What is the difference between good and bad? A simple explanation is that good things benefit us while bad things do not. But, as is often the case, there is more going on than meets the eye. Continue reading “Why do Good Things Happen to Good People”
Have you recently left your former religion? Do you now feel enlightened? Many people who have left Christianity find themselves constantly having to defend their decision to family and friends only to find themselves in heated arguments. If this is you, know that there are some very important aspects which you may not have considered. Continue reading “How Shall We Live”
One of the last things HaShem spoke through prophecy is, “Keep in remembrance the teaching of Moses, My servant -the laws and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.” Malachi 3:22. Continue reading “The Church Got it Wrong, Here’s Why”
All across the world, unexplainable things are happening. If it hasn’t come to your neighborhood, it certainly will soon.
Recently I got into a conversation about Judaism. The people on the other side were Jewish and I am a convert. At one point I was told, “Isn’t Christianity an “appropriation” of Judaism? And isn’t that a good thing? Extending the Covenant? And even I’m offended by calling the Virgin Mary – a Jew – pagan. To each their own. Blessings to all.”
I was surprised by this. I realize that there are many Jews that are not observant and some branches, such as Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, etc. do not approach the Torah in the same way as the Orthodox. But, this person informed me that this idea is acknowledged by some Orthodox rabbis. He quoted from a letter by THE CENTER FOR JEWISH–CHRISTIAN UNDERSTANDING & COOPERATION. link It was, “Both Jews and Christians have a common covenantal mission to perfect the world under the sovereignty of the Almighty, so that all humanity will call on His name and abominations will be removed from the earth.” This letter was signed by several respected rabbis.
As a convert, I understand that there are many things I do not yet know. I don’t claim to be more learned than these men. I’m sure they have studied long hours. But I can’t help but have a few questions because it sounds like these learned rabbis are acknowledging that Christianity is what it says it is. This is strange to me because a simple understanding of the Torah, which is the only thing I claim, and the most simple at that, does not support such a position. While I know that there are hidden and secret meanings in the Torah, it is my understanding that the secret meanings will not contradict the simple meanings. So, as far as I know, it can’t be that I just don’t understand what the Torah says.
These rabbis assert that Jews and Christians are part of the same covenant. I wonder how this is possible. Can the unchanging covenant of Sinai be changed by a group of men from two completely different religions? Does the covenant say it is only for a set amount of time and then some other group will be included? Does it say that this new group of people, who are somehow included in the covenant, are not obligated by the rules of the covenant?
The Torah does allow for non-Jews to live within the gates of the Jewish cities. But they are required to adhere to the same rules. The church asserts that the Law of Moses is null and void. Are we expected to believe that the same people who think the law has been made void are now an equal part of the covenant that is governed by that same law? Is that even possible? That is saying that they are governed by something that does not exist. The fact is that they put their faith in something that does not exist. Furthermore, they expect us to believe the same things.
If, in fact, we are part of the same covenant, where is it written? Every covenant has a written set of instructions which outline what each party is obligated to do in order to keep the covenant. The written Torah states clearly that the covenant is between HaShem and the Children of Israel. The only way one can become part of that covenant is to become one of the two parties mentioned in the covenant. That is to say that one must become Jewish or, Heaven forbid, become HaShem. That sounds foolish, but if Christians are not willing to become Jews and live by the commandments, there is only one other party in the covenant; HaShem. Therein lies the problem with this foolish letter. What is even more insulting is that they actually think that a man did become HaShem, or HaShem became a man. Either way, this contradicts the Torah. The Torah warns that if someone comes along claiming to be from HaShem, and they teach that which is contradictory to Moses’ teachings, that person is a false prophet. He warned us about these people and these men who call themselves rabbi, choose to ignore that warning. Worse still, they encourage their communities to do the same.
The letter says that “the emergence of Christianity in human history is neither an accident nor an error…”. I can agree with this because I know that all things come from HaShem and all things are for the very best. Egypt, Assyria, and Greece also had a reason for being. That doesn’t mean that they can be a part of the covenant. There are many things in this world that can be considered “good” but are not a part of the covenant. For example, non-Jews are not forbidden to eat pork. They consider it good and for them it is. They are free to eat any foods they wish. They can thank HaShem for them and not be in the wrong. But pork is excluded from the rules of the covenant. This is a simple example, but it is the exact same thing.
I am not saying that Christians are bad people. They do good things in the world. They help people in need and we know that HaShem wants us to give charity. In fact, it forgives a multitude of sins. Other religions do good things as well. That doesn’t make them a part of the covenant. That doesn’t make it okay to put forth the ideas in that letter.
The letter begins with this: “After nearly two millennia of mutual hostility and alienation, we Orthodox Rabbis who lead communities, institutions and seminaries in Israel, the United States and Europe recognize the historic opportunity now before us. We seek to do the will of our Father in Heaven by accepting the hand offered to us by our Christian brothers and sisters.” These are our leaders and they are asking us to do that which is not only wrong but forbidden. How do they say it is the will of our Father in Heaven? Are they prophets, knowing the will of HaShem that has not yet been revealed through the Torah? What exactly is the opportunity? Where in the Torah does it say that we are to turn to anyone but HaShem?
The sad thing, to me, is that people will use this letter as the person with whom I was arguing. They think this is what Orthodox Jews actually think. People might think that Orthodox Jews have finally decided that Christianity is what it claims and that is a terrible thing. We know that it is based on false teachings, mistranslations, and scriptures that were taken out of context. People might come to believe that this is what Jews believe and that is not okay.
Copyright 2016 by:
Many believe that we are all lost and must be found in order to be “saved” from sin. This is a false teaching predicated by those who seek to benefit in some way by “saving” us. This teaching, while well established through the years, does not come from scripture and therefore cannot be trusted.
You are where you need to be.
Our creator wishes only that we return to Him. For many people, this is difficult. We must change everything about our lives. We have to change the things we do and the things we accept as proper. Some people find this too difficult in their current situation. To put it plainly, they have it too good to change or even want to change. For some, the idea of change is frightening. A lot of people don’t like change. It’s that simple. Our loving creator, who is involved in everything, finds ways to enable us to change. Changing must still be our decision, but He puts us in situations in order to make us think about it. Everything that happens to us is for a reason. This doesn’t just apply to the big, life-changing things like marriage or having a child. It also applies to the times when you get stuck at a stoplight or a train crossing. Remember, everything that happens is for the very best; even those things we perceive as bad. For example, getting stuck at a stoplight might just save you from getting into a car accident down the road. If He really desired to punish us, He would let us go on ahead and get in that accident. The fact is that we cannot ever know how many times a day He does save us. He may have even saved you from a deadly disease today. You don’t know the amazing things He does for you on a daily basis.
People often need a little nudge to get them thinking about their lives and the way they live. Some people need a bigger nudge than others. He might just take you out of that good paying job and put you on a limited income. If He does this, know that it is for the very best. You must thank Him for these things. It means He is giving you what you need in order that you can come to repentance. That is what He wants from us. It doesn’t matter to Him if you are rich or poor. He is still your loving creator. He made you the way you are for a reason. If you are not fulfilling that purpose, He will do something for you that is intended to wake you up. Unfortunately, many people misunderstand this and place blame on Him for their shortcomings. He is not at fault, you are. Does a loving parent let their kids continue doing things that will hurt them? Of course not. They make a change. They take away the dangerous item or remove them from a dangerous situation. G-d is the same with us. We are just like the child who does not see the danger. The difference is that the danger we are facing is the danger to our souls.
On the level
We must realize that we are on a low spiritual level before we can come to repentance. It is human nature to think we are on a higher spiritual level than we actually are. This is an ego problem. In such a state, we come to think we are above others in some way. This can lead us to look down on other people. If you are in a position that causes you to look down on others, that is a big problem. We are all created the same; in the image of G-d. If you are looking down on those whom you consider sinners, you are the sinner. In that condition, you cannot come to repentance. In order for us to realize where we are at on a spiritual level, HaShem allows us to fall into sin. That sin clouds the soul. If we continue down that path, it gets harder and harder to return to the truth. This in no way means it is impossible. When we are caught up in a sinful life, our soul knows that it is being polluted. It yearns for the truth. When we finally realize that we are on that low level, we feel embarrassed before HaShem. This is how He knows we are truly repentant. One who sins and is not embarrassed about it cannot be sorry for what they did. If one is not sorry for their sins, they will not repent of those sins because they don’t honestly think they did anything wrong. Their ego is telling them they are innocent. Letting yourself to be ruled by the ego leads to arrogance. Arrogance makes us believe that we are better than others. It is a vicious cycle.
HaShem puts His hand on every aspect of our lives. If you look for it in you daily life, you can see it. Even through the clouds of the sinful life, He allows you to see His work. But you must actively look for it. Consider this. If you are looking for HaShem’s work in your life, you are actually looking for Him. Those who look for Him will be helped. He will let you see. Even if you can only see a small amount of what He is doing, you will realize that He is working in your life and doing what is best for you. If you can see Him working in your life, you can see Him. This is necessary if you wish to come to repentance.
Know that this is a process which you must go through. There will be times of struggle and time of gain. Be careful not to let the times of gain cloud your judgment. Don’t think that you’ve made it and now everything is going to be great. When you do this you are giving yourself the credit. The truth is that you did not do anything, HaShem did the work in your life that allowed you to come to repentance. You cannot say “I did it”. What happened was that HaShem gave you the merit to come to repentance. If you think you did it, that is your ego talking again and you have not yet arrived where you think. When you do hit a pitfall, don’t beat yourself up over it. That is also HaShem working in your life. You see, He knows when your ego is trying to take over. The pitfalls are like a safety net, keeping you safe from your ego and the arrogance it brings.
The path of repentance is not easy and does not happen overnight. Those of us who are on a low spiritual level, and I include myself, have much to learn and much to realize. Learning comes from studying the Torah and the other holy texts. They are filled with the information we need. Realizations are different. They come to us directly from HaShem and are meant only for us at the time when they are most needed or will do the most good. If HaShem is giving you realizations, be happy and know that you are on the right track.
Copyright 2017 by:
And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I know that this too is a frustration. For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge, increases pain. —Kohelet Continue reading “Wisdom and Folly”