First Video: Answering “Choose Life” by Rick Halpern, Part 1

I’ve been working on this for a while–mostly because I’ve never done a video before, and it took a long time to get it the way I wanted it.  I’m hoping to add about one part a week until it’s done.  Feedback and suggestions from those who’ve done this sort of thing before are definitely appreciated.

Shalom

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10 thoughts on “First Video: Answering “Choose Life” by Rick Halpern, Part 1

  1. Michael, I’m glad you came clean by telling your audience that you’re not recognized as Jewish by the greater Jewish community. As such, you have no right to use the title “rabbi” or to call yourself a Jew. You are a Gentile Christian who believes that the Torah (i.e., the written Torah alone) is applicable to your life. Other than that, you embrace the doctrines of Christianity (e.g., the virgin birth, the deity of Jesus/Yeshua, the Trinity, etc.). Give up the game, Michael. Jews have died rather than embrace the false god you espouse.

    • Shalom Meir.

      It’s a fair criticism. However, I’d like to point out that I didn’t just decide one day that I was Jewish just because I’d “married in,” nor did I claim the title “rabbi” for myself. I went through a two-year conversion process under Rabbi Gavriel Moreno-Bryars, followed by four years of yeshiva sitting at his feet, followed by a still-ongoing internship. Since I ws circumcised at the hands of a rabbi, I am no less a Jew than anyone else who converted in say, a Conservative synagogue. That is to say, I recognize that I am not valid for aliyah, and I respect the rights of my brethren to make that determination, but I’m not going to stop calling myself a Jew, living as a Jew, or raising my children to be Jews.

      Since there are a lot of accusations against Messianics of deception (some valid, some not), I felt the need to “come clean,” as you say, about my conversion. However, I will not let that stop me from identifying with my people or raising my children as fully Jewish–without the ambiguity of being in a mixed-marriage that almost always leads to assimilation.

      Regarding taking the title of rabbi, since my rabbi has laid hands on me as such and has invested in me the responsibility of making halakhical decisions within our synagogue, it is not for me to deny his decision. Therefore, if you have questions about my conversion or ordination, I must ask you to direct them to Rabbi Gavriel; you can find his contact information at http://bethhamashiach.com/contactus.htm.

      I fully appreciate your concern in this area. Frankly, there’s a lot of nonsense floating around the Messianic community, not least of which are pastors with Bible college training but no training at all on Jewish law claiming the title of “rabbi” for themselves just because they think it makes them sound more Jewish. Those of us at Beth HaMashiach are as frustrated with that as the rest of the Jewish community.

      Having said that, any synagogue that is a true synagogue, regardless of whether it is Orthodox or Reform, reserves the right to conduct its own conversions and train its own rabbis. If Messianic Judaism is to be more than what our detractors accuse of of being–a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a deception to trick Jews into becoming Christians–then we too need our own rabbis, men who know both the teachings of Yeshua and His first disciples, but who also actually know the difference between a kli shlishi and a kli rishon.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. As I said, if you wish to argue the validity of my conversion or ordination, you must speak with Rabbi Gavriel. However, if you have other questions or concerns about Messianic Judaism, then I would be honored to continue the conversation.

      Shalom

  2. > “if you wish to argue the validity of my conversion or ordination, you must speak with Rabbi Gavriel.”
    Doesn’t that just push the question back one generation? I mean, if I were to claim that I was a rabbi, and that I was ordained by — and allow me to speak rhetorically, meaning no comparison — Pee Wee Herman, it wouldn’t really help to answer my challengers with, “go speak to Mr. Herman.” People are going to want to know who ordained Mr. Herman. I’m surprised you know don’t know who ordained your own rabbi.

    • Sorry for the delay in responding. I was taking a break from most things internet related while catching up on my studies. I didn’t even see your comment until I updated the blog today.

      No, I don’t think so. I did not convert or ordain myself, so to point you to the person who did and let you direct questions regarding the validity of it to him is really the only valid option since I refuse to defend or deny it on my own authority. If you wish to in turn question him on his ordination and work your way up the chain until you are satisfied (or not) that’s definitely an option for you.

      Your other option is to simply append (sarcastically, if you like) “Messianic” to the title “Rabbi”, or ignore it altogether, and engage my actual teachings and arguments on their own merits. That’s actually what I’d prefer. Either what I say is right, in which case the title is superfluous, or it is wrong, and whether I deserve the title “rabbi” or not is irrelevant to its wrongness.

      Shalom

      • Excellent answer, Rabbi. Very commendable how you’ve handled this distraction. I see this kind of thing far too frequently it seems. If you can’t combat the message, attack the messenger’s character – any distraction will do. If you can’t attack his character, make something up. Again, any distraction will do – so long as we don’t have to deal with the actual issue being discussed. Classic smokescreen – and tremendous waste of time.

        Again, though, thank you for representing our Rebbe Yeshua well.

  3. Well, Luke, would it matter at all to /you/ if you discovered that your teacher’s teacher taught at a school that was named after one of the most famous antisemites in history?

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