Sometimes when I am cleaning my apartment I take my iPhone, put in my earbuds and listen to podcasts of other teachers to get a beat on what is happening in the affiliated faiths such as Judaism, Christianity, the Hebrew Roots Movement and Messianic Judaism. I like to find out what kind of things the bodies of faith(s) associated with Lapid Judaism are having to deal with.
Today, I did just this, and I was shocked that a podcast dealing with one of the faiths mentioned has an apologetics podcast, and I will not mention the name of the podcast nor the host, because I am sure the person who did this is a lovely person but I was shocked to hear one of the arguments happening in the selected faith was "Apple vs Windows", this persons apologetics podcast was about settling the apple vs windows debate. Why in the world is this even a thing? The thing that shocked me even more is the host then said the prophecy of Daniel 12:4 which states that "knowledge will increase" is talking about Bible apps and Bible computer software. I had to stop what I was doing and ask myself, "this has to be a parody this person cannot be serious". And come to find out this host was serious. Let me outline the huge flaw in this and the progression we have seen since the advent of these modern forms of technology.
Many cite the formation of Messianic Judaism starting in the 60s, and stemming from the Hebrew Christians. Now, we can actually trace this back much further back with individuals such as Paul Phillip Levertoff and Isaac Lichtenstein who predate this idea by over 100 years and I am sure there are more. But lets skip ahead to today. If you look at what Messianic Judaism was in the 60s and 70s it is nothing like it is today. In fact, Lapid Judaism was created by Rabbi Yossi to bring Messianic Judaism back to what it was, as a fully Jewish and Rabbinic faith that the only difference between Hasidic Judaism today and Lapid Judaism of today is belief in Yeshua being the Messiah and the middle pillar of the sefirot of the G-dhead.
Messianic Judaism and the Hebrew Roots today is a shadow of it's original self. Today, we have believers and influential teachers within both of those faiths teaching that the earth is flat, using various variations of the 4 letter name of G-d, and various variations of the name of the Messiah, even adding extra letters to it. We see, the racial identity theology of the Nazis known as Two House Theology being propagated, we see conspiracy theory taking over, we see various pet doctrines that are not only far off but dangerous within the represented faiths that shows a lack of understating of the basics of Scripture. We see big name teachers taking trips to Israel and having to bring, for themselves, translators. In the 1970s 80% of those attending a Messianic synagogue knew hebrew and/or took classes in Hebrew. A majority of the liturgy was in Hebrew. Today about 5% of attendees of Messianic synagogues know basic hebrew phrases. This is a problem. Where does it stem from?
The issue stems from intellectual laziness that is thrust upon us in the technology age. We live in a time where popular Bibles can be imported into Microsoft Word and a find and replace option is used and words replaced to where a new translation comes out every few days with the protection of the 1993 parody law, which states that if 10% of a text is changed it then is considered an original work. This is where the sacred name theology really was birthed. We started to see knowledge DECREASE during this time.
Skip forward 10 years later. In the early 2000s, you started to get Bible softwares like BibleWorks and e-Sword and others sprouting up. I personally started to really see things go down hill at this time. I found it odd previously that a Messianic synagogue I attended in Marion NC, used to tell congregants, "open your Holy Strongs Concordance to Strongs number _________". After leaving there, I attended Natzrim HaTorah in the Burke County area, and everyone there did not bring their Bibles they brought their laptops. We were told to "pull up your e-sword and go to______".
Now at this time, I couldn't figure out the softwares people were using they were very complicated. You had to download modules and install them and then figure out how to go back and forth it was just very confusing. But I also didn't know any better at this time and thought, "well these are good resources I am sure, but I just don't know how to use them."
Several years passed and I started learning semitic languages and I would carry my interlinear Bibles with me whenever I would attend various Torah studies. I attended a place called Shofar of Ephraim (yeah i was still 2 House at that time) and the "Rabbi" there, who didn't know Hebrew of course, did a sermon on one word from Jeremiah. And after the sermon I asked, "what codex was used that you cited that from?" And he said, "whatever the complete Jewish Bible says". I then pulled out Stone Edition Tanach, to show, "well the CJB relies upon these texts which use the Masoretic and that word is not used there."
I then forked over $50 for a Strong Concordance for the reason of research. I then realized that the Strongs uses the English text and translations as though it were the base text and then works backwards, saying essentially "basically because the english says this then the Hebrew would be this". I found that because of that method almost 2/3 of the time Strongs was incorrect. Not only that but certain letters, James Strong didn't realize could make a variety of sounds, one would be the letter bet, he didn't know it makes 2 sounds based upon if it contains a dagesh or not, so even the transliterations within Strongs were hit and miss. And this, is what a majority of Bible software is based on. That is scary.
Now, with this newer software builds upon the failed concepts, but adds other features. But with a faulty basis, the cards start to fall. But lets say you purchase Logos or Bible Accordance for the reasons of textural commentary. Now these programs offer many things in terms of textural commentary from both Jewish and Christian sources. They are highly revered software in the Messianic community. But with this provides another issue.
Is my issue with the commentaries provided? Chas v"Shalom (G-d forbid)!. Here is my issue:
Though my conversion and ordination, one thing that was taught was the journey to find what you are looking for for brings about da'at (knowledge) and chochmah (wisdom). I never understood that until I started to build my library for my radio show and for citation of writings I do. Anyone who knows anything about Talmud for instance knows that verses of the Bible are cited within the text, but it doesn't have an appendix, and this is for a reason. The reason is to engage in Daf Yomi and to learn many things along the way as you are searching for one thing in particular. I have spent hours at a time trying to find information in the Talmud and through that journey I am keeping notes and saying, "Oh wait I can do an entire radio episode on this in the future." I am often teased by my friends when they stop by because I have books sprawled out on my desk and my bed searching for citation. Many of you have probably noticed in my video teachings I always have a stack of books I am opening up when quoting commentary and other citation.
The journey is important and valuable in true da'at and chochmah. Why? Because, not only does Hashem bless the hard work but you learn so much more along the way and what you find from having to do the hard work is valued and thus better remembered. There is time put into it. As the Bible says, "Do your best to shtel zich (apply yourself), to present yourself to Hashem as one approved, a po’el (workman) without bushah (shame), keeping on a derech yashar the Dvar HaEmes." (2 Timothy 2:15). This is key and vastly important. How so?
Think about how many times you have eaten fast food. Now think of the best meal you have had in your entire life. Chances are it didn't come through a drive through. Chances are you either spent a lot of time preparing it and cooking it, and it took several tries to get it right, or someone else had made it and you had to wait for it to be prepared and they had to go through the tedious process of preparing it. If the best meal of your life is so dependent upon this formula, should we treat our study of the Scripture like a drive through? Chas v'Shalom!
When you are diligent in actual study and don't rely on YouTube or Bible software, the journey is more fulfilling and the knowledge stays with you longer and is better applied. Because we have new technology, the assertion that knowledge is increasing at this point in time is very much a misnomer. In fact the evidence shows that it just means the guf hamashiach is just getting lazier and they are treating the Torah of Hashem like a $1 double hamburger through a drive through window.
We live in a time to where people's attention spans are getting shorter and shorter because of technology, because of social media. Why is twitter so big? Because when it formed it limited you to only 140 characters. This reliance on technology influences study habits, and the most minimal amount of work possible. When we can type in key words and get the information we need instantly and we rely on that it is a symptom of a greater problem.
Some may say, "well I rely on this because I don't have the money to buy the resources." That is nothing more than a lame excuse. And I will prove it. I work at a diner, I make less than 99% of the working population, I make minimum wage. Most people have an entertainment budget, they have a budget for their cable tv and a budget for vacations etc. Why aren't people who claim they live for Mashiach and for the Torah of Hashem not set aside a budget for their own resources to help them to study the Scripture diligently? Is the NFL package more important? I own 3 huge bookshelves full of books I can afford by setting a little back after paying my bills every month. That is where my exposable income goes. Because of it I own a set of Talmud and a set of Zohar as well. I also have a library of over 100 peer reviewed books from well known scholars. The fact is, no matter how small your income is, you can do it. Invest in your faith. Don't invest in being theologically lazy.
Theological Insights from Rabbi Eved Banah the North American Rebbe of Ani Judaism