Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Daf Yomi - Daily Talmud reading.

Anyone interested in Daf Yomi here is a great link to the Talmud - Menachoth - Halakhah.com.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Daf Yomi - Daily Talmud reading, any interest?


Below is the Daf Yomi Cycle for March.  For those not familiar with the Daf Yomi, it is a daily reading schedule to encourage reading of 1 folio per day in the Talmud so that the entire Talmud is completed in 1 year.  We are considering posting the Talmud portions (from non-copyrighted sources) every day or so for those interested.  Please let me know if this is valuable.

Note: the Talmud s the greatest compilation of Jewish legal thought (Halakah) in existance and is the Basis of the Shulkhan Aruch which both Conservation and Orthodox (and Consevative Messianic Judaism, details www.ucmj.com) adhere to.  Please do not engage in Talmud or Rabbi bashing if would like to comment on these posts.

March Daf Yomi
Tractate    Date               Hebrew Date     Day of week Folio
Menachos Mar 11 2011 5 AdarII 5771    Fri                  2     
Menachos Mar 12 2011 6 AdarII 5771    Sat                 3 
Menachos Mar 13 2011 7 AdarII 5771    Sun                4
Menachos Mar 14 2011 8 AdarII 5771    Mon               5
Menachos Mar 15 2011 9 AdarII 5771    Tue                6
Menachos Mar 16 2011 10 AdarII 5771  Wed              7
Menachos Mar 17 2011 11 AdarII 5771   Thu               8
Menachos Mar 18 2011 12 AdarII 5771   Fri                9
Menachos Mar 19 2011 13 AdarII 5771   Sat               10
Menachos Mar 20 2011 14 AdarII 5771   Sun              11
Menachos Mar 21 2011 15 AdarII 5771   Mon             12
Menachos Mar 22 2011 16 AdarII 5771   Tue               13
Menachos Mar 23 2011 17 AdarII 5771   Wed             14
Menachos Mar 24 2011 18 AdarII 5771   Thu              15
Menachos Mar 25 2011 19 AdarII 5771   Fri                16
Menachos Mar 26 2011 20 AdarII 5771   Sat               17
Menachos Mar 27 2011 21 AdarII 5771   Sun              18
Menachos Mar 28 2011 22 AdarII 5771   Mon             19
Menachos Mar 29 2011 23 AdarII 5771   Tue               20
Menachos Mar 30 2011 24 AdarII 5771   Wed             21
Menachos Mar 31 2011 25 AdarII 5771   Thu               22

Sorry for delay


Sorry for the delay in keeping this up-to-date.

B"H Rabbi Gavri'el

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Transcending Salvation & Transforming Yom Kippur


Yom Kippur is a time of reflection, repentance, forgiveness and drawing close to HaShem.  Many themes revolve around redemption and being written in the Book of Life.  It is critical to understand that Judaism and Conservative Messianic Judaism do not teach redemption (Salvation) by works as many in the Church might misunderstand.  The Kol Nidre Service contains a beautiful prayer which says "we have no works that commend us to you".  This is important, because in many ways it transforms the meaning about Yom Kippur and clarifies many misconceptions.

Is Yom Kippur about Salvation?  This is a little more complicated than it might seem.  In the context of -  does Yom Kippur allow the person to be written in the Book of Life for another year, then it is a type of physical salvation from death.  From an Eternal Redemption prospective though we must look beyond the actual literal meaning to the Spiritual reality of Yom Kippur.

What is Redemption or Salvation?  In Jewish terms what many refer to as Salvation is seen as belonging to HaShem.  Since Jews and in particular religious Jews clearly identify with belonging to HaShem then the Christian concept of "being saved" has little to no meaning.  So what is a more universal concept of Redemption (Salvation) that encompasses both views, belonging to HaShem and redemption in Messiah.  I think the answer is trusting / relying on HaShem.

So using the more universal trusting / relying on HaShem the question becomes, is Yom Kippur about trusting in HaShem?  To both traditional and Messianic Jews the answer I believe becomes the same.  Yom Kippur is a result of trusting in HaShem. 

If this is correct, then we transform many peoples understanding of Yom Kippur from a supposed "legalistic" act to somehow "earn" redemption, and instead see Yom Kippur for it's true meaning, an beautiful expression on trust / relying on HaShem.  Yom Kippur in that light is transformed and if we let it's meaning sink into our being, transforms us in to servants of the Most High.

Baruch HaShem - Rabbi Gavri'el

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Acts 15: The Defining Chapter, Yes. A Stand-Alone Chapter, No.

Acts 15:  The Defining Chapter, Yes.  A Stand-Alone Chapter, No.
by Mikha’el Bugg

Rabbi Derek recently posted a blog entry that perhaps best encapsulates one of the two major differences between the Hashevanu Movement and Conservative Messianic Judaism:  The relationship between Gentile believers and the Torah.  Rabbi Derek believes that Gentile believers are exempt from what he calls “commandments of special holiness for Israelites such as circumcision, dietary restriction, Sabbath, fringes, and holy days.”  It is the belief of the Union of Conservative Messianic Judaism that “There is to be one Torah and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you” (Num. 15:16).  It is further our belief that while Rabbi Derek is correct that Acts 15 is a pivotal chapter in Scripture, he is incorrect in interpreting it as if it were a stand-alone chapter.

One Bride, or Two?

Let us begin with the most obvious point first:  Rabbi Sha’ul (the Emissary Paul) was a man driven above all by the conviction that the Messiah has one Body and one Bride, not two (cf. Eph. 2:15).  He was even willing to risk Shimon Peter’s enmity by challenging him publicly when the latter withdrew from openly associating with the Gentile believers (Gal. 2:11-21)!  How then can we imagine that Paul would preach a Gospel or consider victory a beit din (council) that upheld a “middle wall of separation” that excluded Gentiles from the very mitzvot that the Jewish people have always taken the most joy in!

We have always called the Torah and the Sabbath our inheritance.  If the grafted-in Gentiles are truly our fellowheirs (Eph. 3:6), should they not partake of this wonderful inheritance as well?

Controversy Without a Cause?

But more than that, Rabbi Derek’s interpretation of the passage removes it from the context of the preceding chapters.  The old adage that a text without a context becomes a pretext for a prooftext must always be on our minds as we seek to understand the Sacred Writ!  In this case, his interpretation of Jacob’s closing words begs the obvious question:  If the purpose of the council was to separate the Gentile believers from the Torah, why did Jacob speak of the Sabbath and the Torah at all?  What sparked the comment?

The answer is given when we read chapters 13-15 as a unit:  It was the Gentiles coming into the synagogues in incredible numbers to hear the Good News that sparked the debate in the first place!

In Acts 13:44f, we learn that as a result of Paul’s teaching in Pisidian Antioch, “the next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord.  But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy . . .”  Acts 14:1-4, we again see that it was by proclaiming the Good News in the synagogue (presumably again on the Sabbath) that many Gentiles came to believe in Yeshua, resulting in not just the synagogue, but the whole city being divided.  The impression that the latter part of chapter 14 gives is that this was a repeated pattern throughout southern Galatia.

It was the large numbers of Gentiles coming into the synagogues on the Sabbath that sparked the debate in the first place!  And it is in that light that Jacob’s conclusion should be understood, i.e., “For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who proclaim him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath,” and now the Gentiles are coming there in numbers greater than ever before—why would we want to do anything to stop that?

Further, the Beit Din’s conclusion must be understood in the light of two other historical factors:  First, the history of Israel’s own redemption from bondage to freedom, and second, the ongoing struggle in Judaism to understand the nature of Israel’s unique calling.

From Bondage to the Freedom of Torah

We find in the pattern of the Exodus not only the history of the birth of a nation, but a prophecy of the redemption of the world in Messiah and a pattern of the personal redemption that all Disciples of Yeshua must undertake.  For the prophetic pattern, see The Feasts and the Exodus; here, we will concentrate on the individual’s journey.  Like Israel, we begin lost in bondage to the world, imprisoned through the lusts of the flesh to a cruel master (Eph. 2:2f).  Like Israel, before we can be set free, our King must go to war with the gods of this world for us.  And like Israel, we can only be set free from this bondage and saved from the Holy One’s sentence of death by the blood of the Passover Lamb.

Like Israel, the Holy One does not give us a few hundred rules and tell us to get them straight before we can be set free, but sets us free on the basis of a promise, commanding only that we follow Him away from our former masters.   This is the basis of the first two Words of the Ten:  “I am HaShem your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery,” and, “You shall have no other gods before Me . . .”

Like Israel, if we are truly to be free, we must follow the Sh’khinah where He leads.  Like Israel, we too must pass through water as we formally leave the kingdom of slavery and enter the place of the Holy Mountain (1Co. 10:2; the Red Sea at the Gulf of Aqaba marked the easternmost boundary of Egypt).  Like Israel, we are nourished by His Word (cf. Deu. 8:3) in connection keeping to His Sabbaths (Exo. 16:26-30).

Didn’t a whole mixed multitude leave Egypt with Israel (Exo. 12:38)?  Were they not also immersed in the same mikveh, fed by the manna and told to rest on the same Shabbat?

The problem with classical Christianity is that it stops there.  So focused on just the right way to paint the blood on the doorposts of the house and how much ocean spray is needed to be considered baptize, far too few Christians realize that they are taking a journey to a spiritual mountain to learn to walk in the ways of the Lord.  Salvation was not the end of the journey, but the beginning!  And if it is indeed the beginning, why should we deny those who, like Ruth, say to Israel, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16)?

Ruth’s story was doubtless on the hearts of the Beit Din, though Luke chooses the citation of Amos 9:11-12 to summarize the council’s decision.  Not only is the story of Ruth traditionally read at Shavuot, the very time when the Breath descended with prophetic power on the Assembly, but tells the story of how a Gentile bride—and one from the most unclean of peoples!—worked the redemption of an Israelite woman through her relationship to Boaz, the bridegroom of the story.  The parallelism with the Amos passage is striking, since Amos puts forth Gentiles being called by the Name of the Holy One as a prerequisite to the restoration of the Davidic kingdom.  Boaz did not demand that Ruth have the right halakha to marry her and redeem Naomi’s land—but it is certain that Ruth fully incorporated herself into Israelite life, accepting all of the mitzvot, Sabbaths, and Feasts of her new husband!

Can We Still Be Special If We Let Just Anybody In?

And it is here that the Acts council wrestled not only with the immediate issue of the inclusion of Gentile believers, but also with its impact on Israel’s very particularity!  So long as the Ruths of the world were the rare exception, Israel’s place of Goy Hakodesh, the Holy Nation, was not at stake.  But when whole cities of Gentiles streamed into the synagogues on the Sabbath to hear of Yeshua, it must have become quickly apparent that simple demographics dictated that soon the number of Gentile disciples would overwhelm the Jewish ones.   What then would happen to the promises given uniquely to Israel?

It must be noted that this issue arose because of Israel’s willing Diaspora.  So long as Israel remained tied to the Land of Promise, the holy elements were distinctive:  Only in Israel could the Feasts be kept in their fullness, for only in Israel stood the Mikdash (Holy Place) where the Sh’khinah of the Holy One Himself would dwell with His inheritance.  But with the Jews spread throughout not only the Roman Empire, but Parthia, Ethiopia, and the rest of the known world, the connection to that particular promise became tenuous—as indeed it is in American Jewry today.  Therefore, Judaism sought its particularity in the mitzvot, particularly the mitzvah of circumcision, which set them apart from the Greeks, whom regarded circumcision as self-mutilation.  With observance of the mitzvot in decay—a fact to which the Talmud attests as much as the New Covenant Scriptures—ethnic identity and nationalism grew in importance as the primary key to having a place in the world to come.  The Mishnah declares, “All Israel have a portion in the world to come . . .” (Sanh. 10:1, cf. Rom. 11:26f), but there were many who insisted that only Israel have a portion in the world to come.

What is often overlooked is that this struggle between the parties of the circumcision and uncircumcision in the New Covenant is mirrored by similar arguments among the rabbis.  For example, we read the following debate in the Tosefta:
R. Eliezer says, “None of the gentiles has a portion in the world to come, as it is said, The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the gentiles who forget God (Ps. 9:17).” . . .  Said to him R. Joshua, “If it had been written, The wicked shall return to Sheol—all the gentiles and then said nothing further, I should have maintained as you do.  Now that it is in fact written, All the gentiles who forget God, it indicates that there are also righteous people among the nations of the world who do have a portion in the world to come.  (t.Sanh. 13.2)

It was in the midst of this argument within Judaism itself that some followed Paul, teaching, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1).  The follow-up argument among the Pharisee disciples must be interpreted in the light of the original argument, i.e., “It is necessary [for their very salvation] to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses” (v. 6)—a Law that, to the Pharisee, meant not only the written Scriptures, but the traditions, so binding that they are called Oral Torah, as well.

To the first question, the Spirit had already given the answer:  The Gentiles had received the same Spirit, evidenced by the same gifts of prophecy and tongues, and the Holy One would not allow Himself to reside in unclean vessels (cf. Acts 10:28).  Furthermore, the calling of Gentiles—not Gentiles converted into Jews, but Gentiles—by the Holy Name was a necessary prerequisite to the restoration of the Davidic kingdom, and therefore to the promise that the Eternal would dwell among Israel as His special people in the Land of His Promise.  Israel was not to be the only son of the Most High, but was His firstborn (Exo. 4:22), not the only nation worshipping God, but the priestly nation that would teach the other nations, atone for them, and lead the worship (19:6).  In order to claim her own unique heritage, Israel would have to share her blessings!

To the second question, we return to the pattern of the Exodus:  One must be first saved from bondage by trust, and only then can one come to the holy mountain to learn at the Holy One’s feet.  To say that the Gentiles must not only become Jewish, but must keep the Torah, Written and Oral, as a prerequisite to salvation stood in the face of the Holy One’s own word.

Signs for Whom?

I wrote at the beginning of this essay that while Rabbi Derek is correct that Acts 15 is a pivotal chapter in Scripture, he is incorrect in interpreting it as if it were a stand-alone chapter.  We have so far endeavored to show that he has not correctly interpreted it in the light of the context of the book of Acts; now we broaden our context to include the rest of the prophetic Scriptures.

Should a Gentile observe the Sabbath on its proper day?

Thus says Isaiah:
Also the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD, To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath And holds fast My covenant; Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. (Isa. 56:6-7)

Are Gentiles excused from observing the Feasts?

Here is the matter according to Zechariah:
Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.  And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. (14:16-17)

In the matter of kosher, it must be noted that while one can build the case from the Torah that kashrut was never a requirement for Gentile God-fearers (and therefore, Paul was not “releasing” anyone from anything), nevertheless, one who ate of trief was still made unclean.  Therefore, the foreigner who wished to make his offering at the Mikdash would have to first purify himself, eating only clean foods (Lev. 17:15f).  We should also note that v. 13 implies that the ger “who dwells among” the children of Israel should limit himself to trapping only beasts and birds “which may be eaten.”  We should also note the absurdity of assuming that Jews and Gentiles eating in fellowship together would put lamb and pork on the same table!

What of circumcision?

Here we must note that circumcision was never a requirement for salvation, as the examples of Namaan, Nebuchadnezzar, and the entire city of Nineveh demonstrate.  For those not born to the family of Abraham, circumcision was always an option, not a requirement.  That it was being used as a weapon against the Gentiles, just as Levi and Simeon used it to avenge their sister (Gen. 34), makes it obvious why Paul would take an apparently anti-circumcision position:  He was trying to correct a prominent error.


Rabbi Derek’s “two laws” approach is designed at not placing guilt on our Sunday brethren who due to long tradition cannot see the joy in keeping Torah.  But it is hardly necessary to take the Scriptures out of context in order to do so!  Rather, one must only recognize that the Scriptures clearly state that one is judged only by the light he or she is given.  The Torah does not hold one accountable for sins until one becomes aware of them (Lev. 5:3-4), and Yeshua Himself declared that one who was blind to a matter had no sin (John 9:41).  Our Sunday brethren will not be judged on the basis of whether they kept kosher if they honestly believe that they shouldn’t keep kosher, but on whether they kept the commandments that they did know!

We are indeed all saved by grace, for there is no one who hasn’t sinned in full knowledge and fallen short of the glory of God.  In recognizing Israel’s culpability for sinning despite having the Torah and their need for Yeshua’s atonement and forgiveness, the Apostles gave room for the blind to come into the light for the first time in their lives.  The intent was neither to divide brethren nor to force Jewishness on them, but to give the Spirit who had already accepted them time to work, writing the Torah on their hearts as He was doing the Jewish disciples (cf. Jer. 31:30ff).

It is truly sad that the Messianic movement has not apprehended the Emissaries teachings.  If we had done so, we would not be telling Gentiles that they can come in only if they stay at the back of the synagogue.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What are the primary theological differences between Judaism, Conservative Messianic Judaism, and Christianity?

What are the high-level differences?

A brief disclaimer. We do not believe everyone has to believe exactly as we do to have a relationship with G-d.

Theologically, Judaism, Conservative Messianic Judaism, and Christianity can be seen as (in our opinion) having started out as a common road, that around the 70 - 200 ce (AD) time frame split into 3 separate paths.

The primary differences can best be summed up around:

* The role of Torah
* The role of Oral Torah
* The Messiahship of Yeshua Ha'Nazaret
* The Deity of Yeshua
* The role of Works
* The role of Faith
* The role of Repentance
* The role of Paul (Shaul)

Let's examine each of these at a high level for the 3 groups.

Traditional Judaism

* The role of Torah - The core of Jewish life and thought.
* The role of Oral Torah - along with the teachings of the Sages and Rabbi's Oral Torah has become the dominate force behind Halacha (How you are to walk, Jewish Law). These teachings are summed up in the Talmud, Mishneh Torah, Shulhan Arukh, and other Rabbinic texts
* The Messiahship of Yeshua Ha'Nazaret - denied by traditional Jews, most now see Yeshua as a good Rabbi who taught Torah.
* The Diety of Yeshua - denied by traditional Jews, previously seen as a form of idolitry.
* The role of works - Important as concrete evidence of following the commandments of G-d.
* The role of Faith - Faith in G-d is the basis for all Torah belief
* Repentance - Key to forgiveness of sins, must be both to G-d and the person wronged. Thus if you steal, to be forgiven you have to make restitution.
* The role of Paul (Shaul) - Seen as a traitor, false teacher and originator of a new religion "Christianity".

Traditional Christianity

* The role of Torah - Little relevance for today as "Jesus freed us from the Law". The Torah is generally seen as a burden.  There is in many denominations a belief in the 10 Commandments.
* The role of Oral Torah - no relevance at all. However, it should be noted that the Church has similar rulings in the form of the Catacism, Works of the Early Church Fathers, and Denominational rulings.
* The Messiahship of Yeshua Ha'Nazaret - central doctrine of the faith.
* The Diety of Yeshua - central doctrine of the faith. Confusion exists within the Church as to exactly what this means, and the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (more on the confusion in the future).
* The role of works - varies depending on denomination, with Catholics putting great weight on works, while many Protestant denominations place little importance on them, with Faith and "acting in the Spirit" seen as superior.
* The role of Faith - Faith is taught as all that is required for a right relationship with G-d by many denominations, while others see a balance between Faith and action.
* Repentance - Key to forgiveness of sins for many denomination, seen as of little importance for others. Repentence is seen as almost entirely between man and G-d.
* The role of Paul (Shaul) - Seen as primary teacher and major authority in Christian doctrine.

Messianic Judaism

* The role of Torah - The core of Jewish life and thought. Central to living a life of obedience to G-d. Does not save us, but shows us how to live a life pleasing to G-d.
* The role of Oral Torah - along with the teachings of the Sages and Rabbi's are viewed as the basis for Halacha. The writings of the Tannim (Teachers prior to 200 CE) are regarded more highly than later rulings.  We subscribe to a Conservative interpretation of Halacha.
* The Messiahship of Yeshua Ha'Nazaret - Belief that Yeshua Ha'Nazaret is the Messiah Ben Yosef spoken of in scripture who will return as Messiah Ben David.
* The Diety of Yeshua - We do not see Yeshua as 1 of 3 "g-ds" running the universe. Instead we view Him as the Shekinah (visible part of G-d) totally subservient to HaShem.
* The role of works - Important as concrete evidence of "loving" G-d and "loving our neighbors as ourselves".
* The role of Faith - Faith in G-d is the basis for all our belief
* Repentance - Key to forgiveness of sins, must be both to G-d and the person wronged. Thus if you steal, to be forgiven you have to make restitution.
* The role of Paul (Shaul) - Seen as having less authority then the Beit Din (Jacov, Yochanan, Kefa), his writings must be carefully read and understood, for as Kefa said "some use them to their own destruction".  His writings cannot overrode Torah, Messiah, or the Beit Din.

Do you agree?  What are your thoughts?

Rabbi Gavri'el

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Counting the Omer


The counting of the Omer is an important ramp up to the Feast of Shavuot (First Fruits). Beginning the Day after Pesach, we count up to 49 days then the next day is Shavuot.

This Shabbat (IYYAR 3) will be the 18th Omer. Try to begin remembering to count the Omer in anticipation of the day that Adonai gave His Torah and the Day He poured out His Ruach Ha'Kodesh on His Children.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is it time for Messianic Judaism to define observance levels?


Is it time for Messianic Judaism to define observance levels similar to the Traditional Community?

Several levels are evident in Messianic Judaism:
  • Orthodox
  • Conservative
  • Reformed
  • Hebrew Roots
These parallel the tradition definitions seen in Main Stream Judaism.  How is each defined?  Here are the major differences:

Orthodox - follow both Torah & Oral Torah, Halacha as defined by the Shulkhan Aruch using traditional understandings of meanings.  Practice includes Mikvah.

Conservative - follow both Torah & Oral Torah, Halacha as defined by the Shulkhan Aruch using traditional understandings of meanings with changes allowed for modern circumstances such as driving.  Practice includes Mikvah.

Reformed - maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the surrounding culture. Many branches of Reform Judaism hold that Jewish law should be interpreted as a set of general guidelines rather than as a list of restrictions whose literal observance is required of all Jews.

Hebrew Roots - generally not part of Messianic Judaism, looks at Hebrew root of Christian Faith.

Is it time for our Synagogues to reflect belief and practices using widely understood definitions in the Jewish Community?  What minimum qualifications should be required for each?  Share your thoughts.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Has the Church replaced Isra'el


Derek Leman's blog on supersessionism (link: Messianic Musings), or the view that the Church replaced Israel, has some excellent discussion.  He brings up the point that many Messianic Jewish groups even adopt a supersessionalist attitude, and that in the Church the view is dominate among even those who say G-d still has a plan for Isra'el.

Our view (CMJ) is that HaShem grafted the nations into Israel (see Romans).  Isra'el has been, and always will be, G-d's Chosen People whose role is to be the priestly nation for the world.  It is no accident that HaShem will rule through His Messiah from Yerusalem.  In the future kingdom the levitical system will be restored, the feasts will be celebrated, the daily sacrifices will be made and all nations will have to travel to Yerusalem for Succot.

So where does this leave Gentile believers and G-d fearers (Gentiles who hold to Torah and see themselves as grafted-in to Israel)?  Exactly where HaShem intended, grafted into Isra'el, redeemed by trusting HaShem and His Messiah.  Not Jews but part of HaShems family, for the prophets in the Tanakh clearly say HaShem will send a banner to the Gentiles, a light that will draw them to Himself.  We believe Messiah is that light, and that through Him Isra'el is not replaced; but elevated, fulfilling her call to be a light and priest for all the world.

Do you see supersessionism still today in your experience?  What do see as Israels role?

Feel free to respond.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

CMJ (Conservative Messianic Judaism) Principles of Faith


Here is our rendering of the CMJ Principles of Faith:
1. I believe in the 13 principles of Faith as stated by RAMBAM
2. I believe Yeshua Ha'Nazaret is the Messiah of Israel.
3. I believe Yeshua was filled by Adonai with His Shekinah (visible presence of G-d) and was totally subservient to Adonai in all things.
4. I believe Yeshua came to keep Torah and to rightly interpret Torah.
5. I believe Yeshua came to call Israel to do T'Shuvah (come back to Adonai and His Torah).
6. I believe Yeshua led a righteous life as a prophet of Israel.
7. I believe Yeshua died on the execution stake at the hand of the Romans.
8. I believe His death (similar to Isaac's bindings) reconciled us to Elohim and undid the seed of rebellion sowed by our forefather Adam (the righteous dying in place of the unrighteous).
9. I believe Yeshua was physically resurrected on the third day by Adonai to openly show that His death had reconciled Israel to Adonai.
10. I believe Yeshua is the Son of Man picture in Dani'el 7:13, whom Adonai gave all power and Authority.
11. I believe Yeshua will return physically to earth as the promised King of Israel.
12. I believe He will defeat all of Israel's enemies, usher in the Kingdom of Elohim, and rule by Adonai's will from Jerusalem as the descendant of David.
13. I believe that all of B'nai Israel will be redeemed.

Your thoughts?

The Nicene Creed and Conservative Messianic Judaism

The Nicene Creed is often seen by many as the defacto statement about belief in Messiah.  For a Conservative Messianic Jew or G-d Fearer (Gentile keeping Torah and practicing Judaism without conversion) this presents several issues we would like to discuss.

Traditional Nicene Creed has 2 points which demand special attention:
1.  Messiah as G-d (3 persons) - While we can trace the origins of the creed to see that what this means today to most people was not what was intended (originally language stressed coming from G-d, emanating from Ha'Shem), this 3 person language defies the central belief as expressed in Torah and repeated by the Messiah "Hear O Yisrael, the L-rd is God, the L-rd is One".  There is only One G-d, period!  Just as Judaism teaches, the Shekinak & Ruach eminate from G-d and are expressions are part of G-d.

2.  Equality with G-d (totally equal) - As above the 3 persons shapes this statement also.  Scripture teaches clearly Messiah emanates from G-d and does whatever G-d directs.  Messiah himself said "I only do the works my father shows me".

For our view in the Statement of belief (which is patterned after the RAMBAM 13 principles is posted as a separate blog entry) which replaces the Nicene Creed for CMJ (Conservative Messianic Jews) go to this blog entry: http://ucmjs.blogspot.com/2010/04/cmj-conservative-messianic-judaism.html

Derek Leman, whom is a personal friend and has greatly influenced my growth in Messianic Judaism, has some in depth discussion on his site Messianic Musings (http://derek4messiah.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/the-nicene-creed-and-mj/)


To the Traditional Jewish Community - Who we seek to be


We have been working on a statement to address our beliefs to the tradition community.  Below is the result, let us know if it sets the proper tone.


To The Traditional Jewish Community

Our purpose is:
to call assimilated Jews back to their Torah, Community, and Culture
to restore non-Jews to a correct Scriptural understanding & practice

We strive to function as part of the Community and work with both Rabbi’s and other Jewish groups to present a valid Jewish expression and worship.

To that end, we:
  • believe the Torah is G-d’s expression of how we are to live
  • practice as a Synagogue using traditional liturgy
  • believe the percepts of Oral Torah were given by Ha’Shem to Moshe and seek wisdom and understanding from the Talmud and later Jewish writings
  • follow Halacha as expressed in the Shulkan Aruch
  • honor the teachings of the Rabbi’s and Sages
  • provide instruction in lifestyle including kosher, ritual immersion (mikvah) and other Jewish practices
  • keep the appointed Holy days and feasts of Israel
  • seek to be part of the greater Jewish Community
  • agree with the 13 principles of the Rambam

We realize some Jews accept us, and many do not. This is understandable and we trust in Ha’Shem to allow reconciliation.

As a Synagogue we:
  • are not part of any Church affiliation, nor do we receive any funds from Christians groups
  • are not in any way affiliated with or support ‘Jews for Jesus’ and do not agree with their methods
  • do not adhere to the Nicene Creed and do not teach the Trinity.
  • do not believe that Yeshua is equal to G-d; but is he is the Shekinah of G-d sent to earth to call Jews back to Torah
  • do not believe that Yeshua taught against Torah or desired Jews to renounce Judaism and become Christians
  • do not engage in evangelism, nor do we encourage Jews to turn from Judaism

To believe that Yeshua renounced Torah and taught others to do so is contrary to Ha’Shem’s word and would automatically make him a heretic and eliminate any Messianic claim he would have.

Our position on Non-Jewish members:
  • they are G-d Fearers who strive to live Torah observant lifestyles
  • we follow Conservative Halacha regarding conversion for those desiring to become B’nei Israel including: extensive preparation, circumcision, mikvah, and Beit Din

Our organization provides many levels of Jewish education including Bar / Bat Mitzvah, Torah School, and Yeshiva. We also adhere to belief that only Jews who are Yeshiva trained should use the title Rabbi.