THE LIFE OF CHRIST/THE CHRISTIAN CROSS
The Talmud teaches that Jesus Christ was illegitimate
and was conceived during menstruation; that he had the soul of Esau; that
he was a fool, a conjurer, a seducer; that he was crucified, buried in
hell and set up as an idol ever since by his followers.
1. ILLEGITIMATE AND CONCEIVED DURING MENSTRUATION
The following is narrated in the Tract Kallah,
"Once when the Elders were seated at the Gate, two
young men passed by, one of whom had his head covered, the other with his
head bare. Rabbi Eliezer remarked that the one in his bare head was illegitimate,
a mamzer. Rabbi Jehoschua said that he was conceived during menstruation,
ben niddah. Rabbi Akibah, however, said that he was both. Whereupon
the others asked Rabbi Akibah why he dared to contradict his colleagues.
He answered that he could prove what he said. He went therefore to the
boy's mother whom he saw sitting in the market place selling vegetables
and said to her: 'My daughter, if you will answer truthfully what I am
going to ask you, I promise that you will be saved in the next life.' She
demanded that he would swear to keep his promise, and Rabbi Akibah did
so—but with his lips only, for in his heart he invalidated his oath. Then
he said: 'Tell me, what kind of son is this of yours'? To which she replied:
'The day I was married I was having menstruation, and because of this my
husband left me. But an evil spirit came and slept with me and from this
intercourse my son was born to me.' Thus it was proved that this young
man was not only illegitimate but also conceived during the menstruation
of his mother. And when his questioners heard this they declared: 'Great
indeed was Rabbi Akibah when he corrected his Elders'! And they exclaimed:
'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel who revealed his secret to Rabbi Akibah
the son of Joseph' "!
That the Jews understand this story to refer to Jesus
and his mother, Mary, is clearly demonstrated in their book Toldath
Jeschu—'The Generations of Jesus'—where the birth of our Savior
is narrated in almost the same words.(4)
(4) cf. Synag. Jud. Chap. VIII, p. 133.
Another story of this kind is narrated in Sanhedrin,
"Of all who are guilty of death by the Law, he alone(5)
is caught by a ruse. How is it done? They light a
candle in an inner room and place witnesses in an adjoining room outside
where they can see him and hear his voice, but where they cannot be seen
by him. Then the one whom he tried to seduce says to him 'Please repeat
here privately what you told me before.' If the seducer repeats what he
said, the others ask him 'But how shall we leave our God who is in heaven
and serve idols?' If the seducer repents, then all is well. But if he says
'This is our duty and it is right for us to do so,' then the witnesses
outside, who have heard him, bring him before the judge and stone him to
death. This is what they did to the son of Stada in Lud, and they hanged
him on the eve of the Passover. For this son of Stada was the son of Pandira.
For Rabbi Chasda tells us that Pandira was the husband(6)
of Stada, his mother, and he lived during the time Paphus the son of Jehuda.
But his mother was stada, Mary of Magdala (a ladies' hairdresser) who,
as it is said in Pumbadita, deserted her husband."
(5) namely, a seducer, who tries to seduce another to
worship an idol and to join a false religion.
(6) A marginal note says this son of Stada was called after his father,
not his mother, although he was illegitimate.
The meaning of this is that his Mary was called Stada,
that is, a prostitute, because, according to what was taught at Pumbadita,
she left her husband and commited adultery. This is also recorded in the
Jerusalem Talmud(7) and by Maimonides.(7)
(7) cf. Sanhedrin, chap. VII near the end, and
Iebhammoth, the last chap.
That the mention here is of Mary, the mother of Jesus,
is verified in the Tract Chagigah, 4b:
"When Rabbi Bibhai was visited once by the Death
Angel (the devil), the latter said to his assistant: 'Go and bring to me
Mary the hairdresser' (that is, kill her). He went and brought Mary the
children's hairdresser—in place of the other Mary."
A marginal note explains this passage as follows:
"This story of Mary the Ladies' hairdresser happened
under the Second Temple. She was the mother of Peloni, 'that man,' as he
is called in the tract Schabbath," (fol. 104b).
In Schabbath the passage referred to says:
"Rabbi Eliezer said to the Elders: 'Did not the son
of Stada practice Egyptian magic by cutting it into his flesh?' They replied:
'He was a fool, and we do not pay attention to what fools do. The son of
Stada, Pandira's son, etc.' " as above in Sanhedrin, 67a.
This magic of the son of Stada is explained as follows
in the book Beth Jacobh, fol. 127 a:
"The Magi, before they left Egypt, took special care
not to put their magic in writing lest other peoples might come to learn
it. But he devised a new way by which he inscribed it on his skin, or made
cuts in his skin and inserted it there and which, when the wounds healed
up, did not show what they meant."(8)
(8) This is treated at greater length in the book Toldath
Jeschu, where it speaks of Jesus as a conjurer, as we shall see further
on. It is also mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud in chap. 12.
"There is little doubt who this Ben Stada was, or
who the Jews understood him to be. Although the Rabbis in their additions
to the Talmud try to hide their malice and say that it is not Jesus Christ,
their deceit is plainly evident, and many things prove that they wrote
and understood all these things about him. In the first place, they also
call him the son of Pandira. Jesus the Nazarene is thus called in other
passages(10) of the Talmud where
express mention is made of Jesus the son of Pandira. St. John Damascene(11)
also, in his Genealogy of Christ, mentions Panthera and the Son of Panthera.
"Secondly, this Stada is said to be Mary, and this
Mary the mother of Peloni 'that certain one,' by which without doubt
Jesus is meant. For in this way they were accustomed to cover up his name
because they were afraid to mention it. If we had copies of the original
manuscripts they would certainly prove this. And this also was the name
of the mother of Jesus the Nazarene.
"Thirdly, he is called the Seducer of the People.
The Gospels(12) testify that
Jesus was called this by the Jews, and their writings to this day are proof
that they still call him by this name.
"Fourthly, he is called 'the one who was hanged,'
which clearly refers to the crucifixion of Christ, especially since a reference
to the time 'on the eve of the Passover' is added, which coincides with
the time of the crucifixion of Jesus. In Sanhedrin (43a) they wrote
'"On the eve of the Passover they hanged Jesus'
"Fifthly, as to what the Jerusalem Talmud says about
the two disciples of the Elders who were sent as witnesses to spy on him,
and who were afterwards brought forward as witnesses against him: This
refers to the two "false witnesses" of whom the Evangelists Matthew(14)
and Luke(15) make mention.
"Sixthly, concerning what they say about the son
of Stada that he practiced Egyptian magical arts by cutting into his flesh:
the same accusation is made against Christ in their hostile book Toldoth
"Lastly, the time corresponds. For it is said that
this son of Stada lived in the days of Paphus the son of Jehuda, who was
a contemporary of Rabbi Akibah. Akibah, however, lived at the time of the
Ascension of Christ, and for some time after. Mary is also said to have
lived under the Second Temple. All this clearly proves that they secretly
and blasphemously understand this son of Stada to be Jesus Christ the son
"Other circumstances may seem to contradict this.
But that is nothing new in Jewish writings and is done on purpose so that
Christians may not easily detect their trickery."(16)
(9) cf. Lexicon. Jud. in verbo Jeschu.
(10) cf. The Jerusalem Talmud, Abhodah Zarah, ch. II, and Schabbath,
ch. XIV, Beth Jacobh, 127a.
(11) Lib. 4
(12) cf. Matt. XXVII, 63
(13) cf. Sanhedrin, 107b
(14) Ch. XXVI, 60-61
(15) Ch. XX, 5
(16) There are Jews who themselves confess to this. For instance, in
the book Sepher Juchasin (9b): "The Rabbis have always deceived the
Nazarenes by saying that the Jesus of whom the Talmud speaks is not the
Jesus Christ of the Christians. They permit themselves this falsehood for
the sake of peace" in Rohling, Die Polemik und das Menschenopfer
des Rabbinismus, ut supra.
2. Furthermore, "In the secret books, which are not
permitted to fall easily into the hands of Christians, they say that the
soul of Esau came into Christ, that he was therefore evil and that he was
(17) Synag. Judaica, p. 217; cf. also Buxtorf,
Lexicon in verbo Jeschu.
3. By some he is called a FOOL and INSANE
In Schabbath, 104b:
"They, [the Elders] said to him [Eliezer]: 'He was
a fool, and no one pays attention to fools.'
4. A CONJURER AND A MAGICIAN
In the infamous book Toldoth Jeschu, our Savior
is blasphemed as follows:
"And Jesus said: Did not Isaiah and David, my ancestors,
prophesy about me? The Lord said to me, thou art my son, today I have
begotten thee,(18) etc. Likewise
in another place: The Lord said to my Lord, sit thou at my right hand(19).
Now I ascend to my father who is in heaven and will sit at his right hand,
which you will see with your own eyes. But you, Judas, will never reach
that high(20). Then Jesus pronounced
the great name of God (IHVH) and continued to do so until a wind came and
took him up between earth and sky. Judas also pronounced the name of God
and he likewise was taken up by the wind. In this way they both floated
around in the air to the amazement of the onlookers. Then Judas, again
pronouncing the Divine Name, took hold of Jesus and pushed him down to
earth. But Jesus tried to do the same to Judas and thus they fought together.
And when Judas saw he could not win out over the works of Jesus he pissed
on Jesus, and both thus being unclean they fell to earth; nor could they
use the Divine name again until they had washed themselves."
(18) Ps. II, 7.
(19) Ps. CX, 1.
(20) For it is related that Judas was a competitor of Jesus in the
working of miracles.
Whether those who believe such devilish lies deserve greater
hatred or pity, I cannot say.(21)
(21) Wagenseil, Sota, p. 1049
In another place in the same book it is related that in
the house of the Sanctuary there was a stone which the Patriarch Jacob
anointed with oil.(22) On this
stone were carved the tetragrammatic letters of the Name (IHVH),(23)
and if anyone could learn them he could destroy the world. They therefore
decreed that no one must learn them, and they placed two dogs upon two
iron columns before the Sanctuary so that if anyone should learn them the
dogs would bark at him coming out and he would forget the letters through
fear. Then it is related: "Jesus came and entered, learned the letters
and wrote them down on parchment. Then he cut into the flesh of his thigh
and inserted them there, and having pronounced the name, the wound healed."(24)
(22) cf. Genesis, XXVIII
(23) No one knows how this august name of God is to be read. It is
certain, however, that it was not pronounced Jehovah, although it is thus
commonly pronounced. For the vowels of this tetragrammatum are the vowels
of the name Adonai, and it is thus that the Jews read IHVH. Out of reverence,
however, it is never written in their books, with the exception of Sacred
Scripture, but only indicated by ", or Haschem, the name.
(24) Buxtorf. Lexicon
In the Tract Sanhedrin (103a) the words of Psalm
XCI, 10: 'No plague shall come near thy dwelling,' are explained as follows:
"That thou mayest never have a son or a disciple
who will salt his food so much that he destroys his taste in public, like
Jesus the Nazarene."
To salt one's food too much or to destroy one's taste,
is proverbially said of one who corrupts his morals or dishonors himself,
or who falls into heresy and idolatry and openly preaches it to others.
In the same book Sanhedrin (107b) we read:
"Mar said: Jesus seduced, corrupted and destroyed
Finally as punishment for his crimes and impiety, he suffered
an ignominious death by being hanged on a cross on the eve of the Passover
(as we have seen above).
8. BURIED IN HELL
The book Zohar, III, (282), tells us that Jesus died like
a beast and was buried in that "dirt heap...where they throw the dead
bodies of dogs and asses, and where the sons of Esau [the Christians] and
of Ismael [the Turks], also Jesus and Mahommed, uncircumcized and unclean
like dead dogs, are buried."(25)
(25) In the book Synag. Judaica, (Ch. III, p. 75)
is the following: 'He who cuts himself off [namely, who does not believe
blindly in the Rabbinical teachings] will suffer the tortures of the damned,
as is decreed in the Talmudic law of punishment in the Tract de Repudiis
(Gitt. c5): He who despises the words of the wise men shall be cast into
the dirt heap with the damned." I shudder to repeat that they blasphemously
narrate that our Saviour Jesus Christ, whose name be forever blessed, suffered
this penalty by being cast into Gehenna, although it is contrary to the
traditions and teaching of the Fathers of the Church...
9. WORSHIPPED AS GOD AFTER HIS DEATH BY HIS FOLLOWERS
George El. Edzard, in his book Avoda Sara, quotes
the following words of the commentator on the Hilkoth Akum (V,3)
"In many passages of the Talmud mention is made of
Jesus the Nazarene and of his disciples, and that the Gentiles believe
that there is no other God besides him. In the book Chizzuk Emunah,(26)
part I, ch. 36, we read: 'The Christians build up an argument from this
[Zachary XII, 10] and say: Behold how the Prophet testified that
in future ages the Jews would lament and weep because they crucified and
killed the Messiah who was sent to them; and to prove that he meant Jesus
the Nazarene, possessing both the divine and human nature, they quote the
words: And they looked upon him whom they transfixed and they wept over
him as a mother over her first born child.' "
(26) cf. Wagens, Sota, p. 69
Maimonides attempts to prove how much Christians err in
worshipping Jesus in his book Hilkoth Melakhim (IX, 4):(27)
"If all the things he did had prospered, if he had
rebuilt the Sanctuary in its place, and had gathered together the dispersed
tribes of Israel, then he would certainly be the Messiah...But if so far
he has not done so and if he was killed, then it is clear he was not the
Messiah whom the Law tells us to expect. He was similar to all the good
and upright rulers of the House of David who died, and whom the Holy and
Blessed Lord raised up for no other reason but to prove to many, as it
is said (in Dan. XI, 35): And some of them who understand shall
fall, to try and to purge them and to make them white, even till the end
of time, because the appointed time is not yet. Daniel also prophesised
about Jesus the Nazarene who thought he was the Christ, and who was put
to death by the judgment of the Senate: (Dan. V.14): ...and the robbers
of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they
shall fail. What could be plainer? For all the Prophets said that the
Christ would set Israel free, would bring it salvation, restore its dispersed
peoples and confirm their laws. But he was the cause of the destruction
of Israel and caused the rest of them to be dispersed and humiliated, so
that the Law was changed and the greater part of the world was seduced
to worship another God. Truly no one can understand the designs of the
Creator, nor are his ways our ways. For all that has been built up by Jesus
the Nazarene, and by the Turks who came after him, tend only to prepare
the way for the coming of Christ the King, and to prepare the whole world
equally for the service of the Lord, as it is said: For then I shall
give a clean mouth to all peoples that all may call upon the name of the
Lord, and bow down in unison before him.(28)
How is this being accomplished? Already the whole world is filled with
the praise of Christ, the Law and the Commandments, and his praises have
spread to far distant lands and to peoples whose hearts and bodies are
uncircumcized. These discuss with one another about the Law that was destroyed—some
saying that the commandments were once true, but have ceased to exist;
others that there is a great mystery about it, that the Messiah-King has
come and that their doctrine has revealed it. But when the Christ truly
comes and is successful, and is raised up and exalted, then everything
will be changed and these things will be shown to be false and vain."
(27) Ibidem, p. 346
(28) Sophon, III, 9
10. AN IDOL
In the Tract Abhodah Zarah, (21a Toseph),
"It is of importance to inquire the reasons why men
nowadays even sell and rent their houses to Gentiles. Some say this is
legal because it is said in Tosephta: No one shall rent his house
to a gentile either here [in the land of Israel] or elsewhere because it
is known that he will bring an idol into it. It is nevertheless allowed
to rent them stables, barns and lodging houses, even though it is known
that they will bring idols into them. The reason is because a distinction
can be made between a place into which an idol will be carried in order
to leave it there permanently, and a place where it will not be left permanently,
in which case it is allowed. And since the gentiles, among whom we now
live, do not bring their idol into their homes to leave it there permanently,
but only for a time—while someone is dead in the house or when someone
is dying, nor do they even perform any religious rites there—it
is therefore permitted to sell and rent them houses."
Rabbi Ascher, in his Commentary on Abhodah Zarah
(83d) speaks not less clearly on this matter:
"Today it is permitted to rent houses to Gentiles
because they bring their idol into them only for a time, when somebody
is sick." And in the same place he says 'Today they have a practice
of incensing their idol.' "
All this, and much more like it, proves beyond a doubt
that when the Rabbis speak of the idols of the Gentiles among whom they
lived at that time, when no idols were worshipped, they clearly meant the
Christian "idol," namely, the image of Christ on the crucifix
and the Holy Communion.
NOTE ABOUT THE CROSS
In Jewish writings there is no directly corresponding
word for the Christian Cross. The cross T on which those condemned to death
were crucified, was called Tau by the Phoenicians and the Hebrews,
and this name and sign for it was afterwards taken over into the alphabet
of the Jews and of the Greeks and the Romans. The Cross honored by the
Christians, however, is called by the following names:
1. Tsurath Haattalui—the image who was hanged.(29)
2. Elil—vanity, idol.
3. Tselem—image. Hence the Crusaders in Jewish books are called
Tsalmerim (ein Tsalmer)
4. Scheti Veerebh—warp and woof, which is taken from the textile
5. Kokhabh—star; on account of the four rays emanating from
6. Pesila—a sculpture, a carven idol.
(29) Aben Ezra in Genes. XXVII, 39
But wherever it is mentioned it is always in the sense
of an idol or of something despicable, as can be seen from the following
In Orach Chaiim, 113,8:
"If a Jew when praying should meet a Christian [Akum]
carrying a star [a crucifix] in his hand, even if he has come to
a place in his prayer where it is necessary to bow down to worship God
in his heart, he must not do so lest he should seem to bow down before
In Iore Dea, 150,2:
"Even if a Jew should get a splinter in his foot
in front of an idol, or if he should drop his money before it, he must
not stoop down to remove the splinter or to gather up his money lest he
should seem to adore it. But he should either sit down or turn his back
or his side to the idol and then remove the splinter."
But whenever it is not possible for a Jew to turn away
like this, the following rule must be observed (in Iore Dea, 3,
"It is not permitted to bow down or to remove one's
hat before princes or priests who wear a cross on their dress, as is their
custom. Care must be taken, however, not to be noticed in failing to do
so. For instance, one can throw some coins on the ground and stoop down
to pick them up before they pass by. In this way it is permitted to bow
down or to remove one's hat before them."
A distinction is also made between a cross which is venerated
and a cross which is worn around the neck as a souvenir or as an ornament.
The former is to be regarded as an idol, but not necessarily the latter.
In Iore Dea, 141, 1, Hagah, it says:
"The image of a cross, before which they bow down,
is to be treated as an idol, and it is not to be used until it is destroyed.
However, a 'warp and woof' if hung around the neck as a souvenir is not
to be regarded as an idol and can be used."
The sign of the cross made with the hand, by which Christians
are wont to bless themselves, is called in Jewish "the moving of the
fingers here and there" (hinc et hinc).(30)
(30) cf. Kad. Hakkem, 20a