By Shmuley Boteach, Howard Teich & Paul De Vries
An OpEd debate about Rabbi Boteach Shmuley’s Kosher Jesus. Howard Teich will bring a Jewish perspective in his OpEd “Koshering Jesus a Bit Too Much,” and Paul de Vries will give a friendly counter “Koshering Jesus More.”
March 13, 2012
Through a debate, A Journey through NYC religions is covering a local religious controversy over Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s Kosher Jesus. Local Jewish leader Howard Teich will bring a Jewish perspective in his OpEd “Koshering Jesus a Bit Too Much,” and Paul de Vries will give a friendly counter “Koshering Jesus More.”
Rabbi Shmuley’s book, published last month by Geffen, has stirred a high volume debate among Jews and Christians. Some Orthodox Jewish colleagues have declared him a heretic. Some Christians have said, Hands off Jesus! Tonight (March 13), the Rabbi and Dr. Michael Brown for the Messianic Chosen People Ministries will debate Shmuley’s view that Jesus was a relatively conventional Orthodox Jewish teacher of his time.
Boteach is a relationship expert perhaps best known for his candid and popular book Kosher Sex. He is the author of twenty-five other books, which have been translated into eighteen languages. He is not shy around the media, keeping up a whirlwind of columns, TV, and radio appearances. Rabbi Shmuley has debated and discussed Jesus and Christianity with leading Christian scholars for more than twenty years, and his columns on Judaism and Christianity have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Jerusalem Post, Huffington Post, Washington Post, London Times, Guardian, and many other leading publications. Rabbi Shmuley was labeled the most famous rabbi in America by Newsweek magazine, and is regularly listed as one of the ten most influential rabbis in the United States. Rabbi Shmuley lives in Englewood, NJ, with his Australian wife Debbie. They have nine children.
“Kosher Jesus offers Jews and Christians the real story of Jesus, a wholly observant, Pharisaic Rabbi who fought Roman paganism and oppression and was killed for it. Jesus never claimed divinity and not only did not abrogate the Torah but observed every letter of the Law. Jesus’ principal teachings go back to Jewish sources. Later writers stripped Jesus of his Jewishness and sought to portray him as an enemy of his people.
“Jesus’ most famous oration, the Sermon on the Mount is a reformulation of the Torah he studied and to which he was committed. A small sampling:
Jesus: (Matt 5:5) Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Hebrew Bible: (Psalms 37) The meek shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
Jesus: (Matt 5:8) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see G-d.
Hebrew Bible: (Psalms 24) Who shall ascend the mount of the Lord – the pure-hearted.
Jesus: (Matt 5:39) But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Hebrew Bible: (Lamentations 3:30) Let him offer his cheek to him who smites him….
Jesus: (Matt 6:33) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
Hebrew Bible: (Psalms 37:4) Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Jesus: (Matt 7:7) Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.
Hebrew Bible: (Jer 29:13) When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.
Jesus: (Matt 7:23) Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.”
Hebrew Bible: (Psalms 6:9) Depart from me, all you workers of evil…
“We Jews will forever reject the divinity of any man, the single most emphatic prohibition of our Bible. And we can never accept the Messiahship of any personality, however noble or well-intended, who died without ushering in the age of physical redemption. But as Christians and Jews now come together to love and support the majestic and humane Jewish state, it’s time that Christians rediscover the deep Jewishness and religious Jewish commitment of Jesus, while Jews reexamine a lost son who was murdered by a brutal Roman state who sought to impose Roman culture and rule upon a tiny yet stubborn nation who will never be severed from their eternal covenant with the G-d of Israel.”
Next read: OpEd: Koshering Jesus a bit too much. By Howard Teich, attorney and Jewish community leader