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I want to encourage you to listen to last night’s class on socialism. The discussion was robust and helpful. We recognized that socialism is not a means of being kind, just the opposite. Examples of extraordinary generosity (kindness) are John D. Rockefeller, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, and the local Levine family, to name a few.

We defined socialism as the concentration of power into the hands of government elites to provide:
1. Central planning of the economy
2. Radical redistribution of wealth

By way of review, we brought out several Biblical points in class.

  • In Luke 12, Yeshua is asked to redistribute wealth by compelling a brother to share his inheritance. He does not do so.
  • In the parable of the talents, those who practiced capitalism by investing their talents to gain a profit were praised.
  • We see Yeshua chasing the money lenders out of the Temple, not because he opposed their capitalism, but because of where they practiced it. He did not chase money lenders from the market place or banks.
  • The story of the Samaritan teaches us an important lesson on personal wealth and its use – helping others, voluntarily.
  • The owner of the vineyard hires laborers as the day begins. This is classic capitalism supporting private property. As the day ends, the owner realizes he needs more laborers. He chooses to pay them a higher salary than the first workers. This demonstrates the principles of supply & demand and voluntary contracts expressed in free-market capitalism. The owner actually defends his personal right to use his money as he deems appropriate.
  • The forced redistribution of wealth is rooted in envy, greed and covetousness.
  • Prohibiting the ability for persons to generate wealth undermines the fact that it is G-d Who allows us to do so.

Much of the material I shared came from the excellent short video produced by Prager University titled, “Was Jesus a socialist?” I highly recommend it.

Next week’s class will be our last class before Rosh Hashanah, as the following week, September 24, is the 27th annual Banquet for Life at the HELP Pregnancy Center, which I would like you to consider attending.

HELP Pregnancy Center is a 501c3 non-profit agency providing free and confidential services for women and men who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Their caring peer counselors and staff provide pregnancy, parenting, adoption and abortion education.

Read about the opportunity and register for the banquet at MonroeHELP.com. The keynote speaker this year is Henry Jernigan, dubbed as “one of the best speakers you’ve never heard of.” The story of his son’s birth is heart-warming and engaging.

If you cannot attend, please consider using your personal wealth to assist those who need help, following the example of our Master and a “good” Samaritan.

Next week we will discuss how to respond to the Pro-Death (pro-abortion) position, dealing with a woman’s right to privacy (the stated reason for the Roe v. Wade decision) and a woman’s right to choose. Please come prepared to defend the NON-biblical side of this argument.

The King is in the field! He is closer now than during any other time of the year, save when He dwells with His people.

Blow the shofar to waken the sleeper. Judgment is as close as the King!

Shalom,

Yosef ben Yosef

Was Yeshua a socialist? Should we embrace the socialist mindset? Shouldn’t the USA have a socialist economic perspective? What does the Torah say about this??

  • Don’t you care about the poor?
  • Is it just that the rich get richer on the backs of laborers?

Come! Join us tonight as we “reason together.”

Yosef b. Yosef

Toxic Masculinity

The American Psychological Association warns that “traditional masculinity ideology” is associated with negative effects on mental and physical health. Men who adhere to traditionally masculine cultural norms, such as risk-taking, violence, dominance, primacy of work, need for emotional control, desire to win, and pursuit of social status tend to be more likely to experience psychological problems such as depression, stress, body image problems, substance abuse and poor social functioning.

WikiPedia states,

Toxic masculinity refers to traditional cultural masculine norms that can be harmful to men, women, and society overall; harmful effects of conformity to certain traditional masculine ideal behaviors such as dominance, self-reliance, and competition.

Feminist author John Stoltenberg has argued that ALL traditional notions of masculinity are toxic and ultimately reinforce the oppression of women.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxic_masculinity

Our WorldView

We recognize that men are prone to sin and that all positive traits of both male and females are problematic when out of proper balance. However, today’s culture is toxic to men and manhood, deriding all traditional masculine traits as bad, if not evil.

The truth is that

  • Men and women are created differently, both physically and emotionally
  • G-d gives humans differing roles based on gender
  • Patriarchy preserves society
  • Fathers are necessary role models

Scriptural Perspective

  • Fools quarrel, while honorable men steer clear of strife. (Proverb 20)
  • Men are not to be fearful and fainthearted, as it poisons the fortitude of other men. (Deuteronomy 20)
  • Men of violence are an abomination to the Almighty. (Proverbs 3)
  • A man without self-control is not a man at all, he is a giant toddler. (Proverbs 25, 1 Corinthians 13)
  • Men are called upon, during war, to be warriors. (Joshua 10)
  • Men are expected to have an honorable reputation that protects society. (2 Samuel 17)
  • Men strive to be blameless and upright, fearing G-d and turning from evil. (Job 1)
  • Men are expected to step up, standing in the breech to defend moral values and honor. (Job 38, 1 Corinthians 16)

How Did You Die?

Did you tackle the trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, I trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn’t the fact that you are hurt that counts, 
But only how did you take it?

You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there – that’s disgrace.
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you‘re licked that counts,
It’s how did you fight – and why?

And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could,
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he’s slow or spry,
It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,
But only how did you die?

Edmund Vance Cook

Feminism & Patriarchy

Feminism is defined in today’s culture by Wikipedia as

a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism

Is this not consistent with our worldview? Gender equality is affirmed in the Torah in several ways, as Dennis Prager explains in his commentary on the Torah in The Rational Bible.

  • A literal translation of Genesis 2:18 yields,

It is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helper who is his equal.

  • The creation event develops progressively, with each creation on a higher level than the creation preceding it. Fish on day 5, land animals and mankind on day 6, etc. Woman may be considered to be the culmination of G-d’s creation, as she was created last.
  • Even though progeny were promised to both parents, when Sarah was found to be with child, the Torah describes this miracle as “The L-RD did for Sarah…” rather than for “them.”
  • G-d commands that children honor both parents.
  • Depictions of women as heroic is made more frequently than the men in their lives (i.e. Rebecca, Jocheved, Miriam, Pharaoh’s daughter)
  • Women are lifted up in the Torah. (Rebecca – Gen 27; Naomi/Ruth – Ruth 3; Tamar – Gen 38; Abigail – 1Sam 25)

Patriarchy is defined in today’s culture by Wikipedia as

a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchy

There are surely differing roles and responsibility for men and women described in the Torah. Our class focused on the facts of the Torah regarding gender and what a difference the Torah made in world history. Prager notes, the Torah was the first religious work in the world to completely desexualize G-d and religion.

Gender Pronouns

  • We refer to G-d as “He” because that is how the Torah refers to G-d, not to demean women.
  • Using “He or She” would be dishonest to the text and incline people to think of G-d in gender terms.
  • “She” always refers to a female, but “he” or “man” frequently refers to both sexes. “The rights of man” refers to “human rights”; “mankind” includes women, etc.
  • Using “It” would render the G-d of the Torah as something else entirely, akin to Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover. One does not pray to, love, or otherwise relate to an “It.”

Rendering G-d as “He” has taught generations of males that to be compassionate and loving is part of being masculine.

We recognize that there are jerks in the world, some of whom claim a relationship with the Creator, and treat others poorly. Our goal in this series is not to debate and argue, but rather to provide a different perspective to conclusions others have drawn.

… always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect

1 Peter 3:15

The Torah is not man-made and is totally unique. It defines our world view.

These concepts were unknown or unattainable without the giving of the Torah. I strongly recommend The Rational Bible, the Alperson Edition, by Dennis Prager. I used his commentary to direct our discussion.

      Universal G-d, not just the G-d of the Jews
      Invisible, incorporeal G-d
      Moral, not capricious, G-d
      The first God in history beyond nature, not a nature-G-d
      God who loves, and wants to be loved
      Gives every individual unprecedented self-worth
      Introduced universal human rights
      Began the journey to belief in human equality
      Brought universal morality into the world, as G-d judges every human being
      Means good and evil are not individual or societal opinions, but objectively real, making human moral progress possible
      Gives humanity hope
      Gives human beings free will
      Introduces holiness, elevating human beings from animal-like to being created in G-d’s image
      Is necessary for human brotherhood
      Teaches us the physical realm is not the only reality, which means there is ultimate meaning to existence and to each of our lives
      Teaches might is not right

    When the atheist differs with the Torah, he thinks the Torah is wrong, and he is right.

    When the believer differs with the Torah, he things the Torah is right, and he is wrong.

    So, what IS our worldview?

    Stay tuned.

    Yosef ben Yosef

    Tomorrow evening, Tuesday, 6 August, at 7:30pm, will be Lesson 0 of our next class, “Defending our Worldview in the Public Square.”

    This topic was suggested by one of the young men in our community who is attending college, and frequently called on to defend his beliefs. This defense is far beyond the normal, “Why are you a Christian?” We will start by reflecting on what makes the Torah unique, and what values and opportunities have been introduced to the world by G-d via the Scriptures.

    Join us at The Residence, or online via MixLr at 7:30pm Tuesday nights.

    “Is the pursuit of riches, you may ask, not a preoccupation of the secular world?”
    That is how the book The Jewish Secret of Wealth: According to the Torah, Talmud and Zohar by Rabbi Avraham T. Schwartz began. Gregory Bartos read the book and came away with these observations…
    I have often wondered how to balance pursuing wealth and pursing righteousness. After all, Yeshua instructs: 

    “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” 

    Matthew 6:24 

    Is it possible to pursue wealth and not stray from the righteous path? Is it wrong to desire to be wealthy? What is the biblical way to view wealth and the pursuit of wealth?
    This book pulled together quotes from a variety of sources in an attempt to view wealth through a religous lens. It was an inspiring book and helped me better understand wealth from a Jewish perspective. However, there is still much I need to learn and many questions I have. If my suspicions are correct, many other young men have the same desire to learn more about biblically pursuing wealth and have similar questions as myself. Over the next few classes I would like to introduce the subject of wealth and have a healthy discussion. My goal is for the young men to learn from the wise men in our group and gain a better understanding of how a righteous man should pursue wealth.
    Here is a sample of the subjects we will discuss:
    • Is wealth a good thing?
    • Can wealth be a heavenly pursuit?
    • Working hard
    • Ethics of wealth
    • Honoring your wife
    • Shabbat
    • Working for HaShem
    • True wealth
    • Giving
    I am excited to review this topic with Gregory at the helm, guiding our discussion!
    We look forward to seeing you tomorrow night at 7:30pm at The Residence for the first class of The Jewish Secret of Wealth.

    Shalom,

    Yosef ben Yosef

    For those of you studying through the Scriptures in the End Times for Dummies class, we have updated the Study Guide for you. Check the title page for yours and ensure it’s v2.5.

    We’re close to the end of the Scriptures – and the end of the study. We will be reviewing the latest Timeline Recap (#2) during class tomorrow night.

    I look forward to the privilege of studying with you!

    Shalom,

    Yosef ben Yosef

    This year I made it a point to wish as many people as possible a Merry Christmas. The result was delightful! Those who thought I was Jewish and those who had come to question my belief in Yeshua as the long-awaited Jewish Savior of the world were pleasantly surprised as we easily fell into a brief, light-hearted discussion about the real Christmas message. Some folks were actually kind enough to ask if it was appropriate to wish me a Merry Christmas! What a lovely way to further bond with colleagues and clients.

    This birth celebration has been mostly lost in the material, selfish culture which has arrested our culture, but true believers understand the true message of redemption, which starts in a manger and ends on a Roman cross. I actually enjoyed the obvious mental tension that ensued when each holiday goer was pressed regarding the forsaking of G-d’s appointed times. A few Rabbis were surprised that during this annual expression of excess, my family chose to join with G-d’s people on asarah b’tevet and mourn the siege on Jerusalem.

    As we watch the world around us painfully search for real contentment, and Americans forsaking the freedoms for which their fathers fought, we should take solace in the word’s of Sha’ul to young Timothy.

    Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

    (1 Tim. 4:7-8 ESV)

    The exciting conclusion of our End Times for Dummies is upon us! It’s time to study the Revelation of Yeshua to John. Download the latest study guide from the Resources page, as we’ve added the timeline deduced from class following the Olivet Discourse.

    Lessons 8 and 9 will be reviewed in several classes. The next class will focus on the sequence revealed in the seven seals.

    We are not meeting on Christmas or New Year’s days.

    Our next class is at 7:30pm on January 8. See you then!

    Shalom,

    Yosef b. Yosef

    After a lovely break from teaching non-stop for over a year, and then relishing the excellent class taught by Joshua Spurlock on The Messiah, we are ready to begin again.

    Tomorrow night, Tuesday, 16 October, begins a 10-week study on the end times.

    We are not doing an in depth study of every prophecy in Scripture. We are simply overviewing the main prophetic passages so that we can put the end times into a sequence of events.

    Join us! We will meet at The Residence at 7:30pm for one hour each Tuesday night. The homework is simple and straightforward. The audio of each class will be posted the following morning.

    When there is war all around us, with people dying and bombs going off, is this a mark that Messiah is about to come? Find out, from the Scriptures, with us.

    The study guide is available here. Read the Intro and Lesson Zero for tomorrow night, if you have time. I can’t wait to study this incredibly important topic with you!

    Shalom,

    Yosef ben Yosef

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