Only Torah Observant Jews and studied Noahides really have a clue about who G-d is and what He wants. It does not matter how educated a person is, how long they have attended church or how many years they went to a Reform Jewish camp as a kid, it is only the person who is occupied in the Torah that can speak about G-d from our limited, human understanding with any truth. All the rest will simply mislead you.
If Jesus had a Facebook account would you “unlike” him? With all of the press around Rabbi Boteach’s recent book and the plethora of availability of commentary from both sides, it might be worth considering how much attention Jews and Noahides should “devote” to Jesus. I read that someone on another blog suggested an interesting idea: form a group of ex-messianics for the purpose of writing refutations to Christian proofs. That might be helpful. It certainly is worth exploring but with some caution. Read More
It seems like the only barrier to us moving to our community to live within the eruv and taking the next step in our conversion process is me getting a job. The city is fairly large and I have great qualifications so I don’t see this being a problem. The process just seems to be dragging. After making hundreds of applications last month it’s a little discouraging that I have not been called for an interview yet, but I don’t want to complain.
Each week we have a friend davening for us at the Kotel (Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel of thelandofisrael.com) and of our friends that are left after we rejected J.C. (there aren’t many), most of them are praying also. I hope to find work with the State of Texas in some kind of management position or in a Social Services field. If anyone has connections, feel free to see my profile on linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeisyn
With all of the travel between Austin and “home,” the Jewish community where we really want to move, it has been difficult to find time to blog. Not only that, but there has been so much we’ve been experiencing, I’ve needed some time to integrate it before I can actually write about it.
So here’s what’s been brewing in my head lately.
The Great Messianic Pretenders.
My wife and I are amazed at how little Messianic Judaism has to do with real Torah Judaism. It is even more embarrassing how our former lives appear to us now. I also feel angry at the deception that is infused in Messianic Judaism by its adherents. Unless you’ve been through this it might be hard to understand what I’m saying. Messianic Judaism claims that it encourages Jews and Gentiles to follow the Torah but this is so misleading because fundamentally all Messianics reject the Oral Torah. This is key because in Orthodox Judaism “Torah” is Torah Sheba’al Peh and Torah Shebichtav (Oral and Written Torah respectively). Even if they run around separating meat and dairy (as we began doing years ago), keep Taharat HaMishpachah, and hold to other halachah as outlined by the Sages, if they still think Jesus/Yeshua is the messiah then they are ultimately rejecting the Oral Torah outright and are bringing tremendous disgrace to the Sages.
For example, I know of one man who has been involved in Messianic Judaism for many years. He claims that he has great respect for the Sages and is even a little familiar with the Talmud. He wears a tallit and lays tefillin. He observes some Rabbinic holidays and keeps some other halachah given in the Oral Torah but he accepts it cafeteria style. Ultimately he is an Evangelical Christian trying as best he can to mold Torah Judaism to his pick-and-choose belief system. But what he (and the others) are trying to do will never work. It would be better for him to drop Yeshu and become a Noahide under the direction of a Rabbi and learn Torah that way. It would also be better for the Jewish Community that he professes to love. Sadly, he doesn’t see the damage he is causing and because he is so lost in idolatry, he can’t even be willing to hear arguments from the Jewish side.
Bonding To My Rabbi
I am grateful that we have found a Rabbi to whom I feel so connected. We have been able to speak openly so far about everything and I always feel better after being around him and speaking with him. He treats me and my family with such respect. He is a lively teacher and very congruent in his life with what he believes. Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Perachya says in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 1, Mishna 6) “Make for yourself a teacher…” and the commentaries go on to say that this person should be someone you can trust because he has your best interest at heart. I know my Rabbi does and I look forward to seeing him every week, be’ezrat Hashem.
Please follow the link below to read my friend’s reaction to Ralph Messer wrapping an accused pedophile in a holy Torah scroll. What you’ll see is an Orthodox Jew who lives in Israel reflecting the same thoughts about Messianic Judaism as this former Messianic who is on his way to Orthodox conversion, be’ezrat Hashem.
We’ve been going out-of-town every weekend to visit with our sponsoring Rabbi and to attend at least one of his classes. This past Shabbat we were able to spend Erev Shabbat with him and his family and attend services on Shabbat at his shul; Shacharit through Havdalah. My wife has started attending Hebrew classes (she’s pretty advanced already) taught by the Rabbanit and we both are attending the shiur for the weekly parshah. We feel at home there and we have met very warm and supportive people.
The more we visit that community the less I feel attached to my former life. It is hard to return to Austin and step back into what seems to be someone else’s existence. So I try to stay busy with all the preparations–I’m applying for jobs and we’re exploring our options for living arrangements. I’m studying the books on the required reading list for the Rabbinical Council of America (those which I haven’t already read yet) and attending classes during the week at an Orthodox shul here in Austin.
All of this is not to say that when we’re there it is not also difficult. The circumstance presents challenges of its own. The community is mainly a Hebrew speaking, Israeli-based community so the members are naturally a little guarded around us right now. Our son is having to adjust to the constant travel and changes in the environment in addition to his awareness that soon he’ll be having a baby sister, b’ezrat Hashem. Which of course means my wife has to deal with all the natural feelings of making a big change with pregnancy hormones to top it off! I think converting, which is really a short word for such an enormous experience, is the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life and I’m really trying hard to avoid hyperbole here. On the other hand, it feels like the right thing to do. My soul yearns each week to return to the community, to see the friends I’ve met and to talk with my Rabbi. He and his family are amazing and feel like the perfect fit for us. I hope we are accepted and that we can relocate soon.
Messianics are scrambling to distance themselves from Ralph Messer, a Messianic leader in Colorado. His recent desecration of a beloved Torah scroll has cast new light on the familiar and painful misbehavior of Christians involved in the Messianic denomination.
It is worthwhile to look at the plethora of monikers being hurled about on the internet: Messer has been called a “self-styled Messianic Rabbi…a charlatan, a showman, and a fraud” by Messianic leader, author, and teacher Daniel Lancaster of First Fruits of Zion and Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship; a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” by Messianic blogger and teacher Derek Leman (also a self-titled “Rabbi” who has no official Jewish semicha); an “impostor, a “quasi-Messianic”; and one whose actions were “repulsive and inappropriate” by another self-proclaimed “Rabbi” David Shiff (again no real Jewish semicha).
Each of these, as well as others like Ron Cantor, a “Messianic Jewish Communicator” try to establish even further distance by pointing out that Messer is not affiliated with “mainline” Messianic Judaism and has no participation in the major ordaining bodies of that same Christian denomination.
All of this flurry is terribly misleading to the untrained eye. On the surface, it may appear like Lancaster, First Fruits of Zion (also a Christian missionary ministry that misappropriates Judaism for Christian evangelization purposes), Leman, Cantor et al., are trustworthy, Gd-fearing Gentiles and apostate Jews who are different from and above Ralph Messer. They would like to be viewed as harmless followers of Jesus who are supportive of the Jewish people. But the truth is they are not.
These men who are outraged about Messer are protesting to protect their own interests and identity. Messer’s actions, as gross as they are, are an exaggeration of the same apostasy that all Messianics embrace. However, these men would like Jews to think that their religion is different than Messer’s but I’d like to repeat what a friend of mine on Facebook said. “You [Christians] show great indignation of a human being being (sic) wrapped in a Torah scroll and rightly so. But don’t seem to make the connection that viewing Jesus as a Torah scroll, “God”, Word of “God”, god-man, is equally blasphemous and outrageous…what is worse, wrapping a Christian Pastor in a Torah scroll or wrapping “God” into the flesh of a man? As horrific as it is to desecrate a Torah scroll, the far worse desecration is when the church puts HaShem in a human being.” Well said Brian Lasater. All Messianics would have to agree, as it is in their Bible, that they believe that Jesus a.k.a. Yeshua is the “Word [read Torah] made flesh” who dwelt among men. Lasater pointedly exposes their hypocrisy.
The Messianics may hide their idolatry and deviousness behind a Torah scroll and other Jewish ceremonial rites and ensnare Jews into believing in a false religion, chas v’shalom, but at least Messer puts his heretical practices right out front. Baruch Hashem, most Jews will not be prey to his antics. It is the other wolves who need to be exposed.
- Messianic rabbi orders preacher wrapped in ‘Auschwitz’ Torah (blogs.jta.org)