The Blight Upon Today’s Natsarim
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
I fear if the reborn, newborn Natsarim of this generation does not learn to roll over and crawl very soon, what we know as the Natsraim will die of spiritual SIDS. We will smother ourselves or get our head hung in the crib bars of our own making. There is a mysterious disease that has infected today’s Natsarim that could be a genetic defect carried over from our Western Spiritual Genes.
Many of us have awoken in the hibernation den of Modern Day Christianity, as if we woke up in the Matrix, plugged in to the Great Machine of “Churchianity” and we escaped and learned the reality of what Christianity should be, was always meant to be, but sadly is not, and as a result we revolted against “The Machine” and fight for the Messianic Torah Obedience of the first century.
We are poor, weak and ragged, but tenacious, resolved and determined never to give up, but how we have channeled our revolt could well be our undoing.
“Why are you keeping Torah?”
“What kind of question is that Rabbi!? Obviously because we are called to, to please and obey HaShem, because Messiah never did away with the Torah!”
Really? You seem a bit touchy, testy, angry and annoyed about it.
What’s my point? Well, I believe some of us are going through the process and stages of grieving. We are angry at modern day Christianity. We feel betrayed and lied to and thus our Torah Observance is birthed, or at least observed in that anger, in a type of unconscious protest against Christianity. As a result we appear angry, rigid and even pagaphobic around Christians and Christianity as we lash out against ignorance and Torahlessness and thus we appear as an angry close minded, brain washed cult to them. Sadly, we have unwittingly turned more Christians away from Torah that we ever turned on to it. Such Torah obedience isn’t out of joy and zealous love for the Master, so as to obey and please Him. We have lied and fooled ourselves and have unconsciously done damage to the Kingdom and we have built it up.
Then there is the issue of how we act within our own sect and community of Torah Obedient believers. Yes we uplift, proclaim and obey Torah, but we have become our own Rabbi and High Priest and though we belong to a group or study under a Rabbi we fail to submit to the G-d ordained authority and Halacha and we put our own personal Halacha above that of the sect or the even sometimes the Torah itself. Where does this come from? It comes from the Western mentality most of us were born and raised in. What ever do I mean? I am talking about how as Westerners we are individuals and feel we have “rights,” unlike the East and the Eastern mindset where it is a more communal based mentality. Like Spock, the East tells us, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
Western songs speak of “me” and “I” and the East almost always speaks of “we” and “us”; just look in a Jewish prayer siddur and you will see what I mean. We say we want unity and community, but we refuse to give up our personal rights and identity to do so and as a result we pawn off this lone ranger, customized Torah Obedience as First Century Natsari Judaism and we lie to ourselves and so it is all a sham that the outside world sees right through. It boils down to the original sin, of Lucifer and Adam and Eve; the sin of unresolved pride and arrogance. In our customized faith and failure to submit to the Rabbi and halacha we have chosen to convert or study under, we, by default proclaim that we know better than the Rabbi’s and Sages of blessed memory or the ones who have trained for years to be a leader among the Natsarim. This is nothing more than sinful rebellion.
We need to be brutally honest with ourselves and ask what is our motive in keeping Torah and are we obedient to the community we have attached ourselves to?
Look, as a Rabbi and being in the Natsari movement for years now I have seen the darker side of Natsari Judaism; how blind obedience to rabbinical authority can be as equally disastrous as being a lone ranger Jew. Every religious group and organization has a darker side because it is full of imperfect, fallen and flawed humans. I have seen those in authority abuse, attempt to control and take advantage of congregants, just like a cult. Yes, like some of you, I have been betrayed and burned by my own. Because face it, Rav’s, Rabbi’s and Natsari organizations are not perfect and the sects and their authorities are accountable to Torah as any laymen is. So how does one keep from being hurt or burned? Simple, obey and adhere to the Halacha of the sect, Rav, Rabbi or community you have willingly chosen to put yourself under UNLESS it blatantly goes against or has nothing to do with Torah. For example I knew a man who quit his job because he truly felt the L-RD was calling him to another job and his Rabbi got wind of this and had a Beyt Din set for this man and told him he was unnecessarily putting his family at risk, wasn’t truly hearing from G-d and that he was immature and needed to put himself under the authority of a guy that just came into the congregation a few weeks earlier and that this Rabbi quickly put him in an authoritative position as a leader and member of the Beyt Din. The man who wrongly was standing before the Beyt Din correctly pointed out that he, deciding or feeling led to quit and switch jobs was a clearly personal decision that had nothing to do with Torah or Halachic obedience. He rightly pointed out that this was outside of the Rabbi’s jurisdiction and so he refused to submit and put himself under the authority of the Rabbi and this new guy in which he knew nothing about. As a result the man and his family justifiably left that K’hilah, for clearly this Rabbi was abusing his power and authority and overstepping his bounds. This Rabbi and congregation sadly, was quickly becoming a cult. But otherwise, if the organization you have decided to come up under has decides to wear their tzitzit a certain way, follow a particular order of service in their synagogues, use a particular siddur in service, have a certain code of modesty and dress, adhere to a particular minhag or observe a particular calendar one should submit, especially if they have signed documents saying they would. For these issues promote unity and cohesiveness among the community and does not impose on ones personal freedom, their inalienable human rights. You will inevitably have to sacrifice some personal freedoms in regards to choice and this is for the greater good of the community, but we do this in other aspects of our lives. For example, you can’t wear certain things to work. You have to give up certain personal freedoms if you decide to join the military. Why, because you represent a particular company, branch of the armed forces and or country. I am sure that for there to be unity in the book of Acts and everyone having everything in common and everyone being in one accord, everyone had to personally sacrifice something.
If the Natsarim are to survive and pave the way for the next generation that is to come after us, each person needs to look hard at themselves, ask the hard questions and be honest in regards to their motives and intentions regarding their faith and affiliation. One must keep the Torah in joy and willingly submit to the authorities they have chosen to put themselves under and if they can’t they need to graciously bow out and leave and find an organization they can comfortably submit to and be involved with.
In Messiah’s Love,
-- Rabbi Yehudah