Monday, June 17, 2013

The Rabbi Had a Point

So I can't get it out of my head, the look of vulnerability, pain, frustration on the Hasidic rabbi's face when he heard that my family comes from a Messianic Judaism background.  His shoulders slumped and he looked down, shaking his head, "Messianic Judaism is NOT Judaism!" he said.  "Those rabbis are ordained in Baptist churches!"  And he went on to say, in so many words, that Messianic Jews were deceitful because they appeared to be Jewish but were really agents of Christianity.

Here was a man who loved his people.  He believed with utmost conviction that his people would assimilate if they didn't return to a traditional Jewish lifestyle.  That was why he devoted his life to the synagogue and the aleph-bet preschool.  He even opened his home from week to week to those who were exploring Judaism again.  He would invite them to his tish (table), share an intimate meal with them, discuss Torah.

Yet what were the fruits of his labor?  Endless crowds of Jews who had been willing to set aside modern ways to return to the traditional ways?  No.  Not by a long shot.  He was one of the few who had not surrendered to a modern, Western lifestyle.

I wish I could've said, "Oh, but rabbi you're mistaken!  Messianic Jews don't assimilate or intermarry.  They keep the traditional lifestyle."  But, from my personal experiences, I could never have truthfully said something like that.

I knew the rabbi had a point.

The Messianic movement has something of infinite worth:  the real Messiah.  Yeshua IS the Messiah.  He is perfect.  But we are not.  Our movement has a long way to go.  We MUST develop institutions that will preserve traditional Judaism.  What are the Jews supposed to do?  Accept the gospel then return to non-Messianic community?  No, they need to fellowship with other Believers ("neglect not the fellowship of the Brethren").  But where will they find Believers living traditional Jewish lifestyles?  At Baptist church?



 

5 comments:

  1. An interesting article:
    http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/messianic_judaisms_new_interfaith_push_in_beverly_hills_20120801

    MJTI spent $1.35 Million in 2010? Could these numbers be correct?

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    1. In Beverly Hills...anything is possible.

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  2. that Messianic Jews were deceitful because they appeared to be Jewish but were really agents of Christianity.

    There definitely are some who claim to be Jewish in the Messianic movement who aren't Jewish, and yes that is deceitful, but following Yeshua is not being deceitful, nor does it mean one is an agent of Christianity, considering Christianity did not exist during the time of Yeshua and neither after for quite some time. Yeshua would have had no idea what Christianity was. So I think a bit of education also comes a long way. Basically putting the Jew back into Jesus.

    We MUST develop institutions that will preserve traditional Judaism. What are the Jews supposed to do?

    Preserve and progress, not just preserve... in my opinion, traditional Judaism would have to take on some changes concerning the Messiah, some that maybe Judaism would never want to even consider, one example, would be Yeshua's divinity, and we all know the downfall of this which usually leads to no longer even believing Yeshua is the Messiah, also they would have to accept the Body of Messiah, Judaism at its current state would never accept a body of gentiles as part of the household of God, citizens of the Kingdom along with fellow Jews... and since groups like the UMJC are trying very hard to be a traditional Judaism, they are pushing the body of Messiah away, because they are at odds.

    Basically one cannot wholeheartedly accept traditional Judaism without the additions and understanding of Yeshua and the Apostolic Writings, these revelations in some ways contradict the current understanding. This will continue to be a problem, unless people are willing to change. To say 'Judaism does not need to change' is just as naive as saying that 'Christianity does not need to change'.

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    1. Re: " but following Yeshua is not being deceitful, nor does it mean one is an agent of Christianity, considering Christianity did not exist during the time of Yeshua and neither after for quite some time."

      Amen!

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  3. I think the one of the basic problems for Jews here is simply that the Jewish Nation cannot remain what it was and is if Yeshua is accepted as Messiah. For them it means the dissolution of the Jewish Nation, since it will cause a flood of Gentiles to come in and destroy the identity of the chosen people. Yeshua to them is a danger to Jewish identity. We see this occuring in the Acts of the Apostles, and very poignantly, in Paul's defence before the multitude (in Acts ch. XXII). They let him speak until he mentions the inclusion of the Gentiles (in 22:21). At this point they conclude: "Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live" (22:22).

    It obviously goes against the instincts of self-preservation inherent in any nation or people to let unlimited numbers of foreigners in, regardless whether these foreigners adopt the laws and customs of this nation. It has always been Jewish custom to let proselytes come in only in very limited numbers. The tiny Jewish nation is small and constantly aware of the dangers of being overflooded by others.

    Paul perceives a deep mystery in this, when he says that "blindness is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in". His explanation is: "As concerning the Gospel they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes". I interpret this verse as meaning that it is for the benefit of the Gentiles that the Israelites are (momentarily) the enemies of the Gospel. Their enmity will only end at the conclusion of this historical epoch, when the events of the Apocalypse will begin to materialize.

    In this way the particular identity of the Jewish nation — as a nation of priests — will be preserved, while at the same time allowing the Gentiles to enter the Assembly of Messiah, until the Kingdom of Messiah arrives.

    In this way the particular identity and heridity of the Jewish nation is kept intact for the great tasks it has to perform in the Kingdom Age.

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