I dont know if you have read the relevant sections of his books but there are two issues that i need clarification on please.
The 1st is his defense of the word alma used in Isaiah 7. He says that bethulah itself does not always mean virgin. So it doesnt matter whether almah is used or bethulah.
He mentions that even the NJPSV translates bethulah as maiden more then virgin
In Isaiah 47:1 regarding the virgin daughter of babylon. He points out that a few verses later this "virgin" will lose her husband and children on the same day.
How can we respond to this rabbi?
Re-read Isaiah 47 (In Hebrew)
Yes Isaiah 47:1 is describing a virgin (Betulah) and then it continues describing the demise of this who once WAS a virgin,
so the widow described in 47:8 contextually is clearly after some time, In Is 47:2 it states " remove thy veil, strip off the train, uncover the leg, " how is this not describing one who INITIALLY was once in state pure state or unmarried " i think this it is obvious.
And no where in this chapter does it mention children, שְׁכוֹל means bereavement in context it seems because of the loss of her lover/husband (widowhood). (no matter what any english translation says)
Regarding Isaiah 53 and the other suffering servant songs I believe they should be referred to as the "Song of the Martyrs" for I teach that they describe neither Yeshua nor Israel specifically but rather ANY messenger the almighty has ever sent to do his bidding, whether it was prophets (in context Isaiah himself), (which if you are a Christian would not exclude JC) or even Israel themselves who on a grander scale are the messengers of the Creator.
Doesn't Num 23:19 "G-d is not a man that he should lie" prove to us that the messianic argument regarding an incarnation of (at least part) of the Creator as null and void.
First and foremost I am not a Messianic but an Orthodox Jew and I wholeheartedly agree that the idea of the almighty being ONLY a man is un-biblical in every way which is what Num 23:19 is stating (G-d is not a man that he should lie), not that the verse is stating that the G-d of Israel cannot temporarily become or embody a man if he chooses to. (An idea I DO NOT embrace).
(note: a belief that would include any other deity would be 100% idolatrous.)
I also personally do not think that the creator would do either mainly because I subscribe to the philosophic arguments mentioned by the Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim. (In not limiting the Creator) But this was only the Rambam's assessment, not halacha.
That being said, there have been many Rabbis who did believe that the almighty did appear to his creation in the shape of men and angels, like Rav Saadia Gaon in his theory of “Created Glory."
And this is clearly seen within the literal narrative of Tanach itself.
Again, I believe that any instance of biblical anthropomorphism is NEVER to be taken literally, IE The idea of Hashem having a hand (Deut 26:8) or a foot (Is 66:1) or even appearing as an angel or man, and explain the instances when the almighty does textually appears to man in any other form other than spirit as an illustrated dream being had by the individual. (Ie not to be taken literal) as the Rambam does by explaining that these instances appeared only while the person was dreaming. (Guide II, 41)
But friends this is a philosophical argument, not a theological one (ie not biblical).
I think Rabbi Bahya puts its the clearest.
Rabbi Bahya ibn Pakuda writes
"The foolish and simple person will conceive of the creator in accordance with the literal sense of the Scriptural phrase. And if he assumes the obligation of serving his G-d and strives to labour for his sake, he is excused for his ignorance and lack of understanding. A man is judged only on the basis of his intellectual ability, his powers of discrimination, and his readiness to act."
Hovot haLevavot 1:10 (Duties of the Heart).
Heretic and Idolater are halachic statuses developed by the Sanhedrin (beit din hagadol) to be able to adjudicate the theological enemies of Klal Yisrael accordingly, the reason that I say they (Messianic Jews who keep Torah and Halacha) are neither is because the Sanhedrin DID NOT ever establish a clause that would include (the original) messianic Jews (that 1%) as either kofrim, apikorsim, minim or ovdei kochavim.
(This is assuming they accept Written and Oral Law and just happen to believe that the G-d of Israel embodied a man for 33 years, even if they split the One G-d into different manifestations of that same one G-d (like the trinity).
That being said, I hope you didn't miss the point I was heading to.
That by this acknowledgment of messianic beliefs THIS will only encourage Messianics to enter traditional orthodoxy and ultimately abandon their messianism as a whole.
I've just demonstrated that by understanding Tanach literally, biblically and (regarding Chazal) halichicly, Messainics would not be performing a grave offense and could not be labeled as idolatrous or heretical.
Which if they then accept this argument would also have to acknowledge and accept that by a Jew choosing NOT to embrace their beliefs that we just explained are not literally condoned or condemned in biblical nor halachic Judaism they MUST also have to admit that the same Torah could not condemn a Jew who chooses NOT to accept or believe in some supposed heavenly incarnation or even the notion of a messiah that also does not literally appear in Torah. (Ie their is no command in Torah to even believe in some Messiah).
In other words, the way you destroy Nazerene Messianism is by proving that according to Torah you do NOT have to believe in what they teach in order to be saved/understanding scripture correctly/viewed as obedient by your G-d.
So if you don't NEED Jesus (according to the biblical narrative) Messianic Judaism ceases to exist.
I would like to start out by saying that the vast majority of statements considered horrific and shocking in the Talmud or other rabbinic literature are 9 out of 10 times either misquoted or taken completely out of context.
First of all the word "Goy" does not mean Cattle, as some very creative non Jews may of thought, it means "Nation" (Goyim=Nations).
In Torah we even seen that Israel is called a Goy Kadosh (a holy nation). ~Exodus 19:6
Also about 80% of the quotes made as deriving from the Talmud are NOT from the Talmud, but from other books written by Rabbis.
The Gentile of old
One has to understand that Gentile (Nocrhi/Akum) in a Mishnaic Rabbinical context reffered to an Idol worshiper which by the definition of his or her philosophy made them immoral. (Exceptions aside)
People who if they existed today's modern day would also be labeled barbaric and ethically primitive by Christians and Muslims.
The Righteous Gentile
These statements in no way are ever referring to Righteous gentiles which according to Jewish law we have an obligation to protect.
The simple fact that a non Jew could become a full Jew by conversion teaches us that if any hatred of the Idolatrous non Jewish world existed in rabbinical literature it is solely for their actions and not because of their genetic make up.
The Authority of Rabbinic statements
Jews do not consider ANY rabbinic statement found outside of the Torah divinely inspired (Sanction by the Almighty) and only rabbinical rulings made by the Great Court (the Sanhedrin) as practically authoritative outside of the words found in Torah itself. ~ Deut 17
SO, are there silly (non Halachic) statments found in the Talmud, yes.. (considered Midrash or Agadata) and Jews bound to accept these statements as true or authoritative. no.
Do jews accept those statemnts as anything other than one Rabbis opnions, no.
Although like we said that rulings or statements that deal with actual laws (Halacha), (how things are done) how do you keep shabbat, Yom kippur ie agian Halacha.. Jews do have an obligation form the Torah to obey and keep those words/rulings ~ Deut 17.
Everything mentioned in the Gemara [Talmud] that does not directly deal with the act of fulfilling the commandments is termed agadata [...] It is important to know that all matters which our Sages established as law, in connection with the commandment transmitted by Moshe Rabbenu [Moses our teacher] who received it from the Almighty, cannot be augmented or diminished in any way. HOWEVER, the aggadic explanations they rendered of biblical verses were in accordance with their INDIVIDUAL VIEWS and the ideas WHICH OCCURRED to them. [...] we SHOULD NOT build upon them."
Jews deliberately ONLY excluded Isaiah 53 from their weekly Haftarah (prophetical) readings due to them knowing its speaking about Jesus. This has become known as the "Hidden Chapter" claim among Christians.
Christians also claim that all others chapters of the prophets are read by Jews except ONLY this one.
Is this factual?
What is a fact is that 1. Jews never read the ALL of the prophetical writing during their Haftarah readings and 2. There are many many chapters including whole books that are also skipped.
Here is a list of other chapters also skipped (besides IS:53) in the book of Isaiah alone. (Note many many more chapters are skipped in the other prophets which I don't list because the list would be too long, ex: Note: even the whole book of Nahum is NEVER read.
Isaiah 9:5 [9:6] where it says "For unto us a child is born,"
This is one of the most widely known prophecies among Christians, and also one of their basises for believing the Messiah will be G-d (heaven forbid).
As with several verses, there is more than one way to understand this verse, and Christians are only aware of one of those ways, because - naturally - Christian translators choose the way which most strengthens mainstream Christian theology.
The non-Hebrew speaking Christian masses have no idea that the verse (and many other verses) can be understood in more than one way, and therefore they have a hard time understanding Jewish explanations of such passages. Instead, they simply presume Jews are making excuses and twisting the meaning of the verse. Well, that might be the case if the Bible were written in English and we were trying to re-interpret the English translation, but neither are the reality.
So the example I wanted to give you on Isaiah 9:5 [9:6] in connection to our last e-mail is the word "he shall be called." "He shall be called" in Hebrew is only one word! "yeeqareh." And "He shall call" is also one word "yiqra." Now the word in this verse which is generally translated as "He shall be called" is spelled in a manner that can be read either as "yeeqareh" or "yiqra" -- depending on the vowels used (Hebrew words are more or less vowel-less). The Mesoretic tradition has the vowels for "He shall call" (yiqra), but Christian translators chose to ignore the Mesoretic vowels (the ONLY vowel tradition that exists for the Bible) and presume that the word is "yeeqareh" (He shall be called). IF we ignore the sole vowel tradition for the Hebrew Bible, it is true that either reading is equally possible.
According to Mesoretic tradition the most logical reading would be:
"Unto us a child is born, unto us a son has been given, and the Wonderful Councelor, the Mighty G-d, the Everlasting Father -- HE SHALL CALL his name: "Prince of peace."
With time you will be able to fully understand this reading of the verse as opposed to the traditional reading of Christians if you stick with learning Hebrew. G-d will give you strength. I know that before I began learning Hebrew grammer and sentence structure I would have trouble accepting such a reading over what I grew up thinking was "the Bible" (ie: translations influenced by Christian theological bias).
Regarding this same verse, even if we use the Christian reading of the verse, there are still other ways to understand even the Christian reading that would show that "proof of Messiah's god-hood" is not absolute. This is by means of the fact that many people, places, and things have G-d's name attributed to them as a way of proclaiming G-d's glory, without any intention whatsoever of implying that those people, places, or things are actually G-d Himself. For example, there is a man in Tanakh who's name is "Yehu." This name literally means "He is YAH." There is an altar which was given the name "G-d of Israel," and Jerusalem will in the future be called "YHWH our righteousness."
Anyway, you didn't ask for all this... but it is a prime example of how important knowledge of Hebrew grammer is when it comes to REAL knowledge of how the Bible can and can not be translated. The typical Christian translation flat out ignores the sole vowel marking tradition of the Hebrew Bible... without which the Bible can be made to read almost anything.
You know the prohibition against eating certain animal fats?
"You shall not consume internal fats [hhelev]..."?
Well, if you ignore the Mesoretic vowel tradition, you could create a prohibition against consuming MILKS of any kind: