Friday, September 2, 2011

Remember Jerusalem

For those of you who follow this blog, I am no longer going to post on 

As most of you have probably heard, Leah and I have started a ministry called Remember Jerusalem in affiliation with Tikkun International.  Check out our website at
The website details our personal story and the specifics of our ministry and efforts to move to Israel in the immediate future. 

I will be posting regularly (hard to believe I know) on the new website so check back often and I plan to use video technology (eventually) to keep people updated on us in Israel and create video teachings. 

Also, many of you have expressed interest in my thesis, Understanding the New Covenant in Light of the Previous Biblical Covenants and Israel.  After much deliberation on how to make it available, I've decided to just have you email me at if you want a copy.  

Thanks for reading my previous posts and know that you have had a part in turning my mourning into dancing.    

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Unity of the Physical and Spiritual World

The Hebraic concept on life and the Scriptures emphasizes that there is no separation between the physical and spiritual worlds. This contradicts many aspects of Greek philosophy (of which we are highly influenced by in the West) and many early Church heresies. Although these early Church ideas were heretical, they still seeped into some aspects of Church doctrine. Bonhoeffer understand the unity of the physical and spiritual worlds as well as the unity of faith and works. The Hebrew word for faith is EMUNAH which is understood to mean a combination of faith and faithfulness. Therefore, it is not possible to have faith without the action behind it. Or to paraphrase one of my teachers, "I don't care what you believe, show me what you are doing and I will know what you 'believe'. Here is an excerpt about Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

The Scriptures said that faith without works is dead, that faith “is the evidence of things not seen.” Bonhoeffer knew that one could see some things only with the eyes of faith, but they were no less real and true than the things one saw with one’s physical eyes. But the eyes of faith had a moral component. To see that it was against God’s will to persecute the Jews, one must choose to open one’s eyes. And then one would face another uncomfortable choice: whether to act as God required.
Bonhoeffer strove to see what God wanted to show and then to do what God asked in response. That was the obedient Christian life, the call of the disciple. And it came with a cost, which explained why so many were afraid to open their eyes in the first place. It was the “antithesis” of the “cheap grace” that required nothing more than an easy mental assent, which he wrote about in Discipleship. Bonhoeffer “was a person about whom one had the feeling that he was completely whole,” said one Finkenwalde [his seminary] ordinand, “a man who believes in what he thinks and does what he believes in.” [pg 278-279]

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

So, I have a new hero. The title of the book about him indicates his hero status: "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy." He came from an extremely (no exaggeration) intelligent and dynamic family living in the most difficult of times in world history: Nazi Germany. I am overwhelmingly inspired in my life calling and pursuits when reading about this pioneer of a man. He was so far ahead of his time and generation that it is difficult to fathom the boldness that he possessed. He believed (in complete defiance of his world) that the L-RD is a living G-D who would talk to us and he put this into practice through the daily meditation of Scripture. He loved the Jews because they are G-D's chosen people and had action behind that love in the most difficult of circumstances--Nazi Germany. Here is a quote from a "confirmation" he presided over of 3 young people covenanting with the Living G-D of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in what I think is 1938:

"Confirmands [people who are officially confirmed] today are like young soldiers marching to war, the war of Jesus Christ against the gods of this world. It is a war that demands the commitment of one's whole life. Is not God, our Lord, worthy of this struggle? Idolatry and cowardice confront us on all sides, but the direst foe does not confront us, he is within us [evil inclination]. 'Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.'"

Monday, January 10, 2011

Is Believing the same as Trusting?

Friedman's Commentary on the Torah gives a great explanation concerning the concept of Trusting ADONAI in the Biblical context. The context is Exodus 14:30-31 just after the Israelites are delivered from the Egyptians by the miraculous hand of ADONAI parting the Red Sea.

That day ADONAI saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the great power the ADONAI displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the ADONAI and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.

trusted. This word is also translated often as "believed" (Hebrew wayya'aminu). It does not have the meaning here that it has in later religious concepts. That is, it does not function in the sense of believing that a G-d exists. This notion of belief in does not occur in Biblical Hebrew (nor in other ancient Near Eastern languages)! In pagan religion the gods, being observable forces in nature (e.g., the sun, the sky, the storm wind), are not a matter of belief but of knowledge. So in the conception of ADONAI in Exodus, G-D becomes known; ADONAI's existence and power are a matter of knowledge, not belief. When one has seen ten plagues and a sea split and has a column of cloud and fire visible at all times, one does not ask, "Do you believe in G-D?" As the term is used in the Hebrew Bible, it means not belief in, but belief that; that is, it means that if ADONAI says He will do something one can trust that He will do it.

We can trust that ADONAI will redeem us just as He redeemed His people from Egypt and that He is returning in a similar column of cloud that was seen by the Israelites in the wilderness. May it be soon and in our days. Maran Etha! (Our Master is coming!).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blog Format?

So, up until this point in my short blogging life I have basically ignored people's comments/questions. While I thoroughly enjoy the responses, I have yet to figure out how to appropriately continue a serious discussion through the blog format. I would love suggestions on how I could respond to people's comments to continue a particular discussion outside of "commenting" on my own blog. And possibly a blog is not the proper format for discussion, not sure. Let me know if you have any suggestions. But, until all is cleared up please continue commenting as, like every blogger, I enjoy your reactions.

One Tear, One Prayer

An excerpt from Souls on Fire by Elie Wiesel:

"Song is more precious than words, intention more important than formulas. And since it is given to every man to acquire all the powers, why despair? Why give up the fight? One tear, one prayer can change the course of events; one fragment of a melody can contain all the joy in the world, and by letting it go free, influence fate. And no elite has a monopoly on song or tears; G-D listens to the shepherd playing his flute as readily as He listens to the saint renouncing his earthly attachments. The prisoner's cravings equals the wise man's: the one, like the other, has a bearing on the essence of man.
He [this particular Rabbi] taught them to fight sadness with joy. 'The man who looks only at himself cannot but sink into despair, yet as soon as he opens his eyes to the creation around him, he will know joy.' And this joy leads to the absolute, to redemption, to G-D."

I am encouraged that one tear, one prayer does make a difference in this world and in the world to come. The L-RD sees us fighting even in our seemingly "weak little prayers." Because through this fight we are able to connect with the eternal reality of Him and His joy. There is indeed joy that follows pain. It is a joy that only originates with the eternal G-D and yet somehow is able (however often) to be experienced in one fragment of a melody. Where are our warrior poets? Who will bring heaven to the earth in song? Where is our joy? Who has this joy? Do we have this joy that leads to the absolute, to redemption, to G-D?