[L For] I would even wish that I were cursed and cut off from ·Christ [or the Messiah] ·if that would help [for the sake of] my Jewish brothers and sisters, my ·people [countrymen; L relatives according to the flesh].
Before Christ and my own conscience I assure you that I am speaking the plain truth when I say that there is something that makes me feel very depressed, like a pain that never leaves me. It is the condition of my brothers and fellow-Israelites, and I have actually reached the pitch of wishing myself cut off from Christ if it meant that they could be won for God.
O Israel, my people! O my Jewish brothers! How I long for you to come to Christ. My heart is heavy within me, and I grieve bitterly day and night because of you. Christ knows and the Holy Spirit knows that it is no mere pretense when I say that I would be willing to be forever damned if that would save you.
At the same time, you need to know that I carry with me at all times a huge sorrow. It’s an enormous pain deep within me, and I’m never free of it. I’m not exaggerating—Christ and the Holy Spirit are my witnesses. It’s the Israelites . . . If there were any way I could be cursed by the Messiah so they could be blessed by him, I’d do it in a minute. They’re my family. I grew up with them. They had everything going for them—family, glory, covenants, revelation, worship, promises, to say nothing of being the race that produced the Messiah, the Christ, who is God over everything, always. Oh, yes!
For I could wish that my neshamah be put under cherem (ban of destruction), under Churban, and Onesh Gehinnom, cut off from Moshiach for the sake of my achim, my own kinsmen, my people and flesh and blood relatives,
For my grief is so intense that I wish that I would be accursed, cut off from the Messiah, if it would mean that you, my people, would come to faith in him! You are Israelites, my fellow citizens, and God’s chosen people. To you belong God’s glorious presence, the covenants, the Torah, the temple with its required sacrifices, and the promises of God.
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