5 Rabbis Explain Jesus
A Righteous Leader
Rabbis Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Daniel Matt place Jesus in the category of a Jewish Tzadik. A Tzadik is a person of unusual righteousness who serves as a bridge between his community and God. He is meant to exemplify Jewish virtue. He is “Torah incarnate,” but not God incarnate.
For Schachter-Shalomi and Matt, Jesus represented a more mystical pious Jewish outlook, in opposition to the legal doctrine and focus of the Pharisees. Jesus served the same function for first-century Judean Jews as the Hasidic movement would serve for eighteenth-century European Jews.