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Who are the actual "observant" Jews?

Reader comment on item: What Syrian Chemical Weapons Reveal about Obama
in response to reader comment: Matthew 21:33-40 - Tenants Challenging the Master of the Vineyard

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Jul 8, 2015 at 23:57

PS Tovey,

Here's an end-times prophecy that I would like your opinion of:

Deuteronomy 30:
[1] And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,
[2] And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;
[3] That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.

Since Deuteronomy was written by Moses (more likely by Joshua, and probably later edited), Israel has certainly seen the blessing of blessings (the Golden Age of David and Solomon) and the curse of curses (the holocaust). Accordingly, God has restored the Jewish people to their homeland; and at present probably more than half the world's Jews (depending on how one defines and counts them) live in Israel and Jerusalem....but what about:

"[thou] shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul... THEN the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity"?

This seems to read, that Israel will turn wholeheartedly to Torah BEFORE the captivity. In other words, it seems to read that Israel has already significantly returned to observance of Torah!

The Orthodox Jews certainly haven't seen this happening, seeing that they have largely rejected the modern State of Israel as fulfillment of that scripture. Those same Orthodox, of course, used to drive Jesus up a wall with their hypocritical straining at gnats and swallowing camels. I don't expect them to be able to see prophecies unfolding, if those prophecies come to life and slap them in the face.

Leave out the Orthodox, then, in trying to explain the passage. How about the Secular Jews? After all, it was overwhelmingly non-religious Jews, many of them Atheists and Socialists, who participated most fully in, and benefitted the most from, the early days of the Zionist Movement. How can it be said that THEY returned to Torah with all their hearts?

My guess in the matter, is that the Zionist Movement itself was considered by God to be more of a RETURN to Torah than all the legalistic strictures observed by the religious Jews over the past 2000 years. After all, those pious Jews went on with their practices, and even became more ardent in them, AS THOUGH GOD HADN'T BEEN JUDGING THEM FOR THE HYPOCRISY OF THOSE VERY PRACTICES. When those pious Jews today, therefore, go about practicing their piety in their traditional way, they aren't actually repenting of anything. For seemingly "apostate" secular Jews, on the other hand, to chose to suffer privation and opposition in the pioneering days of the Zionist State; and for them to continue to endure the hostility of the whole world against them there rather than choosing comfortable lives in the West; perhaps God is accepting this as a fitting "return to Torah".

What thinkest thou of these things?

Let the reader understand, that I am not condemning the Jews here. I am saying that they tend to do things, as Jesus said they did in his own time, for outward show. God commanded them, for instance,

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD Thy God, the LORD is One; and thou shalt worship the LORD thy God with thy whole heart and thy whole mind and thy whole strength."

Do the pious Jews actually OBSERVE the above? It's up to God to decide, what they do with their whole heart, mind and strength; though arguably many pious Jews spend time in the yeshivot in order to qualify for the dole for their wives and children. Rather than stressing heartfelt seeking after God, however, they make sure that they RECITE the words of this scripture every day; and are very particular in how they do this reciting. They have not repented of this emphasis of theirs, not in 2000 years; though their more secular brethren have. The seculars, for instance, do not recite scriptures by rote, nor mark their davening by rocking and bowing in unison; but they seem to show a genuine concern for the poor and needy. Perhaps, in giving initial control of the Promised Land to those seculars, God is indicating a preference for their type of "observance".


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (30) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
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