On Apologies, Heated Discussions, Going Forward

Needless to say, I’ve had a lot on my mind from Thursday till now. If you followed the comments on “Jews and Gentiles in MJ: A Discussion,” “We Must Never Forget,” and “We Must Welcome,” then you know what I mean.

I have felt more bruised than blessed for a few days. I chose, with a few exceptions made for reasons of judgment call, not to respond.

Being with my congregation on Saturday, the greatest friends in the world, was a consolation, and my wife has been my primary encourager.

Judah, you will be interested to know that the final release of self-pity, anger, and sadness over the beating I took in the comments happened Saturday night at . . . a Joel Chernoff concert. The theme of his concert was shemittah (release). And since my mother’s milk in terms of worship came from Lamb and Israel’s Hope, going to a neighboring synagogue (Beth Hallel in Roswell, Kevin Solomon is the rabbi) and enjoying that Israel and Yeshua focused worship with about a fourth of my synagogue plus a big crowd from Beth Hallel and all over, was a joy beyond compare.

I slept the sleep of the innocent. And I woke to find a few apologies. Rabbi Carl Kinbar, a friend who rebuked me in the comments said:


Tandi119 is absolutely correct–my comment was rude. It should have been expressed gently and privately. I can’t erase the offense, but please forgive me.

I suspect that readers “Messianic Jewish Musings” will agree with me that it is the premier MJ blog, unequaled in quality and consistency over a number of years. I can only hope that more men and women with your integrity and passion for Yeshua will follow your example in the blogosphere. For the record, MJTI has never seen your blog as PR (and I doubt that you see it that way!). You are not only free to express your own ideas, but should feel encouraged to do so.

Carl Kinbar

And then Dan Benzvi said:


I will take Carl’s example and also apologize. I guess you guys don’t understand the Sabra in me…It is very hard when one tries to engage on Scriptural and theologocal basis, but all one gets is preaching and chastising…

sorry if I offended anyone.

Dan Benzvi

So, that was nice.

I would guess there are different ways people think through issues about Messianic Judaism, Jewish roots, and the study of the scriptures with a Jewish sensitivity. Many do not read blogs. Some are academically minded and they read books, journal articles, commentaries, and do a lot of original thinking. Others have less academic training, but they read the scriptures and some books and perhaps less academic articles. Others do too little thinking and just hold on to beliefs they formed in the past or heard from others.

Those who read blogs about Messianic Judiasm, Jewish roots, and so on, do so because they can’t get enough thought and discussion about these vital, complex, and fascinating topics.

Those who do not read blogs, in any of the categories I mentioned above, are missing out. Academia can too easily miss the real issues. Theory has a way of being different than reality. Self-study minus the broader conversation is also missing something. Ideas formed in relative solitude have the disadvantage of one-sided perspectives, lack of accountability, and so on.

If you want to see if your ideas have merit, test them in the waters of public opinion with a learned and argumentative blog readership!

You may sometimes feel more bruised than blessed. But you will learn and grow. You will be sharpened. And (forgive the pun, Judah), you will find consolation in the Lamb.


About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to On Apologies, Heated Discussions, Going Forward

  1. drschiffman says:

    The reason you feel bruised is that you care too much what people think. I care about people very much, but I really don’t care what most of them think. I fully recognize people’s right to disagree and be wrong.

  2. Thank you, Rabbi Schiffman (my mentor and my sponsor with the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council). Your wisdom rings true.


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  4. tandi119 says:

    I suspected you were hurting, Derek. While I often disagree with you, I very much appreciate the well-written, thought provoking articles you write and the stimulating dialogue on your blog. It is one of the few places where these controversies can be discussed freely. I was a bit alarmed thinking that one of my favorite pundits would be banned. Yes, I tend to agree with Dan Benzvi and am of the One Law persuasion, but hearing from all sides of these issues fosters greater understanding and appreciation of one another’s point of view. I actually think we are a community, in spite of our differences. And I suspect that those who tussle with each other the most would embrace and fellowship in person.

    I apologize for my barbed comment as well……….yet I am happy that it seems to have prompted this clearing of the air. I am impressed with Carl Kinbar’s graciousness, which set a good example for us all in being big enough to apologize and demonstrate wisdom, godliness and humility rather than leave an impression of arrogance and elitism.

    Being real with each other helps. Maybe there is hope for Messianic Judaism after all!


    Tandi (Maureen LaFaive)

  5. Rebecca says:

    Derek, you exemplify the verse “come let us reason together,” and you always make your point with fairness and respect. Todah.

  6. rightrudder says:

    So what if you feel bruised and care too much what people think, that is one of those blessing and a curse sort of things. You have to admit being like that is a source of motivation. Look what you have here –a seriously wide read blog, and your blog motivates people to put their 2 cents in (sort of sub blogging). This is a good thing.

  7. judahgabriel says:

    Ah, Derek, you know, I almost emailed you privately to see if you were OK after the all that. But I didn’t realize just how bruised you were until reading this post.

    For my bruising comment (the “shameful” bit), I also apologize.

    Chernoff/Lamb praise has a way of lifting the spirit. It is so good to praise, you know, I think it confounds the enemy, particularly when it is the enemy’s goal to take your joy away. Praise glorifies God firstly, but also lifts up the praiser.

    Be blessed, Derek. We love you.

  8. jennbrooke says:

    Derek, I’m really glad you do what you do. I’ve learned a *great* deal from the things you write and muse about. I know I’m not the only person blessed by your writing, and how you are used by the Lord.


  9. lannwashburn says:

    Mr. Leman, I was led to your blog by Miss Jocelyn at A Pondering Heart. This is only my first day of reading your posts. I am a Christian woman (so therefore, a Gentile) who has been called to cover full time (except during sleep) and I am very sincerely interested in Messianic Judaism. I must honestly say that at this time I am not prepared to convert to MJ but I truly am interested in it, not in a negative way but a sincere, positive way, and I am always glad to find a blog that reflects on it, and I am glad to have been led to your blog. I look forward to learning much from your blog postings!

  10. I as usual have been reading your blogs and comments recently. I on occasion was going to make a comment about the issues being discussed but always stopped at the last minute due to the vitraolic diatribe being thrown accross cyberspace by people who all claim to be Messianic Jews. As a Christian I felt that it wasn’t my place to step in. While it is right to put forward differing opinions, it is when this putting forward turns into diatribe that you need to draw the line. Derek I hope everything is well with you and that this bruising will turn into blessing, as I have been blessed as Christian by your words and books.

    One further point, the debate in the comments was mostly over Jews withing MJ or Gentiles within MJ. But I was wondering what your views where on MJ’s relationship with the Church? Whether there should be one and if so what way you think this should go? I know this is a pretty broad question and within MJ you will get everyone from the “Pagan Christian” group right over to the “accepting them as brothers and sisters” group?

    Thanks again

  11. Thanks, Peter.

    I am in no way connected to the paganoids (paranoid of paganism) crowd. Paganoids ought to learn what actual paganism is and what divination and incantations and image worship are truly like. They ought also to learn that the Bible itself uses the names/titles of pagan deities such as El, Baal, and so forth, even to describe God.

    I am in the camp wanting to see good Jewish-Christian relations. I believe the differences are minimal and have been exaggerated by both religious groups for too long.

    I believe in bilateral ecclesiology, MJ is the Jewish congregation of Messiah and Christianity is the multinational church of Messiah. I believe in Olive Tree ecclesiology. Israel is the root and Christians are wild branches grafted in to the one tree. I believe in mutual respect, cooperation, and relationship but also that MJ and the Church have different missions and should pursue them in peace and with much interrelating.


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