Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jews and women

Four things:

  1. The Deep Thoughts on Jews and Christians ended up being a two-part Pyro-type post. So you can check out part one over there.
  2. Most. Misleading. Post-title. Ever.
  3. But boy oh boy, you want to be depressed? Check out what are listed as America's 100 Greatest Jewish Women. Oy! I think I'd not want to admit any solidarity. But that's me.
  4. Finally and most seriously: my man Pastor Chris Anderson, and his fellow pastor Joe Tyrpak, have produced a really terrific 31-day devotional for women. How much do I like it? I gladly wrote a blurb for it. Check out more about it (and read my blurb) HERE. I'm glad to recommend it without reservation. Get it for your wife and/or mom for Mother's Day, or get it for yourself. It's surprisingly deep, thought-provoking, doctrinal and devotional. You won't regret it.


Sir Aaron said...

You're right. That list is pretty embarrassing. I wouldn't want to be on any list with Barbara Boxer. I do like Judge Judy, however.

Paula said...

28-Gloria Steinem
83-Gloria Stelnem

53-Judy Blume
95-Judy Blume

Well...I suppose it would look dumb to have a "Top 98 list" so it was good to round up to an even hundred, even if you have to fudge the numbers a bit : )

Note to self: When creating a "GREATEST" website for something, make sure the website design wouldn't qualify for the "WORST ON THE INTERNET" award.

beachbirdie said...

There is an important distinction between a religious Jew and a secular Jew. Though I cannot play the role of Holy Spirit in anyone's life, it is a good bet that the women on that list are the most secular of Jews.

Meaning that they belong to Judaism as one belongs to a social club. They are Jewish because they were born that way and learned how to go through the motions. A lot of secular Jews don't even really believe in God. Sort of like a lot of people in church.

"...knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19. (you can click the linked text for longer context).

Paula said...

@beachbirdie....so true. It is a very sad thing to behold. I have a dear friend who is a Reform Jew and agnostic. She's bipolar and was going through a suicide watch a few years back and called both me and the Rabbi, who, sadly, could offer her no more than social services -nothing to address her spiritual need. Worse, she won't hear of her need for Christ.

If you look at the history of Reform Judaism, it has some striking similarities to the development of liberal Christianity in the early 20th century.

In an attempt to adapt to the social, cultural, and political situation of the modern world, Reform Judaism has either abandoned or changed many of the traditional Jewish religious observances. At its core, the Reform movement challenged the belief that the laws and rituals taken from the Bible required strict observance in the modern world.

While respecting the Torah as an inspired, but not divinely authored, foundational text of Judaism, Reform rejected the binding nature of its laws, along with the authority of the Talmud and later rabbinical codes. Reform regards the Torah in humanistic historical terms, as the record of the Jewish people's quest for God and holiness

Sound familiar?

Stefan said...

Beachbirdie and Paula: yes to the gist of what you both wrote.

Even beyond Reform Judaism (which is indeed basically equivalent to Liberal Christianity, with the same inability to articulate a hope in the salvific work of God), there is a distinct secular Jewish movement, going back to 19th century Europe, when a conscious effort was made to develop a contemporary cultural identity based on the development of Yiddish literature and the arts, and apart from a belief in God.

Like Reform Judaism, secular Judaism has also historically been closely tied up with social liberalism. At the secular Jewish Sunday school I attended as a kid, Moses was understood not so much as a prophet of God, but rather a national liberator.

(That being said, I am indebted to God for going there. For example, we had a Passover meal every year, and though I did not know it at the time, it was an anticipation of the communion meal I partake in regularly now under the New Covenant.)

Susan said...

Oy gevalt on the title, and LOL, too! (I did kinda figure out that it had to do with the "neither Jew nor Greek" passage.)

Susan said...

Incidentally, I'm curious: How do modern-day religious Jews deal with ceremonial washings found in the Mishna (I am spelling it phonetically), which John MacArthur said is part of the Talmud? I heard his Sunday sermon, and he was saying that there are 30 chapters on hand-washing in the Mishna. (It was an awesome sermon on the beginning of Mark 7, BTW. They should have it on the Grace to You website.)

Chris Anderson said...

Dan, despite our email banter, I do very much appreciate your kind link to GM4W. Thank you.

Your initial description of it as "most eriously" cracked me right up. Positively Tiggeresque. Classic.

Blessings, friend.

sem said...

Sarah Hughes came up on the list twice as well. So they can name three women twice but leave out Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I guess that would be owing to beachbirdie's explanation.

Stefan said...


I am no authority on these things. But the Mishnah is indeed part of the Talmud. The Mishnah is basically a multi-volume record of discourse between rabbis in the years following the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, on the interpretation and application of the Law. It is a written form of what is called the "Oral Torah," the elaborate set of rules that the developed after the Exile in the attempt to ensure that Jews would never again fall afoul of God's commandments...these rules are seen as sort of a hedge of protection around the commandments.

The use of "LORD" (in all capitals) in English Bibles is an example of this. Through a convoluted series of historical developments, it reflects a decision to never risk violating the Third Commandment, by never pronouncing God's Hebrew name aloud, even when not taking His name in vain.

Of course, all the rules in the world won't solve the problem the basic problem. It's rather a matter of having a heart of repentance for our sins—and this, of course, is the root of so much of the discourse between Jesus Christ and the religious leaders in the Gospels.

Regarding ceremonial washing, again, I really am not well versed in these things. But even today, in Orthodox Judaism, there is the practice of mikvah: ceremonial washing for purification. That is probably what Pastor MacArthur was referring to.

Susan said...

Thanks for answering my question, Stefan. I have to go back and listen to that sermon again to know whether Pastor MacArthur was referring to the mikvah. For one thing, I didn't realize the the Mishnah only came into existence after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. I thought it had existed during Jesus's day.

(Oh, and Dan, I didn't mean to do the unthinkable on purpose in my previous comment. For one thing, I didn't post the link itself. The other thing is that I referred us to GTY so that I don't incorrectly recount details from the MacArthur sermon--there was just so much stuff in that sermon...and he only finished half of what he had wanted to say!)

Stefan said...


Although the Mishnah was compiled after the fall of Jerusalem (in order to preserve what would otherwise have become lost), many of the debates that are recorded in the Mishnah came from before the fall of Jerusalem, in the decades around Jesus' time.

For example, Gamaliel is one of the great rabbinic teachers who is quoted quite often in the Mishnah, and of course, Paul studied under him.

So in Jesus Christ's debates with the Parisees and Scribes, we are actually witnessing His interaction with some of the very people whose pronouncements upon the Law would later become codified in the Talmud.

Stefan said...

Correction to my last comment (which is not as of yet posted):

Gamaliel is a revered teacher in the Mishnah, but very few sayings are actually attributed to him.