G-d's Warning Through This Year's Torah Cycle on the Coronavirus and What Our Job Is To ALLEVIATE It
Think on this, in a few weeks we have a double Torah portion, we have Tazria and Metzorah. These two Torah portions are about quarantine! In these parshiot the priest visits the quarantined to see if they have gotten better and if they have they can come back into the fold. There is really something deep in this that I have been saying for over a month. Let me explain.
First of all what started the inflictions of Metzorah (leprosy)? It started with Myriam speaking against Moshe and Aharon. This is the concept of lashon hara (evil speech). Now, in Aramaic the word Milthe means “words/MANIFESTATIONS/instances/substances/Incantations”. We see this word used in it’s singular form, Miltha” in John as shown:
Beresheet atohi hwa Miltha (In the Beginning was the Word, Manifestation, Instance, Substance, Incantation) And that Miltha (Word/Manifestation) was with Alaha (G-d). And Alaha (G-d) was that Miltha (Word/Manifestation).
(John 1:1; LJANT)
Our words, brethren manifest. This is why the ancient Jewish sages said that when a person speaks their words are suspended in the cosmos and they affect someone somewhere. This is the cause for cancer, the cause for sickness and the cause of great joy and love. They manifest based on the Semitic languages given to us from HaShem to understand these premises.
The Torah states in Tazria and Metzorah that the physical affliction of leprosy is brought on by the spiritual condition known as “nega ta’arat” though the Torah continues to use the word leprosy through these parshiot sometimes nega tza’arat is translated as well as leprosy but it is the spiritual condition that allows it to manifest. It then starts to show physical signs known as Metzorah.
When the Metzorah is formed, they are taken out from the people and they are quarantined. This quarantine serves as a time of repentance for their condition which was brought on physically from the spiritual condition. Now, I have said, G-d brought the Coronavirus because we need to grow and we need correction this is why we are quarantined and isolated from the world right now in this lockdown. But the condition will not clear away until our high priest, Yeshua HaNotzri, checks to see if we are clean. We have chosen to prolong this quarantine through our spiritual condition. Yeshua is constantly checking on us to see if the lesions of the society have passed, they will pass when our spiritual condition is elevated. Right now, we have not gotten the memo.
If I had to take an educated guess, in the realization that the physical comes about from the spiritual and from the understanding of G-d’s Word. I would say that we will start to see society slowly start to open up the next day after these Torah portions are read and taught. The 26th of April of 2020 I think we will see some changes happening for the better because G-d’s people will start to get the message.
At noon EST on April 6th 2020 (Nisan 12, 5780) the Beit Din of Ani Judaism assembled via conference call to make a decision on the upcoming times of the Passover Seder. This article will serve as a guide to what was decided for all congregations under the banner of Ani Judaism.
The appointed time for the Seder is set on the evening of the 14th of Nisan each year, which this year falls on the evening of Wednesday the 8th 2020. There is a second passover that starts on the evening of May 7th 2020, which is known as Pesach Sheni. This is reserved for those who are deemed unclean. Some have asked if the seder should be moved to Pesach Sheni on the 14th of the month of Iyar for this year. Below is our decision voted on by a 53 to 15 majority.
It has been decided that for this year (5780) and this year only, congregations are forbidden to have mass gatherings for the seder on the evening of the 14th of Nisan. These gatherings for a mass seder are put into place mainly for beginners and first year participants in the Pesach Seder. For, the sick, the elderly, or the first time participants, as well as individuals who are unmarried, they can wait for Pesach Sheni for the seder.
In our sect as well as most sects of Judaism the seder is mainly done in the home with one's family, not at the congregation. One who's a family and who is learned in the order of the Seder is obligated to do their seder at home if they are a family of 2 or more on the evening of 14th of Nisan. Yet, one its not to invite other congregants or extended family for this year. It is forbidden to do so for this year. We hope to not hear congregants are not.
Those with a strong internet connection will be sent a virtual seder from many of the rabbis of Ani Judaism. Some will be live streaming through platforms like Zoom, ECamm, Skype, Streamyard and BeLive. These will be for different time zone and different languages. Not every rabbi of Ani Judaism is required to do this as most do not have the technical know-how so it is not a requirement of our rabbis. But, a beginner is allowed to celebrate the Passover on the 14th if their rabbi has deemed they are ready to keep the mitzvah of Pesach virtually. If one attends a virtual seder on the 14th of Nisan they can also attend one with friends, extended family or their congregation on the 14th of Iyar if it is deemed safe at that time by the government in your country.
We will however be eating matzah, as a community on the 15th of Nisan for the 7 day period as prescribed. If a person does Pesach Sheni on the 14th of Iyar they are not required to also eat matzah that week as well unless they did so because of being unclean during the first Pesach on the 14th of Nisan.
The Seduah of Moshiach, as well as the Omer count and Shavuos will remain unchanged and the same rules for Pesach will also apply to the Seduah of Moshiach on the last day of Pesach. There is not a second Seduah of Moshaich in the Baal Shem Tov's timing so that is not moved to the month of Iyar. The Omer count as well as Shavuos also doesn't have an Omer sheni or Shavuos Sheni. So therefore the rules of Pesach Sheni do not apply.
Be well, and many blessings,
Christopher Fredrickson (Rabbi Eved Banah)
The North American Rebbe of Ani Judaism
Griffin's supposed copyright
Recent claims by "Mordecai Griffin" (not his real name btw but an internet persona) have caused us to respond to Griffin's recent claims. Below, we see a claim from Griffin claiming that he holds the rights to the name Lapid Judaism International.
Upon further research we have found that registration number 5,971,760 not only does not exist but no such copyright exists in the United States, and even if it did exist it doesn't supersede an international copyright. So as we can see from the fine print in this document what is actually copyrighted is a logo. Even though Griffin stole our logo we made concessions to put it into K'tav hebrew as shown above. But this is n to the only issue.
If Griffin wished to go after Lapid Judaism International he would have some major issues. First of all when it comes to copyrighted materials that go back way way way before. For instance the copyright of many materials that have the Lapid Judaism moniker. For instance. The Lapid Judaism Vimeo channel goes back 7 years.
Now Griffin claims he "created" Lapid Judaism back in 2014, this lie will become very apparent in a few moments. Because also there is the matter of the Lapid Jewish New Testament. When was the first edition copy-written? Well back in 2010.
There is also the matter of when the Official Lapid Judaism YouTube page was started and when Griffin's was started.
Then there is the matter of the Rabbinic Gospel of Mark published in 2017
When was Griffin's supposed copyright? Lets zoom in and see shall we?
Oh, January 28th 2020, way way way after the formation of this website, way way way after the printing of the Lapid Jewish Aramaic New Testament, way way way way after the formation of Lapid Publishing, Lapid Books, Lapid Judaism Television (which has been on the Roku official channel list since September of 2019, and Lapid Judaism Radio, the Lapid Judaism Vimeo Channel and the Lapid Judaism YouTube Channel. You cannot copyright an already established organization. We should also make note we announced in 2013 we were to become LapidMedia.com and later became LapidJudaism.com
How Was Lapid Judaism Really Established and When? And What is Griffin's Claim?
Back in 2015 I was approached by Mordecai Griffin to become a part of the Lapid Jewish sect. We had featured his teachings on Nashama Chochmah Television so we could get a sense of who he was. And considering he had interest in rabbinics we thought he would be a good fit.
So in his excitement he started proclaiming he was a part of Lapid Judaism. We set up a meeting with Rabbi Yossi through a phone call with Mordecai, Mordecai assured me he had rabbinic ordination and had been to school and graduated top of his class he claimed. Everything seemed to be going well. We helped promote his synagogue and helped him along the way. So we set up the phone call with Rabbi Yitzak Yossi.
Problems started to arise and we started to question things when we heard that Griffin was kicked out of the MJAA, we thought to ourselves it is extremely possible it may just be his theology didn't align with them, it has happened before and not a big deal. But then when setting up for his first phone call with Rabbi Yossi, Griffin said, "I need a translator". I was taken aback by this because as a person who went to rabbinic school myself and went through a full conversion one of the first things you learn is the Hebrew language. I found this extremely odd. Now, Griffin never told me where he went to school and I kinda figured at this point that he had gotten ordination through the MJAA because they don't put great emphasis on being good in Hebrew. But then the calls started and and I realized Griffin not only didn't know what Rabbi Yossi was saying but also that basic hebrew words he didn't know. We hung up on Griffin and told him I will call him back.
Rabbi Yossi and I spoke and we found the whole thing with his answers to be kinda odd also considering he wouldn't give his real name. That was alarming to us because it seemed obvious he didn't want us to look into his past to make sure he is a good fit and to verify what he said was true. So, we did a little research and found out that Griffin never attended rabbinic school, instead he gave himself one through his 501C3.
We could not have someone associated with Lapid Judaism International that has a problem with the truth. So Mordecai Griffin started the "Lapid Movement" for a few years. We didn't take too much issue with that because he wasn't using our name or anything. Then we started to see screenshots pop up online that were amazingly disturbing and new profiles being made online by someone claiming to be several Lapid Jewish leaders around the world claiming that they wanted to be a "part of Lapid". A quick IP search found all these profiles were made within days of each other and that they were coming from Texas, a place none of us had ever been.
Either Griffin or someone close to him (though we are 99% positive it was him) was making fake social media profiles. That was disturbing just still he wasn't using the Lapid Judaism name he called his thing a "movement" so we didn't worry too much we just decided "he is off his rocker".
Some time later around 2018-2019 he switched all his accounts from "Lapid Movement" to "Lapid Judaism" now we have a problem here because he was infringing on an established name. Using the Wayback Machine on Archive.org will show you this by pushing the button below.
Now the real formation of Lapid Judaism was in 2004 by Rabbi Yitzak Yossi, when in his 70s being a Messianic Rabbi for many years and studying under Rabbi Kaduri he saw that "judaism" was just a tagline for the Messianic faith in many respects. He saw the gap widening between Judaism and the faith many claim was the faith of Yeshua, a falling away from halakha and so on. So in 2004 Lapid Judaism was established under one congregation in Uganda. After a few years some congregations came to the same consensus as Rabbi Yossi ands wanted affiliation with Lapid Judaism International.
A vexing process was put into play as well as one-on-one training usually through phone or travel. A council was set up with representatives from many nations. Through years we have never had an issue with this, since I joined in 2009.
Ex-Members of Griffin's Synagogue
On a weekly basis we get messages from ex congregants of Griffin's assembly. Some talk about how his claims about himself do not align or are often contradictory, to his rage against congregants when they question him. One such individual was sent to Chile told he was going to "set up a Lapid House" and what happened is the promise of resources to do so never transpired and the gentleman was stranded there because Griffin saw him as a threat because of this gentleman's great influence and understanding and also questions he had about Griffin's claims. Griffin felt he could be challenged so he had this gentlemen be stranded in Chile and before doing so made him sign a NDA.
Others online said they went through his "conversion class". Now anyone who knows basic judaism knows you cannot be converted by watching YouTube videos that is not how it works. Conversion comes from spending hours every day on your rabbi's floor, studying and midrashing with him and actually arguing with him. You also have to write a Torah Scroll of one book of a Sefer Torah in most sects of Judaism (except for the Conservative and Reform). Griffin's model is to watch his videos and then pay him $2000 as a donation (a required donation) with the promise of making aliyah. Now, this "conversion" is not real in so many ways. Let's say for example that Griffin's supposed copyright it authentic. Well, that would mean that every "conversion" he did before January 26th 2020 is invalid because he didn't have the authority to do so.
Not only this, but we have been approached by many who paid the $2,000 to Griffin (btw donations went to his personal bank account and not the synagogue which many found odd) and after payment (cough cough I mean "donation") he would ignore their calls, delete them on social media and block them but remind them one of there documents he gave them was a NDA. He has stolen thousands upon thousands of dollars from people promising a conversion he could not do and also promising aliyah. There are several accounts of this.
One ex-member, whom we got a lot of info from who didn't sign an NDA set up a YouTube channel last year talking about his experiences with Griffin.
Our friend Justin has been in contact with many ex members and he alerted us of some things that were happening with Griffin trying to hack our website, and also trying to gain a following by creating a fake following. Below are some very disturbing screenshots from Justin’s video. Want to know how Griffin went from over 100 subscribers on YouTube to 3 thousand in less than 2 days? Well this is how. Another thing to note is the website suggested to him also allows you to not only buy views and subscribers but also likes. Has anyone ever seen a video that has 75 likes an zero dislikes anywhere on youtube? Of course not it is funny that most of his comments are the same number of comments, his likes are the exact same number of likes pin his videos and his videos are the same amount of views and yet he hasn’t gotten any new subscribers in closer to 5 months. To go from 160 to 3.4k over night and not grow again? Is that rather suspicious to anyone else? And isn’t it interesting that chances are he will get a drastic uptick after he sees this article and not before? And should congregants be upset he is using their money and those online to dishonesty prop up himself in the way Yeshua warned about in Matthew 23? Can such a man be trusted?
On top of this, he has successfully gotten the Official Lapid Judaism youtube page to be flagged for "hate speech" why? Because of the fact many have pointed out, like in the pictures above in the article in previous sections that our page was older than his by 3 years, which proves he is not being truthful. Especially considering that youtube was made 1 years before he supposedly "started" Lapid Judaism, this was damning evidence to his claim he started it in 2014 or 2016 (he has gone back and forth on the dates out of convinces. And finally, one last piece of evidence we are gonna show is asking the question, "if you started an organization and you do so much online, wouldn't you be the one to have the URL?". Anyone with an IQ above a dandelion would say "well duh".
We guess in Griffin's fantasy world 11/02/2016 is after January 26th 2020. Lets look at the copyright inquiry.
Ooops, if I were the person who gave him the money for the copyright I think I would be ticked when it is realized he faked a government document.
What Are We Dealing With Now And WHat Are the Differences in the Real and Fake Lapid Judaism?
Because of his buying YouTube videos and likes and comments, the youtube algorithm has pushed his videos more. And that would be fine if he wasn't using our name. Also, on a weekly basis we get horror stories about Griffin that has harmed the stellar reputation of Lapid Judaism International, because a very very small group think we are associated with him, which we are not obviously, he just decided to steal the name of Rabbi Yossi's sect. Before, Griffin started his make-believe history of Lapid Judaism and putting himself at the center of it as though he is some sort of Moshiach figure there were never any issues within the organization. Now, all our leaders are being bombarded with horror stories thinking it is reflective of the actual Lapid Judaism organization.
On March 9th 2020, we are convening with the other elders of the sect of Lapid Judaism. And we are brining this to a vote, do we want to use organizational funds to take Griffin to court? Or do we want to wipe our hands of him and own the stain of Lapid Judaism that was stained by his hands? This is something that will be brought to a vote by the elders. We may change the name to another name we won't give here because Girffin may try and steal it too, we may not, it depends. I would urge the other elders personally to go with the name change because our name has been damaged beyond repair because of all the people Griffin has stolen from, taken advantage of and lied about. Our positions and our halakha will remain in tact however if the name change does occur. And unlike Griffin, we will not beg you to pay for our new URLs and reprinting of our materials that have donned the name Lapid Judaism since 2010. Unlike Griffin, our leadership actually work, either as full time rabbis or in secular jobs and as rabbis, not as internet personas.
The fake Lapid Judaism has caused a rift just like the Hebrew Roots movement with the Christian sects. Our representatives have a good relationship with our Christian brethren. Though we couldn't be worlds apart, our people are actually trained in Judaism and know the difference between a Ger and a Jew and know not to mistreat the Ger. This is why when Beit Geulah was open we would have Christian churches visiting the synagogue often and we would also go to them when asked to train their missionaries when they would head to Israel. We had a great impact on Burke United Christian Ministries and helped the homeless in our surrounding area. A major part of observance of the Torah is lowering one's self, and being humble to those we don't even agree with and being a servant to one another. The fake Lapid Judaism headed by Griffin however is set up to make Griffin look like a Moshiach figure, his arrogance and the focus on "I" "I" "I" Me" "Me" "Me" has been seen by everyone. That egotism doesn't exist in the real Lapid Judaism, that kind of egotism exists with people like David Koresh or Do Applewhite or Yahweh ben Yahweh. Though Griffin has never donned the steps of a Chabad schul, he may not know that Rebbe Schneerson never put himself on the high level that Griffin does. He thinks he is following the model of Schneerson but he jus following the model of someone who locked people in a compound not to far from him in Texas. There are also several other differences, conversion is not a business for us in fact we do minimal conversions because an authentic conversion takes years and hours every day. I think Griffin gets his conversion idea from Sunday school classes and not judaism. We also realize there is a difference between mishna and gemara which Griffin doesn't in relation to halakha, Also.....well our people know fluent Hebrew, he cannot even master the basic hebrew or aramaic.
Over the past year I have been seeing that "The Chosen" tv series was being advertised on social media and on the radio and several other places.
Now during this time I had no clue what it was, I saw the previews and said to myself "oh that might be cool, I donno". I never saw an episode of it until my fiancé said one day, "I want to see this show called The Chosen". So I do as I always do and fired up the AppleTV to see if it can be purchased there and sadly it was not. Then we found the first 4 episodes are for free on the Chosen iPhone App that could be beamed to your AppleTV through airplay. We saw the first episode and I started to get an idea of what it was about. I then downloaded the VidAngel app on my AppleTV so we could watch all 8 episodes.
Now, let me first preference, I am in no way a film critic. I actually think the Lost Skeleton of Cadavera is a hilarious masterpiece while my friends see it as being one below Tommy Wisseau's The Room. So if you are looking for an in-depth critical review of how the "Best Boy" or the other jobs of various film crew positions that I could not even tell you what they do, then you have come to the wrong place. I will be approaching this review from the vantage points of "did I dig it?" and was it theologically a dud or something beneficial to the faith based communities.
Coming into the first episode, as I said before, I said to myself after watching it, "Ok I kinda have an idea about this and it was enjoyable." One of the things I immediately liked is usually when Jewish elements are put into Christian movies or series, many tend to get a Hebrew Roots person on staff and they tend to cause the film to be filled with Sacred Name theology, and you see a gross misunderstanding of Judaism and of Christianity for that matter in these movies. I was deathly afraid of the fact that this is what I may see in this series, which is one of the reasons I slightly avoided it. There was a certain movie that was released that this had happened to, and when I would hear an attempt in said film of an attempt to say "this is how toileting pronounce the 4 letter name of G-d" in the writing room I cringed as a Hebrew and Aramaic teacher, not only because of how wrong they were but also because as a Jew we don't say the 4 letter name of G-d as it is disrespectful and against halakha. Those things will cause me to run away immediately. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised with the first episode because the duration of the series no such attempts were made with the Chosen, that I honestly really liked.
Though I was still a little confused initially, as an avid reader of the Bible and of rabbinic jewish texts that give us a lot of background into even some of the New Testament characters such as Nicodemus and Peter. I asked Mr Dallas Jenkins essentially, where the narratives of the backstory of the disciples and other characters came from. The words he used were along the lines of a fictional narrative. Some may take issue with that, but I do not. Here is my reasoning, upon understanding this I was better able to see how to approach this film. I also noticed some familiar faces in the first episode such as Eric Avant (from Mr Deeds and Paul Blant Mall Cop) who played Nicodemus as well as Janis Dardaris (from the Sixth Sense, and Law and Order). The entire cast was extremely endearing and did an amazing job drawing you in.
I was also surprised to hear that Paras Patel (who plays Matthew) like myself , has Asperger's Syndrome, and I saw a lot of myself in his character after this was revealed to me by some people. His movements and stuff my fiancé even pointed out to me I do some of the same things.
The story narrative is incredibly engaging and well written to where biblical narratives are indeed tied into the back stories and in the journey Jesus goes on with his disciples in the first season. The writing in terms of this I see as brilliant and was executed very well.
Now, I personally watch a ton of Christian and Jewish films. I like when they are mutually exclusive to the two communities because oftentimes the waters are muddied when the two are attempted to be out together, which was one of my initial worries of the project. But I was pleasantly surprised to see the two come together in a really responsible way as opposed to in a sensationalized way like other projects from other individuals have done in the past. If you are a Christian you will love this series, if you are a Lapid Jew you will respect the love and care that was put into this film and how it doesn't demonize judaism in anyway shape or form.
Shalom everyone, we are looking for beta testers to report back to us on the functionality of the new All-In-One Lapid Judaism Roku Channel we are planning on making available next week in the official Roku Channel Store. Basically what we need are for people to add the channel for free to their Roku devices and then report back to us in the comments of this post and let us know if the functionality is working well on your Roku and we want to also know what you like and don't like in terms of the channel so we can make it better for you. You can add the channel to your Roku by clicking the icon below:
We have been getting numerous emails from people wanting a preview of the Lapid Jewish Aramaic New Testament. So we have decided to upload a free downloadable PDF of the Gospel of Matthew from the Lapid Jewish Aramaic New Testament so you can see how it reads and to see some of the translation scholarship you are curious about. Enjoy and make sure to pass this link around to friends.
Interview with Christopher Fredrickson for the Beth Shiloh Newsletter on the Lapid Jewish Aramaic New Testament
R' Bonville: You have released a new translation of the Brit Chadasha in Aramaic tell us a little about this one and why it is different from other Aramaic translations currently being sold
Christopher: Certainly, well first of all there are wonderful translations out there from greek texts from later Hebrew texts and as you have noted Aramaic texts. Now I got frustrated years ago when I noticed that most Aramaic translations out there currently are from what is called the UBS collection. Now, there is nothing wrong with the UBS but it serves a different function than what some are looking for. For example, we have the Masoretic of the Hebrew Tanach and it is a majority text comprised of many texts which has formed the majoriative text. We all rely on the Masoretic whether we realize it or not, but as a language nerd I like to look at the texts that comprised the Masoretic and the textual chronology with including the Targumim as well as the Septuagint.
This brings us to my Aramaic text, which we used the Khabouris, the Yonan texts mainly which are the two oldest texts. Then when in question to differences in the two I would break the time using the 1199 Houghton Codex. Now with the UBS we have older documents and newer documents that are used as equals. Texts such as the Old Syriac and others for existence are not even "Old" as the title would seem to indicate, it pops up around the 16th century as was known to be an Aramaic translation from the greek. So when you put a text like that and give it the same weight as the Khabouris you are gonna have trouble in seeing the uniqueness of the oldest Aramaic texts.
R' Bonville: Where did you learn Aramaic and what is it's importance to you?
Christopher: That is a wonderful question. First of all I was brought to the Aramaic about 13 years ago, when I was learning Hebrew. I came across the Khabouris in Ashuri script, and for your readers who don't know the Ashuri is the same as the Hebrew Defus script we are all familiar with. So, I bought an Aramaic dictionary, and then a collection of semitic language dictionaries. I later crafted my Aramaic fluency by studying under Ewan McCloud who is one of the leading scholar in Aramaic and I learned Aramaic in Ashuri, Estrangela, Serta and Swadaya Script. This translation earned me my moreh certification in Aramaic actually.
In terms of it's importance to me, it was the Aramaic that brought me back to Yeshua many years ago. And when you look at, for instance, the Targums of Onkelos it is such an important part of textural chronology, especially when you see the through texts such as that the underlining commentaries within it that Onkelos had incorporated in out that shows us what the understanding was of passages at that time. Considering we have Aramaic as early back as the text of the Genesis in the Masoretic and Aleppo and Lenigrad Codexes and of course the Targumim that pre-date the first century it should be very important to us. Also, most scholars note that the Jews during the days of Yeshua spoke predominantly Aramaic in the Jewish world at this time, the history dating back to the Medo-Persian Empire and Babylonian Exile and seeing it in Daniel shows there is major importance of Aramaic in the Jewish world. And well as the fact many of the texts we hold dear such as the Talmud and Zohar were all written in Aramaic not Hebrew. I love following the chronology of thought and we have Biblical texts that allows us to do this.
R' Bonville: Now you are well known as an Aramaic Primist, most I know who are like you don't like greek translations, any thoughts on that?
Christopher: Lets be objective and honest here. The scholarship is split down the middle in terms of Aramaic and Greek primacy. So to diminish the Greek is dishonest and shouldn't be done. And let's look at what is in publication now in the Messianic world that is used often. The Scriptures 98, is translated from the greek, the Complete Jewish Bible, also translated from the Greek, the Delitzsch Hebrew is a greek text translated into Hebrew. We owe a lot to the greek texts and I am not ashamed to say that I have at least 10 Greek bibles on my bookshelf and I hold them in high regard. I love Phil Gobel's OJB and though it has ashhkinazi Hebrew transliterations, it is a NKJV Bible with transliterations from the Masoretic and the Delitzsch Hebrew and again the Delitzsch is a Hebrew translation of the greek. Greek is important in terms of textural chronology. So I try and be objective and though I am an Aramaic Primist, I love greek Bibles.
R' Bonville: Why the Aramaic transliterations?
Christopher: Well, I dunno how old you are, but I remember there became an interest in 2004 in Aramaic because of the Passion of the Christ, then after the movie was in the theaters interest in Aramaic pleated. Now, Aramaic has a rich history within Judaism and sadly hardly anyone knows Aramaic anymore. It is a dying language and if we didn't have the Ashuri script of Aramaic and if we didn't have Eliezar Ben Yehudah advocating for the Jews to learn Hebrew in the late 19th Century then Aramaic would be dead. Aramaic primists like myself , need to get people excited about Aramaic again.
So, being a fan of Gobel's OJB, I said "that is so cool what he did with the Hebrew transliterations, I should do that with my Aramaic translation". So that is what I did. I thought this would help people in terms of discussing Aramaic and learning key vocabulary in Aramaic and it may peak their interest in learning Aramaic. And I think it is one step closer to bring people's interest back to this language that has such a rich history that has almost become forgotten.
R' Bonville: What was the biggest obstacle in translating the Lapid Jewish Aramaic New Testament?
Christopher: Honestly, my attention span lol. Juggling between two documents and trying to use them in concert with one another and then using a third text as a tie breaker at times takes a lot of time. I have horrible anxiety and sometimes I would spend an hour on just one phrase saying "ok be unbiased how should this render?" . And sometimes I would pull in the Delitzsch to help me out, or thousands of pages I have taken notes on over the years in several binders from numerous scholars in the Aramaic world I have attended lectures with and such. Sometimes I would pull out commentaries to help me out. And the process was definitely frustrating at times because it is a process that took close to 12 years. My patience is not that good usually lol. So sometimes i would put it down and not touch it for months out of frustration. But I would constantly come back to it.
R' Bonville: Can you give an example of something people will be surprised with in your Bible?
Christopher: They will be surprised I think with how helpful the transliterated key words are. For instance, this is something that stocked me early on. As you know ins Semitic languages most words have many definitions. But in translations we only get one of them. One example is the word Khaye, now the word Khaye, which is used over 100 times in Aramaic Khabouris and Yonan Codexes and both codexes agree each time it is used, the word Khaye has a double meaning. It means both "life" and "salvation". Many times when your Bible translates life or salvation in your new testament, the other word is also applicable because the two are one in the same. So you can imagine how that context allows the text to open up in a way that many do not realize. Now, because of this New Testament people will see it there and realize the double meanings or triple meanings in the text. That I think is going to help people amazingly in their study.
R' Bonville: Is there any commentary with your Bible?
Christopher: Honestly, I love many of the Chumashim I have, I love Artscroll's stuff because of the commentaries. I am an Artscroll fanatic. I love commentaries, but I chose not to put as single line of my commentary in here for a few reasons. First of all, there have been some Messianic translations I have liked from Aramaic texts but the non-textural commentaries I found to be inaccurate and I saw a sectarian thing going on because of it. I didn't want to be part of that because I know how I was turned off by many of them because the scholarship of Artscroll wasn't there.
Now, I do have the Rabbinic Gospel series where there is not my commentary but rabbinic footnotes from rabbinic texts, but I didn't do that with this New Testament.
Also, my publisher told me if I had any commentary I would have to fit it into 2 pages which would be impossible. I wanted to do some appendixes but instead of selling a separate volume I decided to release a free PDF in about a few weeks about how I translated certain things and why I translated certain things a certain way that differs from many greek translations. And that PDF will be free in a few weeks.
R' Bonville: You don't have to answer if you think I am out of line. But you are the sole translator of this Bible and you have said on the radio people should only buy translations that are made by a team. How do you justify your translation then?
Christopher: Do not worry I am not offended, and that is a wonderful question. It may sound weird but I stand by my statement. What is the reason for a team? Peer review of course. Now, I have combed over my notes from lectures and conversations from theological and linguistic scholars. I can tell you, I would say about 70% of these notes and conversations I have had with these individuals and scholars actually come from them and what I have learned from them and things we have discussed. I have piggy backed on m any scholars I hold in high regard. I have combed through thousands of pages of notes on the linguistics from them. Many phone and Skype conversations when I have been stuck etc. Also, I had them peer review this text in it's early form before it was released. So unlike some others, I can say I have had the best team which is a bunch of uncredited scholars and things they have taught that I took down notes from. Then I had sent my early draft off to them and said, "tell me if anything needs to be changed". I would discuss certain changes that one suggested with the others and then tried to make a decision based upon the input from all of them and take the majority consensus.
It should also be noted, unlike some, I didn't do this for the reason of putting out a product. It was done because there has been a huge hole in the community for good Aramaic texts and I just felt led to do this mainly for my own study. Then I saw one very popular translation was discontinued and I said, "the void needs to be filled" and so I decided to step into the void but I made sure I had good peer review. So that is a very fair question and I appreciate you asking it.
R' Bonville: What do you hope to ultimately accomplish from this?
Christopher: I am not hoping for any sort of individual accomplishment in terms of sales or notoriety. What my ultimate goal is to stir an interest in Aramaic and for people to see it's amazing importance. I find it amazing people are learning Hebrew I love that so very much, but also I think after learning Hebrew people need a slight push to be able to learn Aramaic. And considering this is the language every scholar almost agrees that Yeshua taught and spoke Aramaic I think we in the believing community should be the ones who preserve the Aramaic. And I hope in seeing the richness of the Aramaic in this text people will gain an interest in Aramaic and start using it more and maybe e the Hebrew and Aramaic Learning Institute, which I run, would not be the only place people can go to learn Aramaic. I would love to see more people teaching Aramaic and more people learning it and using it in their teachings and on the social media. I donno how many we will spark an interest in because of this, I really don't but I would like to think I have been able to help that community come a little closer to the forefront because of this.
R' Bonville: What books other than yours would you recommend for people interested in languages?
Christopher: Oh my there are several. First I would say to learn the languages a little bit before buying a lot of books. But the Baal HaTurim series from Artscroll is awesome, he goes through textural anomalies and gematria in the Torah for every Torah Portion, it is a 5 book set and it ids amazing. I also really like the Pirkei Chotam series, now unless you can understand kabbalah methods to some degree it may be a little more complicated but I love it. A good primer is Rabbi Michael L Munk's Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet. Also, ArtScroll's series on Onkelos, they have only released Bereishis and Shemos this far but it is amazing because they compare the Onkelos Aramaic alongside the Masoretic Hebrew texts so you get two in one and the footnotes show why Onkelos chose to render certain things differently from the Masoretic and it is amazing.
R' Bonville: Any plans on a Tanach?
Christopher: Nooooooo!!!! Kol Menechem, Artscroll and Feildheim have many amazing ones and they cannot be improved on in my opinion. The New Testament and Aramaic are too often neglected and I originally did this for my own study, so me releasing it was not something I planned on initially. But I can promise you I will not do a Tanach.
Read the Gospel of Matthew from the Lapid Jewish Aramaic New Testament
As many of you know this years Torah Study we do live through the Zoom app every Friday is a beast in terms of content and texts being used each week for the various segments (Semeitic Language in the Torah Portion, Hasidic Theology, The Messiah in the Torah, The Midrash Rabbah on the Torah Portion, and the Zohar Reading). Next year I want to simplify it. Next year I am thinking of simplifying it for myself and for those who are engaging in the study as well. On average I ready from 20 books each week to get all the notes from the study and next year, it may be good to focus on one commentary or one aspect of the Torah Portion cycle. Here are some of the things I am thinking of doing and I want you guys to vote on which thing you want to see being taught on next year below:
On Wednesday at Sundown we will be entering into the holy time of Purim and reading the Megillah of Esther. This year, for Jews in the United States, the story will hot home more than in previous years.
This year in the United States there is a certain political party that holds the legislative branch of government that has booed Israel in their 2012 convention. A political party, who's main representative in 2010 said that Israel needed to give land to Palestine. Apolitical party who's leader that same year put his feet on the desk with the bottom of his shoes pointed towards the Israeli Prime Minister which is a Middle Eastern insult.
Now in 2019, the same political party has a figure known as Ilhan Abdullahi Omar who has filled the chamber of the US House of Representatives with anti-semitic rhetoric, and has written several anti-semitic tweets, and her rhetoric has been supported by her political party. And yet, when a Fox News correspondent spoke out against Representative Omar's rhetoric she lost her job.
To make things worse, I recently was a part of webinar put on by the ADL and the statistics they showed shocked me. In 2018 276 anti-semitic complaints had been filed against CNN not by viewers but by workers, a staggering 38% jump. MSNBC and NBC had 319 complains filed, a 26% jump from 2017. ABC and Disney had 198 complaints, a 19% jump from 2017.
Today if you go to YouTube or Google and type in "Talmud", Google and YouTube promote anti-semitic videos to the top that are filled with lies about the Talmud as well as other jewish texts from anti-semitic bloggers and youtube creators.
Right now, the plethora of individuals who have thrown their hats in the ring to run for president all have a history of speaking out against Israel and against the Jewish people, and are silent on ISIS and radical Islamic extremism. I even once worked for one particular candidate that was the CEO of the US's largest coffee establishment.
When I went to work for this establishment in my area I had a payot and a beard. When I reported for my first day at work, I was asked, "are you Muslim?" I said, "no Jewish" and they said, "unless you are Muslim you need to shave your beard and get rid of those stupid curls. I thought it was a joke, then I was handed the company handbook with the company rules and it said that unless a man is a muslim he is not allowed to have a beard at this establishment.
Us Jews know that anti-semitism is a real thing, but unlike the LBGTQWTXYZ community and others we do not make make the loud cry these other groups do. We are a people whom many have called for our extinction and they have lost and we have thrived. But how long are we going to allow it to continue to keep getting worse? How long are we going to allow people to treat us like second class citizens? How long are we going to be the whipping boy? Well, the story of Esther vs Haman we read in the Megillah shows us that we are a more resilient people than those give us credit for. During Purim we remember having to practice our faith secretly or be killed. This is why we wear costumes on this holiday to remember that. As history repeats itself we know redemption is on the way, we know our extermination is not gonna happen. But it is gonna take a Mordechai, or an Esther, or a Judas Maccabee to stand up against the modern day Amalek and say "enough is enough.
For many Christians who come to the realization that the Messiah kept and taught the written Torah of Hashem it is a life changing realization. There is a mode of immaturity that comes forth at that time where they see their Christian brethren as pagans and use straw man arguments as though it is scholarship. After a few years a majority grow out of this if they are truly seeking the will of the Creator. The same thing is true when they realize that Yeshua HaNotzri also taught the oral Torah. This understanding for many reinvigorates their fire and takes them back to how they felt with their original revelation. But there is a proper way to approach this.
As a Lapid Jewish rabbi, the oral torah and the words of the sages are a huge part of our faith. Many who listen to my radio program, or download the podcast version or watch the videos on Vimeo or YouTube or this website are familiar with the way I teach. But also at the same time, I have also seen the dangers of being overzealous for the oral torah without proper balance. Let me explain.
Often a person gets immersed in this "new revelation" of the Oral law and the sages, and it is a vast and amazing amount of researching and knowledge. The issue I have seen is many jump into these things too quickly and they jump right into the deep end before going into the kiddie pool. Before long they are overtaken and they then do not focus on the written word and the Brit Chadasha collects dust on the shelf. They are immersed in Talmud, Tosefta, and other works. What then happens is that because of the joy found in this new revelation of the oral law they did not accept before they totally and completely immerse themselves in this world and they then deny the deity of Mashiach and the later ultimately deny Mashiach. The question then is do we then dismiss the Oral Law and the Sages? Chas v'Shalom (G-d forbid).
One of the things I advocate is for new believers to have a respect for the works of the Talmud and the sages but not to jump in head first. If you can afford the works have them ready on your bookshelf for when you are ready for them. But I would say, let them collect dust until that time. I would say to start out with the Complete Jewish Study Bible. Within there, there are footnotes all throughout the Bible from the Oral Law and the Sages. This Bible does an amazing job of helping people to have a healthy respect for the Oral Law and the Sages without causing them to drown. This is where a person should start.
We should ultimately be reminded of the letters of Paul of Tarsus to the Romans and the Galatians. The Romans and the Galatians had people trying to get the believers to convert to full-fledged Judaism and immerse them in oral law. Notice that Paul took a "walk before you run" approach. We need to ultimately understand these positions of Paul. I would greatly suggest a person read Dr Mark Nanos' books on the subject, his works "The Mystery of Romans" and "Paul Within Judaism" are two books everyone should have on their shelves before they dive into Oral Law. I would also suggest D Thomas Lacaster's book "The Epistle to the Galatians".
It is important to understand that our Christian brethren are kosher, most of the Hebrew Roots movement and the Messianic faith's don't want to accept this because they want to grow a club through One Torah Theology which is a very dangerous and unbiblical ideal. Salvation is not through the Oral Torah, and it is not even through the Written Torah it is through Mashiach and through maintaining shalom. Dr Mark Kinzer speaks a lot about bi-lateral ecclesiology in his book "Post Missionary Messianic Judaism". Now, I don't agree totally with bi-lateral ecclesiology 100% but I do 90%. There are good premises within that book and Kinzer's view that mirror the words of Paul and Dr Nanos. A person should read these books mentioned above and then be in prayer about where it is G-d wants you to take the next step in your observance.
At this point as well a person needs to stray from what it is I call "internet theology" there are a lot of misquotes from the Talmud and other sources of Rabbinic Judaism online and they are the ones often quoted. Some are just flat out lies. One book has caused these lies to make their way into the mainstream. The book "Jesus in the Talmud" by Paul Shafer has made claims that the Talmud says Yeshua is boiling in excrement per Gotten 57b when in actuality it says Baalim is boiling in excrement. Many of the lies and misquotes of the Talmud towards Yeshua people have gotten from this book and Shafer has been shunned by the scholarly community because of his misquotes from the Talmud and flat out lies about it and his heavy anti-semitism. But Shafer's odd theology has become mainstream on the internet. So, I encourage people to purchase peer reviewed scholarly materials such as the ones mentioned above.
I also suggest in terms of looking at what publishers to purchase from, I would say First Fruits of Zion's stuff you can trust because it is peer reviewed and they help a person to have a proper balance of the written Torah and the Brit Chadasha as well as the Oral Law. Their Torah Club volumes, "Shadows of the Messiah", "Chronicles of the Messiah" and "Depths of the Torah" I highly endorse and I would say to spend maybe 3 years going through these three Torah club sets when you are at this point.
These steps I suggest because of the fact a person needs to be trained that whenever you start reading the words of the oral torah and the sages to be making the connections to Brit Chadasha. Making those connections is important and FFOZ, with their Torah Club sets do an amazing job at helping people to do that and it trains them to be able to fulfill mitzvos in a halakhic kosher way while being able to bring it back around to Yeshua. This is so important.
When I assembled by book the Rabbinic Gospel of Mark, I said that this book is not for everyone and it should not be for those young in their walk because it will cause their brains to explode with the over 320 footnotes from the sages and the oral law in the footnotes of the Gospel of Mark, and I maintain that. But also at the same time, it was assembled for the reason of helping those learn halakha in a kosher way and being fixated on Yeshua while they study the words in the Oral Torah and the Sages. This is so important.
Once the mind is grounded in finding Yeshua and his halakha in these writings. I would then say there are a variety of Chumashim that would be helpful as well as other commentaries. Such as the Gutnick Chumash, The Baal HaTurim Chumash, the Artscroll Onkelos set, the Stone Edition Tanach, and the Chumash with Talmud from Artscroll. I would also suggest if one finds themselves to be more align with the halakha of Breslov to get the set of Rebbe Nachman's Torah. At this time, one should check to make sure they are Yeshua centered. If they feel they are more oral torah centered then they should back off for another year and revisit Torah club for another year with another set of Torah club from FFOZ.
After this, one should study Shulchan Aruch and the Mishna section of Talmud. For these are the passages of universal halakha in every sect of Judaism and are the rulings of the Sanhedrin the written Torah tells us to observe. Take it slow, a chapter of Shulchan Aruch a week or 4 mishnas a week. One should not be forbidden at this point to study Gemara and Tanya in the Talmud at this time but it should not be their focus. If the Gemara and Tanya help with greater clarity in terms of the Mishna then it is helpful. If it is still confusing then try learning Shulchan Aruch. I have been doing a weekly set of videos every week that is free on Vimeo and YouTube on Shulchan Aruch and keeping it Yeshua centered. This may be a good start on this area of study.
There are other steps that come after this all the way up to kabbalah studies. But it is also important to note that one's favor from G-d does not come one's intellect, one's level of study, or even how many halakhic mitzvos one fulfills daily. Because one may have become a full convert like myself to Judaism, or if one who is born Jewish, we have no greater share in the Olam Haba than those who haven't. For the Talmud says that a B'nei Noach can be just as lofty in the eyes of Hashem as a Baal HaTorah.
A person mustn't engage in debates over levels of observance with others who are a part of the Biblical faiths of Judaism or Christianity. Us Lapid Jews realize it is not for everyone to be like us. Some belong in the Christian church and connect with Hashem in that way, some connect with Hashem though the Messianic faith, and some with our faith. It is not our job to have people join our sect of belief, we are just here for those who see this way of belief as aligning with where they want to go and where they think they fit in. That's it. For both Paul and R' Bachya talked about how the Torah of life can be the Torah of death. What gives life in my observance and in my faith may be bondage to someone else, and that is ok. Not everyone should be like me or others associated with the Lapid Jewish faith. We are evangelical for one thing, we are evangelical for Yeshua, not the Oral Torah or the Sages. But our reverence for those things are what it is we use for our evangelism for Yeshua, but we only do so if we walk out what it is we quote. We don't use the Oral Torah for solely evangelical reasons, we only do so if we are walking it out as to not be hypocrites and to be earnest and honest in our beliefs.
Theological Insights from Rabbi Eved Banah the North American Rebbe of Ani Judaism