|Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile|
Disputation II Abstract: |
Historical/biblical contextAccording to interpretations of Halachah today, 1) Joes do not exist and 2) even if it were conceivable that Joes exist, there is no way to prove it. Joes have no identity because they do not comprise a Rov (majority) in any population sample you could assemble. Joes are so assimilated into Gentile culture, ethnicity, language and nationalities that they are impossible to locate by any but an extremely esoteric means or highly speculative cultural and etymological links to tribal names. But Genesis 48:16ff holds a promise that Joes will at some time constitute this Rov like "fish in the midst of the land." The only Halachic discussion about the Assimilation is recorded in Y'vamot 16b and 17a in the Talmud, where it was decided at that time, that there was no Rov status of Joes. Biblically, this Rov is connected to the ultimate Redemption of all of the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So it is in the best interest of the House of Judah religiously and politically to accommodate the Return of Joes, even though that means relinquishing the majority status of the Jewish people in the land of Israel. This conundrum is going to require thinking outside of the norm and open minds and open hearts. A starting point for dialogue is the historical/biblical context of the covenant the God of Israel made with the House of Joseph, His annulment of this covenant in Hosea 1 and its renewal by a tzadik of the First Century in the person of Y'shua. The writing about this tzadik in the reNewed Testament refers to the three judgments in Hosea. It provides the historical/biblical continuity upon which Y'shua's mission as a shaliah and tzadik can be evaluated, all theology aside.
Removing the michshol (stumbling block) between Joseph and Judah
© 2005 Maggid ben Yosef
Disputation Series Part II:
In focusing on the Torah with Halachah, these Disputations echo the voice of the one who wrote Torah and framed the first Halachah as an oral tradition: Let My People Go! But standing in the way of an Exodus of untold millions of Joes today are the modern leaders of Christianity and the very structure of the Christian Church and Orthodox Jewish leaders yelling Stay away. So until Christianity formally recognizes the Joes in their midst, they are busy mobilizing outside of the land of Israel. For these Joes, the first stage of mobilization is to somehow arrive at the truth of Torah, a strange directive for non-Jews. But even though we Joes are not Jewish, Joes share an "unexplainable Israel thing," that knits our hearts with our Jewish brothers and motivates us to desire to share in the fate of the children of Jacob. And none too soon.
Obadiah predicts a war in which Jacob and Joseph are on the same side and which annihilates those Palestinians who remain in the possessions of Joseph. But before Judah will welcome Joseph back into the family, Joseph has to be weaned of the notion that the renewal of covenant required for Joseph, applies at all to Judah, except as the initial thrust of a movement to seek out and find the Lost Sheep of the Assimilation of the Northern Kingdom because largely only Jews were then in covenant with the God of Israel.
It is true that both Jews and Joes must repent and return to the God of Israel and His Torah. But nowhere in the Tanach, does the God of Israel actually decree the equivalent of a "divorce" between Himself and the House of Judah as he in fact did when divorcing the House of Israel. That is the historical/biblical context in which The God of Israel's further dealings with the Assimilation of the Northern Kingdom must be understood. So the renewal of covenant brought by Y'shua applies not at all to the House of Judah, unless perhaps it is to a Jew who has so assimilated and neglected the commands of Torah that he doesn't even circumcize his sons or see to their bar mitzva. For it is the circumcision that perpetuates the covenant from generation to generation among Judah and the bar mitzva which affirms it. So long as that stream of Torah observance, even minimally, has been in evidence, the Jewish people a.k.a. (the House of Judah) has maintained a covenant with The God of Israel. And since the terms of the divorce between He and the Northern Kingdom a.k.a. (the House of Israel) remove every hint of mercy for the latter but specifically exclude that judgment for Judah (Hosea 1:7), it does not appear that the Jewish people are ever without the mercy to return to the God of Israel even without a mediator.
Without some bridge, some connection, Joseph-Ephraim stands on the shore waiting for the ship of Halachah, described by Rabbi David Bar-Chaim of Jerusalem as "dead in the water in the middle of the ocean with a broken rudder." And as the Rebbe Shani Dor (the Breslov Hasid Rav Yisrael Tzvi Yehudah Schneider) describes the sancticty of Halachah: "we can't even read a repair manual on how to fix it." The repair has got to be evident in the meaning of the existing words. In other words, without changing one word of the Halachah, a case has to be made for another interpretation perhaps through a more broad definition of a single word. We suggest that this word is Rov (majority). And in its definition -- according to the Torah -- it applies in a global context which first identifies Joes and secondly, rules Joes to be fit to again live in the land of Israel.
That means if we are going to make any headway with the rabbonim to convince them that it is the God of Israel's will that we arrive at a framework under which we may return and a means of indeed identifying us as legitimate children, the answer is in the Halachah as written. Somewhere in the Halachah there is a revelation of something hidden, some loophole, if you will. Specifically, we bring Yevamot 16b-17a, where it is stated of the Northern Tribes that they at that time did not constitute an identifyable Rov (majority). But today, there is every indication that Joseph-Ephraim has become a Global Rov.
Even so, Halachah, as interpreted today, tells us 1) Joes do not exist and 2) Even if it were conceivable that Joes exist, there is no way to prove it. Halachically, Joes have no identity because they do not comprise an identifiable Rov in any population sample you could assemble. This is because Joes are so assimilated into Gentile culture, ethnicity, language and nations that they are virtually impossible to identify by any but an extremely esoteric means or highly speculative cultural and etymological links to tribal names.
Joseph probably would not mind donating part of his mummified remains to provide the DNA that could resolve this conundrum and that would answer any reservations as to the legitimacy of Joes. After all, there is just as much of Esau-Edom assimilated into the "followers of Y'shua" as there is the House of Joseph, so legitimacy is a valid concern, especially since it means that the modern Jewish state at some point would relinquish Rov status to these Joes when their multiple hordes return.
However, Joes must deal with more than legitimacy. Joes must also show that they are fit. This is because the Gemara discusses specifically the "fitness" of the "House of Israel" in the context of their Torah observance because of the God of Israel's decree, "I will scatter you like seed. You are without My mercy. You are not My People and I'm absolutely not your God. All of that because the House of Joseph biblically and historically counted the Torah "a strange thing" ... and their idolatry.
By manifesting the Torah in the person of Y'shua, who fills the bill as the "Halachic" son of God, we can think of no more strange a response to our "strangeness."
Halachah would allow a woman who was unfaithful to her intended husband after they became kiddushin set apart for one another to be reconciled as the bride of the son, so long as the father had never had relations with the woman. She is forbidden to return to the husband to whom she was betrothed (the father). This would defile the land according to Torah. But she is allowed to consummate the marriage with the son. This appears to be a picture of the renewal of the House of Israel into the family, which we submit, should also be the historical context by which to understand the reNewed Testament. At Sinai, the God of Israel refers to all of Israel with the term, "kiddushin" or betrothed. And there is no evidence of a "nissuim" (consummated) relationship between Israel and The God of Israel. So the door would be open for an anointed tzadik (righteous messiah) who would be called "the son of God" because the only loophole in Halachah would allow only such a son to renew the covenant with the harlot, Northern KIngdom.
But legitimate Joes also must be suitable Joes, fit to live in the land because they know the Torah well enough that they know what will defile the land. Again, the best insurance policy the rabbonim have that Joes will not defile the land once it becomes evident that they can no longer be held out of the land -- is that Joes will live according to Halachah to the degree that the rabbonim may decide without availing themselves at all of Joeish opinions on the matter.
Historically the Torah sages and tzaddikim who comprised the Jerusalem Sanhedrin "sat in the seat of Moshe," which means they interpreted Halachah. In Y'shua's day, he said of the Scribes and Pharisees who sat in that seat, "Do as they say, but not as they do." Did Y'shua himself, therefore, give authority to Halachah? Just because he called them hypocrites for not doing the Halachah they were teaching, does not mean he preached one word against the body of the oral tradition that later became codified into the Mishnah and Gemara or as it is known collectively, the Talmud. The entire Talmud was codified within about 100 years of Y'shua's ministry. He may have even had some influence on the collection since the main local custom he opposed, prohibiting healing on the Shabbat, is not found in the Halachah. In fact, the entire Halachah goes out of the window in the case of saving a life any day of the week.
Idolatry is a category of transgression called "pesha" in Hebrew, willful and intentional sins for which there is no specific atonement mentioned anywhere in the Torah. The Day of Atonement only mitigates the pesha until it is fully repented. But there was no sacrifice set down in the Torah for transgressions of this type. The God of Israel's 13 attributes of mercy as recorded by Moses, which are remembered from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, the so-called Ten Days of Awe, definitely state that the God of Israel forgives pesha. But when Moses restated them in the very next paragraph in the Torah, he left out the forgiveness of pesha!! This is a very great mystery. But at least part of the answer is found in Isaiah 53, where the only atonement for pesha is recorded: There, a suffering servant-messiah takes on himself the pesha of the "sheep" that have "gone astray."
Ha-Satan knows the repercussions to Esau-Edom, for whom the Torah indicates he is the ruling or guardian spirit, when the House of Israel finally finds its way back to the God of Israel and Torah and the Land and is reunited with Judah. Against a reunited Judah and Israel, Esau cannot stand. But so long as Judah and Israel are divided, the hand of Esau is mightier than the voice of Jacob. It is particularly devious of him (Ha-Satan) to interfere with the "kavanah" (holy intentions) by confusing the role of the anointed tzadik, Y'shua, identifying him as God and interjecting the very element of idolatry for which our ancestors were judged and spewed from the land. So, as long as Ephraim persists in the Church dogma proclaiming Y'shua as "deity," the redemption cannot be complete. Joes cannot return to their land nor to the exalted status of their fathers, as the Rambam defines the Redemption. And Judah is instructed by Hosea: "As long as Ephraim clings to his idols, leave him alone."
True, Y'shua and his followers were often put out of the synagogues. But we can understand this if historically and biblically, Y'shua's message and mission did not concern the synagogue at all once he had announced his intentions of going after the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel. Acts 15 indicates there was a very close relationship between the early followers of Y'shua and the synagogues that were already in existence. James (Ya'acov) the brother of Y'shua ruled that the followers of Y'shua abstain from four categories of defilements "for Moses is taught in every synagogue on every Shabbat."
Exactly how the rift between Y'shua's followers and the Jews of the First Century synagogues widened to the point that the Church, which denied the Torah and substituted Easter for Passover, is quite a study. But that is not how it was at first before this great falling away of which Y'shua warned. The followers of Y'shua then were like a sect of Jews today who follow after a rebbe and the synagogue was then and is today central to their study of Torah and the oral traditions. So it should be the goal of every Joe to "get back into the synagogue" where the Torah is read and where Joes can at least stand in the same building with Judah. At least the appearance of unity between us should cause Ha-Satan to bristle a bit.
"Before Abraham was, I am." Y'shua was born on Simhat Torah (when the Torah comes to life in the synagogues and is taken out of the Ark as a dance partner for the congregants). He was conceived at Hanukkah, which commemorates a miraculous light. He began his ministry on his 30th birthday on Simhat Torah, and it ended at Passover, three and a half years later, or exactly one completion of the Triennial Torah Cycle then practiced in Jerusalem (see Encyclopedia Judaica). He identified his physical body as a manifestation of the Book of the Covenant and his blood as the instrument of a renewed covenant at the Pesah Seder (Last Supper when understood in its Torah context). He rebuked followers who were "workers of iniquity" literally ministering "without or against the Torah" ("anomia" of Matthew 7:22-23) saying "I don't know you." Naturally, if he was a manifest Torah, they would not know him unless they observed the Torah.
Y'shua is identified with or associated somehow with the Torah. And so, before Abraham was the Torah. Although the Torah was as divinely inspired as the mission and message of Y'shua initiating the regathering of the Assimilation by restoring covenant between it and The God of Israel, neither the Torah, nor Y'shua who was its manifestation, could be called "deity."
As John 1:2 states it, "The same -- the Word (or Torah to a First Century Jew) was in the beginning with God. To be with someone implies a separate personality. That personality is further identified as the Aleph-Tav (Alpha and Omega) of Revelation 22:13. The mystic sages have always identified the Aleph Tav (the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet) as pointing to the Torah, which was the means by which the God of Israel created the Universe. Therefore it was with him in the beginning and materialized through the Word that brought about Creation.
Through some decree from the God of Israel -- related to the Fast of Gedaliah when the Jews of that day prayed directly to the Torah to petition the God of Israel and to "seek out the lost and straying sheep" and "repopulate Zion" -- the Torah was given a body of flesh and lived a flesh and blood man that had to prove its identity and its fitness by its words and deeds ... the same way the followers of the Torah should be proving it.
That this entity which manifest the Torah was very much human, in every way we are human, or in other words "came in the flesh" is also evident in Revelation 22:8-9. If the red type was not arbitrarily put there by someone, it would be impossible to distinguish the messenger from the Aleph-Tav (Alpha-Omega). It appears to be the same entity speaking in verses 10-13 who speaks in verse 9 when John the Revelator bows down to worship this messenger: "See thou do it not; for I am thy fellow servant and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. Obviously, this was not an angel, but a flesh and blood human, since angels are not charged with keeping the Torah and were not prophets.
"In the beginning was the Word" (In Genesis 1:1, which begins the same way, the Word is Alef-Tav). "And the Word was with God" (Until He spoke the Word, it was in fact part of God but once it was spoken it was not God, but God's Word) "And God (was with) the Word."
When you translate the Greek text back into Hebrew (the most authoritative textual criticism of the Gospel of John indicates the Greek text stems from either a Hebrew or Aramaic original) you would not translate the verb "was" when associating two persons. For the same reason, you would say, "John was with Mary and Mary, John." An original Hebrew text would have read "Bereshit hayah Ha-Davahr v'Ha-Davahr hayah im Elokim v'Elohim HaDavahr. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and God the Word."
A rule of Hebrew grammar states that the second use of the past tense of the stative verb is implied and not actually part of the text. This Byzantine scribe apparently did not know the difference ... or had a theological axe to grind, which was probably more the case.
If there is any question that the presence of the Torah with God is the point of the writer, the next verse makes it clear "The same was in the beginning with God," implying a separate personality emanating as all entities of His Creation do, from the God of Creation.
The New Testament account of the Gospel is incomplete and virtually incomprehensible without the foundation of Torah and the historical-grammatical exegesis of the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts. It should also be clear that the Orthodox rabbonim, who control the gatestrings of the House of Josephs return, will never accept a Gospel that does not have some continuity with the Torah and which is not in line with the expectations of the Prophets. And of course they would not accept Y'shua on behalf of themselves but only as validating the renewal of covenant of the Assimilation of the Northern Kingdom without idolatry and without any form of sh'tuf.
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