Import jQuery

Weekly Bracha 40

Enjoy these tasty bits from this week in the Messianic blogosphere, fine information-munching blog readers:

  • Cleopas, Why You Should Know Him – Why the largely unknown disciple Cleopas points to an historical Yeshua.
  • Anti-missionary logic – Excellent video detailing how Jewish anti-missionaries use unequal weights when trying to disprove Yeshua as Messiah. For example, they often are quick to quote liberal theologians’ critical views of the New Testament, but would never consider those same theologians’ textual criticism of the Tenakh, or how they point out inconsistencies in the gospels, but ignore or explain away similar inconsistencies in the Tenakh.

  • What did Jesus teach in the Beatitudes? – The beatitudes as a sad reality check that this life sucks?
  • The Messianic Liturgy: Why Bother? – While suggesting that the model of Messianic services could be re-examined (unspoken: more traditional liturgy, less music), Ovadia takes some shots at Messianic praise music, which he defines as an “exercise in emotional manipulation”. Don’t worry, I straighten him out in the comments.
  • Conversations about Law and Grace – A Messianic Jew and a Christian order a pizza…
  • Not to defend Islam, but… – Jewzilla suggests we’re ignorant in our criticisms of Islam, after all, Islam’s God is Allah, a term derived from the Hebrew Eloah, a generic title for God. Also, Islam at least remains eastern, whereas Judaism and Christianity have lost their way into western moral principles, such as equality and loving all people.
  • Genesis in Context – With the yearly Torah reading cycle having just reset into Genesis, the blogosphere is filled with explanations how Genesis cannot be literal. Here, Rabbi Brumbach suggests we cannot read the creation story too literally. (Unspoken: thus leaving the door opened for old earth creationism or theistic evolution.) Good discussion in the comments.


  • Would Jesus Do That? Sacrifices and Yeshua – Would Yeshua sacrifice animals in the Temple? If so, why is there no record of it in the New Testament?
  • Eat the tasty bracha bits, relax, and enjoy the new week, fine blog readers.


  1. Just read the "The Messianic Liturgy: Why Bother?" blog post and the first thing that popped into my head was, but I don't do a sermon. I prefer to teach than to sermonize. I enjoy the interaction of studying the Torah portion and the Bible. If I need to give a sermon, I'll write a blog.

    Since there's no real model for an order of service in the Apostolic scriptures, I think there's a certain amount of wiggle room in how each congregation chooses to worship God. Since David wrote a ton of Psalms praising Hashem, I have a hard time believing worshiping God with music is a bad idea (except maybe for me..I sing like a frog).

    If some Messianic congregations are too "Evangelical" because of their emphasis on music and you don't like that, I suppose you (this is a hypothetical "you", of course) just don't have to attend those congregations. Personally, I'm not one of those folks who enjoy jumping up and down and waving my arms around like a hyperactive string bean because it's "expected", so I can understand some of that sentiment.

    On the other hand, most of the liturgy is sung anyway, so I wonder, what's the point? Also, is it a sin to "feel" anything while worshiping God?

  2. Certainly. I applauded Ovadia for pointing out that emotion should not be the point of worship, and EV Christianity has erred on that front.

    That said, his post was harsh and judgmental and painted an ugly picture of the great Messianic music given to use through Messianic artists and authors like Joel Chernoff, Marty Goetz, Stuart Dauermann, and so many others.

    I find it amusing that music is frowned up. Last time I got that line was from real old school Christian fundamentalist sects (e.g. Amish, etc.). Their reasoning is that the New Testament doesn't explicitly mention musical instruments, therefore it is not that important.

    But we as Messianics who embrace the Tenakh -- including the psalms -- out to know better.

    "Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals."

    Hallelu Et Adonai


  3. Good point on the sermon, too.

    Our congregation follows a different format: we gather around some tables and study and discuss, there is little preaching involved. Each congregation has its own way, I suppose.

  4. "But we as Messianics who embrace the Tenakh -- including the psalms -- out to know better."

    Psalms also say that we should praise G-d while laying down in bed! (Psalm 149:5), which means there a time and place for all types of praise, as long as it done with the right intention. All of them are valid, but it doesn't mean that all of them are appropriate for every occasion or for that matter every community.

  5. James,

    Feel free to comment on my blog directly. I'd love to have you in the conversation.

    My comments are not meant to be all inclusive of everyone, everywhere, all the time. I think it's great that you guys do discussion. Really great.

    I totally agree with the majority of what you said. Since there's no Scripturally-mandated model, then I feel no problems about pointing out the problems I perceive in the one we inherited from evangelical Christianity.

    For congregations that position themselves fundamentally in Judaism, however, there is a historic model that they should try to follow. And that's my main audience in the series.


    Just to make it clear for the 1000th time: I'm for emotion, against excesses of emotion and manipulation. I'm for music (in myriad forms: instruments, liturgy, etc.) to dignify / enliven / enhance our worship, against making music something we do for its own sake.

    I grew up Church of Christ, and I quoted that passage from Psalms all the time to people to say both "I think Tanakh is vital to the life of believers" and "this whole a capella only trip you guys are on is silly". I still do. Honestly, I am not arguing for everyone sitting down in a room and singing the same set of songs, a capella, with no emotion. That's where I got my start, and I got out of there about as soon as I could. That's the kind of synagogue worship that makes me want to tear my hair out in boredom.

  6. Ok, glad you clarified.

    Let me clarify my criticism of your post: describing Messianic music as an "exercise in emotional manipulation" was harsh, inaccurate, and dismissive of the great work for the Lord that a number of Messianic pioneers have contributed.

  7. I wasn't describing Messianic music, per se. I've been to one Messianic concert that was just a concert and liked it just fine. I was describing the way in which the congregations that I've experienced used Messianic music to create worship experiences designed to wring emotion out of people in a fashion that (ask zayin, he was on the worship team at one) strikes me as manipulative. And that's nothing particular to the Messianic world, it just strikes me as common.

  8. *Messianic music and Christian music both


Appending "You might like" to each post.