Passover Haggadah Digital Download

Although I have my Cup of Redemption Messianic Haggadah for Passover available as a free download, it was brought to my attention that since this has been formatted in booklet form for printing, it is difficult to read (as the pages flip flop around and are not sequential). So, I am posting a more “readable” version here for anyone who would like to be able to read through it in order to know if is something you would like to use for your Seder.

One note, this haggadah is nothing really ground-breaking. However, it does maintain many traditional components while revealing the story of Messiah in the process. Although the Vine of David Haggadah is currently sold out for this year, I highly recommend your consideration of this source for next year. I hope to be publishing a full review on it in a few weeks.

Download the Cup of Redemption Messianic Haggadah

“Messianic” – Growing in Popularity

Messianic "Denomination" choice imageIn the past years, I’ve had countless people ask me “what religion/denomination are you?” This has been a tricky question to answer in a way that people understand.

I think Daniel Lancaster had one of the best answers, when he relates in one of his messages that he talked to a guy installing carpet in his house about this question. When he was asked about what religion/denomination he was, Daniel responded, “We’re Christians who practice Judaism.” He said the carpet guy thought a little while, and then said, “You know… that makes perfect sense!” To which Daniel quipped “Even the carpet guy got it!”

Unfortunately, prior to hearing Daniel’s wisdom, I would often use the word “Messianic” in my first attempts to describe our religious persuasion. Hence, my experiences have not all been that well received. Whenever I’ve made mention of the word “Messianic,” the majority of the time it was like being on a sit-com: the world froze…all conversations immediately came to an abrupt halt, music on the overhead ceased to play in the supermarket and all heads turn in my direction, while the person who asked the question looks at me like a deer caught in the headlights. The general response is, “Messy-what?”

Well, recently, I was signing up for something online related to Christian music. I was asked to choose my “denomination” from a select list. I was sure I was going to have to choose “other” as my option. However, low and behold, there was “Messianic” in the options list. Couldn’t believe it. Evidently, Messianic Judaism is slowly garnering popularity and credibility within the Church. Although this is not an end-all, this really gave me a boost and gave me hope for our purpose of restoring of the roots of our faith among the Church. It shows me that people like myself are now beginning to be viewed with some sense of credibility, rather than some kind of fringe movement. It also shows me that we are being looked at as co-laborers in the Kingdom with our brothers and sisters, rather than a movement of opposition. This give me great encouragement and hope for the future.

May we all be united in our service to Hashem and His risen Messiah as we slowly turn the tide to help bring people into a fuller understanding of the practical applications of living out His Word.

Love and the Messianic Age Review

Love and the Messianic Age

by Paul Philip Levertoff

Vine of David / First Fruits of Zion, 2009

This book is unlike any I have ever reviewed previously. The current work is a re-publishing of an out-of-print book from 1927 by a seemingly obscure author by the name of Paul Philip Levertoff. It is entitled Love and the Messianic Age. It is being published (along with an exhaustive study guide & commentary) by a new publishing arm of First Fruits of Zion, called Vine of David (www.vineofdavid.org). One of the goals of Vine of David is to resurrect Messianic voices from the last few centuries, particularly of Orthodox & Chasidic Jews who came to faith in Messiah Yeshua. Love and the Messianic Age (LATMA) is their premier release.

A brief biography of Levertoff is as follows:

“Paul Phillip Levertoff, born Feivel Levertoff, was raised in an Chassidic home. His family was Sephardic and was a descendent of Rabbi Schneur Zalman. As a child he attended cheder (Hebrew primary school) and later the prominent Volozhin Yeshiva. While studying abroad after graduating yeshiva, Levertoff obtained a New Testament. Reading it first in German, then in Hebrew, Levertoff was puzzled. The book of the Christians seemed “more his than theirs.” After this period of study, Levertoff became a fervent believer that Yeshua of Nazareth was indeed the Messiah.”1

Although a very short work, LATMA is a very thorough work comparing the mystical concepts of Chasidism to the concepts of love found in the New Testament, particularly the Gospel of John. Levertoff pulls from resources such as the Talmud, Midrash Rabbah, the Tanya, & other rabbinic & kabbalistic resources to show how the faith of Yeshua’s can be greatly enhanced by knowledge of the “mystical” concepts of Judaism. Don’t be fooled. This little book (a whopping 87 pages, which includes a 30 page prolegomenon) is no light read. Hence, the companion study guide & commentary (twice the length of the actual book) is a welcome addition for most readers.

For many people the idea of delving into the “mystical” concepts of Judaism is a bit unnerving. However, this is the beauty of LATMA. Levertoff has already “spit out the bones,” so to speak in that he only gives us that which is analogous to the concepts of our faith in Yeshua.

And, if you really would like to get the most out of this little jewel, it’s advisable to purchase the study guide/commentary along with it. It takes you nearly phrase by phrase through the book, explaining rabbinic and mystical concepts with which Levertoff takes for granted that his readership would be familiar. Mystical concepts such as the two souls of man, the weeping of the lower waters, and the divine sparks of creation are given the needed attention for the uninitiated.

LATMA is not a one-time read. If you’ve been longing for a book to really sink your teeth into, and give you lots of mileage over the years, LATMA is what your bookshelf has been missing.

Temple Mount Awareness Day

Temple Mount Awareness Day image

I received an email from the Temple Institute with the following message:

“This month shall be to you the head of the months; to you it shall be the first of the months of the year.” (Exodus 12:2)

It was on this day, Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the month of Nisan that the creator of the world, the G-d of Israel, conferred upon His children the ability and the responsibility to make change in the world, to perfect His creation. And it was on this day, one year later, that the Tabernacle was dedicated in the desert. The Holy Temple is the very jewel in the crown of G-d’s creation, yet today the Temple Mount is desolate. The Holy Temple lies in ruins, and the Moslem Wakf has commandeered the Temple Mount, forbidding all but Moslems to approach the Mount freely and to raise their voices in prayer to G-d.

The Temple Institute has, along with other organizations, declared today, March 16, 2010, the first day of the month of Nisan, the month of our redemption from Egypt and the month of our future redemption, to be THE FIRST ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL TEMPLE MOUNT AWARENESS DAY. We have called upon all who wish to ascend the Mount, Jews and Gentiles, in accordance to Jewish law, to gather at the foot of the Mount this morning. The Israeli police have declared the Mount off limits on this day to all but Moslems, citing Arab threats to commit violence as a response to our desire to ascend the Mount to mark this holy day. The police are thereby by preventing us from fulfilling our commitment to G-d and Torah, and from exercising our inalienable rights as citizens of a democratic society.

Once again, following a decades-old pattern, the police have abandoned the task which has been entrusted to them to uphold, and rather than punish the inciters to violence, they have punished the intended victims of the calls to violence.

Nevertheless, the police cannot prevent us from performing the most important and essential task of petitioning the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, and demanding immediate change: Jews and Gentiles must be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. Today is the day that together we can make our voice heard. Below are the telephone, fax and email contacts for the Prime Minister’s office:

Telephone number: 011-972-02-6705555

Fax number: 011-972-02-5664838

email address: bnetanyahu@knesset.gov.il

additional email address: PMO.HEB@it.pmo.gov.il

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,
I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the Temple Mount. As you know, the Temple Mount is the holiest site in the world for the Jewish people, yet the Muslim authorities, aided by Israel Police, systematically deny the right of religious expression on the Mount to all non-Moslems. On numerous occasions the High Court of Justice has upheld the Jewish people’s right to pray at the site, yet the police continue to prevent this. Furthermore, Jewish visitors are harassed and degraded. This discrimination is a grave trampling of civil rights. Israeli law is not recognized by the Wakf authorities; illegal digging has destroyed priceless historical remnants of Jerusalem’s Jewish history.
Please, end this travesty and allow Jewish freedom of expression at the Temple Mount. I urge you to include the Temple Mount in your “Heritage Plan” of sites significant to the Jewish people.
Sincerely,

Whether you copy and paste this message, or write your own message, please keep your words courteous, respectful and focused on one thing only:

GRANTING FREEDOM OF ACCESS AND FREEDOM OF WORSHIP ON THE MOUNT.

The Prime Minister’s office will receive and be strengthened and encouraged by our thousands of messages. We are taking a stand for our futures and our children’s futures and making a difference. Together we will perform the task which G-d bequeathed us when we left the Egyptian house of bondage and became free men and women forever.

What does this have to do with believers in Messiah? Why should we have any concern over the Temple Mount or the Temple? The short answer is that it was (and will be again) the House of God. It was (and will be again) the House of Prayer for All Nations. It was (and will be again) the place Yeshua loved, spent countless days in and called it “my Father’s House.” If nothing else, Yeshua’s love for his Father’s House should spark a love within us as well.

However, if these answers are not satisfying, then please allow the Scriptures to have a voice in the matter. Search out the prophets such as Zechariah and Ezekiel to find where Hashem will re-institute the Temple in the olam hazeh (this present age) as a means of serving Him properly. If you need still further study to help understand these passages, I highly recommend the audio series by Daniel Lancaster of First Fruits of Zion called “What About the Sacrifices?” You may order them here. Until then, may we pray:

May it be Your will, O LORD, our God and the God of our fathers, that the Holy Temple will be rebuilt quickly and in our days, and give us our portion in Your Torah, and may we server You there in fear, as it was in days long ago and in ancient times. And may the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be sweet to the LORD, as it was in days long ago and in ancient times.

Welcome Back, Mr. Kotter

Well… blogging has not been a priority at all for me over the last year or two. However, I’ve been enticed by a few people, including my wonderful wife, to get back at it… at least on some level. Over my absence, I have been working to provide for my family, and keep from being viewed as an “authority” on any topic (for which some seemed to think). I am not an authority and do not claim to be. There is much I do not know, and as each day passes I find myself more and more in the negative balance of knowledge.

I hope that you will be able to enjoy my posts, but realize I have a 99% chance of being wrong on anything about which I write. I write, however, in order to express my observations and insights for the present moment, and these perspectives can changevery rapidly. There are many things about which I have blogged over the last half a dozen years with which my perspective has changed. I have almost removed these posts many times, but have kept them so that 1) I can remember my journey, and 2) you can possibly see it as well.

Not only are there outdated posts, but several broken links. I really apologize for this, but I just don’t have the extra hours in the day to go through each post / page and find everything that’s broken. So… please help me on this. If you click on something that interests you, and get a broken link (or content that is unexpected), please send me an email and let me know, so that I might have some kind of an idea of priority for fixing these things. Thanks in advance!

In case you’re wondering, the event that spurred me to pull the trigger was the opportunity to be a part of the Messianic blogosphere in relationship to the J-BOM (Jewish Book Of the Month). I am nearly ready to post my first review, and I look forward to participating in the Messianic community each month in this continuing dialog.

May Hashem bless you, and may He give me strength to not fall short at the task at hand. Your prayers are certainly appreciated.