It’s Erev Shavuot , and time for a little revelation…

Jewish Israel likes to reveal the truth, but in the process we also tend to expose the lies - and that’s an uncomfortable business.

Joel Bell is in Israel with Christian messianic ephramite pilgrims. He is promoting a concept among Israeli government and organizational leaders which has Avodah Zarah stamped all over it. Listen and watch as this missionary leader – who sits on the Board of Governors of World Likud - tells Jewish leaders that, “This isn’t a Christian thing. This isn’t a religious thing…” – and then you decide.

GRAFTED:
Jewish Israel as a policy doesn’t like to dabble in Christian theology, but because so many Jewish leaders –including rabbis – are enraptured by the Christian theological concept of “grafting”, we feel it’s necessary to “show you the light” in a nutshell.

When you hear someone say,…

"And Lord, we're so thankful for the Jewish people, that we're grafted in, that we're one, one new man in Messiah.”…

please know that the person is…

“… citing Paul’s Epistle to the Romans which says that the Gentiles are grafted onto the olive tree of the Chosen People in which he says that Gentiles and Israel are no longer distinct. Christ has abolished in his flesh Jewish laws and ordinances, reconciling the Gentiles and Israel as one body, understood as the Church…” ------Source: “Evangelicals and Israel” by Stephen Spector

When you read that Joel and Pamela Bell,

“… have given their time, energy and finances to the building up of zion and teaching the covenant that elohim has with Abraham, Isaac & Jacob and their descendants to all those who are grafted in to the olive tree of Israel, by faith in messiah yahshua”; or if an evangelical or messianic speaks of a future in which “Jew and Gentile will be United as One New Man in Yeshua”, you’ll now know what they mean.

And now you can begin to imagine the implications of “your people shall be my people”, and why the theme of Ruth is so very popular in evangelical circles; and why when Joel Bell calls “forth the company of Ruth”, Likud members and Jewish leaders should distance themselves from him and his plans.

Rabbis , Scholars and Leaders:

The Christian theological concept of grafting would certainly shed light on why Rav Yosef B. Soloveichik shunned the concept of a Judeo-Christian tradition and forbade interfaith theological dialogue.

The concept negates the very foundations and aspirations of Judaism, and can at best be described as "Esau’s kiss".

It seems that the popular and perverse assessment in much of the Jewish world is that, “grafting sure beats replacement theology; and a grafted-in church would cease to be anti-Semitic.”

But once we understand the theology, do the following statements constitute a type of heresy?

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein met with us at the sacred Western Wall, which he called "a place of peace." "You are a part of what’s going on … you're grafted onto our rich olive tree," he said, adding, "Two are better than one."

Dr. Dmitry Radyshevsky of the Jerusalem Summit “ calls for a Christian restoration of Europe, and for Christians and Jews to unite "politically and spiritually" in the face of radical Islam. He believes "Jews and Christians are one tree, with the Jews forming the roots and the Christians the branches...."

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin is intrigued by the grafting concept and mentions it twice in his article “In Praise of Jewish-Christian Interfaith Dialogue”: first by quoting a Pope:“Nor can she forget that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree unto which have been grafted the wild-shoots, the Gentiles…”; and then the Pentecostal leaders:
“…charismatic theologians have said that they subscribe to a single covenant theory: God entered into a covenant with Israel, upon which the Christians grafted themselves.”

Let’s talk about trees and Jews:

“G-d had called you green olive tree, fair, with beautiful fruit”
(Yirmiyahu 11:16)

Jewish commentaries and sources compare “The People of Israel to the Olive - just as the olive shows its greatness (its oil) only after crushing and squeezing, so too does Israel show its special qualities after being subjected to the trials and tribulations of Jewish History. And Israel is compared to the oil of the olive - just as oil doesnot mix with other liquids, but rather floats above them, so too the Nation of Israel does not (should not) mix with the other nations of the world. And if we remain faithful to G-d, we will rise above the nations (or pretend nations) who seek to hurt us.”

The commentary on Shir Hashirim (Song of Songs) found in Yalkut Me’am Loez states,
“Just as the palm-tree is tall and erect, without bend or curve, and it does not accept grafts, so also for Israel. Thus the Hosha’anot hymn says: “exiled and banished, likened to a palm-tree.” Although we are in exile, we do not accept grafts – foreign beliefs and ideologies."

Halacha forbids the grafting of two different kinds if the result is a new species.

The Rambam (Moses Maimonides)in “Guide for the Perplexed” has a lot to say about the issue of grafting, worshiping trees and heathen practices and perversions. He even cites a particular ceremony which involved the grafting an olive branch onto another tree. He then goes on to conclude, “The Law, therefore prohibits us to mix different species together, i.e., to graft one tree into another, because we must keep away from the opinions of idolaters…”

Maybe those Jews who are hiding behind Christian grafted trees and endorsing Hebraic roots theology are doing so because it makes them feel safe.

Which brings us to the theology of another major religion. According to Islamic tradition - in the end-of-days- the trees are going to be saying, “Oh Muslim, There is a Jew behind me; come and kill him!”

Guess we can’t count on those grafted trees, can we? And what about the Jews who hide behind checks donated by Christian missionaries? Will they be safe?

Perhaps we best start by putting our faith where it belongs.

Jewish Israel wishes Am Yisrael a reflective and meaningful Shavuot.

Chag Sameach!

More on the impossibility of grafting in Judaism, and why the Jew stands alone:
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
Rabbi Beryl Wein

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