The 614th Commandment
Are we required to know who the Messiah Ben David is before he makes his very obvious appearance ? Or is, as the Rambam taught, hoping for Messiah Ben David enough? Isn’t it really our business to learn what the Torah requires of us, then to then live it? Is our “salvation”, or as the Sages put it, our place in the “World to Come” really tied up in correctly identifying Messiah Ben David ahead of time? Where do the Hebrew Scriptures teach us that we must accept someone’s private evidence (i.e. the alleged virgin birth, Paul’s revelation on the road to Damascus) that he is the hoped for messiah, or we will spend an eternity in “hell” for rebellion against the Holy One, Blessed Be He?
Does your presumption that you’ve fingered “the messiah” make you a good person, obedient to your Creator, a daughter or son who brings Him joy? If you think you know for certain who “the messiah” is, or was…and you then, in your presumption, write off entire communities of folk who are in love with the Almighty, and live their entire lives in His service…do you really think a loving, compassionate and merciful Creator would send them into an eternity of torture?
I don’t. I never could make sense of such a world view. In fact, I’m with Rabbi Boteach on this one. I think that’s sick.
It would behoove the average religious man or woman, of any religious tradition, to be very careful before criticizing (and therefore discrediting) the Jewish community for not believing that “Jesus” is the messiah, excluding anyone else from a joyous future in the World to Come.
Let’s get specific here. The Jesus that the Jewish community rejects is a fiction, a wholesale, made-up creation of historical Christianity, and if we judge this creation by the standards of the Torah, the Jewish community is duty bound to reject him. The Torah measures the authenticity of a prophet or messiah by whether he leads the people to obey God and His eternal Torah. If someone claiming to be a messenger from God, then leads the children of Israel away from Torah, by the very words of the Torah, the children of Israel MUST reject him. See Deuteronomy 13:1-5.
If this man did indeed exist, and was a faithful Jew, I’m NOT saying he ever did that. On the contrary, from what little is known of his alleged existence, it seems he was the victim of slander… not by the Jewish community, but by historical Christianity. Historical Christianity claims that this rabbi taught people to walk away from Torah, what Christians call “the law”.
There is a reason why most seminaries don’t teach much on the first 1500 years of Christian history. That would be a good place to start. But be forewarned…if the church has the courage to do that, I believe there will be a path beaten to the door, with many turning to the Rabbinical world for authoritative teachings. It’s already happening all over the world. I applaud the trend. We should pursue truth, not dogma.