Monday, February 16, 2009



by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

A gray-haired, non-Jewish man was standing by the entrance to the Kotel. I walked over to speak with him. He was friendly enough. I asked him what he did for a living. He said that he is a priest.

“Oh boy,” I thought, “these are among the worst in the world for idolatry.”

The prohibition against worshiping an idol rests upon everyone, not just the Jewish people. One of the central roles a Jew must take is to be a “light onto the nations.”[i] Practically translated, this means that we are charged with teaching the non-Jews the “Seven Commandments of Noah.” The very first of these commandments is the prohibition against idolatry. Although this commandment is stated as a negative commandment, “Thou shall not...” it really is a most positive commandment in that it directs us away from the foolishness of idols and toward the reality of the one G-d.

I thought to explain this to the priest. Not that I imagined a priest would simply turn his collar back around, although that could happen, but I thought maybe I could give him an idea that he would take with him, something to challenge his beliefs. I was wrong.

I started with my usual explanation that only G-d is everywhere, so we must not worship a limited being. He agreed.

“But your messiah is limited,” I said.

“No. He is everywhere,” he said.

I quoted from his bible. “When they went to the grave where he (yashke) was buried he was not there.”

“That’s right,” he said. “He was glorified.”

“Then he was not there.”

“That’s right. He was not there,” he said.

“Then he isn’t everywhere.”

“No. He is everywhere,” he insisted.

“Wait a minute. You just said that he was not in the grave, that he was taken up. If so, if he really was not in that grave like you say, then he is not everywhere. So don’t worship him.”

“He is everywhere,” he said, as he backed up and walked away.

We need belief to carry us over until we find knowledge. But our beliefs cannot be totally foolish and contradict reality. When our beliefs do contradict our actual experiences we have to challenge them to see that they are true. Belief is a wonderful tool, but it has to make sense, too. Far more people in the world believe in foolishness than in truth.

[i] Isaiah 42:6


Anonymous said...

also they will say they worship the G-d of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, but Hashem is not a male triune! This confounded me for many years and I suspect there are people who inadvertantly reject Hashem when what they really are trying to do is reject the white male triple idol.

Anonymous said...

but also I read a commentary a long time ago about somewhere in the Torah (maybe in Judges) where the people pray to an idol and yet Hashem answers them. The commentary explained that Hashem answered them anyway because H' understands that we are only frail humans and get lost in idolatry sometimes but that in our souls we all cry out to Hashem really.

Shiloh said...

Be a light Reb Gutman, stop the loshon hara against a kosher Ribi who has nothing to do with xtianity, or what they believe in. Teach them that this Ribi, taught hellenistic Jews to return to Torah. I personally encourage goyim to follow the historical Jew, not the roman pagan counterfeit lie named J*sus. I make it clear to them, that there are two, one who followed Torah, and the other a mythical lie(we seem to be afraid of this one for some reason). I have talked with pastors, whom I don't expect to change today, but sure put a question mark in their theology. Let's lead the goyim to Torah (not the noachide laws which the earliest source is the New Testament by the way), this will change the world, keeping them from the Light, only increases their hatred.

Martin said...

I would just like to say good job Reb Gutman for challenging the priest! Christians think Judaism is Christianity with animal sacrifices instead of jesus but the Torah is so much clearer then christianity ever could be and those people are simply unaware of its simple logic! Its is statements like the one you threw at the priest that led me to abandon christianity and to study torah (using jewish sources). I am not a jew just yet but I used to be a devout catholic so maybe the priest has a chance to see the beauty and truth of the Torah too! I hope he wont forget your words too soon! :)

JG said...

Perhaps it is better to take into account the view of those sages (e.g. The Rama, R. Jacob Emden, ) who did not consider Christianity, if followed by Gentiles, to be Avodah Zorah. I don't think arguing with Christians helps.

will said...

Somebody, anybody, please straighten me out on something if you could. Would it be considered blasphemous by Judaic reckoning to believe that human beings were meant to literally manifest the Light of the Creator? - which is not to say that humans or any human *is* the Creator, but rather that we are atoms in the Body of the Creator and by nature are designed to manifest Him. Or is the Creator viewed as essentially "Other", completely separate from His creations? This is an honest question; and for those so concerned, I'm not the least bit interested in proselytizing. As for me, I tend to view the Creator as both Other and as manifesting through his Creation and, ideally, His human creatures

Inarticulate priests aside, some Christians believe this - that Christ was a human being who fully opened himself up to and manifested the Light and in effect, anchored the Light to the earth, thus making the spiritual passage easier to navigate (by this reckoning, this Light could indeed be said to be "everywhere") Other humans have done this, eg., Buddha, the great rabbis, eg., Baal Shem Tov, etc., but none - according to some Christians - have done so to the extent that Christ did.

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Locks, I think your your-G-d-is-limited line of argument sounds very effective for many Xians, but maybe for people trained in theology, like priests, you may want to try something else. I think many Xian theologians would say yes, their G-d (all three parts) are everywhere at all times, even in the heart of the devil and so on. This might be because Xians often accept the idea -- maybe it's from Aristotle or something like that -- that G-d is omnipresent, omnipotent, etc.

Anonymous said...

respectfully, gutman, your approach was wrong. it could be easily said that one who is not in his grave is in heaven etc. like eliyahu etc.

the point here is to tell the priest or whomever:
1. the xn guy is not moshiach
cf isaiah 11 etc.
2. we do not worship or venerate human beings.
3. the xn book is filled with jew hatred

Anonymous said...

correction: forgive me reb gutman, in this case, you were there and this must have been the correct statements to make to this man. perhaps you'd also consider what i mentioned.

l'havdil!!! there guy is in no way to be compared to eliyahu. my error.

that wasn't my intention. they can be so tricky with all their distortions.

H' echad utorah sheLO echad.

Martin said...

Eliyahu did not claim to be God as far as I can tell but christians claim than MrJ IS god so I think Reb Gutmans challenge hit the bullseye because it was straighforward and obvious. The most effective arguments against christians are the most simple ones because then they have to resort to really bizare counter arguments and distortions that cannot be taken seriously ie they end up contradicting the Torah even more!!

Oh and btw sayin that the christian books are anitsemitic will not help them see. I used to be a catholic and would not even consider such an argument!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about Catholics but Evangeleical Protestant types say that J is G-d. But then they say Jews go to hell unless they believe in J. But Jews believe in G-d nu? So what's the problem? Are the xtians saying that Jews will go to hell for believing in God, obeying God, making teshuvah to G-d? It seems like the J part of "god" is most essential to the xtians, whereas the rest of the triune not so much.(some xtians solve this logical problem by saying Jews are devil worshippers rather than admit that xtians put J' before and above G-d).Then there are some who say that J' is not "god" but that he is the messiah. But pretty much all xtians would agree that J' has not done what is required of the messiah. They say he's going to come back...okay fine can't argue with that let's see. But meanwhile J' has not accomplished the task of the messiah, we don't have peace on earth yet, most xtians agree with this . Yet they still insist that Jews are toast if they don't "name the right messiah". So again it's like merely believing in G-d obeying G-d making teshuvah to G-d repenting to G-d -is NOTHING to such xtians. Personally I don't think there is any point talking to xtians . I think there are a lot more "secular" Jews and non-Jews who could benefit if Torah Jews would emphasize more where they differ with the xtians on various issues.

NickAudi said...

Hello Reb Locks,

A question, just seeking for truth as I'm still learning... The Messiah which is to come, do you consider Him a limited being or be as powerful as Hashem? Will the Messiah be Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscience, all in human form? Where will He come from? Could you please direct me to Biblical references?

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