21.  But the notion of 'salvation' is just a Christian doctrine, isn't it? It's not a Jewish concept.

     Salvation isn't a Jewish concept?  I guess I'll have to remove these passages (and many others) from my Tanakh:

     The L-rd is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The L-rd is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Ps. 27:1)

     The L-rd lives! Blessed be my Rock, and exalted be my G-d, the rock of my salvation.   (II Samuel 22:47)

     Sing to the L-rd, all the earth. Tell of his salvation from day to day. (I Chronicles 16:23)

     Our G-d is a G-d of salvation, and to G-d, the L-rd, belongs escape from death.( Ps. 68:20).

     So tell me again, just how the Jewish idea of salvation differs from the Christian one?


22.  Yes, but what are we being 'saved' from?

     From death.

23.  But why do we need this 'salvation'?

   Because we couldn't save ourselves.


24.  No one can die for another's sins.

     Ezekiel notes that very point, that no one can die for another's sins.  Everyone dies for their own sins. No mere human could suffer in the place of another; that is why we need a more-than-human messiah. But the idea of a substitute sacrifice is woven throughout Judaism, beginning with Abraham and Isaac, the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement, the entire Temple system, and so on. All these are intended to be pictures, or foreshadowings, of what was to come. As it says in  Exodus Rabbati, Terumah 35:4:

          'If  ever Israel deserved destruction, then the Temple
     would be their pledge with G-d. Then Moses said to G-d, 'But
     what if a day arrives when there is neither a Temple or a
     Tabernacle?  What will be the pledge for them then?'  And
     the L-rd answered, 'I will pick one righteous man from out
     of them, and use him as a pledge for them, and I will atone
     for them on account  of all their sins.'

    And that, in a nutshell, is Christianity.


25.  But where in Judaism do you find the concept of the need for a mediator between G-d and man?

     Our Jewish history is full of mediators--the people begged Moshe to go up and speak for them--and he did (and received the Ten Commandments).  Does that not sound like a mediator?  How about the High Priests who went into the Temple and sacrificed for the people?  Mediator there, too.


     The communal sin offerings in the Temple, in fact, prove the point that a mediator is necessary. The High Priest would first make atonement for himself (the mediator must not be part of the communal sin), and then atonement for all the people.
     If individual repentance and making amends is all that is necessary, then why didn't G-d deal with Israel on an individual basis at Sinai?  Why did Moses intercede?  Why didn't Moses just say, 'OK, G-d. Those that repent--you forgive them. Those that don't repent--wipe 'em out.'
     Why was the mediation of Moses necessary then?  Why is a mediator not necessary now?


26.  All that is necessary for forgiveness is repentance and obedience to Torah.
    So why did G-d ask for sacrifices as well?  Why didn't he just ask for a few prayers to be said?
     So why wasn't Moses allowed to just repent and enter the promised land?  Why wasn't Achan allowed to repent?  Why did Israel suffer exile?
     It is because G-d demands perfection that remedies for sin were included in the law.  If G-d didn't care about perfection, He wouldn't have added these provisions.
     But G-d must balance the books.  Your forgiveness must be paid for.


     Are you better at repentance and obedience than those who lived before you?  Better than the generations which had the Temple and the sacrifices?  Because when they lived, THEY had to offer sacrifices (and this would include Samuel and David, Hezekiah, Elijah, Joshua, Joel, etc., plus Hillel, the Maccabees, and so on).  It's true that David said (Ps. 51:17) 'The sacrifices of G-d are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart'; but THEN he goes on to add, that after his spirit has been broken, 'THEN there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar' (Ps. 51:19). The meaning here is that sacrifices not done in the right spirit will not be accepted.  Further, David wanted to build a temple for the L-rd. He would not have planned for this if he had not believed that sacrifices were also necessary.
     Of course, our deeds also have a place. People will be rewarded or not on the basis of what they have done. But can anyone be 'good enough' to merit being returned to Eden? G-d is perfection, and holiness; and we cannot live in His presence unless we, too, are made spotless.  So it is for THIS cleansing, or perfection, or making clean again, totally, that we need the sacrifices, or what they represent.

27.  Jews don't believe in 'original sin'. That's a Christian idea.

     No, but they do believe that everyone sins, or has sinned. Close enough. And also, that everyone strives against an 'evil impulse', or inclination to do evil; again, close enough.


     Tell us who is referred to in Psalm 14:3, in that 'all have turned bad, altogether foul; there is no one who does good, not even one.' Tell us  who is not included when Isaiah wrote 'all we like sheep have gone astray, each to his own way. . . '
     If modern Judaism stressed the fact that everyone has sinned, then all of their efforts to assert their righteousness through obedience, and all of  their own efforts to achieve  this through their own efforts, would have to go by the wayside, because they could no longer rely on themselves.


     We aren't in Eden anymore, are we?  And there is death now, isn't there?  So Adam must have done something. Even infants who have never committed a willful sin die; so this must be part of their inheritance from Adam, not something brought on by their own deeds.


     If we couldn't keep that ONE rule in Eden, not to eat of the tree, what makes you think we can keep 613 rules NOW? And if violating that ONE rule got us thrown out of the presence of G-d, what makes you think that violating MANY of the 613 rules, MANY times over, will still not prevent us from returning to the presence of G-d?
     What tzaddik was ever SO holy in his keeping of those rules that finally G-d said, 'This is enough!', and he got to return to Eden?


 28.  Yeshua never claimed to be God, himself; this claim was only made later, by his followers, wasn't it?

     . . . but Yeshua did claim to be G-d, in several places. For example, in John 8:58 he said that 'before Abraham was born, I AM'. This was understood by his Jewish audience as a reference to G-d (and the Divine Name), because they took up stones to stone him for it.  In John 10:30, he makes the statement, 'I and my Father are one'.  Again, his Jewish audience interprets this (and how could they not, in light of the Shema, which they all knew) as blasphemy. They state (in John 10:33) that they want to stone him because 'you, a mere man, claim to be      G-d'.  And Yeshua also claimed the right to forgive sins, which only G-d can do.


29.  In any case, weren't these accounts written long after the events, maybe two or three generations later?

      One can make the case, based on the Hebrew structure and words which show up underneath the Greek, that most of the gospels were composed in Hebrew first. Ergo, they must have been written,then, by Jews, and probably before the destruction of the Temple (70 AD). So these writers may very well have known Yeshua personally. And Paul, as well, quotes or paraphrases many of Yeshua's words, so that he must have known of them quite  early, also.

      Jean Carmignac, a scholar who worked on the Dead Sea Scrolls,  has found many such Hebraisms in the gospel of Mark. In the Our Father, for instance, in Hebrew a triple-word play appears,  in which the word 'forgive' comes from the root 'nasa', 'debts and debtors' from  'nashah', and 'temptation' from  'nasah'. Another such word play exists in Mark 3:14,15: 'to send' comes from  'shalah', 'to have power' comes from 'shalat', and 'to cast out' from 'shalak'. Carmignac notes that these verbs are even in alphabetical order!
     He argues that this cannot be merely coincidence. The uses of such word-plays is very common in Hebrew because, among other things, it helps facilitate memorization.  He gives other examples:
     Mark 2:6: the scribes sit and reflect: yoshebim wehoshebim
     Mark 6:38: Yeshua says to them (lahem), how much bread (lechem) do you have (lakem)?  Go. . . (lekou)
     Mark 2:21 and Matthew 9:16, a tear (qera) does not grow larger--but worse (ra)
     Mark 10:34: Yeshua says he will be mocked (wesahaqu bo) and spat on (weyarequ bo)
     Mark 11:15 and Matthew 21:12: the tables of the money changers are recalled, because tables is 'shulehanot' and changers is 'shulehanim')
There are many, many more such examples (in Matthew as well).  All this suggests that the gospels were first composed at a very early date, by Hebrew-speakers who were natives of Judea.  (See Jean Carmignac, 'The Birth of the Synoptics'). (They would not have been composed  in Hebrew had they been written by non-Jews at a very much later date. )

       The gospels also contain a great deal of detail about the land of Israel--physical descriptions, the identify of little towns, villages, geographical descriptions, and so on, which it would have been difficult if not impossible for someone to reconstruct a century or two later, and especially after the Romans had laid waste the countryside in two wars.

        And even the letters of John declare that 'we' are proclaiming to you what 'we' have seen an heard. These do not sound like  the words of an old man, the last leaf on the tree, the final living apostle; it sounds as if it is written while others are still alive.  And in 3 John verse 7, he speaks of  serving for the sake of 'the Name', which is a very Jewish expression ('haShem'), not one likely to be used in a gentile culture far removed in time from its Jewish origin.


30.  Sorry, but where does being 'born again' fit into the Jewish scheme of things?

     But isn't a new heart the central obligation that you have?

     Circumcise, then, the foreskin of your heart, and do not be
stubborn any longer. (Duet. 10:16).

     Circumcise youselves to the L-rd, remove the foreskin of your
hearts, oh people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. . . (Jer. 4:4).

     Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed
against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, oh House of Israel?  (Ezek. 18;31).

     Create in me a clean heart, oh G-d, and put a new and right spirit
within me.  (Ps. 51:10).

     Salvation is not about performance; because your performance only reveals your desperate condition. Salvation is about being bandaged, soothed, and healed.
     Are you going to continue to try to put the band aid on yourself, or are you going to go to the Physician who can heal the sick?