Hitting the Nail on the Head:
by: Schvach Yid
Shmuley Boteach hits the nail on the head with his comments entitled ‘Spreading Jewish Radiance’, which appeared in the Opinion section of the Jerusalem Post’s on-line edition, dated May 6, 2007. And thanks to Yo Yenta for introducing this article on her blog site (YoYenta.com), in which Rabbi Boteach of ‘Shalom in the Home’ fame (which appears on the TV cable channel TLC) tackles the dual issues of conversion to Judaism and of the Catholic Church’s centuries old campaign against Judaism. First he considers the matter of conversion to Judaism which, he concludes, is necessary because of the declining birthrate of Jews (okay, I’m guilty) and, he feels, is the right thing to do – that the world Jewish community should now actively seek converts. Oh, I dunno. I’m a live and let live kind of guy. To actively seek, instead of readily accepting would be converts on the basis of his/her own initiative is perhaps, well, too un-Jewish. Besides, don't we realize how futile it is to try to convince someone to abandon the faith of his youth in exchange for some other belief? I don't think salesmanship has been very successful at this in the past - other pressures were necessary. I like the thought of non-Jews independently discovering the beauty of living a Jewish life. Those who want to – good; the others – laz im gehn! – they too are entitled, and as Rabbi Boteach points out, Judaism is not the true religion. Any religion that teaches belief in HaShem is valid.
The rabbi then goes after the current serving pope’s proposal of reinstating an old Latin mass which offers a prayer concerning the conversion of Jews to Catholicism, and which moreover, denigrates Judaism. Need I say it? Shades of Mel Gibson! Can you imagine, and from a German pope at that! Gott es willen (for Gd's sake ). It’s just what we need, a return to the ‘good old days’ .What might we expect from a Spanish pope … We, the recipients of HaShem’s revelation and commandments are supposed to be spiritually deficient? Has the leadership of the Catholic Church ever read the ‘Old Testament’? From where do they suppose stems their belief in the Almighty? And what about their scripture - no, not Catechism, I mean the ‘New Testament’? It’s about a Jew and his family and followers, in Eretz Yisrael. Whom do they suppose wrote it, Rudyard Kipling? Why do they suppose we reject it? Since we are the authors of much, if not all, of it don’t they even suspect we know what we’re doing in regard to it? I think that just a modicum of consideration on their part would be appropriate. They might demand from us an explanation of the horrendous history we Jews have suffered (much of it at their hands) if not for Judaism's rejection of the Christian messiah, to which I would retort: 'Have you ever read Deuteronomy?' If Gd was miffed with Pharaoh for diverting the service we owed Him, then how much more (to invoke the rabbinic ditty) would Gd be angered by our creation of a deity taken from among ourselves? We created another golden calf, but this time it wasn't fashioned from the lifted jewellery of Egypt. This time it was one of us! (upon writing this article the image of two construction worker thugs at my former place of employment flashed to mind - one had grown a moustache like you-know-whose and, upon seeing me walking down the hallway, called my name and began to shochel).
Yasher koach to Rabbi Boteach for writing about these issues which are so vital to Jews around the world.