Saturday, August 30, 2008

The King is in the Field!

The shofar blast after prayers tomorrow will herald the opening of the heavenly gates of mercy. The sharp call of the shofar arouses us to put away whatever things have been distracting us from HaShem and to return to Him. We are awakened to rise from our spiritual slumber. We begin the 40 day period of soul-searching and self-improvement which culminates in Yom Kippur. During these yamim noraim we must take an honest look at our conduct in the past year, examine our failings and seek to raise ourselves up.

During the yamim hanoraim, the King is in the field. During the rest of the year, the King sits in His palace and only His servants, ministers and courtiers have access to the inner sanctum. It is extremely difficult to get an audience with the King. But with the blast of the shofar on Rosh Chodesh Elul, the King will leave His palace to sit in the field. During this time, all of the King's subjects can go before Him, petition to Him, speak to Him and have their requests granted. Here's how Chassidic master Rebbe Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), describes the month of Elul - the month that precedes the divine coronation on Rosh Hashanah:

"It is like a king who, before he enters the city, the people of the city go out to greet him in the field. There, everyone who so desires is permitted to meet him; he receives them all with a cheerful countenance and shows a smiling face to them all. And when he goes to the city, they follow him there. Later, however, after he enters his royal palace, none can enter into his presence except by appointment, and only special people and select individuals. So, too, by analogy, the month of Elul is when we meet G-d in the field..."
(Likkutei Torah, Re'ei 32b; see also Likkutei Sichot, vol II p. 632 ff.)

The astrological sign of Elul is Virgo, the Virgin. Elul is an acronym for Ani leDodi ve'Dodi Li', I am for my Beloved as my Beloved is to me. In this month, we are reunited with our Beloved, HaShem. He is accessible to every single one of us. The gates of mercy are opened and HaShem has compassion on each one of us. Whatever sins have cut us off from Him throughout the year are forgotten and we once again become pure and sinless.

We add Psalm 27 to the end of our morning and evening services.

1. By David. The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life-whom shall I dread? 2. When evildoers approached me to devour my flesh, my oppressors and my foes, they stumbled and fell. 3. If an army were to beleaguer me, my heart would not fear; if war were to arise against me, in this I trust 1 4. One thing I have asked of the Lord, this I seek: that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the pleasantness of the Lord, and to visit His Sanctuary. 5. For He will hide me in His tabernacle on a day of adversity; He will conceal me in the hidden places of His tent; He will lift me upon a rock. 6. And then my head will be raised above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tabernacle sacrifices of jubilation; I will sing and chant to the Lord. 7. Lord, hear my voice as I call; be gracious to me and answer me. 8. In Your behalf my heart says, "Seek My countenance"; Your countenance, Lord, I seek. 9. Do not conceal Your countenance from me; do not cast aside Your servant in wrath. You have been my help; do not abandon me nor forsake me, God of my deliverance. 10. Though my father and mother have forsaken me, the Lord has taken me in. 11. Lord, teach me Your way and lead me in the path of righteousness, because of my watchful enemies. 12. Do not give me over to the will of my oppressors, for there have risen against me false witnesses, and they speak evil. 13. [They would have crushed me] had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14. Hope in the Lord, be strong and let your heart be valiant, and hope in the Lord.

Ketivah v'chatima tovah. May we all be written and inscribed in the Book of Life.

Cross-posted from the For Zion's Sake


Papa Frank said...

"He is accessible to every single one of us. The gates of mercy are opened and HaShem has compassion on each one of us. Whatever sins have cut us off from Him throughout the year are forgotten and we once again become pure and sinless."

WOW!!! that is Christianity in a nutshell except for the fact that this is what Yeshua's death accomplished for us once and for all. Beautiful.

Bar Kochba said...

Except in Judaism, we need no intermediary before G-d. "You shall have no other gods before Me". G-d has always been accessible to every one of us. JC's blood was not needed. Teshuva is what counts.

Papa Frank said...

If there was no need of an intermediary then answer these questions.

1) Why did the people shy away when God attempted to teach them himself and end up only speaking to Moses to give the law?

2) Why was there a heavy curtain blocking off the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle that only the High Priest was allowed to go behind and only once a year at that? (Incidentally, it was this curtain that was torn in two at the death of Jesus)

3) Why was there a need for sacrifice as all?

גילוי said...

1. The relationship that the average person is to have with G-d is not on the same level as that which was experienced at Mount Sinai. That is what the people were not prepared for.

2. Why ask that? Ask why only Priests are allowed up to a certain point, men only up to a certain point, only Israelites up to another point.

3. The sacrifice is in order to bring a person closer to G-d.

And for my blog, I suggest going through the links on the right column if you are interested.

What you posted your comment on is a series of posts on Jewish law. I'm removing the comment from that post. You are free to go through the rest to find the answers you seek.

Papa Frank said...

1) I would contend that this is EXACTLY the relationship that God desires for every man and woman. God's greatest desire is to be with us. That is why He walked with Adam in the cool of the evening and that is why he provided a way for us to spend eternity with him.

2) The High Priest is who Jesus is in the temple in Heaven. He is our High Priest.

3) Exactly. That is what Jesus has done for me. He took me from a spot where I was far away from God and separated and brought me near to God by removing my sin.

This entire system was a type of what Jesus would later accomplish. God's greatest desire is to be our God and for us to be His people.

גילוי said...

1. The relationship that you speak of: You don't have it. Humans have not had that sort of connection to G-d for more than 2000 years.

2. You are using the pantheistic definitions of your deity. A priest, in loose terms, is a human that interacts with the deity. Are you now denying the divinity of your messiah?

3. The effect that you speak of is when a person brings the offering. You have never brought an offering in the Temple, that experience never happened for you.

Papa Frank said...

1) This IS the relationship I enjoy. God speaks to me through the Holy Spirit and I speak to him through prayer and praise. I do not shy away from Him but stand humbly and yet boldly before Him as He calls me his son and teaches me.

2) I do not deny the deity of the Messiah. I recognize that God is not limited to one characteristic but rather that he is all His characteristics at once. He is God and he is my High Priest as only He could bridge the divide that separated me from Him. I could not on my own.

3) I present my body as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God because of the blood of Jesus shed to cover me. This sacrifice was offered in the temple in Heaven and will never have to be repeated.

גילוי said...

1. It simply isn't. G-d does not speak to you the way that He spoke at Mount Sinai. If He does, you would be a prophet, as all Israel was at that time. If you are a prophet, we have Deuteronomy which tells us how to test a prophet to see if they are real or not.

2. That is idolatry/pantheism, whatever you like, not what the Torah has taught us.

3. You cannot offer the blood of someone that lived before you. That defies logic shown in the

Ralph said...

on August 31, 2008 at 11:39 PM
you said:-
"..that is Christianity in a nutshell except for the fact that this is what Yeshua's death accomplished for us once and for all. Beautiful."
I don't understand if you are suggesting that 'Yom Kippur' the 'day of atonement', represents "what Yeshua's death accomplished for us once and for all."
Didn't that 'accomplishment' take place at "Passover', when Yeshua's sacrifice washed away our sins with his spilt blood, (Joh 19:34); resulting in 'true believers' being a 'forgiven people'.

Perhaps 'Yom Kippur' represents another aspect of G-d's plan for mankind.

Papa Frank said...

1) I say it is. You cannot prove that it is not. End of story. This is about my own personal experience.

2) God is indeed One. I do not worship anyone besides Him. I am not an idolater.

3) That is why I serve a risen Savior. He is not a historical figure but a present reality.

Ralph said...

on September 1, 2008 at 1:05 PM
you said:-
"If He does, you would be a prophet, as all Israel was at that time."

From where comes that idea?

גילוי said...

Deuteronomy says that the people heard G-d talking from amongst the fire, they asked that it only be Moshe that hears G-d. We find towards the beginning of Numbers (chapter 11 if I recall correctly) that Moshe spoke to G-d face to face. It is obvious that that little bit that they heard from G-d was prophecy. You are not a prophet.

Ralph said...

To whom are you directing your comment of:-
September 2, 2008 at 12:24 AM?

Listening to a prophet doesn't make one a prophet, simply a listener.

גילוי said...

Ralph, my comment was in continuation of a conversation with Papa Frank. I thought that was obvious.

Mad Zionist said...

Gang, let me make a suggestion here. There is absolutely nothing to gain for Jews and Christians to get into a religious war trying to discredit one another's beliefs. It is counterproductive and a complete waste of time. We can agree that Torah was given to the Jews by God and is divine. We can agree that the Land of Israel was given exclusively to the Jewish people by God as an eternal heritage. We have a common enemy in the filthy moslem scum. Let's agree to disagree about the rest, and just move on.

The mission at hand is to confront the mutual enemy of both the Christians and the Jews: "Jews for Jesus".

We both must team together to discredit these rogues. They defame Judaism by falsely preaching that Jesus worship is consistent with Judaism. They insult and defame Christians by publicly rejecting and mocking Christianity. We both are being used!

Don't you see, this entire argument was provoked by Jews for Jesus. They delegitimized and insulted Christians for not embracing some of the outward trappings of Judaism, and blashphemed Judaism with their false, deceptive representations.

They are a wedge group of agitators who come to create turmoil between Jews and Christians. Their agenda is all about forcing each of us to defend our legitimacy by proving the other is wrong.

Look, Christians and Jews are enjoying better relations today than anytime in history. We are respectful of our differences, and have shown we can work together for common interests and causes. We owe it to ourselves to reject the Jews for Jesus by TEAMING UP TO DISCREDIT THEM.

Seriously, let's work together, Jews and Christians, to completely reject and defame Jews for Jesus as a fraudulent scam. Let's be allies against this subversive group that blasphemes BOTH of our religions.

We're just tools playing into their hands by arguing and justifying our existence. We've shown over the millenia that we both exist and both aren't going anywhere. Let's join forces and take them on instead of being used as fools by the enemy.

Papa Frank said...

Madze -- this blog was set up specifically to debate the idea of the Messiah and for BK to debunk what he sees as the myth of Jesus as the Messiah. This way he is free to teach Torah at his other blog in relative peace.

I agree that there are many common enemies of Christians and Jews. And I see the Jewish faith as the heritage of myself as a Christian. My heros in the Bible and the great men and women that I look up to were nearly ALL Jews. I also very much appreciate your sentiments and am growing to respect you very much as I have grown to respect BK and Daniel as well.

As for Jews for Jesus the simple truth is that I have never read any of their literature or met any of their people or even spoken with any of them online. I am simply not educated as to what they teach or what they believe or who they are. Therefore I neither stand with them or against them.

Bar Kochba said...

Actually Pops, I really couldn't care less about what Christians believe. It doesn't bug me in the slightest and I have no reason to try and persuade them to reject Christianity. My problem is with missionaries who try to convert Jews. Your faith poses no problems to me. I respect you and your faith. I have no respect, however, for Messianic "Judaism", Christianity which hides under the false veneer of Jewish tradition. That is the reason for this site, to fight shmad, spiritual assimilation.

MZ, we don't understand that for Fundamentalists, converting the Jews who long rejected the Christian deity, validates their faith. It proves them as right. That is why they feel the need to convert 15 million Jews even though there are 5 billion non-Christians out there.

Mad Zionist said...

BK, while some Fundamentalist Christians still may try and missionize Jews, it seems to me that the overwhelming majority now do not, and in fact are very respectful, if not accepting, of our differences.

The missionary work seems to come more from the Messianics. I may be wrong on that as I have no stats to back me, but they seem to be the ones who are most noticable.

Of course, I am against all who would missionize Jews, and will fight them all with vigor, but I believe the Messianics are the absolute worst.

Bar Kochba said...

Christians United for Israel and John Hagee are guilty of missionizing. Much Christian money and support to Israel goes to missionary activity. Israel didn't pass a law banning missionizing due to Christian pressure. That's why we must demand that Christians respect the differences between us and build fences around the Torah.

Papa Frank said...

99.9% of Christians do not listen to a single word that John Hagee says.

Bar Kochba said...

My point is that often times supporting Israel and missionizing Jews goes hand in hand.

Papa Frank said...

Let me ask why you fear missionizing so much? That is another thing that I simply do not understand.

Mad Zionist said...

Come on, Papa. You're not stupid, so don't act coy. This is the kind of a question that a 1st grader might ask.

Papa Frank said...

Then go ahead and answer it as you would a first grader. I'm not being coy I just don't understand why as it is foreign to me. If I hear about budhism I don't want to convert to budhism. If I hear about Islam I don't want to become a muslim. I love to learn about Judaism but it does not make me want to become a Jew. Why is there such a fear?

Mad Zionist said...

Papa, there is a difference between "learning about something" and having an army converge upon your community to shove their unwanted, alien religion down your throat.

You want brigades of Jehovas, Hari Krishnas, or Scientologists beating down the doors of your town trying to get the most vulnerable to convert to their cult?

This is not difficult to understand, Papa.

Papa Frank said...

I guess that I just don't ever see that happening here in America. Maybe that is the way things are in Israel and I just have never experienced it. I would LOVE to visit Israel but not in any way to push Christianity. I would love to enjoy my Christian roots there and stand where so many of my heroes have stood. Should I not be allowed to be there?

Mad Zionist said...

Papa, you are welcome to visit Israel as a non-missionizing Christian anytime! Be sure to kick out a few arabs while you're at it..

Bar Kochba said...

Frank, it depends where you live. If you live in an area with few Jews, there will be few missionaries. The J4Js have launched a 5 year campaign in cities with large Jewish population and Montreal has been targeted. They are 'in-your-face' and pushy with their beliefs. They stand outside Jewish schools and synagogues and many consider this to be harassment.

This summer, I had an encounter with missionaries in Tel Aviv at a street fair. I wanted to scream. I had come to my own Jewish country so why did I have to be subjected to attempts to convert me? They are crawling all over Jerusalem. The Old City is Ground Zero. The J4Js have plastered advertisements on buses and billboards (which were latter taken down), NTs were given out and tons on pamphlets. They have billions of dollars and Evangelical support.

Its not so much Christian missionaries per se but Messianic "Jews". I wouldn't mind as much (in America- none should be permitted at all in America) if they presented their beliefs honestly and said "You are a Jew, I am a Christian. This is what I believe. Become a Christian too". Instead, they make up stories about being Orthodox Jews (many are really goyyim who have never even stepped foot in a shul), about how they came to Jsus, how Jsus completed their Judaism. They claim falsely that you can be a Jew and a Christian at the same time. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Either you are a Jew or a Christian. If you believe in CHRIST then you are a CHRISTian, even if you keep kosher or shabbat. Belief in Jsus is a central tenet of Christianity, not kashrut or shabbat. And that is why Daniel offends me so much.

Papa Frank said...

I openly admit my lack of understanding concerning why you can't be a Jew and a Christian at the same time. I believe it is because I view being a Jew on two levels. The one level would be believing in and following Judaism but the second level would be simply being born a Jew with a Jewish family and Jewish heritage. That is probably more of a difference in my own cultural views than anything else. I would certainly be against people standing outside of my church to badger me and attempt to "force" anything upon me. I just have not experienced that or seen it. That would certainly put me up in arms as well.

Bar Kochba said...

Certainly a person who converts to Christianity is still of Jewish origin. But his beliefs are not Jewish. Judaism is absolutely opposed to the idea of G-d incarnate in the flesh, of a Trinity and of a Son of G-d. Such ideas are beyond the pale of Jewish practice and belief. Therefore, it is deceptive to market these ideas a Jewish. They may be held by a Christian of Jewish ancestry or ethnicity but they are not Jewish.

Who is a Jew is defined by the Jewish people. Every single denomination in Judaism, from the most Orthodox in Meah Shearim to lesbian rabbiettes in Hollywood, recognize that belief in Jsus as one's lord and saviour is an un-Jewish belief and makes one a Christian.

I admit that this is a difficult situation for a non-Jew to understand. An atheist Jew is still a Jew. Yet a Jew who converts to Islam is a Muslim. A Jew who believes in Krishna is a Hindu. A Jew who worships Jsus is a Christian. I would define a Jew as someone who was born of a Jewish mother or underwent a halachic conversion, and did not convert to another religion.

גילוי said...

Papa Frank,

There is a statement in the Gemara that simply defines a Jew as someone who doesn't believe in idolatry. Obviously this line isn't to be read in a vacuum, as one need to be a descendent of Jews or a convert as well. But it does bring a source to the idea that a Jewish atheist is seen in a different light than a Jew who converts to Christianity, which by Jewish law is idolatry.

Mad Zionist said...

A Jewish atheist is an idol worshipper. Believing that there are many gods or no God, either way is considered idol worship. An atheist, just like a messianic, can't be included in a minyan.