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It’s exciting to be back in the saddle. I must confess that the time off has been a blessing and a curse. Not having to prepare lessons has been wonderful and it gave me more time with my bride. However, the lack of accountability and aimless spiritual growth was not worth the price.

Our first class in over a year will be from 7:30pm to 9:00pm tomorrow night, November 1. We’re starting a little later in the evening to make it easier for everyone to get home from work. We will end promptly before anyone stays up too late to be their best the next morning.

Our first series for the year is a new study of the Apostolic Scriptures. We will be learning what each book has to offer, key phrases, and what the Scriptures teach us regarding halachah for non-Jews. Lesson Zero, the introduction, will be tomorrow night.

We will be recording the classes on Tuesday night and posting the audio to the podcast by Wednesday at lunch time. Our camera seems to be overheating, so until it’s replaced we will not be providing live video.

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Last night we discussed the anomaly of the genealogies found in Matthew and Luke. Matthew’s account has women – and misses three kings. Unfortunately, Matthew provides the lineage right through Jeconiah – a king cursed by G-d, and guaranteed not to have an heir on the throne.

Luke, on the other hand, provides a pristine lineage, but unfortunately, it leads to David’s son Nathan, not Solomon… which means Yeshua (Jesus) can’t be the Mashiach (Messiah). Too bad.

So how do we reconcile these contradictory lineages? By examining the history of G-d’s people, specifically, the Maccabean revolt, the actions and character of King Herod, the location shift of the desposyni, we were able to bring clarity to what appears contradictory.

Mazel tov to our friend the Rabbi! Hashem has given him a grandson, born in Israel. He and his wife left today to greet their newborn, and hopefully stay until the bris.

This gives us more time to prepare our apologetic for Yeshua Rabbeinu (Jesus, our Teacher).

I pray this last class gets you excited for the depths of truth that lie beneath the pages of  the Apostolic Writings!

As a result of last night’s class, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. 1 Chronicles 3 has three kings listed that are skipped in Matthew’s genealogy of Yeshua. What is one explanation of why?
  2. The women listed in Matthew’s genealogy of Messiah have somewhat scandalous pasts. Parallel this curious inclusion with the Sages midrash about King David’s conception.
  3. Matthew uses time brackets to divide his genealogy. One is to mention Abraham, to David to Messiah. The first letter of each man spells the Hebrew word אדמ. Explain the significance.
  4. Who are the Hashmoni? What did they usurp?
  5. Why would direct descendants of King David live in the Galilee rather than Bethlehem?
  6. What happened to the public genealogical records of the house of David?
  7. Naysayers are quick to point out that according to Matthew’s genealogical record, Yeshua is in the cursed line of Jechoniah. How would you respond?
  8. Isaiah uses the word alma to describe the young woman whose child would be a sign of Hashem’s provision. This Hebrew word does not always mean virgin. Give two defenses of the Master’s miraculous birth using the Septuagint and common sense.
  9. Recognizing the Hebraic nature of the genealogical list provided by Matthew, by noting there were 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 generations from David to the Deportation to Babylon, and 14 generations from the Deportation to Messiah, what is Matthew shouting to the world?
  10. The Midrash Rabbah gives a great description of the growth in worthiness of Israel from Abraham to David, culminating in the splendor and glory of King Solomon, followed by the decline of worthiness finishing with the exile to Babylon. How does Matthew use this midrash to glorify Yeshua?
  11. Luke’s genealogy of Yeshua is different than Matthew’s! How can this be? Use historical precedent and Torah commands to demonstrate your argument. For example, Joseph’s father is either Jacob or Eli, depending on which gospel account you read. Explain!

My SD card ran out of space during the second hour of class, and I had to recreate the last part of the recording. I apologize to our remote listeners for the loss of all the excellent comments and perspectives that the Tzadik Class provided!

Shalom,

Joseph

PS: Click here for the class audio and the awesome slide show.

 

Our most recent visitor has expressed several convictions which caused my eyebrows to rise. His exalted view, consistent with my own, of the excruciating care provided by the soferim (scribes) to meticulously copy the words of Torah, again and again, down through the ages, was compelling. It was also in stark contrast to his pathetic regard for the manuscripts of the Apostolic Writings. In this, I believe our guest has tipped his hand with regard to Messianic discussions. We should make a note of this, it may prove helpful down the road…

I must say, it was surprising to hear an orthodox Rabbi recommend Josh McDowell’s book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, since it is written by a Gentile. However, the book provides an excellent justification for the belief in a monotheistic G-d, and demonstrates a clear Creator/creation model of the universe.

I have a tome in my office that is used by Jews to refute Christianity, called the In-depth Study Guide to the “Let’s Get Biblical” Tape Series, by Tovia Singer. As you might expect, the lineage of Yeshua Rabbeinu (Jesus our Teacher) is challenged. Have you reviewed them? Matthew and Luke both have the genealogy… yet they differ. One is traced back through King David’s son Solomon, one through his other son, Nathan. How can this be?

Read the genealogies presented in Matthew 1:1-17. Contrast this with Luke’s in Luke 3:23-38. Please note the differences in men as well as the total count of generations. This will be the focus of our study tomorrow night, along with gematria!

See you then!!

This past Tuesday, we had a quick review of some daily details in the rhythms of righteousness.

From the review, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. What is CHAZAL, and what does it mean?
  2. What does Parashah Hashavuah mean?
  3. Portions of what?
  4. How many weekly portions are there in the year, and on what are they based?
  5. What is the term Sidra?
  6. What is the Haftarah?
  7. I gave you three potential explanations for the haftarah being included in the Shabbat Torah service. What are they?
  8. We reviewed the following books. You should be able to explain the name and contents of each:
    1. Tanach
    2. Chumash
    3. Siddur
  9. From Pesach (Passover) to Sukkot (Tabernacles), we read what additional collection after Shacharit, each Shabbat?
  10. From Sukkot to Pesach, we read what additional collection?
  11. What does the name of each collection mean, and what is included?
  12. We discussed who you are (or were) with respect to G-d and His people. This seemed offensive to many when first presented, but sometimes the truth hurts. We used terms such as the ones below. Explain how these apply, and why.
    1. Idolator
    2. Stranger
    3. Lost
    4. Ignorant
    5. Killers

Finally, we concluded our discussion with an answer to the question I receive most often, “Now that I understand that because we have joined Israel and Israel’s G-d, we should be keeping His commandments, what do I do???”

The answer to this question is progressive, of course, as your walk deepens, and you learn to jettison more and more from your pagan (and visible church) ways. My short and generic list, in order, is this:

  1. Read the Torah portion and learn the commands of G-d.
  2. Keep Shabbat and learn its parallel to Messianic Days.
  3. Pray Shacharit each day.
  4. Pray with a tallit.
  5. Wear tzitzit whenever practical and possible.
  6. Wrap tefillin when you pray.

These habits, added to your daily schedule, will change your life, your perspective and your reputation. As men who desire to become tzadikim (righteous men), this is essential.

After taking the short quiz, which included the mugshot game with persons, places and events, we were introduced to our friend the orthodox Rabbi.

To avoid any damage to the Rabbi’s reputation (for meeting with, teaching and encouraging Gentiles) this hour was not recorded.

Shalom Aleichem,

Joseph

PS: Click here to find the Class 4 audio, quiz and time line chart.

In our last class we played the mugshot game with events, as we have done already with people and places. You should be prepared to randomly display a mugshot for any person, place or thing along the time line of G-d’s people.

After a final, broad-brush review of the time line, we watched a short video clip regarding the demographic shift in which our planet is in the midst. My thanks to Rick Hergenreter for forwarding it to me.

The video speaks of a rise in the Muslim population all over the planet. This fulfills the prophecy given to Abraham, that his first son, Ishmael, would be made into a great nation.

We played around with a short video clip from “A Few Good Men” to see if we could see parallels with the work of Hashem in our lives. I believe that when we play around like this, it exposes wrong theologies and incorrect assumptions regarding the sovereignty of G-d, the work of Messiah, the predicament of man, etc. We’ll play around with this type of exercise in the future, and we’ll make it more comfortable to get into the game quicker.

Next week we will have an Orthodox Rabbi visiting our class! I am honored that we have expressed our position on the “people of G-d” and the errors of the visible church adequately to have his company. Teaching Gentiles about historic Judaism in front of a Rabbi has me a bit anxious, but I am surrounded by good friends and men of like faith that have the same desire as I:

That we may glorify Him and sanctify His Name throughout all the earth.

Next week we will explain the weekly parasha and haftarah readings. Review why there are 54 when we only have 52 weeks in the year. Finally we will review the Shacharit prayers, what changes seasonally, and what our next holiday is.

We will schedule ONE 500 year history class each month or so. These 500 year classes will be in-depth, deep-diving.

After that… the quiz. History timeline high-level and mugshots. Then we will spend the second hour meeting the Rabbi…

As a result of our last class, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. Name three events that occur in each of the eight 500 year periods between Abraham and today.
  2. Name each 500 year period between Abraham and today.
  3. Identify when all the Torah portions in Genesis (B’reisheet) occur on the time line.
  4. Identify the second Akedah in history.
  5. Name two men known by a title without a name.
  6. Identify the three centers of Jewish life during the second Temple period.

Almost done with the history overview! See you next Tuesday evening.

Shalom,

Joseph

P.S. Click here to find the Class 3 audio, video, and handouts.

Once again, a great time of fellowship and learning! Audio is available on the Class page.

Our time was focused in the first hour on the rhythms of our life, as taught in the Scripture. Surprisingly, we began our discussion with death and bereavement. The annual reminder of a loved one’s death is called the yahrzeit. We noted that our culture tends to memorialize births rather than deaths. This is strongly contrasted in the culture of G-d’s people. There are very few birthdays described in the Scriptures – and most are not favorably portrayed.

From the traditional mourning events (shiva, shloshim, yahrzeit) we reviewed the moedim (appointed times) of Hashem. The key take-away is that the very first appointed time is Pesach (Passover) – Yeshua’s yahrzeit! There may be debate over the day of the Master’s birth, but everyone knows when he died.

We noted that the Jewish people tend to have a much healthier grieving process than the rest of the world, and the Mourner’s Kaddish is not a sad prayer, by any means.

Our second hour was devoted to the history of G-d’s people. This week instead of playing the mugshot game (standing with a name placard on your chest at the appropriate place along our time line) with names of historical figures, our placards had historical places on them. Next week we’ll be doing events. We will also do a complete overview of the entire time line for those of you new to the class. Come prepared to take copious notes!


As a result of last night’s class, you should be able to answer the following questions:

 

  1. What are shiva, shloshim and yahrzeit?
  2. Relate yahrzeit with one of the appointed times.
  3. What are the seven appointed times?
  4. All the moedim are based on an understanding of what period of time?
  5. Who named the Land of Israel Palestinia?
  6. What is the difference between Babylon and Babylonia?
  7. When you hear “offering” you should think _______________________.
  8. What chapter of the Torah describes all the moedim?
  9. What chapter describes the seven appointed times as three pilgrimage feasts?
  10. Yom Kippur is technically an incorrect name. Why?

Reminder: We have asked a Rabbi to teach us once a month for the next six months.
Please email me questions for which you would like the Rabbi to prepare.


Shalom,

 

Joseph

Class Audio and Handouts

Gentlemen,

We are being watched at all times – and MUST be prepared to give an account of the hope that lies within us. May Hashem bless you with wisdom this day. Don’t forget to prepare for Shabbat – it is the first step in a sequence of deeds which allow you to fulfill the mitzvah (commandment) to REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY.

Below you will find the link to a (long) PDF from The Rabbi’s Son. In its 27 pages we find some excellent reasons for the halachah (walk) and minhag (custom) we practice. PLEASE READ THIS DOCUMENT BEFORE CLASS NEXT TUESDAY, and be prepared to discuss its content.

1Intro71

I have heard from two of you regarding the order for tallit katan, talit, and tefillin with HaSofer. I will be following up with the two of you for some more specifics. If there is anyone else, please let me know before the Sabbath begins.

Shabbat Shalom,

Joseph

Gentlemen, what a great time it was last night!

For those of you in the land of Israel – or heading home, we will post the audio of the class as soon as it is edited… as well as the handouts. Thanks to those of you who brought wine for our fellowship time.

Speaking of handouts, Rick Spurlock noticed that I had an extra word in the “Donning Tallit” blessing… The Tzadik Class page has the corrected blessing, and the audio is available too. Right now, if you pray that, it turns out your blessing Hashem and asking him to light you on fire, while you wrap yourself in tzitzit. Yikes! If you remove the “l’hadlik”, you’ll be just fine… and won’t get singed on request…

Our classes will parallel the portion number each week… This was class #1, coinciding with the first portion, B’reishit, which will be read this Shabbat. The last portion is actually read TODAY, Hoshanah Rabbah! There are fabulous prayers in your Siddur which are reserved for this week. Avail yourself, it’s a mitzvah!

I trust I will see as many of you as possible tomorrow (Thursday) night, to celebrate the rejoicing of the Torah, Simchat Torah. We will read the entire Torah out loud. It will probably take less than two hours, but it’s a wonderful experience.


Reminder: We are placing a Bella Torah order to HaSofer.com for tallit, tallit katan, and tefillin. If you want any of these items, please email me so I can coordinate size, payment, etc. I plan to place the order just before this Shabbat, so you can let me know as late as the Simchat Torah party tomorrow night.

 

Reminder: We have decided to ask an orthodox Rabbi to teach us once a month for the next six months. Please email me questions for which you would like the Rabbi to prepare.


Questions you should be able to answer as a result of last night’s class:

 

  1. A tzadik has earned a reputation over time. How would you describe him?
  2. Batya Wooten is a key player in history for what movement? What is a theological problem if her position is brought to its logical extreme?
  3. The Karaite movement was started by whom? They began with two basic tenets. One has to do with tradition, the other with the calendar. Describe each one.
  4. Chronologically, who is closer in time to Buddha, Moses or Rashi?
  5. When we speak of HaNavi, we are talking about Elijah, the prophet. When we speak of HaNasi, to whom are we referring, and what does that title mean? What did he do?
  6. Rashi squashy. What did he do that was so remarkable?
  7. What will provide consistency and structure to our life more than anything else?
  8. Psalm 145 describes the actions of the tzadik. What is the basic premise of the psalm?
  9. Michael Rood and Nehemia Gordon often appear together at seminars. Why would they have an affinity?
  10. There are three times of prayer each day. They are called, Shacharit, Maariv and Minchah. Put the three in order of occurrence.

Shalom!

Joseph

Class Audio and Handouts

Oh my goodness! Our month off for August, plus the High Holy Days, have slipped by and tomorrow night is our FIRST CLASS for 5771‼!

This year’s classes will be different for several reasons:

  1. We will be recording every class, in case you must miss.
  2. We will be posting handouts on the website, along with the audio of each class.
  3. We will be providing guest teachers as often as possible, including an Orthodox Rabbi.
  4. We will be measuring our progress on the tzadik walk periodically.
  5. We will not be inviting other men to participate, unless they demonstrate an understanding of our faith, our halachah and our goal.

This week we complete our Torah cycle with Vezot ha’Bracha on Simchat Torah (I hope you will come to help celebrate the rejoicing of the Torah at our home this Thursday evening) and kicking off the first portion, B’reishit, this Shabbat. What an appropriate beginning to our classes.

Our opening class will set the stage for the rest of the year.

  • Who are we?
  • Where are we, in time?
  • What does a tzadik look like?
  • To what do we disagree… and why?

I am truly excited about spending time with each of you tomorrow night. We will be missing a few men… the Uphams are in Israel for several more days; Gregory Bartos has to work; Noah and Timothy are in Israel as well… If you can’t make it at 7pm tomorrow night, please let me know.

See you then! Chag Sameach!

Joseph

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RSS Tzadik Class Podcast

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