(by Rabbi Eh'bed Baw'naw from Kehilat Melech Mashyach)
The Hebrew roots is a very odd place when it comes to the infighting on basic premises such as Shabbos. Like Sammy Hagar they think "There's Only One Way to Rock" or to fulfill a mitzvos. And this comes when we fail to ditch our gregorian mindset in thinking there is only one concise way to do Shabbos and it is the way many make it up in their heads.
I have received several emails from individuals whom ask me, can I cook on Shabbos? Or can I fold clothes on Shabbos? Can I watch teachings on Shabbos? Can I play games with my kids on Shabbos? The list goes on and on. The fact of the matter is Shabbos means "rest" essentially. It is a set apart time for us that G-d ordained for us to break away from our daily regiment and refresh ourselves and basically have intimate time with him and with family. It is a day unlike any other in our week. And it is important to realize that Yeshua paralleled the hasidic principle:
Rebbe Melech Mashyach Yeshua spoke to the Baalei Torah and Perushim, saying, Is it mutar (permissible) on Shabbos to give refuah or not? But they kept silent. And having taken hold of him, Yeshua granted him refuah and sent him away. And to them Yeshua said, Who of you having a ben or an ox fall into a well and will not ofen ort (immediately) pull him out on Shabbos? And they were not able to make a counter argument keneged (against) this.
And it came about [that] on Shabbos, Rebbe, Melech Mashyach Yeshua was passing through the grain fields, and his talmidim began to make [their] way picking the heads of grain. And the Perushim said to him, Look, why are they engaging in what is not mutar (permissible) in the Torah on Shabbos? And Yeshua says to them, Have you never read in the Tanakh what David HaMelech did when he was in need and he was hungry, he and the ones with him? How he entered into the Beis Hashem during the yamim of Evyatar the Kohen Gadol and the Lechem HaPanim he ate, which to be eaten it is not mutar (permissible) except by the Kohanim, and he gave [some] also to the ones with him. And Yeshua said to them, Shabbos was created for the sake of ish and not ish for the sake of Shabbos.
This also means we must take a closer look at Shemos (Exodus) 20:10 and it says:
But the Yom HaShevi'i is the Shabbos of Hashem Eloheicha; in it you shall not do any melachah, nor
your ben, nor your bat, nor eved, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your ger tosav that is
within thy gates.
Now the word melachah is a word with several meanings, all of which are correct and they help to define what the translation of "work" actually constitutes. The word can mean work, meaning physical or intellectual labor, but there is another facet because it also means literally "to sweat" or to "exert". And within this prohibition which Yeshua and the modern hasidim are in agreement upon is that ezer (help) is not a prohibition against the Shabbos. Because it does not parallel melachah, because melachah is for reasons of helping oneself and advancing one's self through exercise to gain strength, or to work on Shabbos for personal advancement and it is the antithesis of Shabbos which is to connect with Hashem and connect with others. Which is why we have fellowship on Shabbos and not on other days of the week because we can fulfill both those mitzvios. One can fulfill this at a schul or with family, there is no prohibition saying you must fulfill shabbos by visiting a schul. For many do not have one. They may desire to attend one but they are unable. So given the ruling by Yeshua on matter and giving the rulings found in Torah She Be'al Peh a person can fulfill Shabbos in shalom and not break the mitzvos when "life happens".
So to clarify the question of "what constitutes work"? We must realize that work for financial gain must be avoided if one is able. If one is unable to, the teshuvah is to then donate the earnings of that day in tzedakah, and that does not necessarily mean a congregation or ministry or an established charity, but rather to put the earnings aside and help a person in need in your community. Whether it be paying for a person's meal that cannot afford it, or if someone does not have enough gas in their car for the week, etc. That is true tzedakah. But in terms of is "folding clothes" or "cooking' on shabbos prohibited, the question then is one you need to ask within yourself. Here is the reason I say this.
When I come home from my job, what relaxes me and helps me let loose is I love creating an amazing meal in my kitchen, sometimes with a glass of wine and some smooth jazz playing. It is relaxing for me, and during Shabbos it actually helps me to focus in on Hashem because I think of each of the ingredients I use as how the instances in our lives change our life overall, not only the smallest things but the littlest of things and how G-d uses those as ingredients to turn our life into something else. But at the same time we maintain our divine spark, for the chicken is still chicken but it becomes something anew. I have never found cooking to be work, I have always found it to be relaxing. Now for another, cooking could be stressful, and it could be considered work. That person should abstain from cooking on the Shabbos. How then do we reconcile the verse:
You shall kindle no aish (fire) throughout your habitations upon Yom HaShabbos.
The word for fire is aish, and the word for woman is isha, the word for man is ish. For the sages say that a man (ish) doesn't become whole until he receives his ayin (isha: symbolizing his wife) and they become one. When the ayin is placed in front of the yod, then there is disorder and the word for woman, becomes the word for fire (aish). Therefore the verse is alluding to the fact that there should not be any marital strife (fire, disorder) in the home on Yom HaShabbos. For it would not make any sense to put a prohibition on an inanimate object that has no nefesh. This is why the sages concluded that a "spark" from a stove is not what is being talked about here in the verse. But rather that no argument should take place between husband and wife on the Shabbos because the Shabbos is not about them....it is about Hashem. This is why the severe literalists in the Hebrew Roots have it dead wrong when they get a Shabbos goy to turn their lights on and off for them or to light the stove, this is not found anywhere in our tradition that we hire a Shabbos goy, it is a modern invention of the past 100 years.
In terms of other things such as folding clothes or watching movies or playing games with your family the question you have to ask is (and note it is different for everyone) "Am I more connected to Hashem when I __________ or am I not? Where does my mind go? Am I taking away from Him and my focus on Him?". Find what it is that helps you make that connection, if you make the connection while doing laundry then Baruch Hashem, if you make the connection while resting with a beverage and a kosher meal and a movie then Baruch Hashem. Sometimes we need that time to reflect on our life and say "ahhhh, things are not so bad and it is all because of Hashem's doing in my life". It's good.
(by Rabbi Eh'bed Baw'naw from Kehilat Melech Mashyach)
Simcha (joy, gladness and happiness) are the fundamental cornerstone to fulfilling mitzvos (commandments) in jewish life. All things must be done in simcha. When we do all things and fulfill each mitzvos through the gladness and humility, we are better able to fulfill the two most important mitzvios as it is written:
"Rabbi, which mitzvos is gedolah (great) in the Torah? And Rebbe, Melech Mashyach Yeshua gave this teshuva (answer) to the Baal Torah, vahavyah es Adonai elohecha b'chol l'vavcha v'chol nafshecha v'chol modecha (And you shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might). This is the gedolah and rishonah mitzvos. And the second mitzvos is like it: v'havyah l'reiacha kamocha (And thou shalt love your neighbor as
yourself. On these two mitzvios hang the entire Torah and the Neviim."
How does simacha hatorah accomplish this thing? The answer is very simple. In the morning we engage in hitbodedut. What we are doing at this time is connecting to Hashem and battling the yetzer hara within us, it is essentially a daily cleansing to kill the evil inclination that resides within each of us and to set our minds on Hashem throughout the entire day and rid ourselves of anything unedifying that can hold us back in accomplishing mitzvios through chesed (loving kindness). It acts as a reset button daily that we must push because we know the internal Satan and the external Satan resets every day as well.
So therefore engaging in hitbodedut prepares us in knowing that Hashem is with us through the entire day and His shekinah or Ruach HaKodesh is with us and we are ensured within this fact so negative thought and worry as well as anger and jealousy leave one's insoniyud (inner man). Each activity is then in the simacha of Hashem.
“A truly happy person does not allow his happiness to be dependent on any external factor over which he may not have control.” (Chochmah Umussar)
"Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot."
(Pirkei Avos 4:1)
Neshamah is the soul that is connecting with Hashem and it is then elevated because one is able to see Hashem in every aspect of Creation. The mind then tells you when you see the flowing water of a stream; the reason that Hashem created that stream for the good of all of Creation and how it sustains all of creation from the human being all the way down to the blade of grass. For each thing has a net'sots eh'lohee (divine spark from Hashem) that was created for the good of His people and all of Creation.
For it is written in the book of Yermiyahu:
The lev (heart, mind) akov (is deceitful) above all things, and anush (incurable [in wickedness]); who can know it? I, Hashem, search the lev, I test the kelayot (kidneys, i.e., most inward parts), requiting to every ish according to his drakhim, and according to the p’ri of his deeds.
Therefore, great emphasis must be placed on realizing this thing, the inherent nature of man that can only be changed on a daily basis with G-d's help. For when the mind is positive, we fulfill the greatest of mitzvios, when our mind sinks evil sewage into our heart, we have to correct the situation at the source with Hashem's help.
"Stop allowing yourself to be conformed to the Olam Hazeh, but be transformed by your hitkhadshut (regeneration, renewal) of your mind, so that you may ascertain what is the ratzon Hashem (the will of G-d), what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of G-d. For I say to all who are among you through the chesed (loving kindness, grace) given to me, that you should avoid a false sense of superiority in your thinking; rather exercise shlitah atzmi (self-control), thinking with seichel, as G-d has measured to each a measure of emunah."
The mind is renewed and the heart as well renewed then we are elevated in emuma because we are aware everything good is from Hashem and everything that happens to us that is bad is also good because it serves us in ways of tikkun (soul correction) that helps us to achieve neshamah. This is why Rav Sha'ul wrote what he wrote in terms of the fulfilling of mitzvios when he said:
"But the p'ri of the Ruach HaKodesh is ahavah (love), simcha (joy), shalom (peace), zitzfleisch (patience), nedivut (generosity, kindness), chesed (loving-kindness),ne'emanut (faithfulness), Anavah (meekness, shiflut, lowliness), shlitah atzmi (self-control)...would you not agree?--against these things there is no isser (proscription in the Torah)"
"B'Mashyach, whatever things are emes (truth), nichbad (noble), yashar (straight), tahor (clean), male No'am (full of pleasantness) and tiferet (beauty), whatever things are commendable, if there is any virtue, if any praise, think about these things. And that which you learned and you received and
you heard and you saw in me, practice these and Elohei HaShalom will be with you."
Believe it or not, when you display simcha, through a smile or through your body language or through the words of your mouth you are fulfilling not only the two most important mitzvios but you are also clothing any others you perform in those two mitzvios.
(by Rabbi Eh'bed Baw'naw from Kehilat Melech Mashyach)
A recent trend in the Hebrew Roots is something I like to call "The Great Barley Hunt" (Because it is similar to The Great Muppet Caper) to mark the month of Nisan (originally known as the month of Abib). The question then becomes; "Is this method of marking the new year based in Scripture or have any history within Judaism?" First of all we must take this question to the midrashim level so that we can see if this method aligns with the Scripture in other mentions of calendar. Let us start with a clear marker in Revelation 12 which shows us exactly how long a year in the Biblical calendar is.
And the isha fled into the wilderness, where she has there a place having been prepared by Hashem, that there she can be nourished a thousand two hundred and sixty yamim (days). And there was milchamah (war) in Shomayim, Mikha’el and the malachim of him fought against the Dragon nacash; and the Dragon nacash and his malachim fought back. But the Dragon nacash was not strong enough nor was any place found for them any longer in Shomayim. And the great Dragon, that nacash HaKadmoni (Ancient Serpent) was thrown down, the one being called the
Malshin (Informer, Accuser) and Hasatan, the one deceiving the whole inhabited world. He was thrown to ha’aretz (the earth) and the malachim of him were thrown down with him And I heard a kol gadol (loud voice) in Shomayim, saying, “Now has come the Yeshu’at Eloheinu and the Gevurah (Power) and the Malchut of Hashem Eloheinu and the memshalah (government) of his Moshiach,
because the Malshin who is the accuser of our Achim b’Moshiach, the one accusing them before Hashem yomam valailah (day and night) was thrown down And they won the nitzachon (victory) over the Dragon nachash because of the dahm of the seh (Lamb) and because of the dvar of the
eidushaft (testimony) of them and because they did not have ahavah for their neshamot unto Mavet and were willing to die al kiddush ha-Shem. Therefore be glad, Shomayim, and the ones whose mishkan is there, but oy to ha’aretz (the earth) and to hayam (the sea), because Hasatan came down to you, having great ka’as (anger), having da’as that his time is short. And when the Dragon nachash saw that he was thrown down to ha’aretz, he brought redifah (persecution) on the isha who gave birth to the zachar. And two wings of the Nesher hagadol (great Eagle) were given to the isha that
she might fly to her place in the midbar, where she is nourished there for three and a half years, away from the presence of the nachash (Serpent) .
So clearly the Scripture aligns wit the jewish calendar showing that each year consists of 360 days, considering that 3.5x360=1,260. This is also an amazing passage to show that in the times of Revelation observation will still be of the jewish halaka and not of that of a gregorian calendar system. I will also show how this causes problems for the "Great Barley Hunt" as a calendar marker later on in this article. But let us also turn our attention to the calendar markers as prescribed by that of Hashem:
“And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day."
Oooops....no mention of the Barley? He says to use the sun moon and stars? Well, could he have meant something else? Let us also note these verses also crush the lunar sabbath argument considering that these things were made on DAY 4. Lets test this theory:
"And there will be otot (miraculous signs) in the shemesh (sun) and the levanah (moon) and the kochavim (stars), and upon the earth there will be dismay among the Goyim, in perplexity at the sound of the sea and the waves;"
Nope, seems Hashem meant exactly what he said given that our Melech Mashyach Yeshua also made note of the signs for marking events would be found in the sun, moon and stars. So where does this theory of the Barley being a marker originate and why is there a cult like following to this ideology?
They base the premise on Exodus 9:31 and Unleavened Bread occurring during the barley harvest. As well as the passages that state
"This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you,"
"This day came you out in the month Abib,"
These three passages are the citation of the entire ideology and can seem to be very convincing to the non-logical thinker, or the person young in their walk. But the question then has to be asked. "Where was Moshe during this time? And where were the Children of Israel?" The fact is they were in the land of Mishrayim (Egypt), yet the "Great Barley Hunt" of today is done in Jerusalem. Now don't you think that the Barley might be slightly different if not majorly different a few hundred miles away from one location to that of another? Common sense say "well duhhh". Also, if this were a calendar marker don't you think there would be an exact indicator as to where to look for this Barley? Well, if it were from the mouth of Hashem we can be confident in saying "well in Jerusalem of course" and you would be right. But Moshe is being told this in Egypt and not only that, anyone who has been to a barley field will see that the barley changes every 10 yards or so. It may be ripe in one area and not at all only a few feet away.
The passage mentioned above in Revelation and in jewish tradition causes a huge problem as well. Because the Barley would have to be abib on the dot every 360 days in order to align with the sun moon and stars. That would have to indicate that there was never a year if drought or extreme cold or extreme heat and that the temperature was always 72 degree and there is never any gusts of wind and it only rains just enough in Jerusalem for the barley to be watered but never enough for a flood and that any sort of atmospheric conditions or weather would ever affect the barley. If we have our head up in the clouds this would make sense but to the rational thinker the very notion is ridiculous at best.
Another issue would be, before the times of cell phones and landlines and internet how would people in the dispora and not in Jerusalem know when the Barley was abib? The fact is they wouldn't have been able to know until a few weeks to a few months and even possibly a few years later. And we still have to ask....what is the prescribed process in checking it and what portion of Barley? There is no instruction for this in the Scripture, nor in the volumes of talmudic literature, because it is not a jewish concept or a way of marking the calendar.
Bu you may be asking, "Rabbi it does mention the Barley and what is the reason in this?". The answer is very simple. Let me ask you this, in the northern states what is something that comes to mind immediately when you hear the word "winter"? The answer for most would be "snow". Now the first snow in your area during the times of winter, is the snow a marker or an attribute and indicator for winter? Does the snow mark the first day of winter or is it a product of the season to let you know that winter is now here? It is simply an attribute and indicator but not a marker. If it were then the calendar could never make mathematical nor astrological sense because it could never stay aligned with the rotation of the sun and moon around the sun nor the constellations of the stars.
Lets also look at the possibility of something happening to the Barley fields during a time of war and them being burnt up. Does the sun and moon cease to orbit? Of course not. It would then be several months to maybe even a year till the Barley would be abib if this were to happen. It would be like a series of bad B horror movies (Adar, Adar II: It's Back, Adar III: The Curse of Adar, Adar IV: The New Batch, Adar V: The Remnant of the Seed, Adar VI: The Beginning, Adar AD etc) because the month of Nisan would never come. But yet, you age, time is obviously still going forward. So the fact is the "Great Barley Hunt" is not based in the Scripture nor within Judaism.
(by Rabbi Eh'bed Baw'naw of Kehilat Melech Mashyach)
In the Hebrew Roots community there is much emphasis on "doing mitzvos" and not so much on "fulfilling mitzvos". There is a difference between these two premises that unfortunately is not understood by most because it is not taught.
Many find it odd that one of the cornerstones of the Jewish faith is צדקה (tzedakah: meaning charity), yet if you go to a schul of the Netzari faith or the orthodox faith, there is not an "offering" taken up on shabbos like there is in the messianic and Christian faiths. It seems contradictory to many to have such great emphasis on tzedakah and yet at the same time don't "pass the plate". The reason is because the word צדיק (Tzadik: meaning righteous one) makes up the word צדקה (tzadakah) minus the letter ה. So essentially, charity is a product of striving for tzadikim (righteousness). Yet at the same time, giving to charity is does not mean that one is a tzadik. Lets look deeper into this premise of righteousness.
The צ for צדיק, the Righteous One, refers to the Almighty. Who is called "the Righteous and Upright One" (Deuteronomy 32:4), devoid of any conceivable injustice. True righteousness can only exist only in G-d and the integral part of Him. No other being can have the an essence so pure that it is without deficiency and cannot become further perfected.
Similarly, King Solomon's description; "The tzadik is the foundation of the world" (Proverbs 10:23), alludes to G-d, who sustains the entire world (Magen David). Osios R' Akiva explains that the צ symbolizes G-d's ultimate righteousness toward people, which is defined as His gift of knowledge, understanding, and the power of intelligent speech, through which the world can endure.
The term tzadik is also applied to human beings who emulate G-d's righteousness by conducting themselves with integrity, truth and justice (Tosefos Yom Tov Berachos 7:3). "And the greatest among you will be your eved mesharet" (Matthew 23:11). Just as the Supreme tzaddik allots every element of creation is due measure of time, space and matter, so does the human tzaddik render his fellowmen all their due in each situation. Such a man's life is an unending pattern of justice, unbiased by his personal interests. He views everything objectively and with chesed with the Torah's dictim as it is writtten: צֶדֶק צֶדֶק, תִּרְדֹּף "Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof" Justice Justice shall you pursue (Deuteronomy 16:20).
The Divine Tzaddik sustains and protects the world; through his merits the human tzaddik, too sustains and protects the world. Noah who started the word anew after the flood is called a tzaddik (Genesis 6:9). Avraham Aveinu is described as the foremost of tzaddikim according to Shir HaShirim Rabbah 3:5, because he taught mankind the idea of the Creator, thus providing spiritual sustenance, which ranks higher that the physical according to the Maharal of Prague in the Derech Chaim. Joseph is called the "tzaddik, the foundation of the world", because he nourished the population of many lands during the great famine. He also earned the appellation of tzaddik "by virtue of his moral strength in resisting the temptation of Potiphar's wife" (Zohar 1:45). Thus by the same respect Melech Mashyach Yeshua is referred to as "ne'eman and yashar and in tzedek he judges" (Revelation 19:11).
"Just as angels are G-d's messengers in heaven, so are tzaddikim his ambassadors on earth" (Rambam). But according to Tanchuma Bereishis 5, a tzaddik is greater and angel because an angel carries out his Master's will automatically, but a tzaddik serves G-d with his own free will.
"The bent צֶ stands for the tzaddik bent in humility" (Shabbos 104a). The talmud observes that the bent צֶ has taught us the lesson of humbleness by being referred to as 'the faithful one who is bent'. Moshe Rabbeynu was the paragon of humility as it is written:
"The man Moses was exceedingly humble, more than any man on the face of the earth"
(Numbers 12:3). According to the Toras Chaim, Moses' extreme humility was the reason he was chosen to transmit the Torah.
Now the upright standing צֶ (which the internet does not allow to be typed out upright so refer to the above picture at the top of the article) denotes dominion over the Olam Haba (Rashi, Sahbbos 104a). For the צֶ can only be as upright as to the proportion he has been bent in the Olam HaAretz. For the one who embodies haughtiness and ego in the Olam HaAretz sees his צֶ as already being upright. Our Melech Mashyach warned us of this and showed these hasidic premises and how to apply them when he said:
"Then Mashyach spoke to the multitudes and to his Talmidim, Saying, Upon the Kisei Moshe (Chair of Moses) sit the Sofrim and the Perushim. Therefore, everything whatever they may tell you, be frum and be shomer, but according to their ma’asim (works) do not be shomer, for they do not practice what they preach. And they tie up heavy loads, hard to bear, and they place them upon the shoulders of men, but they, with so much as a finger, are not willing to lift the oppressive burdens. And all their maasim hamitzvot (works of the commandments) they do in order to be seen by Bnei Adam, for they broaden their tefillin and lengthen their tzitziyot and they love the places of
honor at the seudot (banquet dinners), and the shuls, And the [obsequious] Birkat Shalom greetings in the market places, and to be called by Bnei Adam, Rebbe."
For the Perushim in these verses felt that their צֶ was upright, though they had the right rulings their haughtiness and ego is what kept from from striving for tzaddikim. For the sages of the Pirkei Avos say "Antignos of Socho received [the transmission] from Shimon the Righteous. He used to say: Do not be as servants who serve the Master to receive reward. Rather, be as servants who serve the Master not to receive reward. And let the fear of heaven be upon you." (Avos 1:3).
For Rav Sha'ul speaks of the premise of tzaddikim when he says:
"But the p'ri of the RuachHaKodesh is ahavah (love), simcha (joy), shalom (peace), zitzfleisch (patience), nedivut (generosity, kindness), chesed (loving-kindness),ne'emanut (faithfulness), Anavah (meekness, shiflut, lowliness), shlitah atzmi (self-control)...would you not agree?--against these things there is no isser (proscription in the Davar Torah).
Thus simply, "doing mitzvos" is not what makes someone righteous. For a B'nei Noach or a Ger Tzaddik could be more elevated by Hashem than that of a Baal HaKabbalah. For it is the encapsulation of how one fulfills mitzvos through that shalom and a balance of chesed, tifferet and gevurah that one strives for tzaddikim as Rav Sha'ul makes further note of:
"As to the rest, Achim b'Mashyach, whatever things are emes (truth), nichbad (noble), yashar (straight), tahor (clean), male No'am (full of pleasantness) and tiferet (beauty), whatever things are
commendable, if there is any virtue, if any praise, think about these things."
(by Christopher Fredrickson aka Rabbi Eh'bed Baw'naw)
Living for Hashem requires a life of constant personal growth we must always seek out tikkun (personal correction) in our theology, and in life in general through the embodiment of Torah principles. It is good to do an hour of hitbodedut (self secluded time of prayer and conversation with Hashem) each an every day. We must battle our yetzer hara (evil inclination) every morning and also every night. It is good to study the Torah, Ketuvim, Nevi'im and Brit Chadasha as well as the words of the sages on a daily basis. For it is written:
"Study to show yourself approved......."
(2 Timothy 2:15)
For years I have been using social media and the internet to share my research, a little chochmah (wisdom) and a little da'as (knowledge) from the things I have learned in this journey to help those whom have had questions and to help people apply the mitzvios (commandments) of G-d. I used to have to spend countless hours on social media, email, and other things internet based. And the fact is, I was unable to run from thousands who wished to be constantly connected. Many times I would be in hitbodedut prayer and I would hear my iPhone, or my iPad or laptop sending me notifications that someone wished to speak to me via social media such as facebook, skype, email, text message, etc. Several times, with the worry that something might have been important, I would cut my prayers short to check these messages. I realized several hours of my day, in my free time, was absorbed by modern technology. My prayer life suffered, my studying suffered, my daily battle against the yetzer hara suffered. And I soon realized the yetzer hara was winning this battle.
We have all been on the internet, checking facebook or surfing the internet and get sidetracked, we see something that looks interesting and we click on it and read it or watch a video that seems to bring a great revelation about a news story or of something that interests us in some way. And then we realize, "oh no I was supposed to be asleep hours ago to be up in time for work", or "oh my goodness it is only an hour to shabbos and the house isn't clean and the dinner is not made" we have seen this happen. When this happens the yetzer hara wins out, because it takes us away from advancing in our observance, and it keeps us from fulfilling mitzvios.
Many use the excuse that they use the internet mainly to research the Scriptures or the words of the sages and only watch teachings or listen to teachings and they use it for educational purposes. And the fact is there are many great resources out there such as Nazarene Media, or YeshuaCast or NazFlix or Ahavat Ammi, or One Faith One People Ministries, etc there are undeniably some great resources out there on the internet. They may be far and in between but the fact is they are there. But at the same time, despite if they are getting good information on the internet or bad information (and lets be honest there is more bad information than good information on the internet) is irrelevant because observance of mitzvios is doing as opposed to just learning for the sake of knowledge. For what good would the greatest mind in the world if the individual with the greatest mind in the world didn't apply what it is he knew and put his knowledge to good use? It would be a waste. The same is true with our faith, we can speak all day about the two most important commandments, which is to love Hashem and love your neighbor, but if you are not face to face with people how can we apply this mitzvos fully? The fact is we can't and it would be impossible.
For roughly 7 years of this journey, until about a month ago when I left social media and radio so I could apply what it is I had taught for several years, I mainly was in this weird vacuum of internet teaching and there is this weird Twilight Zone dimension that is internet ministry. The reason I say this, is because when I closed down my facebook account and other social media accounts on December 16th, 2014 I through myself into serving flesh and blood people in my community by becoming the rabbi of Kehilat Melech Mashyach in Morganton, North Carolina. I went back to school to pursue my degree in special needs education, and I was sucked out of the weird vacuum of the internet by conversing across the desk or across the table from people and serving them, and it was a world of difference than doing it on the internet. I was able to apply more by limiting my internet time and realizing that hitbodedut comes first, servitude with my two hands and actual people comes second, and my study comes third. Checking email, or any of that became a lower priority and I found it to be much easier to battle the yetzer hara and I was better able to fulfill the mitzvos of chesed (loving kindness) much better than I was previously able to. I was able to see a real difference in my spiritual condition, and I didn't even realize my spiritual condition was wounded until I took that step of prioritizing and limiting myself. There is also another layer to this as well.
When we engage in social media the words of others have an affect on the universe as we know from our sages and from the book of Mishlei (18:21). Every word, positive and negative continues to exist in the cosmos thousands of years after they are spoken. The power of chayyim (life) and mevet (death) are within the power of the lashon (tongue). Our words, spoken and written have amazing power and spiritual attachment that can affect your shalom bayis (peace in the home). When we argue on social media or even see negative comments to someone else, an unedifying word jumps out from that computer screen or that cell phone and it affects the person who reads it in a negative way, it is like an airborne virus, those negative words, and they then infect those who read them. They may not start to feel the affects of it immediately, they may even forget about it a few minutes later, but like an airborne virus it has already made it's way into the immune system and the bacteria grows slowly and undetected then something happens and the person infected with the virus then spreads the same virus onto others.
"Put on the whole armor of Hashem for you to able to stand against the nechalim (scheming deceitfulness, wiles, evil plots) of HaSatan. Because we are not wrestling against basar vadahm (flesh and bloof), but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the choshech of the Olam Hazeh, against the kokhot ruchaniyim ra'im (evil spiritual forces) in Shomayim.
"And you being dead in your peysha'im and chatta'im, in which you amol fier zich according to course of the Olam Hazeh, according to the Sar Memshelet HaAvir, the ruach now working in the b'nei haMeri"
Am I saying that each person reading this needs to totally disband from the internet and social media? Of course not, but however it is important to realize that the yetzer hara of another has the ability to jump and affect others as does chesed, and anything tov as well. It is important for believers in Mashyach to limit their "technology time". Setting strict guidelines to advance the nefesh (soul) is a part of Jewish life. There are certain things we don't do that are prohibited in Torah and tradition....why? Because as Rav Sha'ul said:
"All things are lawful? But not all things beneficial; All things are lawful. But not all things edify"
(1 Corinthians 10:23)
Some of the guidelines I have set for myself that have increased my emuna, as well as my ahavah, and chesed is setting designated times for certain things when I am not at work. As a diabetic of course there are certain things like eating schedules and things of that nature. But also like a child, I give myself a designated allowance of time on the internet, I have a set amount of time in my day towords hitbodedut, towards study, etc. It is also good to limit cell phone usage and set your phone to not allow any sort of notifications to come through during certain times of the day except for text messages and phone calls which could be important. Because as technology increases and we become more reliant on our gadgets; the fact is we are more apt to unknowingly feed the yetzer hara with things that are not beneficial and we starve the yetzer tov because we do not do the things that are beneficial because of our distractions. It is a cleaver trick by that of both the internal and external adversary.
It is important to also realize that any such thing unedifying that may pop up on your computer screen, whether it be an argument between 2 or more people, or something sexual from a pop up, or maybe even a movie you watch on your computer, phone, tablet or television can manifest hara and can manifest tov. Now, I am also not advocating for a person to get rid of their television either, some think that if they get rid of their television but have the internet they are better off, which actually is not the case, because you can control what you watch on television but you cannot control what pops up on a news feed on your social media accounts.
Setting limits, I can say will help you advance in your personal growth, and in your da'as, mussar, ahavah and chesed, when you control the access that foreign elements that are contradictory to these things in your life and do not allow them to attach themselves to your bayis. Initiate restraint, research and grow using hitbodedut and from hardback books will take you much further than surfing blogs and youtube videos.
(by Christopher Fredrickson aka Rabbi Eh'bed Baw'naw)
The Torah pursuant lifestyle is often times a juggling act and a roller coaster at time. But above all else it is a balancing act that our human nature at times causes us to veer too far to the left or to the right. If we are unable to become humbled in our walk and realize we are on a journey, then we end up like Mazzie on White Collar; entertaining...but a little...off balance.
As many of you know one of my passions is Torah She Be'al Peh (Oral Torah), because that is where a majority of our prophecies (roughly 90%) of Yeshua being Mashyach come from. As an individual with Aspergers syndrome, living an orthodox halaka helps me to make the connections to certain concepts and it also puts me into a structured routine which helps draw back my minor anxieties. But at the same time, we have an issue when we become too zealous for oral torah at the same time. And I love how Hashem revealed this in a message I thought I was giving to the schul last Friday when I started my series on Galatians, but in all honesty Hashem was giving me a gut check.
Too often we are like little kids who see this new shiny thing we have found (oral torah) and we want to immerse ourselves in it before we are ready and we run before we can walk. This is dangerous stuff. Because if we do not have a proper balance then the fact is we can move a little too far to one side and tip the boat over and without our life jacket (Yeshua) we will indeed drown.
I've seen so many not take the proper steps in their observance and they try and run before they can walk. They think they are in a race, and we have the tortuous and the hare style of situation (NOTE: In the original version of the story that crazy wabbit got himself killed from his clumsiness). What I have seen from individuals who try and run before they can walk is minimizing the authority of Yeshua and placing salvation and one's sights into the sages and this in many ways is an unconscious denial of Yeshua. I knew of one such individual, a former friend, who after 3 months in her walk she obtained a copy of Rabbi Shalom Arush's book "The Garden of Emuna" and that particular book is amazing, I have read it and endorse it and have taught out of it. But instead of seeing Mashyach as her authority, a few weeks later she bought all of Rabbi Arush's books and then tractates from the Zohar and the Tanya etc and for a year.....she never mentioned Mashyach or proclaimed him as King, instead she found the beauty that is found in orthodoxy. And orthodox Judaism is beautiful and should be revered and honored (in my personal opinion) BUT at the same time the letter to the Galatians, especially in chapter 1 shows us that our authority comes from Mashyach, all authority is his because he is indeed Hashem. Yeshua made this known in Mark 15:2, John 18:37, and Matthew 27:11 when he replied to Pilate "Ena Na" (Aramaic for I Am, the hebrew equivalent is Eyeh Asher). The concept of Yeshua being Hashem is also found in the oral torah and we will not get into that now. If you wish to listen to a teaching on that aspect you can click the button below:
So the question then becomes, does the oral torah or even the written Torah have dominance over that of Hashem himself? God forbid we should think as such. The rabbinical sage Rabbeynu Bachya in his book Duties of the Heart makes note of this in the second book where he tackles common doubts and the progression of spiritual maturity. Now we can honestly see in the Devar HaTorah that there is indeed a Torah She Be'al Peh and it is endorsed in Scripture.
"Because Avraham obeyed my voice, and was shomer over My mishmeret, my mitzos, My chukkot and my Torot"
There are several mentions of oral Torah in that one verse and Hashem saw these as positive attributes of Avraham Aveinu. Then there is also the entire Parsha of Shoftim where authority was given to the Shoftim to make halaka, and then there is that pesky little verse where Yeshua makes note to do as the Pharisees say in Matthew 23:1-3.
By citing these verses you may feel as though I am trying to push you into studying or observing oral torah, God forbid. If a person is not at least 5 years in their faith, and I mean 5 years of moving forward and not just at a standstill then they have no business dabbling in oral torah.
I have many at Kehilat Melech Mashyach who come into my office and say, "I wish to learn oral torah". My question is then "why do you want to learn oral torah?". The way they respond tells me if they are ready for it or not. Again it is important to realize we are not in a race, for a B'nei Noach or Ger HaTzaddik, can be just as righteous, if not more so, than that of a Baal HaTorah or a Baal HaGemara or even a Baal HaKabbalah. Therefore, not everyone needs to study Torah She Be'al Peh, and anyone who pushes you to study it is a destructive individual and they have a very minimal understanding of Judaism if they try and push you into studying it until the Bat Kol or the Ruach HaKodesh tells you it is time after and adequate time. For a first year medical student is not ready to do surgery and no professor or doctor would put a scalpel in the first year medical student's hand and say "do the brain surgery on this patient and I'll sit back and watch". If a doctor did that, then there is almost a 100% chance the patient will die. But it is important to have a healthy respect for it at the same time, and when someone quotes it in your synagogue you shouldn't act as though someone said a curse word in your schul, nor should you do an end zone dance either when it is recited in the schul, and just do a simple clap of the hands when the Scripture is read. Just like the parts of an automobile, everything has it's proper place. See Mashyach as the motor that runs the car down our path, oral torah can be seen as only that of the radio in the car or air conditioner, the written Torah is the frame in which we are encapsulated in that keeps us safe from the harsh elements of the outside world and which holds the motor and the air conditioning and the radio.
For even the Zohar makes note in Zohar 221a that Mashyach is the middle pillar of the sefiros and he is the son of Hashem. There is a reason the sefiros is likened to that of a body in one it's visual models. For the middle pillar of one's body carries the most vital organs for life, the most important of which is the brain. The brain allows a person to breathe, the heart is dependent upon the brain to pump blood throughout the body, the brain causes the lips to speak, the ears to hear, the legs to walk and the feet to walk. Thus is the case with Mashyach. If we are to live a jewish lifestyle, if we are to be an Ohr L'Goyim, then we better know who our master is. The left pillar and the right signify the Devar HaTorah and Torah She Be'al Peh, we can only fulfill mitzvos of either one and do so rightly through Mashyach.
(by Christopher Fredrickson)
One of the biggest controversies in the Hebrew Roots is the "Call no man Rabbi" controversy. First of all, anyone at Kehilat Melech Mashyach will tell you that I do not like being called "rabbi" because of the fact that many don't understand what that means, and secondly I was born with the name Christopher and I am more comfortable being called Christopher as opposed to Rabbi Eh'bed Baw'naw. But I want to look at the verse with you in Matthew 23 which reads (in the original Aramaic):
"And they love the chief places at festivals and the chief seats at the assembly. And a greeting in the streets, and to be called Rabbi by men. But you should not be called ‘My Great One’ for there is only one Who is Great and you are all brothers. And do not call yourself Father for your Father is one who is in heaven. And you should not be called leaders, because one is your leader, the Mashiyach. But he who is greatest among you, let him be a servant"
The aramaic word there is spelled רב without the י normally the word is spelled רבי for that of rabbi. But we have the י missing. The י, as noted by the sages symbolizes humility given that it is the smallest letter in the Hebrew and Aramaic languages. The י is also made of three parts; a prong pointing towards heaven and a prong towards earth and an intermediary part to bind the two together. Without the י the word, as found in Matthew 23 becomes רב meaning "great one" because they have lost their י symbolizing their humility. But in the previous verse we see the י. Showing that obviously Yeshua was speaking of two different things. And the verse should be properly translated as "call no man great one" as it is properly translated in the Aramaic English New Testament from the original manuscripts of the New Testament. Also if it said "Rabbi" then the verses would be conflicting in another facet as well.
It is important to note that a rabbi and moreh are not the same thing. A moreh is a "teacher" which many in the hellenized tradition think that a Rabbi is. But a rabbi does teach however his job as noted in the torah is to be a servant unto the people which is another reason why the י is within the word רבי (rabbi). It is not equivalent to a christian pastor. People think a rabbi is the jewish version of a pastor but it is not the case. In fact the main job of the rabbi is to be a servant to those in his community and in his schul. Take for example, I was told a couple in the congregation needed some furniture moved, instead of them calling a moving service I knew it was my job as the Rabbi of Kehilat Melech Mashyach to help them move their furniture because it is my job to be a servant.
This is a part of my job description, to do so and not ask for anything in return but rather to increase in my tzedakah and chesed. Thus verse 11 of Matthew 23 would be in direct conflict with the term rabbi, because essentially it would be saying "don't help the people in anyway whatsoever". That is in direct opposite of the message Yeshua was giving.
Some also take the stance that "Rabbi" simply means teacher, though as noted earlier the word "moreh" means teacher and a person receives their "moreh" ordination before they receive their rabbinical license. But lets say for the sake of argument they are correct and that Yeshua (as noted in some really horrible translations) say "call no man teacher", well we have a whole slew of problems from that translation if Yeshua indeed said that, which he did not.
"And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others"
"Act according to whatever they teach you (the Shoftim) and the decisions they give you. Do not turn aside from what they tell you, to the right or to the left"
"And Hashem has placed in the Kehilah first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance and different kinds of tongues"
(1 Corinthians 12:28)
"Ezra the teacher of the law stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion........."
"In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food"
The list goes on and on and on, to where this very premise would have been a contradiction of the Torah, the Nevi'im, the Ketuvim and the writings of Rav Sha'ul if this were indeed the case. So either the "lone wolves" have Matthew 23 out of context or the Torah, the writings and the prophets as well as the emissaries of Yeshua were all liars and incorrect because of one verse. But the question is, if this were true then Yeshua would have corrected all the others who called him Rabbi in John 1:38, John 1:49, John 3:2, and John 3:26, so to the lone wolf; Yeshua not only said "call no man Rabbi" but apparently he also changed his mind a lot, which is not the case.
We can also look at the text of the Khabouris Codex, and lets also make note that the english translator did not render the verse correctly but you can still see the different spellings between the two times the english renders the same word:
As well as the photocopy of the original manuscript:
What also shows in the original Aramaic is how Yeshua was using word play in many instances when he also makes note of the word "Father" now the thing that is interesting is there is a higher and lesser form of the word "Father" in Aramaic. One is "Ab" and the other "Abba" it is the difference between Aveinu and Av in Hebrew. Now if Yeshua were saying this as well, then we would again have a huge problem if he was literally saying to not call your male parent "father" in fact it would break the ten commandments as it is stated:
"Honor your father and mother, that your days be prolonged in the land that Hashem your God has given you"
Now it really comes full circle in Hebaric wordplay and idiom, when Yeshua makes note of the premise found within the yod in verse 11. When he says:
"But he who is greatest among you, let him be a servant"
In this verse he shows the symbolism of "rab" (Great One) being dependent upon the insertion of the humility found within the yod. So one strives to be "eh'bed" (servant) and he who does so for the sake of Hashem and for the sake of others through genuine humility and genuine servitude then he will be exalted by that of Hashem. As the sages say in Pirkei Avos:
"Antignos of Socho received [the transmission] from Shimon the Righteous. He used to say: Do not be as servants who serve the Master to receive reward. Rather, be as servants who serve the Master not to receive reward. And let the fear of heaven be upon you."
Theological Insights from Rabbi Eved Banah the North American Rebbe of Ani Judaism