Quote of the Day

“We advocate a contemporary Jewish experience of Yeshua and a Messianic interpretation of Judaism. Scripture is clear that one of the roles Messiah will play is to bring his people Israel back to the ways of Torah (see, for example, Ezekiel 27:24). Thus allegiance to Torah and allegiance to Yeshua are an inseparable integrated reality for the seed of Jacob. And we cannot build an integrated Messianic Judaism apart from integrating both Messiah and Torah into our lives.”

Rabbi Dr. Stuart Dauermann from the recent issue of Verge.

About Rabbi Joshua

I'm a Rabbi, writer, thinker, mountain biker, father and husband ... not necessarily in that order. According to my wife, however, I'm just a big nerd. I have degrees in dead languages and ancient stuff. I have studied in various Jewish institutions, including an Orthodox yeshiva in Europe. I get in trouble for making friends with perfect strangers, and for standing on chairs to sing during Shabbos dinner. In addition to being the Senior Rabbi of Simchat Yisrael Messianic Synagogue in West Haven, CT, I write regularly for several publications and speak widely in congregations and conferences. My wife is a Southern-fried Jewish Beltway bandit and a smokin' hot human rights attorney... and please don’t take offense if I dump Tabasco sauce on your cooking.
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8 Responses to Quote of the Day

  1. Anonymous says:

    Joshua,This posting is a disappointment in its departure from what has been a much higher standard of clarity and truthfulness in your blog entries.Dauermann is clearly up to no good with his abuse of language; his attempt to stretch words like Jewish and messianic to include meanings that diametrically oppose their conventional definitions is an outright sham. Thus, your choice of a selection from him as your Quote of the Day is a disappointment.When Dauermann advocates a "Jewish experience", he means he wants Jews to worship as Christians. Similarly, his demand for a "messianic interpretation of Judaism" is an attempt to deny that Judaism is the original and only religion to envision and define a messiah. Judaism is messianic, and the religion Dauermann urges on Jews is not messianic Judaism; it's Christianity.Dauermann's argument that "allegiance to Torah and allegiance to Yeshua are an inseparable integrated reality" is another attempt to confuse two separate religions. The Jewish scripture, aka Torah, rules out the worship of a man/god who died for guilty persons' sins, but those specific beliefs are the ones Dauermann urges Jews to adopt. Thus, Dauermann's "integrated reality" is actually a mutually exclusive oxymoron. Allegiance to the Torah excludes allegiance to Jesus, explicitly.In the future, I hope you will choose to publish Quotes of the Day that draw on the English language's conventional usages so that your quotes will enhance understanding rather than degrade it.

  2. Dan Benzvi says:

    rebyosh,When are you going to deal with this flake?He complained that he was banned from several Messianic blogs, so I tested him on his own blog, and just as I thought he deleted some of my comments:http://yb4jesus.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/banned-from-the-messianic-web/#commentsIs it time to give him the axe?

  3. Anonymous says:

    (From Alan Levy, New Orleans area) Josh, I am taking the liberty to copy you here on an entry to Stuart's blog I just made, concerning his commentary on Romans 11, "All Israel will be saved". While I am certainly not in the place that Anonymous is, he does raise some questions the Messianic community must address in showing how we are not just Evangelical Christians in a tallis (put on upside down). I think a hugely critical issue of differentiation with historic Orthodox (not necessarily Eastern) Christianity must come in the realm of Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). How should we respond to Anonymous concerning this matter? Here is my post to Stuart (and to anyone else who wants to deal with it):TITLE: Must Jews "accept" the Messiah in order to be delivered?Stuart,Thank you for your comments, well-done as usual.Although I know you are speaking about "corporate" matters in the piece, the question which is more relevant to our day-to-day existence now, and relations between the Messianic community and the larger Jewish world is: must individual Jews "accept" the Messiah for his work to be of any benefit to them?1. What of the the 10-year-old Jewish boy in the Rhine Valley who was killed by the Crusaders when they were on the way to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims, but killing every Jew they could get their hands on during the journey?That boy probably didn't have the opportunity to "accept" Yeshua the Messiah as his "personal savior" (or however you want to frame it). Did that boy have a place in the World To Come, or is he spending eternity in Hell because he hadn't "accepted" the Messiah?Some years ago the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, which you and I both relate to, passed a position paper stating, in brief, that Yeshua is the only way to "salvation" or "deliverance" (I wasn't there and can't access the document, so don't know the precise wording).So it seems to me that the position is saying that all Jews who don't consciously "accept" Yeshua personally will spend eternity in Hell.Do you personally agree or disagree with this position paper?2. "We Want Moshiach NOW!!" Of all the forms of Judaism that teach a "real" Messiah who will come someday to save the Jews (and the whole world), which Jewish schools of thought teach that in order for Messiah's redemptive work to be efficacious for them, each individual Jew has to consciously "accept" the Messiah?For example, Jewish atheists would have to start believing in God and his Messiah for the Messiah to be willing to bring them into full "deliverance", bring them back to Torah and Eretz Israel, etc. If the atheists don't make tshuvah in this way, then they will not be delivered and will spend eternity separated from God, etc.The only form of Judaism I see this kind of teaching in is "Messianic" (so self-named) Judaism. I can't find it in any other form of Judaism, the idea of each and every Yid having to make a "personal decision" concerning the Messiah in order to receive his benefits.Here is my big question: Is there anything in Messianic Jewish soteriology (doctrine of salvation) that helps the Messianic community defend itself against the charge that the Messy-antics are just Fundamentalist-Evangelical-Charis-maniac Christians with gefilte fish on their breaths?

  4. Rabbi Joshua says:

    Anonymous,"When Dauermann advocates a "Jewish experience", he means he wants Jews to worship as Christians."Actually, Rabbi Dauermann's comment is the opposite. And I hold by my Quote of the Day. Anonymous, the problem in our dialog is that you are unable (anf maybe without the tools) to think critically about your own faith. As your paradigm assumes that to think critically might undermine your own position. We have run into this problem when discussing any movement within Judaism (past or present) that does not jive with your perspective. This has been true with every conversation, whether over the Dead Sea Scroll Community, or even Messianic Judaism. And I am sure we would have the same discussions over Reform, Conservative, Jewish Renewal, etc. It is always easier to try to fit everyone and everything not "you" and stick it in the box labeled "other." At the moment, it is impossible for you to even perceive that there might be other ways of being a Jew. But to do so challenges the tenets of fundamentalism.

  5. Rabbi Joshua says:

    Alan,Thanks for your comment and for reading our blog. Just FYI, this has been an ongoing conversation in a number or circles – UMJC, Hashivenu, MJTI, etc.In fact, last year (or maybe the year before) the UMJC hosted a whole meeting on this very topic. You may want to contact Rabbi Russ for copies of the papers. Also the first Borough Park Symposium was similarly related to the this topic. Be well and Chag Sameach!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Joshua,You wrote in response to my comment that "the problem in our dialog is that you are unable (anf [sic] maybe without the tools) to think critically…".I regret your descent into personal attack and insult. That is the problem in our dialog, and I hope you'll agree we could do better without it. I also freely admit to being guilty of the same crime, and I've come to regret it, and its consequences, and I'm striving not err in the same way with you again, though these are obviously touchy points we're discussing and if I cross the line as you have, above, again, I hope you'll understand it's because I've gotten hot under the collar when discussing things that are very important to me, and that I really do mean to rise above that, but, as we say, I'm human.You wrote "We have run into this problem when discussing any movement…that does not jive with your perspective." Your statement seemed to imply that Judaism is an amorphous, undefined quantity without boundaries or normative constants. But neither your nor I believe that.Just as I insist that any religion that preaches G-d is a man is out of Jewish bounds (based on Num. 23:19, "G-d is not a man"), you would criticize a claim that Jesus was not the messiah as false and unacceptable within your understanding of the religion you've adopted.So let us return together to calm, polite, respectful reason, and let's examine concepts using the English words that were created to cover those concepts within definitions that make the expressions useful for communication. After all, if a word that can mean anything, ultimately it means nothing and has no value to interpersonal communication. When "Jewish" is stretched to mean anything, it ceases to be a meaningful word. But we know that it has a meaning, and we know what that meaning is. So let's set aside charges of mental incapacity, and embrace one another as brothers, which we are, and agree to disagree respectfully, but to hear one another out without shooting each other down as people. Is that okay with you?And lest you think I'm on a high horse talking down to you over your insult, I again remind you that I know I've committed the same offense in the past, and consider myself a recovering insulter, if there could be such a thing.A gut'n moed.

  7. Rabbi Joshua says:

    Anonymous,I stand corrected and apologize for descending into a personal attack. You are definitely right in calling me out on it. Again, I apologize. I definitely agree that Judaism is not an "amorphous, undefined quantity without boundaries or normative constants."However, I would posit that those boundaries might not be as fixed as we might think. As such, although I might disagree with aspects of one community or another, that on its own does not exclude one from Judaism. For example, I do not totally agree with certain aspects of the Qumran community. And there are indeed a couple details that may have put them on the perceived "fringe" of Judaism of the Second Temple period. But I would disagree with an assessment that they broke from Sinai, or were somehow outside the parameters of Judaism.Regarding your comment "G-d is not a man," I too agree. Nor am I claiming such.Maybe it would help simply for the sake of trying to understand one another to clarify positions using common language. As such, if it helps, I am not claiming Yeshua is Ein Sof. However, we do see at times within Torah when HaShem does take on a physical form. You could say an emanation of HaShem.Although the context is entirely different, let me give you an example from another source. According to the Tanya, The Torah and "the Holy One, blessed be He, are one and the same." In the language of the Tanya (Ch. 4), because HaShem is both the Knower and the Knowledge, the Torah itself is a sort of incarnation of HaShem. So just as the Torah is a corporeal substance of the Divine, so is the "Living Torah," … Mashiach. So although we would say that Yeshua is Divine, we would not necessarily equate him with the fullness of the Divine Presence (i.e Ein Sof). A gut'n moed to you as well.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Joshua,Thanks again for your note. I'm not going to be able to give a complete response to your points right now, because unfortunately for our conversation you've pushed me beyond the point of my current knowledge base and I'm going to have to do some homework in order to be able to intelligently reply. By way of foreshadowing, the research I need to do and then come back here with is what are the boundaries set forth in the tradition from Sinai beyond which groups like the Qumran folks exit from the stage of Judaism. Right now I can't cite the sources for those limits. I'm talking about beliefs, not people. The people were Jewish. You are Jewish, whether or not your beliefs are. And much of your belief system is.Lest you think I'm on a high horse calling you out on your petty failures, let's be clear: I believe that I cast the first nastiness in our history of conversations, and I regret it, and I'm striving not to repeat it. I hope you can forgive my emotional excesses, which have no place in an intellectual discourse between two brothers.

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