Letters April 2006
Islam Is Lame
Reader: Islam fully recognizes Judaism. The same God who sent the Koran, sent the original religion [Judaism]. Islam does state that the Jews corrupted the religion in later years. Hence God sent JESUS to reform the JEWS and bring them to the original path. Why do you say Prophet Muhammad was a false? Do you have a proof? While Islam says JUDISM and Christianity are true religions originally, the JEWS and Christians in turn say that Islam is FALSE. What a way to thank Islam!!!!
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim: You write, “The same God who sent the Koran, sent Judaism” and, “God sent JESUS to reform the JEWS and bring them to the original path”.
Why do you make claims with no proof, then demand Judaism to provide proof? You abide by contradictory methods of validation.
However, unlike all other religions, Judaism does indeed possess proof: the historical event of Revelation at Sinai witnessed by over 2 million people. The same method of proof, which validates all histories. Islam and all other religions have no such proof. This is why other religions are lies.
You add that Judaism should reciprocate Islam’s recognition of us…and this would be an appropriate “thanks”. But for what do you feel we must give thanks? Do you assume in some way Islam assists Judaism? Judaism possesses proof of our religion, without Islam’s recognition, or any other corroboration. Once Sinai proves Judaism, nothing more is needed. I will add that Islam’s recognition of Judaism and Christianity was a ploy: as they wished recognition for their newly formed “Islam” (originally star and moon worship…see their flag) Muslims used the tactic of “recognizing” other religions to gain popularity. Eventually, Islam claimed “responsibility” for the other religions, claiming they gave Moses and Jesus to both religions. This is openly stated in their Koran, along with many other revisionist verses. Their marketing strategy was the same as Hitler’s: say a lie so preposterous, and so often, and the world won’t feel you would have invented it.
A Noa Chide
Reader: I read in “The
Path of a Righteous Gentile” that theft, however small, is punishable by death
for Noachides but not for Jews. So if I take even a toothpick without asking
for permission, the Court has to
sentence me to death. What is your take on this? And why are Noachides held to the higher standard?
I have also been told I have to go before a Bet Din in order to live as a Noachide, and be under the strict supervision of a rabbi. People are attempting to do this by e-mail (e.g.. through the Yahoo NoachideChassid group). I would need to do it in person. E-mail is just too impersonal. You can’t really get to know anyone that way. So, wouldn’t it be OK if I, a 62 year old man, just do my best to live by the Seven Noachide Laws, which are really just ethical principles? Will I burn in hell if I don’t submit to a Bet Din?
It seems that the famous early Noachide, Aime Palliere, did just that. In fact, he remained a nominal Catholic until the day he died, and was buried by the rites of the Church. And it seems his mentor, Rabbi Elijah Benamozegh, encouraged him to do just that. All he was required to do was to reject the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the idea that the Torah was abolished for Jews. I myself reject all three of these things.
Anyway, Rabbi, if you can respond to these questions, I will probably not bother you with many more, or any more for a good while.
Thanks, and Blessings,
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim: 1) Noachides meet with death for stealing any amount, since their system of 7 Noachide laws is the minimum requirement of life. If a man cannot keep even these 7 laws, then his life is worthless, and deserves death for his infraction of the 7 Noachide Laws as a “unit”, not merely for stealing a toothpick. The Jew is held to an even higher standard, and must keep far more laws. He is not killed for stealing; as doing so has not demonstrated an abandonment of the rest of his laws...merely one was violated. Although for stealing, a Jew has not forfeited the rest of the system, he would be killed for his sins, in his system as well.
2) You need not attend a bet din to practice Noachide law. You simply practice it.
3) Your denial of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the idea that the Torah was abolished for Jews are all applauded. But you cannot remain observing any other Christian idea. You must denounce all alien religious notions, outside of what Judaism teaches. Although Noachides are required to keep a minimum of 7 laws, the rest of the Torah will perfect you as it perfects a Jew. Following any other religion will destroy you.
As you examine each one of your prior beliefs, you will see their fallacy, and Noachide/Jewish Torah life means denouncing fallacy, and cleaving to truth. Feel free to use our site to search for answers, or continue your emails to me.
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim: This week, someone mentioned the notion of “meant to be” in connection with our freewill, and claimed as follows: “A person is free to decide his decisions, and will be rewarded for his mitzvahs, and punished for his sins. However, since God knows everything, God also knew what this person was going to do, so it was ‘meant to be’. It is a paradox: on the one hand, since God knows all, this man cannot do other than what God knows he will do. On the other hand, man is the sole cause of his actions.”
This person accepted a contradiction, which is unnecessary, and which can be easily resolved. My response is as follows: God’s knowledge of our actions before performed is not a “cause” of our actions. How God knows future events, or anything…Maimonides states is beyond human grasp. But in no way does God’s foreknowledge suspend or tamper with man’s free will. The Torah fundamental of Reward and Punishment clearly teaches that all man does is his own doing: he is to blame for evil, and is to be rewarded for his good. To suggest otherwise contradicts reason, as we all know we are in total control of our actions, and it also contradicts God’s Torah fundamentals located throughout the Torah.
The Talmud teaches, “All is in God’s hand, except man’s free will”. Therefore, nothing in human activity is “meant to be”, if man alone does not wish it to be. Nothing external to man contributes to his actions. Man is in complete control, and uses his mind and freewill to the exclusion of any other imagined force, as God intended in granting us these faculties.
People have an emotional need to be saved from their faulty decisions. Claiming “all is meant for the good” or “everything has a reason” is man’s escape hatch, through which, he or she is no longer accountable for foolish actions. It is a post-fact means to mitigate our errors. But reality and Torah teaches otherwise: many high-level people made devastating errors, which at times, cost them their lives: Korach and Achitophel for example. And the Torah never states, “it was meant to be”! God would much prefer that man did not sin. It is this reality that should frighten us from remaining ignorant about important matters, for God will hold us accountable, as He did with Korach. Although many people claim, “all is meant to be”, this phrase’s popularity, even among the religious, is no support for this notion, since it contradicts God’s Torah, and reason.
Perhaps it is “meant to be” that we disprove this belief?!
Deification of Man
Reader: Your article on a Rabbi accepting Jesus was very interesting, to say the least. How much of this exits and goes on without any notice or publicity? Recently I saw a video that showed what was going on in “770” or Chabad, NY. The lines of individuals going past the Rebbe’s chair with an empty wine cup, going through the motions of accepting wine from an imaginary person, then singing “Moshiach”. Is this what may be considered “idol worship”?
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim: I recently spoke to someone who thoroughly investigated Chabad and interviewed its members, and corroborates your story. Although both practices deny reality and Torah principles, idol worship would be one step closer to reality than what Chabad members perpetrate, in your case. In Chabad’s case, their members’ fantasy life is worse, as they don’t only deify a person, but imagine someone to exist, who does not. Chabad’s members completely deny God’s words, which Moses reminds the Jews: “And greatly guard your lives, for you did not see any form [of God] on the day that God spoke to you at Sinai from amidst the flames” (Deut. 4:15) Chabad members deny this claiming they do in fact accept that the Rebbe is sitting in front of them. Moses says not to imagine you saw something when you did not, and they say, “Imagine what you wish, and it is true”. The phenomenon of masses passing by the empty Rebbe’s chair, imagining him to be there, and then “accepting wine from is cup”, displays a group or people whose minds are completely disengaged: they in no way represent Judaism. What is worse, Chabad’s leaders promote this, and from the anti-messianic Chabad members we should hear a public denunciation as idolatrous behavior, not reflecting Judaism. God hid Moses’ grave for fear of this very human deification. Chabad’s leaders who value Torah must correct this problem. And then today’s masses follow suit claiming, “Look how much good Chabad does”. But there is no good performed when thousands of “shluchim” (messengers) proliferate such behaviors in the name of Judaism. I speak to Chabad people, and so many times, they have no idea what they are talking about, as if in some trance, repeating a script.
This quite recent movement of Chabad might have its seeds of Torah deviation in its shift from focusing on Torah and our Fundamentals, to Tanya and Zohar. They elevate these cryptic books as more central to Judaism than the Torah itself. It displays their over-attachment to man – the books authors – than to God. For if they studied the Torah, they would read that our greatest leaders’ sins are never hidden, God is to retain human focus, and that the Torah is based in reason, not fantasy.
Chabad focuses on imagined properties of God, like their “tzimtzum” deviation, where they say God had to contract Himself, or some “light” of Himself, to make space for the universe during creation…as if God actually occupies space. That is outright heresy, to equate God in anyway to the physical world. They get absorbed in discussions of angels, “spherot” and other matters, which they cannot explain, and would tell you if you are not Chabad, then your Judaism is incomplete. Accordingly, Moses and every prophet were not as perfect as God said. One Chabad Rabbi claimed that there is some “spiritual holiness’ in one’s beard, explaining why he does not ever trim it. And they apparently view their dress as some religious rite, when nowhere in Torah did God command man to dress in black and white, grow a beard, and always don a hat.
This group imagines things, and then claims their imagination is part of Judaism. However, Torah is always demanding man to cleave to reality: “Recall what Amalek did to you on the path” (Deut. 25:17), and “You have been shown to know that God is Elokim, there is no other besides Him. From the heavens He made you hear His voice to instruct you, and on land, He has shown you His great fire and His words you heard from amidst the flames.” (Deut. 4:35,36), “Lest you forget the matters that your eyes have seen” (Deut. 4:9), and “do not go astray after the [imagination of] your heart” (Num. 15:39), and finally, “All that matter that I command to you, it shall you guard to do; do not add to it, and do not detract from it.” (Deut. 13:1)
God’s Torah has one message: follow what you “perceived”, what you “know”, what you have “seen and heard”, and what your mind tells you is true. All this, is in order that you shall “know” matters, not simply follow baseless belief like other religions. God said, “do not go astray after the [imagination of] your heart”, yet they imagine their Rebbe sitting in front of them. God granted us intelligence, to distinguish between baseless blind faith, and proven fact and knowledge. Had belief been all God desired, He would not have granted mankind intellect, nor would He write in His Torah, “You have been proven to Know”. God desired man obtain “proof”. And once we possess that proof, we must “not add or subtract” imagining again that certain acts are God’s will. There is nothing gained wearing black and growing facial hair, nor is there anything wrong with shaving or wearing colored garments. God’s Torah is complete, and any attempt to deviate, add or subtract is a Torah violation. Don’t try to be more religious than God.
Reader: I think I understand why people ask others to read Tehillim when someone is stick; not that I think it makes too much sense - but it has to do with the sick person being the reason for your learning, and therefore they are causing you to be a better person, and so they become better in that way (But why just Tehillim and not any other Torah?...just a side question.)
But how does adding a name to sick person do anything? This I don’t understand.
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim: Perhaps changing one’s name is to cause the person to abandon his prior identity (name) and enable him to part with previous sins. As a new person with a new identity, he may more easily abandon sins and change for the better...thereby entitling him to God’s intervention.
The Rabbis teach that the ways of repentance include changing one’s name.
Reader: I live in Israel. May I visit this web site on Motza’ey Shabbat (שבת מוצאי) when it’s still Shabbat in NY? I have visited sites with halachik Q&A’s and I feel that this issue is still unresolved - different rabbis hold different opinions. I’m therefore asking you, since I consider you to be the “Mara de’Atra” (ראדאת ארמ) here.
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim: You may certainly visit our website once Shabbos has concluded for you, even though it remains Shabbos where the website is located. The reason being, that no one is performing work on Shabbos: we are not performing work, since no prohibition exists to keep our website active over Shabbos, like a light switched on Friday; and you have no Shabbos any longer, so no violation can exist for you. And if you ask that your action is now affecting a Shabbos-bound time zone, the answer is that your time zone is all that matters. Similarly, if I stand in a location where Shabbos concluded, and I throw a ball into a time zone where Shabbos has not concluded, since my Shabbos is over, there is not violation. Furthermore, I am perplexed why some Rabbis prohibit this. Please explain their views. Thank you.