On 9/24/07, Daniel Eidensohn email@example.com wrote:
I just came across an interesting article written 30 years ago by Blu Greenberg - "Judaism 27:3 1978 p351-363."
Rabbi Jacob Emden:
The views of an enlightened Traditionalist on
page 358 "In his commentary Eitz Avos (40b-41a) on Pirkei Avot (4:11), Emden describes Christianity as a "religion in the service of God," a religion which God sees as good and, therefore, He sustains it; it came to spread the word of God to those 'who, until then, had worshipped wood and stone, who denied the existence of God altogether, who did not believe in good and evil, or in the afterlife. Christianity spread the notion of one God, one Ruler of all the universe who metes out justice to His creations. Christians accept the seven Noahide Laws and many other mitzvot which they voluntarily take upon themselves. In addition to these good qualities, God also gave them prophecy through their righteous ones, and through these prophets gave them laws and commandments by which to live. Because of all this - because they met these tests of a holy community-their religion was upheld and maintained by God. Emden continues: these two families, Christianity and Mohammedanism, which God selected as vehicles to bring faith into the world, were never brought under the yoke of mitzvot of the Torah; their fathers never gave it to them, nor did they stand at Sinai; neither were they slaves in Egypt; therefore, they are not obligated for the 613 mitzvos and are thus exempt from the prohibition of shittuf. Emden concludes with the repetition of a previous theme: though some of their evil ones cause us sorrow with their violent actions and false accusations, there are righteous ones who protect us from those who rise up against Jews, and wise ones among them who search for truth in our works and find no fault in our faithfulness to our Torah and mitzvot. "Daniel Eidensohn
Shailos Yaavetz (1:41):
*… *Non‑Jews who have not been acquired as slaves are not comparable to animals and have familial relations and this is surely true concerning these nations which have religion and a legal system and they believe in the Creator of the world who runs it and gives reward and punishment as well aas believing in a number of other fundamental principles. So even though they worship many deities they are not in fact prohibited to do that - as our sages have said that non‑Jews are not prohibited concerning shituf (Devarim 4:19)… They believe that there are intermediaries that G‑d uses to run this world such as stars and angels as well as many other agents for G‑d's providence over the world. Thus they include these agents in their worship of G‑d saying that it is G‑d's will that they give some honor to G‑d's servants and in a sense the servant of the king is like a king. This is the religion of most idolators in the world as is well known…