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Thursday, February 25, 2016

How Genealogy Became Almost as Popular as Porn


Rabbi Eric has been teaching a series entitled נְחֵל Nachal - all about being Culturally Confident in our Heritage in Messiah. This week he will continue on Shabbat, and this recent article from Time, illustrates how relevant this issue is in our society here in the U.S. According to this article: "The great irony is that many Americans — particularly those who were several generations removed from the immigrant experience — were trying to find personal meaning in their ancestry long after their heritage ceased to play a meaningful role in their lives."
Check out the article above use the link...



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Acts 6 מעשי השליחים

1.   What does Luke attribute towards the problem that arises in the early Messianic Jewish community, in wider context, how were people provided for in their elderly years in “Jewish” cultural background in the first century?

2.   What is meant by the Shaliachim regarding what they felt they should be appropriate for them to spending their time; what kind of occupation where they seeking and how do we see this as well in Jewish culture?


3.   How does the appointment of the Seven reflect what Moses was told to do in the Torah and what is significant about the parallels between the qualifications of these Seven and of those whom Moses appointed?


4.   How did the Apostles approve and appoint the Seven; what did they do?


5.   How did the early Messianic Jewish community have an influence among the Levites and how did this take place, what could’ve been the connection?


6.   What exactly was the Synagogue of the Freedmen, what do we know about it?

7.   Why did some of these “Diaspora” Jews argue with Stephen, what was their motiviation; and what grave sin against the Torah did they commit?

8.   Who was actually responsible for Stephen’s execution, the Freedmen, or the Sanhedrin?

9.   What is the meaning of Stephen’s “countenance”, where else do we see this in Scripture?



Monday, February 22, 2016

On this day Adar 13 in Jewish History...

Today is the 13th of Adar (1), although it is a leap year, we won't observe Purim for another the link below for the article...

Adar 13: Fascinating historical facts about the Jews and Judaism, arranged according to the Jewish calendar.

US government to stock Israeli bio-tech cure for lethal radiation in 2017 - Israel News - Jerusalem Post

US government to stock Israeli bio-tech cure for lethal radiation in 2017 - Israel News - Jerusalem Post

Well if we keep "Boycotting" Israel we won't have these kinds of benefits...

Photos showing Pluristem CEO and COO Yaky Yanai, and Pluristem trials

Netanyahu Might Not Have Easier Time With 'President' Hillary

Netanyahu Might Not Have Easier Time With 'President' Hillary: Publication of Clinton emails continue to reveal her disdain for Netanyahu and for Israel as a whole

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Acts 5 מעשי השליחים

מעשי השליחים


1.   How does the incident with Ananias and Saphira have to do with Barnabba?


2.   Give Biblical examples of things that could be dedicated as “voluntary offerings” to help the poor in the Torah, how does it relate to Acts 4?


3.   Give previous Biblical examples of the same fate of Ananias and Sapphira suffered; what are the parallels?



4.   Where was the regular meeting place of the emissaries, and why is this significant?

5.   What was the contemporary belief in healing at the time, and what did this have to do with Peter’s shadow?


6.   Who exactly is responsible for arresting and imprisoning the emissaries this time, why is this significant?


7.   Who exactly set them free, and where did he tell them to go and why is this significant?


8.   What were the likely repercussions of the emissaries escape on the Captain, and what does this all say to us about the success of Messianic Jewish preaching and ministry despite opposition?


9.   Why did the Captain and guards not take the emissaries a 2nd time by force,  what did they fear and why?


10.                  What does the expression “this Man’s blood” mean, how did the Sanhedrin interpret it, and what did Peter mean it to be?


11.                  What were “all” the causes of the Sanhedrin’s reaction of rage to the emissaries and their intention to kill them?


12.                  Who was Rabban Gamaliel, why do you think it was he to warn the Sanhedrin to take a different course regarding the emissaries?


13.                  Who was Theudas and Judah, what did they do and what was perhaps one of the chronological problems with their mention in Acts 5?


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Europe's Stark Options

Europe's Stark Options

by Daniel Pipes
National Interest
March-April 2007

Students:  If you'd like to get a "sneak peek" at my upcoming d'rash this Shabbat, check out the article above, entitled "Europe's Stark Options" (click the link).  It is a great "prophetic" article about the rise of Islam in Europe.  I'm going to be starting a new "series" of messages under the banner of "Nichal" i.e. "Heritage" - Being Culturally Confident in our Heritage in Messiah.

I'm jazzed about this not only due to the influence of this article and how prophetically profound it is, but also in discussions with other local leaders and pastors who agree with me on the crises that the Body of Messiah is facing today.  See you on Shabbat - R' Eric

Debunking Gary Burge's Supersessionist Theology Regarding Israel

Debunking Gary Burge's Supersessionist Theology Regarding Israel: Professor's misrepresentation of Scripture is behind much of Christian antagonism toward Israel

Debunking Gary Burge's Supersessionist Theology Regarding Israel

Interesting article from Israel Today - check it out!  Many Christians ask why the Church to this day is plagued with so much "Replacement Theology" - it's professors in Seminaries and Universities like this!

R' Eric

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Acts 4 מעשי השליחים

מעשי השליחים

Acts 4

1.   Who is the “captain” what was his job and how is the mention of the Sadducees significant in vs. 1-2?


2.   How and why was it possible due to the circumstances, were Peter & John able to have such success despite the intervention of the “authorities” – beyond their “anointing of the Holy Spirit”?


3.   Who were Annas, Caiaphas, John & Alexander and why is their mention important?



4.   What exactly was the Sanhedrin investigating, the fact that the man was healed, or something else; and why was this so important for them (i.e. the Sanhedrin) to do this?



5.   How did the Sanhedrin respond to the “boldness” of Peter and John, how did they regard them, and why is their response significant?



6.   According to Halacha, (i.e. Jewish Law) what legal “jeopardy” did Peter & John find themselves in after the Sanhedrin warnings?

7.   Explain how the Messianic community at the time interpreted these events with Peter and John as the fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy and specifically which prophecies?



8.   How are the events in the conclusion of this chapter in direct relationship to Shavuot at Mt. Sinai and in ch. 2; how is this affected by the description of the community; and how further is the conclusion about how they treated the poor reminiscent of the Exodus?


9.   Who is Barnaba and what do we know about him?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Chodesh Tov!

Today, Shevat 30, corresponding to Feb. 9th is the Eve of Rosh Chodesh Adar I.  At sundown we will have the new moon of Adar I.  This year 5776, is a leap year on the Hebrew calendar, and therefore, there will be a second month of Adar following this one.
Adar is a very special month as we observe the Festival of Purim, and another great deliverance that God provided for our people.  He will always save His people Israel from all of their enemies!
Here are some important anniversaries that I thought you'd find interesting on Adar.  Enjoy...

Adar in Jewish history
1 Adar (1313 BCE) - Plague of Darkness, the ninth plague upon the Egyptians (Exodus 10:23). This started on the 1st of Adar, six weeks before the Exodus.
2 Adar (598 BCE) - Jerusalem falls to Nebuchadnezzar and Jeconiah is captured.
3 Adar (515 BCE) - Second Temple completed
7 Adar (1393 BCE) - Birth of Moses
7 Adar (1273 BCE) - Death of Moses
13 Adar (522 BCE) - War between Jews and their enemies in Persia (Book of Esther, chapter 9).
13 Adar (161 BCE) - Yom Nicanor - The Maccabees defeated Syrian general Nicanor, in a battle fought four years after the Maccabees' liberation of the Holy Land and the miracle of Hanukkah.
14 Adar (522 BCE) - Purim victory celebrated in the Persian Empire
15 Adar (522 BCE) - Purim Victory Celebrated in Shushan
15 Adar (1st century CE) - Jerusalem Gate Day - King Agrippa I (circa 21 CE) began construction of a gate for the wall of Jerusalem; the day used to be celebrated as a holiday.
23 Adar (circa 1312 BCE) - Mishkan assembled for the first time; "Seven Days of Training" begin.
24 Adar (1817) - The Blood Libel, the accusation that Jews murdered Christian children for their blood, declared false by Czar Alexander I. Nevertheless, nearly a hundred years later the accusation was officially leveled against Mendel Beilis in Kiev.
25 Adar (561 BCE) - Death of Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 52:31).
27 Adar (561 BCE) - Death of Zedekiah in Babylonian captivity. Meroduch, Nebuchadnezzar's son and successor, freed him (and his nephew Jeconiah) on the 27th of Adar, but Zedekiah died that same day.
28 Adar (1524) - the Jews of Cairo were saved from the plot of Ahmad Pasha, who sought revenge against the Jewish minister Abraham de Castro who had informed Selim II of Ahmad's plan to cede from the Ottoman Empire. To this day, Adar 28th is considered the Purim of Cairo, with festivities including a special Megilah reading.


Monday, February 8, 2016

For you can all prophesy one by one, so all may learn and be encouraged. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, for God is not a God of confusion, but shalom. As in all the communities of the kedoshim, let women keep silent in the communities, for it is not permitted for them to speak out. Rather let them be in order, as the Torah also says. If they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home—for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak out in the community. Did the word of God originate with you? Or did it reach you alone? If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that what I write to you is the Lord’s command. But if someone does not recognize it, he is not recognized. Therefore, brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But let everything be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:31-40‬ ‭TLV‬‬.

 I think it's time that I address some important issues regarding Shabbat services and orderly worship.   At Tikvat Yisrael we are a Spirit filled messianic Jewish synagogue.   In many ways we are similar to spirit filled churches, and in many ways we are also similar to traditional rabbinic synagogues.  However, a messianic Jewish synagogue is unique in its own right.

 We are unique and different from churches, in that we have a cultural heritage grounded in Torah, and therefore on Shabbat we expect to conduct a Torah service in the proper way of our people.  At the same time, compared to a rabbinic Synagogue we are much different in that we know the Messiah and we have his Ruach Hakodesh    רוּחַ קָדְשׁ Holy Spirit. his Shkinah is present among us when we gather for a Mikra Kodesh.

 Therefore we are in a position that requires a very careful adherence to the rules set down by the messianic Jewish apostles especially Paul in this passage above from 1 Corinthians 14.

 Dr. David Stern says the following in his commentary on this passage: "Only after teaching broadly and presenting general principles in 12:1-14:25 does Sha'ul give specific rules for the use of the verbal spiritual gifts (prophecy, tongues and interpretation) in congregational meetings. In so doing he follows his pattern at 8:1-11:1; there too the instructions came at the end of the discussion. The prophets' spirits are under the prophets' control.  This can mean either that each individual prophet ought not to let himself be carried away into unseemly behavior, or that the prophets as a group can exercise control as needed over individuals among their number. But clearly uncontrolled ecstatic utterance has no place in Messianic worship practice, for God is not a God of unruliness but of shalom (peace, wholeness, health, integrity). (Stern, 1998).

 I appreciate Dr. Stern's comments on these very controversial subjects. I also want everyone to know how much I, as the rabbi as well as the rest of the leadership at Tikvat, want very much to see the gifts of the Spirit move and to see true genuine revival of our people be manifested in and among our services.   With that being said  the rules of "order" and "the prophet's spirit  is under the control of the prophet",  should be reinforced.

 So here are some practical suggestions I can give the congregation at this time.    There are appropriate times to exercise the gifts of the Spirit.    There are other times when it is not "appropriate".    Typically, we start our services with spirit filled "praise and worship".  I am going to make it a point to always invite the Holy Spirit to move as often as possible and make time for this to happen.   I will make it a point to make an invitation for the Spirit of God to speak through all of us. During this time of praise & worship it is appropriate to bring a Word from the Lord. I usually stand during worship up front an I and the Elders are ready to receive your Word for it to be tested. We can then allow you to share it. But remember the word from the Lord, according to this chapter is always encouraging and edifying. It is never a rebuke or condemning. Also a word from the Lord is not a "sermon". It is not a time to preach or teach.

 Paul says in the above text that "you can all prophesy one by one".    This means that God can speak through all of us and I would like to see more of you exercise the gift of prophecy not "the same people week in and week out".   There should be a variety of people bringing forth words from the Lord one by one as the spirit moves.    This is a spiritual discipline and all of us should come to service on Shabbat ready to hear from the Lord and give a word from the Lord without drawing attention to ourselves.  None of us want to be perceived as drawing attention to ourselves or hogging a microphone just to hear our own voice.

 Secondly, and as I mentioned previously, there are "inappropriate times".   For example, during the Torah service especially when the Torah is being removed from the arc or being returned back to the arc, this is not the time to be coming forward with a "word from the Lord".   If you are not familiar enough with Jewish culture then I recommend asking someone before coming forward to deliver a Word. Also, it is a good practice that if you see the Rabbi and elders being seated, that is also not an appropriate time to bring forth a word. Then of course there are questions about what Shaul was teaching about women. Again here is Dr. Stern's comments: "33b-35 Wives... speak out. Or, "women... speak," which could imply that Sha'ul is prohibiting women from prophesying, preaching, teaching or praying (or possibly, given the context, from speaking in tongues) in a congregational meeting. But we know that there were women prophets (Ac 21:9), that in this very letter Sha'ul permits women to pray and prophesy in public meetings (11:5), and, of course, that not all women have husbands whom they can ask at home. The last point is decisive and shows that Sha'ul is answering a question (7:1) the Corinthians asked about wives' discussing with their husbands what is being said while it is being said. This would disturb decorum even if the wife were sitting next to her husband; but if the universal Jewish practice of the time (and of Orthodox congregations today) was followed, wherein women and men are seated separately in the synagogue, it would obviously be intolerable to have wives and husbands yelling at each other across the m'chitzah (dividing wall). Sha'ul places his instruction precisely here in the letter because it is here that he is dealing with matters of decorum and public order in congregational meetings; his advice seems curt and abrupt only if one ignores that he has already discussed the applicable general principles and that (by my assumption) his questioners are already familiar with the context of the problem, since they brought it up in the first place. If we could not supply such a framework for these verses, we might have to conclude, as some do, that Sha'ul demeans women (see 11:3-15 do, that Sha'ul demeans women (see 11:3-15) (Stern, 1998) I also appreciate Stern's use of the word "decorum" that would be an accurate word to describe what we are aiming for in our Shabbat service. A decor of Messianic Jewish Spirit filled worship all performed decently and in order. May we all at Tikvat, grow in the spirit and follow these biblical guidelines closely as we practiced them. R.E.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

מעשי השליחים Acts 3

1.   Why were Peter and John going to the Temple, what would they do there, why does the text mention the time and which prayer service does it refer to?


2.   Which gate is the “Beautiful Gate”, describe its origins, why was this lame man situated there to get tzadakah?



3.   What is significant about Peter’s mention of “Silver & Gold” and how did he heal the lame man?


4.   What are the halakhic ramifications of the crowds running towards the Apostles in the Temple after the healing?


5.   How does Peter describe God in relation to Yeshua, and how does he impute guilt on the crowd; (i.e. what makes them feel ashamed for what they did to Yeshua)



6.   What exactly led up to the lame man’s healing, what was the source of his healing?


7.    How does Torah distinguish between sins committed in ignorance and those committed deliberately, give examples and how does this passage compare, which category did their sin fall into?


8.   What is Peter’s remedy, describe this act of contrition, what exactly is it; what does he promise God will do if they respond this way; what is the relief that Peter speaks of, where does this idea come from?


9.   What does Peter’s phrase “sons of the prophets” mean; and how does his reference to Abraham and the cutting of the covenant allude to the Precedence of the people of Israel?