The House of Joseph should understand that above all else, the
religious leaders of the House of Judah view themselves as
protectors of Halachah.
bars the return of Joseph-Ephraim until (1)
is renounced, (2) a more convincing identification of
Joseph-Ephraim is possible and (3) there is evidence of
"fitness," which could be measured against the standard of
or interpreted to mean, humility instead of arrogance. Of
concern in this writing is the arrogance of especially teachers
of the House of Joseph. The humility necessary -- and which
Judah is waiting to see -- is evidenced primarily through the
recognition of the authority of
to interpret it. Hosea was told, "So
long as Ephraim clings to idols, leave him alone."
And the chastisements of Ephraim for his arrogance also are well
documented in the Scripture. Halachah has
gotten bad press by teachers whose hearts are not right toward
Jewish religious leaders. Joes need to understand Halachah as it
is practiced by Judah -- as the most
perfect expression of love for The God of Israel and His Torah.
At the same time, the Jewish leadership needs to show Joes
mercy, recognize that Joes may never climb to the level of
and that there are other expressions of loving The God of Israel
just not as perfect. But
not only the standard of the House of Judah by which the Return
of the House of Joseph will be weighed and judged, it should
also be the common ground on which we can reason together. '05
Removing the michshol (stumbling block) between Joseph and Judah
© 2005 Maggid ben Yoseif
Disputation Series, Part I
Halachah -- Judah's
Orthodox rabbonim view themselves above all else, as
"defenders of Halachah,” or as this is phrased biblically,
“doers and guarders” of the Torah. Y’shua
challenged his disciples to also “do” and “shomer”
(guard or keep safe) the Torah and gave the authority to
interpret Halachah to the Pharisees of his generation who
sit in the seat of Moses.
From the perspective of Orthodox rabbonim, the House of Joseph
is found wanting re: its observance of Halachah. Primarily
this is due to its sh’tuf (association of an entity other
than the God of Israel with the God of Israel), which it learned
from Christianity. Secondarily, through the influence of “messianic
Jewish doctrine,” a vast number of the House of Joseph uses
and/or claims to know the proper pronunciation of the Name of
God. This Most Holy – meaning most set-apart – name was
historically pronounced only by the priests only when
singing the Bircat Kohenim (the priestly blessing) and the
high priest only on the Day of Atonement. Joseph-Ephraim
therefore comes across to the rabbonim as both idolatrous
and arrogant beyond belief. Until that changes, the doors to
the return of the House of Joseph are not only closed, they
are sealed by Heaven. Hosea was told, "So long as Ephraim clings
to idols, leave him alone." And the chastisements of Ephraim for
his arrogance are well documented in the Scripture.
taught in Orthodox yeshivot in Jerusalem is traced to
Moses, who had to explain how to do things like lay
t'fillin, tie tzitziyot, sh'kitah an animal so all
of its blood was removed, observe the Passover, New Moon and
Shabbat. Moses also obviously taught the meaning of the Sh'ma
professing the belief that the God of Israel is One. These
beliefs are solidified only with their observances as instructed via
oral tradition associated with Moshe rabbeinu “our
teacher, Moses.” But Moses taught all of Israel
and his oral traditions were held in common by the House of Judah
and the House of Joseph before the split of the Kingdom and
their separate exiles 136 years apart.
The Torah together with its oral traditions is called “Torah
according to Halachah.” It is logically today the document of
covenant and faith for the Jewish people, who unlike the House of
Joseph, returned from their exile. But the Jewish return has yet to
invite the return of the descendants of those Joes with whom the
House of Judah fought a Civil War, claiming mostly that they are
impossible to identify.
Consequently, Joes have languished in exile awaiting some spark that
will ignite them spiritually and speak to the inner yearnings of
their souls the answer to the “unexplainable Israel thing.” Among
the few dozens of Josephite groups that have been our experience, a
single truth emerges that solidifies the foundation of this search:
Torah according to Halachah
has become the foundation upon which the later teachings of the
Prophets and Writings had to stand or fall and similarly
the recalled standard by which the later teachings in the
reNewed Testament must be judged.
This puts Joes at odds with Christianity’s pet dogma, because
p’shat interpretations of Torah and the oral traditions strictly
forbid idolatry in any form, including sh’tuf. And in
messianic Jewish circles, Joes are being forced to pray only in the
name of "Yahweh," which is one of more than about a dozen
permutations of the unutterable Divine Name.
The Scriptures say a man speaks from the abundance of his heart.
When words are written down, they are important enough to consider
them heartfelt, as well. Since no such belief about the
"second person of a deity" ever existed within the Torah or
was ever practiced by the Torah faithful and was never
observed anywhere in the record of oral traditions, the only
authority for this belief would be arguments one might propose from
the Brit Chadashah (reNewed Testament) alone.
And Y'shua spoke well that when those blind to the Torah
try to lead those blind in the Torah, both will fall
into a ditch. To choose a guide who is not blind, you must choose
someone who knows and understands Torah with Halachah.
Why the adamancy about the
authority of the Torah? Simply because of the Halachah,
which states how a Torah scroll must be written to ensure
its accurate transmission. No such system to guarantee accuracy
existed with the transcriptions and translations of the New
Testament, which is a compilation of fragments from more
than 3,600 different Greek manuscripts, most dating from the
Byzantine period. (The Text of the New Testament: Its
Transmission, Corruption and Restoration by Bruce M. Metzger,
Oxford Press, 1992). We would add that many Semitic
concepts thought and stated and written in First Century Aramaic
do not translate well into Greek.
It is difficult to argue the "inerrancy" of the New Testament
at all. For instance the redactor (editor) of Matthew apparently
inserted a paranthetical note in a later copy that states the death
of the children at Bethlehem was foretold by the prophet Jeremiah
with Rachel weeping for her children. But Rachel's children
could not have lived in Bethlehem which was in Judah, because
Rachel's children are not Jewish; they are Joes who at the time of
Y'shua's ministry were scattering across the globe. Jeremiah
31:15-18 which explains the context of Rachel's weeping, also
has nothing to do with Jewish children; rather Rachel is told that
her own children, who are in a state of exile and often do not even
know their identity, will return to their own territories.
In the same chapter of Matthew, four other glosses disagree with
earlier references in the Torah, Prophets and Writings to
which they refer. It appears that this particular Byzantine monk was
ignorant of the Torah and Tanach or was caught up in
the error of "proof texting" with texts taken out of context (a
popular teaching style in many Bible colleges today).
Joes and Jews must agree on an authority by which the return,
reconciliation and reunion must be judged and that authority
must be the Torah. The same Torah context should be
considered for every word of teaching in the New Testament.
But when you resort to the Torah to find justification for a
"dual personage deity" you are hard pressed to find it.
The argument usually raised is that the name Elokim, (God)
appears to be a plural noun. But the rule of Hebrew grammatical
exegesis is that nouns receive their number by the verb used
with the noun. And from the earliest mentions of the Hebrew name,
Elokim, the verb is singular. Therefore Elokim is a
Because of the indoctrination of 2000 years of Christianity,
including 1600 years of Deism since Constantine declared all in his
domain to be Christians and the Roman church was forced to
accommodate their pagan idolatry, the church and the synagogue have
not seen “eye to eye." Church and synagogue have not shared the same
presuppositions and therefore have arrived at different beliefs.
The synagogue has always chosen the Torah as a foundation
upon which to add the Prophets and the Writings and
atop that the oral traditions codified in the Mishnah and
Gemara that comprise the Talmud. Rather than add the
New Testament somewhere between the oral traditions and their
codification, which is its historical order, Christianity has
substituted this foundation for that of a brand new, “New”
Testament, stripping it of its continuity with the Old
Testament and distorting even its name, Brit Chadashah
(renewed, restored or repaired covenant). In placing the cart before
the horse, Christianity has invented a faith that deifies Y’shua,
which is precisely what Constantine needed and the early Roman
Without the same standard that ensures accuracy in transmission
virtually every statement in the reNewed Testament
could be disputed and especially if those words conformed to the
theological presuppositions crafted by the Byzantines who redacted
All of that is a moot point, except for Joes to somehow resolve
among themselves. The rabbonim in Jerusalem could care less
about the Scripture and its unfulfilled prophecies. The only
arguments that will not fall on deaf ears are those made from some
precedent in Halachah or which clarify Halachah or
challenge interpretations of Halachah and not the Halachah
Observance of the Halachah is believed to be the "most
perfect expression of love for the God of Israel and His Torah."
Still, there are other expressions perhaps, just not as perfect.
Similarly, when one sees things on one level, that does not mean
that the things seen with the eyes above or below when two people do
not see "eye to eye" are incorrect for the one seeing them. They are
only problematic when they are espoused dogmatically ... and then
they also reek of arrogance.
The "sacred name" theology, for instance, espouses that the God of
Israel does not answer your prayers unless you use the right name to
call upon Him and that name is, to these adherents, Yahweh, Yahveh,
Jehovah, Y and K and W and H (without the ands) and other permutations. However, nobody is sure of the
correct pronunciation. For those who think they are certain,
consider the writing of James Adair. His book, "The History of
the American Indian" published in 1775 records his finding among
five tribes of Native Americans, (including the Cherokee and
Choctaw) that the name by which they and their ancestors called upon
the Creator was “YO-HEE-WAH.” This is a documented oral
tradition that predates most other oral traditions except the
Mishnah and Gemara of the Talmud. The fact that
Hebrew writings were found in proximity with Cherokee burials –
buried in the manner of Hebrews -- at Bat Creek, Tennessee,
indicates some assimilation among the Hebrews and these Native
Americans hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans. It is
also in accord with the mystical tradition that the name was
pronounced by its letters.
To engage in a debate on the deity of Y'shua assuming a foundation
of the New Testament is therefore, futile . But to do so from the
foundation of the Torah is to arrive at the Truth and most
importantly ... to arrive at the Truth in a context that agrees with
The Halachic understanding of the role of the shaliah (the
sent one) and the tzadik (the righteous one) and the moshiah (the
anointed one) is the basis for Y’shua’s calling, identity and
mission in his own words. “I am sent only unto
the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel,” he said. He
called himself “son of man” (mortal) even when referred to as “son
of God.” The moshiah (Gr. Christ) deified by the church is
simply one who is anointed. It is the trinity of the
shaliah-tzadik-moshiah which made Y’shua unique. Only the
Torah with Halachah codifying the Talmud is the
dictionary that defines the anointed tzadik sent
by the God of Israel to recovenant with the Assimilation of
the Northern Kingdom and in the process make a way for Gentiles to
fathers understood the first order of business associated with the
Gospel in Isaiah 49:5-6: to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and restore the preserved of Israel. It may now finally be the
time when the Gospel of the Kingdom restored to Israel is
preached throughout the world. But this focus on the tribes and
preserved of Israel appears to be the single witness Y’shua himself
challenged his followers to perpetuate in Acts 1:6-8 when
they asked him, “Will you at this time restore the Kingdom to
Israel?” This single question also defines the role and
expectation of the anointed tzadik sent after Israel.
Dare we wonder whether this was the primary aim of the Gospel from
its onset? Isaiah goes on to describe this as “the keyl
(light or easy) thing” compared to the servant also being a light to
the Gentiles to spread the salvation of the God of Israel abroad.
Had the early church remained part of the synagogue and not departed
from the Torah, we wonder whether the Roman church could have taken
it into idolatry.
Martin Luther's reformation began to deal with these pagan
incursions into the faith, but for some reason the '95 Thesis
Luther nailed on the doors of the church in 1595 and the Protestant
Reformation it launched, did not address the prevalent belief that
the Christian savior was "deity” or the origin of that belief at the
time of Constantine. Rome had a pantheon of gods and for Y’shua to
be greater than them, he had to be made into a god himself. And that
is what the redactors of the Brit Chadashah have done by
inserting phrases like "Father, Son and Holy Ghost," which are not
in all of the earliest manuscripts.
The New Testament is filled with errors and some of them are
clearly aimed at persuading one's doctrine. To criticize it, you
have to take it apart but when we do that, we don't intend any less
respect for it; plus the truth it contains should not be shaken by
an honest and thorough examination of the text and what it says. If
there is any practical application to the challenge by the God of
Israel that we should "reason with him," it is in seeking the truth
contained in the New Testament.
This Disputation proposes simply that Y'shua is unnecessarily
portrayed as deity. In other words, the God of Israel could
accomplish all that was/is necessary through Y'shua as his agent and
shaliah (one who is sent) in the person of "the anointed
tzadik" (literally, “righteous messiah”). And it is not
necessary to capitalize messiah.
The duality of Elokim is contrary to the most basic and
fundamental and most ingrained teachings of Israel since the time of
Moses. That the God of Israel is indivisible and cannot be more than
one entity nor can more than one entity be Him. The latter is called
sh'tuf, which must be renounced when rejoining the family of
Israel but is allowed for Gentiles. These “duality of deity”
doctrines have no solid exegetical foundation and are usually based
on some mystical interpretation related to "Lesser Deities" in the
arrangement of the Ten Sefirot.
Any practicing kabbalist (not to be confused with a
theoretical kabbalist), can suggest that the error in
promoting a dual deity or two-in-one deity comes from not
understanding the hard and fast rule of sodot (mystical
interpretations). Moses himself is believed to have clarified that a
sod may never contradict a p'shat (the simplest
level of interpretation). The p'shat of the Torah is
simply that the God of Israel is One and His name is One.
In other words, He cannot be divided into two entities and two
entities with different names cannot comprise Him.
As a "shaliah"
(one who is sent) Y'shua speaks with the same authority and status
as the One who sent him. Those who deny his word, deny the
word of the God of Israel. Those who deny his authority, deny the
authority of the God of Israel.
The Jews of the First Century understood full well the claims Y'shua
was making as a "shaliah" but their question was whether he
truly represented the God of Israel.
Y'shua himself never claimed to be "God." Had he ever done so, he
would immediately have been stoned or branded meshuganah
(crazy). It is obvious that since he was crucified, he was not
meshuganah. Halachah forbids capital punishment for those
who are deranged. No, he never claimed to be God because he wasn't.
Son of God is another matter altogether, which we suggest in a later
Disputation, appears to relate to an Halachic means for a son
to consummate a marriage contracted by his father, when the father
is unable to consummate the marriage because his wife-to-be was
unfaithful after her betrothal. As will be seen, the parallels are
between the God of Israel, Y’shua and Israel, the “bride of the
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