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Antisemitism

Are you antisemitic?  Of course you’re not, right? You love Jewish people. Of course you do.

But really, ask yourself. Are there aspects of your interpretation of scripture that are antisemitic? We like to say that the Jews just didn’t understand their own scriptures, that their system was defunct. We joke about foolish Israelites. And of course, Jesus did away with the Law. It was really bad.

Take a hard look at the teachings called Christianity. Where do they come from? Almost all Christianity today was birthed from Catholicism or Orthodoxy, which has its birthplace in the Roman empire in the first few centuries AD. The first century of Jesus-followers were almost entirely Jewish, but from the beginning of the second century onward the faith was dominantly gentile.

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2

Ki Tavo

As a Gentile, when you go to a Jewish Shabbat service for the first time, you learn a lot.

1. Don’t use Christianese. I generally try to avoid Cristianese, but there are ways of speaking that I didn’t even realize I do. For example, I may have said (can’t remember, I was too nervous), “I have a heart for Israel.” After I said it, I realized how condescending that sounds. Who am I that I have something to bring to Israel? Christians tend to talk as if we have something to give to the world, and although we do, saying that just turns off your audience. We are sent to serve, and being servants demands humility, not pride. Thankfully, I only said it that way once and quickly reformed what I said. But there were other little speech mistakes that I made that were in the same vein.

2. Don’t act as if you know their religion well, because you don’t. The only Jew I’ve ever had intense theological discussions with was my (just recently) ex-boyfriend, and he isn’t super religious. The Jews I met today are Orthodox, so their idea of their religion is much different than mine, even if I’ve learned a *little* bit recently. Thankfully, I didn’t start telling them that I disagree with some of their traditions, but the way I talked about my view of Torah may have clashed some with theirs.

For example, I mentioned how I would like to hold Shabbat dinners with my Christian friends, and the woman I was talking to told me about how Orthodox Jews believe that Gentiles aren’t obligated to the Law, but only to the Noachide laws. This was different than I’d learned recently, so it really made me think. Am I obligated to Torah at the same level of the Jews? It is a responsibility, she reminded me. In fact, Orthodox Jews discourage forcing Torah upon Gentiles.

3. Although they are American, it is a different culture. A panel separates boys from girls? There are special procedures for taking the Torah out of the Ark and reading the Torah? There has to be ten men? What’s up with the uniforms? (It felt like uniforms to me.) It was so completely unfamiliar. And, my mistakes with Christianese came in again, because I assumed that I could talk about my relationship to Torah like I would to someone raised Christian or someone who grew up around Christians. I mentioned to someone that my sister is coming home from her missions trip today (Yay!), and he didn’t know what a missions trip was until someone used a Hebrew term. I referred to the Moedim as feasts, and he asked, “You mean the festivals?” (I then said “Yeah, the Moedim” and they were amazed I knew the word in Hebrew. :3) They may live in America, but they are a separate people.

4. Although as a Gentile grafted in I try to understand the ancient Israelites, the Jews are very aware that they are physical Israel. This week’s parsha covers the curses of Devarim 28, and for the Jews it is real and scary. When I first read it, I thought it was intense and I couldn’t wrap my mind around it, but it wasn’t directly relevant to me. But for Jews it is all too real, and it is not something they like to dwell on. They read the portion swiftly and in a low tone to get it over with!

It was a humbling experience, and it prompted a lot of questions. How much of the Torah does YHWH really want me to follow? How much of the Rabbinical traditions are YHWH-blessed and how much aren’t? What is my place in relationship to the modern Jews? Are the Jews really “damned” without Yahushua? Can anyone really understand Torah in the intended way?

Up until now I’ve gathered a lot of head knowledge, but I think today I finally gained some heart knowledge. I got a taste of what it’s like to be a Jew. It must be strange from their point of view, that Christianity has stolen their book, slapped on another book plus a messiah, and thinks it knows better. How many Christians don’t think that Jews are backwards and stubborn? From their angle, we must be perverted and egotistical.

YHWH is so much bigger than I can even begin to comprehend. And He’s got a handle on the situation. He knows exactly how it’s going to end. He knows who’s got it right, and who’s got it wrong. And He knows the hearts of those who love Him and are honestly seeking Him, and He knows the hearts of those how argue about His word for their own conquests. And in the end, He is a merciful El. I don’t need to be worried about how to make it work, because He’s got a plan. He knows tomorrow although I may not.

Arise, shine, for you light has come! And the esteem of YHWH has risen upon you. For look, darkness covers the earth, and this darkness the peoples. But YHWH arises over you, and His esteem is seen upon you. And the nations shall come to your light, and sovereigns to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your  eyes all around and see: all of them have gathered, they have come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are supported on the side.

Shalom,

Genevieve

0

Blessed

I am so so blessed. And I can only turn around and praise Yahweh. I did not do anything to deserve everything He gives me.

 

I am so blessed that my Christian campus ministry, InterVarsity, only has eight returning students in my dorm. To put that in context, we normally have fifteen to twenty students. So what’s so great about eight? We have eight passionate and dedicated students. I would rather have eight zealous students than twenty lukewarm students any day. Can you imagine how much YHWH can do with eight passionate students? It’s incredible. I am so excited.

 

I am so blessed that the health foods store is only a half-hour walk or fifteen-minute bus ride away. That is closer than the nearest Walmart or Target! (Which is a half-hour to forty minute bus ride). And it’s a big store! They have everything I like to buy in stores and online, as well as fresh produce. So fancy stuff I was planning on buying on Amazon? Hello to no shipping. I am so blessed to have all of my health needs so close at hand.

 

I am so blessed by the WordPress Messianic/Hebrew Roots blogging community. Not only is there so much to learn, but each writer has a slightly different perspective and interpretation. It helps to keep me grounded and (hopefully) unbiased to one particular view. Further, I happen to read entries on a topic just when I need it. For example, two entries by James about the relationship between Jews and non-Jews, and the importance of being Gentile! Tomorrow I’ll go to my first Shabbat with the Jewish organization on campus, and it was nice to have a reminder of my place in relation to the Jews I’ll be interacting with.

 

And that’s why Yeshua reminds us not to worry. I was so worried about my time at school, as much as I tried not to be. And now I see that there really was no reason to be worried. He’s got me covered. He will never let me go.

I am so blessed. The Father is so wonderful. He blesses us all so abundantly.

 

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Calendar

So I was on Michael Rood’s website, and stumbled upon his calendar. I noticed that the dates listed for the feasts are different than what I was finding on chabad.org, a Rabbinical Jewish website. Huh, why is that? So I googled it, and found

http://www.thegod720.com/Biblical-Hebrew-Calendar.pdf

I am still new to all of this, so this PDF is very helpful in explaining the history of the currently used Rabbinical calendar and the new re-instated Scriptural calendar.

It’s very easy to simply follow what Rabbinical Jews do, because in my mind I assume they are more Scripturally accurate. Now, I don’t accept everything they do. There are certain ways I think they place more importance on the words of the Torah, rather than the meaning. And then of course they place more importance in Oral Torah than the written YHWH-given Mosaic Torah. But I had not yet looked into the calendar, and just assumed the Rabbinical one was correct.

I feel that every day YHWH brings me into a deeper level of truth. And when He reveals these matters to me, the truth underneath it all feels obvious. I don’t know how else to say it, but I don’t have to fight whatever the new truth is. Often times writers encourage the reader to go to the scriptures and check for themselves, which we absolutely should do. But when I read something that is very clearly p’shat, I can’t even make myself disagree. I feel its depth and its truth.

So, when I read this PDF about the calendar, it all made sense to me and I had no reason to even try to defend the Rabbinical calendar. You can read it yourself to find out all about the barley and the month of Aviv, but there are a few other points in the article that stuck out to me.

First is about the controversy among those in the Hebrew Roots movement concerning Rabbinical calendar versus Torah calendar. To me, quite frankly, following the Torah calendar is the obvious answer. But the issue goes deeper than the calendar, because it goes back to who has the authority.

It is the Talmud that has established the Rabbinic calendar as the calendar for all Israel, including those in the Diaspora. On the other hand, the authority behind the Biblical calendar is the written Torah. The tension that is tearing at the unity of the Hebraic Roots/Messianic Movement is simply the tension that exists when the written Torah and the oral Torah do not agree.

Why does there even need to be tension between following the Rabbis, and following Torah? The article eventually goes on to describe the main “branches” of the Hebraic movement. 1) Jews believing in Jesus without abandoning Rabbinical Judaism. 2) Jews converting to mainstream Christianity. 3) The Two House teaching, reconciling the divided houses of Israel. and 4) Simply encouraging followers of Yahshua to lead a Torah observant lifestyle. Of course these ideas are not mutually exclusive, as the writer says, but they do contribute to the motivations of following the Rabbinical or the Torah calendar.

Personally, the first two branches of the movement may have been good starting places, but they are not where truth lies. I am excited about reconciling the Two Houses, the true scriptural meaning of “Ministry of Reconciliation.” And of course, believers of the Two Houses teaching would also encourage believers of Yahshua to lead a Torah observant lifestyle. They are not mutually exclusive.

But it seems ridiculous to be adherent to the commands of Torah and not teach or believe in the Two Houses teaching. If you are truly a seeker of righteousness and student of the Torah, the importance of the redemption of the Two Houses becomes clear. However, I don’t yet have a deep enough knowledge on the subject to expound upon it further. Scripture is so deep there is only so much you can learn in six months!

As I mentioned recently, I have many questions about my upcoming school year, particularly in applying Torah among Christian campus ministries. I was planning on participating in the festivals with the Jewish organization on campus, but now I realize that may not be an option. How do you celebrate a festival…alone? I’ve used the believer maps on a few different websites, and there are no Hebrew Roots believers any nearer than an hour. Should I follow the Spirit of the Torah and celebrate with the Rabbinical Jews? Or do I stick to the Torah and celebrate on the correct days?

It’s a question that can only be answered in prayer, but I’m wondering what your thoughts are. Thanks for reading!

Shalom,

Genevieve