In the Old Testament, God required the Hebrews to drive the wicked Canaanites from His promised land. Canaanite culture was saturated with infant sacrifice, ritual murder, sexual perversion, idolatry and occultism. God knew that a policy of zero tolerance toward Canaanite evil was the only way Hebrew monotheism would survive. Only then could it prepare a place for Jesus Christ, Savior of all who would trust in Him.
But although God authorized harsh measures against pagan religions, the Old Testament is devoid of racism: the conviction that other peoples are inherently evil, degenerate, or subhuman. King David, notably, descended from a Jew, Boaz, and Ruth, a godly Gentile. David included righteous Gentiles in his army, such as Uriah the Hittite. Also, David was close friends with the Sidonian king Hiram, who largely built Solomon’s temple. Gentile converts like Rahab were welcomed into the Hebrew community.
Pharisees Bring Racism to Israel
Racism did not enter Judaism until the generation of scribes and Pharisees who migrated from Babylon several centuries before Christ; they infused Jewish religion and culture with the idea that Gentiles are morally inferior and polluting on the basis of race. The Old Testament makes no such claim, warning only against the influence of Gentile idolatry on the Hebrews. The Pharisees introduced a racial superiority into Judaism unheard of in the Old Testament.
As a result, Jews in Christ’s time were deeply racist, convinced of their intrinsic superiority to the Gentile “dogs.”1 The good Jew did not even talk to a Samaritan.2 If a Gentile were beaten, robbed and thrown into a ditch, a godly Jew, fearful of becoming “unclean,” passed by on the other side of the road.3
Talmud Enshrines Racism
Unfortunately, the racist revolution of the Pharisees became embodied in the Babylonian Talmud, the vast, rambling compendium of Pharisaic law. Today the Talmud and its mystical companion, the Zohar or Cabala, are the greatest spiritual, ethical, and legal guides for observant Jews. They are of much greater authority to such Jews than the Old Testament.
Popular Jewish writer Herman Wouk comments on the Talmud’s preeminence over all branches of Judaism: “The Talmud is to this day the circulating heart’s blood of the Jewish religion. Whatever laws, customs, or ceremonies we observe -- whether we are orthodox or conservative or reform or merely spasmodic sentimentalists -- we follow the Talmud. It is our common law.” 4
Racism in Israel
The world is baffled why, in Israel today, the once persecuted Jews have become persecutors. Highly educated religious Jews, especially in the government and among the ultra Orthodox West Bank settlers, now treat the Palestinians much worse than they would treat any animal.
In his film, Gaza Strip, veteran filmmaker James Longley graphically documents how the Israeli military shoots Arab children through the head for the crime of throwing stones. While his crew filmed, Israeli helicopters dropped canisters of debilitating nerve gas on the inhabitants of Gaza. Like the Soviets once did in Afghanistan, Israeli troops left booby-trapped toys on the ground in order to blow up curious children.
The explanation for such behavior is found in the Talmud. The Talmud teaches the superiority and divine right of Jews over Gentiles: the Jew is holy because of God’s racial covenant with Israel. According to the Talmud, Gentiles are unclean because, unlike Jews, they were not present at Mt. Sinai. By standing on the mount, the Jews were perpetually cleansed from lustful thoughts.5
In its article on “Gentile,” the authoritative Jewish Encyclopedia summarizes the Talmud’s view of Jewish moral superiority. “The Talmud comments on the untruthfulness of Gentiles ... and contrasts it with the reputation of a Jew: ‘The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth.’”6 “The Talmudic writers,” this article continues, “say that ‘ ... only Israelites are men’ ... Gentiles they classed not as men but as barbarians.”7 Rabbi Johanan ben Zakki says that if anyone teaches the Talmud to a Gentile, “such a person deserves death.”8 Judah ben Illai recommends the daily recital of the benediction: “Blessed be thou ... who has not made me a goi [or Gentile].”9 Jews are so holy, the Talmud says, “he who smites an Israelite on the cheek is as though he has thus assaulted the divine presence.”10
Talmud Dehumanizes Arabs
Humanity is shocked by how the Israeli military criminalizes Arab youth, often shooting them down as if they were subhuman. Yet this is exactly how the Talmud teaches Jews to regard Gentile children. “The Talmud outlawed the issue [or children] of a Gentile as that of a beast.”11
During the intifada uprising in Gaza in 1988, the world was horrified when Israeli soldiers buried alive four Palestinian youths. Yet the Talmud sanctions Jewish murder of Gentiles. The Talmud says “if a Jew throws his neighbor into a pit that contains a ladder, then hastens to remove the ladder, he is not liable for the death of his neighbor.”12 The Jew is also permitted to roll a large stone over the pit opening, guaranteeing the victim will not survive.
According to the Talmud, “those who deny the Torah and the prophets of Israel, the law is that they should be killed and those who have the power of life and death should have them killed, and if this cannot be done, they should be led to their death by deceptive methods.”13
The Talmud’s homicidal hatred of Gentiles leaps from its pages. The Jewish Encyclopedia quotes one of the Talmud’s most respectable rabbis, Simeon ben-Yohai: “The best among the Gentiles deserves to be killed. The best of snakes ought to have its head crushed.”14
How Relevant is Talmud to Jews Today?
How relevant to Jews today is such medieval bloodlust?
The majority of Jews in America have probably never read the Talmud or even heard of Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai. For most of assimilated American Jewry, Judaism involves support of Israel and left-wing causes, but possesses a largely social, not spiritual, obligation.15
But in New York and especially Israel, it is very different. Today in Israel, during the annual festival of Lag Ba Omar, tens of thousands of orthodox Jews assemble in Meron, the traditional burial place of Simeon ben Yohai, where they honor his memory through song, dance, and exhortation. The prestigious Encyclopedia Judaica describes ben Yohai as one of the giants of Judaism for all time.16
Far from being outdated, ben Yohai’s call to slaughter the “best of the Gentiles” is the Talmudic text that authorizes Israel’s policy of killing innocent Arabs, including children. A government manual for modern Israeli soldiers includes a summary of Ben Yohai’s teaching: “In war when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakah to kill even good civilians, that is civilians who are ostensibly good.”17
The Talmud clearly does more than dehumanize Palestinians. It also dehumanizes the educated and religious Jews who are guided by its homicidal racism. The Talmud is the scalpel that makes the Mideast bleed.
Jewish Cabala Says Jews are Divine
The mystical Zohar, or Cabala, like the Talmud, is considered by orthodox Jews to be inspired by God and equal in authority to the Talmud. Many ultra-orthodox Jews, such as predominate in Israel today, consider it of even greater authority. In the Zohar, the idea is everywhere repeated that Jews are divine, holy beings, essential for the very existence of the world. Gentiles, however, are demonic and less than human. The Zohar says, “‘Living soul’ refers to Israel, who have living souls from above, and ‘cattle and creeping thing’ and ‘beast of the earth’ to the other peoples who are not ‘living soul.’”18 The Zohar continues: “The ‘ass’ means non-Jew, who is to be redeemed by the offering of the lamb, which is the dispersed house of Israel. But if he refuses to be redeemed, then break his skull ... they should taken out of the book of the living.”19
According to the Zohar, God rewards Jews for slaughtering those whom Israel regards as idolaters. “In the palaces of the fourth heaven are those who lamented over Sion and Jerusalem, and all those who destroyed idolatrous nations and those who killed off people who worshipped idols are clothed in purple garments so they may be recognized and honored.”20 Only by the overthrow of the Gentiles, the Zohar asserts, can Israel regain its predestined position as God’s shekinah glory on earth.21
The Zohar calls Gentiles “Amalekites.” In a passage typical of many, it says: “They caused the destruction of the temple ... so when God reveals Himself, they will be wiped off the earth ... But withal redemption will not be complete until Amalek will be exterminated.”22 Today the religious and military establishment of Israel commonly refers to Palestinians as Amalekites. Until final conquest of the Gentiles, the Zohar says Israel can use any means necessary to assure victory.23
Jewish Response to Criticism of Talmud and Cabalah
How do Jewish authorities today respond to accusations of racism within Judaism’s most sacred literature? Deceptively. Yet they do so with a clear conscience because the Talmud teaches, “it is permitted to deceive a goi [Gentile].”24 Every year, on the eve of Yom Kippur, religious Jews recite the Kol Nidre prayer, which absolves them of any obligation to tell the truth to Gentiles in the following year.25
In response to criticism, rabbis usually inform Gentiles that the Talmud is divided into two categories: the Haggada, anecdotal teachings that are non-binding on Jews; and the Halakah, Talmudic law. They claim that those passages “anti-Semites” hold against them are actually Haggada, aberrations which are untypical of the Talmud’s true love and generosity toward all races and religions.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
What is Binding on Jews Today?
The surest way to determine whether a Talmudic text is Halakah is to read the original Talmud26 and find out if it is endorsed by the Mishnah, the definitive oral law of the Pharisees. Or one may consult the authoritative Jewish Encyclopedia, available as a reference in most metropolitan libraries. Published in 1905, before ecumenical “brotherhood” between Christians and Jews excluded truth about Judaism, the Jewish Encyclopedia frankly tells us what the Talmud has historically taught Jews to believe. In its articles on “Authority,” “Gentile,” “Jesus,” “Christianity,” “Talmud,” and “Cabala,” it confirms that every Talmudic assertion or passage that I have included in this article reflects Halakah, or Talmudic law.
Do all observant Jews adhere to objectionable Halakic teachings within the Talmud? Of course not. Yet rabbinic authorities, especially in Israel, say true Jews will honor every part of the holy, infallible Talmud.
Jewish Bigots want to End “Intolerance”
Considering the racist underpinnings of the Talmud and Zohar, it is astonishing that Jewish “civil liberties” organizations posture as attempting to end racism. ADL/B’nai B’rith, the Southern Poverty Law Center, People for the American Way, and the ACLU are organizations entirely or largely dominated by Jews.
These organizations never object to racism within Judaism. Instead, they vilify the “intolerance,” “homophobia,” or “anti-Semitism” of a largely Christian society. Such bigotry, they claim, is ample pretext to attempt to alter Christians’ behavior, stressing “respect for diversity” and even enactment of anti-hate laws worldwide.
What chutzpah -- that the original racists, the followers of the Pharisees, should set themselves up to cleanse the world of racism!
Such audacity and illusion should be remind us of the continuing relevance of the words of Jesus, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like white-washed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”27
Christians and conservatives are eager to believe that Judaism is as benign in its intentions as any other religion, and that the assurances of its apologists may be taken at face value. The truth is that there are very good reasons why Jewish leadership and even much of Jewish laity are conspicuously engaged in anti-Christian activism, litigation, and legislation. Take notice next time you hear or read of the latest lawsuit against Christmas symbols, prayer in schools, Biblical creationism, etc. Almost invariably, you will find the names of Jewish lawyers, organizations, or even Jewish parents or students as initiators of such litigation. Jewish anti-Christian activism exists today because, thousands of years ago, the Pharisees violently opposed Christ and persuaded most Jews to follow them. Such antagonism to the gospel is only increasing.
Today there exists a rift between orthodox Judaism, the position of a small minority of world Jewry and the state of Israel, and Reform Judaism, a much larger segment presided over by ADL/ B’nai B’rith. Yet both venerate Talmud and Cabala, and jealously guard their secrets from the prying eyes of Gentiles.
For this reason, lovers of religious freedom and Christian civilization should be suspicious of what the modern descendents of the Pharisees tell us about their hugely secretive religion. The warning of Jesus, echoing through the millennia, should ring in our ears: “Beware of the leaven [teaching] of the Pharisees.”28
1 Mark 7:27
3 Luke 10:31
4 Herman Wouk, This is My God, serialized in New York Herald-Tribune, 1959
5The Talmud says, “When the serpent came into Eve, he infused filthy lust in her ... when Israel stood on Sinai, that lust was eliminated ... ” Abodah Zarah, 22b
6 “Gentile,” p. 621
7 ibid, p. 617
8 Sanhedrin 59a, Hagigah 13a
9 “Gentile,” p. 617
10 Sanhedrin 58b
11 “Gentile,” p. 620
12 Sanhedrin 76b, Abodah Zarah 26b
13 Choschen Hammishpat 156 Haggah
14 Abodah Zarah 26b (This inflammatory statement is censored from the Soncino Talmud, but is cited in the Jewish Encyclopedia’s article, “Gentile,” p. 617.)
15 The latest survey by the American Jewish Committee (Dec. 21, 2005) shows that 29% of U.S. Jews are Reform in affiliation. Since ADL/B’nai B’rith are primarily Reform in constituency, such provide enormous support for their anti-Christian, pro-hate law agenda. This poll shows 32% belong to Conservative Judaism, and only 10% are Orthodox. The high figure of Reform support contradicts the popular notion that ADL/B’nai B’rith represents a tiny left-wing minority.
16 “Simeon ben Yohai,” Encyclopedia Judaica
17 Booklet published by the chaplain of the Israeli army, Central Region Command. Quoted in Dr. Israel Shahak’s Jewish History, Jewish Religion, p. 76
18 Bereshith 47a (This format is according to the Soncino translation.)
19 II 43a (This format is according to the original Mantuan edition of the Zohar.)
20 I 38b, 39a
21 I 160a
22 Bereshith, 25b
23 I 160a
24 Baba Kama 113b
25 Nedarim 68
26 Unfortunately, the authorized Soncino translations of both Talmud and Zohar omit extremely volatile passages. The original texts may be accessed in the Judaic section of the Library of Congress. I have had passages from the original Mantuan edition of the Zohar translated from the Aramaic.
27 Matthew 23:27
28 Luke 12:1
[Article adapted from Ted Pike's video documentary, "Why the MidEast Bleeds"]
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