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Weekly Bracha 32

This week in the Messianic blogosphere, plus relevant items from the Jewish world. 
  • Review of Post-Missionary Messianic Judaism – A “One Law” Messianic reviews the book that introduced Bilateral Ecclesiology. He does so fairly and charitably. Good on him.
  • The Gospel Code – Daniel Lancaster has an amusing pitch on the FFOZ commentary on the gospels, Chronicles of the Messiah. In it, he touches on the Beatles, The Davinci Code, The Last Supper, and much more:

    Throughout the ages, the church has endeavored to conceal certain truths about Jesus. But it would be unfair to characterize this effort as a conspiracy. The real Christian conspiracy is more a collusion of prejudice, anti-Semitism and theological confusion than it is a sinister, secret plot. The embarrassing secret about Jesus that the historical Christian church would have preferred to leave behind long ago is the Jewishness of Jesus.

  • Acts I Scene 2 – David examines Shavu’ot, how both Jews and gentiles were present (both converts and non-converts), and how it mirrors the giving of the Torah to both Israel and the multitude attached to them.
  • Big Top Play Church – Amusing imagery from Sacred Sandwich. Plus, a golden nugget in the comments: “A pastor with circus church is usually in tent to deceive.”

  • Why can't we make images of God? – A non-Messianic blog has an interesting take on whether God can appear to humanity, as a man or otherwise, writing,

    It can’t be that [God] has no form…the Hebrew Bible has dozens of verses which suggest strongly that God appears and can be seen.

    God also takes a human form in a great many aggadot, and there is reason to believe that Rashi, among other Rishonim, were corporealists, too (or at least that they didn't consider it heresy to hold this view of God.) Deeply uncomfortable with these facts? That's because the victory of the Geonim and Rambam on this point was [an] absolute [one].

    Interesting implications for the divinity of Yeshua, I say.

  • The Reason – James looks at the struggles of those fine One Law folks and the real reason so many gentiles are drawn to Torah and the Messianic movement: neither anger, nor disillusionment, nor ego. No, even though some adherents of Bilateral Ecclesiology have been quick to accuse and condemn us of those things, the truth is we’re here because God has drawn us to Torah life and the Messianic movement. As James put it, “There are those of us who are associated with the Messianic movement as identified by one label or another, who are attracted to this walk, not for the sake of anger, disillusionment, or the need to feed our egos, but because we are trying to find the source of a "homing signal" God seems to have set off within us.”
  • Boycott the Israeli Rabbanut – Oh boy. I don’t quite know what to think of this, but a religious Jewish (non-Messianic) blog is calling for the boycott of the Israeli rabbinate. The author says:

    Israel was founded as a haven for Jews and as a Jewish state. But why does that mean that the Israeli Rabbanut should have the right to dictate what Judaism is for everyone?

J-BOM (Jewish Book of the Month club)

Enjoy the tasty bracha bits, fine blog readers!


    1. Re: Boycotting the Israeli Rabbanut, I read that story, too and at least from an outsider's point of view (not being Jewish), I can understand where the frustration is coming from. The answer to the question "Who is a Jew?" just within Rabbinic Judaism isn't as amazingly clear cut as one might think, at least from a Gentile perspective. If a young woman, granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, is Jewish enough to be allowed citizenship as a Jew in Israel but not allowed to marry in Israel as a Jew, it certainly gets confusing.

      I responded to the issue already on Dan's blog (the last comment...I tend to be a conversation stopper): On the subject of a unique calling.

    2. "Review of Post-Missionary Messianic Judaism – A “One Law” Messianic reviews the book that introduced Bilateral Ecclesiology. He does so fairly and charitably. Good on him."

      From James' own statements I think that the "One-Law" moniker (as commonly defined) no longer applies to him since he expressed that he believes that there are indeed differences in applicability of Torah for Jews and Gentiles. But yes, good review indeed.

    3. If I recall -- and I've been following James' blog for awhile now, and he can correct me on this if I'm wrong -- is that James didn't call himself "One Law" until Gene, Derek, and others started labeling him with that label, often trying to paint him as something ugly. Just throw around a few labels, and the mud will stick. That seems to be the modus operandi on these blogs.

      But now that you see James' beliefs aren't so terrible, and that he's kind and charitable even towards Bilateral Ecclesiologists, and that One Law (or at least, James' version of it) isn't the caricature you make it out to be, you try to disassociate the very label you placed on him.


      Same thing for me, too, I've been characterized as a crazy Ephraimite, British Israelite, a member of a false religion, a rigid One Law perverter of Messianic Judaism, and everything in between.

      I think you guys -- Gene, Derek, Ovadia, et al -- so regularly demonize One Law and Two House people, when you come to know us and actually understand what we believe, you'll find out we're not such terrible people after all, and that -- believe it or not! -- we're actually trying to follow God here.

      I've been saying this for the last couple of years. Maybe this time it will absorb into your skulls.


    4. "Same thing for me, too, I've been characterized as a crazy Ephraimite, British Israelite, a member of a false religion, a rigid One Law perverter of Messianic Judaism, and everything in between."

      Judah, you are right - I think I should give credit where credit is due - you are no longer a "crazy Ephraimite, British Israelite" - you hardly mention anything about your Two House theology anymore, and I have not seen a post dedicated to it in almost two years. I am not sure why you felt a need to tone down something you so strongly used to identify yourself with. Should I hence forth refer to you as "former Ephraimite"?

      BTW, I do think you're a nice guy and not a villain.

    5. Wow, I hadn't thought of that, a "former Ephraimite". Is that like a "former former Gentile"?

      There were not two mountains burning with fire, one for the Israelites and one for the other nations.

      Both houses will come together, collectively, at some point. Hopefully in the Land, but before that would be fine as well.


    6. LOL. Gene, it was the same darn thing, boy. Do you understand what I'm saying?

      You painted this ugly picture of me, with this ugly caricature of Two House, and when you find I don't live up to that ugly portrait, you think I've changed my views or abandoned my previous thinking. I haven't!

      It's like if I said Gene Shlomovich is a gentile-hating segregationist who regularly boots gentiles from his congregation and even thinks Jesus will return riding a sheep. Then, as I converse with him, seeing he's not *that* terrible, I notice he's not talking about Jesus riding those sheep, so go around advertising that I've convinced him to change his ways!

      If there is any question for my fine blog readers, I hold a Two House view of Israel. Please don't let Gene explain what that means, or you'll come away thinking I'm the ringleader of an Evil Circus Clown Cult that likes hotrod cars with 7 red pentagrams painted over the top. Or something equally insane.

    7. I just discovered Gene said the same thing last year, LOL. And I'm pretty sure that wasn't the first time, either, hahah.

    8. Back to the bracha, with my rant aside, James commented on abolishing the Israeli rabbinate.

      My younger brother's rabbi in Israel has some of the same ill feelings towards the rabbinate, saying it's become corrupted. (If I'm remembering this conversation right, at least.)

      If Aaron's reading this, I'd like to hear his comment.

    9. LOL at Gene's year old comment, seems like he's pushing towards a ledge of some sorts....

    10. "I just discovered Gene said the same thing last year, LOL. And I'm pretty sure that wasn't the first time, either, hahah."

      Judah, you were the one who brought up the Efrayimite thing in your latest comments in the first place, not me. Yes, I commended you last year for deeply closeting your "efryimaitness," and I am commending you this year at two year mark. I'll praise you again next year if you keep this thing well under wraps.

    11. I have comments on 4 different blogs linked to here which I've read. I'll start with Acts I Scene 2 and go down the list.

      So this blog starts out assuming that there is some entirely new system or group that Yeshua started, and his disciples followed. This is at least a partially false assumption, if not completely false.
      The mandate to "go out to the nations" was set forth before Yeshua was alive; in the time of Hillel and by those associated with Hillel. It was specifically a mandate to teach the nations the laws of Torah that apply to them. Namely, the 7 Laws of Noahh and their numerous sub-laws. This mandate itself was not even new to them though, because it is one of the primary ways Israel is to be a light unto the nations--via bringing Torah to the world.

      "Messianic Jewish" is used in this blog, and it is a completely misnomer, since no group as such existed; neither was there a group that was a separate sect of Judaism outside of the general observant world of that day. The term "Pharisees" and "Essenes" and such can be at times misleading, because not always was it clear cut. The general people followed the Pharisaic model; we know this because their order of prayer was used in the Temple by popular demand. The Sadducees (Oral-Torah believers; Karaites of their day), who were also generally Roman agents and upper-class political elite and were not like the common people in general.

      Other than that, the blog has a lot of other facts and information straight and well presented. Aside from a few differences of opinion, that's all I have a problem with.

    12. Next "Why did God Ban Idols?"

      The answer to this is simple. Agadoth are often not literal. Metaphoric imagery of the Creator having an "arm", "hand", "countenance" etc etc are just that: metaphoric imagery.

      On a side note, the reason they are metaphoric is because they are delivered via malakhim/messengers/"angels". When something from HaShem is delivered to a human being, it is in all cases besides Moshe's prophecy delivered via malakhim. And because it is delivered by them, it is not always entirely clear or direct, but rather in symbolism, imagery, metaphor, etc.

      Things like the Sefiroth (Emanations/Spirits) of HaShem that exist in Kabbalah are not literal entities. Instead they are ways that the infinite and unsee-able Creator manifests towards creation. He Himself is not able to be perceived by the human mind at His essence.

      However there are some who misunderstand these concepts and derive multiple gods out of such things. This can be clear and direct idolatry to set up more than one supreme Creator.
      When people don't understand the function and nature of malahim/angels, they often are not able to properly understand these things.

      Anyone who thinks the Creator became a man is quite mistaken, simply. "HaShem is not a man, nor the son of man" as it says in the Torah. Simple, literal, straightforward, and true. Absurd to think otherwise, unless you buy into Roman paganism.

    13. Next, "The Reason".

      All the power to any non-Jew who wants to take on Torah to the fullest degree. My call: come, be my brother.

      Be my brother in a complete observance of Torah.

      Judaism has the whole Torah, Written and Oral. You'll become fragmented Protestants and Karaites without the Oral Torah, and you won't be keeping the Torah correctly.

      However, in normative "Orthodox" Judaism, there is a need for change and reform. Specifically back to the halakha of the Land of Israel found primarily in the Mishna and Jerusalem Talmud.
      Unfortunately there are problems in normative, institutionalized Judaism with a sort of Rabbinic paralysis and as a result, the Jewish people are like a nation adrift.

      Getting back on track, I think the overall solution is making a straight-line to HaShem. Do this in daily, private, personal prayer; just ask HaShem what is good and right and ask Him to lead you in that and nothing else.
      Don't be afraid to go against commonly held views all around you, even your own; because the thing that will really bring you to the ultimate truth is an open mind and the prayer I mentioned. This will give your mind the ability to be entirely receptive to the Creator's direction.
      For those out of a Christian background who are seeking Torah, anti-Judaistic (including anti-Oral Torah) beliefs is the completely oppositional adversary to this.

    14. FINALLY, my comments on "Boycott the Israeli Rabbanut".

      My comments will be direct and brief.

      I've perceived both the Israeli Rabbanut, and the normative Israeli political system. Both are intertwined. Almost always with either, it is about politics rather than Torah. Of course that's not a surprise to know about the political system, but I mean to say it is the same in the Rabbanut.

      It is about a certain group's hashkafa (outlook) having authority, and it will often put good Jews in a bad spot. Its wrong, and it needs to end. Boycott? Absolutely.

      I don't know the exact sentiments of the blogger who wrote this, but I at least believe we need observant Jewish authority and rule; however, an authority that is really about Torah, real Torah, and nothing else.

    15. What is the big deal? we marched in protest against religious opression in Tel-Aviv 50 years ago... Nothing is new under the sun....

    16. Gene's good ol' redirect: comment about something he's done, and it magically turns into a criticism of YOU!

      Reminds me of the "In Soviet Russia..." internet meme.

      <UkrainianAccent>Maybe this is trick from old country? </UkrainianAccent>

      Jewzilla, since you're at my house right now, sitting right across from me in my living room, I might as well talk about it there in real life. Or maybe I will just say nasty things about you on the internet...muahahah.

    17. I have an odd observation. For the record, I am not affiliated with any 'brand' of MJ, I guess I am closer to a Christian seeking something more.

      Just wondering why everyone sees 'One Law' guys as 'Anti Oral Law'? ... While I have seen a few 'One Law' groups as a bit odd in that respect, I find most don't roll that way. - Yes, my experience is limited to the internet, but face it, everyone has a website. And I suspect, most the dissenters opinions are based on mostly online interactions. I find it hard to believe there is that much traveling going on between groups.

      Just a thought. While I continue to learn a great deal, I should point out something like this. It is like stereotyping run amok. If I, new to the MJM can see this, why can't you learned people see this?

      I am not 'One Law', or against it. I just see some painting all with a wide brush, when the movement is too varied to do so. Just my opinion. I have been wrong before, I will be wrong again!!

    18. In Soviet Union, Jew want be Goy. In America Goy want be Jew.

    19. Insert - UkrainianAccentBrokenEnglish - brackets with the above:)

    20. Many One Law congregations only see the written Torah as valid and discount all Oral Law as man-made traditions. This makes it quite a bit easier for many congregations to be "Torah-observant" as they only have to take the Bible into consideration and not Mishnah, Talmud, etc...

      I've subscribed to the Daf Digest and get a PDF lesson every day. The level of detail involved in such learning is just incredible (and each PDF is only 2 pages long) and frankly, overwhelming to a simple guy from Nebraska who never had the benefit of a formal Jewish education. Most OL folks tend to avoid struggling with this level of learning.

      Oh, I'm just a poor amateur in this realm, so don't count on me for any insights. Ask Gene or Derek.


    Appending "You might like" to each post.