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Posted April 18, 2014 - 5:20am

The problem with fences, they say, is that not only do they keep some peo­ple in, but they keep others out. While this is definitely true, and regarding this prin­ciple one should definitely exercise caution, we should not, however, “throw the baby out with the bath water.” While some fences are built to the extreme (i.e. you don’t need a 20 ft fence to keep your dogs in the yard), a prop­erly built fence keeps in the children and pets, keeps out the unwanted solicitors & preda­tors, and maintains a healthy relationship with the neighbors. It’s the same with Torah. The fence must be built properly in order to merit its usefulness.

According to Pirkei Avot (1:1), the Men of the Great Assembly commissioned their dis­ciples to “build a fence around the Torah.” This principle of building a “fence” around Torah is based off of Leviticus 18:30, which states, “You shall safeguard My charge not to do any of the abominable traditions that were done before you...” as well as various other passages. The children of Israel were to guard against fall­ing to the lure of sin by doing whatever it took in order to ensure that not even one of the least of the commandments was broken. Lest they become negligent in their obser­vance, certain regulations were set in place to ensure the protection of the commandments. These “fences” served as a safeguard and means of protection for not only the Torah, but also for the individual who might haphaz­ardly violate one of the commandments and therefore come under subjection to the con­sequences thereof.

Posted March 17, 2014 - 7:54am

In less than a month, Passover will be upon us. The season of Redemption will soon be in our midst. In order to help you enter into the season with the proper mental perspective, you might want to enjoy this teaching podcast I did with Gabriel Rutledge of The Grafted In Perspective. It's called, "Guarding the Matzah," and in it we discuss a hidden principle found within the book of Exodus that can only be seen in the Hebrew. From this lesson we learn the subtle difference between regular bread and unleavened bread (matzah) and what Yeshua would have been trying to teach his disciples when he warned them to "beware of the yeast of the Pharisees." Do we contain yeast without even realizing it? Find out more in this podcast episode, "Guarding the Matzah."

Posted February 28, 2014 - 11:53am

As disciples of Yeshua, one of our responsibilities is to imitate him. One of the examples he gives us is when he tells his disciples to gather up the crumbs from the miracles of feeding the multitudes. Why did he do this? Since he likened his teachings to that of bread from heaven, one possibility is that it was to teach his disciples to not loose one of his teachings. We are to collect them and consider even the "scraps" as precious. The bulk of these teachings by our Master reside within the Gospels.

If you didn't know it already, we have been working our way through the Gospels chronologically, from a Messianic Jewish perspective since the beginning of last October. We have been recording our classes and posting them on this site (usually posted on Fridays, since the class is held Thursday night). But only recently have we opened the audio for these classes to the public. If you want to be a serious disciples of the Master and learn his teachings and cling to even the "crumbs" of his words, why not start by studying along with us each week? Attached you will find a snippet from our most recent audio class discussing the delicate balance between our intimacy with the Father and our obedience to Him in conjunction to our responsibility of working towards tikkun olam (repair of the world). Take a listen to this sample and then join us each week as we study the life and teachings of our Master… Yeshua the Messiah.

Posted February 18, 2014 - 1:29pm

A brief look at Yeshua’s authority in comparison with rabbinic authority

The Gospel of Matthew begins by setting the stage for the important truths which will follow. It begins,

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1)

It begins by giving us the genealogical re­cord of Jesus, setting the stage for us to un­derstand his Davidic heritage from his ma­ternal ancestry. But the Hebrew behind this passage is more revealing. Franz Delitzsch, in his translation of the New Testament into Hebrew, renders the beginning of this verse as “seifer tol’dot Yeshua haMashiach” — the “book of the generations of Jesus, the Messiah.” When we read this, we can easily connect the Gospel story of Jesus to the various ac­counts of biblical figures introduced by this phrase, or a variation thereof… “eileh toldot,” — “these are the generations of…” And not only does Matthew connect his readers to the line of noteworthy biblical personages, but he traces Jesus’ lineage through King David and all the way back to Abraham, establishing his credibility for messianic candidacy. Before he tells the story of Jesus, or quotes any of his teachings, he first establishes him as an au­thoritative voice to whom his readers should hearken. This is also the case with the begin­ning of our Pirkei Avot, a minor tractate of the Mishnah which deals primarily with Jewish ethics. It begins:

Moses received the Torah from Sinai, and trans­mitted it to Joshua, Joshua to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets transmitted it to the Men of the Great Assembly. (m.Avot 1:1)

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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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