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The Search for Chametz

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"There can be only one permanent revolution — a moral one; the regeneration of the inner man. How is this revolution to take place? Nobody knows how it will take place in humanity, but every man feels it clearly in himself. And yet in our world everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself."1

The heart of discipleship asks the question, "What will it take to change the world for our Master?" After many years of searching, my answer is that it has to start with a Personal Revolution. Here's what I mean…

There's a story told of a rabbi from the late nineteenth century who set out to change the world, but very soon realized that he could not. So, he decided to focus on changing the Jewish community of his country but failed there as well. He then decided to focus on changing the people of his hometown but didn't get any further. Finally, in a last effort, he believed he could change his family and sought to do so. Failure was the end result there as well. In the end he realized that the only person he could really change was himself. So, he began to do so. And today, long after his death, his teachings are the cornerstone of Jewish life, particularly in proper speech and ethical conduct.

This is our path. Too many times we want to go out and change the world and start off by trying to "fix" everyone else. But the path to permanent, lasting, sustainable change has to begin with ourselves. Yes, we should be working to change the world, but it must begin with ourselves.

Yeshua said,

Discipleship Seminar followup image

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16)

I opened the Discipleship seminar last night with the word "Imagine." I then proceeded to tell the participants to imagine a world in which Christ rules the hearts and lives of every single person on this earth… A time when hypocrisy and pride have been subjugated… A time when deception has vanished and trust has been restored… A time when children can once again be free to walk alone in our cities… And a time when war has been vanquished and all men love their neighbors as themselves…

Then I brought us back to reality recognizing that this vision will never come to pass this side of our Master's return. However, knowing this doesn't free us from our obligation to work towards this vision as set out in the Great Commission — that we would make disciples of all nations and teach them to live lives that are in submission to the King of the Universe and bring glory to His name on this earth. Pirkei Avot 2:21 says:

Binding and Loosing

Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 18:18)

Jesus taught his disciples in regard to "binding and loosing," giving them the authority to both "bind" and "loose." However, this passage has been grossly misunderstood over the course of Christian history. How should we fulfill our obligation as disciples to properly understand our Master's teachings and apply them? Here is a brief teaching to help us better understand the words of our Master and cut through centuries of misunderstanding and misapplication of his teachings.

Vows & Oaths

Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, “This is what the LORD has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. (Numbers 30:1–2)

The above passage comes from Numbers 30:2-32:42, and contains a key by which we can better understand a teaching of the Master found in the Apostolic Scriptures. In this passage we find the Scriptural rule for vows, oaths and self-induced prohibitions.

The first thing we note in this passage is that whatever proceeds from our lips is binding. In fact, it becomes as binding as Scripture. In a sense, when we make a vow or pledge an oath, we have created a new restriction upon ourselves that is above and beyond the obligations of the Scriptures. We have, in a sense, “added to Scripture.” This is one reason why both the sages, and our Master are so critical of vows and pledges.

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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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