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Posted November 23, 2014 - 7:03am

I was recently asked a sincere question about the relationship of Yeshua to the Torah. Yeshua’s words in Matthew 5 seem to advocate changing the Torah’s principle of “eye for eye” with grace and mercy. The question was as follows:

God gave the people laws to obey, as recorded in Exodus 21 ("these are the laws you are to set before them..." v. 1) through 23. Among them is "an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth" (v. 24). Yeshua said "you have heard they were told 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.' But what I tell you is this: do not resist those who wrong you..." (Mt. 5:38-42). If we are required to be fully Torah observant, and Yeshua was simply establishing a way for us to do so in practice but without making any actual change to the laws Moses communicated, then how could Yeshua establish a new law of mercy in their place as he told his followers here?

Maybe you have come across this type of question as well. In our current newsletter, I address this question with an article entitled “An Eye For An Eye,” explaining Yeshua’s teaching in this instance. Maybe it will help you to explain this seeming contradiction to others who have posed this or a similar question to you. When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman's husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21:22–25)

Posted November 3, 2014 - 6:48am

Joshua the son of Perachia and Nitai the Arbelite received from them. Joshua the son of Perachia would say: Provide yourself with a teacher, acquire for yourself a friend, and judge every man on the scale of merit. (m.Avot 1:6)

These three things are areas in which I would imagine most people fall short. Let’s touch on these briefly.

Provide yourself with a teacher

Being nearly two thousand years removed from the faith of Yeshua and his talmidim (disciples), we honestly do not have an idea of what it means to be a disciple or student. In modern times, a student is a single person in a sea of classmates; a teacher is a distant authoritarian to guide you through a textbook. We just don’t have the concept of a student-teacher relationship like we find in the Biblical period. During these times, especially within first century Judaism, a rabbi would take on a few students and spend a great deal of time with them. He would pour into them his great wealth of knowledge and provide a living example for his students on how to properly live out the mandates of the Torah. “The master teacher was a mentor whose purpose was to raise up disciples who would not only memorize his teachings but also live out the teachings in practical ways.”1

Posted August 29, 2014 - 11:39am

After Moses received the commandments on Mount Sinai, Scripture says that he “took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people” (Exodus 24:7). Immediately, the Children of Israel responded by saying, Kol asher diber Hashem na’aseh v’nishmah — “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will hear.” They immediately resolved to submit to the voice of the Holy One and live within the parameters set forth for them as a redeemed people. However, as we know, this resolve did not have lasting results. Shortly thereafter, their Redeemer quickly took a back seat to the egel hazahav, the golden calf. It seems that within both Judaism and Christianity, this has been the struggle of our spiritual existence ever since.

James, the brother of our Master, reminds us that even after the coming of Messiah, his followers continued to struggle with the same duplicity. He commissions the disciples of Yeshua to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing” (James 1:22–25). Do we, as Believers, struggle with these issues even today?

Posted August 29, 2014 - 6:32am

Happy Elul, everyone! May you be inscribed for a WONDERFUL new year!

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Latest Book Review

The Magerman Edition

Author: Daniel Rose & Jay Goldmintz
Publisher: Koren Publishers
Year: 2014

The Koren Ani Tefilla Siddur is one of the latest in Koren’s growing collection of siddurim (prayer books) geared towards a specific demographic. Koren describes Ani Tefilla as “an engaging and thought-provoking siddur for the inquiring high school student and thoughtful adult.” Koren says that Ani Tefillah has been developed in order “to help the user create their own meaning and connection during the Tefilla [prayer] experience.” The name of the siddur is connected with its objective. Ani Tefilla means “I pray.” 

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