Major Announcement by Ani Yosef!!

In a major announcement this morning, Ani Yosef posted that their next service project will be IN Jerusalem for Passover and the price has come down considerably. Their April 2020 trip will be 14 days long for just $350 which amazingly includes lodging in Jerusalem and two meals per day. (Does not include airfare or transportation to/from Ben Gurion International Airport.)

For details, see the Huge News! Price Drop!

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Torah Portion: Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1)

The Apostle Paul instructed the appointment of elders. Why? Did he institute an office, or was he being very pragmatic? And, if so, why?

We begin the transition from family to nation, but is it a change of status, or do we misunderstand the ‘nation?’

And, leadership… Hmmm…. what can we learn from Moses?

This week’s Torah portion is full and we barely scratch the surface but provide more meat concerning family structure, patriarchy, and the restoration of Israel! Read or download from our Torah Portion Series page!

Shabbat Shalom!

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Torah Portion: Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26)

Late, and against all odds, this week’s Torah Portion commentary is up on our Torah Portion Series page. Shabbat Shalom!!

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Shame, Reproach and the Image of Marriage

Honor and shame are concepts almost completely lost on western culture. We watch memes, gifs and video clips of foibles and disasters that befall others and consider it humorous to mock and laugh at their misfortune. We even encourage and rejoice in the sin and shame inducing behavior of others while entirely ignoring our own reproach for things Scripture considers abhorrent.  Our culture ignores widows and orphans, glorifies divorce, practices all manner of sexual deviance, encourages abortion and we are generally irresponsible toward all but self.

In fact, like a man with no sense of smell, we have become a people entirely unaware of our own stench or that of those around us. Like pigs, we wallow in our filth and think it okay, maybe even funny. We glorify our stench.

As I have been studying Scripture regarding the two houses of Israel, God’s relationship with each house and His use of the relationship between man and woman to image Himself and His people, I have become increasingly aware of how very wretched we are on so many levels, and, how wrong is our theology.

One of the deep concepts that God refers to over and over is that of  shame and reproach, so I had to begin to search out why God uses this concept and what we need to understand in both the spiritual and the physical dimension. Foundationally, there are several basic concepts that must be understood. If these are new to you, I recommend reading and processing the links to gain understanding and insight.

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Torah Portion: Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27)

Bombshell material in this commentary on Vayigash!! What does it mean to build a nation, and how does God do it vs. how man does it? Does family structure play a role? Buckle up, because several cited sources in this one will bowl you over!!

See our Torah Portion Series to read or download the free commentary on this week’s portion, Vayigash.

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Torah Portion: Miketz (Gen. 41:1-44:17)

What can we learn about leadershio, patriarchy and responsibility from Joseph and his epuc testing of hus brothers? Come aling and check out this week’s Torah Portion Commentary as we dip into Miketz and consider Reuben, Simeon, Judah and Joseph in their respective roles as thus drama unfolds.

See our free downloadable options on our Torah Portion Series page.

And, a special thank you to Jeremy and Robin for their input and support in this series.

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Five years of growth…

Five years ago today, with much fear and trepidation, I hit the ‘post’ button and launched an article into cyperspace that literally scared the hell out of me. I had been studying a topic for months in an effort to disprove my suspicions, only to find that I was wrong, or my Christian doctrines were wrong, and I needed to adjust my understanding to bring my paradigm into alignment with God’s everlasting, unchanging Word.

That article, titled Marriage, Adultery, and Christian Error..., caused more than a stir. It was a lightning rod! I had, somewhat knowingly, hit the third rail.

Over time, the backlash subsided, but my studies did not. The Father continued to draw me deeper into understanding Him and His ways. I would try to avoid the topic and the implications but the Almighty would not let it go, so I couldn’t. The depth of my understanding grew and original findings, while never overturned, were modified slightly.

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Torah Portion: Vayeshev (Gen. 37:1-40:23)

The ‘Joseph Portions’ are my favorite and this is a fun look at the first through a different lens: headship and patriarchy. The major shift for me is that I had to spend more time understanding Judah and Tamar and some very important details there that relate to marriage and family!!

Join us this week for a fresh look at the Torah and explore information critical for the restoration of kol Israel. This week’s portion, Vayeshev, is available for online reading or download on our Torah Portion Series page.

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I’m Rethinking the Apostle Paul…

“Paul is hard to understand.” Like me, you probably hear this all of the time. I finally had to start rethinking Paul.  Whatever position I arrived at, I knew that it had to agree with the Apostle Peter.

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. [15] And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, [16] as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. [17] You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. [18] But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

2 Peter 3:14-18

Peter clearly admits Paul is ‘hard to understand’, but also admits that his writings fit with ‘the other Scriptures.’ I decided that I must be missing something or not seeing Paul correctly.  I had to rethink or re frame him.

Recently we had a comment here on the blog and a portion of that comment expresses exactly what has me concerned. And they are not alone in this difficulty.

“Since we know that Paul’s teachings/letters have done huge damage in getting people off track, as they are truly stumbling blocks, then why do so many messianic pastors try to ok his teaching against Torah and try to ok it? Yeshua warned us that the false tare words would remain till the end! And they sure have. Our Abba didn’t allow mixture then and He doesn’t allow it now. We had better be careful when we use Paul’s mixed teachings. I want nothing to do with stumbling blocks!.” 

Part of my concern is that many in the Torah walk have minimized or even outright rejected Paul’s letters! This is a very dangerous thing to do! Supposedly, Paul upheld and taught the Torah. Is it possible we misunderstand Paul because we are looking through the wrong lens? 

One thing that I think we often forget when we read Paul is one of the most basic rules of Bible study. CONTEXT IS KING. We often consider the surrounding context of Scripture, but we fail to understand the circumstantial or cultural context of his audience.  So let’s consider the context of Paul and his writings. 

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Torah Portion: Vayishlach (Gen. 32:3-36:43)

Join us this week for another Torah Commentary from the unique perspective of headship and patriarchy. Jacob, the Godly patriarch, is faced with significant challenges, both within and without the family. How does he respond? What can we learn?

And, is it possible democracy has roots in Esau? Hmmm…

Come along and see the Torah from a different perspective. The downloadable links for Vayishlach are on our Torah Portion Series page.

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Book Review: Genesis Look Again, A Fresh Translation with Notes

Recently, as I have been assembling a weekly commentary on the Torah Portions that focuses n headship and patriarchy, a major theme, I have been utilizing and enjoying Rabbi Yirmeyah Ben Avrom’s recently published Genesis Look Again, A Fresh Translation with Notes.

I became acquainted with Rabbi Ben Avrom a couple years ago through online interaction and very early in our communication, found a faithful friend who has a passion for ancient languages and pursuit of truth. Through our interaction, I learned of his family, the fellowship he leads and about the sacrifices he has had to make to pursue with zeal the gifting he has for translation and explanation. Imagine my excitement when he told me that he was in the process of writing a fresh translation of the Torah, complete with notes and comments that shed light on parts of the text not often touched.

This year, as we approach each book of the Torah, he is releasing the respective translation on Kindle with automatic updates while he fine tunes this mammoth work with an eye toward publishing in hardcopy. Genesis is currently available and my regular readers have seen me quote or cite it every week. I love this translation and the attendant notes! Here are a couple images of the view in Kindle and the expected view in hardcopy.

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Restoring kol Israel: Democratic Republic or Theocratic Patriarchy?

What will be the form of government in the Millennial Kingdom? Will it be a democratic republic?

Most people who never ponder the form of government in the Millennial Kingdom merrily assume that it will be some sort of democratic republic with Messiah at the head. But, is that a safe assumption?

Most all nations in western culture, particularly ‘christian’ nations, are some form of democratic republic, often with a strong bent toward egalitarian feminism. We generally regard this as the result of ‘Enlightenment’, but do we find any support for the ideals upon which most governmental forms are founded anywhere in Scripture? (Yes, dyed in the wool Presbyterians may think Paul’s eldership is, but that is simply how to behave in the diaspora…)

In fact, while western culture may have drawn a now fading moral code from, primarily, the Torah, any honest student will readily admit that the form of government comes straight out of Greece and Roman systems contemporary to Second Temple Judea. And, if one is to trace it further back, they would be surprised to find that Greco-Roman democratic ideas came from Esau and Genesis 36, but I digress. A good study on that topic is The Esau Effect from The Messianic Message.

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Torah Portion: Vayetze (Gen. 28:10-32:3)

God gave Jacob a vision, then gave him four wives! Wait, What?!

Sure to spark real discussion and digging in the Scriptures, this week’s portion discusses the importance of vision for every man and the family he leads, as well as going where most are terrified to tread…. What God says about family structure.

This short (if you can call it that) commentary is not meant as a final authority as there is simply too much in this portion related to headship, patriarchy and family structure to cover it all. However, this is a great place to begin the discussion with a number of linked resources for further research. The key is to pursue truth and shed tradition and false doctrine.

Download in multiple formats or read online on our Torah Portion Series page.

Shabbat Shalom.

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Restoring kol Israel: Greco-Romanism in the Kingdom?

Food poisoning is not a pleasant experience. In fact, sometimes it can be quite serious leading to hospitalization or death. Nobody plans for it, rather it usually occurs because of some minute unnoticed contaminate in the food that negatively affects the body. Sources could be fecal, bacterial, parasitic, or even viral. We are familiar with names that strike fear, such as e. coli, salmonella, campylobacter, toxoplasmosis, rotavirus, etc.

But, what if the contaminate is visible? Would we remove it? Or, like a turd in the punch bowl, would we just dip around it assuming we can ignore or ‘dodge’ it?

Most who desire the coming of the Messiah, whether Jews, Christians or any shade in between (Messianic Judaism/Hebrew roots/Torah pursuant/etc) seem to prefer to dodge the obvious contaminant in the punch bowl. Let’s consider some challenging things.

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Torah Portion: Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9)

See Toldot from a new perspective! Consider the aspects of family dynamic, headship and patriarchy as you dig into this week’s Torah portion. Connect it with Proverbs and parental responsibility.

Go to our Torah Portion Series page to view or download in multiple formats.

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