Tuesday, July 25, 2006

They've Got the Right Key, Baby, but the Wrong Keyhole

Over on a blog which extols Menachem Schneerson as the Messiah, they apply the Divine Name to the late Rebbe.

Their justification? He is the Messiah and the Talmud (quoting Jeremiah) and other rabbinic sources say the Messiah will be called HaShem Tzidkenu, the LORD Our Righteousness.:
Gemara Talmud Bava Bathra 75b English Translation: And Rava said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan in the future the Tzadkim(Righteous) will be called by the name of the Holy One Blessed Be He as it is said "All that are called by My Name and for My Honor have I created them, I have formed them and I have even made them"(Isaiah 43:7) and Rabbi Shmuel Bar Nachmani said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan 3 have the Name of the Holy One Blessed Be He called upon them and these are them, Tzadikim, Moshiach and Yerushalaiim Tzadikim as already stated; Moshiach as it is written "And this is My Name that they will call him HaShem Tzidkeinu"(Jeremiah 23:6) and Yerushalaiim as it is written "surrounding 18 000 and the name of the city since the day, HaShem is its name"(Ezekiel 48:35?)… (Talmud Baba Batra 75b

As Aerosmith's lead singer says, "you've got the right key, baby, but the wrong...key...hole."

Jeremiah does indeed point out that the Lord's Name would be used of the Messiah. But that's not the only piece of the puzzle.

The prophet Micah wrote:
But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, Which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, Out of thee shall one come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth are from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5:1 JPS

Isaiah wrote:
Isaiah 9:6 (=9:5 in JPS version) NIV*
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

To which the Midrash comments:
Midrash Mishle, S. Buber edition
The Messiah is called by eight names: Yinnon, Tzemah, Pele ["Miracle"], Yo'etz ["Counselor"], Mashiah ["Messiah"], El ["God"], Gibbor ["Hero"], and Avi 'Ad Shalom ["Eternal Father of Peace"]

So why is Menachem Schneerson, to borrow from Steven Tyler again, the wrong keyhole?

First, he wan't born in Bethlehem. The one who fulfilled these and other Messianic prophecies is Y'shua, Jesus.


Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

I am sorry, but I find yur article deceptive, with a ring of truth. Yes there are radical Lubavitch Jews who believe Scheersen is the Messiah, but that is a tiny minority. I spoke to a Lubavtch Jew a few days ago and he knows some of these rebbi followers and he says very, very few actually believe the rebbi is the messiah or G-d. He knew of only one Jew that belived the rebbi was G-d. Also, certain Jewish groups have purposely misrepresented what the followers of the rebbi actually believe. Most of them don't believe what you think they do. And I see, to no surprise, that you hope to capitalize on this temperary moment of weakness in the Jewish community.
By the way speaking of messiah's that failed to meet prophecy. Jesus ha sno father. A requirement for the future messiah is that he will be descended from David on his fathers side.

7/25/2006 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

By "certain Jewish groups" "purposely misrepresenting" the situation, I assume you are including David Berger who's written on why in his opinion the Lubavitcher's ideas about Messiah are beyond the pale of Orthodox Judaism?

And you wrote "Jesus has no father." So do I understand that you believe he was born of a virgin?

7/25/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...


Yosef was Y'shua's father, legally speaking. He was Yosef's son. I'm not sure what the formal process is for virgin births, but I don't know of any rules against being someone's legal heir in the case of a virgin birth.

You are assuming that only gene-carrying descendants are legal descendants. Why is that? Can you provide me any Scripture that says otherwise?

Furthermore, the Tanakh speaks of a Messiah who is fully divine and fully human.

I believe the Midrash (Genesis Rabbah 46:5, Soncino Press Editon, Cf. Gen. Rabbah 55:6, 55:7, Lev. Rabbah 25:6, Deut. Rabbah 2:7) refers to Psalm 110 as a Messianic psalm. Read what the Psalm of David says in its opening verse:
"The LORD says to my Lord:
'Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.'"

If the Messiah is David's descendant, why does he call the Messiah lord?

7/25/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Sultan Knish said...

tribal membership only goes by direct descent, see the son of the egyptian who cursed G-d

you don't become a priest if a priestly family adopts you, you don't become the physical descendant of Aaron or King David because a member of his family adopts you

that's obvious nonesense, a seed requires someone actually descended from it physically

Psalm 110 is as usual mistranslated. The first Lord is the name of G-d. The second one Adoni merely means my master and is a common term of address, such as Sir. Still used in Israel today.

7/26/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

I was being skeptical. Of course I believe Jesus had a father. He is human afterall. I was just saying according to Christians he has no father. So I was pointing out a contradiction. According to prophecy the father will be genetically related to him. As for where that is I am not sure. You will have to wait untill I can find someone wo can direct me to the appropriate place.
As for berger. Yes I have heard his name mentioned. However, have you heard of rabbi Pozner? He had a debate with Berger or some other ortodox rabbi over the same issue. Pozner is a Lubavitch rabbi who I have had the honor of meeting several times in private and we have discussed this very issue. He was actually quite close to the rebbi and was a dilegent follower of him. He is currently in Nashville and you could find his number on the Internet if you are interested in further knowledge on the matter. He made it clear that most Lubavitchers do not believe this and that the few that do are erroneous in thier beleifs. Fully in support of my statement.

7/26/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Sultan, Psalm 110 is not mistranslated. We would completely agree with what you just said. The second "lord" is "adnoai." But the point is why would David call his descendant "lord".

7/26/2006 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Moshe, there is no contradiction. Legally, he was Joseph's son. I see nothing in Scripture which would preclude that. While similar to adoption, it isn't quite adoption.

If you can tell me what the proper legal inheritance rules for virgin births are, I would be glad to here it.

7/26/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...


There are still Lubavitchers in Brooklyn who openly call Rebbe Schneerson the Messiah. As to whether he is God, that is probably a minority view, but I think the idea of Schneerson being Messiah is more widespread. You can see the literature tables in Brooklyn still, with this idea. See pictures of this:
One picture
Another picture
So whether very few or not, it remains an influential and well-publicized idea.

And on a different subject: supposing someone was born of a Jewish mother and no human father. Just suppose. A miracle. He must be Jewish because his mother is Jewish. What tribe is from? Is he tribeless?

7/26/2006 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Sultan Knish said...

David isn't calling his descendant Lord, the psalm is addressed to King David by the psalmist who calls King David Adoni. My master.

Adoption is not a seed. There is no precedent or basis anywhere in the Torah for calling an adopted son, a seed. One does not become a priest of the sons of Aaron by adoption into a priestly family. One does not descend from King David by being adopted by one of his descendants.

Asking what the inheritance rules for virgin birth are is rather like asking what the inheritance rules are for werewolves. It's impossible to discuss legal rules for something that doesn't exist. The question though is not inheritance, since one doesn't inherit descent, one inherits property. Descent requires a physical descent.

As for the radical lubavitchers, citing them is a strawman, much as if I began citing Christian Identity or Mormons as representative of Christianity.

7/27/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

A good question, but a pointless one for Jewish Law. Jewish Law does not allow for someone to have a non-existant father. I suppose if you look at it from the view that the father raped the mother and is therefore unknown there would be some law for that. I would not know the Sahedrin's ruling on which tribe he is from. My guess would be the mother's tribe. I fail to see the relavance of your question.

Again speak to rabbi Pozner who knows the situation better then anyone and it is not as wide spread as some groups claim it is.

Consider this. Messianic Jews are hitting every major city in the country on this campaign. Fliers, videos, and people everywhere. An uneducated person might think, "These people must have a huge number of followers to be able to afford such a wide spread campaign. This is not ture, however, you have maybe 500,000, most of which are not Jews. So even if I saw these Lubavitch campaigns in every city on every street corner I would still know it is a mircoscopic minority.

7/27/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Knish said:

"Asking what the inheritance rules for virgin birth are is rather like asking what the inheritance rules are for werewolves. It's impossible to discuss legal rules for something that doesn't exist."

So if Jesus didn't exist, why are you spending every day arguing about him?

I think Knish and Moshe are students on summer break, but they'll be less involved when school starts back up.

It's OK, I argued with Rabbi Elefant in my Hillel every week for a year...

"As for the radical lubavitchers, citing them is a strawman, much as if I began citing Christian Identity or Mormons as representative of Christianity."

That's the whole point of the debate between David Berger et al and the Lubavitchers - are they representative or have they gone overboard.

Here in NYC they are certainly prominent.

7/27/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Moshe said,

"This is not ture, however, you have maybe 500,000, most of which are not Jews."

Thanks for the confident large figure, but probably 1/2 to 1% of Jews, maybe 140,000 worldwide? And did you take a census.

Moshe, you should know better than to say that most aren't Jewish. This is lashon ha-ra. It's a shanda that you should engage in it.

7/27/2006 05:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

I was not sure of the messianic Jews numbers. I have heard figures as high as 500,000. So to be on the safe side I gave your organization a high figure. Most are Christians in interfaith marriages trying to learn more about Judaism. Yes I am a college student and I find these conversations as a way to pass the time. I am learning things by the way so it is not a waste of my time.

7/27/2006 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

"A good question, but a pointless one for Jewish Law. Jewish Law does not allow for someone to have a non-existant father."

So what happens if there is a virgin birth?

Here is an excerpt from this link:

Joseph is already a legal heir of David, but he seems also to 'pick up' Mary's legal heritage, too. How?

Probably through the law of levirate marriage.

The Jewish folk had numerous provisions for cases of inheritance-transfer in extreme cases. One of the more frequent situations that had to be covered (in a land-based, clan-ownership system) was that of childless marriages, or in some cases, of son-less marriages.
One of the more concise statements of how this would apply here, is by J. Stafford Wright in Dict. of New Test. Theol., III. 662:

"Mary's father (Heli?) had two daughters, Mary and the unnamed wife of Zebedee (John 19:25; Matt 27:56). If there were no sons, Joseph would become son of Heli on his marriage, to preserve the family name and inheritance (cf. Num 27:1-11; 36:1-12, esp. v. 8, which accounts for Mary marrying a man of the family of David.)"
[The main passages in the OT that refer to these various laws are Num 7:1-11; Num 36:1-12; Lev 25:25; Dt 25:5-10. These practices were widespread in the Ancient Near East, and a good discussion of the details in Israel and differences from the ANE can be found in Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel: Vol 1--Social Institutions. Two famous cases, for good or ill, of these practices are in the story of Ruth (Book of Ruth) and in the story of Tamar (Gen 38:6ff).]
What this 'nets out to' is that Joseph 'married into' Mary's gene-pool...and hence, the virgin birth doesn't stop the lineage "transfer".

In other words, that the physical-gene did NOT come FROM JOSEPH was IRRELEVANT in this case. Legal and kinship standing was related to EITHER 'genes' OR to 'marriage'. (Although it should be pointed out that levirate arrangements like this required close kinship already, and hence, quite a number of overlapping genes.).

So, strictly speaking, Jesus got his genes from Mary and his legal standing (in the royal heir line) from Joseph (thru the marriage of M+J).

7/28/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...


You are saying a virgin birth are against the rules. I ask: what are the rules for the virgin birth? You say: there are no rules for something that doesn't exist.

You are arguing in a circle. It's impossible for me to break in. Is the virgin birth against the rules or not?

If there's no rules, what's the problem.

The virgin birth is attested to by the Resurrection, so merely claiming it didn't exist doesn't work.

If lack of Joseph's DNA is the problem, I'm sure God could have copied some of Joseph's DNA Himself.

With God, all things are possible.

7/28/2006 08:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

LOL. For robinson and rich. Think about what your arguing. You are pulling out sources from the Tenakh that are not related to virgin births and you are trying to say there is a mystical, if not magical transfer, of Joseph's genes into mary. Not even are most astute geneticists has any idea about what your talking about. Maybe Christianity has voodoo in it. Take a step back and think about what you are saying. LOL

7/28/2006 01:03:00 PM  

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