So for the Jews, is Christianity a spiritual friend of foe? If the Torah is the God’s guidance for human life, the answer to this question should be clear – yes, Christianity is a spiritual friend. And here is why.
The Torah is the life guidance for everybody – Jews and non-Jews – because it says that God created all humans, Jews and non-Jews, in His own image and likeness. What does it mean to be created in the image and likeness of God requires interpretations, and these interpretations are made by different religions – religions created by people, not by God.
The Jewish people created their own interpretation based on their Torah-based God-given mission of the Chosen and codified in religion of Judaism. The Jewish people created their own interpretation based on their unique experience in communicating with God (for the purpose of this discussion, it doesn’t matter God is real or imaginary) from Abraham to Moses. Then the Jewish people, fulfilling their mission of the Chosen, helped the non-Jews create non-Jewish Torah-based religion of Christianity. Of course, Christianity is different from Judaism since it is an interpretation of the “made in the image and likeness of God” for different life conditions and traditions. Terrible historic relationship between the Jews and the Christians doesn’t nullify the Torah-based essence of Christianity in the same way as contemporary terrible relationships among different denominations within Judaism and Christianity doesn’t nullify their common Torah-based foundation.
However some rabbis don’t agree with this logical conclusion. On January 9, JTA published a paper entitled “Dutch rabbis uncomfortable with recognition of Noahides” – “Several Dutch rabbis criticized a rabbinical court’s recognition of non-Jews who observe Torah laws”:
The paper says:
“The court’s recognition took place at an oath-taking ceremony attended by several dozen Noahides, a term referring to non-Jews who observe the seven categories of religious laws specified in the Torah as part of God’s covenant with Noah after the flood.
Members of Rotterdam’s Noahide Ohel Abraham community took the oath last month at a ceremony led by two Orthodox rabbis from Israel, Uri Sherky and Efraim Choban. A Dutch rabbinical student, Meir Villegas Henriquez, also participated.
The ceremony constituted the first official recognition of Noahides in the Netherlands by Orthodox rabbis. …
“It is not a good thing. It’s unclear, neither here nor there, and I don’t like it,” Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, a chief rabbi of the Netherlands, told the Jewish weekly NIW. Several other Dutch rabbis also expressed their discomfort with the ceremony.
The Israeli rabbis belong to the Noahide World Center in Jerusalem, a body which supports the Noahide oath and way of life as means of strengthening the bond between Jews and non-Jews.”
Why some rabbis are afraid of emphasizing and strengthening the bond between Jews and non-Jews? Undoubtedly those rabbis know that
(1) membership in the Jewish tribe is restricted,
(2) God created all people equal in His own image and likeness,
(3) God created the Torah and its Ten Commandments for Jews and non-Jews, and
(4) therefore non-Jews have to create their own communication lines with God called religions.
If the rabbis know all that, a plausible explanation of rabbis’ rejection of the bond between the Jews and the non-Jews could be a completely different interpretation of the “made in the image and likeness of God”. Probably, their interpretation is that the elaborated rituals of traditional orthodoxy that are codified in the Talmud represent the “image and likeness of God” and the non-Jews don’t follow this ritual-based image. But if we assume those rabbis are right we have to assume God is performing rituals in support of his work. Is it logically or illogically possible?
Another recently published story presented the relationship between Jews and Christians as truly spiritually friendly relationship. That is “The menorah and the cross” by Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See Zion Evrony that reflects on the 20th anniversary of relations between Israel and the Vatican:
Zion Evrony says:
“When I go to meetings and events in the Vatican, pass the Swiss guards, and walk the beautiful marble floors, I sometimes think about the long path we have traveled, Christians and Jews in the last 2,000 years — from rejection and denial, just over 100 years ago, to recognition, dialogue, and friendship of today. This shift has taken place as a result of the confluence and interplay of theological and political changes.
… in 1965, a historical and theological change took place: the adoption of the document “Nostra Aetate” by the Catholic Church. This document revolutionized the Catholics’ position — exonerating the Jewish People from the collective blame of Jesus’ death, an accusation that has been one of the main sources of religious anti-Semitism throughout history. …
The Fundamental Agreement of 1993 was the next milestone. Yossi Beilin, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, who signed the agreement, later commented: “Even though it was a political agreement between two states, we all knew that it was also a historic agreement of reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people.”
And here are thoughts of Rabbi Jesse Olitzky in support of friendly relationship with the Christians presented in publication “Jews, embrace Christmas as a day to make a difference” at
Rabbi Olitzky says:
“Instead of taking a day off, Jews should make Christmas a ‘day on;’ with community service for those in need. …
The Jewish community’s discomfort with Christmas dates back to the 17th century, when Jews observed Christmas Eve as Nittel Nacht, a day in which they refrained from appearing in public out of fear of sieges and physical anti-Jewish expressions and acts by the Christian community. Hundreds of years later, the Jewish community still doesn’t know how to deal with being a minority in a Christian society.
Instead of hiding indoors with Chinese food and movie marathons, we Jews should embrace Christmas day. No, I am not suggesting that we celebrate Christmas, but I am suggesting that we help others do so. … the Jewish community could embrace Christmas as a day service to the larger community, to make the world a better place.”
If we follow the Torah we the Jews have to treat the Christians as spiritual friends.