"Like" One Under the Law

Should Catholic Jews (and Messianic Jews) keep the Torah? How should Catholic Jews relate to rabbinical authority?

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Ariel
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Post by Ariel » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:46 pm

It's specifically YOUR religion that is unattractive to us.
Out of curiosity Gerat Tsedek, what is the main point that you are trying to make here? I may be wrong, but I have the impression that you have a bone to pick, with some amount of frustration in the tone of your posts.

You state that you converted to Judaism. Perhaps you could tell us more about that conversion. I'm just wondering what you hope to receive and/or contribute on our forum. You are more than welcome to continue with the discussions of course, I'm just wondering where you're coming from...

Ariel
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

Gerat Tzedek
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Post by Gerat Tzedek » Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:38 pm

I first met Orthodox Jews when I was thirty, and subsequently began studying Judaism in depth. It began a 15 year long push-me pull-you that was very difficult for me. After all, one does not really need to become a Jew, and I couldn't articulate what it was that kept bringing me back, even though I was basically making the effort to be happy away from it. But I knew from that time that if I ever found out that I had Jewish ancestry, I would immediately become observant and do what it took to clear up issues of status.

That became fact. I found out my maternal great-great grandmother was a Jew. It was nothing that would stand up before a Beis Din -- I was not halachically Jewish. But it was way more than enough to tip the scales. So I went through Orthodox conversion.

I came into this forum because I do believe Israel is in danger. I believe we are headed for another holocaust -- anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, we have a madman at the helm in Iran, and the charter of Hamas calls for the killing of all Jews EVERYWHERE. WE need allies, and we need them NOW. Not after the shower doors have shut.

And yes, you do sense frustration. The whole "Hebrew-Catholic" thing drove me absolutely nuts before my conversion. Probably more than any other single factor. I saw a few genuinely sincere Jews seeking to live their covenant. But mostly I saw a lot of goyim with distant distant connections to Jews who lived hundreds of years ago who didn't know what the heck they were talking about, spewing ignorance, disrespecting Israel, who really had no intention of identifying as Jews or living a covenantal life. They were just into sentimental pseudo-Jewish nonsense and sometimes I got so angry I just didn't know what to do with myself. There is nothing more insulting to Israel than wannabe-Jews who feel perfectly free to fool around with what is sacred to us.

The second thing that is a frustration, both then and now, is that despite there being exceptions to the rule here in this forum, THE RULE STILL EXISTS that Jews baptised into the church are lost to Israel. They become indistingishable from any other gentile Catholic. They lose touch with the Jewish community. They are basically stolen. It's wrong. I'm not going to tell you HOW to fix it. There are a number of different ways, some more to my liking, some more to your liking. My ideas...I'll keep to myself, as I am a guest here. But I think that you Catholics can look the problem sqarely in the face, and try to solve it: How can you, as Catholics, ASSIST the Jews in your midst to remain faithful to Covenant, rather than enable them to break Covenant as has been the norm?

The third frustration is basically this: most of the ignorance of Catholics about Jews is not the simple ignorance that can be corrected with education. Rather, it is the arrogant ignorance that DOESN'T WANT to be taught. The problem is sytemic. I remember a priest who taught in his homily that Jews don't understand that G-d is our Father. This was not an ignorant parishioner, but one of your finest, eductated in your seminaries. Individual Catholics here and there may care, but the Church as a whole? The Church does not care about enough about Jews to try to understand them. It regulates the topic to a committee and forgets about them. And THAT is not only frustrating, but very demoralizing and bitter for a person who once hoped for progress between Catholics and Jews.

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Post by Hadassah » Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:47 am

Hello Gerat Tzedek:
Gerat Tzedek wrote:The second thing that is a frustration, both then and now, is that despite there being exceptions to the rule here in this forum, THE RULE STILL EXISTS that Jews baptised into the church are lost to Israel. They become indistingishable from any other gentile Catholic. They lose touch with the Jewish community. They are basically stolen. It's wrong. I'm not going to tell you HOW to fix it.
Just wanting to clarify what you are saying here... Are you telling us that if a Jew were baptized, accepting Jesus Christ as the divine Son of G-d and embracing the idea of a New Convenant AND he remained observant, he would not be lost to Israel and there would be no cause for strain on his relationship with his observant Jewish community?

Many Blessings,
Hadassah

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Post by Ariel » Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:09 pm

Gerat Tsedek,

wow this is quite the journey. Thanks for sharing your point of view so clearly. I can totally empathize with your frustrations.

You are right that Israel needs allies, and its about time that Catholics wake up to that fact, and realize that it is a biblical imperative to stand up with the people of the Covenant.

I understand your frustration with the Hebrew-Catholic movement. You are not alone in this. There are actually a number of Catholic Jews who are distressed that the whole movement really seems to retain only an outer varnish of Jewish practices. As you can see from our website, we definitely support the development and establishment of a genuine Jewish-Catholic spirituality.
THE RULE STILL EXISTS that Jews baptized into the church are lost to Israel. They become indistingishable from any other gentile Catholic. They lose touch with the Jewish community. They are basically stolen.
I think the biggest problem here is that most baptized Jews come from a secular background with little to no understanding of orthodox Judaism. So it's not exactly that entering the Church makes them lose their Judaism, perhaps it's more like they never knew it in the first place.
How can you, as Catholics, ASSIST the Jews in your midst to remain faithful to Covenant, rather than enable them to break Covenant as has been the norm?
Right now it's hard to say because there is no serious Jewish-Catholic spirituality in place in the Church. My suggestion at this point would be: If a Jew is baptized and becomes Catholic, he/she should also study Judaism and join a living Jewish community, pray in the Synagogue, celebrate the feasts, and live according to the halakhah. I am aware that this will not be easy, and that he/she may face rejection as much on the Jewish as on the Catholic side. But I don't see any other solution right now. To bridge a 2,000 year gap between Church and Synagogue will not happen in a day. In addition, it seems to me that this is the way it went in the early Church: Jewish-Christians continued to attend the Temple and synagogue in communion with Israel, while also attending the home churches of the first (Jewish) Christians.
There are a number of different ways, some more to my liking, some more to your liking. My ideas...I'll keep to myself, as I am a guest here.
Actually I would be interested in your ideas if you wouldn't mind sharing them with us.
most of the ignorance of Catholics about Jews is not the simple ignorance that can be corrected with education. Rather, it is the arrogant ignorance that DOESN'T WANT to be taught.
I'm not sure this applies to MOST serious Catholics, but yes with this I think you are right too. When the ignorance is willful and stubborn, I think the main thing we can do is to pray for such people, because such attitudes reveal above all a need for conversion before there can be true change, unfortunately.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

Gerat Tzedek
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Post by Gerat Tzedek » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:12 am

Hadassah wrote: Just wanting to clarify what you are saying here... Are you telling us that if a Jew were baptized, accepting Jesus Christ as the divine Son of G-d and embracing the idea of a New Convenant AND he remained observant, he would not be lost to Israel and there would be no cause for strain on his relationship with his observant Jewish community?

Many Blessings,
Hadassah
I'm not sure that such a thing is possible, even if it is attempted.

I suspect that some of the commandments, such as kashrut, were put into place for the purpose of seperating Israel from the nations. I just really don't say how a Jew can keep completely kosher and be in close community with gentiles. Aquaintences, yes. Friends, no. Why? Because when you stop to think about it, community is constantly sharing food, and in the end what kashrut comes down to is that Jews cannot share food with gentiles.

Being observant is HARD. We manage because we support each other as a community. There is a reason why Jewish men gather in a minyan to pray at least once a day. A reason we gather on Shabbat and feast days. For a Jew to be outside of Jewish community, to be alone and within Catholic community, they do not have this support, they do not have their Jewish family to help hold them up.

However, instructing them that this is their birthright and responsibility is really the only right thing for you to do. I really don't see how you can get around it. The only question is how BEST for them to keep their covenant?

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Post by Hadassah » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:30 am

Hello,
Gerat Tzedek wrote:"However, instructing them that this is their birthright and responsibility is really the only right thing for you to do. I really don't see how you can get around it. The only question is how BEST for them to keep their covenant?
The question of how baptized observant Jews could best keep covenant obligations outside of an observant Jewish community is an interesting one to think about, of course. How would observant baptized Jews know how to proceed, those who require halachic consultation? In your vision, who would decide or legislate such issues? Is it left to the individual?

Many Blessings,
Hadassah

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Post by Ariel » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:40 am

I don't think that would be possible Hadassah. Judaism is by its nature very communitarian, and keeping halakhah is centered around the community.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

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Post by Hadassah » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:58 pm

Hi Ariel,

Yes, I understand. But Gerat Tzedak put forth the vision that the Church should encourage (observant) baptized Jews in the keeping the law in the best way possible, given that they would be outside the community already. I'd like to hear more about what she might envision for the Church in terms of positive action. How might that all work? What might be acceptable?

Many Blessings,
Hadassah

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Re: "Like" One Under the Law

Post by mikemac » Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:47 pm

Hi. I find this thread fascinating.

After catching up by reading all the posts I went to the Association of Hebrew Catholics web site. They link to your web site Ariel.

From their web site under Studies I went to "Themes of Salvation History" and listened to Lecture number 8 from Nov. 7, 2007 by Dr. Lawrence Feingold titled "The Law of Moses and Its Fulfillment in Christ". Here's the link,
http://www.hebrewcatholic.org/Studies/M ... vatio.html

This is what I learned from this Lecture.

Dr. Lawrence Feingold asks the question if the Judicial Law (part of the Mosaic Law) should be binding for all time. He refers to the sermon on the mount and Acts 10 and Acts 15. Jesus tells His apostles to go and teach all nations but Dr. Feingold asks how could they do that with parts of the Law of Moses. He says in the Gospel of Mark, Mark tells us that Jesus already abrogated this part of the Law. He says the Natural Law of God (the 10 commandments) are binding for all time but about the Judicial Law (part of the Mosaic Law) it depends on circumstances so it is fitting that they change as circumstance change. He relates it to a 3 year old having different orders to follow from their parents than a 16 year old would. He also relates to the part of the Mosaic Law that says "Whoever strikes their mother or father will be put to death", the death penalty being abolished in a lot of jurisdictions. He says the Ceremonial Law of the Old Testament commemorates the Exodus and points to the salvation of Christ on the cross so it had to change after Jesus' death and resurrection. So he says the Ceremonial Law should change. In Christ's Passion we find the perfect accomplishment of the Law. Jesus also fulfills the Law in us with the Grace of the seven Sacraments. Jesus is the true Holocaust, the sacrificial first born. He finishes by saying we should be thankful that we received the 10 Commandments as well as the Grace of the Holy Spirit through the Sacraments to put it into practice. This is all taken from Dr. Feingold's lecture so please don't ban me for posting it.

This should not mean giving up your Jewish identity. I am not asked to give up my Canadian identity or my Highland Scot heritage by being a Catholic. The 144 thousand that administer to God when the new Jerusalem comes down from Heaven are from the twelve tribes, hence God keeps His promise for the land (Revelation Chapters 3, 7 & 21).

By the way I don't believe it is part of Catholic dogma (I may be wrong) but I do realize that in Malichi Chapter 4 it states "5 Behold I will send you Elias (Elijah) the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers: lest I come, and strike the earth with anathema." In the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, Chapters 9, 10 and 11 while Paul is lamenting for his brethren the spirit of Elias is also mentioned. And in Revelation Chapter 11 we see what will happen when the two witnesses, Henoch and Elias come to the holy city Jerusalem to prophesy clothed in sackcloth for 42 months.

God bless
Mike
Last edited by mikemac on Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ariel
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Re: "Like" One Under the Law

Post by Ariel » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:26 pm

hi Mike,

If I would ban anyone with an opinion contrary to mine here I would probably end up alone in the forum :lol: Just kidding.

Dr. Feingold's opinion is pretty much the standard one of traditional Catholic theology. In my opinion it sounds convincing mostly because that it is familiar and we are not used to thinking outside this box. But where do the Scriptures ever make a distinction between the natural law/10 commandments and the judicial law? The fact is they don't. That is a scholastic, Thomistic distinction (unless I'm mistaken) that is understandable given its original context, but I'm not sure this artificial split of the Torah is really rooted in divine revelation, especially for Jews who feel that Torah observance is a real means of communion with God and not only a signpost that pointed to Christ that can now be discarded.

Ariel
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

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Re: "Like" One Under the Law

Post by mikemac » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:39 pm

But Malachi does state Elias shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers. I guess maybe not quite yet. 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2 has to happen first before the 42 months start. :D

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Re: "Like" One Under the Law

Post by Athol » Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:21 am

Ariel wrote: Dr. Feingold's opinion is pretty much the standard one of traditional Catholic theology. In my opinion it sounds convincing mostly because that it is familiar and we are not used to thinking outside this box. But where do the Scriptures ever make a distinction between the natural law/10 commandments and the judicial law? The fact is they don't. That is a scholastic, Thomistic distinction (unless I'm mistaken) that is understandable given its original context, but I'm not sure this artificial split of the Torah is really rooted in divine revelation, especially for Jews who feel that Torah observance is a real means of communion with God and not only a signpost that pointed to Christ that can now be discarded.

Ariel
Yes Dr Feingold is a thomistic theologian and is a wonderful man and teacher but I disagree with him on a number of points and on this point Cardinal Lustiger and the Pope (writing as Cardinal Ratzinger) also seems to disagree. See Cardinal Lustiger's Book "The Promise" and Cardinal Ratzinger's comments on "Torah and the Gospel". St thomas has since proved to be wrong on a few issues such as the Immaculate Conception eventhough his philosophical approach to theology is an important treasure of the church but it is not the only way of approaching the truths of Scripture and the Faith.
Adore Wisdom

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Re: "Like" One Under the Law

Post by Glory71 » Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:21 pm

If you don't mind...this is my opinion...

I really think that the answer to all our questions is the love of God above everything else. If I look at the cross, I see PURE LOVE. A Loving sacrifies. If we look at the 10 commandments and the judicial law, I think this is meant only for one purpose...our perfection. Our Lord Jesus Christ has shown the way...obedient to the Father in a loving way. So now if I take kashrut for example...I see it as a loving sacrifies. A denial of oneself. I think, no man can really be condemned based on what he eats but rather what comes out of his mouth. I also think attempts to explain these dietary laws can really be explained better by simply looking at the cross.

Moreover, I also do not think there is a difference between between the old and the new. The old exposes what sin is and the punishment for it while our Lord Jesus Christ, victorious over sin, has shown us how to achieve perfect obedience...by loving God above all.

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Re: "Like" One Under the Law

Post by mikemac » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:26 pm

Ariel wrote:But where do the Scriptures ever make a distinction between the natural law/10 commandments and the judicial law? The fact is they don't.

Ariel
Actually they do Ariel. In the New Testament in Romans 13, Luke 18 and Matthew 19 Jesus repeats the ten commandments. I'm sure there are other spots in the New Testament as well. I've been meaning to post this for a while.

Mike

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