|< Q17.1||TOC||Q17.3 >|
No. There are many problems when one tries to reconcile belief in Jesus as the Messiah or the "Son of God" with traditional Jewish beliefs. A good description of the problems is found in the essay "Why Jews Can't Be For Jesus" by Rabbi Shmuel Arkush, Head of Operation Judaism in the United Kingdom. The essay may be found at http://www.ed.ac.uk/~jsoc/chadash/jesus.htm; some of the key points are repeated below:
Christians believe in the Trinity, that G-d consists of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. They say that this three-part G-d is the same as the G-d worshipped by the Jews. However, Torah says, "Hear O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d the L-rd is One." This is the watchword of our faith from Deut.. One cannot reconcile a single G-d with a three-part G-d.
Christians believe that one cannot approach G-d except through Jesus; therefore, all prayers must be in Jesus' name. However, Torah, in the Ten Commandments, says "I am the L-rd your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me". By praying to Jesus as a mediator, one is putting Jesus before G-d.
Christians say that Jesus was a Prophet who came to change the way it used to be. Torah says: "If there arise among you a prophet or a dreamer and he gives you a sign or a miracle. And the sign or miracle comes to pass and he calls you saying 'Let us go after other gods, whom you have not known and let us worship them.' You shall not listen to that prophet or dreamer. For G-d is testing you, to see whether you love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deut. 13:2)
All Jewish groups agree that organizations such as Jews for Jesus and Messianic Judaism are not Judaism. Consider the following responsa from the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Reform Rabbinic organization:
Individuals who feel a vague attachment to one or another religion pose no problem for those religious groups who leave identification solely in the hands of the individual. Judaism, however, does not do so. It is not the individual who defines whether she is Jewish but the group. For us in the Jewish community anyone who claims that Jesus is their savior is no longer a Jew and is an apostate. Through that belief she has placed herself outside the Jewish community. Whether she cares to define herself as a Christian or as a "fulfilled Jew", "Messianic Jew," or any other designation is irrelevant; to us, she is clearly a Christian. It is true that this individual may be somewhat different form other Christians as she continues to follow certain Jewish practices and folkways, but we should remember that various Christian sects do likewise. For example, the Seventh Day Adventists observe shabbat as their day of rest. There are some Black Christian groups who also follow specifically Jewish observances, and there have been other groups like this in the past centuries.
The concluding paragraph of the responsa says:
[They] should be seen as outsiders who have placed themselves outside the Jewish community. This should be made clear to them and to the Jewish and general community, especially as many such individuals are active proselytizers. Such individuals should not be accorded membership in the congregation or treated in any way which makes them appear as if they were affiliated with the Jewish community, for that poses a clear danger to the Jewish community and also to its relationships with the general community. We certainly do not want these individuals to speak for Judaism in any public forum. In conclusion, we should make the distinction between ourselves and these individuals very clear to them, to the Jewish community, and to the general community around us.
This is also the position within the state of Israel. According to the law of the State of Israel, "Messianic Jews" are considered members of another religion and therefore ineligible to make aliyah to Israel as Jews. The "Messianic Jews" took their cases to the Israeli Supreme Court on more than one occasion, and every time the verdict was loud and clear - theyre not Jewish!
The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.
Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at email@example.com.
© (c) 1993-2002
Daniel P. Faigin <firstname.lastname@example.org>