Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. It is well known as a day of fasting, repentance, and lots of prayers. But there is so much more to observing Yom Kippur than simply showing up at synagogue and not eating anything! Make Yom Kippur even more special and meaningful this year by plugging into the full Yom Kippur experiences. Learn all about Yom Kippur and its associated themes, practices, and prayers.
Are you ready for Rosh Hashanah and the High Holidays? A teaching on the basic observances of the festival of Rosh Hashanah. This practical how-to teaching covers all the essentials with a few quick explanations regarding the major themes of the holiday.
Here are links to additional teachings referenced in the audio:
Rosh Hashanah Menu includes an audio about the significance of the ritual foods and a pdf of the handout.
Are Two Heads Better than One explains why we celebrate Rosh HaShanah for two days, even in the Diaspora.
The Torah speaks of two types of thieves. One who comes by day and one who comes by night. Yeshua referred to himself as one coming like "a thief in the night." In this Rosh HaShanah teaching, we meditate on the meaning of that title as we prepare for the high holidays.
In Romans 11, Paul speaks of the Gentile disciples as branches from a wild olive tree, grafted in to a cultivated tree, but the symbolism leaves room for ambiguity. Who is who in the metaphor, and where does the rest of Israel fit in to the picture? Who are the broken branches, who are the roots, and how do they all fit together? This teaching examines the famous "grafted-in" passage in the context of the broader discussion of Romans 9-11 and by comparing it with a similar Talmudic teaching.
The Chassidc tale of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev and the shofar that would not blow provides us with insights into the coming of the Messiah. This teaching from Rosh HaShanah 2014 looks into the source texts which associate the coming of the Messiah with the sound the shofar and derives a solemn warning for his disciples as we prepare for the high holidays.
Has God rejected his people? Did Israel stumble and fall? Romans 10-11 offers us a crash course on Paul's theology regarding the election of Israel, the Messianic Jewish remnant, the inclusion of the Gentiles, and the final redemption. This Bible study fills in the missing pieces in Paul's arguments to make sense out of these difficult passages:
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns." (Isaiah 52:7)
In Romans 10:4, Paul declares that "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." Does this verse mean what most people think that it means? Does Paul mean to contradict Yeshua's own statement that he did not come to cancel the Torah? Unravel the riddle of this difficult saying in the midst of Paul's continuing discussion about the election of Israel despite the Jewish rejection of Yeshua.
Life is full of good intentions: "One of these days, I'm going to start exercising and eating healthy." "One of these days, I'm going to get my life back on track." Have you ever noticed that "one of these days" never comes? This teaching about the Sabbath and God's Holy Days demonstrates how HaShem's appointed times are designed to interrupt our routine and provide opportunities for self-improvement, increasing godliness, and drawing nearer to God. We call this the "cycle of sanctification." We learn about how, just as Israel was commanded to sacrifice only at the place God chose to put his name, likewise, God's holy days function as "sanctuaries in time," chosen by God for all his people's participation. The forty days of repentence before the high holy days are an ideal time to get life back on track with renewed focus on repentance, prayer, and charity.
This teaching was originally presented to the community of Beth Immanuel on Rosh Chodesh Elul, Shabbat Re'eh, August 15, 2015 / Av 30, 5775, at the beginning of the forty days of repentance.
Yeshua said that Miryam chose the good portion and it would not be taken away from her. What is the "good portion" that Miryam chose? In this teaching from Parashat Ekev, the Mitzvah of saying the grace after meals opens a discussion about the story of Miryam and Marta in Luke 10 and the importance of speaking words of Torah and the words of the Master at the Sabbath table. An important reminder about the distractions of materialsim.
Yeshua answered and said to her, "Marta, Marta, you are worried and alarmed about many things. Nothing is necessary except one thing, and Miryam has chosen the good portion that will not be taken from her." (Lukas 10:42-43, DHE)
This teaching was originally presented to the community of Beth Immanuel on Shabbat Ekev, August 8, 2015 / Av 23, 5775.
What about the Jewish people who rejected the Messiah? Did God "harden" their hearts? Why did they stumble over Yeshua, and what were the implications? Did the Messianic promises fail? Romans 9 is a pivotal passage for understanding Paul's theology regarding Messiah and Israel. This teaching takes the most difficult chapter of the Epistle to the Romans head on from a Messianic Jewish perspective.
So then he has mercy on whomever he wils, and he hardens whomever he wills. (Romans 9:18)
The Bible is a book of blessings. And curses. Laying out a good curse on one's enemy is a lost art in today's world. Balaam was a master curser with the power of life and death in his mouth. Find out how the incredible power to curse has an equally powerful inverse which can change your life.
If Gentile believers receive the a share in the kingdom and the world to come and also enjoy the blessings promised to Abraham, what advantage does a Jewish believer have? What's the point of being a Jew at all? Does the inclusion of the Gentiles negate Jewish identity and priority? These are the questions that the Apostle Paul takes up in the much-misunderstood and often-misinterpreted ninth chapter of the book of Romans.
What advantage has the Jew? What is the value of circumcsion? Much in every way. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Torah, the worship, and the promises. (Romans 3:1; 9:4)
Download the PDF file below to read the original lesson handout.
I have three questions about Leviticus 26:42:
Why are the names of the forefathers presented in reverse order in Leviticus 26:42?
Why is Jacob's name spelled with an vav?
And why does it say HaShem will remember his covenant with Abraham and Jacob, but regarding Isaac, the Hebrew does not use the word "remember."
This teaching demonstrates how the land of Israel is an important part of the final redemption and the coming of the kingdom. The blessings in Bechukotai are prophetic descriptions of the land of Israel in the Messianic Era.
The case for religious Zionism and the fulfillment of biblical prophecy in the formation of the modern state of Israel. This teaching offers a sweeping overview of the story of Israel up until May of 1948 and the War for Independence. Includes a first-hand, on-the-ground teaching by Messianic Jewish pioneer and luminary Abram Poljak and a teaching on the synagogue's "Prayer for the State of Israel."
What’s the holiday of Lag Ba’Omer all about? This 2014 Shabbat teaching offers a collection of tales about the early second century sage Shimon Ben Yochai and an insightful discussion of Jewish mysticism in reference to the Gospel story of the road to Emmaus.
Does God predestine some people for salvation and others for torment? Where does that leave free choice? In this teaching on Romans 8, we look beyond the weary argument about predestination and free will to try to understand the words of the Apostle Paul from within the context of the argument he is making. Take a closer look at the meaning of resurrection and the hope in which we were saved.
Download the original class notes as a pdf in the link below.
What is the significance of the resurrection of Yeshua? In Romans 8, Paul enters into the deep mysticism of resurrection theology. The resurrection of Yeshua is prelude to the restoration of heaven and earth which will transform this present world into the world to come. Those in Messiah are swept up in that future transformation through His Spirit even now, and by that transformation, we have a hope for the future to come and victory in Messiah today.
Listen to this teaching and download the original accompanying handout as a PDF in the link below.
Follow the river that flows from one end of the Bible to the other, from the Garden of Eden to the World to Come. This final teaching from the book of Revelation brings us back to the island of Patmos at the end of the book and the end of the Apocalypse of John series.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book." (Revelation 1:3, 22:7)
New Jerusalem is the capital city of the World to Come. What's the relationship between this world and the World to Come? What's the difference between Messianic Jerusalem and New Jerusalem? And why is there no Temple in New Jerusalem? Listen to a quick-paced run through Revelation 21 and take a taste of the World to Come.
Will the dead be raised before the Messianic Era or after the Messianic Era? This teaching on Revelation 20 distinguishes between the Days of the Messiah and the World to Come and between the first resurrection and the second resurrection. Important information for sorting out New Testament eschatology.