Dear Mr. Makow,
I was troubled by the claims raised by Mr Newman in his article entitled “Is Lucifer the God of Judaism?”
I immediately forwarded it to a respected and authoritative Messianic Jewish researcher named David _________. David is very respected among both messianic and non-messianic synagogues.
I am including his refutation to Mr. Newman’s assertions below as I feel they offer all believers in Yeshua/Jesus a defense against erroneous claims as Newman’s.
Though I agree with Newman that Kabbalists as a whole do promote a destructive and immoral lifestyle both in Hollywood and Washington Politics especially, thankfully this is not the norm for the devout Jewish community in my experience.
I hope that you are well.
I do not agree with the case, the arguments nor the conclusions of this author. In fact, I find his main points to be quite erroneous. I don’t know what kind of Jewish people this person has gotten to know, but they are not mainstream Jewish people. What he writes about does not represent anything that is taught in Jewish yeshiva (religious schools) nor in our synagogues nor educational systems. Maybe he got to know someone who was a devil worshipper, but that would be one person, not my entire people. He is taking perhaps 1 person and drawing sweeping and rather bombastic conclusions from that one case. Let me debunk some of the myths that he writes about:
“The Jewish and Masonic religions both worship the same god.” Daryl, with all due respect, this is an utterly ridiculous statement. Now, I have no doubt that masons worship lucifer. But my relatives who go to synagogue do not worship lucifer. The per centage of the worldwide Jewish population that are masons is miniscule. So I think Newman is making a very prejudicial and rather wild, unprovable statement.
In all of my years in Israel, I never met one Mason. Not one. The number of Masons in the only Jewish state is even tinier than minuscule. I know a number of rabbis in Israel, and not one is a mason. There is no mention of any such thing in any synagogue that I have ever been to, not in the USA and not in Israel. Are there Jews who are masons? Sure, but they do not, nor ever have, represented more than a tiny fraction of our people.
“In most Jewish synagogues, a bright burning flame represents their god.” Again, Newman’s statement is simply wrong. The flame is called the ‘ner tamid’. It is symbolic of the menorah light that once shined 24/7 in the Temple in Jerusalem. Every synagogue has one in memory of that menorah that shined in the western plaza of the Temple. That’s all it is. I have never heard or read of the explanation that Newman gives. He is simply believing an error.
“The Hebrew word for Lucifer is “Hillel” (Strong’s Concordance #H1966) meaning “bright light.”–Not really. The Hebrew word for lucifer is ‘shahar ben hillel’, not ‘hillel’ by itself. And it is the Jewish people who instead of using such a name, were the first to refer to our enemy as ‘satan’ (literally ‘our opposition’). ‘Hillel’ does not mean ‘light’. It means ‘to praise’. It is the word used in the scriptures many times over to mean ‘to praise God’. The psalms used this word. Unless King David worshipped satan, it is the word that David used to described what he gave to God–‘praise’ [Hillel]. If anything, the combination name that Isaiah used to describe satan [shahar ben hillel] was a name that shows us what lucifer was like–“one who was once bright, but wanted praise.”
“The Jews subtly suggest they know god’s name and that it is secret knowledge that can only be had if you take up the Cabala. Masonry also uses this ploy to entice.” Again, Mr Newman is propagating an untruth. No typical Jewish thought today claims to know God’s real name. It has been lost throughout the ages. In fact, only the High Priest and his family ever knew God’s name, and only ever said it once during the year, at Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement, cf. Leviticus 23). The Jewish world today does NOT claim, as Newman asserts, that God’s name is secret knowledge that can be learned by kabbalistic study. Maybe 1 or 2 religious leaders today are teaching this. But again this does not represent 99.9% of Jewish religious belief or practice. It truly makes me wonder who in the world are ‘these Jews’ who Newman refers to?
Another point: when the bible says that Israel was to proclaim God’s name, watch out for thinking this meant that God’s name had to be said aloud. There is no historical record that this was ever the interpretation given to this commandment (cf. Numbers 6.24ff). In fact, history and philological study show us that the word for ‘name’ in Hebrew (‘shem’) also means ‘reputation’. It still does in modern Hebrew, as well. Meaning: God may have been telling the people that if they walk in His ways and shine His light to the world, that this is how to proclaim His (name or reptuation). A man’s name IS his reputation in the ancient world. Newman seems to have little concern for how history helps us understand how the biblical commands were interpreted by ancient Israel. That leads to poor biblical interpretation, which is what he seems to be propagating, in my opinion.
“Jewish prayers are conducted in Yiddish, a composite language far from the intended pronunciation of the original Hebrew (A.C. Hitchcock, “The Synagogue of Satan,” 1). The prayers in modern synagogues are nothing more than disguised demonic invocations. They are hypnotic spells, similar to the Enochian language of the Church of Satan. Jews are invoking demons named adonai, elohim, el shaddai, et al in their rituals.”–After this statement of Newman’s, there is no need to go any further into his essay. It is utterly false to say that Jewish prayers are in Yiddish. They are 85% in Hebrew! And 15% in Aramaic, the language of the Jewish people from the Persian Empire (Daniel, Nehemiah and Ezra’s language of prayer, as witnessed by parts of their biblical books being written in Aramaic).
I am very fluent in the Jewish prayer book, the Siddur. I challenge Mr Newman to find one Yiddish prayer in it (outside of a very short one called ‘The God of Abraham’, which is uttered once weekly, only by women, and hardly has anything in it that is dangerous). There is not one prayer in the prayer book that is invoking any demons. That is so ‘far out’ as an accusation that I can only term this charge as anti-Semitic. No one with any hands-on knowledge of Jewish prayer would ever say this. In addition, el shaddai is the name that God told Abraham to call Him!! It could hardly be demonic, then.
“The true god AHAYAH”–I have no idea what Mr Newman is referring to here. With my PhD in Jewish history and my BA in Theology, I have never come across this name. Not in Christian writings, not in Jewish writings, either. This is not God’s name by any historical texts that exist.
“While not all Jews actively practice Cabala, they all accept the highest Cabalistic name as their god–Yahweh (Jehovah.)” The first half of his sentence contains a half-truth: it is true, most Jews do not practice kabbalah. Let me qualify this even more–maybe 10% of the Jewish world has ever even read the kabbalah. Of that per centage, maybe 5% ever use anything in those writings in their life. Daryl, kabbalistic study does not engage the great, overwhelming majority of the Jewish world. So Newman’s assertion is simply not founded in reality.
The most famous American Jewish professor of Religious Studies in the past 75 years, Saul Liebermann of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York never allowed his many students to study the kabbala, saying that ‘it’s nonsense’. Like Rabbi Liebermann, most Jewish people believe the kabbala to indeed be nonsense. And you can’t judge and make sweeping statements, like Newman does, judging and damning the other 95% of the Jewish people, because 5% believe something else. It would be like saying that all Christians are going to hell because of the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses. A small splinter group is no reason to judge the larger group. And yet this is exactly what Newman does, enforcing stereotypes about Jewish people from the Middle Ages that have led in history to things like the Crusades and many pogroms. I could give a long history lesson about that, but I trust you understand my gist.
Daryl, one last thing: Henry Ford was a blatant anti-Semite. And I totally disagree with his point. The Christian world needs to see the scriptures through Jewish lenses. After all, it is through the Jewish people that salvation has come to the world (do not the scriptures teach such?) Do not the scriptures also teach to love and respect the Jewish people, and to bless them? (cf. Psalm 122.6, Genesis 12.1-3, Zechariah 2.8, Romans 9-11). This is hardly what Newman is encouraging.
Newman also blasts ‘Talmudism’.
My question to him would be: what is Talmudism? Is it studying the Talmud? If so (and I truly don’t know what Mr Newman is referring to by this), contrast his statement with that of Dr Shmuel Safrai, the former head of the Talmud Department at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who stated: “One cannot understand what Yeshua was teaching if one has no background in very basic Talmudic studies”. Dr Safrai, who was a humble Jewish scholar who liked Christians, is telling us that the Talmud is a valuable collection of writings, if for nothing else, to better understand the world that Yeshua came from and some of his teachings. I’m happy to give you some examples of this if you’d like in a follow up e-mail. Throughout my 39 years of being a believer in Yeshua, I have found the Talmud to be a valuable source of historic and homiletic keys to understanding our Messiah. So I deeply disagree with Mr Newman, who probably has never even opened a volume of the Talmud [?]
Feel free to correspond with me about the above.