Originally posted on November 21, 2004:
How lovely are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling-places, O Israel!
These words that are to be said upon entering the synagogue from the prayer Ma Tovu give rise to this post. These words are not penned by one of the Jewish sages or mystics that populate our siddur but by a non-Jewish prophet Balaam that was sent to curse Israel by Balak, king of Moav, yet Balaam could only bless Israel and so we begin synagogue worship with a blessing for Israel from the mouth of one outside of the people of Israel. Being that two of the quotations that help to guide my focus in seeking to build a Messianic Jewish future, which will be detailed below, come from two non-Jews, I thought that it would be good to note the contribution of Balaam to Jewish worship as I draw inspiration from two non-Jewish philosophers (one fictitious).
In this post I will put forward words, actually quotations that form the basic outline of my philosophy of what I see as principles for building a mature Messianic Judaism. These words come from Rav Shaul, a Messianic Jew; Chafetz Chaim, a Rabbinic sage; Lao Tzu, the foundational thinker of Taoism-the basic form of Chinese religions and Yoda, the Jedi master from the Star Wars trilogy. Basically two Jews and two non-Jews whose words (or at least for Yoda, the one who penned his words, George Lucas) give us principles that I see are of great importance and will help us all build for the future.
I will in this post list the quotations and will in future posts give commentary on them and how I see them playing in a mature Messianic Judaism.
1. Messiah is the goal at which the Torah aims.
– Rav Shaul – Romans 10:4).
2. It is incumbent to await the coming of Moshiach every single day, and all day long.. It is not enough to believe in the coming of Moshiach, but each day one must await his coming..
Furthermore, it is not enough to await his coming every day, but it is to be in the manner of our prayer ‘we await Your salvation all the day,’ that is, to await and expect it every day, and all day long, literally every moment!
– Chafetz Chaim, Chizuk Emunah
3. Woe to him who wilfully innovates
While ignorant of the constant
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching 16b
4. Do or do not, there is no try.
– Yoda, Empire Strikes Back
I look forward to expanding on how these words guide me in seeking to build a Messianic Judaism and I look forward to your interaction with this discussion.
More to follow…