Seventy-eight percent of American Jews voted for Obama and there are now a record 46 Jews in Congress (nearly six times their proportion to Jews in the American population). As never before, Americans can expect Jewish influence in government. During the Clinton and Bush administrations, Jews attained saturation-level presence in government and cabinet positions. 1 Undoubtedly Obama will be surrounded by powerful Jews; he already appointed an Orthodox Jew as his chief of staff. Will these powerful Jews legislate and judge justly? Will they reflect what is regarded as a common Judeo-Christian tradition of high moral values?
It's highly unlikely. In fact, the more religiously observant a Jewish congressman, federal judge, or attorney general is, the more at variance he will probably be with Christian values. Let me explain.
Every year through the fall session of Congress, relatively little is accomplished because of lengthy interruptions from Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Today, though Jews constitute only 1.5 percent of the US population, Congress also frequently shuts down so Jewish members may debark, some flying home, for the Jewish holidays. First comes Rosh Hashanah, then Yom Kippur, and finally Sukkoth. (See, "Does Congress Always Take Off for Rosh Hashanah?", "Congress quiet on Jewish New Year") The more religious a Jewish legislator, the more important he attends synagogue on the eve of the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. This highest Jewish holiday is preceded with rites and collective recitation of the Kol Nidre prayer.
The Kol Nidre says, "All vows, obligations, oaths, and anathemas [curses]…which we may vow, or swear, or pledge, or whereby we may be bound, from this Day of Atonement until the next…we do repent. May they be deemed absolved, forgiven, annulled, and void, and made of no effect: they shall not bind us nor have any power over us. The vows shall not be reckoned vows; the obligations shall not be obligations; nor the oaths be oaths." 2
What is the meaning of this strange and disturbing prayer recited by millions of Jews every fall? Surely, you may say, it cannot literally mean what it says: that Jews invalidate all their promises, contracts, agreements, and even curses throughout the coming year? If that were true, the word of a religious Jew would be meaningless. No rational person could trust anything he said, not to mention elect him to high office.
Overturning God's Law
To understand the Kol Nidre prayer, let’s first consider the opposite: God’s ancient command to His chosen people to fulfill all their oaths and promises. "When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee...that which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform…" (Deuteronomy 24:21, 23)
Yet the Jewish Encyclopedia tells us God’s requirement of promise-keeping ultimately became so burdensome to Jews that, as a result of "their longing for a clear conscience," compassionate rabbinic authorities overturned God's law around the 8th century AD. They collectively absolved entire congregations, instructing them to recite what has became known as the Kol Nidre prayer. 3 At first, the prayer allowed forgiveness for broken promises and curses of the previous year; later, in the twelfth century, it granted pre-forgiveness for sins of unfaithfulness for the following year. Both forms are observed today.
Kol Nidre, from its beginnings, was controversial and "aroused bitter controversy" among rabbinical authorities. 4 Dissident, non-Talmudic Karaites also proclaimed it a sham and said it made the word of a Jew worthless. Christian critics leveled the same charge (but are now called "anti-Semitic" for doing so). Such criticism provoked more than a millennium of suspicion, persecution and discrimination against Jews (i.e. much of the "senseless anti-Semitism" with which historical Christianity has been charged).
Yet the Jewish people were willing to suffer unspeakable persecutions rather than give up the intoxicating moral release of Kol Nidre. It "became the most beloved ritual of the Day of Atonement." 5 Today synagogues are packed worldwide on the eve of Yom Kippur as millions of Jews, deeply moved by the high drama, pageantry and haunting melodies of Kol Nidre, affirm that their "vows, obligations, and oaths" or curses are forgiven and forgotten by God.
All Jewish encyclopedias and authoritative works on Kol Nidre include a powerful disclaimer. They say Gentiles should not feel threatened by Kol Nidre! The prayer's Kol Nidre, we are told, applies only to breaking vows to oneself or to God. It may not be employed to justify breaches of confidence, curses of Gentiles, or lies under oath in civil courts.
Testimony from a Christian Jew
I posed the question to a Christian Jew, Milton (Brother Nathaniel) Kapner.
"What is the reason behind the mass appeal of Kol Nidre," I asked. "Do millions of Jews seek absolution from Kol Nidre because they are tormented with guilt for violating oaths to themselves and God?"
Until age 21, Kapner, now 57, was a convinced Jew involved in conservative, Orthodox, and ultra-Orthodox Judaism. At 21, even after finding Christ, he spent a year of intense study with ultra-Orthodox Lubavitcher rabbis and scholars.
"Kol Nidre," he said, "is a big show. The Jews get worked up by the high drama and cantor singing the haunting Kol Nidre melody. They persuade themselves that every lie they have told over the past year is forgiven. They’re off the hook!"
"Are they repenting of lies to God, or also to the Gentiles?" I asked.
"All lies and broken vows to everyone are covered," he replied, "except for legal contracts that are enforced by law." He said most Jews consider Gentiles inferior. Most ultra-Orthodox consider them sub-human. Kapner said just as promises made to animals are worthless, so the Talmud (even without Kol Nidre) teaches that promises to the goyim are meaningless.
The Talmud frequently says Gentiles may be deceived and defrauded. Jews are above "barbaric" Gentile laws and courts. 6 Also the Jewish Zohar (Kabbalah) repeatedly describes Gentiles as beasts and even demons. (This is substantiated in detail in my 354-page book, Israel: Our Duty…Our Dilemma, available at www.truthtellers.org.) (See, "Have You Read the Talmud Lately?", "The Jewish Kabbalah: Root of Mideast Violence")
What about the testimony of Jewish authorities that Kol Nidre does not apply to contracts between Jews and Gentiles? "That’s all for Gentile consumption," Kapner said.
Can You Trust Your Jewish Congressman?
Of course, especially in the US, many Jews are so assimilated and secularized that, though usually liberal, they have shed any high regard for Kol Nidre or the Talmud. Yet according to Kapner's personal experience, a religious, Kol Nidre-reciting, Jewish businessman can cheat you without guilt for the next year. Henry Ford, a businessman who dealt with many Jews, comments: "It requires no argument to show that if this prayer be really the rule of faith and conduct for the Jews who utter it, ordinary social and business relations are impossible to maintain with them." (The Dearborn Independent, Nov. 5, 1921)
We should also keep in mind Kol Nidre's permission to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust to lie under oath (as in the Nuremberg trials). Can we continue to accept as fact their testimony of seeing countless Jews destroyed in gas chambers and ovens?
It also means an observant Jew in Congress can renege on any promises he makes his constituents in the past or coming year. Gone also is any duty of federal or Supreme Court justices to be loyal to their oath to the Constitution and the United States of America.
Do I have this wrong? Incredibly, I don’t. Despite the suspicion and revenge Kol Nidre has aroused, modern Judaism still considers its recitation one of the most sacred duties of Jewish life, liturgy, and tradition. It is so important that as Congress evolves into the "American Knesset," congressional leaders, under control of the all-powerful Zionist lobby, are eager to please Jewish members by sending them home to take advantage of this moral loophole in Judaism.
Perhaps, with Jewish activists flooding Congress as never before, promoting perverse Jewish "hate crime laws" and "workplace bias" legislation, as well as bills that persecute Christian/conservative activism, (See, Lobby Reform Bill Cripples Free Speech) we can understand why many Jewish members of Congress need the moral absolution provided by Kol Nidre. There will be a lot of lies to constituents and breaking oaths to uphold the constitution by First Amendment-destroying Jews this session of Congress. Such treachery could really strain anyone’s conscience. But Jewish members of Congress return after reciting Kol Nidre with consciences cleansed. After all, who cares about governing according to the will of the lowly goyim?
For them, ruling according to Kol Nidre is the will of God.
1. Michael Collins Piper's books such as The New Jerusalem extensively document the preponderance of Jews in the highest echelons of American government. They are available www.americanfreepress.com.
2. Article on "Kol Nidre," The Jewish Encyclopedia, New York, London : Funk & Wagnalls, 1906.
4. Article on "Kol Nidre," The Encyclopedia Judaica, Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, LTD. Israel, 1996.
6. The Talmud says Gentiles can be deprived of justice (Baba Kama, 113a), can be cheated (BK, 113b), are animals (Iore Deah 148, 12 Hagah), may be killed (Sanhedrin 59a, Choschen Hamischpat 425.5, Abodah Zarah 26b), can be led to death or not saved from death (Choschen Ham. 425.5, Iore Deah 158).
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog organization.
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