|Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile|
Removing the michshol (stumbling block) between Joseph and Judah
© 2005 Maggid ben Yosef
Nothing less than the salvation of Israel at least the Israel defined by the Bible is at stake.
When the Northern Tribes were exiled in 722 BCE, the decree of exile was accompanied by a sign, which made it irreversible. For 390 days, the prophet Ezekiel lay on his side outside the walls of Jerusalem facing the North. This resulted in a 390-year judgment against the Northern Tribes for their idolatry and slander against the Jerusalem Temple and enmity against the House of Judah. Those 390 years expired in 332 BCE with the Northern Tribes already assimilated throughout Asia Minor and across Europe. Without evidence that they even knew their identity four centuries later, much less had repented, the Torah further decreed a seven-fold multiplication of the 390-year judgment or 2,730 years.
If this is counted from the time of the exile, the Assimilation must begin returning to the God of Israel, His Torah and the land of Israel in the year 2008. This would begin with repentance of idolatry, which would make it possible to reconcile with the House of Judah and make a national tikkun (repair of the breach) caused by the split of the Kingdom by Jereboam. Helping the Assimilation with this return should become the focus of the Christian world its top priority -- if it is truly obedient to the Gospel. For as worded in Isaiah 49:5-6, the mission of the servant tzadik was firstly to raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore the preserved of Israel, and secondly to be a light to the Gentiles so that the salvation of the God of Israel could be known throughout the world.
Debating the reNewed Testament without the earlier foundation of the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings and the oral traditions handed down by Moses explaining how to do and guard the Torah (Halachah), is an exercise in futility. It has only fomented strife and anti-Semitism. But with the presupposition that the Torah is the foundation for the reNewed Testament rather than the New Testament being a foundation for the Torah, real, profound and exciting strides can be made to reconcile the House of Judah and its Halachah with the true faith promoted by Y'shua, which Christianity has obscured by proclaiming him to be "deity" and the Torah to be "irrelevant."
The task is monumental and frought with obstacles. Also, Halachah is a language all its own about which the non-Jewish world is largely ignorant. Therefore the rabbonim must come to their own independent opinion on the extent of Halachah that should or should not be binding on the House of Joseph.
The exile of Joes occurred eight centuries before the codification of the laws of Torah that comprise Halachah. To impose the same exact Halachah of Orthodox Judaism on Joes may amount to taxation without representation since the eight centuries of debate, discussion and rulings excluded the Joes during their exile and assimilation into the Gentile nations.
Also, there are indications in the Tanach itself that a covenant renewed by a tzadik might exclude the chukim lo tovim (evil decrees) and the mishpatim (judgments) by which a man should not live, described in Ezekiel 20:25 as the consequences of the sin of the Golden Calf. The chukim (decrees) given before Sinai brit milah, (circumcision), rosh chodesh, (the renewal of the moon), Passover and Shabbat, and other chukim specifically stated as binding on all of the House of Israel throughout its generations would be mandatory for Joes called to reunite with their Jewish brothers to observe. In fact, Psalm 81 specifically requires the House of Joseph to observe the renewal of the moon.
The Halachah as currently interpreted does not even recognize the House of Joseph, much less its return. Without changing the Halachah, but simply by broadening the definition of one Halachic term, we believe we have found a means for Joes to be identified a loophole if you will. That term is Rov (simple majority), which should be broadened to describe the global majority to come out of the seed of Abraham.
During our depth study of Halachah at Yeshiva Ohr Someah in Jerusalem, we noted three areas where this discrimination against non-Jews is evident: Laws pertaining to inheritance, marriage and conversion. For instance, converts do not have any rights of inheritance when a Yovel (year of Jubilee) is declared. This means that the Jubilee year which according to Halachah is declared 50 years after a majority of the tribes are returned to the land poses a Catch 22 for Joes who would be forced to convert. On the one hand, Jeremiah 31:15-18 tells them to return and the specific territories to which they should return and on the other hand Halachah tells them they have no inheritance as converts. So, as currently interpreted, only Jews who are born Jews are entitled to possess the land of their ancestors when a Yovel is declared. Converts may live in the land, own property, vote and have all other rights as Israeli citizens, but their property rights are not extended to their biblical inheritances as Joes.
Redefining the rov in accord with the promise to the seed of Avraham, gives Joes the legal status and precedent to challenge these exclusive and discriminatory Halachot. The Disputations conclude that the only family within the House of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who can legally satisfy this rov status is Joseph-Ephraim. To become a global rov, intermarriage would be mandatory and Halachah expressly rules out intermarriage for Jews and goes so far as to annul marriages with non-Jews.
Conversion should not be the only path for Joes unless they are willing to give up their identity as Joes and sweep under the rug the historic unreconciled differences with their brothers from the Southern Kingdom of Judah. These are today yet unreconciled differences that led to Civil War between the House of Israel and the House of Judah. And these are differences which are sure to resurface at some future point unless they are addressed once and for all.
So there is yet unfinished business between Judah and Israel in the midst of whatever other historical/political/spiritual drama may be unfolding in the Last Days in the Middle East. Since the region set aside by the God of Israel to address these differences is the same region the Palestinians are wanting as their state, this places the Return of the House of Joseph and reconciliation with the House of Judah on a worldwide stage.
Initiating the renewal of covenant that would some day make the reconciliation of Judah and Joseph possible was identified as the work for which Yshua was sent. The same buzz words that signaled the Dispersion of the Northern Kingdom are echoed and remedied in reNewed Testament prophecies about Yshua before his birth and at his infancy. Those New Testament scholars seeking continuity with the Old Testament in the covenant renewed by Yshua need look no further than these judgments Yizrael, Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ami by which the God of Israel scattered the Northern Kingdom, removed His mercy from the Northern Kingdom and divorced Himself from the Northern Kingdom. And we find no application of these terms at all to the House of Judah.
Particularly noteworthy is the precedent in the Torah to argue that the phrase son of God, has specific application in the context of the Halachah pertaining to betrothal and consummation of a marriage arranged for a son by his father. This is the historical/biblical and Halachic framework by which we suggest Yshua intervened in the First Century. His mission was first and foremost to recovenant with the Lost Sheep of the non-Jewish Assimilation of the House of Israel. Since they are spread abroad, his Gospel of reconciliation must be preached throughout the world. The prominent role given by Yshua himself to Halachah, sets a precise and narrow gate through which Joes may be reunited with Jews and make their return.
Yshuas role agrees with the expectations of the anointed servant tzadik in Isaiah 49:5-6, who intervenes as the necessary tool of mercy to help the Assimilation of the Northern Kingdom find their way back to the God of Israel. Only then after the Gospel of the Restoration of the Kingdom is preached in all of the world can the knowledge of salvation of the Gentiles find its fulfillment.
Preaching the latter ahead of the former has resulted in misplaced evangelical fervor directed at the Jewish community, which is shallow at best without the foundation of their everlasting commands of Torah, not to mention the Christian doctrine of Deity so offensive to Halachah. So we began with the theological presupposition that this tenet of Christianity was instigated by the Constantinian pressures on the Roman church. Rome and its pantheon of other gods would only receive Yshua as a god himself.
Finally, the nature of the atonement of Yshua is explored according to its Hebrew exegetical origin as an atonement for pesha, which is not found anywhere in the Tabernacle or Temple economies. According to Halachah, pesha can only be mitigated on Yom Kippur by first making peace and restitution with aggrieved parties or as indicated in Isaiah 53, through the intervention of a tzadik.
The intent of these Disputations has not been to disparage the traditional interpretations that have led one to believe in the Deity of Yshua. Once a Torah foundation is agreed upon by which to interpret the reNewed Testament, these arguments disappear, however. The way, truth and life, by which one must come to the God of Israel is simply the Derek, Emet vChaim that characterize the Torah itself throughout Psalm 119. Before Abraham was, was the Torah. In the beginning was the Torah and the Torah (before its carnation) was with God and God (was with) the Torah. The same was together with God in the beginning.
These allusions to Yshua as the Torah are not accidental. He was born in a simple succah (manger) on Simhat Torah, when the inns were crowded because it was the 8th Day of the Feast when the succot were abandoned and the one day of the year when the Torah becomes a living dance partner in the synagogues. He was conceived at Hanukkah, some 280 days earlier, a Jewish festival that commemorates the victory of Torah faith over Hellenism. His ministry precisely fulfilled one cycle of the Torah according to the Triennial schedule then in vogue, which began on Simhat Torah and ended at Passover three and a half years later.
Another great irony is that Yshuas manifestation of the Torah is linked to a Jewish prayer commemorating the Fast of Gedaliah. That prayer to the Holy Torah for It to come, seek out and return the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel is found today in the Sephardic slichot (confessions) recited during the Ten Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: It is the only petition recorded in all of Judaism that is directed to one other than the God of Israel. At the time it was offered the Jews felt unworthy of the God of Israels mercy because they assassinated a Jewish ruler, Gedaliah, placed over them by Babylon.
How appropriate was Yshuas rebuke as the Torah made manifest -- to those whose faith evidenced even the charismatic dimensions of healing, deliverance and prophecy. Depart from me, ye workers of anomia (without or against the Torah), I never knew you.
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