2021 Sukkot Message

Here we are at Sukkot, again, which this year happens exactly on the first day of Fall.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

Sukkot is, traditionally, believed to be the time when Messiah Yeshua was born, and this is verified by the timeline in the Gospel of Luke, with regards to when Zachariah (Yochanon the Immerser’s father) served in the temple, saw the angel, Miryam visited Elizabeth, etc.

The Torah commands us to live in Sukkot, which are tabernacles, or tents, with an open-top. The Sukkot are decorated with fruits and branches, which would be consistent with what materials would have been available to the Jews living in the desert. The commandment is also to live in the Sukkah (singular form) for 7 days, as a memorial to how the Israelites lived for 40 years.

In modern days, we build a Sukkah but for most people, it is in the backyard (if they have the space) and maybe the kids sleep in it, but for the most part, they will have dinner in it but sleep in the house.

When I was attending a Messianic synagogue back in Northeast Philadelphia, I built a Sukkah using PVC pipes so that it could be used, then reused, over and over again. It lasted for many years. We performed the shaking of the Lulav with the 4 Species in it, and it was fun to erect, decorate and then tear it all down when the week of Sukkot was over.

The message I have for us today is this tabernacle represents how God cared for his people, and whether or not you build a physical Sukkah, the tabernacle I believe God desires to share with us, more than anything else, is the tabernacle of our hearts.

When we read about God and his relationship with his people, we are told that he knows the mind. We read in the Gospels that Yeshua (through the power of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit) knew men’s minds. But we do not read about God seeking our mind: what we do read is that God seeks our heart.

When I like to check traditional Jewish thoughts, I go to one of two sources, neither of which has ever let me down: one is the book called “The Jewish Book of Why” (there are two volumes) and the other is the Chabad website. In this case, to share with you the Judaic belief about the relationship between the mind and the heart, I am paraphrasing what I saw on the Chabad website.

According to Chabad, there are two hearts and one mind. There is an outer and an inner heart; the outer heart reacts to the world, what we would call the “flesh” and the inner heart is purer and what we would call our spiritual side. The mind is the pathway to the inner heart, being able to overcome the fleshly desires of the outer heart and direct us to what is good and holy.

When I read this I thought immediately of Freudian analysis, the Id, Ego, and Super-ego.

Monsters from the Id! Monsters from the Id! Morbius didn’t think about the monsters from the Id!
(If you don’t recognize this reference, watch “Forbidden Planet”)

Freudian psychoanalysis identifies the Id as the primitive and instinctual part of the mind that contains sexual and aggressive drives and hidden memories, the super-ego operates as a moral conscience, and the ego is the realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego. I am sure you can now see the clear relationship of the Id (outer heart), the Super-ego (the inner heart), and the Ego (the mind). I wouldn’t be surprised if Freud, being Jewish, knew about the two hearts and the mind and used that as the basis for his system.

In any event, God seeks the heart, which is clearly the inner heart, and through prayer, we can have a sort of Sukkot every day of the year.

And unlike this week, the weather has no influence on our ability to tabernacle with God through prayer.

So enjoy this most festive Holy Day, which is really a Holy Week, and look forward to Shemini Atzeret, also called Simchat Torah (the Joy of Torah) which starts next Monday night The traditional thought is that even though the Torah says Sukkot is 7 days, God so enjoyed being with us in the tabernacles that he extended it for an extra day. On Simchat Torah, we turn the Torah back to the very beginning to start the annual reading cycle all over again, which is the joyful part.

(If I may, I will take this time to plug my book, "Parashot Drashim" which is a commentary/Bible study of each of the 54 Torah readings (called Parashah).  I believe you will find it very useful to see Yeshua in the Torah, as well as better understanding the Jewish mindset. It is available in paperback and Kindle; there are links to it on my website and it is available directly on Amazon.)

Sukkot is a time of celebration that, unlike most Holy Days, allows us to get closer to God not just spiritually, but physically, and I will finish today’s message with this one thought: God is never any further away than the length of our arms, yet no matter how close we get to him we can always get closer.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know, and I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for now, so l’hitraot and Chag Sameach!

2021 Yom Kippur Message

First off, I want to say to everyone the traditional Jewish greeting we pass to each other on Yom Kippur, which is:
May you have an easy fast.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

So often over the years, I have heard Christians tell me that because we are saved by faith in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), we do not have to fast on Yom Kippur, or even obey any of the Moedim (Holy Days) that God gave to the Jews, all of which are specified in Leviticus 23.

My response is to ask if they understand what Yom Kippur is about. They say it is the Day of Atonement when we ask forgiveness of all our sins. For those who really know Judaism, they add that we do this by afflicting ourselves (the traditional method is fasting) and pray that God will move from his Throne of Judgment to his Throne of Forgiveness, and inscribe us in his Book of Life.

So, I ask you: if Yom Kippur is how God said to ask him to forgive you of your sins, who doesn’t have sin?

If you are sinless, then you don’t need to ask forgiveness, right? But, then again, refusing to afflict yourself on Yom Kippur, in whichever way you feel afflicted, is rejecting a commandment from God, which is a sin. Yeshua never said to reject any of God’s Holy Days, and even Shaul (Paul) never said to reject any of God’s Holy Days. So, by saying we have forgiveness through Yeshua so we don’t have to fast or observe Yom Kippur is, by definition, a sin.

And that means you need to ask forgiveness on Yom Kippur.

Here are my two reasons for Christians to observe Yom Kippur:

  1. It is a commandment from God; and
  2. No one is without sin, so why not ask for forgiveness?

Christianity has been professing that Yeshua did away with the law, but if he did, then that means there is no law. If there is no law, then we have no need for a Messiah, right? I mean, the law is what defines sin, so if there is no law there is no sin, and if there is no sin, there is no need for forgiveness, so we don’t need to practice any religion.

The conundrum Christianity has created is that believing Yeshua, who obeyed every law in the Torah, is the Messiah God sent to bring us into communion with him makes you a Christian, and Christians don’t have to obey God’s laws in the Torah, which means they obey man-made laws that reject God, which is the opposite of what Yeshua came to do!

God gave us laws, credos, doctrines, Holy Days, etc., but if Yeshua set us free from the Torah, then shouldn’t we also be free from the man-made traditions, holidays, and commandments that are in Christianity? Doesn’t it make sense that if we can reject what God said we must do, then whatever men say is even less important? Isn’t God more powerful than humans? So, if what God said doesn’t count, then certainly a human-originated commandment or law has no power or value, at all.

I am Jewish: I was born Jewish from Jewish parents of Jewish parents, and I even have the Levitical DNA marker in my genes. When I accepted Yeshua as the Messiah God promised, I was reborn- not as a Christian but as a renewed Jew. My faith was stronger than it had ever been, my life became more in alignment with the Jewish lifestyle that Yeshua lived, and I have been blessed beyond belief since doing this.

Yeshua celebrated every single Holy Day that God commanded us to obey, and even though he was given the authority to forgive sins on earth, he still fasted on Yom Kippur.

Hold it a minute! There is not one mention in the New Covenant Gospels about Yeshua observing any Jewish Holy Day or holiday (the former being God-ordained, the latter being man-made) other than Hanukkah and Passover. So how do I know he celebrated Yom Kippur? Because he was resurrected, which proved his sacrifice was accepted by God. And if his sacrifice was accepted, that means he died sinless, a spiritual condition which could only have existed if he observed every commandment God gave in the Torah.

The only difference between the sacrificial system for the forgiveness of sin God created in the Torah and the current means of forgiveness of sin through Yeshua is that Yeshua replaced the need to bring an animal to the temple in Jerusalem, the only place where God said we could make a sacrifice. Other than that, we still need to confess our sins (a part of the Yom Kippur service called the Ashamnoo prayer), repent of them and ask for forgiveness from God, which we do during the Yom Kippur service when reciting the Al Het (All sins) prayer.

Yom Kippur is not just something that we can throw behind us because we can receive forgiveness through Yeshua anytime we ask for it. The Sabbath, Passover, Shavuot, Yom Teruah (now called Rosh HaShanah), Yom Kippur, and Sukkot are Holy Days that God commanded us to observe as part of the way we worship him. Throwing them behind our back is a direct rejection of God. Period.

Unless you can find someplace where Yeshua said once we accept him as the Messiah it was OK to reject everything that his father said, then you had better reconsider rejecting the observance of God’s Holy Days. And I am not talking about what Shaul said, or more accurately, what people over the millennia have misinterpreted what Shaul said because God is more important than people. Yes, even more important than that nice Jewish tentmaker from Tarsus.

Too many Christians I have met don’t realize that they are not obeying God but instead a bunch of ex-Pagans who made up a religion of their own, with their own rules and holidays to replace the ones God gave, justifying this new, man-made religion by misinterpreting what Shaul said in his letters to ex-pagans learning how to be Jewish.

Think about it: God gave instructions on how to worship him and treat each other, as well as many other regulations regarding civil and criminal law, business ethics, and appropriate interpersonal relationships in order to teach us how to live righteous and holy lives. He did this in the Torah, so nu? Does that sound like something you should ignore?

Look…if you still aren’t sure if Yom Kippur is something you should celebrate as God commanded, I will leave you with one last question: do you really think that the Messiah, sent to bring us back into communion with God, would do so by telling us to reject everything God said?

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know, and check out my books, as well. Please remember that I always welcome your comments, so don’t be shy about letting me know what you think, even if you disagree. Hey, I’m not always right and I do respectfully listen to what people tell me they believe. All I ask is that you be respectful of me, as well.

That’s it for today, and remember that it is easier on you if you do NOT eat a big meal tomorrow night before sunset.

L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Only One Sin But Two Ways to Commit It

In my last message, I talked about how despite all the different ways we can sin which God tells us in the Torah, there is really only one sin, and that is always the sin against God. No matter what we do, or don’t do, sin is always just the one type: against God.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

However, there are two distinct ways in which we can commit that sin: purposefully or accidentally.

The sin we commit on purpose is easy enough to know because you do or don’t do something that you know, unquestionably, is a sin because God said it is. And knowing this, you decide to ignore God and do it, anyway.

Now, since we all sin and many times we do it knowingly but are incapable (at least, for the moment) to overcome it, we can repent of that sin and ask forgiveness through Yeshua ha Maschiach (Jesus Christ). If we repent and ask forgiveness through Yeshua, we will be forgiven.

Yes, even though we did sin on purpose, we can still be saved and in God’s presence when we are resurrected IF we repent, try not to sin, and (even when we fail) ask forgiveness for our sin through Yeshua. How can I be sure of this? I am sure because in Matthew 5:19 Yeshua says that even those who sin and teach others to sin will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. So, here is clear evidence that sinners will be allowed into heaven, even if they teach others to sin.

How can that be? Well, the answer (as I see it) falls under the other way we sin, which is doing so accidentally. Or, in many cases, ignorantly.

There are many, many people I have come across in the past quarter-century since I came to accept Yeshua as my Messiah who sin, violating God’s commandments about the Holy Days, about Kashrut (Kosher), the Shabbat (Sabbath), and many other “lesser’ commandments found in the Torah, yet they believe that they are worshiping God as they should. They have been taught to commit these sins by their religious leaders, family, and friends, who they, themselves, have been taught this by their religious leaders, family, and friends, and this goes all the way back to the end of the First Century.

These people are sinning against God, but they think they are worshiping him as he desires. It’s the epitome of the situation where the blind are leading the blind.

Because they are totally ignorant of this sin, they do not repent of it and that is a problem, but I believe that this falls under the category Yeshua was talking about in Matthew.

True, they are sinning, and true, they do not repent, but it is also true that this is accidental on their part, and although they are guilty, if they ask forgiveness of their sins, the ones they know and the ones they don’t know, then they can be forgiven.

God tells us in Leviticus 5:17:

“If someone sins by doing something against any of the mitzvot of Adonai concerning things which should not be done, he is guilty, even if he is unaware of it; and he bears the consequences of his wrongdoing.

This is also confirmed in John 9:41, where Yeshua tells the Pharisees that if they were ignorant of the law, they would not be guilty, but since they know it, they are guilty. And in James 4:17 we are told that anyone who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it is committing a sin.

There seems to be a fine line between purposeful and accidental/ignorant commission of a sin, and I think what separates one from the other is repenting of it when you find out.

For instance: if someone is raised Christian and told they are not obligated to celebrate a Saturday sabbath, that they can eat pork and shellfish, and do not have to celebrate those “Jewish” holy days, they are sinning but they are, for the most part, ignorant of those sins because they have been mistaught what the Gospels and Epistles in the New Covenant really mean. As such, they will be forgiven if they repent and ask forgiveness, once they actually are made aware of these sins. And, in my opinion, they must also try to overcome what they have been taught. If they cannot overcome their sins, but repent, feel sorrowful at their weakness, and constantly ask God to forgive them and help them to overcome these weaknesses, I believe from what I have read in the Bible and personal experience that God is not just willing to forgive but will forgive because he desires to forgive them, understanding our human weaknesses.

On the other hand, if someone knows they are sinning and just doesn’t care, or (as many people do) rationalize their sinfulness by saying health codes make food safe, or they were born this way so it means God is OK with them like this, or any other kind of rationalization (I have even heard people say that God is wrong!), well that isn’t going to be of any use to them at Judgement Day.

The way I handle this situation is to ask for forgiveness of my sins, those I know I committed and especially those I don’t know I committed, and through his Ruach HaKadosh (Holy Spirit) to recognize sin before I do it and strengthen me to be able to overcome it. This is part of my daily prayer, and I recommend it.

Remember this: most everyone you will ever meet who tells you what God means is telling you what someone else told them God means, so you can choose to trust people, or read for yourself what God really said and ask him to show you what he wants from you.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know, subscribe to my ministry here on my website (messianicmoment.com) and on my YouTube channel, and check out my books. Buy a hundred or so and distribute them where you worship.

I’m done for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Rosh HaShanah 2021 Message

I bet some of you are expecting me to talk about the Akidah, Genesis 22 (the Binding of Isaac) because that is the traditional reading for Rosh HaShanah. Other traditions are the eating of sweets, such as apples with honey and carrot tzimmes. We stay away from nuts because the value of the letters used for the Hebrew word for nuts, אגוז (egotz) adds up to the same number that you get from the Hebrew word for sin (חטה), so we don’t want to begin the new year with any association, even a numerological one, to sin.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

As for me, we had neighbors over for a Labor Day celebration, which was also a Rosh HaShannah celebration, so we did the traditional Labor Day barbecue of burgers and hot dogs (Hebrew National, of course), and for dessert, I made a Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting. כל טעים מאוד!! (everything was very tasty). The reason for the carrot cake was to incorporate carrots into the menu; actually, I really wanted to try that recipe and this was the perfect opportunity because there is a tradition that comes from Ashkenazi Jews. They dubbed carrots “mehren” which sounds much like “merin”, the word for prosperity. So having a carrot dish of some sort at Rosh HaShannah symbolizes prosperity for the coming year.

So, having shared a little of my personal life with you, let’s get to the spiritual stuff.

Because this is the beginning of the Jewish civil new year (the spiritual one begins on the first of Aviv), and the last thing we want to start this new year with is sin, I thought we’d go against the grain and talk a little about sin.

Here’s the low-down on sin: there is only one sin. There are many different kinds of sin, but when it comes down to it there is only one sin, and that is the sin we commit against God.

King David knew this. After he committed a few really bad sins, some of which were on the Top Ten List, when he was forced to be faced with these sins by Nathan the prophet, he confessed and asked God for forgiveness.

Now, in case you haven’t counted them, let’s see what old Davie did (2 Samuel 11):

  1. He coveted his neighbors wife, Bat-Sheba;
  2. He committed adultery with her;
  3. He lied about it (by not telling Uriyah, who was her husband and a trusted friend);
  4. He tried to cover it up by getting Uriyah drunk, hoping he would sleep with his wife;
  5. When that failed, he committed murder by having Joab place Uriyah where he was sure to be killed;
  6. He implicated Joab to commit murder, forcing him to also have the man’s blood on his hands.

And after doing all these sins, not to mention being the reason for the death of all those other men who didn’t have to die in order to make sure Uriyah was killed, after all this when David confessed his sin to God in Psalm 51:4, what did he say to God? He said:

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil from your perspective; so that you are right in accusing me
and justified in passing sentence.

Whoa! Wait a minute here…what about Bat Sheba, Uriyah, Joab, and the men that died with Uriyah. Didn’t he sin against them too?

Of course, he did, but sin is first and foremost against God. When we do what God says we should not do or do not do what God says we should (that’s the one most Christians are guilty of), that is a sin against God.

If anyone else is involved, well, it’s certainly a sin against them, too, but in reality? – they’re not the ones we need to be forgiven by. They can’t condemn us to hell, but God can, so when you sin, you sin against God, and your first and most important confession and apology must be to God.

You also should apologize to the ones that you sinned against, ask their forgiveness, but that forgiveness is only between you and them. Whether or not they choose to forgive you, that is between them and God.

It is ALWAYS first between us and God, then between us and them. And, for the record, we are not told we must be forgiven by other people, but we are told that we must forgive other people.

And bringing this back to Rosh HaShannah, for a moment, one of the traditional actions we take is called tashlik. This is when we go to a stream or river, some moving water, and throw bread or rocks into it, asking that our sins be taken as far away from us as these items are, to sink and never return. This is also accompanied by going to anyone we think we may have sinned against or upset in any way, and ask for their forgiveness. Sort of like starting the new year with a clean slate. You may recognize this from Matthew 5:23-24; after all, where do you think Yeshua got this from?

The Bible defines all the different types of sin that exist, but no matter which one of the many types of sin you commit, it is always just the one sin: the sin against God. Confess it, repent of it, and then ask forgiveness through Yeshua the Messiah.

That covers you with God, then go and do the same with any and all the people that are affected by this sin.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to my YouTube channel and this website, like my Facebook page and share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry keep growing. You might like to check out my books, as well.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and לשנה טובה!! (For a good year!)

Parashah Nitzavim 2021(Standing) Deuteronomy 29:9 – 30

This is the first parashah message I have given in nearly three weeks, due to vacations and such, so it is nice to be back.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

Moses has just finished giving the people his discourse on what will happen when they obey the Lord, which will be blessings upon blessings in the land. And he also told them what will happen when they reject God and disobey: they will suffer curses upon curses, leading to death, destruction, and ultimately ejection from their land.

Now he holds them, as well as their offspring there with them that day and those that haven’t even been born yet, to cleave onto God and his Torah; otherwise, the destruction he told them God will send upon them will happen. Then, prophetically, Moses tells them that after they reject God, and after all these terrors and curses come on them, and after they have been dispersed among all the nations, they will finally turn their hearts back to God who will then bring them back into their land.

Let’s talk about one of the things Moses tells the people, which is that those who know the Torah and what God wants, but secretly say to themselves (as if we could keep any secrets from God!) that they will still do whatever their sinful heart’s desire is to do, well, they will be found out and separated from the people.

He says that if anyone thinks that because he or she is among the righteous that God will not destroy them because the righteous provide a sort of protection, like fish swimming in a school, well…that ain’t gonna work! God will seek out and find the ones who purposefully defy him and they will suffer.

I wondered why anyone thought God would ignore their sins just because they are among righteous people. Perhaps they got this idea from the story of Abraham negotiating with God for Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-33)? After all, Abraham sort of called God out, asking why the judge of the earth would destroy the righteous with the unrighteous, and God went along with him, promising not to destroy the entire city if he found as few as 10 righteous men in it.

We all know what happened with that

But this is not the case, anymore. These people aren’t the pagans living in Sodom, no- these are God’s chosen, the ones he brought out of Egypt, and they are seen by God as one people, a single unit. If one should sin, they are all guilty, especially if they do not do something about it.

What about us, today? Do we see sin and do nothing about it? The answer is a resounding, “You bet!”, but to some degree, there isn’t a whole lot we can do. We can’t stone sinners we know, we cannot remove people from public office without going through the proper channels, which could take years. We cannot just move to another town or country as they could back then because our society is so much more complex and interwoven.

No, we see sin and we want to do something about it, but in many ways we are helpless, and that is really sad because God will punish the sinful country, and the good and the bad alike will suffer.

What we can do is maintain our faith and be an example to the sinners of how they should live. Throughout the Tanakh, God has stated that even though the good people will have to drink from the same cup of his fury that the evil will drink from, those who remain faithful and obedient will survive. Even if our lives are the only thing we retain, that will be more than what the sinful will have.

By the way, for the record, you really can’t be faithful without obedience.

So as things continue to spiral downward in the world, as is happening in America this very day, steel yourself for more because the worst is yet to come. Maintain faith, read the Torah so you can know for yourself what God says you should do. Too many people have been brought up believing what humans have told them to do, instead of knowing and doing what God says to do.

And I think you already know this: God will not give up his authority to a Pope, a Rabbi, a Minister, or a Priest. I don’t care what traditional Christian drek you have been told about the Torah, which is usually that Yeshua (Jesus) made obedience to the Torah obsolete for Christians because that is NOT what he taught. The fact is most modern Christian doctrine was created by Constantine and the Council of Nicene, nearly three hundred years after Yeshua!

So many times I hear Christians decry man-made traditions while living their entire spiritual and physical life obeying nothing BUT man-made traditions! Yeshua obeyed God, and if you have been told you should “Do as Jesus does”, well, that is a good thing. The problem is too few Christians have any idea what Jesus did, and go by what they have been told by men they should do, based on misunderstanding and misconstruing the letters that a man, Shaul (Paul) wrote to his different congregations, all of which were having inter-personal and faith-related problems.

It’s real easy: read the Bible, the whole Bible, and just look for what God says you should do, then do your best to do it. You will know what God says because it will come directly from him or through his prophets, and you will find it only in the Tanakh because God didn’t give any new or different instructions in the New Covenant.

And Yeshua never said to disobey or ignore his Father.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages to help this ministry continue to grow, and check out my books from the website.

That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!