Alien Allegiances


Moshe Ben-Chaim



Reader: Dear Rabbi Ben-Chaim: I am frankly appalled by the series of articles attacking Christianity in the last few issues of Jewish Times. I have shared these with other members of my Shul and my Rabbi and everyone has reacted negatively and even felt offended by them. I don't have any problem with articles or websites encouraging Jews to be educated about Christianity if anything to ward off attempts to convert us or to attract us to the so-called Messianic movements. But your articles have used defamatory and derogatory terms such as "evil" and others. As an educated person, I am aware of the violent past and injustices committed by Christianity towards us, and we should not forget that. However, in these times, when both they and us face a relentless and deadly enemy in radical Islam it so happens that fundamental Christians and Orthodox Jews are the only allies that can block the Islamists. I would hope that these articles attacking Christianity would be either tempered and elevated to a dignified level of honest discussion of theological differences or altogether stopped if you are not able to do so. I would appreciate your thoughts on this issue.
Shabbat Shalom, C.A.



Mesora: Other considerations must not mitigate the teaching of what is true. Christianity is an evil, as are all other false ideas, and this word “evil” should not be mitigated because another enemy exists. Do you take issue with Ramban for his strong words during his Disputation at Barcelona? Do you take issue with Maimonides' words in his ridicule of Christianity in the Laws of Kings below?


Laws of Kings, Laws 11:10-12 (Capach Edition): [10] “Can there be a greater stumbling block than this (Christianity)? That all the prophets spoke that the Messiah will redeem Israel and save them, and gather their dispersed and strengthen their Mitzvot, and this (one, i.e., Jesus) caused the Jews to be destroyed by the sword, and scattered their remnants and humbled them, and exchanged the Torah, and caused the majority of the world to err to serve a god other than the Lord.”


I have not even touched on the Crusades or other Christian atrocities, as did Maimonides above. He said Christianity caused the Jews to be “destroyed by the sword.” Is that not an “evil”? Isn’t missionary work an “evil”? I guess you have greater complaints about Maimonides’ writings, than mine.


Maimonides did not say, "conceal my words in the future". Both Ramban, and Maimonides, our greatest teachers, did not play politics, holding their tongues when it came to identifying and condemning Christianity, even to the face of their Christian counterparts, as seen in Ramban’s Disputation at Barcelona. Of course, Ramban was summoned, and did not initiate this debate. I too do not initiate a debate, but write to my audience of Jews who visit Mesora. If Christians visit, they must be objective enough to appreciate that just as they teach against Judaism, we also teach against Christianity and all other man-made religions. We will not and cannot squelch Torah principles. It is wrong to soften one’s speech, if in the process of doing so he dilutes his point. The truth of a lesson far outweighs the ruffled feathers of those who cannot stomach the truth.

I wonder also why you seek us to hold our tongue; for fear that Christians will visit Mesora, those very individuals who openly condemn you to burn in hell for rejecting their man-god Jesus. You accept their ridicule, but simultaneously attempt to protect them from our "harsh words", should they visit us. Your allegiance should be to what our Rabbis were allegiant to, not to maintaining your politics, if it risks hiding our Rabbi's words from other Jews. Such politics is what is killing more and more Jews in Israel. If Israel would adhere to Torah, with no concern for world approval, far fewer Jews would be dead right now. We don’t need approval, when it costs lives. That is the greatest evil.


As a matter of fact, what you wish to silence - our words - is the cause of so many Jews becoming more secure in their Judaism, now clearly understanding the fallacies of Christianity. You should also know, that were it not for the many other Jews and Rabbis who openly discuss the false and evil doctrines of Christianity, many Christians would not have come to follow the Noachide laws, which is G-d’s will. But due to the honesty of those teachers of Noachide law, fearless of Christian ridicule, more Gentiles have not lost their souls. You should stand and applaud them, not ask them to quiet down.


I don’t know if you share my concern, that other human beings – both Jew and Gentile – should have the chance to realize what is true, and not lose their soul by following idolatry. Yes, idolatry, those are Maimonides’ words: “Jesus exchanged the Torah, and caused the majority of the world to err to serve a god other than the Lord.” You should be more concerned with your fellow Jews who need to learn Torah, and also with your Gentile friends who are lost, following what Maimonides describes as idolatry. Don’t you wish they become exposed to truth, or do your subjective goals outweigh G-d’s creation – for mankind in general to learn G-d’s words?


I strongly urge you and the others in your shul that you mentioned, to rethink your views. And do not argue that since many others in your shul agree with you, that your position is tenable. This line of reason, which you opened with above, is not rational. Judge an idea or a position based solely on its reason, not its numbers of followers.


Review Maimonides as quoted above again, and read through the Disputation at Barcelona. These two great Rabbis should be followed, not ridiculed.