Shmuely Boteach 'Cross's Line

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    It seems Rabbi Shmuelly Boteach “cross”ed the line.

    He has a new book “Kosher Jesis” coming out.

    I didn’t know there can be Kosher Avoda Zara.

    In the New Testament it openly calls him a god, son of god and messiah in one (in John) and ordinary Christians the world over pray to him as their “lord” regularly.

    Of course Rabbi Boteach know the Christian Dewity Better than the Christians (and the thousands of Jewish martyrs over the centuries) In The Jewish Connection paper he now says he hopes to become the next British Chief Rabbi.

    I guess he is no longer satisfied as a former Michael Jackson spiritual advisor or Al Sharpton advisor. He also said British Jews are too “subservient” to the British rabbinate.


    His position (which is shared by others as well) is that Christianity wasn’t started by Jesus but by Paul.


    Very strange. But wasn’t Boteach put in Chayrim? I thought he was like no longer a reliable source to go to for yiddishkeit?


    Shmuely crossed the line years ago.


    Mamish Osur…that’s like writing kosher zues


    In the New Testament it openly calls him a god, son of god and messiah in one (in John) and ordinary Christians the world over pray to him as their “lord” regularly.

    You can argue, though, that it is not Avoda Zara. Tosafos in Sanhedrin seems to say that even though when they mention G-d, they are referring to Oisoi, they mean the One that made the heavens and earth. This means that although their belief is Kfira as to the who Hakadosh Bauch Hu is, nevertheless, it still is not Avoda Zara.


    the point was that jesus was a false prophet…not that he started an alternate religion. the religion was started after his death anyway…so that part isnt relevant. shmule boteach is a lowlife and nothing he says or does is worth mentioning


    “In the New Testament it openly calls him a god, son of god and messiah “

    i really dont think thats true…the god thing came later


    Boteach is completely full of himself (well, full of something). He loves controversy and the attention it gives him.

    With regard to some of the other comments above, I think it is inappropriate to comment on who or what Jesus and the religion founded in his name is or isn’t or if he even actually existed. Our tafchid is to follow the ratzon HASHEM as laid down in his Torah, Shas and poskim. Our only interest in someone else’s religion is what it’s status is vis a vis avodas zorah as paskened by Chazal.

    P.S. There are ma’amrei Chazal to the effect that Peter and Paul were actually shiluchei beis din with the mission to subvert the early Christian practice to separate it from Judaism.


    RK: There is one nonexistent Ma’amar Chazal (I tracked down the Mekoros) about Paul. The Rishonim themselves took it out so that the Christians didn’t find out about it. I don’t think we should have such an idea posted on the internet.


    I don’t have respect for any man that calls himself Rabbi and has a TV show about relationships. He put himself in various precarious positions that was completely avoidable since it was a taped show and explanations could have been made about his religious values and the rules that go along with that. I don’t want to say more. I found the whole thing totally disrespectful to his wife and children.

    On another note, why a Rabbi would seek out celebrities or even deal with them especially when they are not Jewish is beyond my comprehension. So even discussing this person is a waste of time as far as I am concerned.


    Sam2, The Ma’amar mentioned was told over to our kehillah. I do not want to state the source of the citation. I personally had no knowledge of that ma’amer. Perhaps you are right that it shouldn’t be mentioned and I apparently violated my own warning about discussing the details of someone else’s religion. My comment about Boteach is still valid, however.


    RK: The Ma’amar existed, it was just removed from all Seforim for a reason.


    Shmuely Boteach crossed the line?

    so what else is new?

    to OP.

    was there a pun intended by title of thread?


    As far as I know, Rabbi Boteach is a proper, orthodox Jew who works in the world-at-large.

    Merely having that name in the book title is not necessarily an indictment of R’ Boteach, who does a great deal of chessed to all kinds of people, and from what I hear from gentiles in the workplace, he is making a kiddish Hashem. They like him and like the ideas he brings across.

    As far as I am concerned, let him be Shmuely.

    I have not read the book so I dont know the context of it. I won’t read the book either; not that interested.


    I’m noting sides for or against Rabbi Boteach, but I saw on an article that he wrote years ago that he believes in being Mekarev Goyim. Whether that’s a good idea or not, and how he does it is up to debate.


    A number of years ago, there was a group of chassidim of a certain rebbe. The rebbe was known for his many sichos on bein adam lchaveiro. There were many anecdotes of this particular Rebbe performing all sorts of “mofsim”, helping people in all sorts of situations.

    The rebbe became so popular among his chassidim that some began to suggest that he is mashiach. At first they were labeled as extremists, but after a while their message began to resonate with more and more people. Eventually, there were reports that the rebbe himself claimed to be mashiach.

    The debate continued, with many frum yidden being suspicious of this chassidus, and especially of this group who became known as the “mishichists”. The mishichists began to become more and more radical. When the rebbe eventually left the world of the living, many thought that the radicals would quiet down. But the opposite happened. The mishichists continued to claim that the rebbe was mashiach, even though he was dead.

    This situation was very disturbing to many frum yidden, with many asking how this outspoken fringe group can represent yiddishkeit if their hashkafos were so warped. Others argued that the group were shomer torah umitzvos, and did all sorts of chesed, so they should be respected despite their different hashkafos. The debate raged on…

    Eventually, a man named Paul started preaching to the mishichists and explained to them that they no longer needed to be shomer torah umitzvos, as long as they continued to believe.

    The End


    That this story already happened 2000 years ago is scary enough. That there are people doing similar things now and at the same time trying to “kasher” the last time is much much scarier…


    Okay, I was curious so I looked into it.

    It seems the book is similar to parts of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s, The Real Messiah. R’ Boteach is pointing out where xtian ideology and slogans have their roots in Judaism.

    He seems to be filling in the details of how xtianity took water from the well of Judaism and mutated basic concepts.

    Further, it seem R’ Boteach has researched yushke from the perspective of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the writings of his brother “James” who basically portrays yushke not as the apocalyptical guy in the xtian view, but as someone who was more Jewish than xtians would like to admit.

    This is not new stuff. The Israeli Antiquities or whatever Bureau has artifacts that show yushke was like a Jew who wanted to go for the messiah brass ring from the Jewish perspective and not from the view of how xtianity sees him.

    That is what the book seems like. Would I write such a book? No. But I did research some of that stuff a long time ago when I wanted to know more about us versus them. For some Jews, they may benefit in finding there is nothing novel about that religion and it is not what it is cracked up to be.

    I know many non-affiliated Jews who get sucked in. I, myself, helped to get a family to not go to Jews for yushke meetings and eventually they sent their kids to day school and yeshiva high school.

    R’ Boteach may be writing the book for such a purpose. It shows the xtian their relationship to Judaism, while showing the unaffiliated, unlearned Jew, xtianity is not such a special thing to chas veshalom consider and get sucked into.

    R’ Boteach may be more clever and doing more good than harm than we realize.


    ravs: no longer needed to be shomer torah umitzvos

    Your words remind me of the great wisdom of Rav Nachman Bulman zt’l who said several years ago we should pray that they continue to heed their dayanim and batei din.


    Ravshalem, I don’t think anyone, even Shmuely, is trying to, as you say, “kasher” what happened 2000 years ago, but your story does sound eerily familier.


    Why would any frum jew even discuss anything he does? he is certainly no one to admire and the less said the better!


    The pulpit rabbi of my last shul told me that when Boteach’s book “kosher saxophone” came out, he felt that he has to read/skim it, as people might have started asking him questions about it. He said that, as far as he could tell, there was no kefira nor anything against halacha in it. Maybe writing such a book is a problem, but the contents were not incorrect.

    Anyway, it seems to me that Boteach is not OTD with halacha, nor with most of his hashkafa. It seems to me that trying to mekarev the world can be… well…let’s just say unusual and potentially problematic.

    moi aussi

    Haven’t read much of his writings myself, but I think I can agree with those who say Boteach is little strange and a little off the beaten track but not across the line.

    Personally I think it’s not fitting, but I understand why he did it and there is nothing wrong with it per se.

    My personal opinion is that I couldn’t care less – I haven’t got a clue about who the guy was or is supposed to have been and I haven’t got the slightest clue about their religion, except that they believe he was born from a mother who was a virgin and they believe he died and returned and died again and will return again, something like that. I don’t need to know anything else… and actually that’s already too much.



    I just noticed that his book is published by Gefen publishing co. – I want to say that there is NO CONNECTION TO ME – REPEAT – NO CONNECTION!!!!!!! I never even heard of them before.



    I just noticed that his book is published by Gefen publishing co. – I want to say that there is NO CONNECTION TO MY 1-YEAR OLD NIECE CALLED GEFEN – REPEAT – NO CONNECTION!!!!!!! We never even heard of them before.


    I read the book description:

    “The book seeks to offer. . . the real story of Jesis, a wholly-observant, Pharisaic Rabbi who fought Roman paganism and oppression and was killed for it.”

    A wholly-observant, Pharisaic Rabbi?

    Whom does Boteach think he’s kidding, especially by calling the person “Kosher,” when Torah-observant Jews know the true story ?



    To serve that purpose there is a great book, Jewish and Christian Ethics, by Rabbi Eliyahu ben Amozegh. It goes through many of their ideas and shows from where they originated and how they are actually corruptions.


    Reb Shmuely has also been honored with a front page article about his bid for tax exemption of his estate in yesterday’s bergen record. he would like to make a shtiebel in the caretaker’s house at the back of the grounds and then donate his house to his Our World foundation. very beautiful and part of his mission to publicize judaism to the world!


    Anonym: No one knows the real story. There are many arguing Midrashim and none of them survived without at least being touched by a censor. Jews don’t know what really happened more than anyone else. We might have a better educated guess, but we don’t know either.


    Hi HaLeiVi.

    Thank you. I wrote that down and I will keep that in mind.

    I think many Jews at some stage in their learning should know the facts of the xtianity “fraud” instead of seeing it as some mysterious thing they are not suppose to believe in.

    In fact, one time I saw graffiti in NY which read, “Xtianity, the biggest fraud perpetrated on Western Civilization.” As Pinchus or Pesach Simon wrote, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls; and tenement halls…..”

    Tragically, many frei yidden are so exposed to the idea of yushke as being a “cool dude”, they feel it is necessary to hold him in some esteem and accept some admiration for him as part of their bagel and lox Jewry.

    On deeper thought, the crowd who is drawn to Shmuely will probably benefit in gaining some truth, if he does in fact have the courage to state the truth in his very endearing and friendly way.

    There is a crowd that is very drawn to R’ Boteach, and perhaps he is using his fame well, although stylizing things for that crowd, which makes sense career-wise.


    Sam2, there might be conflicting reports as to his Talmidim, but where do you find a different story than that of the Gemara?

    moi aussi

    By Rabbi Yitzchok Wolf

    Skokie, Illinois

    I am no spokesman for Orthodox Jewry or for Chabad. In this instance, it is certainly no quantum leap to speak in their name.

    Please G-d, protect Klal Yisroel from the dangers that stem from the outside as well as those that stem from people claiming to be from within.


    If he didn’t read the book, how can he proclaim it apikorsus?


    Rabbi Boteach Responds to Rabbi Wolf:

    <on the HuffPost. Google it>

    by the way, Rabbi Boteachs description of oso ha-ish, in this statement, corresponds closely to the description given by Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt’l

    Sorry 80, you want to approve that link, you just log right in and do it. -95


    Hi moi.

    Seriously, are you trying to make the person you quoted look good, or look bad???


    All this from seeing the title of a book? That is one notch from judging a book by its cover.

    And, suggesting that if Boteach had ANY decency? So the judgement is there is NOTHING decent about him?


    Boteach seems to be writing that yushke was a Jew and lived as such and was not the person he is made out to be in xtianity, and that xtians should have a better understanding of this.

    That is what I see is at the core of the book.

    Is he correct? I dont know. Are we reacting to him as a response to the view of the xitan yushke? You bet, and rightfully so. I could care less about who he really was or really was not. But others in the world may find some merit to his book.


    My opinion of Shmuely Boteach as a shameless publicity seeker notwithstanding, I note that neither myself nor any of the other posters have actually read the book. Henry Kissenger is famously quoted as saying “even paranoids have enemies”. A correlary of that concept might be that even jerks like Boteach might occasionally say something worthwhile.

    Also, whether true or not, the possibility of the subject of Shmuelies book being a ” a wholly-observant, Pharisaic Rabbi” isn’t as far fetched as it seems based on events of the recent past.


    very funny 95


    This idiot was always a non-entity, and continues to be so. I didn’t read the book; I haven’t read his other books; I don’t intend to read his books. He is as irrelevant as NASI.


    HaLeiVi: What Gemara? The nonexistant one that got edited out of the middle of Sanhedrin (maybe Gittin?) that to be factual as the way we have it would mean that Yushka lived over 150 years? There is no Gemara remaining in the standard editions that tells the story. The copies that we have from Kisvei Yad and such are fraught with problems and were probably hit by the censors at some point.


    feivel, did you turn in your magnetic card?


    not really turned in

    more like stolen from my locker in the middle of the night

    they kicked me out

    something about my preference for tea over coffee

    i know the real reason though


    This is an interesting thread.

    Shmuely, from what I know, is a very pleasant, happy, smiley observant Jew who deals with all kinds of people and does not hide his Jewishness or what Judaism holds in matters of human life. He shares this with everyone, and he seems to befriend everyone he meets; a seemingly really nice guy.

    Aside from the reactionary controversy of the title and subject of his book, which I totally understand, has he, in fact, crossed the line with something against Jewish observance or thought?

    I ask this because I just heard a CD where they bring up judgement. The Rabbi said that if someone does something wrong, then it’s clear, they did wrong. There is no judgement required. But if it “seems” like they did wrong, you think they did something wrong, and you have to choose what to think, then you have to be dan lechaf zcheus.

    Any opinions?



    There are several Gemaras edited out of Sanhedrin (notable ?? ?”? and ?? ?”?), which are in fact printed in many contemporary editions of the Gemara (along with Rashi on them).



    The fact that yushke could be a relative of ours, are there loshon hora concerns about talking about him?

    Just because the xtians made a big deal out of him, if he never created that xtian image of himself, do we have info to apikorasize him, or talk about him at all?

    Maybe it’s motzei shem rah?


    Dear BT Guy,

    Maybe you should check with your Rav on your thoughts?


    Hi Benk.

    Its not that big an issue for me.

    I have learned to investigate and that all sources are not equal, and to be objective, and it has lead me to Torah, and the wonderful talmedei chachomim who illuminate it’s preciousness to me.

    Some come about it by conditioning, others because they “see”, not to say those conditioned also dont “see”, many actually do, too, but I am not afraid to look at this subject nor do I exploit it to convince myself I am a proper Jew. I believe Judaism holds up no matter what, and my research has proven that to me time and time again. I am sold!

    But I was more interested in learning what others here may have to say, and then moving on with things.

    Obviously, this entire subject makes everyone “energized” to say the least.

    I am not so sure there are solid answers to my questions, rabbi or no rabbi. I dont think there needs to be solid answers.

    Your thread was very thought provoking.

    Good thread!

    : )

    Shticky Guy

    Q – Why does Shmuelly Boteach think J-esus was Jewish?

    A – He lived at home until he was 30.

    He went into his father’s business.

    His mother thought he was G-d.



    I just noticed that his book is published by Gefen publishing co. – I want to say that there is NO CONNECTION INTENDED FROM ME WHEN MAKING THE BRACHA ON WINE SAYING, “BOREI PAREE HA GEFEN”- REPEAT – NO CONNECTION!!!!!!! I never even heard of them before. Although, on second thought, I may have heard of them. BUT STILL…….

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