“The Jews’ belief in God threatened more than their neighbors’ gods. It challenged many of their fundamental values. The world to which the Jews have introduced God and His moral demands has often resented this theological and moral challenge.”-Why the Jews: The Reason for Antisemitism-By Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin
In my last post I made the point that many of the rituals and customs that YHWH brought to the Jews were introduced because these things were already well known to them.
So one may think, if that’s the case, then isn’t it true that there wasn’t any distinguishable difference between the way the Hebrews lived their life compared to the surrounding pagan nations.
Well, on a surface level, in the beginning that may have seemed to be the case.
However, trust me, over the passage of time, the ways of the Israelites began to appear stranger and stranger to the world around them with the chief strange aspect being their belief in one true God who imposed His morality on all of mankind.
This brings us face-to-face with the real cause of antisemitism.
Over the years, many theories have been introduced by scholars concerning the real cause of anti-semitism.
The common reasons given range from poor economic factors and the need for scapegoats to simply pure resentment of Jewish affluence combined with xenophobia.
However, these answers really don’t get at the heart of what causes antisemitism, they only reveal the factors that have exacerbated it and caused Jew hatred to erupt in certain circumstances.
For instance, concerning the theory that Jews are resented because they are wealthy is simply NOT true.
Anti-semites have hated poor Jews just as much as they have hated rich Jews.
Interestingly, if one was to visit Israel, the one ridiculous stereotype that will quickly be put to rest is the idea that all Jews are rich.
I travelled to Israel last week and I saw with my own eyes both rich neighborhoods and poor or lower middle-class neighbors.
I was even saddened by the sight of some homeless Jews sleeping on the streets still wearing their tattered Kippahs.
Many times on my way back to our apartment after grocery shopping, I was approached by a beggar asking for money (some of these beggars may have been Arab however).
No, historically, there has always been one chief cause of antisemitism in the world and that cause has been Israel’s belief in one God, their Torah and the fact that they are a chosen people.
Israel, by affirming that YHVH is the one and only God of mankind, thereby implying that everyone else’s gods are fake, have always been at war with the gentiles’ most cherished beliefs.
Anti-Semites have also hated the Jews because of this very Torah we are studying.
Here’s the thing.
When one obeys the Torah or Teachings of God, what will normally result is a higher quality of life compared to the gentiles.
This has always provoked bitter envy and vicious hostility among the gentiles.
Yes, this is the true cause of anti-Semitism.
Israel’s belief in one true God and His Torah which over time resulted in a radically DIFFERENT way of life than their gentile neighbors is what has caused the hatred which has led to persecution.
Trust me, it takes much more than economic tensions and racial prejudice to create the hatred that has led to the torturing of children and the attempted murder of an entire community.
In the ancient world, it was common for every nation to worship their own gods and but also to acknowledge the legitimacy of others’ gods.
Not so with Israel.
Over time, as Israel progressed in its understanding of who YHWH was, it began to declare that the gods of the goyim (nations) were nonsense as the following verse from Psalms so eloquently articulates:
“They have mouths
but cannot speak,
eyes but cannot see,
ears but cannot hear”
And I’ve got news for you.
If you are true disciple of Yeshua, it is inevitable that you too will face persecution as the contrast between your lifestyle resulting from your beliefs and the way the world lives becomes ever sharper.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING WITH THE NEW TESTAMENT
“And indeed, all who want to live a godly life
united with the Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted,
while evil people and impostors
will go from bad to worse,
deceiving others and being deceived themselves.”
-2 Timothy 3:12-13