He who reads through translation looks through a blurred pane, not experiencing the full flavor and the soul’s yearnings.
–Chaim Nachman Bialik, “Nation & Language Part 1”
from the Translator’s Preface, p.xxvi
written by Rabbi Kadish Goldberg in
Rabbi Moshe Avigdor Amiel’s English translation of
Jews, Judaism & Genesis: Living in His Image According to the Torah
Sabrina Allen, who was abducted in 2002 at age 4 by her mother in a custody battle, has been found in a secret rescue mission near Mexico City and returned to the United States, the private investigator involved in the search said Wednesday.
Sabrina, now 17, was rescued in an operation conducted by the Mexican Federal Authority, FBI and U.S. Marshals in Estafeta Tlaxcala, about 60 miles southeast of Mexico City, according to Philip Klein, with KIC Investigations.
Klein told USA TODAY that Sabrina and her alleged abductor, Dara Llorens, were flown back to the U.S. on Tuesday night, arriving in Houston.
-Doug Stanglin – 1:27 p.m. EDT October 1, 2014
“Texas girl, missing for 12 years, rescued in Mexico”
I insist on using evidence that is verifiable in cultural and documented substantiation to elucidate the information provided somewhat cursorily in the apostolic writings which themselves reflect earlier Jewish writing that begins in the Tenakh and continues with the apocryphal writings — and they are consistent even with later Jewish literature and archeological evidence discovered in such finds as the Dead Sea Scrolls (representing a variety of ancient Jewish literatures).
To put it another way, the apostolic writings are Jewish literature, and we’re taking them back from the non-Jews who have oh-so-lovingly preserved them and distorted their meaning by wrenching them out of their native context and reading them as if they were written in an antiseptic cultural vacuum — or worse: as if they were written in a pagan cultural milieu.
from a comment on my blog post
The High Holy Days for the Rest of Us
When I was catching up on the numerous comments on my various blog posts, reading PL’s words, I immediately thought of the news story I’d read just a few minutes earlier about the rescue of Sabrina Allen.
Sabrina was (allegedly) kidnapped by her non-custodial mother at the end of a six-month period of court-supervised visitation in 2002. For the past twelve years, Sabrina had been living with her mother in a town sixty miles southeast of Mexico City.
I have a background in Social Work and Child Protection, and given that, I was imagining what this child had been through and now, at age 17, what she is facing. Probably most people reading the news story about her rescue breathed a sigh of relief and thought that she’s going to be OK now that she’s being returned to Dad.
Problem is, she hasn’t seen Dad in twelve years and her entire world is built around Mom and living with her in Mexico. There’s a good chance that Mom told Sabrina a whole bunch of bad things about Dad, so this teenage girl may not be at all happy to see him. I’m betting she runs away the first chance she gets since right now, she’s feeling like a foreigner in an alien land, surrounded by a bunch of strangers.
Now imagine this.
Thirty-five hundred years or so ago, God gathered His people Israel to Him at Mt. Sinai. Through the prophet Moses, He gave Israel the Torah, the Holy Word of God, and commanded them to obey His Word as their part of the covenant He made with them.
Then, for the next fifteen-hundred years, more or less, Israel made a concerted effort to do just that, with the results being a sort of spiritual and experiential roller coaster ride, with some generations being obedient and some generations rebelling, suffering, and going into exile.
Now we arrive at the late-Second Temple period. A man named Yeshua was born, lived, taught Torah wisely, some thought he was Messiah, was betrayed and executed by the Romans, was believed by many to have been resurrected, and then witnesses said he ascended into Heaven with the promise of returning “at the end of the age.”
Through his apostles, many more disciples were drawn to his teachings, and particularly through one late arriving apostle named Paul, many non-Jews were brought into discipleship while not having to undergo the proselyte rite and take up the same obligations that were the conditions of the Sinai Covenant, since only Jews belong to that covenant.
The Gentile disciples, as part of their introduction and integration into “the Way” were taught the Jewish scriptures and received the teachings of their Master as well as other teachers through various means, including letters.
It must have been a challenge for these non-Jewish peoples representing many languages and cultures, to fully grasp the complex and nuanced meaning of thousands of years of Jewish holy literature, since the Jewish people teach, live, and think much differently than the world around them. Nevertheless, if a Gentile really wanted to be a disciple of the Jewish Messiah King, he had to take every opportunity to learn from his/her Jewish teachers and fellow disciples to grasp a completely different cultural and educational matrix in order to fulfill his/her role to Israel and to God as a “crowning jewel of the nations” in fulfillment of the New Covenant prophecies.
But then, much like the Mother and Father of Sabrina Allen, the “couple” violently split, and the “non-custodial parent,” that is, the Gentiles, “kidnapped” the “child” the Jewish scriptures, took them to an “alien” place and changed their appearance (Sabrina’s Mom escaped detection in part, because she dyed Sabrina’s hair, making her look differently), so that they no longer resembled Jewish holy literature at all, but rather, took on the “mask” of the newly invented Gentile religion “Christianity.”
I know that all sounds harsh and highly critical of the early history of the Church, but in the Second and Third Centuries CE, that’s how it would have looked, especially to the remaining Gentile disciples of the Master who, right before their very eyes, saw the Word of God, which they cherished and were zealous for, transformed so that it would provide a completely alien understanding of what God wants and the nature and purposes of Yeshua…uh, excuse me, “Jesus Christ”.
The “child” is illegally spirited away from the “custodial parent” and taken to a foreign land, vanishing from sight for the next twelve years, or more accurately put, the next nearly two-thousand years. To be fair, the “child” has been seen innumerable times by Jewish people since then, but her “appearance” was so drastically altered, that she not only was completely unrecognizable by the custodial parent (the Jewish people), but she looked like a terrible enemy and a horrible threat to Jewish survival. The “parent” rejects and even shuns the child and the non-custodial parent, tries to pass off someone who looks like an obvious impostor as the Father’s child for the purposes (often unwittingly) of inducing the Father to accept someone who couldn’t possibly be his Jewish offspring.
Then, in more recent times, the child’s disguise is penetrated and a rescue mission planned. But at this point, there is so much confusion about who is who, that even taking back what was once theirs, the Jewish people, redeeming the Jewish Apostolic Scriptures and bringing them back home, draw great ire, not only from the non-custodial (Gentile) parent, but from most other Jews as well. How dare these few “Messianic Jews” bring a dangerous impostor into the fold and call her one of their own? It’s ridiculous. It’s heresy. What Jew could possibly love a Bible that has been used for centuries to justify murdering and maiming Jews, and incinerating Torah scrolls, volumes of Talmud, and synagogues.
But there’s a “father” out there who has finally, after so very long, recognized his only “daughter” underneath the cheap makeup that tried to turn a Jewish “child” into a “Goyishe” traitor. He loves her. He know she belongs with her “sisters” (the rest of the Jewish scriptures) and in a Jewish “home”. But even in successfully pulling her back from exile, the “father” is so alone, for most other Jews will not accept him as long as he claims these foreign books as his lost child.
The non-custodial parent (the Gentile Christians) for her/their part, demand that if the Jewish father really accepts the “alien” as his own, he should not attempt to change her back to her original (Jewish) form, but instead, the father must change to become, like his once kidnapped daughter, an “alien.”
So not only is the “father” isolated from other Jews, he is cast out by the Gentiles as well. He is in-between and nowhere. All he wants to do is go home and take his rescued “daughter” with him.
But all “children” come from God, as did the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings (which were distorted by the non-custodial parent along with the youngest “daughter,” the Apostolic Scriptures), and so too the kidnapped child who has now been brought back. God will find a way for everyone to see who this “little girl” really is and to bring her back into the “family” (the Bible) so that all of the “children” are unified with each other and look like one.
I know I’ve confused the imagery and the comparisons are less then perfect. It’s probably been difficult to follow this metaphorical essay and keep everything straight, but this is how I see the Apostolic Scriptures and how they are being reclaimed by Jews in Messiah (as opposed to Hebrew Christians). It’s not that Christians must convince Jews to accept the New Testament which looks and speaks with a foreign accent, it is we Gentile Christians who must get it through our heads that we have misappropriated Jewish holy books, changing their “face” in the process, so that they no longer look Jewish or speak to Jewish people. We have to give them back, not that they don’t mean something to us, for they mean everything to us, but we must let them be Jewish, to speak with a Jewish voice, to have the face of the Jewish authors and readers and students, just as in days of old.
Only then will they speak the truth to both Jewish and Gentile ears and only then will we see the face of the Jewish King in her pages.
Addendum: In case you’re interested, here’s an updated news story about how Sabrina is doing so far.