Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Jesus Prophecy in the Torah

In the post Why specifically the son of your mother?, Parshablog discusses why the pasuk in Deuteronomy 13:7 "seems to suggest that it is specifically your maternal brother who will try to tempt you to serve idols."
ז. כִּי יְסִיתְךָ אָחִיךָ בֶן אִמֶּךָ אוֹ בִנְךָ אוֹ בִתְּךָ אוֹ אֵשֶׁת חֵיקֶךָ אוֹ רֵעֲךָ אֲשֶׁר כְּנַפְשְׁךָ בַּסֵּתֶר לֵאמֹר נֵלְכָה וְנַעַבְדָה אֱ־לֹהִים אֲחֵרִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָדַעְתָּ אַתָּה וַאֲבֹתֶיךָ: ח. מֵאֱלֹהֵי הָעַמִּים אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבֹתֵיכֶם הַקְּרֹבִים אֵלֶיךָ אוֹ הָרְחֹקִים מִמֶּךָּ מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ וְעַד קְצֵה הָאָרֶץ: ט. לֹא תֹאבֶה לוֹ וְלֹא תִשְׁמַע אֵלָיו וְלֹא תָחוֹס עֵינְךָ עָלָיו וְלֹא תַחְמֹל וְלֹא תְכַסֶּה עָלָיו: י. כִּי הָרֹג תַּהַרְגֶנּוּ יָדְךָ תִּהְיֶה בּוֹ בָרִאשׁוֹנָה לַהֲמִיתוֹ וְיַד כָּל הָעָם בָּאַחֲרֹנָה: יא. וּסְקַלְתּוֹ בָאֲבָנִים וָמֵת כִּי בִקֵּשׁ לְהַדִּיחֲךָ מֵעַל יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הַמּוֹצִיאֲךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים: יב. וְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל יִשְׁמְעוּ וְיִרָאוּן וְלֹא יוֹסִפוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת כַּדָּבָר הָרָע הַזֶּה בְּקִרְבֶּךָ:7. If your brother, the son of your mother, tempts you in secret or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your embrace, or your friend, who is as your own soul saying, "Let us go and worship other gods, which neither you, nor your forefathers have known." 8. Of the gods of the peoples around you, [whether] near to you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; 9. You shall not desire him, and you shall not hearken to him; neither shall you pity him, have mercy upon him, nor shield him. 10. But you shall surely kill him, your hand shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 11. And you shall stone him with stones so that he dies, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 12. And all Israel shall listen and fear, and they shall no longer do any evil such as this in your midst.
Josh Waxman, as usual, does a bang-up scholarly job in his discussion of ibn Ezra's approach (not to mention his far superior formatting of text!) However, I'd like to share an unusual explanation that a Chassidic rav once told us in yeshivah.

The pasukim are actually a prophetic reference to Jesus.
What did Jesus do? He led fellow Jews astray, and for that he was chayiv misah (The fact that the Romans killed him via crucifixion is not really relevant here. But according to John 10, Jews did attempt to stone Jesus.)

But more importantly, Jesus was the "son of your mother" simply because he supposedly had no father!

We laughed at the time at this cute little drasha, and many years later I like to think that he was just having a bit of fun. But in the back of my mind there is still a nagging feeling that he was being perfectly serious and truly believed this explanation.


Joshua said...

If one is coming from a standard frum perspective, this is a completely reasonable interpretation. Presumably, if the wording was divinely ordained by a nearly omniscient entity it would know in advance that Christianity would arise and be one of the most serious competing belief systems.

Baal Habos said...

Pardon my lack of knowledge, did Jesus himself try to lead any Jews astray?

Frum Heretic said...

Certainly the traditional Jewish view is that Jesus attempted to lead Jews astray, even using sorcery to accomplish his goals. But even relying on the text of the NT (and making the very dubious assumption that it possesses some modicum of authenticity), it is a simple matter to find suggestions that Jesus was indeed leading Jews off the derech of the Pharisees.

Example: in Matthew 15, the sages get pissed off at Jesus because his disciples didn't wash their hands before eating and he responds by calling them hypocrites who break commandments for the sake of tradition. He concludes his rant by saying "what goes into a man's mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean."

Even if these words were motivated by what he observed as hypocrisy, it still implies that Jesus was telling folks that ritual law is not important. That sounds like he was leading people astray, no?

Many other examples can be brought.

(BTW, the Matthew quote sounds suspiciously familiar to what I've heard many rabbis say during a musar drasha regarding loshon hara. Heh heh.)

Baal Habos said...

He sounds more like a rebel (Zakein mamre?) than a Maisis.

Shalmo said...

The funny thing is we really have no way of knowing whether or not Jesus or Bar Kokhba or anyone else was the messiah.

When you compare the dead sea scrolls, with the samaritan traditions, with the septuagint and finally with the masoretic version that Jews use today there are soooooo many variances and corruptions in the text, and in this case the prophecies, that its impossible to determine who the messiah is gonna be.

And arguably the messianic age is a later addition to jewish theology added during the age of prophets as the torah does not speak on it

JB said...

I thank you for thie eye opening tidbit. It only underscores how full of chit religion..every religion it. Imagine no chasidim, nor reform of Yeshivish too. it's ez if you try

Anonymous said...

This verse isn't a prophetic reference to jesus, cause there never was such a person as jesus, its a totaly dreamed up story, read the book "26 reasons why jews don't believe in jesus" and you will see why that's the case

Frum Heretic said...

No such thing as Jesus? Do you doubt the mesorah??

Anonymous said...

Hi there, cool article. I'm a Semi lapsed gentile Christian. Verses in the NT which imply that Jesus advocated leaving kosher behind are disproved easily, as the church manuals of discipline (including Paul's epistles,)told Gentiles to abstain from blood, things strangled, and from food sacrificed to idols. (Acts 15) If the intent of the sect was to drop kosher, these rules wouldn't make any sense especially after his purported resurrection. Groups like the Ebionites (2nd century) continued to observe the Torah.