Jul 17, 2006
“This is a time for Tefillin and brass knuckles…” Lazer Brody, Israel Channel 10 radio, July 13, 2006
After only having heard of this Rabbi for about 24 hours, he’s quickly become one of my favorites. Affectionately dubbed “Rabbi Rambo,” Rabbi Lazer Brody has a great blog keeping us up-to-date in an almost moment-by-moment updates on the situation in Israel. His balance of meek spirituality with bold chutzpah aggression for those who would come against the G-d and the people of Israel make for an uniquely fresh perspective on the Middle East conflict. Check out his blog at lazerbrody.net.
Jul 16, 2006
I recently came across an article on aish.com entitled “The Conversion Vaccine,” subtitled The best defense to the ambitious “Jews for Jesus” missionary campaign. It’s an article on the attempts of Jews for Jesus to “evangelize” Jews in order to convert them to Christianity. The article accurately points out that the best resistance to such missionaries is to simply be educated in the spiritual aspects of Judaism and to practice Judaism itself. They also accurately pointed out that Jews for Jesus does not have any power of influence over observant Jews in regard to conversion. Why? Because observant Jews know the Torah, and Jews for Jesus do not. Although Jews for Jesus makes up for its Torah ignorance in zeal, it does not carry enough weight for observant Jews to turn away from the Biblical mandate to beware of those who will lead you astray to serve “gods you do not know” (Deut 13, e.g. this one named “Jesus”).
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying Jews don’t need to know their long awaited Messiah. What I am saying, however, is that they don’t need to be convinced into thinking the law-breaking, Sabbath-violating Jesus that JFJ has created is their savior. He is not. The true Savior of all mankind, particularly of the Jews, is the Torah-loving, Sabbath-keeping Yeshua who is accurately portrayed in the Apostolic Scriptures if one reads them without an anti-nomian, anti-Semetic bias.
Unfortunately, the damage JFJ has done in regard to Jews in regard to their search for Messiah has been catastrophic. Their blatant rejection of the Ways of the Almighty (found in His Torah) have pierced the hearts of Jews (and G-d fearing non-Jews) around the world. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.
One of my very good friends’ father is an elder in a local evangelical church. He doesn’t agree with the Torah-based lifestyle of his son. And in order to illustrate the point that the Law “really is done away with” he told the story of the JFJ missionary that came to their church. When he came, he specifically requested to be taken out to eat catfish…on Yom Kippur. Let’s just say I’m glad that I wasn’t around, because I would have been looking for a bomb-shelter. But it’s amazing the mercy our Heavenly Father has on us—even in our rebellion.
But here lies my question. How do you think his actions reflect to any Jew who is even slightly observant, much less devout? It would be like calling up a pastor to get spiritual counseling, and told to hang on while he stokes the fire in order to finish offering his child up to Molech. His credibility not only went out the window, but he was understood to be exactly what he was—a false prophet.
Sadly, JFJ has forced the majority of Jews into believing that everyone who believes in Yeshua as Messiah has the same anti-Law mentality. It has also caused them to create anti-missionary tactics and programs in order to combat this introduction of a false religion (the one that rejects the Law of G-d). Although the education of Jews to know their spiritual heritage is quite valuable, the downside of this is the staunch rejection of any idea that their Messiah has indeed come.
I have to admit, we need to be thankful to Jews for Jesus for at least one thing. With their introduction of the bait-and-switch Torah tactics that have been used time and again in order to trick some poor Jew into converting to their brand of Christianity based on the “common thread” of the Torah, many have come to realize the validity of the Torah (even though JFJ does not). It has created a rebirth of the Torah movement in our day (Baruch Hashem!), and created an environment to which we could recognize that the original Biblical faith is a Jewish one.
The JFJ addition to the equation is a double-edged sword of which only the Almighty will be able to sort out in the end.
Thanks, JFJ, for your life-touching ministry.
I’d like to hear your comments. Feel free to post them on this article with the comments link.
Jun 12, 2006
I’ve recently been working my way through The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan (The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan), as translated by Judah Goldin. It has been interesting to see even more parallels to the Apostolic Writings from this ancient text. For those interested, Abot de’Rabbi Natan (ARN) is a minor tractate of the Talmud and is an ancient commentary on Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers).
There is a version of it contained in the printed texts of the Babylonian Talmud, but this particular version is based on two versions of ARN which were translated and documented by Solomon Schechter more than a century ago. Schechter had not only translated and compared these two “non-canonical” versions of ARN, but had come upon a third as well. What is interesting to note is that these versions of ARN contain information from Pirkei Avot (PA) in a different form than what exists in the Talmud. The arrangements of the various mishnayot are not parallel to PA, and often it attributes sayings to persons other than whom PA claims as their source. I plan on incorporating some of the information within ARN in my ongoing commentary on PA. I can’t help but feel a sense of amazement at the parallels to the Apostolic Writings in several instances. Here’s a sneak peek at some of what I’ve come across already:
Regarding the statement “Thy belly is like a heap of wheat hedged in by lilies (Cant. 7:3) ” the following statements are made.
“Thy belly is like a heap of wheat refers to the minor commandments that are tender. Hedged in by lilies teaches this: when Israel put them into practice, they are led thereby to the life of the world to come. How so? One’s wife in her menses is alone with him at home. If he is so minded he cohabits with her; if he is otherwise minded he does not cohabit with her. Does then anyone see him, or does anyone know to tell him aught? He fears only Him who commanded against contact with a menstruant.
(Again,) one has suffered a pollution. If he is so minded he bathes; if he is otherwise minded he does not bathe. Does anyone see him, or does anyone know to tell him aught? He fears only Him who commands ritual immersion.
The same may be said of the law of dough offering; and the same may be said of the law of first shearings. These minor commandments, tender as lilies, when Israel put them into practice, lead them to the life of the world to come.”
To me, this brings to mind the warning the Master gives his disciples in Luke’s Gospel:
Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell.
(Luke 12:1-5, NIV)
Food for thought…
May 22, 2006
If you see this vehicle passing through your city over the next few months, beware. It is carrying a crew of six, who should be approached with caution. They should be considered armed and dangerous. They are armed with the Word of Hashem, and should be considered extremely dangerous to anyone who is smugly confident in their relationship with Hashem. Below is a photo of these desperadoes to help with identification purposes.
Don’t be deceived by their smiling faces, and relatively innocent appearance. Look deep into their beady, criminal eyes. These are the eyes of focused, single-minded, committed members of an international conspiracy to see people return to the Torah of Adonai, and live out their faith through love and good deeds, and are claiming that you have to “Pray just to make it through the day.” Yes, I know. It sounds like a cheap slogan they ripped off a defunct popular hip-hop artist. The next thing you know they’ll turn their prayer propaganda into an unforgettable melody like “It’s A Small World” and poison the minds of prayerless saints across the globe!
Let it be known—If you don’t want to be challenged in your relationship with the Almighty, STAY AWAY from these six Workers of Lawfulness! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
May 21, 2006
This weekend we have been privileged to have Boaz Michael and his family be with our community. We have really enjoyed being with them, and look forward to a great day today in the culmination of the FFOZ seminar Knocking on Heaven’s Gates tonight.
Having Boaz and his family has already been a tremendous blessing. Seeing the self-discipline of his family, however, has been both a huge inspiration as well as a little bit of a discouragement. The inspiration is obvious. Boaz and his family are an incredible encouragement in all that they are doing to live out their faith, and help those who are living a Torah-pursuant life.
The discouragement aspect is not the fault of Boaz and his family at all. It’s like running a 100 mile race, and reaching the first mile marker. The thrill of the race, and the excitement of the first milestone are motivating, but realizing that you’ve got 99 more of these to go is slightly disheartening. Seeing where Boaz and his family are and then looking back at where we are as a family and a community could easily open a floodgate of tears if I dwelt on this aspect alone. However, I know that I must not focus on the distance, but on the destination, and enjoy the journey in the process. Otherwise, the journey will be unbearable, and the destination unreachable.
Jason’s post, Inspiration that Creates Action, is a good summary of what I’m feeling. I (and also “we” as an infant Torah community) are making what feels like gigantic leaps on the one hand, but on the other hand they are merely baby-steps. I have an internal struggle that wants so badly to be in close proximity to those who are further along this road than I in order to excel in my learning and my application of Torah, but I know that Hashem is growing me at this pace for a purpose. Maybe I’m not as ready for something like this as I think I am. Maybe I’m not as malleable as I think I am, and would merely snap with all of the stretching that would be required in an environment like that. Maybe I just have a different calling and purpose. Whatever the case, I must keep in mind the words of Rav Sha’ul, which states:
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Messiah Yeshua. (Philippians 3:13b,14)