‘No But’, ‘Yes But’, ‘Yes And’, and why to just go with what has always been ‘YES’?
by Menashe Dovid
In the cut and thrust world of converting Jews to what is after all just a re-packaging of Christianity, there is yet another endeavor to gain a legitimacy to ‘Messianic Judaism’ via a scholarly route. The scholarly route in this case provided for example by the Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (MJTI) through various blogs (cached version) and websites to give ‘real’ academic qualifications. The scholarly route of course no doubt appealing to the Protestant work ethic of these Christians, woops, I mean ‘Messianic Jews’ who possibly pander to the belief that life is not worth living if you do not have a job. Of course to have a legitimate job, you have to have legitimate academic qualifications! Is that not right Mr. [Microsoft] Bill Gates et al?
Judaism has in fact survived, prospered and continues to prosper without so called legitimate qualifications. Besides, this is not the first time in recent history where there has been a concerted attack upon legitimate Judaism. Legitimate Judaism is of course Orthodox Judaism, which up until two hundred years or so, was just about the only version of Judaism out there. Two hundred years ago, the concerted attack came with the so called enlightenment or Hascala movement. The Hascala movement gave birth to todays Reformed, Conservative, Liberal, Progressive and Re-constructionist Judaism movements. A feature of the ‘superiority’ of such new movements over Orthodox Judaism was of course that their ‘Rabbis’ had ‘real’ qualifications from real academic institutions!!
No doubt the above paragraphs will provide ready ammunition by Stuart Dauermann et al to say that Menashe is yet again making ‘grist for the mill’ for his agenda of undermining what invariably ‘plops out’ of the public organs of Messianic Judaism. Well it is not so much what comes out of these public organs or indeed what they have to offer. After all I have in the past succumbed to the goal of getting a couple of academic qualifications myself but I do not wish to brag—-now do you Mr. M. Walsh B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc.? Like as if my qualifications disappeared, become worthless or I lost my job I cease to exist too!?
There are of course limitations as to what academic qualifications can achieve. Something glossed over by most ‘messianic Jewish’ groups is that a person’s status as a Jew according to Orthodox Halacha and/ or becoming a Rabbi have never depended on having an academic degree. Orthodoxy quite happily stands on its own in terms of applying (to real communities) and validating the G-dly knowledge and wisdom of its people and/ or Rabbis, and has been doing so way before any University. This G-dly knowledge and wisdom we Jews call Torah, exists as a book within the Jewish people. Everyone knows what those “symbols on your hands” and “on your foreheads are”, just as they know what is to be written on the doorposts of their homes and how to make strings on the corners of their garments. There will always be Jews doing those things. The book has meaning only within the context of our people, our experiences as a people, and the way that our people have unfolded and applied that which we have received. In common with both the Reformed Jewish movement et al and to a large extent within ‘messianic Judaism’ is the rejection in varying degrees (no pun intended) of this G-dly knowledge and wisdom because this G-dly knowledge and wisdom is ‘Rabbinic’ Judaism.
Neither for that matter has a non-Jew ever become Jewish by just doing the practices of Judaism and certainly not whilst believing in Jesus. At least this last point is one thing which the Orthodox, Reformed, Conservative, Liberal, Progressive and Re-constructionist Judaism movements are agreed on!
All that has been said above leads me to another prong in the efforts of the MJTI et al to gain legitimacy and acceptance from any of the movements of Judaism mentioned so far. Attempts for legitimacy now of course include the study of ‘Rabbinic’ Judaism. The inclusion of ‘Rabbinic’ Judaism would appear to be a new way of evangelism and may address the growing problem(?) of intermarriage in Messianic Judaism and how the Christian part of ‘the intermarriage equation’ deals with the Jewish in-laws. In a case where the Jewish in-laws are just academic at heart, the Christian part of ‘the intermarriage equation’ or even the other half of the equation may be able to use impressive academic terms such as “an anticipatory or proleptic position”, “a post-supersessionist position” or a “post cryptosupersessionist position”, to help them in their evangelistic efforts with their Jewish in-laws . Yep I think you are onto a winner with this one Stuart!
However, where the Jewish in-laws are just too frum to appreciate academic reasoning, it may be beneficial to ignore centuries of grimed in distrust or ridicule of the halachic rulings of the wider Jewish community. Instead, why not pander to the Jewish in-laws by convincing them, by your elevated observance, that the Torah is best interpreted in concert with the historical stream and transgenerational discussion of that people to whom it was given?
Alternatively, where the Jewish in-laws are neither academics or too frum but instead more business and/ or marketing orientated, it may be possible to use the “Yes and” approach.
The YES-AND option whereby the Yeshua believer genuinely respects, hears, and values what his Jewish significant other reports about the value of his/her Jewish life, faith and experience. This involves saying a YES to all of that, AND going on to report how, in and through Yeshua, God is at work to deepen Jewish life experientially, while bringing the Jewish people and their tradition to their foreordained consummation. (This is no longer on Stuart’s blog as far as I can see)
Implicit in the above, apart from the obvious need to ‘win’ them Jewish in-laws, is the nauseating idea of an evangelical paradigm that the Yeshua believer is somehow superior! Winning them Jewish in-laws to Yeshua means they are not going to get thrown onto the eternal BBQ (as per Mark 16:16) because they have accepted the superior offer! Of course such black and white terms of the evangelical paradigm presented in the New Testament, Stuart Dauermann conveniently chooses to deny by saying that no such things are said in the apostolic writings which witness the efforts of the apostles to convert Jews to Yeshua. Moreover, to divert further, Stuart claims I have stolen and projected onto his paradigm. The bottom line, no matter how Messianic Jews try to ‘spin it’ in the present with various new tricks, Yeshua will never be Kosher just as no matter the number of times one scrubs a pig will ever make the pig Kosher either! The answer is YES Stuart and has always been without ands, buts and/ or degrees!
Can there be a greater stumbling block than [Christianity]? All the prophets spoke of Moshiach as the redeemer of Israel and their savior, who would gather their dispersed ones and strengthen their [observance of] the mitzvos. In contrast [the founder of Christianity] caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humiliated, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than the L-rd.” (Expurgated by medieval Christian censors from the Mishneh Torah of Rambam, Chapter 11)
 et al, is Latin for ‘and others’ by the way.
 The definition of a Halachic Jew according to Orthodoxy is that a person’s mother and their mother’s mother are Jewish or that a person has undergone a recognized Orthodox conversion to Judaism. In either case Jews are Jews and nothing will stop them from ceasing to be Jews, regardless of their level of observance within Orthodoxy or any other ‘ism’ of their choice. According to Orthodoxy a conversion to Reformed, Liberal, Re-constructionist and Conservative movements is not recognized as a valid conversion and so in terms of Orthodoxy a non-Jewish converter to non-Orthodox Judaism is not Jewish.
 To become Jewish one needs a Halachic Orthodox conversion.
 It should be noted that according to Orthodoxy, for a Jew to practice Christianity or a variant of it such as Messianic Judaism, that Jewish person is placing themselves in a situation of potential spiritual excision or to be cut off from the world to come for practicing idolatry. A non-Jew according to some opinions with respect to Christianity, similarly has the potential to be cut off from the world to come BUT according to other opinions not. Whilst a doubt may hang over the non-Jews fate with respect to their belief and practice of Christianity, the case is absolutely clear for the Jew……potential spiritual excision or to be cut off from the world to come. In the present as long as a Jew practices idolatry by believing in Christianity, it is as if the Jew is no longer a Jew and may indeed be in a worse situation as the non-Jew who practices and believes in Christianity. Repentance for the Jew from belief and practice of Christianity is vital if they are to avoid being cut off from the world to come.
 ‘Jewish Believers in Yeshua and Halachic Torah Observance: Living Today forIsrael’s Tomorrow”, Posted on November 11, 2011 by Stuart Dauermann
 The Yiddish adjective frum (Yiddish: פֿרום; [frum | frim]), from the German fromm, meaning “devout” or “pious”, is a Yiddish word meaning committed to be observant of the 613 commandments, or Jewish commandments, specifically of Orthodox Judaism. This appellative is used in reference to Orthodox Jews.
 To remove matter thought to be objectionable or unsuitable from a book or account.