Best Viewed Through a Long Telescope

phariseesThe Jewish-Christian schism in Late Antiquity has been studied from numerous points of view. This paper will approach these events by investigating the manner in which halakhic issues (questions of Jewish law) motivated the approach of the early Rabbis to the rise of the new faith, and the manner in which Rabbinic legal enactments expressed that approach as well. The eventual conclusion of the Rabbis and the Jewish community that Christianity was a separate religion and that Christians were not Jews, was intimately bound up with the Jewish laws and traditions governing personal status in the Jewish community, both for Jews by birth and proselytes. These laws, as known today, were already in full effect by the rise of Christianity. In the eyes of the Rabbis, the evolution of Christianity from a group of Jews holding heretical beliefs into a group whose members lacked the legal status of Jewish identity and, hence, constituted a separate religious community, brought about further legal rulings which were intended to separate the Christians from the Jewish community.

-Prof. Lawrence H. Schiffman
“The Halakhic Response of the Rabbis to the Rise of Christianity”
lawrenceschiffman.com

Yahnatan Lasko at the Gathering Sparks blog sent me the link to Professor Schiffman’s brief article (and with a title like that, I was surprised it was so short) with the idea that I might want to write something in response (and I’m not the only blogger in the “Messianic space” Yahnatan notified). I emailed him back with my immediate thoughts:

Schiffman seems to be saying that prior to the destruction of the Temple, he believes that Jews who believed Yeshua was the Messiah and even Divine wouldn’t have caused any sort of rejection from the larger Jewish population or authority structures since there were multiple streams of Judaism in operation, with the general expectation that they were going to disagree with each other. The destruction of the Temple was the catalyst for many things, including Jewish dispersal, the apprehension of Gentile leadership of “the Way” for the first time, the power surge of Gentiles entering that Judaism, all resulting in the shift from Messiah worship as a Jewish religion to Christ worship as a Gentile faith. As Schiffman said, the Pharisees were the only Jewish stream to remain intact after the Temple’s fall and while “the Way” also survived, it took a divergent trajectory, leading it away from Judaism, so by default, the Pharisees became the foundation for later Rabbinic Judaism.

Schiffman is being very “gentle” in his treatment of this topic. I can see a blog post coming out of this in the semi-near future. Thanks for sending the link.

Of course, Schiffman also said that Jews who had faith in Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah were holding “heretical beliefs,” so I guess he wasn’t all that gentle, but he still seems to be treating the topic with a lighter touch than you’d expect.

I was somewhat reminded of Talmudic scholar Daniel Boyarin’s treatment of “the story of Jesus Christ” in his book The Jewish Gospels (a book I extensively reviewed in The Unmixing Bowl, The Son of Man – The Son of God, and Jesus the Traditionalist Jew).

Boyarin, of course, didn’t express personal faith in Yeshua as Messiah or assign any credibility, from his perspective, that modern Judaism could consider Jesus as Moshiach, but he is another Jewish voice saying that, given the understanding of the Torah and the Prophets in the late Second Temple period, it was certainly reasonable and credible to expect that some Jews, perhaps a large number of Jews, would have accepted Yeshua’s Messianic claim and even his Divinity.

mens-service-jewish-synagogueToday, for the vast majority of Jewish people, such thoughts are outrageous and offensive, but unwinding Jewish history and the development of Rabbinic thought back nearly twenty centuries, we encounter a different set of Judaisms than we observe in the modern era. We can’t really retrofit modern Jewish perspectives into the time of Jesus, Peter, and James anymore than the modern Church can insert post-Reformation and post-modern Christian theology and doctrine backward in time and into the original intent of the Gospel and Epistle writers, particularly Paul. Both inject massive doses of anachronism into the ancient Jewish streams of life when the Temple still stood in Jerusalem.

Today, it takes a tremendous amount of courage for any Jewish person, under any set of circumstances, to say anything even mildly complementary about the ancient Jewish stream of “the Way” and that it might be reasonable to believe that in that cultural and chronological context, Jewish people, from fishermen to scribes, might see the Messiah looking at them from the eyes of Jesus.

While our sources point to general adherence to Jewish law and practice by the earliest Christians, we must also remember that some deviation from the norms of the tannaim must have occurred already at the earliest period. Indeed, the sayings attributed by the Gospels to Jesus would lead us to believe that he may have taken a view of the halakhah that was different from that of the Pharisees,. Nonetheless, from the point of view of the halakhic standards, the early Rabbis did not see the earliest Christians as constituting a separate religious community.

-Schiffman

A number of months ago, Rabbi Dr. Carl Kinbar made a statement that I think speaks to the above-quoted comment of Professor Schiffman:

But, to complicate matters, different social groups and congregations often have their own versions of Torah that they enforce in these ways. Obviously, this situation is far from ideal.

Fortunately, God is (in my considered opinion) not a perfectionist. Even as he calls us to holiness, he understands the limitations that surround us. For the most part, then, Torah observance is essentially voluntary and variable rather than compulsory and uniform. In fact, this is exactly the situation that existed in Yeshua’s, when the vast majority of synagogues were “unaffiliated” and most Jews practiced what has been called “common Judaism.” In common Judaism, Jews kept the basics of Torah observance according to their customs but did not acknowledge the authority of the sects (including the Pharisees) to impose additional laws.

ancient-rabbi-teachingMy understanding of what Rabbi Kinbar said was that while there was a basic or core set of standards and halachah that defined Judaism as an overarching identity and practice, not only were there multiple streams of Judaism (Pharisees, Essences, and so on), but significant variations of how Torah observance was defined among “different social groups and congregations” (and I apologize to Rabbi Kinbar in advance if I’ve misunderstood anything he’s said).

What this means for us as we’re gazing into the time of the apostles, is that there were many different expressions of what we call “Judaism” back in the day, but in spite of all the distinctions, including one group who paid homage to a lowly Jewish teacher from the Galilee as the Messiah and Divine Son of God, they were all accepted as Jewish people practicing valid Judaisms.

This situation changed with the destruction of the Temple. Divisions within the people, after all, had made the orderly prosecution of the war against the Romans and the defense of the Holy City impossible. The Temple had fallen as a result. Only in unity could the people and the land be rebuilt. It was only a question of which of the sects would unify the populace.

-Schiffman

Holding all of this diversity together in a Jewish land occupied by the Roman empire was difficult enough, and more so for Jewish communities in the diaspora, but the Temple was the common denominator (even if you lived so far away that you could only afford to make the pilgrimage rarely) that defined all Jewish people everywhere. The Temple was always the center, the resting place of the Divine Presence, the only place on earth where once a year atonement was made for all of Israel.

And then it was gone.

As Schiffman points out, with their power base destroyed, the Sadducees where scattered to the winds. It could be argued that the Way, the ancient movement of Messiah worshipers, was a Pharisaic extension. We have indications that the apostle Paul not only did not abandon Jewish practice but remained Pharisaic throughout his life. Many of Yeshua’s teachings most closely fit the theology of the Pharisees. Even my Pastor said that if we lived in ancient Israel (and we were Jewish), we’d be Pharisees, because they were the “fundamentalists” of their day, the populist movement among the common Jewish people, Am Yisrael.

But the split would inevitably occur, perhaps not so much because one splinter group among the Pharisees, the Way, believed they had identified a Divine Messiah, but because a mass movement of Gentiles was entering that particular Jewish sect and, by definition, re-writing the nature of the movement as the majority Gentile membership achieved ascendency and as the Jewish membership were forced into exile, grieving a Temple and a Jerusalem left in ruins.

Of the vast numbers of Greco-Roman non-Jews who were attracted to Christianity, only a small number ever became proselytes to Judaism. The new Christianity was primarily Gentile, for it did not require its adherents to become circumcised and convert to Judaism or to observe the Law. Yet at the same time, Christianity in the Holy Land was still strongly Jewish.

As the destruction of the Temple was nearing, the differences between Judaism and Christianity were widening. By the time the Temple was destroyed, the Jewish Christians were a minority among the total number of Christians, and it was becoming clear that the future of the new religion would be dominated by Gentile Christians. Nevertheless, the tannaim still came into contact primarily with Jewish Christians and so continued to regard the Christians as Jews who had gone astray by following the teachings of Jesus.

-Schiffman

Long telescopeAccording to Schiffman’s commentary, as long as the “Christian” movement was largely controlled by Jews, it was a Judaism and Jewish people who believed that a Jewish Rabbi was actually the Messiah were still Jewish. In fact, in that time and place, it was probably a no-brainer. No one would have even questioned that any Jewish adherent to the Way wasn’t Jewish, anymore than any Jewish person today would question the “Jewishness” of a Chabad adherent believing their beloved Rebbe will one day be resurrected as the Messiah.

Schiffman said that other Jewish streams would have considered Jewish Yeshua-believers as misguided but Jewish, much as other Jewish streams might consider the Chabad and their attitude about the Rebbe today.

If today’s Jewish people (or for that matter, today’s Christians) could look through that long telescope back to the world of Peter, James, and Paul, they might gain a vision that would help them see what I see in today’s Messianic Jewish movement; a perspective that illuminates the “Jewishness” of those men and women who are observant Jews and who have put their hope in the Messiah, who once walked among his people Israel as a teacher from the Galilee who went about gathering disciples, and ended up revolutionizing the world.

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17 thoughts on “Best Viewed Through a Long Telescope”

  1. It’s encouraging to see elements of modern Judaism acknowledge, even if it is with backhanded compliments, the origins of Christianity. How far we have come.

  2. James, I didn’t read the book, so I don’t know if the author discussed how Sha’ul and others persecuted The Way, and the Book of Acts reports persecution by the Jewish leadership also, so we can’t say that first century Jewish followers were always accepted in the synagogues or in the Jewish community. One issue that contributed to the demise of the Jewish followers of The Way was that by the time of the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, it appears they were ostracized from the synagogue. I believe it was in 90 AD that a proclamation against this group was made, and probably about the time of the addition of a curse on this group was added to the Amidah.

    So, lets take a look at the Jewish followers of the way around the time of the destruction of the temple and beyond: They were rejected by the Jewish community as heretics, hated by the Romans as Jews, hated by the church for their Judaic practices, and hated by the Romans both as Jews and as followers of this new, unrecognized sect.

    So this is my dilemma: I am a minority in the world both as a Jew and as a believer in Yeshua; I am a minority among the church as a Jew; I am a minority in the Jewish community as a believer. And then if I visit a Messianic congregation, I am also in the minority as a Jew, and possibly as a torah follower depending on the flavor.

    What I am seeing happening now is fitting with my theory. I believe God gives individuals and people groups an opportunity to make things right and correct past wrongs. This is happening as those among the church repent and turn away from the sins of their fathers, and those in the Jewish community are welcoming the Messianics, as Judah protected Benjamin, although he sought to kill Joseph. In addition, my parents’ generation, the generation that grew up with blatant and unrepentant Christian antisemitism is dying out, and the new generation finds antisemitism is mostly coming from the Muslims and multiculturalists, with the Christians being allies, as they are also under attack by both groups. Isn’t it interesting how the battle lines keep changing.

    I am waiting for the first respected figure within the Jewish community to endorse Jewish followers of Yeshua as Jews. I know Saloman Schacter-Salomi has stated he would welcome this group in worship. And perhaps if JM does turn his sights on the MJ/HR crowd and declares the people in this group “not Christian,” it will be helpful. See, some in the Jewish community claim we are Christians masquerading as Jews; to have a major figure in that camp exclude us is positive. I am also waiting for the Nicodemouses to come by night and the Nathaniels in whom there is no guile.

    This is my expectation: http://endtimechaverim.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/wearebenjamin/

  3. Allow me to straighten a couple of slightly bent details there, chaya.

    First, the addition of a nineteenth prayer to the Amidah was not solely against “The Way”, but against all sorts of “minim”, which is to say “sectarians”. This included Sadducees as well as Zealots, Essenes, and others who had contributed to the factionalism and disunity which prevented the Jewish people from mounting a united front against the Romans in 70 CE (and later again in 135 CE), regrettably including those of “The Way” or the “Nazarenes”. But accusations of heresy were not yet part of the mix.

    Second, at that time there was no “church” in existence to express any hatred of Jews. Of Roman hatred there was plenty; of Jewish internecine hatred there was more than enough to go around. But the addition of non-Jewish followers to “The Way” was still a very recent phenomenon, only a couple of decades old (barely half as long as modern MJs have existed, though by 90 CE you could say 40 years or about the same duration). The rise of some anti-Jewish “Christians” came a bit later, in the second century; and it wasn’t until Constantine in the fourth century that “Christianity” became defined as a distinct anti-Jewish religion, inheriting prior Roman Imperial attitudes.

    Third, there have been already in modern times individual Jews of the Nicodemus or Nathaniel ilk. But these are still operating “under the radar”, as “coming by night”. They are not guileful, but announcing themselves publicly at present would only be viewed by the wider Jewish community as disqualifying themselves. There have been individual recognized academic scholars, nonetheless, paving the way in their writings. What I suspect is needed even more is something that one Jewish believer reported some years ago as an observation from a rabbi of his acquaintance. He suggested that Jewish Rav Yeshua messianists would become recognized as Jews when they would recognize themselves as Jews (and would behave accordingly). There are some who do so, but not yet enough to become widely noticed.

  4. This video kind of describes what you’re saying in some ways, James. You talk a lot about “The Way”, which I think is part of what this video describes. It uses the wording “Nazarene” more than “The Way” though. I think it means the same but I could be wrong. I know people sometimes don’t watch a whole lot of videos and this one is longer than most (it says it’s 15 minutes long but it stops at a little over 12 minutes). It’s hard to find videos like this though so I thought I would share it here since it seems on topic. It states that all of the writers of the Bible are Nazarenes (if I heard that right). I have no idea if that’s right so I’m going to try to dig into that a little more later.

    “Paul the Nazarene Ringleader”

  5. Chaya, I’d recommend Boyarin’s book. It shows, from a Jewish perspective, how various scriptures, particularly Daniel, would be been used to view Yeshua as the Messiah. I find it very interesting that Boyarin can make the points he does and yet be unmoved by his own arguments.

    As far as when an anti-Jewish church would have emerged, opinions vary. While I tend to agree with PL, in the church I attend today, I got the definite impression that they believe Judaism “turned on” Paul and his Christian message almost immediately (we were studying Acts 17). My extra meditation for today outlines my experience.

  6. James, thank you. You have a number of good book recommendations, both for myself and others. We are studying Romans, so I think my pastor may like Nanos’ book. We were talking today about not viewing scripture through our own cultural lenses.

    My take is that while blowback from the Jewish community occurred right away, this attitude was not shared by all, especially in the diaspora. But I believe we are seeing a reversal, as in now MJ is 40 years down the road and the reception appears to becoming more open, rather than more violently in opposition. But the circumstances have changed also; instead of being exiled from our land, we are being gathered. It appears the only barrier is the history of Christian antisemitism.

    PL, I am aware that Marcion, Justin Martyr and others did their dirty work in the early second century. One might suspect that the non-Jewish followers of The Way were more easily controlled by a few who set themselves up as spokesmen, as most were lower class and illiterate, and did not have the ability to examine or argue the alterations.

    I know that past generations of Jewish messianists, as he puts it, were so rejected and mistreated in the Jewish community that they fled to the safe arms of the church. There were too few of them to join together and form their own congregations. It seems there are two opposing ideas: One says we should, “act like Jews,” however that is defined, and the other larger group says that identifying and acting like Jews is false and deceitful. Since most Jews are secular and unaffiliated or superficially affiliated with the religious aspect of Judaism; they really don’t care. More than half are intermarried anyway. The hypocrisy is that Jewish Buddhists, called Jewbus or BuJews hybrid have never been attacked as not Jewish or deceitful, although I am not aware that they are engaged in much proselytizing. I took Yoga at the JCC for several years as a teen, and it wasn’t just exercise. It included meditation and vegetarianism, taught by Jewish Yogi/Hindus who lived at a local ashram. Then there are Jewish atheists, anti-zionists, etc., who escape unscathed. I understand there are many who are sympathetic and perhaps even secret believers. But I can see where Sholem Asch and Marc Chagall preferred to drop hints from the safety of the Jewish community rather than jump ship and join the church.

    I would like to understand more about what the rabbi meant by, “acting like Jews.” I can think of a few categories and where I see things going now:

    1. identify and support Israel – check
    2. practice Jewish traditions – mostly check
    3. embrace torah – divided check
    4. involvement in Jewish community (JCC, charities, political activism) depends upon location
    5. raise your children as Jews – mixed on this one
    6. embrace our history, sages, literature rather than the flavor of the month of the Christian Marketplace; learn to think Jewishly – not so good on this one

    I might add giving up being defensive about one’s Jewishness and the entry into the Jewish mindset that Messianic Judaism does not = Jews for Jesus. It is a positive thing that this group revealed to the world that we exist, but we are all not like them.
    Any others?

    I understand the Yeshua followers knew to flee when Jerusalem was surrounded by armies rather than stay and fight. They also could not accept Bar Kochba’s messiahship.

  7. @PL : When you say “He suggested that Jewish Rav Yeshua messianists would become recognized as Jews when they would recognize themselves as Jews (and would behave accordingly).” I wonder if “behaving accordingly as Jews” would mean to reject Yeshua as the Messiah… since it seems that this issue is also a an actual “requirement” to be considered a Jew, but I could be wrong on this impression. Am I wrong?

  8. @alfredo — “Reject[ing] Yeshua as the Messiah” is not a Jewish behavior, it is a disbelief. Jewishness is not defined by beliefs or disbeliefs — that is a Christian trait. Jewishness IS defined by loyalties, one of which is to guard Jewish survival against threats to Jewish existence and Jewish identity that both have been long-threatened by Christianity. THAT is the primary nature of the rejection directed against “Jesus”. It is rare that Jews have ever seen the actual “Yeshua” or his views, to even consider whether they are Jewishly acceptable. Even with the increased use of the name “Yeshua”, the image that is seen is still the old Christian Jesus rather than the ancient Israeli Pharisaic rabbi. Even rarer still have Jews seen Jewish disciples behaving Jewishly, in ways such as those outlined by chaya. Hence Jewish loyalty still demands a great deal of skepticism and caution, if not outright a priori rejection on the grounds that “we’ve already seen the unacceptable results of this dangerous foolishness”. Demonstrating that a Jewish community can flourish under the influence of the genuine Rav Yeshua could require several generations of dedicated high-quality Jews who are seen as helping to preserve the entirety of the Jewish enterprise and demonstrating loyalty also to segments of the Jewish community that do not agree with them about their favorite rabbi. This is the basis for general Jewish recognition that a community of individual Rav-Yeshua messianistic Jews is Jewishly acceptable.

  9. Houston, we have a problem. This idea of a respectable Messianic Jewish community that is actually majority Jewish, replete with well-educated and godly leaders rather than “smicha passed out like candy,” hirelings and dynasty builders, educational, charitable and communal institutions sounds like a pipe dream, and the way things are going, I don’t believe there will be time in the diaspora for this to come about.

    While Judaism is more about behavior and loyalty than belief, beliefs that are yoked to baggage change things. Jewish renewal groups are small and I don’t believe they even have their own seminaries yet. Despite accepting all sorts of New Age and lifestyle situations, they are accepted into Judaism. We have this baggage of Christendom, and I don’t know how we can dump it and not be identified with it. The most Jewishly loyal of the Yeshua followers are viewed as practicing deceit. One positive action has been that some have cut financial ties to evangelicalism; but many haven’t. And if the focus is so much on gaining acceptance, the end result is to jettison Yeshua, bit by bit.

    My answer for myself has just been to act according to my understanding and seek not to be influenced by outside pressure to conform. Let the Holy One teach me and lead me. Its sort of funny that I find this more in a church.

    My take is that the Jewish community will be willing to dialogue and strategize with us, and with non-Jewish Hebraists as antisemitism grows in leaps and bounds. How can those hated as Jews or for association with Jews not be welcomed into the community?

    In my own background, “Jesus,” was a topic that was shunned. It was never discussed or argued; it was a forbidden place that you didn’t go, which made me all the more curious and interested to know just who this man was? While there was nothing about my “Christian,” friends growing up that would make me interested in the source of their minimal religious practices, it was New Age teachings that mentioned Jesus that caused me to seek to learn more about him.

  10. I would add that the difference between my experience with Christians and my parents’ is that mine was not negative; but there was nothing positive either. Prior to reading the New Testament when I was almost 17, all I knew about Christians was that they believed in 3 gods and that women became nuns because they were too ugly to get married 🙂 Also, Jesus was a word used to curse with. But, I found nothing spiritual or meaningful in either the Orthodox or Conservative synagogues I attended for Hebrew school, nor any of my relatives of various Jewish halacha or lack thereof. That is what led me to explore Eastern philosophies. This was more of the, “if not A, then B.”

  11. Well, chaya, respectability will never arise from focusing on the disreputable elements that exist in far too great an abundance. It must begin with those respectable Jewish messianists who do exist in a few communities, who respect themselves as Jews and who focus on building and contributing positively to the Jewish community, including all segments as well as messianic ones. It must continue to improve and strengthen the valid MJ institutions that have been formed, and use available modern technical tools to make their resources more widely available.

    We must not allow ourselves to be distracted by the old canard about seeking acceptance by jettisoning bits of Yeshua. That accusation comes from lingering Christian perspectives that fear the demolition of traditional Jesus images in favor of a very different view of the genuine original Nazarene rabbi Yeshua and the religious praxis he represents. MJs who accept themselves as Jews sufficiently to behave accordingly do not worry about acceptance but about genuineness and authenticity with respect to the historical and traditional sources that define Judaism and enable proper interpretation of the Jewish literature produced by Rav Yeshua’s disciples. Emphasizing real Jewish values will ultimately correct the shortcomings about which you’ve complained.

    Is there enough time to build and demonstrate such respectability, in Israel or in the Galut? How long before Rav Yeshua returns? Might he actually be waiting for at least a core of MJs to get their act cleaned up in order to prepare the way for him? How much time is required for a social movement’s message to “go viral”? We live in an era that has become accustomed to rapid changes. It seems that we must strive to establish clearly in our own behavior the values and praxis that conform with a respectable version of Jewish Rav-Yeshua messianism.

  12. I suppose if someone among us walks into synagogues or the local Jewish Community Center and prays for people and they are healed, we won’t be concerned about propping up a system that is just as corrupt as all the others. I believe antisemitism will be sweeping the US sooner than we think, or some think it can never happen here.

  13. Here’s a novel suggestion, chaya — How ’bout if many someones from among us walk into synagogues regularly each shabbat and pray quietly with our people for our healing (as becoming a unified people, among other requests)? That would be already a miracle, and who knows what may follow (maybe even some learning)? Since it is HaShem’s responsibility to heal and to perform any other works of dynamic power, the presence of individual Jews who are dedicated to His service and aware of such things couldn’t hurt. And who knows if, on occasion, “a word fitly spoken” (viz:Prov.25:11, JPS) may yield fruit (even oranges on silver trays)? There have been many words not so fitly spoken (i.e., not properly suited to the occasion or the context or the audience), and a bit of wisdom and innocence (viz:Mt.10:16) is much needed for present circumstances.

  14. PL, you’re suggestion is similar to what I’ve been trying to do as a “Judaically-aware” non-Jewish believer regularly attending Church on Sundays and praying for healing between Christians and the Jewish people.

  15. I’m not surprised you should note the similarity, James. It is, of course, the classic “yeast in meal” model, though there may be a tad more resistance to the notion of MJ yeast in traditional Jewish meal. Nonetheless, you’ve already noted in a number of postings that JRF (Jewish Roots of the Faith) yeast often finds traditional Christian meal less than receptive as well. Maybe there is something we don’t yet quite understand about how some sort of “kneading” process may be required.

  16. I think in our microwave oven, instant meal world, we tend to want things fast and served up our way. The actual timing set by God may be a little different. By planting a seed today, who knows what will be reaped by future generations, whether we ever become aware of it or not.

  17. I don’t attend traditional synagogue regularly, but take part in various events in the Jewish community. Where I live, the Jewish communities are either 25 minutes Southeast or West, as we couldn’t afford a home in those areas, although it would have been my preference (rented there for a while.) The JCC is about 40 minutes away, so while I would love to be a regular part of things there (as I am sporadically) it isn’t practical. Although Jewish people individually accept me, I am not so sure how a venue like a synagogue would, as there is a difference. To be involved and keep my faith and following hidden seems (and might be interpreted as) deceitful, while openness would be threatening. There doesn’t seem to be a good answer. I am very involved in online pro-Israel activism, and I tell people in advance so they can decide if they want me or not. I know the antimissionary faction paints this idea of “sneaky, deceitful missionaries among us,” so I believe I need to counter that image.

    I was reading Bill Bullock’s parsha studies, and he points out that both when Yeshua and Sha’ul entered the synagogue and in their dealings with the people, they stirred things up and challenged the status quo.

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