To Be A Nazarean Jew

January 31, 2016 at 1:06 pm Leave a comment

What Shall We Do?

What Does It Mean To Be A Nazarean Jew?

By Hakham Dr. Yosef ben Haggai

 

One of the unknown correlations between the festival of Shavuot and the events that transpired in 2 Luqas (Acts) Chapter 2, is an obscure but pivotal bridge Torah passage which many seem to miss or even discount. However, in this Shiur, I shall point to the tremendous underpinnings that 2 Luqas Chapter has upon this particular Torah text, as well as being one of the main themes projected through page after page in the Nazarean Codicil. Let us for a moment systematically describe the events that lead to the account of 2 Luqas Chapter 2, the events that took place, and the outcomes of that event. In doing so, I remind all to understand that this approach is of a necessity a Judaic one, and viewed from an entirely Hebraic rabbinical perspective.

 

The reason for the event: Just before the ascension of His Majesty King Yeshua Ha-Mashiach to the Heavens (2 Luqas 1:9-11), His Majesty the Master Hakham commands his Talmidim Hakham (Rabbinical Students) to:

 

2 Luqas (Acts) 1:4-5 And being synagogued with him, he commanded them from Yerushalayim not to depart, but to await the promise of the Father, which you heard of me. For Yochanan indeed immersed you with water, but you will be immersed with the spirit of Holiness not after many days.

 

Now, if I have trained diligently and thoroughly a group of Talmidim Hakham (Rabbinical Students) and I am about to depart for a long, long time, what would be expected of me? Of course, Smikha (Rabbinical Ordination)! So from a strictly logical perspective we would expect that this immersion in the spirit of Holiness would be equivalent to a Rabbinical Ordination.

 

Now, if my calculations do not fail this was said on or very close to Lag B’Omer which we celebrated not many days ago. Thus the expression “not after many days” (2 Luqas 1:5) indeed would have been understood clearly as a Gemara hint pointing to the coming festival of Shavuot. Therefore, a connection is established between Smikha (Rabbinical Ordination) and the festival of Shavuot.

 

Now the Talmidim (Rabbinical students) interject, Master, we have been your faithful Rabbinical students but please tells us before you leave “will you as Mashiach restore again self-rule to Bne Israel?” (2 Luqas 1:6) The question hints also at “What will be our place as Hakhamim in the Messianic Kingdom that you are about to establish now?”

 

The answer from the Master Hakham is swift to his Talmidim Hakham –

 

2 Luqas (Acts) 1:7 And he said to them, not yours it is to know the duration of time or ages which the father placed in his own authority.

 

This reminds us of the Torah text “The secret things belong HaShem, our G-d” (Devarim 29:28). In other words the kingdom certainly will be restored to Israel. When? That is none of your business. As Hakhamim you will bring this process about by teaching Torah (Matityahu 28:19-20) and by establishing reputable courts of Torah justice, Batei Din (Matityahu 6:33) throughout all the world. This is important since from these two passages we understand what the office of a Rabbi (Hakham) is, not a Pastor, not a Priest, but a Torah Scholar and a Judge.

 

After this brief interruption of what the Master Hakham was saying. The Master Hakham continues explaining:

 

2 Luqas (Acts) 1:8 but you will receive power, having come the spirit of Holiness upon you, and you will be to me witnesses both in Yerushalayim and in all Judaea and Samaria and to uttermost part of the earth.

 

Now instead of your ruling the world as the Gentiles do by the power of the gun, or by political power, you will rule the earth through both a didactic and judiciary program starting in Yerushalayim. But first you will need to receive power from the spirit of Holiness. Now, question: Do we have a precedent in the Tanach where a Prophet shares of the spirit by which he was anointed as a confirmation of Smikha (Rabbinical ordination)?

 

The Pivotal Torah Passage

 

I propose that undergirding this brief introduction in 2 Luqas Chapter 1 and the whole of Chapter 2, is none other than Bamidbar 11:24-30. In this portion we read about the Smikha (ordination) of the seventy Elders (the Hebrew word Elder always denote the modern term Hakham) and how the spirit that had been imparted on Moshe Rabbeinu was caused to emanate from him and be bestowed upon the Seventy Hakhamim (a whole Sanhedrin).

 

Let us look and compare some of the phrases used in this passage and those used in 2 Luqas, Chapter 2.

 

  1. a) The miracle of HaShem‘s presence.

 

Bamidbar 11:25 – HaShem descends in the cloud and it envelops Moshe Rabbeinu and the seventy Elders.

 

2 Acts 2:2 – a sound from heaven like as a rushing mighty wind envelops the Temple.

 

On this pasuk (verse) from the Torah Hakham Samson Raphael Hirsch comments: “and HaShem descended … and spoke with him” The text does not tell us the words that HaShem uttered to Moshe on this occasion. Was this omission, perhaps intended to make clear to all further Sanhedrins that not everything that HaShem said to Moshe is recorded in Scripture? Was this meant to remind them that the field of competence for which they had been appointed at that moment was the Oral Law, that Word of HaShem which was to remain unwritten, handed down only by word of mouth?

 

  1. b) The Emanation of the spirit from one Hakham to many.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 11:25 He caused the spirit that had been imparted on Moshe to emanate, and He (HaShem) bestowed it upon the seventy Elders.

 

2 Luqas (Acts) 2:3 And appeared to them divided tongues of as fire, and sat upon each one of them

 

Now there may well be a connection here with the beginning of Parasha Beha’alotekha concerning the lighting of the Menorah and the tongue of fire coming out of each candlestick. But also the connection here of the spirit emanating from Moshe towards the seventy elders, contrasted with the spirit that was in Mashiach emanating from the heavens, now towards his Talmidim Hakham.

 

  1. c) The Result

 

Bamidbar 11:25 – When the spirit rested on them (the 70 Elders) they began (Hebrew: YITNABEU – “were made” or “were impelled”) to prophesy without ceasing.

 

2 Luqas (Acts) 2:4 And they were all filled with the spirit of Holiness and began to speak with other languages as the as the spirit gave them to utter forth.

 

Now it is important to note that one of the requirements according to Chazal, our Sages, of members of the Sanhedrin was the ability to speak not only in Ivrit, but also in several other languages of the seventy Gentile Nations. This point again reconfirms that the major theme of this event at the Beit HaMikdash (the Temple) was a Smikha, and with this Mashiach indicating to the people of Israel that the legal authority amongst the Jewish people was to be transferred from the Kohanim (Priests) to the Rabbinate until his return.

 

What other important theme also undergirds this event at the Temple? The clue to this most important question is given to us in Bamidbar (Numbers) 11:29:

 

“I only wish that all of HaShem‘s people would have the gift of prophecy! Let HaShem grant His spirit to them all!”

 

In other words, that the pedagogic objective of the miracle at the Temple, by which the Talmidim of His Majesty King Yeshua HaMashiach received Smikha indicated that the goal of every Nazarean should be to be indentured under a Hakham, become a Talmid Hakham and at some point become Hakhamim themselves. Look at this statement of Hakham Shaul:

 

“Faithful is the Torah, if any stretches forward (makes sacrifice and studies) to attain overseership (the Rabbinate) a good work he is desirous.”

 

Now, this is evidence enough that what Hakham Shaul is alluding with the phrase “if any stretches forward” is an echo of Moshe’s words “would G-d that all of HaShem‘s people were prophets.” That is, the intention here is that every man ought to keep stretching forward towards the goal of receiving Smikha.

 

A further piece of evidence leading to this conclusion are the words of Hakham Yochanan as recorded in:

 

1 Yochanan (John) 3:1 “See what Ahavah (steadfast love) has given to us the Father that Bne Elohim we should be called.”

 

Now, again the phrase “Bne Elohim” has been literally translated as “Children of G-d,” but the title of a Hakham is also “Ben Elohim” (son of G-d to indicate his role as a Judge), a title which is also given by G-d to Melech David and to His Majesty King Yeshua HaMashiach as Chief of all Hakhamim. Thus the above pasuk states that Ha-Shem, Most blessed be He, has given to us so much Ahavah that he calls and expects every Nazarean Jew to become a Hakham a genuine Ben Elohim.

 

And after this Event They Started a Church, Nu?

 

Good question, Christians teach so, but we know that the church started at Sinai (Acts 7:38). So did the Nazareans start, a new religion, a new denomination, or what? In 2 Luqas 3:41 we read that by the end of Shavuot that year at the Temple 3,000 male Jews and Converts were added. But the question still remains added to what?

 

Again we have many hints in 1 Luqas 2:42, which when carefully read, more aptly describes a Yeshiva to train future Hakhamim than it does a Church, a new religion, or a new Jewish denomination. Yes 3,000 Jews that day decided to drastically turn their lives around and matriculate in that Great Nazarean Yeshiva using as their classrooms the various courts within the Temple grounds.

 

Conclusion
In summary, Shavuot is not only a festival by which we receive the Torah afresh from HaShem, Most Blessed be He, but also a festival that reminds us year by year what should be our goal in life, to sit at the feet a genuine Jewish Rabbi (Hakham) a Torah Scholar like Gamaliel, and work hard, stretching ourselves towards receiving Smikha and becoming Hakhamim. Truly then we shall gradually see the fulfillment of the words of the prophet Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah), “They will no longer teach each man his fellow, each man his brother saying, ‘Know HaShem!’ For all of them will know Me, from their smallest to their greatest, the Word of HaShem, when I will forgive their lawlessness and will no longer recall their sin”.

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