Messianic Substitution Services

Anyone with exposure to more than two or three Messianic Jewish congregations will know that the Messianic Jewish movement involves a wide variety of expressions and manifestations.   Regrettably, there are some which, at least for me, have no resemblance to Messianic Judaism rightly so-called.

In my last posting I outlined what I believe a Messianic Jewish service and community might look like when rightly so-called.  Let’s look today at what happens in our movement when this is bypassed or rejected in what I will here term a Messianic Substitution Service, one that substitutes something else for Messianic Judaism rightly so-called.

In a Messianic Substitution Service, there is no sense of Jewish covenantal responsibility, no sense of Jewish communal identity in the worship event, there is no sense of intergenerational unity with the Jewish people and their legacy, there is no or almost no sense of liturgical continuity with the Jewish people. As a substitute, such services, in their music, gesture, conduct and exhortations are highly individualistic, focusing on one’s personal relationship with and experience of God.  In such services, it is entirely secondary or even immaterial that the parties present are in whole or in part Jews.  Their Jewish covenantal and communal identity is eclipsed by another model of spirituality focused on the individual as a soul, who, O yes, now I remember, is Jewish.  Such services are not simply “another style” of Messianic Judaism. Instead, they involves a repudiation of Messianic Judaism rightly so called, a total excising of Jewish sancta, or a misappropriation of same, and the substitution of something else, even if wrapped in a tallit.

As another example of substitution, consider how at some such services, people blow shofars whenever they feel excited. Let’s get something straight here: this has nothing to do with Judaism as practiced in the real world. This involves a misappropriation  of Jewish sancta.

I would compare this to how occultists use crosses and Bibles. They use the same symbols as Christians do, but rob them of their intended context and communally attributed meanings, substituting others of their own.  Similarly, is it not illegitimate, a form of cultural plundering, to take an object as holy and circumscribed in use as the shofar is in Jewish life and use it however one “feels led?”  To me, it is like someone taking a cross off of a church altar and using it as a baseball bat.  Shofar mania is no less offensive a misappropriation of religious sancta, regardless of how entitled people feel they are to do so, even with proof texts in hand.

Sometimes a Messianic Substitution Service will seek to avoid anything “rabbinic,” its operatives priding themselves on incorporating only what they deem to be “purely scriptural.”  But such people fail to notice that no one sees the Scripture except through the lens of some community context.  People may see the Bible as Independent Baptists do, or as Calvary Chapel mellow Pentecostals do, or as Restorationist Revivalists do, or as the Jewish community does. Each community has ingrained and unconscious convictions as to what is primary, what is secondary, what should be emphasized, and what explained away. If you will but think on it for a moment, you will realize this to be true.

Is a Messianic Judaism expunged of rabbinic (that is, traditional) elements a Messianic Judaism rightly so-called?  Is it not rather a poor and lamentable substitute for what we should be shaping?

I rejoice when Messiah is preached,  even in Messianic Substitution Services.  But I do NOT rejoice at the abandonment of the formulation of a Messianic Judaism rightly so-called.

How about you?

 

 

About Stuart Dauermann

The blog of Rabbi Dr. Stuart Dauermann, teacher, mentor, radio talk show host, denizen of Los Angeles, and a visionary with a long career in Messianic Jewish activism. You can hear Rabbi Dauermann as he hosts Shalom Talk, a weekly radio show, and even listen online at ShalomTalk.com. Rabbi Dauermann spends time traveling nationally and internationally, and throughout the year is in Israel as a Scholar in Residence at the MJTI Jerusalem Center. He has plenty to say about Jewish-Christian relations, the need for shalom in the world, and the agenda of Messiah, the Son of David.
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21 Responses to Messianic Substitution Services

  1. JD says:

    True. Shofar mania is a good example! it seems that if you put on a talit, blow a shofar, and pronounce biblical names in hebrew and you got yourself a MJ congregation! It must be especially this way in the USA as there seems to be a total lack of sense of comunity even in churches. When something is westernized it means it became self centered. I see this happening even in general culture for example in mexico, it is sad in any culture that is family centered or comunity centered, how much more with judaism. Correct me if I am wrong but is this not one of the problems with the newer generation even in mainstream judaism? (not shofar mania of course but this individualistic attitude).
    I admire your vision and that of MJRC. May God prosper you.

  2. Rabbi Joshua says:

    Rabbi Stuart,

    You hit the nail on the head with your comment “In a Messianic Substitution Service, there is no sense of Jewish covenantal responsibility … As a substitute, such services, in their music, gesture, conduct and exhortations are highly individualistic, focusing on one’s personal relationship with and experience of God.”

    We would both agree that we want people to have a “personal relationship” with HaShem and be led by His Spirit. But as you aptly note, there is a difference between being led, and misappropriation based on ignorance.

  3. I think this issue touches on many other hot buttons in the MJ world….are MJ services geared toward Jews who are already generally educated in Hebrew and in traditional Torah services and davening? Are MJ communities prepared to provide the education necessary for a traditional service? And what about gentile Christians who may not be interested in a full Jewish liturgy but what some “Yiddishe feeling”?

    This shows my bias, but in my (admittedly limited) experience with MJ, the biggest problem of misappropriation came from evangelical gentile Christians who wanted to slap a Magen David, an Israeli flag, a menorah, and a shofar on things at random while essentially maintaning the feeling of an evangelical service (“praise music,” “spirit-filled” atmosphere, individualistic worship). At least one synagogue I visited jumped back and forth between essentially a Conservative Jewish service right out of Siddur Sim Shalom and a “cue electric guitars, wave your hands in the hair, and shout about Yeshua and Adonai.” What seemed like an attempt to please all parties wound up being a schizophrenic spiritual march.

    Again to be blunt, it was also quite clear who was Jewish and who were evangelical Christians who “had such a heart for Israel.” In principle, I don’t object to gentiles becoming MJ, per se, but the way that I was treated made me feel more like a Jewish fetish object to match their decorate Judaica than a real person or a member of Am Yisrael.

  4. Dear Byzantine Jewess,

    Thanks for such an articulate contribution. Keep it up. I would beg to differ with you on one point. If by “evangelical Christians” you mean gentile participants in Messianic Congregations, at whose feet you lay the responsibility for the eclecticism of the services, then you would do well to note that often it is the Jewish participants in such congregations who uphold, inject, and even insist on such cultural borrowings. This is almost always because of their own prior sojourns in evangelical Christian space. However, to be fair, we need to recognize that the fault lies across the Jew/gentile line, with responsibility being shared by both.

    And I, for one, find it especially sad when it is Jews who discard and disparage Jewish sancta and spirituality making substitutions along the way.

    I imagine you’ll agree.

    • Dear Stuart,

      Good point – it would be better to phrase it as the following: people who have come to MJ through evangelical Christianity and want to maintain a certain “evangelical feel” – especially those who are not particularly knowledgeable of Jewish liturgy or don’t care for its coherency. And the burden of such knowledge and responsability lies chiefly with the Jewish component of congregrations.

      The question of whether any form of MJ currently exists that is not essentially an arm of evangelical Christianity is still an open question for me…

  5. David says:

    Stuart,

    I agree with you (as usual). I have believing friends (Jews not gentiles) whose approach to faith is basically “hebrew pentecostalism”. Not only do they blow shofars and misuse tallits, but they also are happy to speak the divine name, which I find deeply distressing on many levels. They seem stuck in “Christian space”, and I haven’t managed to convince them to change. What do you think is the best way to gently re-educate them?

    I think one of the points Byzantine Jewess made needs further discussion. Most Jewish people are not observant and have little time for their religion. To my mind this at least partly explains the popularity of “Messianic Substitution Services”. So perhaps one of the questions that needs addressing in the quest to create an authentic messianic judaism is how do we cater for those whose Jewishness is primarily cultural and don’t relate to Judaism, especially of the orthodox or conservative variety.

  6. Rabbi Dauermann,

    You are one of the greatest scholars in the Messianic movement, a valuable visionary leader, and above all, a brother in Messiah, one whom I hold much respect for. (Thank you, Lord, for Rabbi Dauermann and his faithful service to your people!)

    So it’s with great care and respect I say the following:

    Your priorities are not sound. In particular, you place an extraordinarily high priority, perhaps above any other, on our services mapping well to the traditional Jewish religious service. When you see a practice in Messianic congregations that is outside the norm of traditional Jewish religious service, it almost automatically becomes an offense that must be eradicated or lowered in significance, bowing to the strictly traditional elements of Jewish religious service. You give such practices a label, and use that label to make a caricature out of the practice.

    I will give an example, then explain why it is an unsound priority.

    You see congregations utilizing Messianic music and dance as “Jimmy Swaggart with Yarmulkes.” The implication in this label is that Messianic congregations that employ Messianic music and dance are putting on a Pentacostal entertainment show with only superficial connection to Judaism. You further suggested influences like Messianic music is, referring to Messianic leadership, “almost always because of their own prior sojourns in evangelical Christian space.”

    Let’s get to the heart of the matter: does Messianic music exalt God, and has it produced good fruit? You and I have witnessed the uplifting of many thousands of Yeshua’s followers through Messianic Jewish music and dance. On a personal level, it’s a strengthening of my soul, being able to worship God to music in this uniquely Messianic way. I have not received that same spiritual renewal in any other form of service, from either Evangelical churches or traditional synagogues.

    Before you accuse me of being a self-centered, individualistic Messianic, consider the community: looking at it from the community-of-Israel perspective, what a great loss Jewish people have suffered in being void of nearly all musical communal worship in Jewish religious services! Where is the joyous sounds of stringed instruments praising him, the choirs singing, that great joy that King David exhorted the people to take part in? Why isn’t musical worship an integral part of traditional Jewish religious services? In the synagogues I’ve visited, these things aren’t present. At very most, we chant some liturgical poems, maybe li-li-li to a niggun, or in a great while sing zemiros. With respect, these are no replacements for the musicial instrument-accompanied, choir blasting, whole communal joyful praising described in the Psalms. It says something about the Jewish world that the most well known Jewish religious music today is from a beat-boxing reggae artist from New York. And even that artist’s talents came about from his sojourns in the secular world; Judaism itself is rather stifling in this regard, these expressions come from outside the synagogue.

    Messianic Judaism is in a unique and historical position to change Judaism. Messianic music and dance is one such reform; restoring a Scriptural practice, one that uplifts and strengthens and heals.

    But instead of seeing joy and healing and restoration and uplifting of thousands, you see Jimmy Swaggart in a Yarmulke.

    I suggest your priority of connection to the Jewish world has taken precedence over nearly every other priority in the Messianic world, leading you to diminish righteous practices in favor of More Jewishness, where More Jewishness is defined as better emulation of Judaism’s traditional religious services. More traditional Judaism service emulation, less everything else. That is the undertone sensed in your writings.

    If that is not what you are intending to convey to the Messianic world, then I would very much like to hear from you an element of Messianic services without a correlating element in traditional Jewish religious services, but one you still deem righteous and good and in good balance.

    If you cannot think of such a thing, I propose to you that your priority on connection to the Jewish world has become for you and unbalanced priority, blinding you to righteous things God is doing in our congregations.

    • Judah, besides overlooking the fact that the Jewish religious world is filled with music, singing and dancing, you are projecting the typical Evangelical worship (read: “concert”) you grew up in and currently participate in unto the Jewish understanding of communal worship. You view Evangelical /Western/American Christian worship as a model of perfection to be exported everywhere and think that the Jewish world would be oh-so-much-more-spiritual if only it followed that example.

      No thanks, my friend.

      With all due respect to our Evangelical and “independent Messianic” brothers and sisters, I present: Parody of your typical “Contemporary Evangelical Worship Service”

    • Judah,

      Thank you for your extensive response. However, as I will prove, you both misunderstand and misrepresent me and my views. I stand by my views as stated, but not as misconstrued by yourself.

      First, as for Messianic Jewish Music, I am known in some circles as “the Father of Jewish Gospel Music,” or alternately, “the Father of Messianic Music.” I began writing in this genre in 1966/67, wrote the music for seven or eight widely recordings, some of which are still being sold , traveled in all of the 50 states performing the music, and outside the U.S. as well. Some of my songs are sung all over the world: “The Trees of the Field” is one, “Let Us Exalt His Name” another, and on and on. It is simply not credible nor correct to accuse me of being categorically against Messianic Jewish music!

      I do not object to Messianic Jewish music in services. As I clearly expressed, what I object to is when this is the default evidence or substance of Jewishness in the service. When people have essentially Pentecostal, or Baptist, or pop-Charismatic services, these services do not become Jewish space simply by singing such music and dancing in a Jewish style. As I have written, such enterprises substitute a thin veneer for substantive Jewish life and community. Core Jews (as opposed to peripheral and estranged Jews) will find such services perhaps “interesting” but not convincing as demonstrations of Jewish faith in Yeshua. Many will find such services strange, and where Jewish sancta are used in a cavalier manner, offensive.

      I ask that you bear in mind that for the past forty years, my visceral concern has been interpreting Yeshua to the wider Jewish community and advancing among my people the cause of the good news. When something does not advance that cause, or impedes it, I comment, complain, and seek to bring correction.

      This is NOT to be taken as a blanket disparagement of charismatic worship, culture, or services. At one stage in my life I attended the Vineyard congregation in San Francisco, and received great benefit from it. To this day, I can go to a variety of church contexts and celebrate and enter in to what is happening. But when it comes to my people, and the cause of Yeshua among them, I look to build, commit to, and invest in something else.

      Last week I attended a Conservative synagogue with a woman cantor from Sephardic stock. She was a brilliant, talented, improvisatory davvener, and in all my life I have never experienced such joy in Jewish worship. It was glorious and I was and remain deeply moved. Such joy is not dependent upon the addition of dancing, stringed instruments, guitars, keyboards or the like. It was a cappella. Some would have trouble imagining that this could be the case, just as some wrongly imagine that liturgical services (Episcopal for example) could ever be as “Spirit-filled” as more free-flow forms of worship. But such persons speak out of their own paucity of experience and the prejudices which they have been taught, perhaps subliminally.

      I am not against Messianic Jewish music in a service, nor even categorically against dancing when this is a component of what is otherwise genuine Jewish space. However, the settings in which such endeavors are generally conducted are NOT in the comfort zone and cultural context of Jewish tradition and worship. While everyone is enjoying themselves and worshipping God, our wider responsibility to the Jewish world is being neglected, and often, normative Jewish life is being disparaged as “less spiritual.” This does a disservice to all concerned.

      I rejoice when God is praised. I remember when I was twenty or twenty-one, visiting the Teen Challenge Center on Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn, their first. There was a Pentecostal preacher there, preaching away, then he went around laying hands on these former drug addicts who were praying very loudly in tongues, all of them otherwise speaking Spanish, neither of which I understood. This form of worship was utterly foreign to me. Yet tears coursed down my cheeks because I knew that God was at work reclaiming human lives. I celebrate such things, and like Paul, I rejoice wherever and however the good news is preached, and wherever and however God is worshiped and glorified.

      However, I am a missiologist to the bone, and I neither repent of nor regret my core commitment to the cause of Yeshua among my people, and to the priority of showing respect for the precious patrimony which is the inheritance of the descendants of Jacob.

      My friend, I hope you now understand better where I am coming from. I meant no offense in what I teach. However, I have learned that it is a fact of life that people often take offense even when none is intended.

  7. Thank you for the reply.

    First I must clarify: I do recognize you as an early pioneer of Messianic music; we spoke in an earlier thread about Liberated Wailing Wall, in fact. I’m a Messianic music lover and guitarist myself, I’m the author of Chavah Messianic Radio and have been working to amass Messianic music chords and make them available to Messianic congregations; so I am certainly aware of and greatly appreciate your contribution to the Messianic music world, Rabbi. Let me use this opportunity to say a sincere, “Thank you.” To this day, I still play “Trees of the Field” at our congregation; your music has brought us much joy and uplifting. Thank you.

    I believe I do understand your position; if I could sum it in a single sentence, it’s this:

    “I am not opposed to distinctly Messianic service elements, like Messianic Jewish music and dance, but not at the expense of fidelity to the Jewish service and setting.”

    That’s the priority imbalance I’m speaking of. Not that you categorically reject Messianic music, but rather, you seem to place traditional Jewish service elements above even Spirit-generated elements in the Messianic world. Your stance seems to be, “[Messianic practice X] is OK, as long as it doesn’t interfere with or overshadow traditional Jewish service elements.”

    That sounds to my ears very much like the the Jewish mission stances on Torah must sound to yours: an optional thing as a long as it doesn’t interfere with [more important thing]. For the missions, it’s Christianity, and in this instance for our conversation, it’s Messianic music, dance, shofar blasts, pointing at the Torah, tallits over wives and children, or whatever other distinct practices out there in the Messianic world, even if they have merit. There seems to be this agenda to place traditional Judaism elements in our congregation far above any elements original to the Messianic movement.

    That concerns me.

    It concerns me because it really invalidates or downgrades such congregations as falling short of an ideal, where that ideal is traditional Judaism + Yeshua faith, and little else. I reject that as an ideal. And maybe that’s where we differ. You ask us to take a leap of faith that if our congregations are genuinely a Judaism, perhaps at the expense of organically Messianic elements, our message would be more compelling to the Jewish world. I am unconvinced of this; are Jews looking for a traditional Judaism + Yeshua, or are they thirsty for something missing from Judaism?

    I spent last week with an Israeli friend who is a follower of Yeshua and has lived among the Modern Orthodox community in Israel. He had been shown the door once his faithfulness to Yeshua was discovered. He related to me that so many Jews in the religious community are, just like in America, not really faithful. Grand appearances, but little true devotion to God. Though sin, even grievous sin, was hidden, it was present, even among the devout. God’s Spirit isn’t really transforming people there; people are dry. (That isn’t to say God has left Jewish people, or that his spirit hasn’t moved there, God forbid, so please hear carefully.)

    For those spiritually dry people, busy with a very structured and rather stringent religious environment, what is a compelling message of Yeshua? A Judaism built around Yeshua? Or God pouring out his spirit and changing and healing people, akin to what you witnessed at Clinton Avenue?

    Seems to me the latter is what happened in Acts – mass outpouring of God’s spirit, mass revelation. That’s the thing that will draw Jews to Messiah. What about a More Jewish Messianic Judaism? I’m not convinced.

    Even so, I recognize your experience and wisdom trumps mine by any measure, which is why I’m reading and listening. Keep blogging. :-)

    Also, thank you again for your service, which is a witness for my generation. I would love to meet you sometime; maybe if I’m out on the west coast next spring I’ll visit your congregation.

    • I will respond to this comment twice, as I must run out shortly and do not have time to do it justice.

      A couple of things to think about. First of all, that congregation upon which the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost was still uniformly Torah observant some 14-21 years later when Paul visited there (See Acts 21:17-26). Apparently for James/Yaa’kov and Paul there was no contradiction between spiritual reality and power and normative Jewish observance. Why the dichotomy in your thinking?

      Secondly, your comments about spiritually dry and sinning Modern Orthodox Jews are equally true of any brand of evangelicals you could name, charismatic or non, so these comments do not carry any traction in this discussion.

      Third, one of the reasons I am so committed to a return to Jewish life is that the prophets declare this to be the Divine intention for the Jewish people at the end of days. Ezekiel connects this with the work of the Spirit: “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (36:27), and with the Messiah Himself, “My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes” (37:24). If this is the Divine intent, why is it not ours?

      I will have more to say later. But think on these things.

    • Just a bit more, Judah.

      It seems to me that you are operating on certain common theological world-view assumptions that need to become conscious, and then be reexamined.

      One is the assumption that there is an inborn and irresolvable tension between the Law and the Spirit, between ritual and reality. This is an unnecessary and unbiblical divide. As I have pointed out, one of the things the Spirit will do in the end of days is unite Spirit and Torah (Ezekiel 36:27), something also made clear in Jeremiah 31:31 ff. Paul says that submission to God’s law is a sign of being spiritual and that those who do not submit to God’s law are fleshly, or as older translations have it, carnal: “he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit; . . . For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot” (Rom 8:3, 4, 7). There is nothing inherently unspiritual about ritual, nor anything inherently spiritual about avoiding it. God sees these as both compatible with each other, and indeed, sees the reuniting of Torah and Spirit to be sign of the consummation.

      You also see structure as being stifling of the Life of the Spirit. Again, this is not necessarily so although it can be. I invite you to read 2 Chron Chapter 5 which describes a VERY ritualized event, the dedication of the Temple. It could scarcely have been more scripted. Notice though the outcome of all this ritualism at the end of the chapter: “the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.”

      I don’t blame you for your assumptions. They are common. But they are also false.

  8. Sue M says:

    I’m just catching up on posts after being away, and am struck that this quote from a later post might apply here, too:

    “I have no interest in a gospel for the Jews that cares about eternal life and not at all about Jewish life.”

    I have had some experience with Messianic music, and know that G-d can use it to move souls. But I have been equally moved, as Rabbi Dauermann clearly has, by the voice of a single a Capella cantor leading a congregation (messianic or otherwise). I think a big part of the gap in appreciation is the learning curve involved in knowing enough Hebrew and liturgy to be able to participate meaningfully.

    Moving an “evangelical” style congregation in a more traditional direction is tricky and for sure needs to be done carefully and prayerfully. There are messianic leaders who have done it and who I hope could provide assistance.

    The important thing is that a more traditional service does not have to be one that is devoid of the moving of the Ruach, or healing, etc. Imagine how our Jewish people would respond in such a service! May it be!

  9. James says:

    That’s the priority imbalance I’m speaking of. Not that you categorically reject Messianic music, but rather, you seem to place traditional Jewish service elements above even Spirit-generated elements in the Messianic world.

    I don’t normally chime in here, but this time I feel I must. I said this on your blog Judah, but why is Messianic music “Spirit-generated” and traditional Jewish worship isn’t? I’m obviously missing something.

    • I appreciate this comment, and I want us to be sure not to pile on Judah, who rightly wants us to pay due respect to people who see and do things differently. This is of course right: respect is always in order.

      I do concur by the way that Judah’s statement arresting, when he said, “That’s the priority imbalance I’m speaking of. Not that you categorically reject Messianic music, but rather, you seem to place traditional Jewish service elements above even Spirit-generated elements in the Messianic world.” It is my long experience that it is difficult if not impossible to determine when the average service is “Spirit directed” or when a given element is “Spirit-generated” or not. Is it not true that such language often masks what might more objectively be termed “subjectivism” as in subjectively satisfying, and/or the exaltation of something that is really a matter of style and learned behavior? For example, in some circles, when services involve people having their hands raised, eyes closed, emotions stirred, this is presumed to be a Spirit-led service. But not necessarily! It can just as easily be a matter of style. And let’s not forget that millions of hands were raised in the days of the Third Reich, and this had nothing to do with the work of the Spirit.

      As another example among many, in Vineyard circles, it is customary to pray over someone, holding one’s hand, palm open, toward but not touching them. The oral history of the practice reveals that in the early days of the Vineyard movement, Wimber’s group met in an un-air conditioned gymnasium, where it got downright tropical in the summertime. As a result, they learned not to lay their hands on other people’s sweaty bodies and heads, but to hold their hands near but not touching. But how many people now pray that way for others thinking it more “Spirit led?” Often, it is a matter of style.

      One of my pet peeves is what I term “The Gospel According to Adrenaline” where the music at a service is designed to pump up the people into a certain shouting mildly frenzied state. For me, such environments do not bring on a sense of the Spirit of God, but seem to involve a coarsening of the faculties, a bludgeoning of the senses, despite the hallelujahs.

      I am not against upbeat music, drums, charismatic worship, dancing or whatever, but I am against the manipulation of crowd feeling through the engineering of adrenalized and bludgeoned sensibilities, all in the Name of the Spirit.

      For me, the Spirit is far more powerful, more subtle, and more multi-style. And he is perfectly able to make His Presence known through a liturgical service, in Hebrew, which too many in our ranks have been conditioned to consider categorically dead.

      Definitely not so.

      • James says:

        I appreciate this comment, and I want us to be sure not to pile on Judah, who rightly wants us to pay due respect to people who see and do things differently.

        In spite of how he might feel about my comments, I’m really not trying to beat up on Judah, but I just don’t understand how he (or anyone) can define certain elements of a worship service as “Spirit-generated” and exclude others. As you say, what is sometimes attributed to the activity of the Spirit often is created by how people define events through their emotions.

        In reading your blog and your comments, your reactions are more than fair and I find myself agreeing with your position. In my limited experience, I’ve found the Hebrew liturgy to be full of life and love of God. I understand that not everyone would receive the liturgy as such, but I hope they wouldn’t deny that it is a source of the wellspring of God for others.

  10. I am aware you are not trying to beat up on Judah, and was not accusing you of such. However, reading his postings, he has sought to be well-mannered, and I wanted to make sure everyone on this site returns the courtesy. One of my pet projects is improving the climate of discourse in the circles where I operate.

    Thank you for your kind assessment of my views and ways of expressing them. Much appreciated.

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