I've had the privilege of engaging in interfaith dialogue for many years now, and I almost always learn something new and fascinating when I try to take off my own Jewish "glasses," and borrow someone else's lenses for a spell. I recall one
Coptic priest from Delaware, who kept wanting us to look at specific verses in the Bible, and asking me how I view them. Naturally, each verse in question seemed to allude to the Christian understanding of Jesus and/or a Messiah and/or God's "son." What I tried to explain to that priest - as I often do when examining these passages together with Christians - is that our Bible is big enough for the both of us. There are verses and themes that "work" for them and don't speak to us, and yet others that mainly appeal to a Jewish audience and NOT a Christian one. Why can't that be ok? I don't feel we should be mining our texts for "The Truth"; for proof that one of our religions is RIGHT, and the other - therefore - is WRONG. Isn't that what "coexistence" is all about???
This weekend, we are chanting a fourth, and final, special reading leading up to Pesach. (Except for the one next week, but let's not get into that right now...) This Shabbat, our Haftarah comes from the prophet Ezekiel, who writes: "On the fourteenth day of the first month, you shall have the Passover sacrifice, and during a festival of seven days, you shall eat unleavened bread" (45:21).
Well, that can be hard for us to hear. It's uncomfortable, perhaps, and even unsettling. But take a moment to ask yourself "why?" It's their Bible too, isn't it? Some of the greatest Biblical scholars over the last many centuries were Christians,
Photos in this blog post:
3. CC image of Jerusalem's Golden Gate courtesy of Kordas on Wikimedia Commons (If you want to know why it's walled up - and how that relates to the Coming of the Messiah - read about it here...)