Why I Believe the Gospel of John Isn’t.

Isn’t what? Well, isn’t a Gospel, meaning a truthful description of who Yeshua was and of his ministry. I also don’t believe it was written by a Jew, or, at least, by a Jew who was writing to Jews.

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John has long been recognized as being very different from the other Gospels; Matthew, Mark, and Luke are written as historical narratives that relate to the events in Yeshua’s life. John, on the other hand, while mentioning events in Yeshua’s life, is written as a spiritual revelation, and instead of plain language is full of overly spiritual double-talk:

I am he, and he is me; you see me, you see him, and I know him and he knows me but you don’t know me so you don’t know him, but if you knew him you would know me, yadda-yadda-yadda…

The thing about the Book of John that really gets my goat, and yes- this is a personal peeve– is that it seems to be written by a Gentile, to Gentiles, and has many subtle anti-Semitic undertones. And, frankly, I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Only in the Gospel of John do we hear Yeshua refer to the Torah (when talking to the Pharisees in John 10:34) as “your law”. If Yeshua was the word come to life, then why would he differentiate himself from who and what he is? If Yeshua was a Jew, he would never say “your law” when referring to the Torah; he would say “the law” or “the Torah”, but not talk about it as if he had no relationship to it or that it had no meaning to him.

And in the other three gospels, the term “the Jews” is used about 16 times, total within all three, but in John, that term is used some 67 times! When you are talking about your own people, do you refer to them as “those (whatever) people”? Of course not- if you are Jewish, you say “my people” or “them”; if you are Italian and talking about other Italians, you don’t say “those Italians”, you say “them” or “us” or some other term that recognizes your attachment and solidarity with them. But we don’t see that in John- instead, we see Yeshua talking to the Pharisees and Sadducees about the people as if they are different from him.

In the other gospels, it is clear that the real enemies of Yeshua are the power elite, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, but in John, it seems that all the Judeans are against Yeshua.

One really big difference is that in the other three, Yeshua never makes the absolute claim that he is the Messiah, except to his Talmudim (Disciples), whereas in John, he says it outright to the Samaritan woman (John 4:26) and makes claim to being one with God multiple times, and also claims that he is the son of God, whereas in the other gospels he refers to himself as the Son of Man.

In my experience, John is the only gospel that is used when people try to justify that God, Yeshua, and the Ruach HaKodesh are all one-and-the-same entity.

One of the most valuable tools in biblical exegesis is called Hermeneutics, which is the idea that the Bible does not contradict itself. We all have been told, over and over, that God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow and many believe the Bible to be infallible, and the perfect word of God, directly from God.

For the record, I don’t buy that for a moment, but that’s a different message.

So, if the Bible is infallible and God’s word is perfect, then hermeneutically we can prove John’s gospel is not scripture because it is so different, and does contradict what we read in the other gospels. In John, Yeshua claims to be the Messiah to many people but not in any other gospel; in John, Yeshua’s ministry seems to be only one year but the other gospels make it about three years; in John, Yeshua is tried before the Pesach meal but in the other three, it is after; in John, Yeshua claims to be not just the son of God but God, himself, yet in the other gospels he calls himself the Son of Man.

John was most likely written at the end of the First Century when more Gentiles were converting to this new sect of Judaism than Jews who were accepting Yeshua as their Messiah. And when Jews did accept Yeshua as the Messiah, remember that this was not a conversion: there was no conversion of Jews to Christianity: the early “church” was a synagogue, and the Gentiles who accepted Yeshua as Messiah were learning how to live a Jewish lifestyle, just as Yeshua lived. The truth of the beginning of what we call Christianity today is that the only conversion was from paganism to Judaism, or at best, a sect of Judaism. From the turn of the first century until Constantine created modern Christianity (about 325 CE), there were Jews, those Jews and Gentiles who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah, and pagans. The Believing Gentiles were learning about the Torah and how to live as Yeshua did, although the Gentiles that were taking command of the movement began to leave Judaism and form different worship, such as changing the Shabbat to Sunday (Ignatius of Antioch in 98 CE) and misinterpreting the letter sent by the Elders (Acts 15) as meaning Gentile Believers were excluded from following Torah.

John was, in my opinion, either written by a Gentile using John’s name, or if John, a Jewish follower and Disciple of Yeshua, did write it, he wrote it so that Gentile Believers could separate themselves from Torah and worship Yeshua not just as the Messiah, but as God, as well. That opens the question of why a Disciple of Messiah would reject his own religion.

Many Christians I have known feel that John is the best Gospel, and when I was first open to learning about Yeshua, I was told to read John before any other gospel. Now, some 20 plus years after coming to accept Yeshua and knowing the entire Bible very well, I know that the Gospel of John is an anti-Semitic and separatist book designed so that Gentiles can feel comfortable rejecting the Torah and Judaism as separate from Yeshua, what he taught, and to worship Yeshua as God.

There are many out there who will find this message not just disturbing, but maybe even blasphemous, and that is too bad. I doubt many Gentile Believers who were raised Christian (any denomination) can understand how a Jewish person, Believer or not, feels reading this gospel. The other Gospels are fine because they don’t hate Jews, but the Gospel of John is full of subtle, Jew-hating terminology.

If it was up to me, I would throw the Gospel of John, along with nearly all the Epistles of Shaul (Paul) out of the New Covenant. I would keep Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, Romans, Hebrews, James, and Revelation, and deep-six the rest, or have them in a separate volume, like the Apocrypha.

I hope that no one is offended, but I understand there might be a sense of wanting to defend this gospel because, well, you just need to! “Why?” “Because, that’s why!”

If that’s how you feel, maybe you should consider why you feel that way. I mean, really, if the Gospel of John is verifiable and hermeneutically validated as scripture, you wouldn’t need to say “because” as the reason to defend it, because “because” is not a reason. 

That’s my message for today. It is my opinion, you do not have to agree, but if you do agree, I would appreciate you letting me know with a “Like” or something similar, even a comment. And if you think I am out of my mind, please comment as well, but be nice.

In the meantime, thank you for being here; please share these messages (if you dare), and until the next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Hanukkah 2020 Message

חג שמח! Chag Sameach!

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate this joyous holiday.

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The Torah parashah for this Shabbat is called Vayeshev, which relates the story of Joseph. It begins with Israel giving him the coat of many colors, how he tells his brothers of his dreams showing he will rule over them one day which leads, along with other reasons, to his brother’s plot to destroy him, to him being sold into slavery in Egypt. While a slave, he is unjustly accused by his master’s wife, thrown into jail, and while there he interprets the dreams of the Pharaoh’s Baker and Cupbearer. The parashah ends with how the Cupbearer, after being restored to his post as Joseph saw in his dream, forgets to mention Joseph to the Pharaoh.

I think, though, instead of the parashah, I would like to talk with you about Hanukkah. After all, we all know the story of Joseph, but how many really know about Hanukkah?

You won’t find the story anywhere in the Tanakh, and it’s only mentioned, briefly, in the New Covenant. The places you will find the story of Hanukkah, which is told in the Books of the Maccabees (there were originally supposed to be five books, but they have been condensed into two), is in the Talmud, Septuagint, and the Apocrypha, and the only place you will find the Apocrypha included with scripture is in a Catholic Bible.

In the first book of the Maccabees, we are told how Antiochus IV Epiphanes was continuing the program called Hellenization, which was started about 1-1/2 Centuries earlier by Alexander the Great. Hellenization is the replacement of all cultures with that of the Greeks, and so in Judea, under Antiochus, circumcision and any other Jewish ritual or worship was strictly forbidden. He sacrificed pigs on the altar in the Temple of Solomon, which is the abomination that causes desecration Daniel prophesied about.

One of the generals, in a town called Modein, was enforcing these laws and as one of the priests of the town was converting to the Greek religion, the father of the Maccabees, Mattathias, became zealous for God and killed the priest, as well as the soldiers of the king. After this act of rebellion, he and his 5 sons hid in the desert, and as word got around he gained followers who wanted to rid Judea of the Seleucid rule.

Eventually, there was a full-out rebellion, and these Jewish farmers and shepherds, with little more than pitchforks, hoes, and other farming implements, fought against what was probably the best armed and most experienced professional army the world knew at that time. Imagine a man with a sharpened stick going against an elephant wearing armor plating on its body and archers sitting on its back. That would be like you or I standing in the way of an Abrams tank!

And the real miracle of Hanukkah doesn’t have to do with a lamp but is the fact that we won!

The temple was cleansed and ritual purification was to begin, with the relighting of the Ner Tamid, the Eternal Light that was never supposed to be extinguished.

Now, here is where the story is embellished with Jewish mythology from the Babylonian Talmud: there is no mention of oil lasting 8 days anywhere in the books of the Maccabees. According to legend, there was only one day’s worth of ritually purified oil for the Ner Tamid, but it miraculously burned for 8 days, which was just the right amount of time needed to produce more ritually pure oil. This is why we light the Hanukkiah (it is not a menorah) with a new candle every night during the 8 nights of Hanukkah. The ninth candle, which is called the Shamash (leader) is used to light the other candles as we recite the prayer for the Hanukkah candles:

Bah-rookh ah-tah ah-doh-noi, eh-loh-hay-noo meh-lekh hah-oh-lahm, ah-sher ki-deh-shah-noo beh-mitz-voh-tahv, veh-tzee-vah-noo, leh-hahd-lik nayr, shel kha-noo-kah
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

The second book of the Maccabees is a continuation of the story and outlines the events after the initial rebellion, the leadership by the oldest Maccabee, Judas, and how he restored Jewish rule and freedom of worship in Judea. It also tells of the eventual plots against the Maccabees, resulting in they’re being deposed by the very people they saved.

There are also a number of atrocities outlined in these books regarding the torture of the Jews who refused to accept the Greek religion. When Antiochus heard of a rebellion, his army slaughtered some 40,000 men, women, and children, and another 40,000 were enslaved.

One story from 2 Maccabees is about a woman with 7 sons. They were told they had to eat pork but each refused, being tortured to death, one-by-one, with their mother watching. As the last son refused, it is told how the general even begged the mother to tell her son to comply so she wouldn’t have to lose all her children. Instead of telling her son to eat the pork, she told him not to eat the pork so that the death of the other sons was not for nothing.

Other stories of torture include ripping pregnant women apart, sliding men down a ramp with sharp knives along the way, whippings, cutting out of tongues, hands being cut off, and roasting people alive on a metal pan over a burning hot fire.

Ouch!

But, despite the torture, the desire by the populace to do what is right in God’s eyes, even to the point of death, is what the Greeks faced, although there were many who turned from the faith. Eventually, God came to the aid of his people when they rebelled against this evil.

There are some who refuse to celebrate Hanukkah simply because it isn’t commanded in the Tanakh, even though they recognize it is meant to glorify God. That is their choice, and I suspect they don’t celebrate Purim or Simchat Torah, either, since neither of those holidays are commanded. And, again, I don’t want to originate a discussion about whether or not you should celebrate Hanukkah or Purim or Christmas or Easter, or whatever- frankly, if it isn’t commanded to be celebrated, then it is a personal choice.

Today we see a similar sort of evil in America: not that there is a king taking away our ritual worship and torturing people, but there is a growing societal conversion from morality and righteousness to selfishness and the condoning, actually more than that, the enthusiastic supporting of sinfulness.

Have you noticed that in family-oriented commercials now there is almost always a same-sex couple? Have you heard about how already there are some states that don’t just allow abortion, but now they are able to kill the child after it has been born if the abortion failed!

Hello, Molech- welcome back!

The recent pandemic has been turned into a political weapon, and instead of helping people cope with it, many of our country’s leaders are using it to shut down businesses and cause fear, with which they can control the populace.

There is no temple in Jerusalem suffering the abomination that causes desecration, but we can see it in our society! I won’t go off on a rampage here, and I don’t want to initiate any political battles, but it is clear to anyone who knows anything about the Lord, God that our society is not all that far away from what Antiochus was trying to do some 200 or so years before the Messiah came, which was to remove all God-fearing worship and lifestyle from the society.

Hanukkah is a joyous celebration of the miraculous overthrow by God-fearing people of a corrupted and evil government, and I have to wonder: couldn’t we use a Mattathias or a Judas Maccabee, today?

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

Until next time, L’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

Understanding Galatians 3:24-25

Before we discuss this specific passage, let’s review what Galatians is all about.

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It is a letter written by Shaul (Paul) to a congregation of mostly Gentile Believers in Yeshua as the Messiah, and who were, essentially, converting from their pagan Roman religion to Judaism. These Gentiles were being harassed by Jewish Believers in Messiah who demanded that their conversion process be immediate and complete. Shaul was trying to maintain control of his fledgling congregation by keeping them on track with his slow introduction to the proper worship of God, and understanding of how Messiah Yeshua fit into God’s plan of redemption.

We can see this in all of Shaul’s letters to the different congregations he formed (there were no “churches” in the First Century), each battling with their own problems in keeping on the right track to developing proper worship. There was NEVER any condemnation of Torah or instructions to ignore or abandon Torah- there were slow, step-by-step instructions helping people to make a spiritual paradigm shift in both worship and lifestyle.

Now that we know the context of the letter to the Galatians, remembering that understanding the context is essential in any biblical study, we can take a look at the passage:

Accordingly, the Torah functioned as a guardian until the Messiah came, so that we might be declared righteous on the ground of trusting and being faithful.  But now that the time for this trusting faithfulness has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

We are all children of God, right? And anyone who has ever raised a child knows that the one thing children do, the moment they are able to understand boundaries, is to push the envelope of those boundaries. We, as parents, or should I say guardians, do all we can to allow them to explore their world while keeping them within the very boundaries they want to be free of. And when they cross those boundaries, we bring them back into righteousness through a time out, or grounding them, or sometimes a good slap on the tuchas.

Yet, even when understanding what will happen when they cross the boundary line, why do they continue to push those boundaries? If you’re asking me (and even if you’re not, I’m gonna tell you, anyway) it’s just basic human nature. We are always trying to push beyond whatever boundaries we are given.

We are bound by the sea below and the sky above: we can’t breathe underwater and we can’t fly, yet we pushed against those boundaries and eventually found ways in which we can now do both.

The Torah is a guardian that establishes boundaries; not natural boundaries like water and gravity, but moral ones. The Torah defines these boundaries, and human nature, being what it is, urges us to push those boundaries as far as we can to see where they break. That is who we are. The Torah accounts for this, in that not only does it establish the boundaries for proper living and worship, but as our guardian, it also provides the means for us to be brought back within those boundaries if, and when, we cross over them into sin.

When the Messiah came, he replaced a specific part of the Torah. It wasn’t the part that established the boundaries but the part that brought us back into righteousness when we crossed those boundaries. Yeshua’s sacrifice replaced the need to bring an animal to the temple in Jerusalem, which is the requirement under the Torah in order to be forgiven. The Torah states that we must bring our sacrifice to the location where God places his name in order for the sacrifice to be accepted (Deuteronomy 12:11), so when the temple was destroyed in 73 AD, there was no means of attaining forgiveness of sin.

Now we come to the most misunderstood truth about the Messiah:

The sole purpose of the Messiah is to be the means through which people can be forgiven of their sins.

Yes, Yeshua taught the deeper, spiritual meaning of the Torah (in Jewish exegesis it is called the Remes), but that wasn’t why he came. He performed many miracles, but that wasn’t why he came- that was only to prove who he was. The one and the only reason he came here was to provide the means by which we can be forgiven.

Once we understand this essential truth, then we can understand what Shaul meant when he said with the coming of the Messiah we are no longer under the guardianship of the Torah. He wasn’t talking about the boundaries set by the Torah, he was talking about the means to be brought back within those boundaries.

Let’s get back to kids for a second: as their guardian, we teach them the way to act and we enforce those rules, but when they get old enough to be on their own, they are no longer under our guardianship. That doesn’t mean that what we taught them as their guardian is no longer valid and necessary; it simply means that they are now the ones who are responsible to enforce the rules. The way we do that is through self-discipline and being responsible adults.

Do you now see the logic and relationship between the Torah, Yeshua, and guardianship? A guardian defines our boundaries and is the one who brings us back into righteousness, and the Torah did both of these before Yeshua came; now, after Yeshua, the Torah still establishes the boundaries, Yeshua is the one who brings us back into righteousness, but we are each of us responsible to stay within the boundaries the Torah defines.

The boundaries are still valid, the means to be brought back within the boundaries is through Yeshua, but we are now our own guardians.

Thank you for being here, and please share these messages and subscribe to the website and the YouTube channel. And remember: I always welcome your comments.

Please also check out and join my new discussion group, Just God’s Word (there are a few groups with this name, and mine is the one with the Torah as the cover photo.)

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

Yeshua Certainly Knew the Book of Proverbs

It is truly a shame that too many Christians are being taught mainly from the New Covenant writings while ignoring most everything in the Tanakh. The reason it is a shame is that Yeshua didn’t teach anything from the Epistles, and not just because they hadn’t been written, but because he tells us, over and over throughout all four gospels, that he does and says only what his Father in heaven has told him to do and say. And what God has said is only in the Tanakh.

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I have been reading Proverbs lately, and as I go through them I see so many that I immediately relate to some of the teachings that Yeshua gave. Here are just a few examples:

Proverbs 11:2- First comes pride, then disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Doesn’t Yeshua tell us that the meek will inherit the earth? (Matthew 5:5)

 Proverbs 11:4On the day of wrath, wealth doesn’t help; but righteousness rescues from death.

Doesn’t Yeshua tell us that we are to seek first the kingdom of God? (Matthew 6:33)

Proverbs 24:3By wisdom a house is built, by understanding it is made secure.

Didn’t Yeshua tell us that rejecting his wisdom is like a house built on sand? (Matthew 7:26)

Proverbs 25: 6,7Don’t put yourself forward in the king’s presence; don’t take a place among the great. For it is better to be told “Come up here,” than be degraded in the presence of a nobleman.

Didn’t Yeshua say that when you sit at a table, take the least important place? (Luke 14:10)

Proverbs 25:21– If someone who hates you is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

Didn’t Yeshua tell us to love our enemies? (Matthew 5:44)

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that what Yeshua taught is from the Tanakh, for that was the only word of God that existed then. The New Covenant hadn’t been written. So if Yeshua taught from the Tanakh, my question is why don’t the Christian churches teach from it, also? Why do they use, almost exclusively, the Gospels and the Epistles? In the Gospels, Yeshua teaches what the Tanakh says, and the Epistles were written by a man to the Gentiles in congregations he started and were not written to teach them anything new, but to remind them of what he already told them. Things that he already taught them that they were having trouble remembering and living by.

You’ve seen those bracelets that have “WWJD” written on them, right? I believe the people who wear them really want to do as Jesus did; the problem is that the Christian church teaches Constantinian doctrine and not what is in the Torah, which is what Jesus followed, so to do what Jesus did means to NOT do what (most of) Christianity teaches.

Jesus did not celebrate the Christian holidays, he celebrated the Holy Days that God commanded we celebrate in Leviticus 23.

Jesus did not eat many of the foods that Christians eat, he ate only what God said we should eat in Leviticus 11.

Jesus did not rest on Sunday, he rested from Friday night to Saturday night.

The point of today’s message is that if you really want to live “as Jesus lived”, you need to worship as he worshiped, eat as he ate, and celebrate as he celebrated.

Doesn’t that make sense?

It is truly a shame that this very sensible argument is lost on so many people; people who probably really want to please God and do as Jesus did, but refuse to because they would rather accept the easy way of life that is Constantinian Christianity.

What a terribly disappointing surprise they will have when they come before the Throne of Judgment.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share these messages with others. And, as always, I welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

 

 

Just for the Lost Sheep of Israel

In the Gospel of Matthew, we read in Chapter 15, verses 21-28 about a Canaanite woman who asked Yeshua to heal her daughter. This is what he replied to her (CJB):

He said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el.” But she came, fell at his feet and said, “Sir, help me!” He answered, “It is not right to take the children’s food and toss it to their pet dogs.” She said, “That is true, sir, but even the dogs eat the leftovers that fall from their master’s table.” Then Yeshua answered her, “Lady, you are a person of great trust. Let your desire be granted.” And her daughter was healed at that very moment.

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More than any other misunderstanding within Christianity is the teaching that Jesus is their Savior. Most every Christian I have ever met has been taught that Jews rejected Jesus and so they can’t be saved; Jesus is now only a Christian savior, and to be saved you must be a Christian.

I believe the wrongful teachings and doctrines of Christianity were developed after the original Disciples and many of the Jews who accepted Yeshua when he was still teaching had all died. The Jewish population of Believers was far outpaced by the Gentile converts to this (now) new religion calling itself Christianity. And, by the time Constantine got his fingers in the pie, what was supposed to be a group of people looking for salvation through the sacrifice of the Messiah, Yeshua, had turned into a new religion that worshiped Jesus Christ, who died for their sins.

He didn’t die for the sins of Jews, but for the sins of Christians.

I have seen many postings and had discussions with Christians who have held to the belief that because the Jews rejected Jesus, God has rejected the Jews; this is called Replacement Theology. I have also heard people say that the only laws that apply to Gentiles are the 10 Commandments, and the rest of the Torah instructions are just for Jews.

The truth is there are many, MANY traditional Christian teachings that are totally created by people, and not in accordance with anything that God said.

So, where is all this leading to? It’s to remind the Gentiles who accept Yeshua as their savior that he is not a Savior for the Gentiles: he is the Messiah of and for the Jews. It wasn’t until AFTER Yeshua did what he was supposed to do as the Messiah, providing the pathway to salvation for the Jewish people, that the Gentiles were also allowed to enter.

I don’t mean this to sound as derogatory or insulting, but the fact is that Gentiles who accept Yeshua/Jesus as their savior are getting the scraps that fell off our Jewish table. You are allowed to walk the path of salvation that was created for the Jewish people and to enter salvation through the doorway made for the Jewish people. There has NEVER been a separate path or door for Gentiles.

As such, when you are walking the pathway made for Jews, you are expected to walk the same way the Jews walk.

God has no religion, he only has his instructions for the way we are to worship him and the way we are to treat each other. There is not one passage in the New Covenant that is a direct instruction from God; in fact, the only place that God says anything in the New Covenant is in the Gospels, right after Yeshua has the Ruach (Spirit) fall on him and at the transformation on the mountain.

The letters from Shaul (Paul) to the Gentile congregations he started are not divine instructions or even against the existing instructions in the Torah- they are Shaul’s teaching the Gentiles, who had no idea how to live as God wants them to, in a way that the Gentiles could accept. The letter to the new believers written by the Elders (Acts 15) was never meant to be interpreted as the only things new Believers (later all Christians) had to do. It was meant to be understood as these things must be done immediately, and the rest of the Torah they will learn eventually (Acts 15:21), clearly showing that the Elders expected the Gentiles who were following Yeshua to adopt the Torah.

I am glad that God allowed the Gentiles, meaning everyone who is not Jewish by birth, to be saved. It was always his plan, which is why he told Abraham that his descendants will be a blessing to the whole world and told Moses that the Jewish people would be his (God’s) nation of priests.  It was always meant for the Gentiles to be given the opportunity to receive forgiveness of sins.

It was never meant that the Gentiles would create their own religion with different holidays, a different Sabbath day, and different doctrines. And God never wanted them to bow down and pray to statues or bury their dead under the Sanctuary floor, or teach each other that God’s instructions are not for them.

Shaul knew this and tried to warn the early congregations about this in Romans 11:17-18 where he says:

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you — a wild olive — were grafted in among them and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, then don’t boast as if you were better than the branches! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, the root is supporting you.

The fact is that Yeshua was sent only to, and only for, the Jewish people in order that God’s promises regarding the Messiah could be completed in Yeshua. Yeshua, himself, says this to the Canaanite woman. In other words, the Salvation Party was only for Jews, hosted by God, and paid for by a Jewish Messiah. Salvation has always been a Jewish event; when salvation was made possible for the Gentiles that was simply the after-party.

Anyone who accepts Yeshua as their Messiah and asks forgiveness for their sins through his sacrificial death will be saved, and once saved we are all in the body of Messiah, which means we are to try to live as he lived. And he lived according to God’s instructions in the Torah, where God told us how to worship him, which celebrations to observe, what to eat, how to treat each other, as well as many other instructions on how to live.

It comes down to this: you have to choose whether you will listen to what men say, or to what God says.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know, and check out my books. If you like what you hear in these messages, you will like my books, as well.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Where It All Went Wrong

Do you know anything about construction? I was a Combat Engineer when I was in the Marine Corps, and we built stuff; bridges, buildings, roads, minefields, and the best part was that we also got to blow things up.

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One of the valuable lessons I learned about construction was that when you are making copies of something, such as cutting roof rafters, you always measure and cut succeeding rafters from the first one. The reason for this is that there is always some small change, an eighth of an inch here or a quarter of an inch there, which won’t really affect that one rafter so much. But, when you cut the second rafter, then the third is cut from the second, then the fourth is cut from the third, and so on, by the time you get to the 10th or 12th rafter, you are off by inches and the rafters will not fit the roof.

The same holds true for teaching. If someone teaches a lesson that makes sense which others like, they will copy that lesson exactly. But when somebody decides to tweak it a bit and teaches that, they are no longer cutting their rafter from the original.

God told Moses the Jewish people would be his priests to the world (Exodus 19:6), meaning that they would learn how to do what God said we should do, then teach the world how to do it, exactly the same way they learned it.

But something happened to disrupt that plan, and that something was human intervention.

This is where it started to all go wrong for the Jews: over the years, the leaders of Judaism decided that what God said wasn’t enough, so they enhanced our understanding (I’m being facetious) with their own interpretations of how to obey the instructions in the Torah, and that became the traditional or Oral Law, which we find in the Talmud.

When Yeshua (Jesus) came to earth one of the things he did was teach the spiritual meaning of what God taught the Jewish people in the Torah. Those teachings were to help us understand correctly what God wanted from us, meaning not just obedience to the letter of the law, but a heartfelt desire to do what is right in God’s eyes. Yeshua was helping to bring us back into alignment with the original rafter measurements.

But something happened to disrupt that plan, and that something was human intervention.

As more and more Gentiles were added to this Jewish movement, that’s where it all started to go wrong for the Gentiles. There was both a political reason and a social reason for this: politically, the Jews in Judea were rebelling against Roman rule and the Romans didn’t take very kindly to that, so the Gentiles (who never before had any problem with Rome) didn’t want to be associated with the Jewish population.

Socially, the change in lifestyle from a hedonistic pagan to a righteous God-fearing person was a real paradigm shift, and the Elders in Jerusalem knew this, which is why they sent a letter to the (now mostly) Gentile congregations forming throughout the Middle East and Asia, which gave them only 4 commandments to obey immediately (Acts 15.) The intention was to make it easier for these people to convert to a Godly lifestyle and it was expected they would eventually incorporate all of God’s instructions into their lives (if you have been taught differently, see Acts 15:21and adjust your rafter measurement.)

By separating the Yeshua-following Jews and Gentiles from the mainstream Jews, the leaders of this new movement created a rift that God and Yeshua never wanted to have. Believers in Yeshua’s teaching and that he was the Messiah were never supposed to become a separate religion, but (if anything) maybe another form of Judaism. Today within Judaism we have the Chasidic, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist sects of Judaism (I will also include Messianic Jews, although the other sects reject us.)

The letter the Elders sent was OK, but they should have specified more clearly that it was only temporary and the Gentiles accepting Yeshua were still required to learn all of the Torah and live it. The letters from Shaul (Paul) certainly did NOT help to get this idea across. Later, the Gentile leaders of this movement, which by the end of the First Century couldn’t be called Judaism anymore, changed the Sabbath day and when Constantine took it over, he created new holidays, doctrine, laws, commandments, traditions, and ended up with the religion we call Christianity.

The Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, was forgotten and a Gentile savior, Jesus Christ, was created, with his own religion called Christianity.

God never intended that Yeshua would start a new religion, and Yeshua never wanted that, either. When God gave his instructions to Moses, which outlines exactly how God wants us to worship him and treat each other, he wanted that to be a lifestyle, not a religion. God has no religion, and he doesn’t want his creation to have a religion: he wants us all to be as he says we should be. He is clear about that throughout the Torah and what he said through his prophets.

The Torah is like God’s first rafter: we are supposed to live exactly as he told us in the Torah, and the Torah was to be understood exactly as Yeshua taught.  Everyone should have been “cut” from that one rafter, but that didn’t happen.

The Jews neglected using the Torah and cut rafters from the Oral Laws, and when Yeshua came those rafters didn’t fit the house God had designed. Yeshua tried to get them back onto the correct measurements and gave us a perfectly cut rafter to use as our model, but the followers of Yeshua decided to change the angle and cut their rafters from the changed rules and now we have so many different forms of Judaism and Christianity that we can’t find any two rafters that fit the same roof.

It all went wrong at the very beginning, and it has been so wrong for so long that today we can’t fix it. But God can fix it, once and forever, and he has even told us how he will do that; those architectural specifications are found in Jeremiah 31:31. 

Messianic Moment is a teaching ministry, and I will never tell you what you must do, only what I believe God has told us we should do. The choice of what you do is yours, and yours alone, but that also means that when you have to face God and tell him why you did what you did, you won’t be able to blame anyone else. Whatever you do, however you live, no matter who told you what to do, you choose to obey someone. If it isn’t God, then you will be in trouble.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, share these messages with everyone you know, and check out my website and the books I have written. I always welcome your comments.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Savior or Son: Why Did He Come?

I wrote a teaching series (it is available through my website) on the differences between the Jewish and Christian expectations of the Messiah. One main difference is that in Judaism, the Messiah is seen as a national savior, whereas Christianity sees him as much more of a personal savior.

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

In the Gospel of Matthew, considered by many to be the most “Jewish” of the four, Yeshua is referred to as King and Messiah many more times than in the Gospel of John, unquestionably the most spiritually written and metaphoric of the four, who constantly refers to Yeshua as the Son of God, and (in my opinion) where the idea of the Trinity originated from.

According to the NIV Study Bible, Matthew was written in the 70s, Mark in the mid-60s, Luke around 60, and John probably between 80 and 95, making John the last and oldest of the Gospels. Matthew was written to the Jewish Believers, Luke (most likely) to any Believer, Mark to the Gentile Believers in Rome and John to Gentile Believers.

When Yeshua came to earth and started his ministry, the Jewish population was looking for a political savior which is part of the reason that he wasn’t accepted by the majority, who were more interested in being freed from Roman authority than they were being freed from spiritual slavery.  The Gentiles who accepted Yeshua, on the other hand, did not have any political agenda for their savior; in truth, they never even considered salvation because their culture and religion never had need of a savior.

This difference in the description of the Messiah, along with the political environment at that time, led to a distinctly different approach with the Gospels, which led to the separation between the “mainstream” Jews, the Jewish Believers, and the Gentile Believers.

When Matthew wrote his gospel, the majority of Believers were Jews who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah God promised, but by the time John was penning his narrative, he was writing to Gentiles who did not have any real idea of the traditional, Jewish understanding of who and what the Messiah would be. John identified Yeshua almost exclusively throughout his gospel as the son of God, which is a description the Gentiles would easily identify with since so many Roman gods and goddesses had children. These Gentiles were experiencing a religious and lifestyle paradigm shift, and that is why the Elders in Jerusalem did not require them to make a total conversion to Judaism, which is what they were learning about, all at once. We read about this in Acts 15, and too many times people totally miss Acts 15:21, where James states these newly converted Gentiles would learn the Torah when they went to Shabbat services and, eventually, become Torah observant.

The Messiah, in Judaic thought, was to regather the people to the Land (Israel), reconstruct the Temple and reinstitute the sacrificial system so that we would be able to receive forgiveness of sin (which is impossible when there is no temple) and thereby once more be in communion with God. In the times of Yeshua, because the temple still existed, they expected the Messiah to free them from the Roman rule so that all the Jews in the Diaspora would be able to return.

The Gentiles had no such expectation or desire, and their main reason for accepting Yeshua was to receive an eternal existence in heaven.  The approach to the Gentiles was rejecting paganism and accepting Yeshua, as the son of God who would be able to grant them eternal joy.

At the time John wrote his Gospel, the Romans were persecuting the Jews because they were revolting against Roman rule. It had always been okay with Rome to allow the Jews to continue to practice their religion, but when it came to kicking Rome out of Israel, that’s where the Romans drew the line.  So, because the Jews were on the Roman hit list, these Gentiles (who were Roman citizens) didn’t want to be associated with the Jews, which is why they didn’t rush into converting to Judaism. Besides that, by the time John wrote his gospel, there were many more Gentiles in this (what had been a) Jewish movement than Jews, and they weren’t in any rush to get in trouble with Rome. So, they started to separate themselves by changing the Sabbath, not requiring more than what the Elders stated in their letter, and trying to stay under the radar with Rome.

This eventually backfired on them, because the only thing Rome hated as much as a rebellion was the establishment of a new religion under their rule.

Eventually, as we know, once Constantine got his hand in it, Christianity, as we know it today, was created with a different Sabbath and man-made holidays to replace the ones God told us we should celebrate.

Since then, Christians and Jews have been at odds with each other, Christians trying to convert Jews and Jews hating Christians for trying to do it. The separation between Jews and Christians has been greatly enhanced because of the difference between how Yeshua is described in the gospels of Matthew and John. I believe this was intentional but never designed to have the destructive influence and results that it has.

The Messiah came to fulfill God’s plan to reconnect with his chosen people, and to also extend grace and salvation to the Gentiles. The Messiah, Yeshua, did that, and once his role as Messiah was completed, he was returned to heaven to sit at the right hand of God. One day, soon (God willing!) he will return as King Messiah, ruling the earth, defeating once and for all the Enemy of God, and completing God’s plan for humanity. At that time, both Jews and Gentiles will see Yeshua for who and what he truly is, both Messiah and son of God, but mainly the Messiah.

Yeshua came to earth to be the Messiah, and being the son of God was not required for that. Instead of identifying him as God’s Messiah, by the time John’s gospel was written and soon after that, men screwed it all up by presenting him in a way that was attractive to Gentiles and not as God intended.

Messiah was to be a stumbling block to those who rejected him, but instead because of what men did he became a stumbling block to the people he was sent to help.

Oy!

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share these messages with everyone you know. I welcome your comments and look forward to the next time we are together; until then, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

The Truth About Mark 7 and Acts 10 as They Relate to the Laws of Kashrut (Kosher)

Let’s start with the Christian teaching that the Laws of Kashrut (Kosher laws in Leviticus 11) are not required for Christians. The two stories from the New Covenant most used to justify this are Mark 7:19 and Acts 10-11.  In Mark, which we discussed briefly in an earlier lesson, Yeshua was talking with the Pharisees about handwashing prior to eating, and how we will not make our food ceremoniously unclean if we don’t first wash our hands, which was a rabbinic (Talmudic) requirement. In this discussion, Mark states that Yeshua declared all food clean. This verse has been used to show that the kosher laws were overruled and abandoned by Yeshua. Nothing could be further from the truth: Yeshua wasn’t talking about clean and unclean as in what was allowed to be eaten, he was talking about a ceremony, a ritual. As far as declaring all food clean, what was “food” for a First Century Jew is not what the world considers food, today. In India, beef is not considered food; to some African tribes warm blood taken from a cow is considered food; to some other people, monkey brains are a delicacy. And for a Frist Century Jew, the items that are specified in Lev. 11 as forbidden are not “food.” So, all food being clean means that all those things which were allowed to be eaten were the food that was declared clean and, therefore, would not make us ceremoniously unclean if we did not first wash out hands before eating it.

The Book of Acts, Chapters 10 and 11 tells us about a dream (vision) that Kefa (Peter) had while sleeping. The vision had a sheet with all kinds of non-kosher animals on it, and a voice from heaven said to kill and eat. Kefa refused to do so, and each time he refused he heard the voice say, “Do not declare unclean that which I have made clean.” This happened three times. As soon as he awoke, there were three servants of a Roman Centurion named Cornelius at the door of the house, asking for Kefa to come to the Roman soldier’s house. This narrative is used to show that God told Kefa that it is now allowed to eat non-kosher animals. Again, nothing could be further from the truth: first of all, this is a vision and visions are usually interpretive and not to be taken literally. The narrative even tells us that Kefa didn’t understand the meaning of it. At that time, a Roman person’s house was an unclean place to a Jew, and to go into one would make one unclean. That means you would have to wash your body and clothes and would not be allowed into the Temple or even the Courts until after evening. But the true interpretation is that there were three times the sheets came down because there were three servants at the door, and that meant Kefa was to go with them. At the end of the chapter, we are told about the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) coming upon the Roman people in that house who accepted Yeshua as their Messiah. They were the “unclean” thing that God made clean because Romans (as I have said) were considered to be unclean people. And the fact that this had nothing to do with food is confirmed in Chapter 11 when the Elders, upon hearing what happened, didn’t say, “Yahoo!! Now we can go to Bob Evans for eggs and sausages!” but instead praised God that he made it possible for the Gentiles to be saved from their sins, as well as God’s chosen people, the Jews.

Yeshua: Rejected by Jews and Recreated by Christians

Pretty much everyone knows that when Yeshua walked the earth the Jewish population, for the most part, rejected him as the Messiah, although there were many who accepted him. After his resurrection, he was introduced to the Gentiles in the Middle East and Asia, and they much more readily accepted him as the son of God. By the end of the Third Century, the group called Christians far outnumbered the Jewish population, both in the land and within their own group and had separated themselves so much from how Jews lived and worshiped that they created an entirely new religion.

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

By the end of the Second Millennia, Christianity had become so diversified that there are now dozens of Christian sects and religions, all purporting to worship the same God and believe Jesus Christ to be his son and the Messiah, yet their religious rites, doctrine and dogma are significantly different.

So, why do Jews, after all this time, still reject Jesus Christ as their Messiah?

The answer is simple, really: the guy that Christianity proposes to be the son of God and Messiah to the world not only has nothing to do with Judaism but has persecuted, murdered, and forced Jews to convert against their will since the 4th Century. PLUS…they have completely misconstrued and/or replaced what Yeshua taught when he walked the earth.

I mean, when you think about it, that’s a pretty good reason for Jews not wanting to have anything to do with this fair-skinned, blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan You-Know-What who hates their guts.

Yeshua was, still is, and always will be Jewish. He is the Messiah who was promised to be sent to the Jewish people to bring them back into communion with God and lead them in their own country. He lived in accordance with the laws that God gave to the Jewish people (he had to- otherwise he would have been a sinner and as such, his sacrifice would not have been acceptable) and he taught others to do the same as he did.

“Wait a minute!”, you say, “If he taught the same things that the Jews already knew, why didn’t they believe him?”

That’s the problem, isn’t it? Why didn’t they believe him?

In my opinion, there are three reasons that the mainstream Jewish population has rejected Yeshua as their Messiah, despite his teachings and the miracles he performed. Two of them were present at the time he was actively teaching, and they were:

  1. The people were praying for a political Messiah, someone to free them from Roman rule and that was not why Yeshua came; and
  2. Jerusalem in the First Century had one of the most corrupt, if not the most corrupt, political and social environment ever within the history of the Jewish people. The king wasn’t a son of David, the Cohen HaGadol (High Priest) wasn’t a descendant of Aaron, and many of the members of the Sanhedrin throughout the land were political “hacks” and not truly Levites. The Pharisees and Sadducees, despite their differences, were a strong political and social power, and Yeshua’s teachings were exposing their hypocrisy and corruption. In essence, Yeshua’s influence on the people was a threat to the Jerusalem “Power Elite” and, as such, he had to be gotten rid of. The people would do what their leaders said to do, so they rejected him not on a personal basis, but as a result of being told that if they followed Yeshua they would be ostracized.

The third reason didn’t really come into play until nearly 60 years after his resurrection.

You see, as more and more Gentiles converted from their pagan religion to what was, essentially, Judaism, they had trouble making that paradigm shift from a religion centered on hedonistic pleasure to a religion centered on self-control, righteous living and respect for others. So, the original Disciples who were now the first leaders of the people who had accepted Yeshua were trying to make that conversion more palatable, if you will, by initially having only 4 requirements that had to be immediately followed (Acts 15.) The assumption was that the other instructions that are in the Torah, which is what Yeshua taught, would eventually be incorporated into their lives as they continued to practice Judaism.

And that’s where the whole thing fell apart.

You see, the Jewish population in the First Century was in rebellion against Roman rulership and were being politically persecuted. These neophyte Believers, composed of both Jews and Gentiles, were being persecuted by the mainstream Jews (under orders of the Power Elite) and the last thing they needed was the Romans on their backs, as well. So, what they did was separate themselves from the Jewish population to avoid Roman persecution.

Of course, that backfired because the Jews were allowed to worship their religion but Rome would not stand for any new religion forming in a land they ruled.

In order to separate from Judaism, these followers of “The Way” changed the Shabbat to Sunday, they did not continue to follow the Torah and even disowned their Jewish roots. After Emperor Constantine got involved (circa 325 AD), the people who professed to follow the teachings of Yeshua were a totally different religion than the one Yeshua taught about! Modern-day Christianity is what Constantine invented, as well as this guy Jesus Christ. Jesus is nothing like Yeshua, doesn’t worship God as Yeshua did, doesn’t teach what Yeshua taught, and hates Jews.

Can you see now why Jews rejected, and still do reject, Jesus Christ as their Savior?

So, nu? Now that we understand the problem, how do we solve it? I am sorry to say that I see no way for this problem to be resolved by human means. We can pray for individuals to find the truth about Yeshua, as I did, and for the Christian leadership to retrace their steps back to where the schism between Judaism and Christianity began, and heal that fissure so that we are all on the same path.

Yeah- like that’s gonna happen.

Those of us who know the truth about Yeshua have to be able to present him in a way that Jews will accept him, meaning teach what he taught and try to overcome the many centuries of wrongful teaching regarding Yeshua. We need to show Jews who Yeshua is, and help them to realize that Jesus Christ is NOT the one God sent or the one to believe in: they must know about Yeshua that he is the one to accept.

We also have to teach those practicing all forms of Christianity so they know that the Jesus Constantine created is not the Messiah God sent, and what they have been told Jesus Christ taught is not what Yeshua taught.

This will not happen easily or quickly and we will be fighting an uphill battle because, to be frank, Christianity is a lot easier than Judaism. Jews have the Torah commandments to live up to, but Christians are told Jesus died for their sins and as long as they are a “good person” they go to heaven. They don’t even care about the Acts 15 requirements anymore.

When Yeshua returns and God’s plan of salvation is completed, there won’t be different religions anymore: in truth, there won’t be any religions, only the one way of life that God gave us from the start. Judaism is called a religion, but that is not what God intended it to be: God gave us the instructions on how to worship him and how to live with each other in the Torah and he didn’t expect us to do anything else.

The Torah was never meant to be the rulebook for a religion, but to be the User Manual for how to live.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share these messages with others to help this ministry grow. I always welcome your comments and until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

 

Parashah Vayyechi 2020 (And he lived) Genesis 47:28 – 50:26

Jacob and his entire family are now in Goshen, and Jacob lived there for another 17 years. Joseph is told that his father is ill and he brings his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim to Jacob so that they can be blessed by him.

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Jacob makes Joseph swear to bury him with his fathers, and tells Joseph that he (Jacob) is adopting Joseph’s sons as tribes of Israel under Joseph’s inheritance. After this, Jacob blesses the sons of Joseph and places the younger over the elder (just as had happened with him and his brother, Esau.) After this, he blesses all his sons (although some of what he said doesn’t sound much like a blessing) and dies.

Joseph tells his brothers, who were worried that with Jacob dead Joseph may still yet take vengeance on them, that what they designed for evil God turned into good, saving their lives and many others, so he will always take care of them.

The parashah ends, as does this first book of the Torah, with Joseph’s death.

And as we come to the end of a book of the Torah, we recite this saying:

Chazak! Chazak! V’nit Chazek!
(Strong, Strong, and let us be strengthened) 

 

When Jacob is blessing his sons, part of the blessing for Judah says (Genesis 49:10):

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, as long as men come to Shiloh; And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be. 

This verse has been considered for many centuries to mean that Judah will be in charge of the other tribes until such time as Shiloh comes, with “Shiloh” meaning the Messiah. This is a messianic interpretation that has been pretty much universally accepted by Christians and Messianic Jews, and pretty much universally rejected by mainstream Judaism.

I often use the 1965 Soncino edition of the Chumash, with commentary by Dr. J. H. Hertz, C.H. (the late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire) as reference material for these messages.  His insight and understanding of the Jewish mindset, as well as his scholarly knowledge of the writings of many other Jewish scholars, has been exceptionally helpful in my understanding of the text of the Torah and its meaning.

However, when it comes to messianic interpretations used by Christianity, he was just as prejudiced against Christianity as any other Jew I ever knew while I was growing up in a Reform Jewish household, or have met during my lifetime.

Let me show you what I mean: here are some excerpts from his notes on the Book of Genesis.

Regarding the use of Shiloh as the Messiah:

Despite the fact that nowhere in scripture is that term applied to the Messiah, Christian theologians assume that Shiloh is a name of the founder of Christianity. In this sense, ‘Till Shiloh come’ is a favorite text of Christian missionaries in attempting to convert illiterate Jews or those ignorant of scripture.

As he further discusses Christian misinterpretation of the Tanakh for missionary use, he brings up Isaiah 53, and with reference to that says:

For eighteen hundred years Christian theologians have passionately maintained that it is a prophetic anticipation of the founder of their faith. 

In his commentary on Jacob’s blessings, Dr. Hertz said that when Jacob referenced Reuben’s sleeping with one of Jacob’s concubines (Genesis 44:4), he suddenly started to talk in the third person instead of the second person because the event was so loathful to him. Yet, when Dr. Hertz refers to Yeshua, he doesn’t even use his proper name.

How hateful must someone be to not even use the name “Jesus Christ” when talking about him?

And did you notice that he refers to Yeshua as the “founder of their faith”? How could such an intelligent and knowledgeable scholar of the Bible not know that Christianity, as it existed in his time, was nothing like what Yeshua taught, but (in truth) the real founder of that religion was Constantine?

The answer is simple: he was never taught the truth about Yeshua because the bigotry between Christians and Jews was so solidified that no one cared about the truth, and believed only what they had been taught growing up.

I was taught the same thing that Dr. Hertz was taught, that Jesus Christ was a Jew who rebelled against Judaism and created his own religion, which hated and killed Jews.  Actually, that reference would be a lot more accurate if we applied it to Martin Luther, but it is not at all accurate or true with regard to Yeshua.

I hate the hatred between Jews and Christians that has been developed over the Millennia, and as much as I try to expose the truth in this ministry of mine, it will never have an impact except, God willing, on a few people who may be exposed to my messages and books. And that is fine with me; in fact, if I can help just one Jewish person (Gentiles would be OK, too) during my entire life to come to know the truth about Yeshua, then it will be worthwhile work.

The animosity between Christians and Jews is two-sided, and built upon ignorance, which is the foundation stone of bigotry; I am sorry to say it will not be alleviated (apologies to Dr. Hertz) until Shiloh comes, again. Once Messiah Yeshua returns in the Acharit HaYamim (End Days) and God’s plan will come to completion, then everyone will know the truth about who the Messiah really is, about who really created Christianity and that God really does exist and his word is absolutely truthful and trustworthy.

So, until that time arrives (which I believe is almost upon us), we will have to deal with defeating this age-old misunderstanding one person at a time.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe, here and on the YouTube channel as well, and I always welcome comments.

Until next time, Shabbat Shalom and Baruch HaShem!