Weekly Bracha #5

Holy belated blog post, Batman! I usually post the weekly bracha each weekend. This week’s post is 2 days late.

Seeing it’s late, I considered skipping this week’s bracha, but there are several excellent posts this past week, and I just had to shine the light on them.

So, here we are, this [past] week in the Messianic, Jewish, and Christian blogosphere:

  • Who is Saved? – This gem is of particular interest. It asks a question that has a profound impact on theologies we take for granted:

    In mainstream Christianity, the idea of being “saved” means that a person is rescued from slavery to their sins and from the consequences of sin, which is death, and is free to worship the Son of God and have everlasting life. To attain salvation as a free gift, all a person needs to do is accept “Jesus as Lord” and in fact, there is no other way for any human being to be saved but by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

    This is something of a thorny issue  when applied to the Jewish people, since Christianity has Judaism at its root and in fact, the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings (collectively known as the Tanakh in Judaism and the Old Testament in Christianity) make up fully two-thirds of the Christian Bible. For many, many reasons, too numerous to mention in this article, Jews have felt that accepting Jesus as the Messiah was the same as betraying God and entering the practice of polytheism (three “gods” instead of the One). If Christianity is so specifically exclusive regarding non-Christians, putting the shoe on the other foot, how does Judaism view the spiritual state of everyone who is not Jewish?

  • Whose Rabbis? – Uh oh. Ready yourselves for a good ol’ fashioned internet smackdown. 

    A Jewish Christian’s critical look at the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council (MJRC) inspires a huge internet fight in the comments: 100 comments at the time of this writing! In the comments, the blog authors, several Christians, and several Messianic bloggers including Seth from JudeoXian, myself, influential Messianic Jewish rabbi Stuart Dauermann, and others debate and argue everything from whether having rabbis is good for the Messianic movement, to whether the Torah has any relevance. Even the popular Messianic blogger Derek Leman is lambasted in the blog post, though Derek refused to participate in the debate. (Probably a wise decision.) Come one, come all, for a rare sight: I actually defended Derek Leman, Rabbi Dauermann, and the MJRC on this one.

  • Christmas and the Virgin Birth – Honored Messianic teacher Daniel Lancaster discusses the virgin birth of Yeshua, Christianity’s exaggeration of this event, and the significance of Yeshua being born of a virgin.

  • Nachman’s Messiah and Yeshua of Nazareth – Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the 18th century rabbi and founder of the Breslov Hasidic Jewish dynasty, had his own ideas about Messiah, and as it turns out, they’re not so different from the reality of Yeshua’s life.

  • A Note on the Canon – A previous post from the JudeoXian bloggers sparked a discussion on the canonicity of the New Testament. Here, Seth talks about the Church Fathers and the Messianic movement’s traditionally-negative view of them.

  • Haggadah for the Birth of Messiah – Derek Leman has put together a haggadah for the birth of Yeshua in time for Christmas. Yes, it’s unlikely Messiah was actually born on December 25th (indeed, only a minority of scholars, mostly Christian, would assert this position), but nonetheless, this work has practical application for Messianics that celebrate Christmas.

    While I don’t celebrate Christmas with my family, my wife’s family does, and we celebrate with them for family unity’s sake. Thus, I can appreciate practical materials like this. Kudos to Derek for the time & effort he invested into this work.

  • Stuff Christian Culture Likes – A merry heart does good like a medicine, right? I hope you’re not easily offended: this blog pokes fun at Christian culture, something many Messianics embrace. Here’s a sample:

    With the passing of Oral Roberts, so dies a tiny piece of televangical history which played such a part in creating the manifold Christian culture we all enjoy today.

    At least Oral Roberts University is still going strong, and with it the delicious irony of earnest Christian parents sending their kids to a college with the word "oral" in the name.

  • Jewish Exorcism Record Discovered – Jewish Journal discusses the recently-discovered, 1000 year old Hebrew exorcism texts that describe a ceremony to expel dybbuk – evil spirits – from a Jewish widow named Qamar Bat Rahma.

  • Chanukah Hate Hijinx – The IsraellyCool blog documents some minor anti-Jewish incidents that arose over the 8 days of Hanukkah.

  • Tzedakah, Righteousness – Faith-based Works blogger digs to find the deeper meaning behind justice and righteousness.

  • 12 Days of Jesus Junk – Run a religious blog or website? HealYourChurchWebsite offers a list of the “Fast Five” things to remember when building your page. A good number of religious websites and blogs would do well to listen to this wise techie wisdom.


  • Yeshua as Messiah – Derek Leman talks about Jewish and Christians perspectives of the Messiah and how Yeshua fits into all this. 

    Video blogs

  • Acts 15 Midstudy Thoughts – Messianic apologist John McKee has been doing a multi-month study on the Acts 15 ruling on whether gentiles should keep the Torah. Here, John breaks from his podcast study and discusses his thoughts on the text so far:


  1. Thanks for the mention, Judah. I'll try to return the favor. :D

  2. Actually, I wanted to comment on the "Whose Rabbis?" article. I read the source but don't have time to read 100 comments, nor do I want to be involved in a "smackdown".

    I do question the validity of most Messianic congregation leaders who call themselves a "Rabbi". Take a look at the educational requirements for a traditional Rabbi. How many Messianic Congregational leaders have backgrounds that even come close. I've only met one who did, holding Masters degrees in theology and divinity, and all he ever called himself was an "Overseer".

    Even in the days of Yeshua, a "Rabbi" wasn't just some guy wandering around the countryside selling his own bag of theological wares. Our credibility is damaged in the Jewish, Christian, and secular views by claiming more upon ourselves than is our due.

  3. James, I hear you.

    I think you would side with the MJRC on this one -- it's founded by scholarly, academic guys. I think Dauermann, Kinzer, and several others have Masters degrees, and encourage leaders to be well-grounded in academic learning.

    Of course, academic credentials should not be the only indicator of a righteous person worthy to teach.

  4. Haha I love the way you presented our post :D

  5. Who honored Daniel Lancaster?

  6. Well, it's your blog...LOL!

    Can you honor me too? LOL!

  7. "traditionally negative," ha! I like it.

    I hadn't checked back at Rosh Pinah...I had no idea it turned into such a drawn-out throw down.

  8. Judah, did you see today's XKCD?
    That oughta make it into the next Weekly Bracha (unless you think the humor is too nerdly for the average Kineti reader).

  9. Yahnatan,

    Hahah, I love it! I might just have to sneak that in to the next Weekly Bracha. :-)

  10. Do you think Oral Roberts' bible college teaches the Oral Torah?