By Mark S Railey
November 30, 2021
Why do so many Christians despise the Jewish Sages? And, how will this change?
Sotah 47a:15 answers the question: “It is taught in a Baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: With regard to the evil inclination, to a child, and to a woman, the left hand should reject and the right hand should welcome. If one pushes too forcefully, the damage might be irreversible.”
When Yeshua taught his disciples, he had been so rejected by the Sanhedrin who incited the people of Jerusalem to fight against his teachings, interpretations of Torah, his miracles, and his followers, so much so that he felt the damage had been irreversible. He was sent to the Jew first and must now shake the dust off his feet to send his disciples to the nations (and yet still, to Judea, Samaria, and then to the ends of the Earth). This was the fault of the Sanhedrin and not the fault of the disciples who were themselves Jews.
By the medieval era, the damage was indeed irreversible. The Toldot Yeshu teaches that the Sanhedrin wanted the Christians to be separated from the Jerusalem version of Judaism so they charged Simeon Kepha (or Paul) to separate the Christians by creating alternative traditions. This literature, of course, is anachronistic and is historically inaccurate (don't choke, it was just a story!). Rather, the Toldot Yeshu, as an anti-gospel, was written to antagonize the relationship between Christians and Jews so that Jews would feel righteous indignation towards all Christians and thus stay within the Judaism of the rabbinic traditions of the day. The same was done during the medieval era through the Christian disputations and the inquisition. The Church wanted to build animosity and hatred for the Jews so that Christians would not seek understanding through the font of Judaism and thus leave the control of the Church. Today, we do not need such fiction since restoration between Jews and Christians is possible - indeed, it is prophesied in the Tanakh as the very will of Hashem for these days.
Christian, it is time to embrace the Torah as you embrace the one who is the Word made Flesh (John 1:14).
Jew, it is time to welcome the ones who embrace the Torah as you embrace the prophecies of the nations coming/returning to Israel to study Torah under the Moshiach (Zech. 8:23).
This holiday season, this December Dilemma, learn to build new bridges so that the new year might indeed be a fresh year of new beginnings. Friendship and restoration are more possible today than ever before. Blessed be the Name!