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Friday, December 9, 2011

What could be more American than celebrating the birth of Jesus?


While as a Jew I do not believe in the divinity of Jesus, as an American I acknowledge the pivotal importance that Jesus and his ministry played in the establishment of our great Republic. This is why I am proud to celebrate Christmas which is, after all, the celebration of the birth of a Jewish baby.

Jesus, in words attributed to him in the Gospel and confirmed with the establishment of his church by his followers, intended to carry forth to all of mankind the ethical and moral principles and precepts of the Torah. Those ethical and moral principles which, according to Jewish tradition were given by the Almighty to the children of Israel through their Prophet Moses at Mount Sinai, continue to guide our civilization, our nation, and our lives as individual citizens.  

The Torah established a universal code of law that guides individuals and nations regarding proper and improper conduct and relations. The Torah set forth laws and ethical precepts that led to the abolition of slavery, the equality of women, the rules of war, private property, national sovereignty, and limited government. 

The Torah described man as created in the image of the Almighty which is an idea that was eloquently advanced by Thomas Jefferson when he wrote, in the Declaration of Independence, that we are “endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among those are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  This established the biblical principle that rights emanate from the creator and not from the state. This also established the uniqueness and the value of every human life. This confirmed that the proper role of government is to preserve, protect, and defend those inalienable rights as opposed to government as the origin of rights.

Jesus of Nazareth and his ministry brought the laws of the Torah to all of mankind. Jesus developed the idea of a personal relationship between the individual and the Almighty as opposed to a worship of idols which, in modern times, translates to a worship of the State. The modern regressive and anti-Christian socialist movements of Nazism and Communism sought to abolish the personal relationship between the individual and the Almighty as they attempted to replace that loyalty with that of worship of the State.  

Jesus established the Judeo-Christian concept of a separation between church and state when he said: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" It could be said that Jesus was the first individual in history when he stood up to the mighty authoritarian power of the Roman Empire. When Jesus stood up to Pontius Pilate, who represented the secular power of Rome, he inspired people to stand up to state power, to stand for that which is right. As a Jew, I honor the memory of Jesus, a fellow Jew. Rome would eventually follow Jesus and become Christian under the Emperor Constantine.  

Thus, whether we are believers or not, religious or secular, we, as Americans, owe a profound debt of gratitude to Jesus and his teachings. America would not have its system of law, its institutions of freedom, its level of economic and cultural success had it not been for the influence and the guidance that emanated from the ministry of Jesus. Christmas, which is a recognized American Federal Holiday and which ought to be observed as such without any restrictions, should thus include reflections on the Judeo-Christian origins of our American system of government and should involve a national rededication to those principles.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Christmas which is...the celebration of the birth of a Jewish baby." No, it is the celebration of the birth of their god, like Egypt's pharaoh, like Hercules (born of Zeus and the human woman Almene), like Dionysus (born of Zeus and the human woman Semele), like Perseus (born of Zeus and the human woman Danae, without sex: a virgin birth). If you celebrate Christmas, as a Jew, well, how Liberal of you.

"Jesus of Nazareth and his ministry brought the laws of the Torah to all of mankind." Nonsense. Jesus was preaching to the multitudes, which were Jews. He was trying to Reform the Judaism of his day, and could not have cared less about the non-Jews. Christianity, because of Paul, abrogated the laws of the Torah. That is why they call their New Testament, the 'New Testament,' which means the new covenant between Gd and believing Christians that replaces the ""Old Testament,"" the old covenant between Gd and the Jews. This is why self-respecting Jews do not call our Holy Scriptures the "Old Testament," we dont believe in a new one. That is why the Christians' New Testament calls the laws of the Torah a curse, whose only purpose was to teach that we cannot keep those very laws, and therefore need Jesus to die for us, contradicting Deuteronomy 24:16, "Eesh b'chet-o yumatu, Every man shall be put to death for his own sin," as well contradicting other verses in the Bible.

"Jesus developed the idea of a personal relationship between the individual and the Almighty.." No, this, too, comes first from Judaism, because we have our personal relationship with Gd because we, as individuals, obey Gd's commandments.

"Jesus established the Judeo-Christian concept of a separation between church and state when he said: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" No, Jesus was a pharisee with zealot leanings. As such he would have believed that the universe belongs to Gd, that nothing belongs to Caeser, and therefore Jesus was saying give nothing to Caeser.

"It could be said that Jesus was the first individual in history when he stood up to the mighty authoritarian power of the Roman Empire." If jesus meant what he said, to give to Rome what is Rome's, then he was not rebelling against Rome, but rather against his fellow Jews. Furthermore, "he was the first to stand up against authoritarian power." Really?? Have you forgotten the Maccabees? Happy Chanukah!

"As a Jew, I honor the memory of Jesus, a fellow Jew. Rome would eventually follow Jesus and become Christian under the Emperor Constantine." Yes, and then begin a systematic persecution of the Jews and against Judaism, beginning with the outlawing of Jews missionizing others to Judaism at the Council of Nicaea. This persecution was a direct result of the Christian belief that only Christians go to heaven, that the Jews, especially, are damned, by Gd, to an eternity in hell. This concept is diametrically the opposite that "All men are created equal," since, according to Christianity, Gd brings into existence those He knows will reject Jesus and suffer an eternity in Hell as a result.

Funny how Jews, even if they become Conservative, manage to stay Liberals when it comes to interfaith relations.