Ask the rabbi

  • Halacha
  • Christianity and Islam



Rabbi Ari Shvat

Nisan 17, 5781
Hello Rabbi: I have a question ..... I am a Jew, I love my religion and I do not like Christianity. One day, I was talking with a Christian, and that person told me that the Jewish religion and Jewish books (especially the Talmud) praise Christ Jesus and never offend him Is this true ?! Do our Jewish books talk about the life of Jesus, and what do they say ?! And there is another question: I know that the four gospels are non-divine gospels ...... When I opened the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke, I found that the two Gospels mention a genealogy of Jesus, and this lineage of Jesus ends with King David ...... Is Jesus really a descendant of David, and do our Jewish books confirm that or deny it ?! Does Mary (Jesus mother) have a father named Hali or is his name Jehoiakim ?! Is her fathers name really mentioned in our Jewish books, as Christians claim ?! And I have another question: When a Jewish man marries a Jewish woman, is it correct for us to attribute the husband to his wifes father, for example: If we assume that the husband is Samuel, the wife is (Ruth), and the wifes father is (Rehoboam) .... Is it permissible to say Samuel the son of Rehoboam ...?! Do our Jewish books attribute the husband to the father of his wife sometimes ....?! ------------- I was in a dialogue with a Christian, and I told him that your gospels contradict in the genealogy of Joseph (Marys husband). Matthew’s Gospel says that Joseph’s father is Jacob, and Luke’s Gospel says that Joseph’s father is Hali , but the Christian answered me and said: [The real father of Joseph is Jacob, but Joseph was nicknamed the son of Hali because he married Mary (the mother of Jesus). Therefore, Joseph was attributed to Mary’s father (the mother of Jesus), and this matter was well known to the Jews in the past and it is found in the books of the Jews .....] Is this true ?! Please answer all my questions ....... and thank you
Shalom! What that Christian told you is totally inaccurate. Traditional Judaism definitely does not praise Yeshu nor speak about his lineage, but simply relates to him as a rabbinical student who left the path, who clearly did not observe all of the mitzvot. Because of widespread Christian censorship of our Talmud regarding anything having to do with Christianity (one of the least of the atrocities done by the Christians to the Jews over the centuries), it is very difficult to ascertain which of the passages there is referring to the Yeshu or person in question. All I can clearly say is that according to the story Christians recount about his birth, when a betrothed woman is impregnated but admittedly, not by her husband, the child has the very problematic and tainted halachic status of “mamzer” [usually translated as "bastard" or illegitimate child] and would not be allowed, for example, to marry a regular Jewess. Regarding one's father-in-law, one should honor his wife's father, but he is not allowed (!) to be legally or halachically listed as father-in-law's son in any kind of contract, marriage certificate, or when called to the Torah, or really anything. Regarding his lineage, as you wrote, anyone who has checked Christian literature knows that there are many contradictions and discrepancies between the different accounts. This may be connected with their tradition that this illegitimate father is not his mother's husband. But in any event, Judaism does not take him too seriously and neither should you, and we don't know and couldn't care less about his lineage, for even if theoretically David or messiah himself had a son who leaves the ways of Judaism, he cannot be any kind of religious leader anyway. Nevertheless, as opposed to Christians and Moslems, Judaism is very tolerant, and clearly not out to convert or debate with people of other religions. Let these Christians believe what they wish, and we hope, in the modern world, that they will show us a similar courtesy. Happy Passover!
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