The conflagration at Notre Dame de Paris that badly damaged the ancient cathedral on Monday was possibly divine punishment, an influential Israeli rabbi said on Wednesday, invoking a 13th-century burning of The Talmud:
Addressing the fire at the 856-year-old church in Paris in a Q&A article published on religious-Zionist Israeli news website Srugim, French-born Shlomo Aviner, now the rabbi of West Bank settlement Beit El, also said it is a mitzvah – a deed done from religious duty – to set fire to churches in Israel, but warned that shouldn’t be done anyway, because they would then have to be rebuilt.
Asked if the fire at Notre Dame was cause for grief, Aviner said “that isn’t our function at this time. There is no command to seek out Christian churches beyond Israel and burn them down. In our holy land, things are more complicated. Indeed the Rabbi of Satmar wrote that one of his reasons against immigration to Israel is that here the command to burn churches applies but it isn’t exercised,” and therefore being in Israel without burning churches is prohibited.
He added that the rabbi Menachem Mendel Kasher said that building churches, “which we’ll have to do” should they be burnt, is a greater offense than leaving them as is.
Gadi Gvariyahu of the Tag Meir nongovernmental organization, which monitors hate crimes in Israel and the West Bank and promotes interfaith dialogue, called Aviner’s remarks “sad, angering and shocking.”
“If an influential rabbi says ‘there is no command to seek out Christian churches abroad and burn them down but in our holy land, the issue is more complicated’ – what will the extreme right be likely to do?” Gvariyahu added.
The American Jewish Committee said in a tweet that Aviner’s comments “are repulsive and un-Jewish.”
At first, Aviner pulled back from explicitly calling the fire a punishment from heaven. However, when answering the question “So it can’t be said that it was punishment?” the rabbi wrote, “It is possible, after all. The first big Talmud burning was in Paris, there in the plaza of the Notre Dame Cathedral.”
Aviner said it was a result of the Paris trial, “In which Jewish sages in France of that generation were forced into confrontation with the Christian sages. The result was the burning of the Talmud. The Talmud books were brought to the Note Dame square in 20 wagons … and were burned there, meaning, 1,200 Tamlud books.”
Answering a question about displeasing non-Jews by failing to demonstrate grief at the cathedral fire, Aviner wrote, “That is no reason to grovel. … Rabbis must remain faithful to the truth. Every God-fearing Jew must adhere to the truth.”
So the big concern among Jews here is not that the rabbi made these revealing admissions, but rather they are afraid of what the “right wing extremists” are going to say. There’s always been an understanding among Jews that non-Jews, especially Whites, are not supposed to know what the rabbis are really saying about them. When rabbis make these types of public pronouncements, the liberal Jews go into damage control and distance themselves from the controversial comments.
But that’s why their Talmud was burned in the first place: the Christians found out what the Jews really thought of them and Christ written in those pages. The Talmud clearly states that a non-Jew who reads the Talmud can be put to death for that reason. But then again, the Jews don’t like what the New Testament has to say about Jews being the “children of hell”, which is why there is a commandment to burn Christian churches, as the rabbi admits. They are also pushing to censor the New Testament and have the anti-jewish passages removed. Contrary to what the so-called judeo-Christians believe, there really is no mutual admiration society among real Jews and real Christians.