Toldot: The Servant and the Coachman

studying-talmudIt was a hot July day during the summer of 1866. The children of Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch, five-year-old Sholom DovBer and his brother Zalman Aharon, had just come home from cheder and were playing in the garden which adjoined their home.

In the garden stood a trellis overgrown with vines and greenery which offered protection from the heat of the sun. It was set up as a study, with a place for books etc., and Rabbi Shmuel would sit there on the hot summer days.

The children were debating the difference between a Jew and a non-Jew. Zalman Aharon, the elder by a year and four months, argued that the Jews are a “wise and understanding people”who could, and do, study lots of Torah, both its ‘revealed part’ and its mystical secrets, and pray with devotion and ‘d’vaikus’, attachment to G-d.

Said the young Sholom DovBer: But this is true only of those Jews who learn and pray. What of Jews who are unable to study and who do not pray with d’vaikus? What is their specialness over a non-Jew?

Zalman Aharon did not know what to reply.

The children’s sister, Devorah Leah, ran to tell their father of their argument. Rabbi Shmuel called them to the trellis, and sent the young Sholom DovBer to summon Ben-Zion, a servant in the Rebbe’s home.

Ben-Zion was a simple Jew who read Hebrew with many mispronunciations and barely understood the easy words of the prayers. Every day he would recite the entire book of Psalms, pray with the congregation, and make sure to be present in the synagogue when Ein Yaakov was studied.

When the servant arrived, the Rebbe asked him: “Ben-Zion, did you eat?”

Ben-Zion: “Yes”.

The Rebbe: “Did you eat well?”

Ben-Zion: “What’s well? Thank G-d, I was sated.”

The Rebbe: “And why do you eat?”

Ben-Zion: “So that I may live”

The Rebbe: “But why live?”

Ben-Zion: “To be a Jew and do what G-d wants.” The servant sighed.

The Rebbe: “You may go. Send me Ivan the coachman.”

Ivan was a gentile who had grown up among Jews from early childhood and spoke a perfect Yiddish.

When the coachman arrived, the Rebbe asked him: “Did you eat today?”

“Yes”.

“Did you eat well?”

“Yes”

“And why do you eat?”

“So that I may live”

“But why live?”

“To take a swig of vodka and have a bite to eat,” replied the coachman.

“You may go,” said the Rebbe.

-Rabbi Yanki Tauber
“The Difference”
Commentary on Torah Portion Toldot
Chabad.org

Not a very flattering comparison between Jews and Gentiles, is it? Of course, the coachman, though he had “grown up among Jews from early childhood” obviously had not spent any time considering how the teachings of the Jewish people could apply to him. More’s the pity. He didn’t consider the example of Abraham and his household and how Abraham taught his non-Hebrew servants of the One God.

We know from last week’s Torah Portion that Abraham sent his most trusted servant to find a bride for Isaac from the land of Abraham’s father. We know that this non-Hebrew servant had learned the lessons of Abraham’s God well, as evidenced by his impassioned prayer.

And he said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, grant me good fortune this day, and deal graciously with my master Abraham: Here I stand by the spring as the daughters of the townsmen come out to draw water; let the maiden to whom I say, ‘Please, lower your jar that I may drink,’ and who replies, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels’-let her be the one whom You have decreed for Your servant Isaac. Thereby shall I know that You have dealt graciously with my master.” -Genesis 24:12-14

The result of the servant’s life of faith depended on Abraham teaching him, and all of the non-Hebrew household, of the God who created us all in His image. Rabbi Eli Touger also speaks to this point in his Torah commentary for Toldot.

Our Sages relate (Shabbos 89b) that in the Era of the Redemption, Jews will praise Yitzchak, telling him: “You are our Patriarch.” For in that era, the inward thrust of Yitzchak will permeate all existence. “The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d. The Jews will be great sages and will know the hidden matters, attaining an understanding of their Creator to the [full] extent of mortal expression.”(Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 12:5).

Although all Jews will then live in Eretz Yisrael, they will as their ancestor Yitzchak did influence mankind as a whole, motivating all to seek G-dly knowledge. “And it shall come to pass in the end of days that the mountain of G-d’s house will be established on the top of the mountains…. and all the nations shall flow unto it. Many people shall say: ‘Come let us ascend the mountain of G-d… and He will teach us of His ways.’ ” (Isaiah 2:2-3) May this take place in the immediate future.

So what happened to Ivan the coachman? Did the Rebbe fail to teach him the same lessons or to live out the same holy life as an example to Ivan as he did to Ben-Zion? Is Rabbi Tauber simply telling us that Jews “naturally” seek the things of God while Gentiles only seek the temporal pleasures of the world? I can’t speak to Rabbi Tauber’s intent, but let’s compare Ivan to Eliezer (assuming Eliezer is “the servant” in the tale of Rivkah). What is the difference between these two men? They both spent many years in the household of a man of God. Did the Rebbe fail where Abraham succeeded or did Eliezer see and hear something in Abraham and in what he taught that Ivan chose to ignore in the Rebbe’s household?

Regardless of opportunity, the path of faith is walked by the individual. We are not old-fashioned wind up toy soldiers that are primed, set on the floor, pointed in a direction, and then set off to march. We make choices. We cannot blame others if our faith is weak or even if it’s non-existent. Ivan chose to consider the purpose of life as taking a “swig of vodka and having a bite to eat” while Eliezer chose to drink deep from the wells of salvation (John 4:13-14).

The path has been set before us. All we need to do is choose to face it, set our foot upon it, and take the first step…or to turn away and follow another trail through the wilderness. Our choice. But like the Samaritan woman at the well, we have already been talking to the one we seek.

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” -John 4:21-26

Who are the sons of God? Israel is the obvious heir based on the promises of the Almighty to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but then why were the Jewish people expected to teach the rest of the world about God? If we are not heirs, who are we and what do we matter except maybe as “slaves” or “dogs”? Paul offers us hope. Paul said that we can be grafted in (Romans 11) to “sonship” through faith such as what Abraham had (Romans 4). He also wrote something else encouraging.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. -Galatians 3:26-28

The Jews are the sons of the Mosaic promise yet we Gentiles, through faith in the Messianic promises, will also be sitting with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 8:11). God be willing and merciful to us all.

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27 thoughts on “Toldot: The Servant and the Coachman”

  1. so you are saying that we gentiles are saved by faith and that we must then learn from the torah-observant jews how to live to please God? please clarify this for me. thanks. :)

  2. I’m saying we’re all saved by faith. The Children of Israel were originally given the responsibility to be a “light to the nations”. The idea was that Israel would be a living example of what a nation and a people could be like when they were living a lifestyle completely consistent with the requirements of God, inspiring the nations to desire a relationship with God, too.

    Jesus was and is the best of all possible “role models” in terms of being a “light to the Gentiles”. As the ultimate “Son of Israel”, so to speak, he teaches the non-Jews how to live a life that pleases God from a “torah-observant Jew”. He also correctly interprets the Torah-based lifestyle that was given to the Jewish people at Sinai and exemplifies what it is to be “a Jewish light”.

    Jesus didn’t teach non-Jews to obey Torah as if we were Jewish (Paul was very clear about this in his letter to the Galatians), but to take on the responsibilities, duties, and blessings as adopted and grafted in sons and daughters of the Messianic promise to the nations.

    Does that help, Cindy?

  3. “Is Rabbi Tauber simply telling us that Jews “naturally” seek the things of God while Gentiles only seek the temporal pleasures of the world?”

    This ontology (description of the essential nature of things) is part and parcel of Chassidic Judaism (see the beginning of the Tanya, for example). A “kinder, gentler” version is the view that Gentiles may be very intelligent in other ways but simply don’t have the capacity to learn Torah (told to me matter-of-factly by an Orthodox rabbi, otherwise one of the kindest and empathetic human beings I’ve met!). Not all Orthodox, and virtually no non-Orthodox Jews, believe this.

    If memory serves, this view was first argued by Yehuda Ha-Levi in the “Kuzari,” about the year 1,100. In its most virulent form, it is the product of experience, found primarily in Jewish cultures whose forebears underwent brutal persecution for extended periods of time. Their simple observation was that Gentiles act as brutes and therefore are brutes. Even the kind Gentile servant, it was/is thought to be brutish at heart.

    Because certain groups view this ontology as part of the Oral Torah that originated at Sinai, it is embedded in, and influences, larger areas of their world view.

  4. i don’t know! sometimes when i think about all of these different positions that people take about the law versus freedom from the law, i feel like my head is going to explode. and some of the points made are very finely nuanced.
    to my understanding, Jesus sets us ALL free from the law and ushers in a new covenant. because of this covenant we are free to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sent at Pentecost. not following the law doesn’t mean we are all free to live immoral lives. it means that we are Spirit-led, not law-led. if we were not to be Spirit-led, why did Jesus send the Spirit?
    you know, i have been going to church for half of my life and hearing all kinds of stuff about following the rules. but i just never could measure up: i never could keep my mouth shut when i needed to, never could control my anger, never could stop talking about people behind their backs, never could release the bitterness the held inside my heart. when i finally began to learn about grace, and to read the Bible through the lens of God’s love for me, and not his disappointment with me, i actually began to notice myself changing. and believe me, it wasn’t because of anything i did. it was because i finally began to focus on God’s love for me and not my own inadequacies.
    i am still learning. but i am so glad to be learning. i am intrigued by what you are writing and i want to make sure i understand the point you are making.
    thanks!

  5. Thanks for the illumination, Carl. That helps me (and probably most people reading this blog) to understand the background and dynamics of Rabbi Tauber’s commentary. I can understand that Gentiles, including Christians, have treated Jewish people in a “brutish” manner throughout the centuries, so I see how this conclusion might be reached. On the other hand, as you are more than aware of, God sent His light to both the Jews and the nations so that we may be His children and He may be our God.

    i don’t know! sometimes when i think about all of these different positions that people take about the law versus freedom from the law, i feel like my head is going to explode.

    I don’t blame you, Cindy. My head wants to explode sometimes, too.

    The dynamics of what Jesus did and didn’t change during his earthly ministry and beyond aren’t always as clear cut as we’d like to believe. The simple interpretation of the Gospels and Epistles is that Jesus did away with “the Law” and replaced it with his grace. The idea is that we no longer are led by the commandments as documented in the Bible but directed by the Spirit (I admit to oversimplifying traditional Christian doctrine here).

    However, if we take Acts 15 into account as well as portions of Galatians, we encounter the question of whether or not Jesus made the Law obsolete for everyone or just said it is not a requirement for the Gentile disciples. I tend to lean toward the latter, since Jesus, all of his Jewish disciples, and Paul followed the Law until the day they died (see Acts 18:18 and Acts 21:24 for examples of Paul participating in what appears to be a Nazarite vow).

    I believe the Acts 2 Pentacost/Shavuoat event was a “special” empowering of the Spirit to the core disciples to allow them to fulfill the assignment given to them at the end of Matthew 28 (the “great commission”), not that the Spirit didn’t exist and influence people prior to that time. We see the existence and power of God’s Spirit all through the Bible, in the life of every Prophet and everyone who has ever had an encounter with God. God’s behavioral requirements for the Jews (the Torah) and His Spirit go hand-in-hand, just as the Spirit and God’s requirements for we Christians are co-partners in our lives. Otherwise, why have a Bible and why do we bother studying it? Why would Jesus teach us to visit the sick and the prisoner, to clothe the unclothed, and to feed the hungry, if we weren’t expected to actually study and then “behave” out of what he taught, instead of being solely “guided by the Spirit”?

    I admit that the Bible can operate on as simple or as complex a level as we’re willing to accept. A five year old can gain a wonderful understanding of Jesus and salvation from the Bible, but there is so much more depth to what the Word provides than even the most brilliant scholar and understand.

    I never tire of studying (though at times I get discouraged) and realize that I’ll spend the rest of my life approaching mysteries I’ll never master. Still, He gave us His Word for a reason, both to illuminate the mind and to inspire the soul. Then we must take all of that and use it for the benefit of everyone around us, otherwise, it means nothing.

  6. “Is Rabbi Tauber simply telling us that Jews “naturally” seek the things of God while Gentiles only seek the temporal pleasures of the world?”

    (My previous comment was lost, so here’s the short version.)

    Standard Chassidic teaching, shared by many other Jews as well, is that Gentiles have inferior souls (see, for example, the beginning of the Tanya – the Hebrew original, not the obscure translation). They aren’t able to learn Torah, even thought they may have intellectual achievements in other spheres.

    If memory serves, this derives from the Kuzari (about 1,100 C.E.). But it is held with particular tenacity by groups whose forebears went through bitter and lengthy persecution. The Holocaust only solidified the impression that Gentiles are brutes.

    Unfortunately, once an ideology becomes established it is usually considered as part of Oral Torah, which is thought to descend from Sinai in an unbroken chain to the present. It therefore becomes immune to reason.

  7. i don’t think that Jesus “kept” the law. it seems to me that He continously challenged the teachers of the law, who, for all of their legalistic perfectionism, were spiritually depraved. if Jesus was such a good law-keeper, please explain to me why the religious elite so actively hated him. i believe that Jesus’ mission was to shine his light upon the spiritual depravity of the religion of the law and the “system” that the religious leaders had turned it into. in fact there are many examples in the gospels where the pharisees accuse Jesus of breaking the law. for heaven’s sake, they considered him a revolutionary and a rabble-rouser, so much so that they sought ways to kill him! if He kept the law all His life, why were they so angry with Him?
    as for paul, i hardly think that two examples in acts of paul fulfilling a vow prove that he followed the law all his life. i think his epistles prove otherwise.

  8. Are you aware that in 1st century Judaism the oral Law was held as equal or even above the written Torah?

    Jesus kept the Law, otherwise he would not be qualified to be the Messiah. Not only did He keep the Law, He also participated in the traditions of Judaism at that time.

  9. james,
    i do agree that certain behaviors are the evidence that a person truly has received the saving grace of Christ. but a person does not always “manifest” those qualities as soon as he accepts Christ. the Holy Spirit brings His fruit to bear in us. yes, i too believe that studying and understanding God’s word does strenghthen our faith and our walk and point us in the right direction. every christian receives the Holy Spirit when he is saved and He guides us in all truth (john 16:7-15). Jesus said that those who remain in Him (not the law) and He in them (again, not the law in them) will produce much fruit. He said that apart from HIM we can do nothing (john 15:5-6) He goes on to say that anyone who does not remain in Him is thrown awaya like a useless branch. (v 6). He does not say that anyone who does not remain in the law is thrown away…. here he is not only talking to his disciples, but also about future believers. in the sermon on the mount, He says anyone who teaches others to disobey the law is least in the kingdom of heaven. He was talking to jewish people about the pharisees and their manipulating the law for their own advantage.

  10. are you aware of deuteronomy 4:2?
    the oral law consisted of man-made tradition. please show me where Jesus obeyed and says we must obey the oral tradition of the israelites?
    in fact, the jews cannot even completely obey their God-given law anymore because their is no temple to offer sacrifices in.

  11. Cindy,

    I’m sorry, but you show a glaring lack of insight into the issues and very very little understanding of the historical Jesus. FYI, “law” isn’t even a good translation of the Hebrew word “Torah,” which means “instruction.” “Din” is the Hebrew word for law. If the many arguments within Messianic circles over “law vs. grace,” “Jew and gentile” and other related matters throw you for a loop, I invite you to continue studying them and ruminating on them until they no longer befuddle you.

    You said:

    “if we were not to be Spirit-led, why did Jesus send the Spirit?”

    Some fallacies here:

    1. The Holy Spirit did not originate from Jesus, if though Jesus sent the Spirit. The concept of the Holy Spirit (Ruakh ha-Kodesh) predates New Testament times by many centuries. It is an Old Testament concept, though not dealt with much in the Hebrew Bible.

    2. You’re imagining a dichotomy between “Law” on the one hand and “spirit” on the other hand that is false. Jesus kept the Law. He was also filled with the Spirit.

    “the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sent at Pentecost.”

    “Pentecost” was actually the festival of Shavuot (“weeks”), a Jewish festival. The Christian festival of Pentecost, commemorating what happened on that day roughly 2000 years ago to a large assembly of Jews in Jerusalem, started being observed quite a while after. There are countless other examples in the New Testament of Hebrew Bible holy days being modeled and/or fulfilled.

    “for heaven’s sake, they considered him a revolutionary and a rabble-rouser, so much so that they sought ways to kill him!”

    If you read the New Testament carefully, you’ll find that the religious leadership tended to get upset much more often about Jesus claiming an exalted prophetic identity than with what (what they believed to be) his breaking the Law. Also, several Hebrew Bible Prophets were considered nuisances by the elite and killed. That means their messages were revolutionary and a tough pill to swallow, but it doesn’t mean they were anti-Law. Criticizing hypocrisy is the not the same thing as criticizing the Law itself. If I criticize something hypocritical that some religious elites in the Christian religion do, it takes a simplistic mind to think that I am criticizing all of Christianity by doing so. Examples of Jesus keeping the Law as well as Jewish traditions in the Gospels are everywhere. I”m not going to turn this post into a book by commenting on the examples. Please take the time to read and learn about it.

    As for Paul, the key is to take his epistles in context. When he wrote an epistle to the Galatians, the context was a gentile (non-Jewish) congregation in Galatia that was very Torah-observant. Some of those members were about to convert to Jewishness and also believed that in this lay their salvation, not in the cross. Paul wrote his epistle to them to condemn their error in no uncertain terms. Paul in Romans said no less than that the commandment is “holy, righteous, and good.” When he referred to being freed in Christ from the “curse of the Law,” he was talking about the *condemnation* that comes from the Law, which continues to be the standard of practical this-worldly righteousness, though not ultimate righteousness, because all are ultimately self-centered and corrupt, unable to justify themselves. He did not say that the Torah itself was a bad thing. No way. Do you have any idea how utterly central Torah (both written and oral) was to Jewish life in those days?

    Basically, it comes down to this: for both Jews and gentiles (who have been grafted in by the New Covenant that Messiah ushered in) keeping Torah is mandatory, but gentiles are not obligated to the ritual identity-markers of Torah like Sabbath, dietary laws, and festivals, which are mandated for Israel alone. That’s the conclusion I and many others have reached after a prolonged study and rumination. God is not good if He is self-contradicting and a liar. He does not say the Torah is good and holy at one time, and that it is a covenant which endures forever, and then send a Torah-less “Messiah” to get rid of the Torah because, somehow and in utter contradiction, it is only temporary and bad.

  12. well, andrew, thank you for all of that information and yes, those are things that i am already aware of. no, i do not try to use the proper hebrew words. the fact is, it was and is law to the jews; the backbone of their religion, culture, etc. the only problem is, the jews themselves have so many differing interpretations about their doctrine. they do not all agree on what is the law, how to approach God, the advent of the Messiah, Jesus’ true identity, the list goes on…..and no, admittedly, i do not have a doctorate in jewish legalism or theology, but i do know enough to make an informed decision.
    i think, andrew, that it goes without saying that the Holy Spirit is eternal! but thanks for pointing out the obvious. what may not be so obvious to you is that the Holy Spirit did not indwell the israelite people individually. read the NT. Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit to live in us. this did not take place until after Jesus ascended into heaven. it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we live righteous lives, not by our own power.
    and yes, i do believe that Jesus came to do away with the old covenant.
    mark 14:4 “this is my blood, which confirms the new covenant between God and His people.”
    as for the REASONS the religious leaders persecuted Jesus and plotted to kill him: read the Gospels. that’s all i can tell you. you are completely wrong in insisting that their hatred mainly stemmed from Jesus’ claims of “an exalted prophetic identity”. i suggest you read the gospels. you will find that Jesus’ actions and His teachings were certainly just as offensive to their sensibilities.
    your condenscending tone toward me, due to the fact that i disagree with you ( which by the way, does not make me of inferior intelligence, as you seem to assume), speaks volumes on its own.
    now, may we just agree to disagree?

  13. “and yes, i do believe that Jesus came to do away with the old covenant.
    mark 14:4 “this is my blood, which confirms the new covenant between God and His people.””

    So you not only imply that God is self-contradicting and a liar, but you read a theology into the text that was never there. The New Covenant is an addition to the old. It was about gentiles being grafted into the family of Israel and, as you correctly wrote, the Holy Spirit indwelling in the individual. Israel’s status and its Torah remains, it is not replaced.

    “read the Gospels.”

    I have and I do. And many who know far more about the Gospels than you or I would disagree with you. Even many mainstream Christian scholars like N.T. Wright are endorsing something like a “dual-covenant” theology.

    “you will find that Jesus’ actions and His teachings were certainly just as offensive to their sensibilities.”

    As far as purely legalistic disagreements, off the bat, I can recall the controversy over whether it is permissible to heal on the Sabbath, as well as the controversy over some (key word there) of his disciples not practicing the ritual of washing hands before meals. I’m sure there are some others, and I would love you to point them out.

    The realistic reason he was sent to death by the High Court (which was more dominated by Sadducees than Pharisees) is because his movement was a political liability in an already unstable situation with Rome (which reached its apex not much later, anyway). But as the text so plainly states, they could find no transgression in him.

    “your condenscending tone toward me”

    My patience only goes so far. Sometimes I encounter opinions that are so deeply based in what I know to be fallacious, the barriers to carrying a productive conversation seem insurmountable. This was such a case. I refuse not to read the Bible realistically and with a consistent eye to historical context. Sola scriptura is a joke, sorry, and I can hardly hold a conversation with someone who believes in something as absurd as a tradition-less Jesus.

    Blessings and peace.

  14. For what it’s worth, I now bow out. These types of discussions generally tend to go nowhere fast. Hopefully, we will both learn something in reflecting on what the other was coming from and had to say.

    One last bit of food for thought:

    In the Book of Luke, probably addressed to a gentile readership, the book ends with Jesus saying a b’racha (blessing) over the disciples (which come from tradition), then ascending into Heaven, and thereafter the disciples were constantly in the Temple courts blessing God themselves. If Jesus or his early movement was anti-Law, this whole situation is an absurdity.

  15. “Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit to live in us. this did not take place until after Jesus ascended into heaven. it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we live righteous lives, not by our own power.”

    This is just a stupid claim….

    On one hand Christians teach that Salavation comes only through Yeshua, but on the other they really teach that there are different way for salvation…Even you, Cindy would agree that Abraham and David are saved. How could they be without the HS indwelling in them individually….

    “please show me where Jesus obeyed and says we must obey the oral tradition of the israelites?”

    I will go one better, I will show you where Yeshua Himself participated in the oral traditions. are you ready?

    1) He reclined, dipped, and drunk wine at the Passover table. Where are these three things mandated in the written Torah?

    2) Matt. 12:5, where in the torah does it say that the priests worked on the shabbat and were innocent? But it is an oral Torah teaching.

    Matt. 23:16, It appears that Yeshua accepts the rabbinic tradition that the Temple and the altar has sanctifying authority, but where would this be found written in the Torah?

    There are more….

    it would be best for you to study some more before coming here to embarrass yourself….

  16. Dan, please be a bit nicer. But you’re right, there are many examples of Jesus keeping commonplace oral traditions. Another is celebrating the national feast of lights (Hanukkah) in the Temple in the book of John. And there are quite a few more.

  17. Ouch, Dan. While I agree with the information you present, you could be a little more gracious about it. There’s a great deal of misinformation about first century Judaism, the nature of how the Torah and the pre-Talmudic oral traditions were viewed and the fact that the different branches of Judaism didn’t agree on how the Torah was to be lived out. It’s also a foregone conclusion that the nature and character of the Moshiach is misunderstood, both by modern Christians and Jews.

    We’ve all done more than a little studying and praying to come to the places where we are now in our spiritual journey and there is still a long road ahead for each of us. God be willing, we will come to the end of the trail someday and gain the promised eternal rewards. Along the way, we are supposed to emulate our Master. That he showed us grace, mercy, and kindness in our ignorance and stubborness is a clue that we should pass that same graciousness on to others. How else can we call him “Master” and ourselves “disciples?”

  18. Amen, James. We are called to treat one another with the highest civility. That is a great mitzvah. Yeshua himself seemed to be extremely tolerant of ignorance, and much less so of hypocrisy and judgmental attitudes among the learned elite. While the religious elite of Judea snubbed Galilean commoners as unlearned and backwoods, Yeshua embraced them. They were his folk.

  19. Ouch, Dan. I don’t think Yeshua would have said such a thing. And this is coming from someone who hates ignorance to the point of feeling hurt and offended when he sees it.

  20. OK, unless anyone else has a comment that directly addresses the content of this blog post, I say we move on to the next blog (which I’ll post to the web in a few hours). I don’t mind a frank exchange of ideas, but there’s no good to be done by insulting others.

  21. Good morning, Cindy.

    I seriously doubt you intended to offend Dan. Sometimes, emotions run high in conversations like these. I hope Dan will graciously accept your apology. For my part, while I may not always agree with everything you say (and I’m sure you don’t always agree with all my comments), I’m not offended and have no problem with your participation here.

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