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Weekly Bracha 45

Welcome to this week in the Messianic blogosphere, Super Fine Kineti reader.

  • San Francisco to Propose Circumcision Ban – California, the left-wing experiment of the US, proposes anti-Jewish legislation designed to render illegal the biblical commandment of circumcision.
  • Is Circumcision Really Important? – Dr. Schiffman responds to the news with a sharp reality check:

    Banning Jewish circumcision on infants violates the separation of Church and State, which people are quick to quote when they don’t want religion to weigh in on social and moral issues, but conveniently forget when they want to impose their opinions on a four thousand-year old religion.

    The bottom line is that no law imposed by the city of San Francisco will keep Jews from circumcising their sons. In the time of the Maccabees, the Syrians outlawed circumcision. Jews did it anyway, and they overthrew the Syrians and took back the Temple. That’s why we celebrate Chanukah. San Francisco can enact their laws, and who knows… it might yet fall into the sea.

  • Cataloging the New Testament's Hebraisms: Part 5 (Parallelisms) – In investigating the possibility of a Hebrew or Aramaic original New Testament, David Bivin looks at synonymous parallelisms: repetition of a thought in different but synonymous, or equivalent, words, with examples from the Tenakh and New Testament.
  • A Messianic Christmas Story – James encourages Messianics to treat Christians and Christmas kindly.
  • Oh Tannenbaum Oh Hanukkah Bush – Dr. Schiffman looks at the Christmas tree, the Hanukkah bush, and the non-religious trees used in various cultures. He concludes that trees are neither here nor there, and that “Rather than worrying about trees and decorations, we would do better to do the things the Torah actually commands us to do, whether or not a tree is in the house.”
  • MJ Passages – Man-who-does-nothing-but-blog Derek Leman announces yet another Messianic website, MJ Passages, with the intent to be “the intersection of good things Jewish, Christian, Messianic Jewish, Judeo-Christian, biblical, archaeological, and theological”.

    Hrmmm, sounds a bit like the Weekly Bracha! Maybe Derek is trying to steal you fine blog readers from my cold, iron death grip. Whatever his eeeeeevil intentions, the only Messianic blogs it links to are those 3 or 4 blogs that agree with most everything Derek says. That said, perhaps it will be a catalyst to get my Bracha Futures idea off the ground.

  • Josephus on the Messiah Concept – Was there a strong 1st-century concept of a single Messiah figure who would save Israel and rule the world, or is this just a Christian invention? The author points to Josephus’ 2nd century writings, citing Israel’s desire to go to war with Rome,

    But their chief inducement to go to war was an equivocal oracle also found in their sacred writings, announcing that at that time a man from their country would become the ruler of the world.

    Savor the bracha bits, fine Kineti readers! And stay away from the bracha competition, even if it exists only in my imagination!


  1. It'll be interesting to see what responses (if any) the Christmas blog article gets. I know it's kind of a big deal for many Gentile Messianic/One Law folks, but I don't know if it registers on the MJ/BI radar screen at all.

    I agree that Derek must not have much time for anything else, given the list of blogs he maintains. I visited MJ Passages and it has potential, but I don't know that it'll have the same flavor as Kineti L'Tziyon, since its information sources lean specifically toward MJTI. One of the "boxes" attracted my attention: "MJTI Jewish-Christian Relations Center". I assume it's more "Messianic Jewish-Christian Church Relations Center...linkage between the traditional church and MJTI. I wonder how it will actually play out?

  2. Just read Bivin's Cataloging the New Testament's Hebraisms: Part 5 (Parallelism). I especially liked this:

    The Beatitudes all refer to kingdom people, members of Jesus’ movement. In order to be, and remain, in his movement, his disciples had to be the kind of people who continually seek God with all their heart, hungering and thirsting for His salvation.

    Wish I had been able to access this section of Bivin's article when I was writing my own humble understanding of the Beatitudes.

  3. Judah:

    Haha ("man-who-does-nothing-but-blog"). I have a secret. All my research and writing for blogs makes for a lot of good material for teaching, freelance writing, writing for other organizations, developing books, and so on. Leveraging. Time.

    Yes, I'm only featuring a few blogs in each category and I did make the decision to highlight blogs closer to my POV. But I read your blog and benefit from it as well as other blogs I did not include.

    Derek "busy dude" Leman

  4. James:

    Jewish-Christian relations is a topic that is not at all new. A lot of work has been done on the academic and also on the church-synagogue level in Jewish-Christian relations. In my opinion, MJTI and Dr. Mark Kinzer and Dr. David Rudolph have a unique voice as Messianic Jewish scholars to speak into this arena. They are connected to the leading Jewish and Christian scholars who work in this field.

    Derek Leman

  5. Derek, I've been pondering the reason I originally created my personal blog as outlined in the first blog post and comparing that to what you just said. Your context is largely academic and scholarly, which doesn't come as a surprise given your educational background (found it on your LinkedIn wouldn't believe how difficult it is to find out the actual educational backgrounds of Messianic Jewish Rabbis), but for me, "relationship" is more than just an intellectual discussion of the Talmud. Relationship is "relationship"; people actually talking to each other and trying to find some common ground on which to build something that is ongoing and which reflects that fact that we have One Shepherd. While I understand the MJTI desire to establish and maintain barriers and boundaries relative to the Gentile world, you still need to make a hole in the wall that's big enough to allow a conversation to take place.

    That's why I remain dubious relative to Jewish-Christian relations, not that your (and MJTI's) intentions aren't good and honorable, but that the MJTI philopsophy of having relationships with Gentiles is based on Robert Frost's "good fences make good neighbors".


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