by Christopher (From Brutal Planet)
In doing my radio series "The Garden of Peace" I have been pondering a great deal on the attributes of Elohim and how our roles in our family exemplify the 3 echad attributes of Elohim.
The past few months I have been studying countless hours on what it means to be a servant, what it means to be a man of YHWH. While studying and meditating on the Word in terms of edification, and being at the age of 32, I tended to focus a little on my own mortality, and I then had to ask the question, "How do I want to be remembered? What would be my legacy when I leave this world?". This is something we as men do not like to think about but it is something that we must address in our own lives. I concluded I would want my legacy to be not that, "Christopher was a great teacher" but rather, "Christopher was a good man, and a servant". Though there is more prestige in being "a great teacher" I think our hidden intention can cause eternal problems if that were our reason for servitude and as a man, I often need a gut check. There is a balancing mechanism that YHWH put into place that causes us to be able to live a set apart life and to be able to properly apply the Torah. And that is the family unit....what do I mean?
Though an unmarried manm who has never been married, I notice that many of us men have interpreted the role of "head of the household" horribly incorrectly, we tend to recite the hold line from the Honeymooner's "King of the castle, Lord of the manor" and we think we are a towering man on a horse that demands respect and must be revered. Let me ask this, "Does anyone revere a tyrant? Or do they simply just try and not be killed?".
Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home) is always the goal and should be the goal of a man, but it is important for him to realize his role and the role of his wife and children at the same time, and it is not the role that is taught in many cult like sects of the Hebrew Roots (and there are some within our faith I am sad to say). The man is commonly the face of the family, when a wife goes to lunch with a new friend, the conversation seems to always turn to, "so what does your husband do, how long have you been married etc" and these are questions wives are asked often, and it is to be expected given that she took his last name. Now she knows this, and she realizes that he is her mirror. I get men telling me often about marital problems and a "nagging wife", yet they do not realize why their wife nags them. The thing us men must realize is that a woman's family is her honor, especially her husband, and she wants the world to see the amazing things within her husband that sometimes only she sees. Thus her job is to refine him, so that the world will see him as a tzaddik.
Isaiah 11:2 refers to the Ruach haKodesh as "wisdom", notice as well that the Ruach haKodesh grammatically is female. Thus one's wife is his wisdom, she is the one who helps refine her husband because he is her honor and her love for him wants the world to see what she sees in him, this is why when a wife is distressed it is usually because she is trying to get her husband to see something that he does not see. Notice that the women in the Scripture seem to be the ones who understood the underlining things. Remember when Yeshua told Martha, "your brother will rise again" and she responded with, "I know my Master on the resurrection day". One's wife is their refiner, they correct not for selfish reasons but actually for the most selfless reasons in the world, it is because they care how it is how their husbands are perceived and they want to be echad with their husband they want to dance together with their husband in their walk in Torah and Messiah as well as in other aspects of their lives together and when we act as two polar magnets we see this cannot be achieved. The walk together must feel like a gliding motion where one knows when to glide to the right and two the left and back and forward with their spouse without tripping, and it is through a constant correction from one's wife this can be achieved, and it then becomes natural and as you grow together there are new moves added in which symbolizes the love for one another growing through marriage as opposed to fizzling out.
And it is important for men to understand, their role is that of a servant, notice YHWH the father fed the children of Israel when they were hungry, notice on their journey they had the shekinah over-seeing them. Notice as well how he provides for you each and every day the things we take for granted, could your house stand without him? Of course not. Could you breathe without him assembling the system he did for the plants to produce oxygen and the plants to breathe in our CO2? Of course not. This is why us men are called to be providers, and there is a parallel in heaven of what we experience here on earth, which is why YHWH put great emphasis on on His very own family model so that we may conduct ourselves as a mirror in the same way.
I am amazed when I see a young person put on their tallit, and their tzit tzit, maybe a kippa. They are so proud of the significance of these things, and they are the first to tell a grandparent or a family friend what it is, what it represents and they bring honor to these things. Often times we are like the stubborn Galatians, we wear our tzit tzit, because it us commanded and at times even forget it is there, it is a part of a routine for many of us. I think children really help us get the proper context of these things, by seeing their eyes light up when they get excited to serve their Melek Yeshua and they help remind us of what it is we have forgotten and taken for granted. This is why Yeshua always loved to be around the children and said we must be like them. Sometimes, we hit a part in our walk where we become callus, we become uninterested and the fire fizzles out a little. I think this is why children are vastly important in the family unit, their reactions, and their wonder and their kindness helps remind us of what us adults have lost at stages in our walk. And it is interesting that Yeshua came as "The Son of the Father", though he came to re-establish the marriage covenant and he also fulfilled the role of the child in your own family as well, cause he reminded us, why we keep Torah, why we must honor the Father and he gave us that heart of flesh like we had when we were children by setting the halaka straight. Just like your children do when they put on their tallit, tzit tzit and kippa on for the very first time. When you see them do that, you are reminded and you see Yeshua through them.
This is why I dare say, that many of the commandments we cannot fully fulfill and apply outside of the family model, we cannot see and experience the 3-D model of our walk in Torah and Messiah outside of the family model.
by Christopher (From Brutal Planet)
As many of you know I personally of you know I find edification to be the key to real change in the Hebrew Roots, that rids the body of sickness, disease, emotional, spiritual and physical ailments. Does the Scripture back up this concept? And does the original languages prove that our words are not just simply verbiage, and not just something written. Let us look at John 1:1, and notice the original words used in this verse as we also progress on into other verses used throughout the Scripture and we will be able to see from the Hebraic/Jewish concepts within the Scripture what "words" actually are
In the beginning was the Miltha (מֶלתָֿא). And that Miltha (מֶלתָֿא) was with Elohim. And Elohim was that Miltha (מֶלתָֿא)."
Often times we word "miltha" is translated as "word" in the New Testament, and in places in the Tanakh, now it is important to understand that translators, main job is to decipher words they are not necessarily always theologians or religious scholars in practice. But the original Aramaic word "Miltha" is really interesting given that it can mean many different things.
The phrase B’resheet aytohi hwa miltha breaks a most basic rule of Aramaic grammar by combining a feminine noun (miltha) with two masculine verbs for “to be” (aytohi, hwa). This is unheard of in Aramaic literature other than right here in this passage and in 1 John. This shows YHWH has male and female “images/spirits” even though YHWH remains a He. It may also be a midrash on Isaiah 11:1-2, which describes the Spirit of YHWH descending on Mashiyach using both masculine and feminine suffixes."
Miltha has no direct English equivalent. It can mean ‘Word’, ‘Manifestation’, ‘Instance’ or ‘Substance’ among other things. In this context, it may best be left untranslated."
So we see that the word "miltha" can mean "WORD", "MANIFESTATION", "INSTANCE: or "SUBSTANCE" this is very interesting and I decided to go back into the Targums and look at what word was used in a verse I have been quoting often, in Proverbs and what I found was startling.
Pleasant Mitha (words, manifestations, instances, substances) is like honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
Let us also look at another passage from the words of Yeshua.
You have heard that it has been said that you should not commit adultery. But I say to you that all who that looks at a woman as lustfully at once has committed adultery in his heart.
Now the question we must pose is are our words just something that comes out of our mouths, or are they something much more?
Yose ben Yohanan of Jerusalem said: Let your house be wide open and let the needy be members of your household, and do not engage in too much idle talk with a woman. They said this of a man’s own wife, how much more so of his fellow’s wife. Hence the Sages said: Whoever engages in too much idle talk with a woman brings evil upon himself, and neglects the study of the Torah, and ultimately will inherit Gehinom.
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
The miltha of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their Miltha (and deeds) are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence.
The thing I find interesting is in the above verse from Proverbs 16:24 as well as the wisdom from the Rabbi's in the Pirkei Avos as well as all the parallel verses in Proverbs and Isaiah, what we tend to see is that words are synonymous with "Manifestation", thus we see Yeshua in Matthew making the point of where our words and actions start. Let us look at it in this instance for a clearer understanding of what Yeshua was saying and how it relates to our words:
A man craves a hamburger, he has been craving it all day, his mind says, "Dude go get a burger from your favorite burger joint", the man then physically gets into his car, drives to his favorite burger joint, and tells the waitress, "Mam, I would like a hamburger with some pepper jack cheese, mayo, mustard and ketchup" he vocalized what it was he wanted and the waitress puts in the order and the cooks in the kitchen then make the hamburger. What we see here is how a though brought about these actions:
What we see is how a thought leads to action and vocalization that affected the people around him in the burger joint. There was a positive inclination for him cause he got what he wanted, the waitress got a tip, the cooks had to do physical labor and the restaurant stays open cause many people wanted hamburgers from that particular establishment. So what we see has happened here is the inclination for the burger started with a thought that later engaged in words being spoken to produce the hamburger which ended up in his stomach. Thus is the same with other dealings with people especially in terms of the Scripture and our halaka (walk).
If a person, is prayed for, and they are edified through kind words, and words of encouragement and it comes from the heart then what is expected to happen? Well the person is expected to get better. However, if words of bitterness are expressed, is there a physical manifestation through the miltha as well? Well of course there is, how often do we read about children whom have committed suicide in high school or college because they were bullied? It is a common occurrence. We have the choice of bringing forth life or death in our words and most importantly in our thoughts. Cause in our thoughts is where these words originate thus, the manifestations originate in our thoughts.
One of the things I often teach is for new converts to first learn the 2 most important commandments, which are to love YHWH you Elohim with all your mind heart soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself, a premise taught by both Hillel the Elder and Yeshua our Messiah and to avoid confusion by taking baby steps in their walk and therefore I advocate the 3 year Torah cycle for new converts. The reason for this is for a person to find shalom within themselves and to not allow in an unclean ruach of confusion which manifests by throwing them in and saying, "read just read now, read" which is the usual mindset, this brings a flood of questions and stresses, and it takes them forever to find the inner shalom, therefore anger is felt within cause they do not understand and their frustrations are vocalized, confusion sets in and unedifying words are spoken because someone may show them something different than what they were taught and what ends up manifesting are not only these unclean spirits within a person but also sickness, depression disease etc and they are surrounded by a bickering community that only makes things worse. And each unedifying word has a "manifestation" which the original languages show us in the oldest texts, cause our ancestors of the faith understood this premise and this is why YHWH despises and evil tongue. And evil tongue is destruction to not only the person manifesting the words and thoughts but it is also something that infects the body like a cancer and it is almost impossible to stop.
Let us be mindful of our words and our thoughts, let us find shalom from within, let us take that shalom into our homes and exemplify it there, and lets work towards bringing that shalom with us in our daily dealings with everyone we come in contact with cause a single unedifying word is a poison with the power to kill and the power to spread to the innocent who then become collateral damage in the process. Shalom Shalom
by Christopher (From Brutal Planet)
In John 18:40, in many of your Bibles, you see that the people wanted Barabbas released from captivity. Now this seems to be a rather odd request that in the Greek really does not seem to give us any sort of indication as to why. However, in the Aramaic, Barabbas' name alone tells the story when we look at the original copies of the Khabouris Codex.
First of all who was Barabbas? Well it is said that we was a rabble rouser, he was a revolutionary he is one who has many followers and he was a tyrant. Why release such a man back into society? Well the Talmud actually gives us a little bit of the backstory on this in terms of what the Jewish people were expecting to perspire at this time in history.
The Tanna debe Eliyyahu teaches: The world is to exist six thousand years. In the first two thousand there was desolation; two thousand years the Torah flourished; and the next two thousand years is the Messianic era, but through our many iniquities all these years have been lost.... Rab said: All the predestined dates have passed, and the matter [now] depends only on repentance and good deeds.
Basically what the Rab is saying here is, "oops I think we missed him". Notice that the magi in the gospels were expecting the return of Messiah when they saw the star in the sky, by going by what the Torah says in terms of appointed times in relation to the sun moon and stars. But also notice Yeshua pointed out numerous calendar issues the ruling body was keeping, notice in Luke 22 Yeshua and his Talmidim were keeping Pesach on a different day than the Pharisees. Now the modern Jewish calendar which is actually Hillel's calendar has over 400 years missing in it because of time lost during the times in captivity. The fault cannot be out upon the Pharisees in this particular case cause a great deal of history was lost and Rav Hillel did this best he could. In Acts 22:3 we see that Paul actually studied under Hillel's grandson Gamilel. The rabbis still have this...."what if style of approach" as we see as well in the Talmud when they are asking about the date of the coming of Messiah.
The Targum of the Prophets was composed by Jonathon ben Uzziel under the guidance of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi... and a Bat Kol (voice from heaven) came forth and exclaimed, "Who is this that has revealed My secrets to mankind?"... He further sought to reveal by a Targum the inner meaning of the Ketuvim, but a bat kol went forth and said, "Enough!". What was the reason?-- Because the date of the Messiah is foretold in it.
Obviously they saw they missed something. Now back to the Aramaic manuscripts of John in the Khabouris Codex. When we look at the name given to Barabbas in its original form we see the reason he was released. His given name was Bar-Abba. Bar-Abba translates to "Son of Abba" or "Son of the Father", where Yeshua's name means "Salvation". Now, it starts to make sense now one would question, why then not Yeshua? Why would the crowd overwhelmingly say, "give us Bar-Abba!!!!"? Well when we look at the mindset of the teachings of that time we see exactly why they missed Yeshua and why Bar-Abba was their big mistake.
It has been taught for thousands of years in Rabbinical Judaism that the first coming of Messiah would not be as the suffering servant, in fact in modern Judaism anti-missionary groups such as the Karaites, Jews for Judaism and other splinter groups even go against the ancient Rabbis when they had even written that Isaiah 53 and try and make the claim that Isaiah 53 is not about the Messiah but rather about Israel and/or the affliction of the Jewish people. Yet the rabbis in the Talmuds and other rabbinical writings agree that this verse is indeed about the Messiah, so they are playing clean up.
But the teaching at the time and even still today is that the first coming of Messiah would not be that of the suffering servant or Messiah ben Yosef but rather of that of the Melek, the King as Messiah ben David. And the mindset is that the King must come into power and then he becomes the servant afterwards to serve the people. Because in Jewish thought and through the history of the Tanakh the King, is the servant so first he must rise into power to serve the people like King David did. So in their minds Messiah ben David coming first makes sense, and to them a rabble rouser, with a history of violence and a revolutionary such as Bar-Abba fit the mold and Yeshua coming lowly and riding on an ass did not fit the teaching at the time coming from the understanding of the traditions of the elders of the time. And this theology found its way in by believe it or not the minority sect of the Sadducees cause they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. As noted in Acts 23:8 and in Mark 12:18-27. This teaching made it's way in through the back door with the teachings of Shemmai as a reversal to the common sense approach which was a King must be a servant first if he is to be able to rule and judge rightly. Notice that Yosef was born way before David in the progression of history we also see very much a Purim message in the way that YHWH uses a chain of progression to do things in His timing and placing the puzzle pieces in such a way that differs from the way we tend to understand it.
by Christopher (From Brutal Planet)
All too often because of the lack of real leadership in the Hebrew Roots, individuals often look for the big bad wolf or the monster under the bed in order to make sense of certain illnesses and we often like to point fingers. The blame often falls in the conspiracy circles to the doctors, to the pharmaceutical companies, sin, generational iniquity, GMOs etc.
As covered many times before the Scripture clearly states:
Kind words are like honey--sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Have we ever taken the time to notice that edification is almost non-existent and finger pointing is always the thing that seems to bring a displaced comfort to many, find the big bad wolf and let me not look at myself cause YHWH is not in control some other entity is that is strictly that of the flesh. Yeshua himself encountered this mentality as well.
And when he crossed over he saw a man who was blind since his mother’s womb. And his
disciples asked him and said, “Our Master, who had sinned, this man or his parents that he should be born blind?” Y’shua said to them, “He did neither sin nor his parents, but that might be seen in him the work of Elohim. It is necessary for me to do the works of Him who sent me while it is daytime. The night is coming that man is not able to work As long as I am in the world I am the Light of the world!” And when he said these things he spat upon the ground and mixed clay with his saliva and he rubbed it upon the eyes of that blind man. And he said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Shilokha.” And he went and washed and he came seeing!
The words of Yeshua displays the lack of faith within his disciples, if this event would have taken place today, it would have read something like this:
And when he crossed over he saw a man who was blind since his mother’s womb. And his disciples asked him and said, “Our Master, who had sinned, this man or his parents that he should be born blind? He needs nuts and berries, he needs a miracle elixir that is made from the earth, I bet his parents ate GMO foods, it is the government trying to kill us the bilderbergers and the illuminati and the trilateral commission and the Skull and Bones are behind this, quickly get him to the health food store.”
It may sound goofy but ya notice the parallels between the statement of the disciples and that of the knee jerk reaction of people in the Netzari Faith today when someone is sick. And I do not fault those who wish to help those in need, for they do it in order to help, and they should not be thought any less of because of their misguidance. But this stems from an overwhelming problem found in the Hebrew Roots, it is a focus on the "letter of the Torah" as opposed to the "spirit of the Torah". Many, subconsciously do not believe that YHWH is actually in control for some reason we think we are. And we submit to popular talking points. Let me tell you a short story.
At the age of 7, in October of 1987 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I had the highest ever recorded blood sugar at grace hospital, it was 1,250. Just to give you some insight into how dangerous that was, for those who do not know about diabetes, a person's blood sugar should be between 60 and 120. Here I was withering away to less than 50lb and the doctors did all they could and said, "He will not make it through the night so get your things in order to make arrangements", but the doctors at Grace Hospital worked hard to get my blood sugar down to a normal level though they thought it may have been too late and I may have been at the point of no return. I remember waking up the next day with IVs in the joints of my arms and in my wrists where they were giving me the things I needed to stay alive, and my blood sugar came down over the duration of several days and I never went into any kind of shock or anything afterwards, nor a coma. The question I then have to pose is this, "Did YHWH use the doctors? And was He there? And did he perform an amazing miracle?"
I take insulin to stay alive, I have been lured by many herbalists who believe that YHWH does not use doctors but He does use them and I have tried many of the nastiest things in the world cause I was told these things, "cure type 1 diabetes" none of them did but 3 out of the 6 individuals who used me as a guinea pig have claimed on their websites that I was cured of type 1 diabetes by using their teas or concoctions they have made. However, this was never the case.
This is not to put down herbalists either, I have seen some great things done with herbal medications most specifically purified salt which makes sense considering Numbers 18:19, Leviticus 2:13, Jeremiah 33:20-21, Isaiah 8:14-16; 8:20, and Matthew 5:13.
It is important to not throw the baby out with the bathwater and to not think that YHWH is not moving among the unbelievers in Torah and Messiah. At the age of 7 I had some great doctors who helped me and I also was not a believer in Torah at this stage in my life. Much like the message of Purim, YHWH puts certain chains of events into play which link together as a piece of a puzzle. The greater truth is then revealed.
When I was in political talk radio, I would hear many of my colleagues discuss what the other side was doing and I took a different approach and my show was much different cause instead of worrying about the daily news bits, I put my energy behind educating people on economic and social principles and working towards solutions. Newt Gingrich was so impressed with my solution to the failed bureaucracy of social security he put it on his website American Solutions in the Solution's Lab. And often times in the Netzari Faith we tend to focus on different entities, whether read or fairy tale in today's society and make the claim that YHWH is not in control essentially and that we are oppressed and slaves to real and fictional entities. That then becomes our focus and it adds to the confusion. The confusion would not be there if we held on to the main thing we must learn at the beginning of our walk, which I am saddened to say many have gone away from, and that is that YHWH is who He says He is. Torah based communities have become a battle of wit and knowledge and basically a social club. We have become the very thing we are against in that respect.
Often times we also do not want to think that our words of edification and that finding that inner shalom and shalom in the home (shalom bayit) can bring about the necessary healings. We can only get to this point of trusting in that by giving of ourselves in full submission to the Father and knowing that it is His will for us to be healed, and that it does not serve His purpose to give up at all, cause then all we are is a wasted victim, there is no testimony to carry on. Let us also give credit to where credit is due, YHWH is in control,
(By Christopher from Brutal Planet)
Through the years of my walk as a Netzari Jew, it has been one heck of a learning experience. I have noticed that many, just starting in their walk are experiencing the same frustrations, confusions and changes I was in my walk. I was not privileged to have a mentor, someone to show me the way and steps towards conversion thus I carried over some bad theologies and picked up some along the way. I found myself constantly floundering around like a fish on various interpretations in terms of doctrine. As I progressed I attributed it to, the old saying “2 Rabbis, 3 Opinions”. Yet I found myself still pulling many weeds. There were numerous times I would take time off of radio and ministry work to re-evaluate and re-read the Scripture. In the past 3 years I have read the entire Scripture + Enoch, Sefer haYashar (aka Jasher), and The Apocrypha twice during these times of re-evaluation. Each time with a different emphasis, the first time to basically know what I was talking about before I spoke, and the second time for translational reasons to try and connect some dots in terms of how to keep certain commandments and for context reasons. I would find myself studying points of interest and trying to get too deep too fast, basically I was playing spiritual Twister and not following any sort of order in which is needed for a smooth transition into the Netzari Faith. I have since out together a plan for new converts so they they do not make the same mistakes I did and become a liability to the body as I once was in terms of spreading bad theology and becoming a stumbling block for the body as a whole. I pray this edifies and helps you if you are new in your walk.
Step 1: The Noahide Laws
Because one has chosen to follow the Biblical path does that mean it is time for them to enter into the synagogue/study/assembly? Absolutely not we see in the books of Exodus and Leviticus that the stranger was not allowed to take part in the Passover. Why is this? Notice at the entrance of the tabernacle there was a basin of water, which was to signify the purification of the priest and of those attending. There are several covenants that are carried out and taught within YHWH's house and just the entering in of YHWH's house cannot be taken lightly because there are several covenants that one's heart must understand so we can come to YHWH pure of heart.
Some may ask when a person is ready to enter into a congregation? As Paul mentions in Acts 15 they must first observe the Noahide laws, which are found in Sanhedrin 56a in the Bavli Talmud which states:
“Our Rabbi's taught 7 precepts were the sons of Noah commanded social (mishpatim) laws, to refrain from blasphemy, idolatry, adultery, bloodshed, robbery and eating the flesh cut from a living animal (eating blood)”
“You should stay away from that which is sacrificed to idols, and the blood from a strangled thing, and from fornication (with women and other gods)......”
Given that Paul was indeed a Pharisee, he knew the concepts of which he was teaching that was engrained in Rabbinic Judaism. This dealt with purity and not defiling the temple which is what was done during the times of the Maccabees, Jeremiah, and Esther. This is why this wall was instituted so that bad theology and division does not make it's way into the temple nor that of deviating spirits making their way into the temple that a person does not know they have. The Noahide laws are one of the first steps before, Shabbat, before the Feasts, before all the other mitzviot because it is a time of purification of one's self so that they may come before YHWH pure.
Many invite people who want to learn more about Netzari Judaism to a study and this is a bad, bad, bad idea because of the things listed in the Scripture that says they must do this first. Our Gregorian minds always said, “well invite them to church” and this seems to have carried over into the Netzari faith as well. This is not only to safeguard the assembly but also the individual as well who is a probable attendee. They must show they are dedicated and trusted with the little things before they can be entrusted with safeguarding the Torah and the 613 mitziot. Otherwise it will be too overwhelming for them and a spirit of confusion will come over them. One must start on milk and grow until they start eating meat. It is a purification process and it is baby steps.
Many teachers will bypass this step and what ends up happening is they gravitate towards anyone or anything labeled “Hebrew Roots” and they will become frustrated and confused and not knowing what to believe because of the armchair experts out there. These armchair experts are the ones who have caused many to leave the Netzari faith and either go the way of orthodox Judaism or back to Christianity.
There is no minimum or maximum amount of time one must observe the 7 Noahide laws before they are then ready to learn the rest of the Torah. One litmus test I tend to use is observing how many times when asking to study they start their sentences with the word “I” and later how often they use the word “I” and the focus then shifts to “haShem” or “God” or “YHWH”. A person must want to do the Torah for the sake of their love for YHWH, and not for head knowledge and head faith. That is one of the toughest things for many cause often times we want to go into the synagogue to bring others in and witness to others and we do not want to focus on our own growth and learning to know the Father more and feel him move within us. If we want to come to the assembly to learn how to witness, then we are not going there for the right reasons. This is what the Noahide laws are to teach us, to show us, that we need more of YHWH that we desire more of Him and that we want to be changed. Not on changing someone else but because we want all of Him. And purging out the things that cause us not to be able to do that, is the correct start.
Step 2: Choose you This Day A Rabbi
Everyone needs a mentor, someone who is there for you at any time to ask a question or for guidance. Now does one just choose any person who bears the title? Of course not and there are a few things to look for in terms of a Rabbi. Now this is vitally important to understand, when you choose for yourself a Rabbi you are choosing a person with whom you are to represent, your actions are a reflection upon that of your Rabbi and visa versa..
The reason for these listed criteria is because in the internet age there are many who bear the title Rabbi, and are often individuals whom have given themselves that title without earning it and those who wish not to use the title or see anything negative within the title “Rabbi” should also be kept away from cause they do not understand the tenants of Judaism, chances are they will hold onto the label “Messianic” so that they may find favor in the Gregorian World Wide Church of God and take the verse, “Call no man Rabbi” out of context. That verse is often cited by individuals who dismiss the title because they, do not understand the tenants of what it means to be a Rabbi and the honor that comes with it. When the Pharisees came before Yeshua and called him Rabbi, and he said, “Call no man Rabbi” was he saying that it is wrong to have the title? No, what he was saying is that they did not honor him as a Rabbi (a teacher) and thus should not have used a title of exaltation if they did not intend to exalt and honor the one they were calling “teacher”. Thus bringing the title to naught. If you call someone Rabbi, you better make sure to honor them in your words, and your actions and do not bring dishonor to the one you call Rabbi. Aside from choosing a wife or husband this is the most important decision you will make after you chose to convert to Netzari Judaism. It is not to be taken lightly and do not expect the Rabbi you chose to take it lightly as well. And remember every Rabbi even has his own Rabbi who keeps him in check as well, so you are getting generations of wisdom when you chose your Rabbi which will help you along your walk as well cause the same wisdom will be passed on down to you as well, generations upon generations of the wisdom of many successes and many failures which builds when it reaches you so choose wisely.
Step 3: One Year/Three Year Torah Cycle
Now you are at the point to where you are ready to learn the 613 mitzviot, yet it can still be overwhelming to learn 613 commandments in the duration of one year and understand them adequately enough to be able to apply them. There is an average of 13.7 commandments taught every week in the 1 year Torah Portion cycle and it is still overwhelming going from a duration of time learning and applying 7 commandments over a long period of time an then learning 13-14 commandments every single week. It is a heck of a jump. And this is why I am an advocate of the 3 year Torah cycle that allows the Torah student to learn at a slower pace. The only issue with this is chances are your Rabbi goes by the 1 year Torah cycle, where a person would learn the entire Torah within 1 year as opposed to 3 years. There is a solution however.
I would suggest applying both Torah cycles in the first 3 years of learning but making your emphasis your personal study on the 3 year cycle and keeping a journal of what you have learned each week in the 3 year Torah cycle and writing in that journal every week. Do not only document what you have learned from the Torah reading that week, but also each week reflect on how you applied the commandments that you studied the previous week in the portion. Then when you go to the synagogue and hear your Rabbi teach you can as well get some extra information that you will dig deeper into a few week's later on your 3 year cycle and it will give you time to contemplate on those commandments and give you a bit of a base before you write about them in your journal.
After completing the three year cycle, you can then fully jump into the 1 year cycle, cause you will have already completed the entire Torah at a slow, yet consecrated pace 4 times in 3 years. I would also suggest to start the cycle after Sukkot when the Torah cycle starts back over on the 1 year cycle, if you are unsure of when that is, do not be embarrassed and ask your Rabbi or someone who knows (but preferably your Rabbi). That would be the perfect time to move from just the Noahide laws into learning the entire Torah. And it is a perfect place to start cause the scene gets laid out and the mitzviot start coming slowly and not as quickly as they do when we go from Genesis to Exodus. Starting at the Portion Bereshit is the perfect place for someone to get their feet wet before they dive in. It also makes the transition easy as well cause you do not get a sense of starting right in the middle of the cycle and not being able to piece together what all is happening with Moses and the Children of Israel. It is always best to start at Bereshit (The Beginning).
I also suggest different points of emphasis within the first 3 years of study to help with the growth process within our walk (as shown below)
Step 4: Talmud and Zohar
Those whom condemn such texts have a lack of understanding and this is why it is important to have a Rabbi who is knowledgeable on these texts yet does not flaunt them around as required reading or study. It is ok and actually helpful in taking the next step if they say in their teachings at times, “The Mishna says...........” and use that as a reference point for deep emphasis on something. But Talmud and Zohar is NOT something that should be something someone jumps into immediately. The Sages say that a person must wait between 10-20 years before even glancing at the texts. I would not suggest saying to be liberal with these figures. It is important to have a deep understanding of the Scripture before referencing these texts or teaching on them. But a good Rabbi will prepare his congregation for when they are ready. When they are able to adequately understand Paul in every single verse, then I believe a person is on their way to be able to properly understand the writings of the Rabbis, cause Paul was one of these guys.
I will not say how long a person must study until they are ready to look at the rabbinical texts, I would trust the opinion of your Rabbi and consult with him. If he however says within the first few years, I would have to respectfully disagree but each person is different. Some might be ready in the 5th year and some may not be ready until the 20th year to jump into Talmud. However, the Zohar is a different animal entirely. I would not suggest Zohar study until at least 20 years in the faith. Some may find 20 years to be rather excessive, but it is important to realize the eccentricities of this text known as the Zohar. It is easily taken out of context by many of those whom are unlearned and has even been used in different variations in paganism and is used as a base text cause it is so easy to manipulate and get it wrong and be very dangerous. It is like putting a 5 year old behind the wheel of a race car. Watching race cars race can be very fun but if a 5 year old is behind the wheel then you know disaster is eminent. Thus is the Zohar, it is like having a high school student brain surgery, though he may really want to be a brain surgeon he has not been possibly trained yet. The Zohar deals a great deal with each Hebrew letter in each Torah Portion and treats it as a “Miltha” (Aramaic word for “word” or “manifestation”) and the fact is in Proverbs it shows us the two are one in the same that there are physical attributes to words and letters that make up those words. The Zohar is very intense, hard to follow even for the seasoned veteran in Torah and Messiah, thus again makes it easy to manipulate.
Just know I am not saying these texts are in anyway evil or bad, but it is irresponsible to give a 10 year old the keys to a Ferrari. The unlearned damn these texts however, because they are unlearned. Stay away from those who want you to jump into them right away, and stay away from those whom are unlearned who pretend to be teachers who say they are evil and quote them out of context. Such teachers are the same ones who would quote Galatians 2:19-21 and say that the Torah has been done away with. This is why it is important to be responsible in our walk and objective as well as open to correction and criticism.
I would also suggest that an unmarried woman NEVER pick up the Talmud or Zohar. A woman is more susceptible to contextual problems without her covering with her. Many of these mitzviots discussed amongst the Rabbis deal with setting a halakah that is to be practiced within a person's life. If a woman is ever to be married at some point in her life, then issues will arise with differing halakah and it should be for the man and wife to determine their halakah amongst each other. It is the job of the man to establish the halakah and the job of the wife to fulfill it. It is a team effort.
Theological Insights from Rabbi Eved Banah at Beit Geulah in Morganton, NC (www.BeitGeulah.com)