Fidelity: Commentary on Haim and Dauermann in Messiah Journal 114

mj114Some years ago Dr. Mark S. Kinzer coined a term for the new and revolutionary approach that many Jewish followers of Yeshua have adopted in regard to their relationship with Judaism. The term “post missionary Messianic Judaism” (PMJ) initially caused ripples that have grown into waves and that we are bringing about a paradigm shift among Messianic Jews. The PMJ paradigm sets a new trajectory for the community of Jewish followers of Yeshua, establishing its role within Judaism and its partnership with the faithful among the nations. In this article, I will attempt to convey my understanding of PMJ, its crucial role, and its ramifications or the Messianic movement.

-Haim Ben Haim
“Postmissionary Messianic Judaism in Practice,” pg 42
Messiah Journal Issue 114/Fall 2013

The Jewish people are “us,” not “them.”

-Dr. Stuart Dauermann
“The Jewish People are Us — not Them,” pg 55
Messiah Journal Issue 114/Fall 2013

Both Haim and Dauermann have written long and densely packed articles on interlocking topics for First Fruits of Zion’s (FFOZ) current issue of their landmark periodical, Messiah Journal. I have to admit that with my busy work, writing, and reading schedule this past week, I’ve only had the opportunity to scan their write ups. I’m looking forward to giving them the attention they deserve and perhaps even composing a more detailed review.

However, I noted that Haim provided something that may be useful in my weekly meetings with My Pastor. Pastor has repeatedly asked what the current function and use of the Torah is in the lives of the Jewish people, particularly Messianic Jews. It is his opinion that the Torah, however it may be defined, has limited to no use in the current age thanks to the classic Christian interpretation of key passages in the letters of Paul.

Not being Jewish and certainly not being a Torah observant Messianic Jew, it’s difficult for me to articulate the lived experience between the Jewish people and the mitzvot. Pastor lived in Israel for fifteen years, so if either one of us should have the experience of observing the relationship between the Torah and the descendants of the children of Israel, it should be him. However, Orthodox Judaism and the myriad complexities of modern Torah observance, have become a major stumbling block. It’s time to make things a little more manageable.

The implementation of PMJ involves all parts of Jewish life. By way of example, we will briefly consider a few of those institutions that comprise the life of a healthy, vibrant Jewish community: Shabbat observance, festivals, kashrut, traditional prayer, the Torah service, gemilut chasidim, tikkun olam, solidarity within modern Israel, the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony, outreach, and Jewish education.

-Haim, ibid pg 48

In a nutshell, this list is a very good place to start in explaining the role of Torah in the life of a Messianic Jew who is facing his faith in Messiah as a Judaism rather than a Christianity.

jewish-christian-intermarriageI won’t attempt to replicate all of the details regarding each of these institutions and elements of Jewish life and community and encourage you to get a hold of a copy of Messiah Journal and pour over these intricacies yourself. Two-thousand years of Gentile Christianity in all of its forms have cemented the idea that the worship of the God of Israel and having faith in the Jewish Messiah King are completely non-Jewish for both Gentiles and the Jewish people, thus any Jewish disciple of the Jewish Messiah must, by (Christian) definition, renounce all of Judaism and being Jewish (with perhaps some lip service relative to being a “Hebrew Christian”) and emulate the Goyim.

This is not the way it was prior to the destruction of Herod’s Temple and it is my firm belief it will not be that way when Messiah returns. Christians will have much to repent of on the day Moshiach ascends the throne of David in Jerusalem.

To put a different slant on the topic, Dr. Dauermann (pp 55-6) offers seven core values designed to shape a mature Messianic Judaism:

  1. Messianic Judaism is a Judaism and not a cosmetically altered “Jewish-style” version of what is extant in the wider Christian community.
  2. God’s particular relationship with Israel is expressed in the Torah, God’s unique covenant with the Jewish people.
  3. Yeshua is the fullness of Torah.
  4. The Jewish people are “us,” not “them.”
  5. The richness of the rabbinic tradition is a valuable part of our heritage as Jewish people.
  6. Because all people are created in the image of God, how we treat them is a reflection of our respect and love for him. Therefore, true piety cannot exist apart from human decency.
  7. Maturation requires a humble openness to new ideas within the context of firmly held convictions.

Although Dr. Dauermann’s article focuses on the fourth principle in his list, I want to touch briefly on the third element: Yeshua (Jesus) is the fullness of Torah.

When My Pastor hears that Jesus fulfilled the Torah, he understands that to mean once Jesus arrived, the Torah was no longer necessary and thus was rendered inert, at least until such time as Ezekiel’s Temple is rebuilt and the numerous prophecies in the Tanakh require all of Israel to resume the Temple service and most if not all of the other mitzvot.

I’ve tried in different ways (unsuccessfully) to reframe “fulfilled” in this context, but the other night, unable to sleep, inspiration seized me.

You may not be old enough to remember a television commercial for Memorex tape cassettes featuring the wonderful Ella Fitzgerald. The commercial played part of a song recorded by Ms. Fitzgerald and then the artist herself singing the same notes (I’m writing this from decades old memory and only later did I insert the link below to the actual video), apparently shuttering a glass in the process. The idea was to show that the fidelity of the recording was so near the original (Ms. Fitzgerald’s actual voice) that it too could shatter glass. The tagline for the commercial was, Is it live or is it Memorex (link to YouTube video).

If the recording of Ms. Fitzgerald singing is high fidelity, it is still not her. It is as if the recording “points” to her, the perfect original. In singing live, you might say Ms. Fitzgerald “fulfills” the recording, since she is the perfect and absolute embodiment of what was recorded on tape.

ella_fitzgeraldThis doesn’t render the recording useless and inert. After all, how many of us could simply accompany Ms. Fitzgerald around all of the time in the hopes she would burst into song? However, we can carry around a recording of her music so that we can access and enjoy her singing at will.

Like Ms. Fitzgerald (in a sense), Yeshua is the original, the perfect observer of Torah, the absolute firstborn Son of Israel, the goal all other Jewish believers aim toward in their lives, their righteousness, and their observance of the mitzvot. Like Memorex, no Jewish person is quite like the original, but the goal is to achieve as high a fidelity to that original as possible.

I like to compare our work at First Fruits of Zion and Vine of David to that of carpenters building a home. After all, we are disciples of a carpenter.

Our work can be compared to a building contractor who builds a “Spec” home. A “Spec” home is built on “speculation.” In other words, a builder builds a home with the features he believes will eventually appeal to buyers, but he has no guarantee of a sale. Years ago, on a conference call, my colleague D.T. Lancaster encouraged our staff to take a high view of Messianic Judaism. It is easy to get discouraged with the circus of mayhem and competing religious ideologies that calls itself Messianic Judaism. My colleague said, “When we speak of Messianic Judaism we always speak of the ideal — the way it should be. When we create our resources we create materials for a community that does not yet exist — but the materials will help to bring it into existence.”

-Boaz Michael from the Director’s Letter
“Unless the LORD Builds the House”
Messiah Journal 114, pg 8

When I speak in glowing terms of Messianic Judaism, either online or in person, I am sometimes accused of speaking to a fantasy rather than the lived reality we currently experience. This is not quite true however. I take some solace in Boaz’s words that in my attempting to uplift both the principles and practice of Messianic Judaism for Jewish believers, I am in some manner, summoning the future while living in the present. I am addressing the ideal as it will be when Messiah returns, rather than the imperfection we see in the world today.

But I have to start somewhere.

You’re on the right path. Dividing a mitzvah into small steps makes the goal much more attainable. Taking things slowly also adds the important element of stability to your journey towards living a Torah lifestyle.

But don’t look at it as a compromise. Here’s why:

Suppose an adult wishes to learn a new language. Would he be compromising his mission by beginning with basic simple words? What about a child beginning the study of math. Is he compromising by starting with simple arithmetic?

Of course not. It is quite clear that neither “c‑a‑t spells cat” nor 2 + 2 = 4 is the ultimate goal. But they are necessary steps in the right direction.

Mitzvahs are no different.

Regarding mitzvahs, there’s an additional component: Torah is not all or nothing. Each mitzvah is a full-blown relationship with the One Above. Each time we eat kosher, each time we put on tefillin, each time we observe Shabbat, something extraordinary occurs.

-Rabbi Yisroel Cotlar
“Can I Go Kosher at My Own Pace?”
Chabad.org

going_kosherI can only imagine that it may be rather daunting for a Jewish person attempting to improve his or her observance of the mitzvot. If you didn’t grow up in an observant home but you want to live a lifestyle more consistent with the Torah, how do you approach it? If you want to start keeping kosher, do you have to rush out and buy all new pots, pans, and dishes, learn the procedure for kashering your kitchen, and make an immediate and 100% transition between one day and the next?

Rabbi Cotlar’s advice is plain and comforting and it speaks of a Jewish believer’s approach to Messianic Judaism. You have to start somewhere. You don’t have to have perfect or even high fidelity to the original right away.

While Haim, Dauerman, and Boaz (and Rabbi Cotlar) are speaking to a primarily Jewish audience, I want to speak to the Christians (including those in the various branches of the Hebrew Roots movement) who have been critical of Messianic Judaism in general and the PMJ approach in particular. That Jewish people in the Messianic movement aren’t “perfect” in their observance is no grounds for throwing the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.

The Torah isn’t all or nothing (and I know someone is going to erroneously reference James 2:10 which only applies if you are attempting to justify yourself before God by your Torah observance, not if you are observing the mitzvot already “saved by faith”). Children growing up in a Jewish home are not expected to master all of the mitzvot by the time they’re toilet trained. Any learning is a slow, developmental progression.

And yet Christianity criticizes and judges Messianic Judaism for an imperfect Jewish lifestyle and thus deems the Torah obsolete, as if we have the right to make such a decision.

Twenty centuries ago, the Jewish religious stream of “the Way,” at the direction of Messiah and by approval of the Holy Spirit, commanded the Jewish disciples to do something that had never been done before. For the first time in history, Gentiles were allowed entry into a Jewish religious stream without having to convert to Judaism and accept the same Torah obligations as the Jewish disciples. Christianity wasn’t “Christianity,” it was one among many Jewish religious streams operating in Israel and the diaspora.

The Jewish disciples of the Master were Jewish and part of Israel. They related to other Jews as “us” not as “them.” The real challenge was to figure out how to bring the Gentiles, the “them” in the community, into salvation alongside the Jewish members of the body of Messiah. Ultimately, the fabric within the community of “the Way” frayed and unraveled, separating into the Christian “us” and the Jewish “them.” The Gentiles rewrote the rules in their (our) own image, only allowing Jews back into the worship of Messiah if they stopped being Jewish.

And here we are today.

up_to_jerusalem

But this is not the ideal, as Boaz points out. This is not where we’ll be tomorrow. Tomorrow, Messiah, Son of David, will take his place on the Throne in Jerusalem. He will redeem his people, the Jewish people. He will redeem his nation, the Jewish nation of Israel. And once again, our positions will be defined as they were before. Gentiles will be allowed to join the Jewish religious stream of the body of Messiah without having to convert to Judaism.

The Body of Messiah is the quintessential Israel, the original, the highest fidelity to the original: Messiah. Prophesy tells us that many Jews and many people from the nations will stream to Jerusalem and to the Mountain of the Lord to learn of Jacob’s ways and to walk his paths. In that day, the ideal being presented by Haim, Dauermann, and Boaz will be reality, and we will worship our fulfillment in the Holy City, and every knee shall bow to the King of the Jews.

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22 thoughts on “Fidelity: Commentary on Haim and Dauermann in Messiah Journal 114”

  1. If you didn’t grow up in an observant home but you want to live a lifestyle more consistent with the Torah, how do you approach it? If you want to start keeping kosher, do you have to rush out and buy all new pots, pans, and dishes, learn the procedure for kashering your kitchen, and make an immediate and 100% transition between one day and the next? Rabbi Cotlar’s advice is plain and comforting and it speaks of a Jewish believer’s approach to Messianic Judaism. “You have to start somewhere. You don’t have to have perfect or even high fidelity to the original right away.”

    It sounds like Peter saying “He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?” Acts 15:9-10 followed by Yaakov saying “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” Acts 15:19-21

    That is, tell them to start with these 4 things… the rest of the Torah, they will learn every Shabbat at the synagogues…

  2. That is, tell them to start with these 4 things… the rest of the Torah, they will learn every Shabbat at the synagogues.

    Yes and no, Alfredo. Yes, the new Gentile disciples were expected to learn Torah every Shabbat in the synagogue in association with their Jewish mentors but that in no way implies the Gentiles were to take on the identical Jewish obligation to Torah and mirror a Jewish identity. That expectation would have completely undone the halalaic ruling of the Jerusalem Council. If all Gentiles were to take on board the full weight of Torah as a requirement of joining “the Way” as a disciple of Yeshua, then the Gentiles in Antioch would not likely have responded in this manner:

    So when they were sent away, they went down to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. When they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.

    Acts 15:30-31

    We learn Torah so we can understand the teachings of Yeshua. We learn Torah so we can know about the history of God’s interaction with people. We learn Torah to understand how it applies to the Gentile and how it applies to the Jew (the applications are not identical). We learn Torah because it is edifying. We don’t learn Torah because we are obligated to behave in a manner that makes us look Jewish. If that were the expectation, then the ruling of the Council would have been that the Gentiles must convert to Judaism, which violates the will of God and a great deal of prophesy.

  3. True, but look at the context. It’s the survivors of all the nations who went to war against Israel who will be obligated to send representatives to Jerusalem each year on Sukkot to pay homage to King Messiah. It forces those nations to acknowledge Messiah’s sovereignty over the other nations of the Earth and it symbolizes the unity among all those nations that Messiah will establish.

    Also, I didn’t say we were forbidden to take on board additional mitzvot, just that we aren’t obligated. Tomorrow, I’ll publish a more detailed commentary on Haim’s article, highlighting the relationship, as he describes it, between Postmissionary Messianic Judaism (PMJ) and Gentile Christians. On Tuesday, I’ll publish a detailed commentary on Chapter 1 of the Mark Nanos book “The Mystery of Romans,” which interestingly enough, deals with similar issues as they occurred in the days of Paul.

    The interplay between Messianic Judaism and Gentile disciples of the Messiah within the movement is still forming. PMJ is only one expression of larger Messianic Judaism and is still wrestling with many questions, the same questions Paul faced as he was trying to integrate Gentile disciples into the Jewish religious stream of “the Way.” Paul knew the answer, but it was never realized in his lifetime and in fact, it was never fully realized at all. We face the same task now, but perhaps it will take Messiah’s return to finish the job. Anything we do today to repair the divide between Gentile and Jewish disciples of Messiah and between Gentiles and the larger Jewish world and Israel, is tikkun olam, and helps build the road upon which Messiah will walk when he comes to ascend the Throne of David.

  4. “Also, I didn’t say we were forbidden to take on board additional mitzvot, just that we aren’t obligated.”
    So, we are not obligated to, but it’s good to perform mitzvot.

    I said before that Sukkot was very Jewish… but I could be wrong…

    And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.'” Leviticus 23:1-2

    So, Sukkot is one of the Lord’s feasts… I prefer to celebrate the Lord’s feasts instead of Rome’s feasts…

  5. Yevamoth 47a: Our Rabbis taught: If at the present time a man desires to become a proselyte, he is to be addressed as follows: ‘What reason have you for desiring to become a proselyte; do you not know that Israel at the present time are persecuted and oppressed, despised, harassed and overcome by afflictions’? If he replies, ‘I know and yet am unworthy’, he is accepted forthwith, and is given instruction in some of the minor and some of the major commandments.

  6. My post above is meant only to show that the idea of a ‘dispensation’ for proselytes is also found in Judaism.

  7. “Messiah, Son of David, will take his place on the Throne in Jerusalem. He will redeem his people, the Jewish people.”

    Ahhh, yes! And I can’t wait for that day!

    Re: Torah observance in modern day, my husband and I just had this conversation last night.

    1: If it turns out that the Torah has been “put on hold” for this time in history, and If God will not hold Jews accountable for not keeping it in this present age since there’s no Temple and Sanhedrin and all Jews aren’t in the land, isn’t it still honoring to Him for them to keep it? Isn’t this Daniel’s story?

    2: As you point out, “fulfill” in Christian terms means to end, abolish, or remove. Like, once I “fulfill” my obligation to pay my Macy’s bill, it is complete and I don’t continue to send in payment.

    However, this doesn’t work for “fulfilling” the traffic laws, one person obeying them perfectly doesn’t let me off the hook when I get in my car to drive. I cannot tell the cop who pulls me over that I’m now “under grace” and can drive as wrecklessly as I wish because it’s been “nailed” to a telephone pole somewhere. It doesn’t work in the court system either. Imagine if we could find one person who received “perfect justice” for their crime and then believed no one else will ever have to face punishment for theirs.

    Great post James.

  8. I suppose Yeshua and Sha’ul were wrong and Kinzer et al are correct? I consider myself a part of the Jewish people, but if the powers that be in Jewish leadership do not accept me as Jewish, that is their perogative, and no super-Jewing on my part is going to change anything, and in fact, will be seen as deceptive. This desire to be loved and accepted by a camp is seductive and entrapping once a person even takes a step in that direction. We are told we would be hated and persecuted. I know, who wants this? Peaceful coexistence is so much nicer.

    Most of the disciples of fake Jews Boaz and Leman are gentiles who so much want to be accepted as Jews. This fear of man snare will lead first (in stages) to the denigration of Yeshua, and finally, to rejecting him altogether. And then they will receive the welcome of the leadership of various Jewish factions (as if these spoke for the Jewish people) that they so desire. And then the “church,” will be able to crow, “I told you so,” that torah leads to apostasy.

    But there is still a remnant that has a little strength and has not denied his name. So, I see all this temptation as sifting that the bride of messiah be without spot or blemish; without those who prefer other suitors.

  9. I know Boaz personally. He has no such desire. Maybe you ought to retract that bit of lashon ha ra.

  10. I suppose Yeshua and Sha’ul were wrong and Kinzer et al are correct? How does Kinzer contradict Yeshua and Paul?

    I’m home from church but will be busy for most of the afternoon, so I probably won’t be available to respond to comments for awhile. Please feel free to continue this discussion (and be nice). I’ll try to be back sometime this evening.

  11. Chaya, I’m surprised at you. You infer deceptive “super-Jewing”, seductive entrapment, fear of man, progressive denigration and rejection of Yeshua, and apostasy on the part of numerous people you couldn’t personally know. However did you come to associate so many negative notions and motivations with Kinzer’s “PMJ” model? It appears to me that you haven’t actually read or understood what he wrote, that you could possibly think it contradicts Rav Yeshua’s or Rav Shaul’s teachings in any manner or degree.

    Further, you cited the small remnant with little strength that has not denied his (Yeshua’s) name. This assembly of “Philadelphia” (love of the brethren) was commended also for “keeping his word”, which is none other than a code-phrase for keeping Torah. I can guarantee you that widespread Torah observance among Jewish followers of Rav Yeshua cannot be done deceptively (else it is not really Torah observance), and it can only have positive consequences. Your notion of “super-Jewing” sounds to me like an unjustifiable slam against Jews improving their conformity with ancient Jewish behavioral norms that have long been denigrated by goyim and by disaffected modern Jews who feel embarrassed because of their unfamiliarity with such behavior and their inability to defend it in the face of goyische disapproval.

    Rather than blindly attacking “Kinzer et al”, I would recommend that you formulate thoughtful specific criticisms (if you can actually identify any) so that we might discuss them in such a forum as this one.

  12. James, I am not in any way slamming torah following, as I am a follower of torah, as Yeshua taught his disciples to teach everything he had commanded them. I can tell you that from the early years of MJ, the purpose in keeping some form of Jewish tradition was not for the purposes of following torah, but a belief that this would make one acceptable to the larger Jewish community. So, the motivation was wrong. I am not saying that all think this way currently, and many sincerely sh’mar torah according to their understanding or someone elses. But there is a significant faction that still walk in the ways of the former. There was an interesting instance where one girl asked why a woman wasn’t allowed to read from the torah in the congregation. She was told that if an Orthodox person walked in, he would find a woman reading from torah offensive. She asked, “Isn’t believing in Yeshua the ultimate offense?”

    So, by super-Jewing, I am referring to the idea that a Yeshua following Jewish person needs to compensate or defend their Jewish identity and seek the approval and acceptance of man and man’s institutions. If someone chooses to call me names or not accept me the way I view my identity, there is no reason to argue with them or present an apologetic treatise. If I require the acceptance or approval of another and seek after it, then I have become a man-pleaser, and the fear of man brings a snare.

    A while back I did write a point by point argument regarding this issue – I am not sure if I have it anywhere. This is where one of your good buddies who you admire so much (I am leaving out the name as you would probably be “requested,” to delete this comment, and you may do so anyway) – began to attack me in a bizarre manner, refusing to provide any evidence to the contrary of what I had written and continually claiming that I must have personal animosity towards individuals who I never had any dealings with, and I required healing for such. In addition, the most rational and emotion-free evaluation of this work didn’t lead to an equally rational rebuttal, but the insistence that I had no right to criticize people who were his friends and were trying to serve God. The same person wrote that the author of another critique of Kinzer’s book, “just burned him up.” So, there is no opportunity for civil discourse, nor Matt. 18. I am going to add that your “friends,” will only love and accept you as long as you validate them. Try not toeing the line, and you will be cut loose. And it is not my business to tell you what to do with your own blog, but I believe it would be honest to disclose if you have financial or other ties to individuals that bias your expression.

    When one doesn’t have an argument, the best they can come up with is ad hominem attack, straw manning or censorship. And you have agreed to censorship. If someone disagrees, why not ask them to provide their counterclaim? But big shots and golden egg laying geese (and their sycophants) don’t play fair because they don’t have to. I can’t make them play fair, but I can out them.

    Once a person takes a step toward compromise, and begins to govern their lives by the fear of man, it is only a matter of time before the little leaven leavens the whole lump. You don’t need to believe a word I say; just sit back and wait a year or so. And think about where you are going to stand as “brother,” delivers up, “brother.”

  13. Steve, I understand how when you are friends with someone, you cut them slack, and I do the same. However, James deleted a comment I made…

    Comment edited at blog owner’s discretion. Please see my Comments Policy for more details.

  14. He is hiding nothing. It is public.

    Link removed, though not offensive commentary, because previous edits have rendered it academic.

  15. Chaya, In doing this small review in today’s blog post, I’m trying to illustrate an ideal as described by ben Haim and Dauermann. I know by writing at all on this topic, I’m turning my blog into a lightning rod for controversy, but how else can we examine these concepts and their practice in the light of day? My hope is that we can discuss rather than argue about them.

    I also know that there are a lot of “beefs” people have against each other in this movement. We’re not going to solve anything by dragging “personalities” into the mix. This doesn’t have to be about individuals and our opinions of them. What we need to do is take a larger view at Jewish Torah obligations within the community of believers and try to talk about how we see that working (or not working as the case may be).

    That’s the reason I tend to edit or remove what appear to be personal attacks regardless of who makes them. That goes in all directions. If someone attacked a One Law supporter or teacher, I would disapprove of that as much as if someone attacked a PMJ supporter or teacher. This isn’t high school so we don’t need to call people out, even if we disagree with how we perceive their position.

    I’ve been poking around our little corner of the blogosphere lately and I can tell you that there’s nothing as ugly as personalizing disagreement and demonizing individuals. We’re all supposed to take a higher moral road as disciples of Yeshua.

  16. James, I really don’t care about a person’s theology, unless it is harming others. But I do care about a person’s integrity. In journalism, if a source feeds you bad info once, they are deemed no good as a source. I have had Calvinists say that I shouldn’t look at the fact that their idol put 57 people to death and was responsible for the deaths of thousands, along with Luther. They claim I should just examine their teachings. But Yeshua told us we would know them by their fruit. So personalities do come into play. What right does a person have to teach torah if they fail to live it in very obvious ways?

    Comment edited at blog owner’s discretion. Please see my Comments Policy for more details.

  17. Steve, OK, I looked at the link. I suppose in the past year or so he has had to come clean, as with the internet, you can run but you can’t hide. Even so, he leaves out a lot, and his financials aren’t on his site. Perhaps a year ago, maybe more, I chatted with a man who worked with Hegg and he had no idea that Boaz converted or was born Chris Detwiler. The Messer situation was perhaps 2 years ago, and yes, FFOZ lied to me.

  18. Hi, Chaya — I believe you responded to James for some things I said, but that probably doesn’t matter so much as you have revealed in some degree two critical considerations. One is the pursuit of an ideal, and the discussion of what makes it ideal (or not). The other is the problem of the flawed humans, the “clay vessels” with whom we must interact while trying to pursue such an ideal. What makes this second consideration even worse is that we find that, while we’re trying to cope with these flawed humans, we also have to cope with our own flaws, which can be terribly uncomfortable. This has been dubbed the “Pogo Paradox”, from a cartoon strip drawn by Walt Kelly, in which the key quote was: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

    We may hope that all of us are making efforts to overcome our flaws, and even to repair the damage that our flaws and those of others have caused along the way, insofar as we can and insofar as we are made aware of it.

    Now, I believe you may have confused the notion of “removing stumbling blocks” with that of “fearing men” or with that of trying to ingratiate oneself with “the bigger kids”, in your view of events in earlier days of the MJ movement. Nonetheless, this is not one of the seven “core values” that James cited from Rabbi Dauermann as characteristic of the ideal under discussion. Shall we discuss the ideal or the goals that are worth pursuing, or shall we wallow in the memory of flaws we’ve experienced?

  19. PL: I absolutely agree that all of us are flawed including myself. So, it is not that I am setting up some impossible standard of perfection. I believe that a person who is dishonest and lacks integrity has no right to teach others; I don’t care how good a communicator they are or what lovely teachings they come up with. They have disqualified themselves, as Shaul warned about. This is all Greek thinking anyway. To admit one’s sins and make amends is normative torah, not some unreachable ideal. To spin one’s sins is post-modern. I see the righteousness of these people not in the likeness of Avraham or Noah, but in the likeness of Lot, and we know what became of him. And we are the virgin daughters that will be offered to “all the men of the city.”

    To promote these sorts of people and gain membership in their organizations would be joining hands in their behavior, and perhaps to remain silent for political reasons and allow others to not know what pit they are falling into seems just as bad.

  20. Just woke up a little while ago. I’m going to go over the most recent comments in a little while, but the calling out of persons/organizations in the comments section has gotten out of hand lately. For that reason, I will now require that all comments be moderated, so even if you have previously commented, your comment will not automatically appear until I have reviewed it. As blog owner, I reserve the right to edit or delete any comments made here if I deem them offensive or otherwise inappropriate.

    When I have more coffee in me, I’ll try to create a policy that will make it more clear what I expect out of a civil discussion between members of the body of believers who have good intensions and who are spiritually mature.

    Thank you.

  21. Based on certain comments in this and other blog posts, I have adopted a formal policy for commenting on my blog. I regret having to behave in a “parental” manner, since all of you are adults, but I cannot and will not tolerate speech in the comments section of any of my blog posts that I consider “wrongful speech”. I have added a page to my blog outlining this policy. It is available when you click the “Comments Policy” tab. I’m also providing the link in this comment:

    https://mymorningmeditations.com/comments-policy/

    I have also reviewed any comments previously made in this blog post and edited said-comments at my discretion.

    Comments on this individual blog post are now closed.

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