"Messianic Judaism" is generally speaking Christianity repackaged in a Jewish veneer, so they have the same beliefs on the Torah and the divinity of Jesus/Trinity as mainstream Christianity. But suppose a Jew were to believe that Jesus was the Moshiach, while rejecting the Christian ideas that Jesus was divine, that there was a Trinity, that the Torah (including the oral Torah, Mishnah/Talmud) was to be rejected, or that the New Testament is scripture on par with the Tanach. Would such a person have left Judaism for Christianity similar to what "Messianic Jews" have done?

Some Jewish authorities, while rejecting Chabad Messianism, still accept them as Orthodox Jews, on the grounds that other than a peculiar belief about who the Moshiach is, they otherwise adhere to Judaism; could that logic be applied to a person who believed in Jesus as Moshiach without the other beliefs associated with Christianity?

  • 1
    I think you need to pick a question and ask it. You've asked one question in the title and more than one (other) question in the body. Your final question is good, but should be cleaned up because it's very badly worded. And you should change the title, since the final question has nothing to do with Chabad messianism, but with whether or not it would be permissible to believe that Jesus is the messiah if that belief entails no rejection of halakha or Jewish tradition.
    – Shimon bM
    Apr 10, 2013 at 23:11
  • 1
    @ShimonbM, you raise some good criticisms. Is it better now? Apr 10, 2013 at 23:22
  • 1
    If he doesn't believe in that, he doesn't believe in Oso HaIsh. It's like a RZ claiming to follow the Satmar Rebbe, just not his Anti-zionism (the Vayoel Moshe [as well as all his students] is a forge), his nusach, his Piskei Dinim, or his Hashkafa. Apr 10, 2013 at 23:32
  • 2
    @Shmuel re last comment: OK. So? That's a valid question.
    – Double AA
    Apr 10, 2013 at 23:41
  • 1
    @ShmuelBrin, The beliefs of Christianity which are most contrary to Judaism - i.e. Jesus being somehow divine, and the Torah to be rejected - are core to the mainstream of Christianity, but not universal. There are minority Christian groups who reject Jesus' divinity, and minority Christian groups which give the written Torah greater heed than most Christians do. So it is not quite as incoherent as a Zionist claiming to follow Rebbe Teitelbaum. Apr 11, 2013 at 1:00

1 Answer 1


You have a mistake in your premise. Chabad Messianism does not believe the Rebbe IS mashiach, but that he can/will be. (Which is rejected by most since mashiach is a living person.)

In your question you keep saying J "was", but he very clearly was NOT the mashiach. To believe J was the mashiach is heretical, but to believe he might be [have been] is actually what this answer says.

However once you've reduced things to this level you have almost nothing left - J might have been, but history is filled with tons of people who might have been mashiach. There is little reason to venerate any of them.

And at this point, where J is worshiped as a deity venerating him is hugely problematic, even if he never actually did anything wrong in his life (which I'm skeptical is true, but I don't think there is much definitive historical record).

From Rambam Melachim uMilchamot Chapter 11, Halacha 4

If a king will arise from the House of David who diligently contemplates the Torah and observes its mitzvot as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law as David, his ancestor, will compel all of Israel to walk in (the way of the Torah) and rectify the breaches in its observance, and fight the wars of God, we may, with assurance, consider him Mashiach.

If he succeeds in the above, builds the Temple in its place, and gathers the dispersed of Israel, he is definitely the Mashiach.

He will then improve the entire world, motivating all the nations to serve God together, as Tzephaniah 3:9 states: 'I will transform the peoples to a purer language that they all will call upon the name of God and serve Him with one purpose.'

If he did not succeed to this degree or was killed, he surely is not the redeemer promised by the Torah. Rather, he should be considered as all the other proper and complete kings of the Davidic dynasty who died. God caused him to arise only to test the many, as Daniel 11:35 states: 'And some of the wise men will stumble, to try them, to refine, and to clarify until the appointed time, because the set time is in the future.'

Jesus of Nazareth who aspired to be the Mashiach and was executed by the court was also alluded to in Daniel's prophecies, as ibid. 11:14 states: 'The vulgar among your people shall exalt themselves in an attempt to fulfill the vision, but they shall stumble.'

So clearly the Rambam says the at one time belief that J would be Mashiach was not heretical, but today it is.

  • 5
    At least some Chabad Messianists believe that the Rebbe will be the Mashiach, not just could have been but turned out not to be; what if in the same way, someone believed that Jesus of Nazareth will be the Mashiach, rather than just could have been but turned out not to be. Is this belief regarding Jesus more heretical than the same belief with regarding the Chabad Rebbe? (And a small minority do appear to venerate the Chabbad Rebbe as divine, Elokism.) Apr 11, 2013 at 1:39
  • @ZackMartin Elokism is clearly not in line with Judaism so there is no point in talking about it. In this question it's clear that most are mentally ill.
    – Ariel
    Apr 11, 2013 at 1:49
  • 1
    @ZackMartin OK, so now that you believe that, what do you do with your belief? That's where the question lies - is it just a misguided belief, or do you do more than just that? I mean, you are not allowed to worship a potential mashaiach after all. So if all you do is believe, but otherwise consider him like any other person, then there is no halacha that says someone isn't allowed to be wrong. But if you are willing to allow dead people to be mashiach, why not Moshe Rabeinu?
    – Ariel
    Apr 11, 2013 at 1:58
  • @ZackMartin But all this is beside the point because I'm still convinced that he was a sinner, and thus not worthy of believing that he might be mashiach. i.e. that he conclusively took himself out of the possibility of being mashiach (like Sabbatai Zevi), and to continue believing that is not OK.
    – Ariel
    Apr 11, 2013 at 1:59
  • 4
    the question is not about whether the historical Jesus was a righteous person or not, or even existed, simply whether it would be heretical for a Jew to believe Jesus will be the Moshiach, if they did not adopt the other beliefs that distinguish Christianity from Judaism. Whether he was righteous is only relevant to this question if you are arguing that the heretical status of the belief is dependent on the righteous of the person it is about. Apr 11, 2013 at 11:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .