It should come as no surprise, nor any great unanticipated threat, that the Jewish Talmud, which interprets the Torah for Jewish daily living, is not pro-Christian at all, and in many respects maintains that any worship of “one who is unnamed” is potentially traitorous to Jewish faith and traditions. After all, Christian insistence that their Messiah has already come has to be seen as blasphemy by Jews who believe and want to continue to teach the opposite. That Christians could be traitors “unto deserving of death” is historic hyperbole and animosity which hopefully has been lessened in modern times, but such schism and disagreement are clearly as severe as can be between Jews and Christians.
So for us, in Calmeyer’s memory, to presume to want to foment peace and active cooperation between Jews and Christians is perhaps naive and even disturbing to both sides. But we do it nevertheless, because of common biblical foundations, common ground, common respect for life, and an ultimate common enemy.
What do Torah and Talmud say about the value of life? This will be outlined below in due course:
The value of life according to Judaism is based on mitzvos, the level of good done on earth. More to come here ...
How about eternity in Judaism? Does this affect the value of life on earth?
Torah Sh’b’al literally means the level of the soul. In Jewish Talmud and Kabbalah traditions, individuals earn or achieve a level of holiness that determines the level of soul attained in the afterlife. Even one who had done evil may attain to a positive afterlife if good has also been done to at least partially atone. On the other hand, someone unable to achieve any such level may go to she’ol, a sort of hell that may or may not be a place of eternal suffering (that concept appears to have developed later in history).