Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Torah Commands the "Church" to Eat Lamb During Passover (A Response to James Pyles)

First, some background...

Torah says:
"Be careful not to sacrifice your burnt offerings anywhere you please.  Offer them only at the place the Lord will choose," (Deut. 12:13)
In other words, consecrated meat must be sacrificed only at the Temple.  Only then can you take it back to your house to eat (and only then if you happen to be circumcised).

Fun fact:  So why do Ashkenazic Jews have a roasted shank-bone (from lamb) on their Seder plate during Passover?  Aren't they violating the prohibition stated in Deuteronomy 12?  The Askenazic view is that the shank-bone is not a Passover sacrifice because it is specifically not cooked on Passover.  Furthermore, they don't eat it but rather just use it for symbolic purposes.  

Okay, so that's cool but what in the world does this have to do with the Church?  I'm glad you asked...

It turns out that in Exodus 12 there is a very unusual Hebrew phrase:
"...and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel [kol kahal adat Yisrael] shall kill it in the evening," Exodus 12:6 
The term "church" is used to translate the term "Ekklesia" in the Greek source text of the New Testament.  Greek-speaking Jews of the first-century would've instantly associated the term "ekklesia" with "kahal" (since the Septuagint translated "kahal" as "ekklesia").  More importantly, they understood "kahal" in its primary sense as referring to Israel (see Acts 7:38 for a perfect example of this).  That's why I say that the "Church" is required to eat the Paschal meal.

But only the circumcised may eat the Passover meal!  

Yes, that's true.  One day Yeshua will return, the Temple will be present in Jerusalem, and everyone who is not circumcised will have to be circumcised.  This might even occur on the tenth day of the first month as it happened at Gilgal (Book of Joshua):

{4:19} And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth [day] of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho. {5:2} At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. {5:3} And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. {5:4} And this [is] the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, [that were] males, [even] all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt. {5:5} Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people [that were] born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, [them] they had not circumcised. {5:6} For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people [that were] men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey. {5:7} And their children, [whom] he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way. {5:8} And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole. {5:9} And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.
{5:10} And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. 
Fun fact:  the tenth day of the first month is, incidentally, the day that Torah commands the head of the family to consecrate a lamb for the paschal sacrifice.  This appears to be a rich area for studying numerical significance...

Yes, I realize the idea of circumcising gentiles sounds controversial to Christianized ears but keep in mind that I'm making the following distinctions when it comes to conversion:

(1) covenantal initiation:  faith is initiatory
(2) covenantal ratification:  circumcision is ratificatory
(3) covenantal consummation:  Passover is consummatory (and required of the entire Church Kahal)

In other words, don't think that I'm saying that one must be circumcised in order to be saved.  On the contrary, I believe that faith in Yeshua is what saves us (and also initiates us into His "Kahal", or you might say "the Messianic Kingdom Realm of Israel).


Until Yeshua returns, avoid eating actual lamb on Passover.  But, when He returns and orders everyone to be circumcised, then everyone will be able to eat the lamb!  


(1) Roasted Lamb is a royal dish:  

"Hinnukh:  The Paschal lamb had to be eaten roasted because a roast lamb was a royal dish of which slaves were not permitted to partake.  Now that the Jews were free, they were, in fact, commanded to partake of this dish to mark their new freedom,"  pg. 15 of the Mitzvot by Abraham Chill 
So it is fitting that all of G-d's children, both Jew and non-Jew, should be able to eat this royal meal of Passover!

(2) The lamb meal represents G-d's arms stretched out in love for us (which also reminds us of the crucifixion):

"The shankbone (zeroa) and the egg (bea) are commemorative dishes that were introduced after the destruction of the Temple (Pesachim 114a).  The original source of these items mentions 'two dishes' without specifying their identity.  The information was provide by the Jerusalem Talmud (quoted by Kol Bo but missing in our texts).  According to this quotation, the choice of these dishes was motivated by the significance of their names.  Zeroa ('arm') commemorates God's 'outstretched arm.' Bea ('desires,' in Aramaic) commemorates God's desire to redeem his people," pg. 227, The Biblical and Historical Background of Jewish Customs and Ceremonies by Bloch
The gift of love symbolized by the lamb of the Passover seder is meant for all of humanity--because G-d loves the entire world!  He will find a way to allow all peoples to partake in this celebration!


"As ancient and modern writers have noted, a meal provides a context for close personal contact, creating and reinforcing the bonds of friendship.  The meal may have special uses as well.  Mary Douglas suggests a connection between a dining table and a cultic altar:  'the meal and sacrificial victim, the table and the altar...[may] stand for one another.'...Members of an intimate group often find the meal a natural setting in which to share religious activities.  While bonds of friendship are strengthened by common experiences at a central temple or local shrine, they will be more personal in small groups," pg. 10, The Origins of the Seder by Bokser.

"Nor was the custom [of a common meal] unknown in Biblical times; it is not infrequently mentioned in Scripture.  Thus, when Melchizedek, King of Salem, made a treaty with Abraham, he did so by proffering bread and wine (Genesis 14:18-24); and when Abimelech concluded an alliance with Isaac, he followed the same procedure (Genesis 26:30).  Similarly, we are told expressly in the Book of Joshua (9:14) that the princes of Israel entered into a covenant with the Gibeonites by partaking of their victuals; and the prophet Obadiah (verse 7) uses the words 'men of thy bread' and 'men of thy confederacy' as parallel expressions for the same thing.
     We may take it, then, that the original purpose of the paschal meal was to recement ties of kinship, infuse new life into the family, and renew the bonds of mutual protection at the beginning of each year," pgs. 17-18 of Passover: Its History and Traditions by Gaster

“The process is a preliminary form of the blood covenant which the people as such was to conclude with [Adonai] on Sinai. What is now being prepared in the form of diversity will be completed there in that of unity. ‘It is a passover for [Adonai]‘ which, though called an ‘offering’, does not resemble anything referred to in the Bible as sacrifice; it is a sacramental meal…The essential thing to realize is that here a natural and customary human activity, that of eating, is elevated by the participation of the whole community to the level of an act of communion; and as such is consecrated to the God. It is eaten ‘for him’.” pg. 71 Moses: the revelation and the covenant by Martin Buber

“The clans slaughter the preordained animals at the same time. Each family eats of its own, each in its own house, which nobody may leave; but they all eat at the same time, a single meal unites them into a community. Blood is smeared on the portals and lintels of the houses; …all the tribes jointly devote themselves in blood, and thereby simultaneously redeem the debt of the human first-born, which they owe him.” pg. 70-71.Moses: the revelation and the covenant by Martin Buber

"The covenant is ratified by a meal (Josh. 9:14; cf. Gen. 31:46, 54; 26:30) and has after-effects for centuries (2 Sam. 21:1ff.)," pg. 106 of The Faith of the Old Testament by Werner

"A covenant, called in Hebrew a berit (or brit), is a general obligation between two parties confirmed either by an oath, a solemn meal, a sacrifice, or by some other dramatic act such as dividing an animal and having the parties to the covenant pass between the portions.  In the bible covenants are established between individuals, between states or their representatives, between kings and their subjects, and also between husbands and wives.  We also have instances in which the term is used figuratively for a relation between men and animals and men and death.  The variety of obligations covered by the term indicate that a covenant can be entered into either by equal partners sharing mutual obligations and mutual benefits, or by unequal partners in which the power and authority of the covenantal partners is asymmetrical as are the responsibilities, obligations, and rewards..." pg. 156, Jewish Ideas and Concepts by Steven T. Katz

"This tractate is the most difficult in the Jerusalem Talmud, both from the viewpoint of its contents and from the viewpoint of the numerous errors which have affected it,' so states Saul Lieberman (p. 217) at the beginning of his great commentary to Yerushalmi Erubin.  I hardly need repeat that this translation is preliminary and provisional, even though it will probably serve for some time to come.  I can only claim to do my best, knowing that, in more than a few places, it is not good enough.
A review of the contents of the tractate stands at the beginning of the work.  Mishnah-tractate Erubin takes as its theme the scripture on the Sabbath requirement to refrain from leaving one's abode.  There are several stages of reasoning which have to have been passed long before the theme--let alone the problematic--of our tractate comes into view.  Not surprisingly, Scripture lays the foundations.  Exodus 16:29-30 requires each person to stay where he is on the seventh day (in what looks like a play on words of SBT and SB): "'See!  The Lord has given you the Sabbath, therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days; remain every man of you in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.'  So the people rested on the seventh day."  Now, in the dim past of Mishnah-tractate Erubin are the following settled notions:  (1) remaining in one's place does not mean that one may not leave his house, but (2) it does mean that one should remain in his own village, which (3) consists of the settled area of a village as well as its natural environs.  But (4) one may establish residence, for purposes of the Sabbath, in some place other than his normal abode, by (5) making provision for eating a meal at that other place.  Doing so allows the person to measure his allotted area for travel from that other place.  Said measure (6) is two thousand cubits.  In order to establish a symbolic place of residence, one must set out, prior to sundown at the beginning of the Sabbath (or festival) (7) a symbolic meal, or, (8) through a verbal declaration, accomplish that same end, making provision for a temporary Sabbath-abode.  These eight presuppositions which lie deep in the substructure of the tractate are not the only ones we have to contend with.
There is yet another set, predictable on the basis of Mishnah-tractate Shabbat.  These principles have to do with transportation of objects from one domain to another on the Sabbath.  We recall from tractate Shabbat that (1) one may not move something from private domain to public domain.  Now there are areas the status of which is ambiguous, being neither wholly private nor completely public domain.  Chief among these is (2) the courtyard, onto which a number of private dwellings open up, or (3) an alleyway, onto which a number of courtyards debouch.  Now the symbolic meal involved in establishing one's residence at a place other than his normal abode may serve yet (4) a second purpose, which is to join all of the dwellers of the several households of a courtyard, or of the several courtyards of an alleyway, into a single unit for treating said courtyard of alleyway as the common possession of the participants of the meal and hence as a single domain, in which carrying will be permissible.  To list the suppositions before us therefore requires attention to the notion (1) of public and private domain, (2) or a prohibition of transporting objects from one to another, (3) of a recognition of an area of ambiguous status, (4) of the possibility of commingling the individual rights to a given shared area into a single domain for the purpose of the Sabbath, (5) and of doing so, in particular, through the provision of a common symbolic meal.  An outline of the treatment of the subject, which follows, shows us that there are three units on the tractate's topic, and a fourth which draws to a close the entire enterprise constituted by Shabbat Erubin.
The first unit treats special problems of a limited domain other than an ordinary courtyard.  It asks about forming into a single domain for purposes of carrying on the Sabbath some anomalous properties, for example, an alleyway; an area temporarily occupied by a caravan; the area, in the public domain, around a well, which is private domain; and a large, enclosed field which, though fenced in, is not a human habitation.  This discussion serves as a prologue to the second topic, one of the two significant essays of the tractate, on the Sabbath limit of a town and how it is defined. 
Here, second, we begin with the effect of setting out an erub--a symbolic meal--upon the right of an individual to travel beyond the established Sabbath limit of a town, for example, for visiting someone in a neighboring village on that day.  We proceed to treat the effects of violating that Sabbath limit or of not properly setting out the erub to begin with.  The next major initiative turns to defining the Sabbath limit of a town--that is, the limit affecting all the residents, not the limit laid out by an individual for his own purpose.
The third unit of the tractate, which is the other central one, moves from the Sabbath limit affecting a town as a whole to that complementary matter, the commingling of ownership of courtyards and alleyways, once more starting with the clear conception that the erub-meal is how one establishes such a commingled ownership.  There are then areas--that is, gray areas--that may be treated either as distinct from one another or as commingled.  The next major initiative turns from the courtyard to the alleyway and goes on to repeat pretty much the same exercises as are performed for the courtyard.  There then follows three appendixes:  first, neglecting the erub for a courtyard and its consequences; second, preparing an erub for more than one courtyard; and, a genuine appendix, the status of the area of the roofs of the houses.
The fourth unit, like the first, is essentially indifferent to the tractate's paramount concerns, since it speaks of carrying in the public domain in general, and some rather special problems in that connection--that is to say, the tractate closes, as many do, by ignoring its critical points of interest.  What the final unit does do is to call to mind the opening unit of Mishnah-tractate Shabbat, on the one side, and those recurrent concerns about carrying from one domain to another which preoccupy the framers of the tractate at other critical point--Mishnah-tractate Shabbat chapters 7-12, on the other.  We proceed to review the topical program of the tractate, beginning to end.  Afterward I return to raise organizing and encompassing questions about the tractate as a whole," pg. 1, The Talmud of the Land of Israel, Vol 12: Eruvin

 "The organization and government of a tribe....The beth ab, the 'house of one's father', was the family, which comprised not only the father, his wife or wives and their unmarried children but also their married sons with their wives and children, and the servants.  Several families composed a clan, the mishpahah.  The latter usually lived in the same place, and its members always met for common religious feasts and sacrificial meals (1 S 20:6,29).  In particular, the clan assumed the responsibility for blood-vengeance.  Each clan was ruled by the heads of its families, the zeqenim or 'elders', and in time of war it furnished a contingent, theoretically a thousand strong, commanded by a chief, sar.  In Jg 8:14 the 'chiefs' of Sukkoth are distinguished from the 'elders'....A group of clans, of mishpahoth, formed a tribe, shebet or matteh, two words with the same meaning, which also denote the commander's staff and the royal sceptre.  The tribe therefore embraced all those who obeyed the same chief.  
The hierarchy of the three terms, beth ab, misphahah and shebet, is clearly expressed in Jos. 7:14-18, but one term may sometimes be used for another, as in Nb 4:18 and Jg 20:12 (Hebrew text)."pg. 7 of Ancient Israel by Roland De Vaux

"Hinnukh:  The Paschal lamb had to be eaten roasted because a roast lamb was a royal dish of which slaves were not permitted to partake.  Now that the Jews were free, they were, in fact, commanded to partake of this dish to mark their new freedom,"  pg. 15 of the Mitzvot by Abraham Chill  NOTE:  reference:  Sefer ha-Hinnukh, Mitzvot 6, 7, 381.

"The shankbone (zeroa) and the egg (bea) are commemorative dishes that were introduced after the destruction of the Temple (Pesachim 114a).  The original source of these items mentions 'two dishes' without specifying their identity.  The information was provide by the Jerusalem Talmud (quoted by Kol Bo but missing in our texts).  According to this quotation, the choice of these dishes was motivated by the significance of their names.  Zeroa ('arm') commemorates God's 'outstretched arm.' Bea ('desires,' in Aramaic) commemorates God's desire to redeem his people," pg. 227, The Biblical and Historical Background of Jewish Customs and Ceremonies by Bloch


  1. "Until Yeshua returns, avoid eating actual lamb on Passover. But, when He returns and orders everyone to be circumcised, then everyone will be able to eat the lamb!"

    From a one-law perspective, did G-d command this? Did Yeshua or the Apostles teach this?

    There is no law that prohibits eating lamb on Passover.

  2. Have a blessed Pesach!

  3. Sephardim, as some of my relatives are, can eat lamb on Passover. But they don't when they are inviting Ashkenazi family. The Passover is no longer a Korban, but commemorative, so I see no reason why it would matter what kosher food was served, or that a person must be Jewish or circumcised to attend, as some have been discussing.

  4. There is no law, but it is a tradition. If you are a part of a community, you respect the local halacha. So, I wouldn't serve lamb to my Ashkenazi relatives, but have enjoyed Passover with my Iranian family members and their delicious lamb.

  5. "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."

  6. What have we here? Another one of those HR antisemites. "We are better than the Jews (or Judah) because they keep rabbinic tradition, and we keep pure torah. Of course we don't know a word of Hebrew and learn from YouTube scholars who know half a dozen. We've just been doing this 6 months while the admittedly imperfect rabbis have been doing it for several thousand years. It must be the evangelical theology/mindset that you claim you left back in Babylon?

    Do you wonder why some of us don't want to have anything to do with you?

    There is no commandment yea or nay about what kosher animal one consumes at Passover. The only violation would be those who believe they can perform a korban in their backyard, which is forbidden.

  7. An interesting response to Jesus words!

  8. Judas hanged himself. Go ye therefore and do likewise. Also the words of Jesus.

    Peter, why do you allow antisemite trolls on your blog?

  9. Princess, is that the Spirit of the Holy G-d you are speaking by?

    Naaa..., that's another spirit you have.

  10. Peter, Thank you. That was immensely informative. I have coined a new phrase you might like: Where ever two or more gathered, there will be three or more opinions. ;)

  11. Baruch HaShem! Glad it was helpful!

    G-d bless you, brother!