Saturday, July 21, 2007

Why is a Mikvah so important?

Why is a Mikvah so important?

A Mikvah is not the same as a Baptistery at a Church. At a Church a person generally is immersed (or sprinkled) only at the time they acknowledge publicly belief in Messiah. A Mikvah on the other hand is used extensively at many times in the person life. It's waters symbolize the waters of the Gan (Garden of) Eden, rebirth, and renewal.

There are many times a Mikvah is used:

* When a person accepts Messiah
* When a person comes into a Biblical (Messianic) Lifestyle
* At Lifecycle events like Bar/Bat Mitzvah, graduation, and marriage
* To symbolize repentance (after doing T'shuvah)
* In preparation for the High Holy Days (espically Yom Kippur)
* After the birth of a child (women)
* After niddah (monthly cycle - women)
* When a former Gentile becomes a Jew (proselytizes)

As you can see from the list above, this can be a very busy place.

The rules for use are simple:

* Schedule an appointment (women call Rabbinit D'vorah, men call Rabbi Gavri'el or Micha'el).
* Bath thoroughly before arriving for the Mikvah
* Arrive with sufficient time
* Some Mikvahs require special blessings that need to be witnessed, make sure you are aware in advance
* Kittels (white thin robes) & towels are provided
* Please use the dressing room adjacent to the Mikvah for dressing, this will prevent water from getting on the carpet
* Prepare both spiritually and mentally, this is a wonderful time with tremendous spiritual significance

If it is your first Mikvah (Baptism is not the same), contact Rabbi or Rabbinit for detailed instructions.

A Mikvah is special and central to maintaining a Jewish or Messianic Jewish Lifestyle. The Rabbi's teach us that a Mikvah is to be built before the Synagogue. A Torah scroll may even be sold the pay for a Mikvah to be built.

We are one of a very few Messianic Synagogues that have a Mikvah. That Adonai has blessed us with such a special symbol is beyond expression.

Fro those coming from a Church back-ground, it may be a little hard to understand why this is so special. Give yourself a little time, and utilize this wonderful gift of G-d, soon you too will understand - Why is a Mikvah so important.

Shalom - Rabbi Gavri'el

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Congregational Mikvah

G-D has granted our Congregation our own Mikvah. This is a major accomplishment. Unlike a Baptistery in a Church, a Mikvah is used frequently and is related to all important Life Cycle events. Our Mikvah is located next to the bookstore. It has a private changing area included to make it's use as private as possible. The Mikvah is so important, it was to be built before even the Synagogue. To fund a Mikvah you are even allowed to sell a Torah scroll!

To ensure security, an alarm camera is mounted in the room, and the door will be kept locked. The security camera senses motion and immediately alarms in anyone enters the room. A drape covering for the camera will be installed to ensure complete privacy during the Mikvah.

Details of the Mikvah are included in the Ask the Rabbi section below. To schedule a Mikvah: women should contact Rabbinit D'vorah (Dee Dee), men should contact Rabbi Gavri'el or Micha'el.

Why did G-D prohibit Moses from entering the Land?

Having just finished my final Yeshiva exams, I wanted to share one essay that struck me as being very appropriate.
Why did G-D prohibit Moses from entering the Land of Isra'el?

When the Children of Isra'el demand water, G-D instructs Moshe to speak to the rock. In his anger, Moshe struck the rock, twice. Based on earlier Rabbinic commentary, Dr. Jacob Milgrom suggests that the sin is not the striking, but the statement, "Shall we get water for you out of this rock?" Thus the sin was tied to his implying he and Aaron, not G-D, were responsible for the miracle. Rabbi Kula suggests that it was the incident with the ten spies that caused Moshe to not be allowed to enter. This is due to G-D declaring only Caleb & Joshua would enter, excluding even Moshe.

Both explanations above have merit. There is a third explanation postulated by some Messianics and Christians. This explanation bases G-D's anger on the first striking of the rock being a shadow of Messiah's first incarnation, and speaking to the rock was to have been a shadow of His return as King of Kings. Thus, Moshe was punished so severely due, not only to his disobedience but, to it's ramifications for the future prophetic significance.

As to which explanation is correct, it is unwise to be dogmatic. One or a combination of all may be correct. What is clear is that, due to either his own disobedience, or the disobedience of Isra'el, or both, Moshe was not allowed into the Promised Land. There is an additional thought that might be worth consideration. Is it possible that G-D, in His wisdom, decided Moshe entering the land would not be wise? It is believed G-D hid the spot of Moshe's burial to prevent the Israelis from making it a place of worship. Could this be part of the reason G-D chose to not allow Moshe into the Land? Could G-D have prevented Moshe from entering the Land because the people would turn Moshe into a "god", or lose site of the One True G-D?

Shalom - Rabbi Gavri'el

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Yeshua: The Living Torah

Due to this being the final 10 days of my exams to complete Yeshiva (similar to Seminary, but for Rabbis), we are utilizing an excellent teaching from the Hebrew Root website by Rabbi Michael. The topic is Yeshua: The Living Torah

Yeshua: The Living Torah
by Michael Bugg

In the opening verses of his Gospel account, the Apostle Yochanan (John) makes a statement that has been a source of both inspiration and debate for the last twenty centuries:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing made had being. In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not suppressed it. . . . The Word became a human being and lived with us, and we saw his Sh'khinah (glory, presence), the Sh'khinah of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5, 14, CJB)

But what exactly does Yochanan mean when he calls Messiah the Word, the Logos (Λογος) of God? The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown commentary hits very close to the mark, saying, "He who is to God what man's word is to himself, the manifestation or expression of himself to those without him." Or as Sha'ul writes in Col. 2:15, "He [Yeshua] is the visible image of the invisible God."

So far so good, but there seems to be a deeper meaning to Yochanan's choice of introductions here. The idea of the Word, or Memra in the Aramaic, of God as an almost independent attribute was known to the rabbis of the Apostolic era and afterwards, and this has long been noted by Christian commentators. Thus, for example, Barnes[1] notes,

This term was in use before the time of John.

(a) It was used in the Aramaic translation of the Old Testament, as, "e. g.," Isa. 45:12; "I have made the earth, and created man upon it." In the Aramaic it is, "I, 'by my word,' have made," etc. Isa. 48:13; "mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth." In the Aramaic, "'By my word' I have founded the earth." And so in many other places.

(b) This term was used by the Jews as applicable to the Messiah. In their writings he was commonly known by the term "Mimra" - that is, "Word;" and no small part of the interpositions of God in defense of the Jewish nation were declared to be by "the Word of God." Thus, in their Targum on Deu. 26:17-18, it is said, "Ye have appointed the word of God a king over you this day, that he may be your God."

Lightfoot[2] concurs, adding other examples from the Targums (Aramaic translations of the Tanakh), including this example from Exo. 19:17, "And Moses brought the people out of the camp לקדמות מימרא ד'' to meet the Word of the Lord." Stern writes that memra was "a technical theological term used by the rabbis in the centuries before and after Yeshua when speaking of God's expression of himself."[3] It seems likely that Yochanan, who being from Galilee, an area where Aramaic rather than Hebrew was the common tongue, would have likely known the Tanakh first of all from the Targums, and that it was from seeing how the Memra (מימרא) was used in the Targums to describe the part of the Eternal One whom the people could "meet," came to understand this Word to be one and the same with the Messiah Immanuel, God-With-Us.

Please read the rest of the article on one of Yeshua Ha'Mashiach Ministries teaching websites:

Thanks to Rabbi Micha'el for an excellent article. One of a Rabbi's loftiest goals is to help forge a new generation of Rabbi's who will carry the torch forward. Rabbi Michael is growing into such a torch bearer.

Shalom - Rabbi Gavri'el
To read the rest of the article click here: Yeshua: The Living Torah