Sunday, July 08, 2007


It is now official. Pope Benedict XVI has removed restrictions on saying an old Latin Mass which calls for the conversion of the Jewish people to Christianity and for their being delivered "from their darkness." The Pope indicated that there is nothing wrong with this prayer, and as the Associated Press reported, he wrote: "What earlier generations held as sacred remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful" ("Pope Relaxes Restrictions for Latin Mass" by Nicole Winfield, July 7, 2007).

We, the people who received the Torah and its interpretations, do not share the Christian perspective of the Pope, and given the differences in our beliefs, it is not appropriate for us to tell the Pope how Christians should pray. What is appropriate is for us to become more aware of the major differences between Judaism and Christianity, so that we and the Gentiles who share our beliefs can have a deeper understanding of why we are not in need of conversion to Christianity.

We proclaim twice a day the following proclamation of the Divine oneness and unity: "Hear O Israel, Hashem is our God, Hashem is One!" (Deuteronomy 6:4). According to the classical biblical commentator, Rashi, when we proclaim "Hashem is One," we are proclaiming that in the future all the peoples of the earth will recognize the unity and oneness of Hashem, and Rashi cites the following Divine promises:

"For then I will change the peoples to speak a pure language, so that they will all proclaim the Name of Hashem, to serve Him with a united resolve" (Zephaniah 3:9). And it is written:

"On that day Hashem will be One and His Name One" (Zechariah 14:9).

When we proclaim that Hashem is One, we are also proclaiming that we are to only serve the One and Unifying Creator of the Universe. In this spirit, the Divine voice proclaimed at Mount Sinai, "You shall not have other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3). And it is also written, "Know it today and take it to heart repeatedly that Hashem alone is God; in heaven above and on earth below -- there is none other" (Deuteronomy 4:39). It is therefore forbidden for us to deify any object, force, or being, including a human being. In fact, the Torah tells us that "God is not a man" (Numbers 23:19).

Christians deified a Jewish man who lived over 2,000 years ago; moreover, they pray to or through the man they view as their Lord and Savior. We, however, remember the following Divine proclamation:

"I, only I, am Hashem, and there is no Savior aside from Me." (Isaiah 43:11).

Read the rest, including the Jewish perspective on Jesus Christ, at the website.

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