13 June 2017

What Is Shituf And Is It Really Allowed For Gentiles?

19 Sivan 5777

I was going to write a blog post on the concept of shituf and whether it was really allowed to Gentiles, but someone else beat me to it. Find it here, if you are interested. It is long, but excellent. (There's a short version below.)

There are some truly amazing actual righteous gentiles in this world, but you won't find them among Christian Zionists. Those Jews who call Christians "righteous" and even "holy", ignoring their criminal idolatry, are in the process make a mockery of the great personal sacrifices made by truly righteous Gentiles or "Noahides". They do a disservice to humanity as a whole, to the Jewish people particularly, to Torah truth and to the Master of the Universe. When they pretend to be rabbis and spokesmen and say things like "Jews want Christians to be the best Christians they can be", they speak for no one but themselves. 

Truly righteous Gentiles also take exception...
...When you think about the fact that Torah observant Jews know that the roots of christianity are false and inconsistent with their own worldview, and yet a significant amount of them, while ardently warning other Jews against touching such a poisonous worldview, would encourage gentiles to stay in and embrace the christian religion saying there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with it (including the Jesus-worshipping parts of it), a potentially disheartening realisation can dawn upon a savvy gentile, especially one that knows of and does his best to observe the Seven Commandments. What’s that realisation? That we are not all in this together!
...And how do you think this comes across to those, like me, who are watching the actions of the christianity-promoting/preserving Jews? Like they really give a damn about gentiles? You’ve gotta be kidding me. It seems more like they are trying to appease the religions around them and remaining in somewhat comfort in their exile while their attempts to appease surrounding religions only gives those religion confirmation to continue in the sort of actions that bring us as gentiles lower. And once the time of these christian-appeasing Jews is over, whether by death or by return to their homeland in “aliyah”, having protected themselves and ensured their own safety, our “reward” for such “service” is that they would have done a fantastic job in watching over and guiding the poisoning of our “water supply”, our sources of knowledge; let’s enjoy the potential mental retardation of us and our children and the further establishment of the house the Esau/Edom built [rabbis more faithful to the cause of truth see the link between the christian and Roman sources of our society and the ways of biblical Esau]. Sorry if I don’t rush to show my gratitude.
A very sobering perspective that cannot and should not be ignored.

My Short Version on Shituf

It's the idea that a Gentile may worship one of the creations along with the Creator as long as he recognizes that this created being is subject to the Creator as all created things are, i.e. not a god itself, but still an object worthy of worship and service.

Where did the idea that shituf is allowed to Gentiles originate, I wondered, and I found out that like many evil things, it came out of Germany, in the Middle Ages at a time when Jews were mixing in with the surrounding culture. See here.
Jewish views, as codified in Jewish law, are split between those who see Christianity as outright idolatry and those who see Christianity as shituf. While Christians view their worship of a trinity as monotheistic, Judaism generally rejects this view.
The Talmud warns against causing an idolater to take oaths. The commentators living in Christian Germany in the 12th century, called Tosafists, permitted Jews to engage in business practices with Christians, even though this could result in the Christian partner taking an oath by God, which to Christians would include Jesus, by saying that so long as another deity is not mentioned explicitly, there is no idolatry taking place, but only an association. In a terse comment, they wrote:
It is permissible to [cause a gentile's oath through litigation with one's non-Jewish partner because] today all swear in the name of the saints to whom no divinity is ascribed. Even though they also mention God's name and have in mind another thing, in any event no idolatrous name is actually said, and they also have the Creator of the world in mind. Even though they associate (shituf) God's name with "something else", we do not find that it is forbidden to cause others to associate (shituf), and there is no issue of placing a stumbling block before the blind (see Leviticus 19:14) [by entering into litigation with the non-Jewish business partner, thereby causing him to take an oath] because Noachides were not warned about it.
 Three hundred years later...
In the 16th Century, the terse comment is explained as follows by Moses Isserles:
Today, it is permitted [to form a partnership with Christians], because when they swear on their holy scriptures called the Evangelion, they do not hold it to be divine. Even though when they mention God they mean Jesus, they do not mention idolatry since they really mean the Creator of heaven and earth.
Even though they mention jointly (shituf) God's name and another name, there is no prohibition to cause someone to jointly mention [or associate] (shituf) God with another... since this association is not forbidden to gentiles.
Another two hundred years after that, again in Germany!... 
...Moses Mendelssohn, the 18th century Jewish Enlightenment thinker, used the concept of shituf as cited in Tosafot to justify any form of association of God with another entity
And we all (should) know what happened to Moses Mendelssohn...
  • "the first Jew to bring secular culture to those living an Orthodox Jewish life"
  • "the Father of the Jewish Enlightenment"
  • "a spokesman for brotherhood and love of humanity"
  • "recognized the necessity of multiple religions and respected each one"
  • "wanted to take the Jews out of a ghetto lifestyle and into secular society"
  • "translated the Bible into German"
  • "campaigned for emancipation and instructed Jews to form bonds with the gentile governments"
  • "tried to improve the relationship between Jews and Christians as he argued for tolerance and humanity"
  • "became the symbol of the Jewish Enlightenment, the Haskalah"
And finally, the only way it was ever going to go...

"Mendelssohn's own descendents, the most famous being the composer Felix Mendelssohn, left Judaism for Christianity."