Orthodox Judaism/suffering servant

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QUESTION: Who does the suffering servant of Isaiah refer to?

Thanks for your help.

ANSWER: Jennifer,
Thank you for your kind question. I believe it refers to the Jewish people (notice all 3 tenses making it difficult to be fulfilled by one person). The servant is clearly the Jewish people throughout the surrounding chapters so it would be odd to change streams and it all of the sudden be a person. If it does refer to an individual messiah, it cannot be the Christian one, read the passages clearly and carefully. Hope this helps, shalom!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your very quick response.

What is the reason it can't be the Christian messiah?

And, if it refers to the Jewish people, do you know why
there is always so much suffering involved?

I would like to understand why other groups have done so many horrible things to humanity and have not suffered anywhere near the degree that the Jewish people have.

Is there some good that's supposed to come from all the suffering?

Thanks for your help.

Answer
Jennifer,
Thank you for the kind follow up. It is heartening to us "experts" that our answers help people to think about the issues they ask us questions about. I think you will find most of your answers in the article below. Two of my favorite arguments are where Isaiah talks about the messiah shocking the nations and being despised by them. In a world nearly half made up of Christians who is going to be shocked and how does half the world despise Jesus? Doesn't make any sense.

The good to come? The very purpose of messiah and the Jewish People: the ultimate recognition of the one true God and the peace and transformation of the world once all the nations know.

Thanks again for your questions! May you be blessed and a blessing! Shalom!

http://www.aish.com/sp/ph/Isaiah_53_The_Suffering_Servant.html?mobile=yes

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Ovadiah ben Avraham

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Willing to answer and research general Halakhah questions in any field, including medical ethics. No synagogue or ritual type questions except by non-Jews looking for a brief summary.

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