Monday, December 04, 2006
[Jews, identifiable by their hats, are being killed by Crusaders, from a 1250 French Bible]
When a person wakes up each morning, he should be overwhelmed by the miracles of creation, which confront him on all sides. He is breathing – each breath is a gift from God. He can see, walk and talk. The sun is shining, illuminating and warming the world. Each morsel of food is a miracle of divine wisdom. Every particle of the universe contains infinite beauty. He should be filled with a burning a love for the Creator and a desire to do His will. This is the essence of Judaism – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” Deut. 6:5. Most of the Jewish rituals – the prayers, the holidays, etc. are directing us to this goal. The Hebrew Bible makes almost no mentions of reward or punishment in the afterlife since to the authentic Jew that is irrelevant – the opportunity to serve our Beloved is its own reward. The Song of Songs is a parable for this love. The curses and blessing listed in Leviticus 26 and elsewhere motivate the Jew because he knows that long life and wealth can enable him to serve his Beloved God more fully. This is the focus of his existence.
With this in mind, we can begin to understand how great the sin of apostasy is: the Jew who, although raised in a home where he was taught all the fundamental principles of Judaism yet afterwards rejects God, denies him and rebels against Him. There cannot be any crime more heinous than this. Rather than deny God, a Jew must give up his life, as many indeed have. It is preferable to be dead rather than to go on living after having committed such an act, even insincerely, even one time.
According to Maimonides (Laws of Murderer and Protection of Soul, 4:10-11):
Heretics, that is, Jews who do not believe in the Torah or in prophecy -- it is a commandment to kill them. If one can kill them with a sword in public he should, and if not -- he should act against them with cunning until he causes them to be killed. How? If he sees one of them fallen into a well and there is a ladder in the well, first he should remove the ladder and say, 'I must take my son down off the roof, I'll bring it back' or something like that.
The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat, 425:5) quotes this.
The Talmudic rabbis instituted, as part of the prayer recited publicly in the synagogue three times daily, a curse against Jewish apostates. In a form uncensored by Christians it reads approximately:
For the apostates let there be no hope, and may the arrogant kingdom soon be rooted out in our days, and the Jewish Christians and the heretics perish as in a moment and be blotted out from the book of life and with the righteous may they not be inscribed. Blessed are you, Lord, who breaks the enemies and humbles the arrogant.
How bizarre it is to read on the Internet articles written by Jews who, although with an observant background and perhaps still observant, have casually rejected God. However angry they may be, however lazy or sex crazed, they should think long and hard before they take a step so outrageously criminal.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 11:39 AM