Responding to Dan

I’ve no idea who Dan is, since he’s not using his full name. His comments are strong, you might even say rude. Well, a little shock value is good for blogging numbers anyway, so it’s not that I mind exactly.

First, Dan proposed that my theology of Torah and non-Jews should lead to a ridiculous scenario in which Gentiles at my congregation are eating ham while the Jews eat only . . . latkes? You can see the full text of Dan’s comment below.

Dan seems to miss the entire point of my blog. Yet I wonder, since I am using a lot of space on the blog to deal with issues on non-Jews in MJ if others might not be similarly confused. Let me clarify: I see Messianic Judaism as a Jewish movement, which means a movement for people born Jewish. At the same time I see non-Jews coming into Messianic Judaism as something expected and which should not be a threat to the Jewish identity of the movement. The fact that non-Jews in MJ have been a threat to the Jewish identity of the movement is an ill I am trying to address.

Here’s the irony: people like Dan, who apparently believe Torah was not given exclusively to Israel, are a large part of the reason MJ is so non-Jewish and confused.

Non-Jews in Messianic Judaism should be here either to support this Jewish movement or join it via conversion. Otherwise, there are plenty of great churches for non-Jews to attend.

So, no, there are not two tables at our congregation, one with ham and the other with latkes (does Dan think that Jews only eat latkes? What a strange choice to represent Jewish food!). We are a Jewish congregation and we all observe Torah communally though some do not keep Jewish identity markers in their homes. We do not have a bookstore and we do not sell on Shabbat.

Then, Dan suggested that because I am in the process of conversion I must be confused or feel that my non-Jewish status is inferior. Nothing of the sort is true. I plan to write more about conversion on here someday. Meanwhile, I commend the article by Rabbi Dr. Rich Nichol at ourrabbis.org.

Let me close with one last thought for Dan: if you’re arguments are good, you don’t have to be rude to make them. But weak arguments will not persuade even if shouted rudely.

DAN’S FIRST COMMENT:

Here is the farce of Leheman’s position.
Take a MJ congregation. What do you do at oneg? You have one table only for Gentiles with ham sandviches, and another tabel with latkas only for Jews? Should your Judaica store be open On Shabbat Only for Gentiles, Jews not allowed? Logisticaslly it is all falling apart. Most congregation are comprised from 80% Gentiles and 20% Jews, then why do you read from the Torah every Shabbat if you say the Torah is not for them?

Blessings

Dan

DAN’S SECOND COMMENT

Derek;

What is the “conversion process” you are going through will do for you? will it make you Jewish? Does circumcision makes someone Jewish? If yes, then go tell it to the Millions of Muslems who undergo circumcision at age 13.

Are you another “Jew wannabe?” You are waffling on the issue and all you convey is confusion, but then again being a disciple of the Hashivenu bunch will do it to you.

Blessings

Dan

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
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60 Responses to Responding to Dan

  1. Marc says:

    Derek I have a question.

    Somewhere you said that, I believe it was in the Millenial Kingdom, that Gentiles will be keeping Torah as native borns, correct. I also believe you made a comment that ‘not now, but later’ gentiles will be keeping Torah as native borns.

    My question is why wait? If all will be keeping the Torah in the Millenial why wait until then?

    The prophet Isaiah describes a great pilgrimage going to Jerusalem. The pilgrims were not just Israelites. He saw people of ALL nations.

    Isaiah said: “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm”

    ALL nations will pilgram to Jerusalem to worship the King, learn His Torah, and keep His Commandments.

    In that day the whole world will be keeping Torah. All nations will make a pilgrimmage to Jerusalem because Jerusalem will be the capitol city of ALL nations. The kingdom of Israel will be universal. All men will serve the King of Israel according to the Torah of Israel.

    Knowing that we will be keeping the biblical calendar in Messiah’s Kingdom it is clear that keeping the calendar is part of Kingdom living. In that day ALL mankind will keep the Sabbath. When we sit down to eat with the Master, the menu options will certaintly not include shrimp or ham.

    Wouldn’t we do well to let the rule of the Kingdom dictate how we, servants of the King, live now?

    In that day all will keep Torah. The Torah shall go forth from Zion, a light to ALL nations and a Law of ALL men.

    If the Torah is the Law of the Kingdom, shouldn’t all the subjects of the Kingdom obey that Law?

    As the prophet Isaiah has said, shouldn’t we turn our hearts toward that NOW?

    Why wait until that day? If it’s going to be as Isaiah said in that day why should we wait?

    After all Yeshua’s message was: Repent the Kingdom of Heaven is NOW

    Marc

  2. A Simple Jew says:

    Derek:

    You seem to be “waffling” on whether Dan is rude. Let me put in my two zuzim. He is. Callling someone a “wannabe” who one doesnt know is questioning the motives of someone one doesnt know without bais. Its generally considered rude and inappropriate for a discourse about ideas.

    I am sorry that I answered his post. I should have ignored it. I suggest that you so the same.

  3. Marc:

    All I can say is that we must wait on God. As I build my case that God himself has limited part of Torah to Israel, then you will either be convinced or not convinced.

    I am convinced that Torah and the New Testament are clear about this.

    I am convinced that the Torah-revival movement manipulates texts like Acts 15 and Romans 14 because they do not like the clear message.

    I will try to make that case. My sincere hope is that many will step back and reevaluate: why am I, a non-Jew, living like a Jew? Is it out of sincere desire to join with Israel or have I in some sense replaced Israel and made Israel an irrelevant concept?

    Derek

  4. A Simple Jew says:

    Derek:

    I am convinced that the Torah-revival movement manipulates texts like Acts 15 and Romans 14 because they do not like the clear message.

    I will try to make that case. My sincere hope is that many will step back and reevaluate: why am I, a non-Jew, living like a Jew? Is it out of sincere desire to join with Israel or have I in some sense replaced Israel and made Israel an irrelevant concept?<<<<<

    I agree with you that these people are wrong. What I dont understand is why spend all this time and effort on this issue? Why is it relevant?

  5. Nathan says:

    Dan, we need to all keep in mind that we all love the same messiah even if we disagree about the outworking of that. And even if not, we’re still obligated to love each other. All discussion is null and void if we loose sight of that. Let’s treat each other as brethren.

    Nathan

  6. Nathan says:

    Marc. I have a question. When was the last time you saw multitudes of people resurrecting from the dead? Why not? I don’t know. I’d sure like it to be now.

    But it isn’t now.

    And I’d try to persuade you that trying to make it now will injure the Jewish people in the long run.

    Perhaps it also has something to do with the fact that it is not a “Biblical” Judaism which we are speaking of when we speak of Torah observance and Jewish Identity. It isn’t one where we can interperate a command however a individual desires.
    We are speaking of a people, with a history. Remember Yeshua did not follow this kind of “biblical” Judaism. He was in the heart of a diverse oral tradition, which was the framework for the rabbinical tradition we speak of today. Some good, some not so good, but none the less there.
    If there is going to be an Israel for Gentiles to join, (however vague those texts are) how can they join one, which ceases to exist within the body of messiah?
    Much love in his name,
    Nathan

  7. Nathan says:

    Simple Jew:
    “” What I don’t understand is why spend all this time and effort on this issue? Why is it relevant?””

    Here are my musings on that:
    This is relevant because if we are able to make a concrete and practical distinction between the Jew and Gentile, that is supported in practice by the gentile, it will be the driving force, which will pressure and in the end cause Jews to be Jews. If we say that the gentile cannot wear the tallis, it implies that the Jew should be wearing that tallis. If we say that a commandment is only for the Jew to uphold his or her identity and role before God, it will bring out the Jew who does not uphold that commandment like a sore thumb.
    After all most MJs are not observant because they have been so immersed in gentile life for so long they do not see why they should. If the gentiles in MJ congregations start separating themselves, (to better relate to) rather then inadvertently destroying distinction, then it will force the Mjs into a place where they have an identity to uphold. No longer can they rely on the church and hide under its pews.
    What do you think?
    I’ll continue our discussion a bit in the section part 2, because leadership is a bit off Rabbi Derek’s original topic.
    Nathan

  8. Nathan says:

    Hope you all had a great Shabbat and weekend!
    At the congregation I’m attending (Ruach Israel) we just had a class intorducing the new MJRC standards of observance as the expected norm for jewish congregants. One thing that Rabbi Nichol brough out that might be particularly helpful to this discussion is the rabbinic concept that there is a boundary around the synogogue. This standard is what is upheld in this space. So regarless of how observant you are or if you are a jew or gentile you follow the standard of the synogue. (Even if it means being less observant then you are at home.) So while you may be a gentile and enjoy bacon and eggs on cheese toast for breakfast, you do not bring it into the oneg. Similarly if a Jew goes into a church and he cannot complain if they serve a ham supper. (however he should and should be encoraged to eat vegatarian that day) What he should not do is not eat there at all because the kitchen isn’t kosher. That would violate an essential value of Yeshau. This works out practically very well, as in our sociaty many people are vegitarians and have particular dietary restrictions for various reasons, and it is considered a norm.
    Love,
    Nathan

  9. A Simple Jew says:

    Nathan:

    This is relevant because if we are able to make a concrete and practical distinction between the Jew and Gentile, that is supported in practice by the gentile, it will be the driving force, which will pressure and in the end cause Jews to be Jews.<<<<<<

    This seems to me a circuitous route to pursue a worthy goal. There also seems to me little data to support the hypothesis.

    I have not noted the presence or absence of non Jews or what they do having much of an effect on the Jews in MJ congregations. What I HAVE seen is their response to congregational culture which tends to be established by MJ leadership and reinforced by the Jews in those congregations. Again, the structure in most MJ congregations tends to be quite authoritarian. “Submission” to leadership is emphasized. If leadership discouraged Jewish observance, the Jews follow.

    After all most MJs are not observant because they have been so immersed in gentile life for so long they do not see why they should. If the gentiles in MJ congregations start separating themselves, (to better relate to) rather then inadvertently destroying distinction, then it will force the Mjs into a place<<<<<‘

    I can equally envision a scenario where non Jews observing genuine Halachic Judaism as opposed to “Biblical Judaism” would set up a reinforcing model for the Jews in MJ. “Making Jews jealous” etc etc. Frankly if this happens I would consider that a plus. These Gentiles could also begin to demand constructive change towards real Judaism on the part of the local “rabbi”. Come to think of it, this doesnt sound half bad.

    What do you think?
    I’ll continue our discussion a bit in the section part 2, because leadership is a bit off Rabbi Derek’s original topic<<<<

    I think we should continue our discussion in that other section. <grin

  10. I believe it is the “Torah-for-Jews-only” movement and the mainstream church that is manipulating the clear words of Acts 15 It is speaking about FORMAL CONVERSION, not GROWING IN TORAH OBSERVANCE. The problem being addressed in Acts 15 is that there was a faction in the Sect of the Nazarene demanding that, before people could accept Messiah, they undergo a formal conversion to Judaism. This is not necessary. Conversion occurs when you accept Messiah; at that point, you are grafted (Gentiles) or re-grafted (Jews) into Israel; Romans 11 makes this perfectly clear.

    As for Romans 14, I would submit to you that, without knowing what the actual problems being addressed are — because we don’t have the message Paul was responding to — we really do not KNOW who these different groups are or what the specific issues, since he does not clearly identify them. We assume that when he says “One person has faith that he may eat all things,” “all things” means pork and shellfish and the other unclean animals. There’s no definitive warrant for such a claim. As I understood his point, Mark Kinzer in “Postmissionary Messianic Judaism” suggests the issue may not have been unclean animals but rather clean animals either a) slaughtered improperly, b) “contaminated” through exposure to unclean animal meat in the markets, c) “contaminated” through use as a sacrifice to pagan gods (which Paul addresses in another letter, lending credibility to it being the issue addressed here), or d) a mixture of some or all of a, b, and c. Yes, Paul talks about uncleanness in verse 14, but any of the above scenarios would’ve rendered the meat of otherwise clean animals unclean to the person observing strict halacha.

    We are imposing our Western ideas that pork, shellfish, etc. are “food” when we insist on reading it one way. Paul, the Pharisee of Pharisees, wouldn’t have called them “food.” I think it is just as likely that the Sect of the Nazarene in Rome had some people who had been in the Circumcision Faction years before or were similarly holding with Orthodoxy (as we would call it today) who could not find properly slaughtered- and/or maintained-but-still-clean meats in the marketplace and, as such, were practicing vegetarianism, and were appalled at their brethren who were purchasing brisket from the local pagans! In fact, I would suggest it actually SOLVES a lot of problems in Paul’s writings when you read this as an issue of halacha, not an issue of Torah Observance or non-Observance.

  11. Nathan says:

    Simple Jew said perviously:

    ”Lets say you have passed all your courses at MJTI and are now a “MJ rabbi”. You are officiating at a major MJ conclave. An influential MJ “rabbi” from another congregation, who you know is not Jewish approaches you and requests that both he and his son be allowed to have an Aliyah to read from the Torah. They plead with you that they have invited several prominent Christian leaders to the event and that they intend to proudly film their son chanting the Blessing so that it can be broadcast on TV.”

    Simple Jew. You pose a good scenario. I can’t really answer you as I haven’t completed my classes and won’t for several years. (I’m in my first one!) I’ll have to defer to Rabbi Derek on this one. I’m not clear on how this all plays out on making an Aliyah. I think perhaps with the right distinctions, under the right pretence, and without a Tallis, we can allow and maybe should allow a gentile to take part in the Torah service. But to take part as a gentile. Remember we are equal and it is their Torah just as much theirs as it is ours, even if and especially if, we have very different role to play. But I haven’t thought that through.
    One thing I DO know. I wouldn’t let them film us for TV on Shabbat.
    In messiah,
    Nathan

  12. A Simple Jew says:

    At the congregation I’m attending (Ruach Israel) we just had a class intorducing the new MJRC standards of observance as the expected norm for jewish congregants. One thing that Rabbi Nichol brough out that might be particularly helpful to this discussion is the rabbinic concept that there is a boundary around the synogogue. This standard is what is upheld in this space. So regarless of how observant you are or if you are a jew or gentile you follow the standard of the synogue. (Even if it means being less observant then you are at home.<<<<

    Based upon what I read at the RC site on the “basic” level of observance, this raises serious concerns. The basic level hardly would qualify as such in any conservative synagogue. Why should Jews who are at that level of stringency or more opt for a less stringent standard at Rich’s Shul? This doesnt appear to have been thought out well. It appears to me that while everyone ( including Hasheyvanu) is distracted debating interesting questions related to “Olive Oil Theology” the issues of real import are being decided upon without proper serious discussion.

  13. A Simple Jew says:

    Nathan:

    I think perhaps with the right distinctions, under the right pretence, and without a Tallis, we can allow and maybe should allow a gentile to take part in the Torah service<<<<

    I would say that all things considered you should do the opposite. I fail to see what the big deal is about the Tallis. If you have a congregation full of people and some of them are wearing Tallit without being Jewish it doesnt affect the Jewishness of the process. (provided you have a Minyan of Jews). On the other hand I know of no Judaism that would grant an Alliyah to a person who was not Jewish under the standards of that congregation. To do so would in my opinion set a precedent that would place such a congregation outside of Judaism.

    Giving somoeone an alliyah is to my mind the ultimate example of how a congregation acknowledges that someone is part of the people of Israel. This is because there is a mitzvah involved in HEARING the Torah for the Jews who attend. In order to fulfill that Mitvah under Jewish law we have to have a proper minyan and someone appropriate doing the blessings and the reading. I am not aware of any way a non Jew sitting next to me wearing a Tallis is going to invalidate the Mitzvah for me as a Jew of sitting in a shul with a vavlid minyan and davening with that minyan.

    And in point of fact, I am not aware of a “Tallis patrol” in normative Jewish congregations making sure that everyone wearing a Tallis is Jewish. Furthermore there is a variety of practice in Jewish congregations as to who wears Tallit.

    Having said that I am merely a “Simple Jew” and would be genuinely interested if someone has any sources that say otherwise

  14. A Simple Jew says:

    Nathan:

    Simple Jew. You pose a good scenario. I can’t really answer you as I haven’t completed my classes and won’t for several years. (I’m in my first one!) I’ll have to defer to Rabbi Derek on this one.<<<<

    I’d like to hear from Derek. However he might want to defer to others as well.

    Since you are still in classes, why dont you pose the question to Rich? I am genuinely interested in what he would do. I have yet to get a straight answer to this question.

    I think you can agree that it is an important question and a not unlikely scenario.

  15. Marc says:

    Nathan and all,

    I admit I’m wishy washy on this topic.

    But as Derek said ALL will be keeping the Torah in the Millenial Kingdom, correct?

    If that is correct that even gentiles will be keeping Torah in the Millenial Kingdom then why wait until then?

    That’s like saying “Don’t worry you are not obligated to keep it now but in the Millenial Kingdom all will”.

    To me that doesn’t make sense.

    Marc

  16. Gene Shlomovich says:

    I am not sure about that “ALL Gentiles will be keeping the Torah in the Millennial Kingdom” thing. I don’t think that G-d will require Gentiles to essentially become “Jews” with all of the Jewish distinctives…I see no scriptural support for that. Yes, they will be required (at the pain of drought) to go up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles – and that’s about all I see. Where does it say that they will follow the Torah of Moses in the same way that the Jews are suppose to? Will all the Gentiles start wearing tzit-tzit, start eating kosher, etc? Will they all start circumcising their sons? I don’t see that in the scriptures…

    Gene

  17. Marc says:

    Is 2:2-4
    2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
    Thatthe mountain of the LORD’s house
    Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
    And shall be exalted above the hills;
    And all nations shall flow to it.
    3 Many people shall come and say,

    “ Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
    To the house of the God of Jacob;
    He will teach us His ways,
    And we shall walk in His paths.”
    For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
    And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
    4 He shall judge between the nations,
    And rebuke many people;
    They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    And their spears into pruning hooks;
    Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    Neither shall they learn war anymore.

    Is 66:23
    And it shall come to pass
    That from one New Moon to another,
    And from one Sabbath to another,
    All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD

  18. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Hi Marc… the passages you have quoted say nothing about Gentiles following the same laws and identity markers as Jews. It just says that a Law will go out from Zion IN THE LATTER DAYS (not as Moses’s law ONLY to Israel in the early days).

    Well, the Gentiles believers are to follow (obey) the Law of the Jewish Messiah, without requirement for follow laws of Moses. I think that the scriptures are pretty clear about that:

    “28. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29. You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.” (Acts 15:28-29)

    “Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? (Romans 2-25)

    “25. Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26. but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him — 27. to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.” (Romans 16:25-27)

    “2. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

    Clearly, Gentiles can follow the Laws of God through Messiah without having to follow the Law of Moses. He accepted them as Gentiles. The Law of Messiah did go out of the House of Jacob to all nation (“Salvation is of the Jews”), but it doesn’t not turn all people into Jews.

    Gene

  19. Gene:

    There are numerous passages indicating Torah observance by non-Jews in the Age to Come. These references include Shabbat observance, attendance at festivals, and even some non-Jews being chosen by God as priests.

    Here are a few:
    And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
    to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
    and to be his servants,
    everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
    and holds fast my covenant—
    7 these I will bring to my holy mountain,
    and make them joyful in my house of prayer; Isaiah 56:6-7

    And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord. Isaiah 66:21

    And the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them. Isaiah 19:21

    Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. Zech ariah 14:16

    Derek

  20. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Derek… following certain ordinances and participating in certain individual feasts doesn’t indicate that ALL of the requirements of the law of Moses are to be followed by the non-Jews.

    As far as gentiles worshiping the Lord with sacrifices – well, Abel did it before the Law of Moses, Noah did it before that law, Abraham did it before the Law of Moses… and so on. Gentiles believers are told by Paul to celebrate Passover (1 Corinthians 5:8). But in other places Paul clearly tells them NOT TO get circumcised, etc, i.e. obviously not to follow the same laws required of Jews.

    You also know that Gentiles living in the land or even visiting the Land (like they will during the feast of Tabernacles) couldn’t violate the sabbath (even the animals couldn’t!). So, that in itself doesn’t sound as strange or without precedent. And may the Sabbath (which is original 10 Commandments) is or will be a part of the moral law applicable to all, unlike the rest of the ordinances?

    Before Isaiah 66:21, let’s look at verse 20 the precedes it:

    “20. And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD -on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the LORD. “They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the LORD in ceremonially clean vessels. 21 And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the LORD.”

    Who are these gentiles bringing back, who are the brothers? Israelites of course, the sons and daughters of Zion. I know that this verse if very popular with those who want to show that Gentiles will be priests and levits (something not allowed by the Law of Moses even for the non-Levi Israelites, much less converts). But I think that another interpretation could be applied here and probably makes more sense: out of THEM (meaning Israelites, the brothers who the foreigners just brought, not the foreigners themselves) G-d will select priests, levites, etc… I found support for this in the following rabbinical interpretation:

    “[When the Messiah comes,] the nations of the world will bring the children of Israel [to Jerusalem along with them] in honor. When the nations take their leave, they will say of the Jews that they brought: ‘This one is a priest; this one is a levi; this one is a yisrael.” ((Adapted from Midrash Tehillim 87:6 Buber ed. p. 379))… and G-d will select some of them.

    Derek… if gentiles will start following the laws of Moses full force in the Age to come, just like the Jews, why not now (like someone already noted earlier)? I think that’s because G-d doesn’t require them or want them to become Jews with whom the Covenant was made.

    Gene

  21. A Simple Jew says:

    Gene

    There is a discussion of this issue in the B. Talmud. Tractate Avodah Zora 3a. The rabbis treat this subject with black humour and keen insight into human nature. They envision a future time in which the nations complain that they werent given mitzvot. Hashem gives them the Sukkah as an acceptable single easy mitzvah. They then complain that it is too easy a mitzvah whereupon Hashem sends the heat of the sun to disturb them. They kick the Sukkah and leave. Later they are envisioned as attempting to follow other mitzvot but they abandon this when times get rough. ( The invasion of Gog and Magog etc.Y

  22. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Menachem… indeed, a keen insight into the human nature! It’s odd that the Gentiles in the MJ are even more eager to take on the yoke of Moses than the Jews in the MJ themselves (who are bound to it by the covenant), even though it’s dangerous to their (Gentile) spiritual wellbeing (Galatians 5:2) to take on something that they were never meant to take on in the first place, now or ever.

    Gene

  23. Gene:

    You said that Isaiah 66:21 is NOT saying God will make priests and Levites out of the Gentiles who attach themselves to Israel. Rather, you would say Isaiah 66:21 is speaking of the Jews brought back into the land becoming priests.

    Okay, you could be right. But so could I.

    Also, you would say that I have not made a full case for non-Jews keeping Torah in the Age to Come. Well, perhaps it is debateable, but note a few things:
    1. Zech 8:23 says many non-Jews will attach themselves to Israel.
    2. Isaiah 2:2 says non-Jews will come to the temple to worship.
    3. Isaiah 19 says Egyptians will offer sacrifices.
    4. Isaiah 56 says foreigners (not sojourners) will keep God’s Sabbaths.
    5. Isaiah 60:14 speaks of non-Jews and their great respect for Jerusalem (earlier the chapter speaks of non-Jews rebuilding Jerusalem).

    The theme is there and I think you may be downplaying it too much. Maybe I cannot absolutely prove from these verses that non-Jews will take on the full Torah, but there is enough there to say something has changed since the Torah was given.

    In Torah, the Sabbath is a sign between Israel and God. In the Age to Come, non-Jews will attach themselves to it. That, my friend, is a change. Where did the change come from?

    As far as the references in Avodah Zarah that you and Simple Jew brought up, I am not surprised. A Jewish community being persecuted by non-Jews has historically made anti-Gentile pronouncements. This is not a part of Jewish heritage that I would say reflects well on Judaism. The idea that non-Jews would give up in disgust on Torah because the Sukkah is too easy is a rather spiteful, misogynistic attitude. The nature of authority in the Talmud is such that not every opinion has the final authority.

    Derek

  24. Nathan says:

    “Based upon what I read at the RC site on the “basic” level of observance, this raises serious concerns. The basic level hardly would qualify as such in any conservative synagogue. Why should Jews who are at that level of stringency or more opt for a less stringent standard at Rich’s Shul? This doesn’t appear to have been thought out well.”
    I’ll pose the question, what was there before these standards? Nothing.
    I disagree. From my experience, you’ll not find many in conservative shuls living up to this basic standard and certainly not in the reform traditions. Our congregation is primarily rooted in a reform community. Remember Yeshua’s went first to the disenfranchised Jews.
    I’m assuming you are able to follow the “expanded practice” and more, but for many observance is a very personally and emotionally challenging thing. EVEN IF THEY BELIEVE IN IT AND WANT IT. I know this from experience. If one really wants to do mitsvot for the right reasons and intentions it’s changing your whole identity. Without intention the mitsvot are nothing.
    I believe the basic standards are operating under a principle of a ladder of observance. Where we start small and go one ring at a time. Otherwise it is completely overwhelming and emotionally overbearing for someone who has never been observant before to all of a sudden take on the whole Torah and her tradition. It’s about caring and loving while pushing forward. Not about black and white. In the end times it will be black and white. We are not in the end times and it’s a whole bunch of grays. Love covers a multitude of sin and is the only way that we can sort through this mess without causing inappropriate separation, pain and a divided MJ. While Yeshua was about Torah, he was not about putting unbearable burdens on people.

  25. Nathan says:

    Simple jew wrote: “I fail to see what the big deal is about the Tallis. If you have a congregation full of people and some of them are wearing Tallit without being Jewish it doesn’t affect the Jewishness of the process. “

    Please see my description of the Talit Katan. It applies for this as well. Conservative and Reform Congregations use the Tallis to fulfill the mitzvah of wearing Tzit. “The Tallis is the quintessential identification of Israel.” (Rabbi Rich) Putting on Israel’s prayer shawl is on par with circumcision. It’s like consummating your marriage covenant with Israel.

  26. Nathan says:

    Simple Jew wrote: ” On the other hand I know of no Judaism that would grant an Alliyah to a person who was not Jewish under the standards of that congregation.”

    I also know of know other Judaism, which claims to be followers of the Messiah of the whole world. Jews and gentiles.

  27. Nathan says:

    Simple Jew wrote “This is because there is a mitzvah involved in HEARING the Torah for the Jews who attend. In order to fulfill that Mitvah under Jewish law we have to have a proper minyan .”

    It is a Mitzvah for the gentile also. Remember it is now their Torah too. They are members of a bilateral ekklesia in the body of the Living Torah, Just like we are. Don’t forget that. They count in the Minyan.

  28. Nathan says:

    Simple Jew wrote: “I am not aware of any way a non Jew sitting next to me wearing a Tallis is going to invalidate the Mitzvah for me as a Jew of sitting in a shul with a vavlid minyan and davening with that minyan.”

    It’s not about invalidating a Mitzvah for you. It’s about allowing a bilateral Ekklesia where Israel and the Nations can be honored for what they are. I would rather be davening with 9 gentiles who are gentiles. That would be a Mitzvah.

    And Simple Jew wrote:
    “And in point of fact, I am not aware of a “Tallis patrol” in normative Jewish congregations making sure that everyone wearing a Tallis is Jewish. “

    They do not believe in the gentile who is equal yet distinct. This is simply not an issue for them.

    “Since you are still in classes, why don’t you pose the question to Rich? I think you can agree that it is an important question and a not unlikely scenario.”

    Yes, I’ll ask him and let you know. Thanks Simple Jew.

  29. "A Simple Jew" says:

    Nathan:

    It is a Mitzvah for the gentile also. Remember it is now their Torah too. They are members of a bilateral ekklesia in the body of the Living Torah, Just like we are. Don’t forget that. They count in the Minyan.<<<

    I dont mind your having this point of view. Or Rich Nichols or anyone else. However I dont see how this is intellectually consistant. If they count in the minyan they should count for all of the rest of it. Thats Judaism. If this is your position and the position of Derek and the position of the RC then all the folks on this blog who are wanting to be Torah observant have an unassailable point as far as I am concerned.

    Part of the problem it occurs to me is that insufficient public discussion is occuring on this matters. Perhaps they should talk about these things at Hasheyvenu instead of presenting abstract papers.

  30. "A Simple Jew" says:

    Menachem… indeed, a keen insight into the human nature! It’s odd that the Gentiles in the MJ are even more eager to take on the yoke of Moses than the Jews in the MJ themselves (who are bound to it by the covenant<<<<

    Its not odd. Its the point of the discussion. What appears to me to be at issue in the Gemarra in Avodah Zorah 3a is the subject of the yoke of the Torah. Frist the Gemarra affirms that it is preferable to keep commandments out of obligation than out of pleasure or rationality. (and by the way for Derek’s benefit that is a Halacha) This is what is required for Jews.

    In my opinion it is only after understanding this that one understands why non Jews should be discouraged from taking on the yoke. And it helps us understand Pauls perspectives in his letters as he recognizes what this means. The rabbis are rightly suspicious of someone who means to take on the yoke of being Jewish without counting the cost.

    Then the discussion wanders. Derek is quite correct that it might not be definitive halacha but I maintain that it is interesting Aggadah. The discussion turns to the non Jew who complains that they were not given any mitzvah to do. Hashem gives them the commandment of Sukkah which is an easy commandment. Now Derek is right that we could read this discussion as a reaction of the rabbis to persecution. However I think that it might pay for us to trust our instinct that Hashem is working in Jewish tradition to see if there might be a deeper point here than to make derogatory comments about Gentiles.

    Why is the Sukkah the commandment singled out in Zech 14 as the one required for non Jews to fulfill? I suggest that the answer might be found in the commandment in the Torah in which we are required to be only rejoicing. The commandment of Sukkah is to relax, be joyful in all things and to envelop oneself in the mitzvah so that everything one does no matter how mundane becomes holy. Perhaps that is what is required in the messianic era. What could be bad? What is bad is of course that human pride doesn’t want to accept grace. How could it be this easy? Also the non Jew is pictured as rejecting grace attempting to do the more burdensome Torah tasks (hmm sound familiar) and abandoning them when the going gets tough. I make no apologies for pointing out to this blog that there were no First Fruiters or other non Jews eager to observe the Torah in Nazi Germany the USSR or indeed Christian America. Anywhere where it was tough to be Jewish it was difficult even to get the Jews to be observant. Part of the reason Gene why the Jews are more reluctant. By definition in my opinion that reflects their Jewishness. We have an instinctive understanding of the cost involved. Its not a slight to the non Jews to say that they dont. I wouldnt wish the burdens and the pain of our history on them just as I would not give up my Jewishness for anything in return.

    BTW I don’t think the cautionary in this chapter is for non Jews alone. I have long argued that the joylessness of American secular Judaism is perhaps the main Averah of which we are guilty. Why do American Jews observe Yom Kippur but not ( as a rule ) the “easy mitzvah” of Sukkot? Something for all of us to ponder.

  31. "A Simple Jew" says:

    Nathan

    The Tallis is the quintessential identification of Israel.” (Rabbi Rich) Putting on Israel’s prayer shawl is on par with circumcision. It’s like consummating your marriage covenant with Israel<<<<

    Rabbi Rich needs to provide us all with some sources and some justification for his reasoning. I am not sure if he is being quoted correctly butif he is it doesnt make sense. How can someone make up a Minyan and not be allowed to put on a Tallis? I am genuinely curious.

  32. "A Simple Jew" says:

    Nathan:

    I would rather be davening with 9 gentiles who are gentiles. That would be a Mitzvah<<<<

    That may be your preference but it wouldnt be accepted anywhere as a Judaism. I thought that was the point of what you guys were looking for?

    I guess I was mistaken

  33. "A Simple Jew" says:

    Derek:

    As far as the references in Avodah Zarah that you and Simple Jew brought up, I am not surprised. A Jewish community being persecuted by non-Jews has historically made anti-Gentile pronouncements. This is not a part of Jewish heritage that I would say reflects well on Judaism. The idea that non-Jews would give up in disgust on Torah because the Sukkah is too easy is a rather spiteful, misogynistic attitude.<<<<<

    While the rabbis have at times become accused of misogyny, I dont think this is what you intended to say?

    The nature of authority in the Talmud is such that not every opinion has the final authority<<<<

    Your last statement is correct. However I also sense that this is becoming a hot button issue. How about taking this up over e mail?

  34. Gene Shlomovich says:

    >>>>>It is a Mitzvah for the gentile also. Remember it is now their Torah too. <<<<<<

    Yes, but not all things in the Torah apply to everybody, would you agree with that. Some mizvot are clearly for Jews and the generations after them ONLY or as a sign between them and G-d.

    If the Two-House/Two-stick-type movements, or any other “Torah-for-the-gentiles-too” movements want to appropriate something that was not given to them to begin with, I think that their “beef” is with the Almighty.

    Nathan… last time I checked Minyan was part of Judaism and was for adult Jews only… when did that change? I think what will happen and I can see this right now already – there will be and I think now already exist two “Messianic” Judaisms – one composed nearly 100% of gentiles charismatic rabbis and gentiles dressed up and acting like Jews and trying their hardest to be thought of as Jews (with their own halakha and all), and another one composed of ethnic Jews trying to live out their covenant and raise their Jewish children in it AND those Gentiles who love the Jews enough to support them without usurping them. I think the more “Torah-for-the-gentiles-too” people push, the more likely this would be the eventual result.

    Gene

  35. "A Simple Jew" says:

    Gene:

    Nathan… last time I checked Minyan was part of Judaism and was for adult Jews only… when did that change<<<,

    Apparantly “Rabbi Rich” and the RC have changed the Halacha. Thats the point. And people want to know why I dont trust them with the conversion process?

  36. A Simple Jew says:

    Gene

    and another one composed of ethnic Jews trying to live out their covenant and raise their Jewish children in it AND those Gentiles who love the Jews enough to support them without usurping them.<<<<

    Do you know where this second one exists? Clearly the RC/ Hasheyvenu movement is turning out to be quite disappointing.

  37. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Menachem (a.k.a. A Simple Jew)…

    Yes, I’ve seen some semblance of this type of a place in a certain non-charismatic conservative congregation where Jews comprise slightly more than 50% of the total (won’t mention the location here in the blog), of course not in a perfect form I described (you can’t control individual people’s behavior or choices). I can only hope that the NEW generation of the Messianic Jews will work hard to make solidly Jewish congregations a reality (I am being on of those, God willing), but it’s really an uphill battle with this PC (pol. correct) generation who thinks in terms of being entitled to whatever someone else is having.

    Gene

  38. A Simple Jew says:

    Gene

    I think it clear to me why I have dropped out. I dont have problems with Rich Nichols or Dan Juster or Moishe Rosen for that matter having whatever positions they might want. I believe in freedom of thought. However there is such a thing as intellectual honesty consistancy and transparancy.These things are noticeably lacking in most of the MJ congregational movement.

    I find it curiously difficult to get straight answers to simple questions throughout MJ. One feels like one is in the Twilight Zone. I have been to the Hasheyvenu forum and while I think the folks are some of the nicest and most intellectually stimulating I have met anywhere, I have found significant discussion of the sort of issues we are talking about here curiously absent. In fact most of the time people just dont want to discuss them. Which is a bit wierd in a movement which is supposed to be Jewish.

    I wish to make it clear that I dont fault Derek and Nathan. Frankly I think they are getting the short end of the stick as part of the “Young MJ scholar” movement. I dont think that the older generation has provided a solid basis for the kinds of things this next generation of leaders has been led to expect. And that is sad.

    I would genuinely like to be wrong about this. If you know something I dont, I would love to hear about it. I welcome contact either on the blog or by e mail.

  39. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Menachem, A Simple Jew…

    I have a simple (but not easy) solution for your frustrations – start your own fellowship and then a congregation. Since you’d be in charge, you’d be able to select the like-minded people and shape the congregation the way you understand God’s would have you do it, and only tolerate the things that you understand as the proper way. Half the people we are arguing here with are “rabbis” (at least that’s how they see themselves) with congregations built around their idea of what Messianic Judaism should look like. They are shaping the future of MJ. If you want to make a difference, you’ve got to do something about it.

    What say you?

    Gene

  40. A Simple Jew says:

    Gene:

    Are you serious? Is that something you are doing?
    What do you think I would say? I am a SIMPLE JEW!! If I knew enough to be a rabbi I would be one! <grin

    I dont think this is false humility. I have major problems with the Jewish knowedge set I see it within MJ. I havent met “Rabbi Rich” and can only go by what I glean from the RC web site and from Nathan and Derek. However there sounds like something is wrong either at the knowledge level or the reasoning level. Or I just am not hearing right and need to shake the water out of my ears.

    In any event I have always had this problem of wanting to be qualified to do something before taking on the task. Its a weakness of mine. Clearly not a problem for others in MJ.

    The bigger question is where to get the necessary training? The avenues for learning are as I pointed out quite limited within MJ. “Rabbi Rich” BTW is the gatekeeper for the MJTI ordination track.

    I am seriously thinking about trying to find a real Yeshiva and attend it. Not neccesarily to be a “rabbi” but at least to be something more than a “simple Jew”. That in Judaism is considered a worthwhile ambition and one doesnt need to get permission from “congregational MJ rabbis” in order to attend.

    I could use Havrusa. Want to go to Yeshiva?

  41. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Menachem…

    Yes, I am serious… I am in the process of putting together a Messianic Jewish Fellowship (not a congregation at this time, for this we’d need a rabbi and I am not going to call myself or any of my buddies one unless they ARE!) in South Florida with a few others like-minded Jewish friends of mine who are serious about getting things done right. I am not saying that we know everything one needs to know, but we have a heart to do it right. Definitely WILL NOT be affiliated with any church and Definitely WILL NOT have anything to do with charismatics (that’s the only kinds of MJ congregations we’ve got around here – even those are just a few mostly gentile ones). Not Orthodox, more of a conservative type. Jews and intermarried need apply. We have a huge Jewish community here. I am doing the intensive self-study right now, I am thinking of taking on “rabbi” ordination oriented courses – not sure if I can go to Yeshiva full time – may be half-correspondence/half being physically present would work (I have a wife and a kid on the way). But our fellowship is scheduled to begin first Shabbos after the New Years (the gentile kind of new years:).

    Where are you located?

    Gene

  42. A Simple Jew says:

    Gene

    Hmmm interesting. Have you been in touch with Stuart? I think you would make a better contribution to the Hasheyvenu forum than many of the folks they have going there.

    Lets talk off the board. Derek can give you my e mail.

  43. A Simple Jew says:

    Its funny you come from South Florida. An Israeli friend of mine used to go to a congregation run by a Jew down there. He sounded knowledgeable and committed. I guess that was his problem. The last I heard he left the area to move to Safed in Israel where he was studying seriously. The congregation was taken over by a proper Gentile Charismatic leader who couldnt help finding things to bad mouth his predecessor about. I couldnt get straight quite what he felt that guy had done wrong.

    BTW I dont think the problem is with Charismatica per ce. The problem is with MJ as a marketing enterprise. I am starting to worry that the RC/ Hasheyvenu may be just another niche. I hope I am wrong. I guess you CAN fool all the people more than once. Fool me twice shame on me. I kept hoping that there is something of substance out there. Nathans description of what he is being taught at his congregation sets off red flags for me. Its very disappointing.

    Hope to hear from you. I do try to stay in contact with individuals.

  44. A Simple Jew says:

    I am in the process of putting together a Messianic Jewish Fellowship (not a congregation at this time, for this we’d need a rabbi<<<<

    You might want to contact Carl Kinbar at MJTI. He runs the non ordination track there. He also has been running a quite successful home Havurah for several years now. He’s a good smart honest guy. One of the few genuine articles within MJ that I have met. (I hope my saying good things about him publically is not the kiss of death for him) <grin

  45. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Menachem…. I’ll ask Derek for your e-mail.

    No, I have not been in touch with Stuart (although I have read quite of bit of material on his site, blog as well as here). I don’t agree with everything he teaches (who can agree on everything!?), but overall I think that he contributes quite a bit to MJ (and we don’t have many options or sages, do we?!). A seemingly wholesale embracing of everything rabbinic for Messianic believers in the name of continuity and acceptance doesn’t sit well with me at times (not that Stuart accepts EVERYTHING).

    As for Hashivenu and other like it (again, not too many options for us), again, we’re going to have differences in opinion (just look at our rabbinical sages for a great example of that!). It doesn’t mean that we can’t work together as brothers (in a Jewish sense), or at the very least not totally cut each other down:). All of the current Jewish “leadership” in MJ has come to us via J4J, The Jesus Movement, Jewish-friendly churches and ministries, etc. That’s what we have to work with, but we can’t stop because we didn’t study under a rebbe from birth.

    As far as for Charismatics not being a problem in MJ – you must admit that they certainly tend to attract a certain kind of individual – one who likes theatrics and emotional outbursts (mainly gentiles from char. churches looking for new religious experiences). That’s just not my (or the people I normally associate with) thing… but I suppose for someone else it’s fine and may be just the thing G-d wants for them. And like as said somewhere in this blog before, I wouldn’t want my unbelieving family to see that! I do have wonderful gentile charismatic friends – in Ukraine – although they generally try not to show their “wild” side when around me and my wife.

    Gene

  46. Gene Shlomovich says:

    >>>>You might want to contact Carl Kinbar at MJTI. He runs the non ordination track there. <<<<<

    Thank for the advice, Menachem – I might look into that. We do need all the help that we can get in the education department.

    Gene

  47. A Simple Jew says:

    Gene

    What you say makes sense. I strongly encourage you to make every attempt to meet Stuart personally. He is a rare individual and I keep reminding him that JFJ must be good for something because it produced him.

    I know a small bit about Ukranians from Chabad. They seem to like that sort of thing even when they are not Charismatic. Is that your background? (My family is from Belorus BTW). I have to say my heart is in Chassidus. I have the same tendancies.

    As far as charismatica, I have been priviledged to know some remarkably intelligent thoughtful loving dedicated people from that movement. Especially Charismatic Catholics. I think its origins at one time were different than what it became. Much like MJ. I really do think the mass marketing is what corrupted what was at one time a very spontaneous and genuine hunger for G-d.

    I look forward to hearing from you. Perhaps we can build an e mail Jewish support network and give Derek and his blog some well deserved peace.

  48. Nathan says:

    Gene: Please see my posts in part 2 of this series. I am defiantly not advocating gentiles to follow Israel’s Torah. I am advocating them to follow torah taking their proper place in it. As Gentiles. They DO NOT follow commands for Israel. But they do belong to the tree. One thing is true. It is good for a gentile to hear the Torah. Please Do not take my words and distort them to an extreme that I don’t hold.

  49. Nathan says:

    In regards to the minyan: There is a fundamental concept that you both are not seeing. We are NOT a mainstream synagogue. NO I’m NOT advocating a charismatic evangelical Messianic church. Nor am I advocating something in the middle. Think this through a little bit. I’m advocating a mature, theologically sound MJ.
    The only way for us to truly Identify and connect with the Jewish world as a substantial Judaism is if we have integrity about what we believe. Some things in Messiah HAVE changed.

    Look, why is it that our people will not count YOU in there minyan? It is because they think your prayers are not worthy because you are lost in the idolatry of Yeshua.

    Why don’t they allow gentiles? Do you really think it’s because they are just trying to fellowship with Jews only to keep Torah for Israel? Do you really think it’s about identification? NO it’s because the non-Jew’s prayers don’t really!!

    Some of our people will spit in your face if you tried to enter their minyan, being open about your belief. Is that identification?

    Because of Yeshua we know differently. We know that gentile’s prayers DO count. We also know that they are EQUAL to us as Jews.

    WE ALSO KNOW THAT THEY ARE NOT JEWS AND NEED TO BE DISTINCT FROM ISRAEL.

    What a huge mistake to enter into Jewish world forsaking Him who is the heart of the Jewish world! Yeshua is the living Torah. We need to see ALL traditions through His eyes.

    NOT CHURCH EYES. HIS EYES.

    How can one be counted in the minyan and not be allowed to wear a Tallis?

    EASILY if you rightly see our relationship with the gentiles. With Yeshua values, we can and should count women too. As women. How wonderful a way to celebrate the unity of Jew and gentile as two bodies in one bilateral ekklessia?? Praying equally together, yet outwardly and inwardly distinct. Think of the real goal God has for us!!

    To not count gentiles in a minyan is the same as to not eat with them. It was a tradition based on enmity that the Jews would not eat with gentiles. Peter was scolded because of that. It is also a tradition based on enmity that gentiles are not included in a mynian.

    That enmity between Jew and Gentile, which was never God’s intent, HAS BEEN REMOVED in yeshua.

    If you read my first comments in this section you’ll see that I am in favor of Jews being Jews. Rabbinic Jews. But not ones that include Yeshua as a stapled on extra. One that comes with Yeshua from the heart, EMBEDDED IN Rabbinic tradition.

    The Conservative Movement changed many things from the Orthodox Tradition. They changed the sidor. They took out things that were harmful. They changed “thank you for not making me a gentile” to “Thank you for making me a Jew.”

    If we are going to be a synagogue that has integrity, then we need to uphold our values and what we believe consistently.

    NOT CHRISTIAN VALUES. YESHUA VALUES.

    Don’t ever say “thank you for not making me a gentile,” as a Messianic Jew.

    DON”T EVER SAY TO A FELLOW BROTHER IN OUR BELOVED MESSIAH THAT HIS PRAYERS DON’T COUNT BECAUSE HE WASN”T MADE A JEW.

    How hurtful.

    And don’t ever say that a gentile can pretend to be a Jew by wearing a tallis and fulfilling the mitzvah of Titzit, a sign for Jews to remember their covenant at Sinai.

    It’s about Love. Love of Israel. Love of the nations. Love of the unity that God has given us. AND LOVE FOR THE DISTINCTION he’s given us.

    I have so much love for the church. I LOVE THEM. I have so much Love for my people, the Jews. ALL JEWS! Gentiles, ‘don’t hurt my people by pretending to be us! PLEASE!’ My people, ‘don’t hurt the gentiles by making them feel like they are not worthy!’ Can we support each other? Can we Love each other? Can the gentile let us be Jews? Can we do everything we cannot to even subconsciously tell the gentile that he’s less then us? Stop being so childish. “He did this first” “she did that first” We’ve got to start fresh. From a place of solid theology of who’s a Jew, who’s not. What is for the Jew and what is not. What do we do together and why? We must treat each other like infants. We must care for each other.
    Otherwise MJ will be nothing more then any other movement of Jews who pick someone and call him messiah. But we have the real messiah! Let’s act like it!!

  50. "A Simple Jew" says:

    Nathan:

    I am not offended nor do I think you are being harsh. I do think you are misinformed and your reasoning is faulty. For the sake of brevity I will address this comment:

    Why don’t they allow gentiles? Do you really think it’s because they are just trying to fellowship with Jews only to keep Torah for Israel? Do you really think it’s about identification? NO it’s because the non-Jew’s prayers don’t really!<<<<<

    This is a pretty serious and fundamental error for someone who is supposedly attending a mature MJ congregation to believe. Does this reflect your view or Rabbi Rich’s? I strongly urge you to discuss this view with him. If he doesnt correct you on it, seek out Stuart or Carl Kimbar.

    This can be settled without involved study. Its a non starter as an argument. In non egalitarian congregations ( which includes the entire orthodox world) women are not included in the minyan and are not allowed to read from the Torah. Does this mean that their prayers dont matter in Judaism?

    Judaism has been called sexist and mysoginistic. Perhaps traditional Jewish practice is sexist. ( Although I observe that much of the traditional world is sensitive to this charge and attempting to address it without changing Halacha) Does anyone really want to maintain that traditional Judaism teaches hatred of women????

    And BTW I am unaware of ANY egalitarian tradition in Judaism that would give Jewish women an Alliyah, count them in a Minyan, while restricting them from wearing Talllit. If you go to most Egalitarian Shuls what do you see? Woomen wearing Tallit!

    And BTW I also submit that your singling out Tallit like this as the sign of the covenant is not consistant with much of Jewish practice in orthodoxy. For instance in some Chassidic traditions unmarried adult men do not wear Tallit. They DO count in the Minyan and they do read from the Torah.

    Q.E.D

    And as I have said elsewhere, this really should have been addressed at the RC website so that the rest of us could be enlightened.

  51. "A Simple Jew" says:

    Derek:

    I am not offended by Nathan However I do think that the premise if it is Rich’s or the RC IS offensive.

    If G-d forbid I have to say Kaddish for a loved one and want to say it with my people with a Jewish Minyan, is Rabbi Rich or the RC saying that I hate Gentiles???

    That IS offensive!

    I keep reading in the Hasheyvenu circles of their admiration for Michael Wyschogrod. What do you suppose he would say about this?

  52. Nathan says:

    …Jewish Women can count as a minyan and still wear a tallis because they’re Jewish.

    …Is it possible that the Tallis needs to mean something alittle different for Messianic Jews specifically because of our relationship to the gentiles?

  53. Nathan says:

    Simple Jew: I do think there is probably much discussion and disagreement over this issue even in the RC. That’s my guess. You are right that it isn’t clear what the standard is. Partly because it is just being formed as we speak.

    We can discuss what the role of the gentile should be in a Minyan, and why I believe the gentile has to count, but that isn’t the force of our discussion. My main point was that I wanted to bring out was that there is so much variety in the Jewish world that we cannot just try to fit in with everybody else. We have to have our own Halakkha, our own Siddur, and our own schools.

    No Jew can say more then that he does what he does for various reasons that he has. And stand up for them.

    We need Messianic Judaism, not a messianic Conservative Judaism. If we are truly comfortable with our Jewish Identity, then we will not have to use the argument “It isn’t the general practice at the shul down the street.”

    We can thus discuss the issue from a Messianic perspective. Using mainstream tradition to guide our path when appropriate (most of the time) and seeing ourselves as part of that tradition. If we are Judaism then we need to live as one.

  54. A Simple Jew says:

    Nathan

    Reason with me here:

    …Is it possible that the Tallis needs to mean something alittle different for Messianic Jews specifically because of our relationship to the gentiles

    If someone is part of your Minyan they are Jewish and entitled to all the responsibilities and priviledges of Jews. I fail to see how you can deny them Tallit and allow them to read from the Torah given the precedents of the rest of the Jewish community.

    It seems to me this is interpreting an idiosyncratic importance to Tallit and Tzitit out of context that the entire rest of the Jewish world uses. As I pointed out to you in all instances in which the minyan is extended Tallit as a symbol of Judaism go with it. Tallit it seems to me is the outward sign. The minyan is representative of the community of Israel. ( I really think this has nothing to do with hatred of Gentiles)

    The reason we require a Minyan to read from the Torah is because it is the hearing the blessing and the Jewish community that are all one. If these are not signs of the covenant from Sinai then what are? Tallit are the individual expression of these things. The communal expression is the reading from the Torah, The Minyan and the liturgies associated with the Minyan.

  55. A Simple Jew says:

    Nathan

    If we are truly comfortable with our Jewish Identity, then we will not have to use the argument “It isn’t the general practice at the shul down the street.”

    We can thus discuss the issue from a Messianic perspective. Using mainstream tradition to guide our path when appropriate (most of the time) and seeing ourselves as part of that tradition. If we are Judaism then we need to live as one<<<

    I am not advocating trying to copy the Conservative Synagogue or anything else. However your leadership in the RC has said publically that they want MJ to be “a Judaism” and to be “in Jewish space”.

    I thought I understood what these terms meant. It seems to me that they should mean that as Jews we use Jewish symbols in a Jewish context. They mean what they mean to the Jewish world. Not what we choose to make them mean in our corner of the world.

    Does that make sense?

  56. A Simple Jew says:

    Nathan

    I do think there is probably much discussion and disagreement over this issue even in the RC. That’s my guess. You are right that it isn’t clear what the standard is. Partly because it is just being formed as we speak. <<<

    A simple “we dont know what to advise you on this because we are still formulating this here are the relevant areas of disagreement and discussion. Feel free to comment.” on the web site would be nice.

  57. Nathan says:

    Simple Jew and all following: I need you to be aware, that I most certainly do not represent the MJRC, or the congregation I attend, or my Rabbi’s views. I apologized for quoting him out of a literary context with a reference. Please do not put that on me. I’m a student formulating my ideas as I engage in this discussion. I’m sorry if I led you to think differently. In fact, I believe, in theology, those leaders may very well not agree with my comments on the Minyan and reading from the Torah. I know some of them don’t for sure.
    I have my thoughts about it and I may very well be wrong. If so great! You pose a good argument for the purpose of the minyan, although I think both aspects may be true. I’ll spend the next few years thinking about it. Thanks for the discussion, I think it has been lively and stimulating.
    Nathan

  58. Shalom Bayit (aka A Simple Jew says:

    Nathan:

    What you did in clarifying this issue in my opinion ( for what the opinion of a Simple Jew is worth) is to demonstrate the single most important skill that any scholar needs to have. The rest comes with experience and work.

    Let’s chalk it up as a learning experience for all of us, you, me, the bloggers here, and hopefully Rich and others on the RC.

  59. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Shalom Bayit, I agree with you, Nathan did a great thing here by choosing to learn more about the subject matter and reserving judgment on things that we don’t understand (yet). It’s a good example for many, all of us really.

    Gene

  60. Shalom Bayit (aka A Simple Jew says:

    Gene

    I wouldnt want to discourage him or anyone else from advancing their views assertively. We are taught that a bashful person cannot learn. And that a controversy for the sake of heaven endures.

    A scholar says what he knows simply and when he doesnt know he says he doesnt know.

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