“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says Yahweh Sabaoth. (Zechariah 4: 6)
Dr. Yvette Alt Miller—Jews and France: 11 Interesting Facts:
As France goes to the polls in the first round of its presidential election, France’s 500,000-strong Jewish community is in the spotlight: two front-runners, Marine Le Pen and Jean Luc Melenchon, have been accused of making high-profile anti-Semitic comments.
Long before France’s unpredictable election, Jews have been making history in France. Here are 11 interesting facts about Jews and France through the ages.
Greatest Jewish Scholar
Rashi, as the great Medieval Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki is known, is the most widely consulted Jewish rabbi of all time. His commentaries on the Bible and Talmud are considered crucial to understanding these Jewish texts. Rashi’s explanations help us understand the Torah and at times, a knowledge of French can help us understand Rashi.
That’s because this greatest of Jewish scholars had humble beginnings. Rashi lived in the northern French town of Troyes from 1040 to 1105. Out of a total population of 10,000, Troyes was also home to about 100 Jewish families. Jews travelled from far and wide to consult Rashi. Many of these visiting Jews lodged with nearby Christian families.
In some respects, Rashi was very French. He earned his living as a vintner (wine maker), and incorporated some French words in his commentaries. A typical example comes in Rashi’s discussion of the Torah’s description of the beautiful golden Ark that our ancestors were commanded to build, which stood in the Temple in Jerusalem. Its gold ornaments were joined together, or soulderix (soldered in Old French), Rashi explained (Rashi on Ex. 24:18).
Rashi’s son-in-laws and grandsons – who continued to live in northern France – became rabbis of nearly his towering stature, penning additional commentaries on the Torah and leading European Jewry. Their scholarship continues to define Jewish life to this day.
Talmud on Trial
In the year 1239, Paris was witness to a very strange trial; the Talmud was accused of insulting Christianity.
The Talmud was defended by the Chief Rabbi of Paris, Rabbi Yechiel ben Joseph, though there were restrictions on what Rabbi Yechiel could say. Leading the charge against the Talmud was Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity who seemingly harbored an intense hatred of his fellow Jews or, possibly, a desire to impress his new Christian co-religionists. He was encouraged to make fun of the Talmud, quoting its text out of context and distorting its meaning. Presiding over the trial was none other than the Queen Mother of France, Blanche of Castille, and several Archbishops.
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The Russian chief rabbi is correct. French Jews should have left France a long time ago.
Not long ago, I was in an elevator in Jerusalem with a French Jew. Being polite, I asked him if he spoke English. Instead of interpreting my question correctly, he took it as an insult and responded by saying, “Do you speak French?”
A small fraction of the global population speaks French. By contrast, about 90% of the global population can converse in English.
Be that as it may, see “Macron, Le Pen headed to runoff in French presidential election”. What does this mean? Time will tell.
No matter who wins, though, Jewish people living in France should plan to depart.
“If My people who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7: 14)
Change that Yahweh calls “good” begins in the hearts of believers—people who are recognizable because they are different.
We are different because we belong to Him and are called by His Name. We are Yahweh’s people, His followers.
His Name is Yahweh, the website, is a companion of the book His Name is Yahweh.
To download His Name is Yahweh: Revised Edition for free in PDF format, click on the title below:
- His Name is Yahweh: Revised Edition in PDF format
His Name is Yahweh has been downloaded and shared in congregations all over the world. Please take advantage of this opportunity to read and share essential information about Yahweh.
You have my permission to copy and print His Name is Yahweh: Revised Edition as many times as you want. Please, don’t sell it. Give it away.
To purchase His Name is Yahweh: Revised Edition in paperback or in eBook, click here.
To see videos that explain the importance of Yahweh’s Name, click here.
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17: 22-24)
See “His Name is Yahweh”.