’ve written this before, but I’ll write it again: for 53 years I’ve been waiting to see when Israel will move in to Judea and Samaria and claim sovereignty over this so-called “West Bank.”
President Trump’s new plan calls for applying Israeli law and administration to 30 per cent of Judea and Samaria. Not all of it; just 30 per cent. But this is big. This 30 per cent includes all the Jewish “settlements” and the Jordan valley.
What would this mean for that 30 per cent? Will the Palestinians living in this 30 per cent area have to move? No indeed. They will stay put in their present residence. And….it will make their lives easier and better right where they now reside.
QUESTION: What will change then?
ANSWER: The 30 per cent area will no longer be under the military administration of the Israeli Defense Force. That 30 per cent will be administered under this plan by civilian authority, just like the rest of Israel. It is important to note that the civilian legal code is much better to live under than the military. There will be police, not soldiers. There will be more rights, because Israel’s civilian code is liberal (not tight). The civil rights of the Palestinians living there will be expanded.
The Palestinians should like it.
QUESTION: What good is it for Israel? ANSWER: The area will no longer be part of the “disputed territory” as the press and others call the West Bank—Judea and Samaria. It will officially be Israel’s. It will improve Israel’s security, and for those who look ahead further, it could and should be one step towards the whole of Judea and Samaria being Israel’s.
THE TIMING FOR THIS CHANGE
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked at it and declared to his Likud Party on May 25: “We have an opportunity that hasn’t existed since 1948 to apply sovereignty in a wise way and as a diplomatic step in Judea and Samaria, and we will not let this opportunity pass…We have a target date in July to apply sovereignty and we will not change it.”
And at the January unveiling of this plan, President Trump said this: We will form a joint committee with Israel to convert the conceptual map into a more detailed and calibrating rendering, so that recognition can be immediately achieved.”
That sounds like quick and decisive action.
But wait. The Trump Plan does not specify quick and unilateral action
And now, Prime Minister Netanyahu says that he is committed to negotiating with the Palestinians on this U. S. proposal.
Really? Do the Israelis really have to enter into talks again with the recalcitrant Palestinians? Oh, mercy! How can you promise to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank in July or anytime soon if you have to negotiate with the Palestinians?
The plan itself says that it was designed specifically “for the benefit of Palestinians, Israelis and the region as a whole” as a basis for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiation on a “realistic two-state solution.” Yes, from what I have read, this carefully compiled Trump plan says nothing about immediate and unilateral Israeli action. Its wording is this: it is explicitly designed “for the benefit of Palestinians, Israelis and the region as a whole” as a recommended basis for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiation on a “realistic two-state solution.”
Oh, no! We are going from the quick and simple to the snail’s pace of complicated diplomacy.
It is obvious that some people in the Trump Administration would like this plan to be the starting point in another “Peace Process” of which we have had plenty already. They’re excited about the possibility of being part of the biggest breakthrough in international relations in recent history. This will mean cowtowing to the Palestinian Liberation Organization to make a European-pleasing, liberal-pleasing, American Jew-pleasing effort.
The endings of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks has always been disillusionment.
Here are some of the ways the peace efforts have been frustrated from 1936 until the present:
1. They have never brought any plans to the table but have always reacted to plans brought by the U. S. or the Israelis. This shows their lack of seriousness.
2. Every plan that has been brought to them they have rejected. Those individual parts of the Oslo Accords which they did accept were nullified by their own failure to adhere to its specifications.
3. Their rejection of history. The Muslims reject biblical history. For instance, of Abraham’s sons, they insist that Ishmael was the son of promise, not Isaac. Another example: the Temple of Solomon never existed, a contention Arafat used in the Oslo talks, infuriating President Bill Clinton. With such a closed, Islamic view of history they discredit Israel’s history and make unfounded and idiotic assertions.
4. Their unending antagonism. Example: They fail to clean up their educational curricula in which Palestinians children are taught that Jews are descendants of apes and pigs; and they continually glorify their suicide-bombers by, for example, naming streets after them.
So, yes, I say it is futile to entertain hopes on the basis of discussions with the Palestinians. In fact, they have already refused to participate in these anticipated negotiations.
So….what sense does it make to bow to the enemy, seeking their approval, when their disapproval is almost guaranteed?
Who is in charge here, and who is saying that the Palestinian position is of importance at all?
Whose voice is the most important?
May President Trump, his advisors and those who pray with him be sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit of God as these issues are considered.
Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in him.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
And his righteousness endures forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
-- Psalms 111:2-3, 6 (ESV)
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.