Recently in Would You Like To Be Jewish? Category

ב''ה

Course: Shuvah 101

Would You Like To Be Jewish?

Lesson 1


Books By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Would You Like To Be Jewish ? Book 1 


 Would You Like To Be Jewish 2 ? Book 2



By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

QUESTIONS


The Holy Day: "Connecting To Shabbat" ©

By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk


This study of mysticism in Hebrew Gematria is dedicated in the loving memory of Mrs. Ollie and Mr. T.J. Norman, may they rest in peace.

Dear One, if for any reason you want to be Jewish, or if you feel like you are Jewish but don't know anything about Jewish Observances, or if you have relatives who are Jewish or if you just desire to learn more about Judaism this is a wonderful course to take.  There are no requirements. You may learn at your own pace. We are goingto discuss what it is like to be Jewish.

We will use a number of Jewish terms.  Then we will forward slash with the term you should already know. 

Classmates, in Parshat Ki Tisa {Shemot / Exodus 30:11 - 34:35} like many other places in the Torah we observe instructions given to 'B'nei Yisroel' / The Children of Israel regarding Shabbat.


And you, [Moshe], speak [these words] to B'nei Yisroel saying, Everything [from Aleph to Tav of] My Shabbat you, [B'nei Yisroel], must observe, for [Shabbat] is a sign between Me and yourselves [passed down] to each of your generations to know that I, Hashem, am making you holy [separated]. And you must observe everything [from Aleph to Tav of] Shabbat for it is holy to you. Shemos 31:13,14

'And they, B'nei Yisroel, shall guard [observe] everything [from Aleph to Tav] of the Shabbat to accomplish [Torah Observance for] everything [from Aleph to Tav regarding] the Shabbat to their [future] generations as an everlasting Covenant. Between Me and Between B'nei Yisroel [Shabbat] is an everlasting sign that in six days Hashem made everything [from Aleph to Tav of] the Heavens and everything [from Aleph to Tav of] the earth and in Day Seven, [Shabbat], He [G-d] abstained from work and rested.' Shemos 31:16,17

Among Jews and non Jews there exists quite a misunderstanding surrounding Shabbat. There is a misunderstanding about Shabbat Observance. 

Non-Jews may not understand that Shabbat Observance is a command given ONLY to B'nei Yisroel {the children of Yaakov}. Observing the Mitzvah {the Command} of Shabbat is an essential element of the agreement {Covenant} that we the Jewish people have with the Creator of the Universe. 
Observing Shabbat is not an option with Jews. It is a Torah Command.

So if non-Jews disagree with Ha Torah's instructions regarding Shabbat Observance that is not our concern in this discussion or in any of the discussions of Judaism 101. From the very onset of this course please let me encourage every classmate to at some point purchase my CD's entitled Steps to Observance and Shabbat Observance. They can be purchased through the BNTI Learning Store at:

http://www.bnti.us/learning_store/the_learning_store.html

The Torah definition of Shabbat Observance and B'nei Yisroel remains exactly the same as the day Hashem / The Lord Gave it. The definition of Shabbat Observance and B'nei Yisroel is not open to reinterpretation or adaptation. Their definition and purpose remain the same from generation to generation. There is no variance to this!!

Having said this... What I mean is Ha Torah's meaning remains the same. I understand that there are many who have some Observance of Shabbat.... who keep some part of Shabbat Observance. It is not my position or the position of this course to judge anyone. Our position is to explain what Ha Torah says understanding that you may not be in a position to observe every detail, etc... That is between you and the Creator.

At this point I would like to say that it is possible one may be of Jewish descent yet not be included in the Torah's meaning of B'nei Yisroel. How can this be?

When Jews disobey Ha Torah by intermarriage with non-Jews, immediately Shabbat Observance is affected. The marriage is not recognized by G-d, the Giver of Ha Torah. Since the marriage is not recognized by G-d, other areas that are also not recognized. In a marriage where the husband is of Jewish descent and the wife is a non-Jew, the children are not considered Jewish by the seriously observant rabbium. In this situation it is possible not to be recognized as 'B'nei Yisroel' even though one is a descendant of Jewish heritage.

The reason that we must make this distinction is because the Creator's agreement regarding Shabbat observance is only with B'nei Yisroel. Dear classmate, I understand that YOU MAY BE THE VICTIM OF JEWISH ASSIMILATION! I am sorry! I also understand that you may be the VICTIM OF FALSE TEACHINGS regarding Shabbat Observance or B'nei Yisroel. Again, I am sorry! You are the after-product of what someone else did... Now you find yourself here reading this discussion of what the Holy Day Shabbat means... You have done nothing, yet your Jewish past may not be recognized for one reason or another. You have only accepted what someone else taught you. You feel this incredible need to return to G-d as a Jew or as a non-Jew but more doors close than seem to open. You receive much rejection and little or no encouragement. In some situations you are looked down on. You may feel like dirt. It can even be much worse, G-d forbid. For this I am sorry.

We realize that only Hashem knows our heart. Only Hashem knows our intention. Only Hashem knows our desires. Only Hashem knows and understands our past, present and future.

One's commitment to Torah Judaism or to spirituality cannot be a fad! Classmate, you may think that you want to be Jewish... that you want to return to the religion of your relatives... AND that may be true. There is much more to being an observant Jew than just a whimsical desire or even a very extremely sincere desire. Returning to Judaism requires much!!

Judaism is a way of life. A major part of that way of life is the blessed and Holy Shabbat. We call it Holy Shabbat because it is separated from the other days of the week. This requires that we do things different on the seventh day. 

Being born Jewish and living Jewish are woven together in the same cloth. What is one without the other? We Mystically observe the definition of B'nei Yisroel in the Gematria of the words B'nei Yisroel.

The actual definition of B'nei Yisroel' is 'Children of Yisroel.  We also observe that 611 is the Gematria of Ha Torah. This means that being descendants of Yaakov is not all there is to the definition of B'nei Yisroel. Mystically there is more. The descendant of Yisroel must also observe all Ha Torah... all the words of Torah and all the letters of Torah. Again, a very big part of this is Shabbat! While Spiritualist are not required nor expected to observe Shabbat they also have commandments from Ha Torah that must be observed. 

The words B'nei Yisroel are found only seven times in the Book of Creation, Bereisheit / Genesis. Why does B'nei Yisroel occur only seven times? One reason is because B'nei Yisroel represents Shabbat Observance. B'nei Yisroel represents that connection to the seventh day.

Within the Letters of B'nei Yisroel we find:
א Aleph for Avraham
י Yud for Yitzchok
י Yud for Yaakov

ש Shin for Sarah
ר Reish for Rivkah
ר Reish for Rachel
ל Lamid for Leah

ישראל

Note that the Word is from the first Letter of each  Patriarch's and Matriarch.


When we combine all occurrences of B'nei Yisroel within Ha Torah there are 374 occurrences. This is the Gematria for Bih Sheh Vah {In Seven}. In the Mystical sense we see all 374 occurrences of B'nei Yisroel defined in Bih Sheh Vah {In Seven}. B'nei Yisroel are the people who live 'in seven'. Jews are defined by the seventh day, our Shabbat! Our lives... our Torah... our beliefs revolve 'In Seven'.

Bih Sheh Vah 
{In Seven}
374 = Ayin 70 Bet 2 Shin 300 Bet 2

Classmate, our theme in this discussion is to show the connection between B'nei Yisroel and Shabbat. Every High Holiday is a Shabbat so making this connection is very important! Now the question is what do we do with this information? How do we react to what we are learning? It is my hope that this will spark or encourage a return to Judaism... a return to Torah... a return to learning, a return to Shabbat observance... So I am greatly hoping that we will read and we will learn and we will return...

The last letter of Vih Hay Shev {and return} is the letter Bet. The Bet informs us of the distance we must travel to return. The place of shuvah, the place of repentance and the place of sacrifice for our errors is the Bet. It is the Bet HaMikdosh, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Since our Holy Temple is destroyed, that means one must look within the inner Bet {house} of their being. One must take the time to get acquainted with the softness, with the stark quietness, with the stillness of their inner house. THIS REQUIRES CESSATION OF ALL ACTIVITIES and reconnecting with their Original Operating System given to us by the Creator. One needs to take the time to shut the world out! One must take the time to seek the stillness of their own soul. One must meditate!

Vih Hay Shev {And Return}
323 = Bet 2 Yud 10 Shin 300 Hey 5 Vav 6

One must find and follow the inner light in the inner house of the neshama. It is that inner light that always connects us with the Spirituality of the Bet HaMikdosh! How do we do this? Shabbat! Shabbat is the time for cessation of work. Shabbat is the time for connecting with G-d! Shabbat is the exact time of meditation!! The center letter for the foundation of Shabbat is the Bet.

Shabbat {to rest, to cease}
Sav 
Bet Shin

We call Shabbat holy. There is a reason for this. That reason is directly tied to B'nei Yisroel. Kaw Dohsh {holy} also means separate. Shabbat, the seventh day, is separated from the other 6 days of the work week. B'nei Yisroel, which again only occurs 7 times in Bereisheit, is separated from the other peoples of the world. One of the main points of that separation is observance of Shabbat...is separating Shabbat from the other days of the work week. This is what we are commanded to do as Jews. This is what being Jewish is all about. Being Jewish is about living a certain way. And a big part of that way occurs every 7th day. So when other religions attempt to convert the Jew or persuade the Jew to not observe the 7th day as commanded in the Torah, to not separate the 7th day, they in fact are encouraging us to break our Covenant with the Creator of the universe, G-d forbid. 

Now in addition to this, Shabbat is a sign.. Shabbat is supposed to be a sign. The only way that Shabbat is a sign is when B'nei Yisroel properly observes Shabbat. In other words, half of a stop sign is not a full stop sign. It may not accomplish what it is intended to do. In the same way, partial observance of Shabbat by the Jew does not fulfill the agreement in the Torah. 

Now in our next lesson entitled Rejoicing with the Shabbos Queen, G-d willing we are going to discuss some of the important observances of Shabbat.

Now, classmates, I would like to say a word to those who are not Jewish, who may be seeking to convert. Conversion to Judaism requires normally several years of dedicated study. There is much to being a descendant of B'nei Yisroel. Among our many classmates, we have some classmates scattered throughout the world in observant conversion programs doing observant conversions. And if it is G-d's will, they will complete that conversion process. So it can happen. It is possible that your neshama stood next to mine and other Yidden {Yiddish for Jews} at Har Sinai. It is possible that your neshama received the 613 commands.

Now this may sound like I encourage and promote conversion to Judaism. That is not true. What I have said is simply an acknowledgment that the possibility exists. If you are sincere about a conversion to Judaism, we may be able to help you with a conversion program. However, the actual conversion will be up to you following through and observing a Jewish way of life as directed by the Rav doing the conversion. 

Once your conversion is final then you are a part of B'nei Yisroel in the fullest sense and meaning. 

Dear Classmate these discussions were from some of our early classes.  As we have time we update them.


Please don't forget to check out my new book releases at: bnti.us/books.html


Blessings, Love and Peace,


Dr. Akiva Gamliel



Assignment:

1.) Please explain the connection between B'nei Yisroel and Shabbat. 

2.) Where are you in this process? What is your situation? Please explain. 

ב''ה

Course: Shuvah 101

Would You Like To Be Jewish?

Lesson 1 Class Discussion 1


By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

QUESTIONS

Class Discussion on:

Restrictions on unapproved web sites

Proper use of the Holy Names of our Creator

Communication problems ...


This class discussion is dedicated to the loving memory of my mother, Mrs. Ethel Sakash Belk, may she rest in peace.

From Bill,

Assignment:

1.) When does Shabbat begin and end?
Shabbat begins 18 minutes prior to sunset and ends 63 minutes after the first candle is lit the following evening.

2.) Give several examples of what separates Shabbat {what makes Shabbat different} from the rest of the week. 
Preparations are made throughout the week; various items are purchased expressly for the next Shabbat. Housecleaning and table preparation are done in anticipation of Shabbat. Food is made ready and Challah is baked. It occurs to me that all these things must also be done for the other six days of the week, and in reading the discussion I was struck with the word, "Attitude." The thing that really sets Shabbat apart from the other days is the joy of anticipating Shabbat. I was reminded of the excitement a small child generates as his birthday approaches, or the emotional fervor of a teen preparing for his Driver's License! I have seen it as we arrived at Temple for Erev Shabbat service, i.e., "I've had a real rough week! I'm glad I finally made it to Shabbat!" VERY GOOD

3.) What is the best way for one to learn about Shabbat observances? 
The common term is "Hands-On" - one may learn most about Shabbat by actually participating in the celebration of Shabbat by observant Jews in Shul.GOOD

Shalom,

Bill S. 


----------


From David,

Assignment:
1.) When does Shabbat begin and end?
Shabbat begins 18 minutes before Sundown on Friday [Yom She She] afternoon and ends 24 hours + 72 minutes later ...
 Shabbat begins 18 minutes before sundown, as the sixth day of the week draws to a close, and concludes 63 minutes after candle lighting time the next evening. not 24 hours + 72 minutes

2.) Give several examples of what separates Shabbat {what makes Shabbat different} from the rest of the week. 

Peace, 
GOOD
Family gathering together, 
GOOD
Additional soul enters 
GOOD
Opportunity to connect to true Spiritual essence 
GOOD
Torah reading with 7 aliyot 
GOOD
Seuda Shlishi 
GOOD
Opportunity to have the most restful sleep of the week on Shabbat afternoon :)
GOOD

3.) What is the best way for one to learn about Shabbat observances? 
Attend the local Chabad Center and talk with the Director ... 
GOOD, OR ANY OBSERVANT SHUL...


- - - - - - -


From Adelle,

Assignment:
1.) When does Shabbat begin and end?

"Shabbat begins 18 minutes before sundown, as the sixth day of the week draws to a close, and concludes 73 minutes after candle lighting time the next evening."
[73 minutes is a typo - 63 minutes is the correct answer](http://www.bnti.us/studies/shuvah_101/2_rejoicing_with_the_shabb.html) Times for sunset may be aquired locally from newspapers or on line from sites like http://www.shabbos.com or http://www.candlelightingtimes.org/shabbos/. (Calculations might be a bit complicated if one were, for example, at the exact North Pole where days and nights last for six months each, but such nit-picking speculations are undoubtedly outside the purview of this question.) 

Those times, of course, are the literal answer. If the word "begins" is taken in a broader sense, then Shabbat might be considered to begin with preparations, such as the purchase of food and candles; preparation of food, house, and human bodies; and mental preparation for the celebration. 
[THIS DOES NOT WORK BECAUSE WHEN SHABBOT BEGINS WORK ENDS ] Including activities respectfully and devoutly undertaken for the purpose of Shabbat could conceivably extend the "beginning" and "end" into a seamless continuum more reminiscent of a sine curve than an abrupt excising or encapsulating of time from the week. One remembers and observes during the Shabbat, but then what one remembers and observes should carry over to the rest of the week. 

2.) Give several examples of what separates Shabbat {what makes Shabbat different} from the rest of the week. 
To an outsider, the most obvious difference between Shabbat and the rest of the week are the prohibitions. [WRONG TERM - "OBSERVANCES OF SHABBAT"] "The Torah does not prohibit "work" in the 20th century English sense of the word. [INCORRECT] The Torah prohibits "melachah" (Mem-Lamed-Alef-Kaf-Heh <http://www.jewfaq.org/defs/alephbet.htm> ), which is usually translated as "work," but does not mean precisely the same thing as the English word. ... [INCORRECT] Melachah generally refers to the kind of work that is creative, or that exercises control or dominion over your environment. The word may be related to "melekh" (king; Mem-Lamed-Kaf [INCORRECT]<http://www.jewfaq.org/defs/alephbet.htm> ). The quintessential example of melachah is the work of creating the universe, which G-d ceased from on the seventh day. Note that G-d's work did not require a great physical effort: he spoke, and it was done. ... The use of electricity is prohibited because it serves the same function as fire or some of the other prohibitions, or because it is technically considered to be "fire."" (http://www.jewfaq.org/shabbat.htm). That an automobile requires the use of an internal combustion engine (even a battery operated car would be using electricity and thus "fire"), pretty much requires that one live within walking distance of the shul. (Since horses don't mix well with modern traffic, a domicile must, consequently, be pretty much within the city limits.) [ RIDING IS NOT ACCEPTABLE REGARDLESS] Suburbia and rural residence would, in general, be incompatible with the requirements, unless, of course, the suburb also contained a shul. 

(I am a bit confused as to why refrigerator lights (ersatz "fire") are prohibited while candles (real fire) aren't, but, again, that probably falls into the nit-picking area.) 
[WE LIGHT THE CANDLES 18 MINUTES BEFORE SHABBAT BEGINS. IF ONE OPENS THEIR REFRIGERATOR ON SHABBAT THAT IS THE SAME THING AS TURNING ON A LIGHT SWITCH IF THE LIGHT COMES ON] 

For a participant, I would expect that the first thing a child notices are the foods reserved for Shabbat, such as the challah. Next might come the appreciation of the rituals attached specifically to Shabbat: the blessing of the Kiddish cup, the mother's lighting of the candles (question: do the candles STAY lit while the family goes to shul, or are they re-lighted upon return? 
[HA TORAH INSTRUCTS ONE NOT TO LIGHT A FIRE ON SHABBAT] or does it depend on whether or not one has a cat that is likely to knock the candlesticks over and start a fire?), the inviting home of strangers for an Erev Shabbat Kiddish, the various special prayers ... [MOST OBSERVANT JEWS DO NOT HAVE CATS OR DOGS]

To adults, Shabbat is a time-out, a time of renewal, a time to be present in the present. "Shabbos is indeed a day of rest---physically and emotionally. All grief, care, and sorrow are forbidden and indeed, with ourselves." (http://www.utexas.edu/students/cjso/Shabbos/shabexp.html) 
Shabbat allows (requires one) to narrow one's focus to the now -- to set aside yesterday and tomorrow: to set aside cares, worries, deadlines, and stress. 

Shabbat is not at all in the same category as a vacation. On a vacation, one is frequently still watching the clock (we have tickets for ___ at ___), the checkbook (they want HOW much for a hamburger????), the kids (I thought YOU were watching them!) such that, arriving home, one needs a vacation from the vacation. On Shabbat, one makes a deliberate choice to focus on the positive. Children praise their mother; the husband lauds his wife. (http://www.bnti.us/studies/shuvah_101/2_rejoicing_with_the_shabb.html)
Where the focus of a vacation is pleasure, the focus of Shabbat is joy. Shabbat provides a time to truly relate to people (and to G-d) in Martin Buber's I-You* rather than the objective I-It* that fills up so much of thought and time the rest of the week. Vacation is aimed at separation, isolation from the everyday. While Shabbat is also a separation from the everyday, it is aimed at achieving wholeness rather than fragmentation.

* "The world of experience belongs to the basic word I-It. The basic word I-You establishes the world of relation." (p. 56) "Even as a melody is not composed of tones, nor a verse of words, not a statue of lines -- one must pull and tear to turn a unity into a multiplicity -- so it is with the human being to whom I say You. I can abstract from him the color of his hair or the color of his speech or the color of his graciousness; I have to do this again and again; but immediately he is no longer You." (p. 59)
Buber, Martin. I and Thou. 1923. Walter Kaufmann, trans. 1970. Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996.


3.) What is the best way for one to learn about Shabbat observances?
Well, that might depend on what one meant by the word "best". The class notes advise, "Any Jew desiring to learn more about Shabbat observance of course can write to us, but the very best way is to visit your local Chabad Center and speak with the director." (http://www.bnti.us/studies/shuvah_101/2_rejoicing_with_the_shabb.html <http://www.bnti.us/studies/shuvah_101/2_rejoicing_with_the_shabb.html> ). That would, of course, apply if one meant by "best" an "authoritative, thorough, and personal" approach. If by "best" one means "easy", one could move in with a friend who practices strict Shabbat observances. However, one must also remember the old adage that "After 3 days, fish and company stink." If by "best" one prefers something a bit more anonymous, there are a number of web sites, [ WRONG - THIS IS CLEAR BECAUSE YOU HAVE RECEIVED INCORRECT INFORMATION OVER THE WEB - HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS TRUE AND WHAT IS INCORRECT?] some of which were quoted above. Particularly as a gentile, I find this course qualifies for "best" for me at this time. It is a place where I can learn and ask questions without interrupting the flow of someone else's devotions. I do appreciate your offering it.

Shalom Adelle,
I must restrict your references to approved web sites like: Aish Ha Torah... O.U. - Torah org 613... Jewishpath.org 7commands.com.... I will not accept references from other web sites in the future....

Blessings and peace!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel

Classmates, at BNTI we do restrict our learning to approved web sites as indicated in the Three Step Enrollment process as follows:

Web Site Quotes - We accept quotes from recognized sources. Anyone can set up a web site and say anything they choose. Presently the only authorized web sites we will accept quotes from are:

7 Commands: http://www.7commands.com 
Aish Ha Torah: http://www.aish.com
Jewishpath: http://www.jewishpath.org
Project Genesis: http://www.torah.org
Torah.org: http://www.613.org
Virtual Jerusalem: http://www.virtual.co.il

Others can be included once we establish their credibility. To add a web site to this list all that is necessary is to inform us of the web site. We will visit it when we can and make a determination of acceptance, exception or rejection.

Blessings and Peace,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


- - - - - - -


From Raymond K.,

1.) When does Shabbat begin and end? 

Shabbat begins on Friday [Yom She She] 18mins after sundown [BEFORE SUNDOWN] and ends 63 mins after candle lighting time the next evening. 

2.) Give several examples of what separates Shabbat {what makes Shabbat different} from the rest of the week. 

There is a high anticipation of the Shabbat Queen in the air, and brought about by the smells of fresh baked challah, and many other delicacies. The house is clean from top to bottom being careful not to miss anything. Two candles are lit, one for remembrance of Shabbat and the other for the obseverance of Shabbat There are special prayers that are prayed. The Father prays for each of the children, for the Boy it is said (May G_d make you as Ephraim and Menashe) and for the (Girls it is said May G_d make you as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. May Ad-noy [PLEASE USE A DASH FOR THE WORD ADOSHEM]bless you and guard you. May 
Ad-noy shine His countenance upon you and be gracious unto you. May Ad-noy turn His countenance toward you and grant you peace), as he places both hands upon their head when reciting these blessing, and then the Father leads in the Aishes Chayil in honor of his wife and her many household responsibilities.
GOOD

Shabbat cannot be Shabbat without a moment of reference at the local Shul. Where the Torah is read and blessings are said for some of the members. There is a time spent in search of a stranger to invite home for the Shabbat meal, and on returning home there is a song sung Aleichem Shalom. This is Shabbat not of works but of rest. GOOD

3.) What is the best way for one to learn about Shabbat observances? 
By going to a local Shul and asking a Rabbi for information on Shabbat services or finding links on the website that teaches the process of Shabbat GOOD

Shalom Raymond,

In Step Three of the Enrollment process we discuss the Holy Names of our Creator as follows:

Use of G-d's Holy Names
In Bereishis 101 you will learn why the following is required. However for now the following procedure must be observed. Any time you make reference to a Name of the Creator a dash is required. For example:
G-d
G-D
L-rd
L-RD
El-him {pronounce Elokim}
Ad-ni - Yud - Kay - Vav - Kay {pronounced Hashem}
Hashem is the Most Holy Name of our Creator Ha = the and Shem = Name

We do not say the actual words or write the actual words in any language...

This means we 
DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING... WE DO NOT WRITE OR SAY THESE WORDS OR ANY VERSION! 

J-e-h-o-v-a-h Or Y - H- W - Y Or Y-a-w- -w-a y Or Y-a-w--W-e-h

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel



- - - - - - -


From Ari,

Assignment:
1.) When does Shabbat begin and end?

In keeping with the timing of the Jewish day, that is, beginning at nightfall rather than midnight, which is consistent with Bereishis 1: 5. 

Shabbat begins on the eve of Yom shi-shi - the 6th day 18 minutes before sundown and ends 63 minutes after the candle lighting of the following evening. Following Shabbat and during the coming week planning and preparation take place for the coming of the next Shabbat such as cleaning and preparing the ritual objects, the purchase of relevant foods and wine and the organising of worldly affairs to avoid intrusion upon Shabbat. 
VERY GOOD

2.) Give several examples of what separates Shabbat {what makes Shabbat different} from the rest of the week. 

In contrast to the working week, Shabbat is concerned with being rather than doing. It is a time where one is able to let go of the toil of life and connect with Hashem, to become spiritually re-invigorated and reflect upon relationship with the Creator. It is also a time to spend time with the family in togetherness and to reconnect with one's self. 

While work is not done on Shabbat, it is also a time of physical rest where one can 
[SHOULD] find time to engage in more reflective activities such as going for a walk, studying and meditating upon the Torah. 
GOOD

3.) What is the best way for one to learn about Shabbat observances? 
Other than reading, study and asking questions, observation by becoming involved with others who are observant and are able to demonstrate the practise of keeping Shabbat. By being involved with a congregation one has access to the knowledge of a Rabbi and others who are competent to guide and clarify questions. 
GOOD


Dear Classmate these discussions were from some of our early classes.  As we have time we update them.


Please don't forget to check out my new book releases at: bnti.us/books.html


Blessings, Love and Peace,


Dr. Akiva Gamliel

ב''ה

Course: Judaish 101

Would You Like To Be Jewish?

Lesson 1 Class Discussion 2


By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

QUESTIONS


This class discussion is dedicated in the loving memory of Mrs. Lil Creek, may she rest in peace.

From Ya'akov,

Assignment:

1.) When does Shabbat begin and end?
Shabbat begins 18 minutes before sundown, as the sixth day of the week draws to a close, and concludes 63 minutes after candle lighting time the next evening. However the preparation for the next Shabbat begins immediately after Shabbat concludes. By this I mean special Shabbat pieces like the Shabbat challah board, knife and challah cover, the Shabbat tablecloth, the Kiddish cup, the candlesticks are cleaned and prepared for the coming Shabbat. 

2.) Give several examples of what separates Shabbat {what makes Shabbat different} from the rest of the week
Throughout the week we make purchases of food, wine and flowers all in honor of Shabbat. We call this Lichubid Shabbat. These items are just for Shabbat. We purchase the finest that our individual budgets will allow. During the prayers one will notice men searching from seat to seat, from person to person, looking for a stranger... a visitor... an individual to invite home for an Erev Shabbat Kiddish and meal. Before welcoming the Shabbat into the home by lighting the Shabbat candles, the mother with help from the children at home is careful to complete all cooking, turn off all electricity that will not be staying on for Shabbat and sets what will stay on {the blech, the crockpot, certain lights and / or timers that control lights, makes sure the light is out in the refrigerator, etc.}.

{Shemos 20:8 (Exodus 20:8)} {Devarim 5:12 (Deuteronomy 5:12}.
Our sages say that for Shabbat a second neshamah, a second spirit or soul, joins us to elevate us spiritually for Shabbat, for the seventh day. Many Chassidim teach that on the way home from shul, one is accompanied home by malachim, angels.

When one arrives home, the presence of Shabbat is so strong it is almost palpable, you can both see and feel Shabbat in the air. Upon entering the home, one's neshama is immediately drawn to the glowing Shabbat candelabrum and the Shabbat table which is set with the best tablecloth, napkins, silverware, dishes and glassware each parent gives a blessing to each of the children. {This blessing is found in standard siddurim.} It is a very warm moment, full of love, as the children line up and wait their turn for their parent to place their open right palm over the child's head or forehead and recite the blessing.
 

3.) What is the best way for one to learn about Shabbat observances? 
Course: Shuvah 101 GOOD Plus - Visit an observant Jewish home for Shabbat.

I'm really not sure about the answer to this question, however this lesson gave me insight on Shabbat Observances.


G-D Bless,

Ya'akov


- - - - - - - -


From Jodie M.

Assignment:
1.) When does Shabbat begin and end? 
Shabbat begins 18 minutes before sundown, as the sixth day of the week draws to a close, and concludes 63 minutes after candle lighting time the next evening.GOOD

2.) Give several examples of what separates Shabbat {what makes Shabbat different} from the rest of the week. 
In preparation for Shabbat, I purchase the best I can afford, in terms of foods and spirits. If I can, I buy some pretty flowers. I carefully clean and protect the special items used on Shabbat and do not use them for mundane meals. To get ready for Shabbat, I make sure my home and person are clean and ready to welcome friends. GOOD I do not focus on rules, but choose to place my focus on the joy and freedom that a good and happy observance of Shabbat brings.

3.) What is the best way for one to learn about Shabbat observances? 
For me, I think the best way is to attend Shabbat at a variety of people's homes who participate at various levels of observance. EXCELLENT

Jodie M. 


Dear Classmate these discussions were from some of our early classes.  As we have time we update them.


Please don't forget to check out my new book releases at: bnti.us/books.html


Blessings, Love and Peace,


Dr. Akiva Gamliel

ב''ה

Course: Shuvah 101

Would You Like To Be Jewish?

Lesson 2 


By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

QUESTIONS

Rejoicing With the Shabbot Queen ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

Timing for Shabbat
Shabbat begins 18 minutes before sundown, as the sixth day of the week draws to a close, and concludes 63 minutes after candle lighting time the next evening. However the preparation for the next Shabbat begins immediately after Shabbat concludes. By this I mean special Shabbat pieces like the Shabbat challah board, knife and challah cover, the Shabbat tablecloth, the Kiddish cup, the candlesticks are cleaned and prepared for the coming Shabbat.

Purchases Lichubid Shabbat {In Honor of Shabbat}
Throughout the week we make purchases of food, wine and flowers all in honor of Shabbat. We call this Lichubid Shabbat. These items are just for Shabbat. We purchase the finest that our individual budgets will allow. Obviously this differs from household to household.

Preparing the Home & the Meals for Shabbat
Housecleaning normally is well under way by the evening of the fifth day. In many households the Shabbat table is prepared one night in advance of Shabbat. This really creates an atmosphere in anticipation of the upcoming visit of the Shabbat Queen. Often the lady of the home and older daughters begin preparation of special Shabbat dishes like noodle kugel or apple kugel, gefilte fish, a pie or cake are made. Challah is normally purchased or baked the afternoon before Shabbat begins. The wonderful smell of challah baking again tells family and close neighbors Shabbat is now just hours away.

The Rest of the Family Comes Home to Get Ready for Shabbat
Soon all the children living at home will be arriving home from school and father from work. By now laundry is done and put away. Bedrooms are given a last pick up. Clothes are neatly folded or hung and put away. Bath time begins. Every mishpachah has their own rotation. It's not exactly the same in every household but similar.

Heading to Shul, Davening & Greeting Friends & Strangers Alike
Soon father and some of the children leave for shul. The sun is still easily seen in the sky. Some mishpachah drive, others walk. Those that drive leave their auto at shul until after Shabbat. On the way to shul family members exchange greetings with other family members. 'Gut Shabbat!' 'Gut Shabbat!' Fathers join other fathers walking down sidewalks or in the street in smaller cities. Children frolic with other children, all heading to shul. 

Upon arriving at shul each person takes their special place. Everyone has an assigned seat. Study and pre-Shabbat Mincha {afternoon} prayers begin soon with the words Ahsh Ray Yosh Vay Vay Tehchaw. Men and children and a few women continue to join those already there. The atmosphere by now is warm, friendly, kind and caring. After Mincha prayers, Kabbalah Shabbat begins, then Maariv. During the prayers one will notice men searching from seat to seat, from person to person, looking for a stranger... a visitor... an individual to invite home for an Erev Shabbat Kiddish and meal. Some families have already made invitations for the evening. This is a very warm and wonderful time.

The service concludes with everyone going to the front of the shul to greet the Rav. Some will receive a special blessing from the Rav. On the men's side of the mecheetzah men shake hands, and on the ladies side a few hugs are shared between ladies.

Meantime, Back At Home...
Before welcoming the Shabbat into the home by lighting the Shabbat candles, the mother with help from the children at home is careful to complete all cooking, turn off all electricity that will not be staying on for Shabbat and sets what will stay on {the blech, the crockpot, certain lights and / or timers that control lights, makes sure the light is out in the refrigerator, etc.}. 

When the mother lights the Shabbat candles she waves her hands three times in full circles above the candles in a motion as if drawing the candlelight into her eyes, closes her eyes and places her hands gently over them. She then says a silent prayer from the heart. One candle is lit to remember the Shabbat, the other candle is lit to observe the Shabbat. {Shemos 20:8 (Exodus 20:8)} {Devarim 5:12 (Deuteronomy 5:12}. In some households it is the custom to light one candle in honor of every member of the family. 

Returning Home
As those who participated in services at shul depart the shul, two very important things occur. Our sages say that for Shabbat a second neshamah, a second spirit or soul, joins us to elevate us spiritually for Shabbat, for the seventh day. Many Chassidim teach that on the way home from shul, one is accompanied home by malachim, angels. This being the case, some sing Shalom Aleichem on the way home and others around their Shabbat table. 

When one arrives home, the presence of Shabbat is so strong it is almost palpable, you can both see and feel Shabbat in the air. Upon entering the home, one's neshama is immediately drawn to the glowing Shabbat candelabrum and the Shabbat table which is set with the best tablecloth, napkins, silverware, dishes and glassware. The two best loaves of challah are in front of the father's place setting, placed on the challah board and covered with a lovely challah cover. The Kiddush cup often sits on a little plate of its own next to the father and every son of Bar Mitzvah age and older. 

When the father and children return from shul, the family and guests gather around the Shabbat table. While still standing, each parent gives a blessing to each of the children. {This blessing is found in standard siddurim.} It is a very warm moment, full of love, as the children line up and wait their turn for their parent to place their open right palm over the child's head or forehead and recite the blessing. It is perfectly acceptable for stepparents to give this blessing to their stepchildren as well. Then the father leads the children and all guests in Aishes Chayil in honor of his wife and her many household responsibilities. The children rise as we reach verse Qaf, Her children rise and praise her. Immediately they are joined by the husband as he lauds her. 

Kiddush
The father pours the wine to overflowing, raises the Kiddush cup and recites the prayer over the wine. And the wine is shared by family members and guests. Everyone washes for Shabbos challah and recites the blessing for washing hands. The Shabbos challah is normally braided with a 3-, 4-, or 5-braid, baked and garnished with oil or egg, then placed on the shulchan {table aka the family altar}. The father says the prayer over the challah and cuts or tears one loaf, sprinkles salt over it and has a bite. He shares his piece with his wife and passes out the rest of the pieces to the others at the table. Everyone has a piece and a piece and a piece...

The Meal
The Shabbat meal is composed of several courses, traditionally gefilte fish, matzoh ball soup, salad, the main course {frequently chicken and vegetables and kugel} and dessert. The Torah parshot of the week is discussed and songs of praise are sung. Everyone bensches {recites a group of prayers thanking Hashem for the meal}. After the bensching, sometimes the community is invited to a Shalom Zachar, the celebration of the birth of a male child. In some communities, the celebration of the birth of a female child, Shalom Bet, is also enjoyed on Yom She She night.

Morning
The father and older children {and depending on the time and situation} the mother walk to shul. If the mother stays home, she davens at home.

Shacharit
Shacharis is the name for morning prayers. Shabbat prayers are a little longer than weekday prayers because more Tehillim are said and the pace is a bit slower. Normally three different men conduct the service. We're not going to go into the order of the service except to say that the most glorious part is when the Aron HaKodesh is opened and the Torah scrolls are removed and carried to the beemah. In some shuls this is a long procession with men lining up on both sides of the aisle to kiss the Torah. In some shuls ladies touch the Torah with their siddurim as it is carried close to the mecheetzah. The Torah arrives at the beemah and is joined by the shul gabbai. Torah is normally divided into seven readings and the maftir. For each reading a man is given an aliyah, a call to arise and come up to the Torah. A Kohein is called first, then a Levi, then Yisrael. The person receiving the aliyah is known as the oleh. They touch the Torah with their tzitzis, recite two blessings, the baal koray reads the Torah portion, they touch the Torah with their tzitzis where the Torah portion concludes and say a final blessing. Normally they make a pledge to contribute to the shul, special blessings are said and another man is called to the Torah. Normally the man receiving the Maftir aliyah recites the Haftara. Then the magbiha {one who raises the Torah} is called to the beemah. He raises the Torah so at least three sections are noticeable to the congregation. And the congregation says, "This is the Torah that Moshe placed before B'nei Yisrael..." Then he takes a designated seat and is joined by a second honoree, the golelet. Then the golelet assists the magbiya in rolling the Torah scrolls together. The golelet secures the Torah scrolls with a gartel, then places a mantel over the Torah scrolls and adorns the Torah scrolls with a silver crown ornament. The crown is usually very ornate. The magbir holds the Torah during the reading of the Haftara. When the Haftara reading is completed, additional blessings are said, lines are formed and the Torah processional begins with men and children lining up again while it is being carried to the Aron Kodesh. At this point, in some shuls, the Rav will give a short drasha {hopefully}. There may be additional special calls to the Torah for a variety of reasons which we will not go into. After the Torah is concluded additional blessings are said and the Haftara is read which is a collection of recitations from the Prophets. Additional blessings are said, the Torah is held up.

Mussaf
Mussaf is the name for the additional morning prayers. Mussaf prayers are said and often are charged with beautiful, stunning emotion. Shul concludes and in some shuls Kiddush follows. 

Kiddush at Shul
After davening is over it is time for enjoying the company of others along with Kiddush.
The rabbi says the blessing over the wine to begin the Kiddush which usually consists of appetizers, sweets, beverages and spirits...

Shabbat Lunch
If anyone was not present for the blessing over the wine at shul, the blessing over the wine is recited for them by the father {or they recite it themselves if they are a man}. Shabbat lunch is begun by washing for challah, the blessing over the challah by the father, and the eating of challah by everyone. The meal usually consists of several courses including cholent {a hot, tasty bean, meat and potato dish}. The lunch is usually less formal than the Yom She She evening repast but still has special dishes lichubid Shabbat and follows much of the same tradition as the evening meal.

Shabbat Afternoon
After lunch it is time for studying the weekly parshot, visiting with friends, playing games with the children and possibly catching a Shabbat nap - which is often the most deeply restful sleep one gets all week, no matter how short!

Mincha
As late afternoon arrives, the men and women return to shul for a period of study and Mincha {afternoon prayer}. 

Shalosh Seudos, The Third Meal
Mincha is normally followed by Shalosh Seudos. This is a light meal, at which it is customary to have challah {of course after the ritual washing for challah and saying the blessing over the challah}. A small snack of herring and vodka or other enjoyable treat is shared followed by a drasha {short lecture}, bensching and Maariv.

Maariv
Maariv is normally the final prayer of the evening, said after dark, after Shabbos has concluded. This is normally a quick prayer of about 20 minutes. Shabbos is officially over. In some shuls, given the time of the month, the men go outside and say Kiddush Lavanah {Sanctification of the Moon}. The men return home, the wives have the Havdalah set ready. 

Havdalah
Havdalah is a beautiful little ritual performed by the father with the family and friends gathered around. It is the ritual that marks the separation of Shabbat and the rest of the week, of the holy and the mundane. Prayers are recited over a cup overflowing with wine which represents a week full of prosperity, G-d willing, a container of spices that is passed around for everyone to smell and a candle braided with at least 4 wicks. The senses are filled with a lingering of the sweetness of Shabbat. The lights are turned down, the candle is lifted high, everyone lifts their hands in the light and gazes on their fingernails to view the reflection of the candlelight. We do this because light invades darkness, light dispels evil. This is a symbolic act used for centuries against darkness and evil. 

Motzi Shabbat / Melaveh Malka 
Motzi Shabbat is the name for the rest of the night after Shabbat has concluded. Melaveh Malka translates as "Escorting the Queen." Just as a good host and hostess escort their guests part of the way as they leave to express their reluctance to part with good company, so Jews escort the Shabbat Queen in order to linger a little longer. This is expressed in the form of a meal shared with a few or many in a warm and festive atmosphere.

Our intention here was to share the warmth of Shabbat and not to quote the 39 Shabbat prohibitions. One can quote Shabbat prohibitions day and night and give the inflection of a very negative, strict, harsh, constricting climate. Shabbat is nothing at all like that. For those of us who love Shabbat dearly, it is the most beautiful way of life. And even though we have included the 39 Categories of Shabbat Prohibitions below, we will not discuss them. One has to experience Shabbat to see how these prohibitions fit. Judaism is a way of life, Shabbat is a very large part of that life. Any Jew desiring to learn more about Shabbat observance of course can write to us, but the very best way is to visit your local Chabad Center and speak with the director. 

39_Shabbat_Prohibitions.jpg

Blessings, Love and Peace,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


Assignment:

1.) When does Shabbat begin and end?

2.) Give several examples of what separates Shabbat {what makes Shabbat different}
from the rest of the week. 

3.) What is the best way for one to learn about Shabbat observances? 

ב''ה

Course: Shuvah 101

Would You Like To Be Jewish?

Lesson 2 Class Discussion 1


By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

QUESTIONS

Class Discussion on:


Steps to complete Shabbat observance

The difference between Shabbos and Shabbat

Introduction of the name Yeshua by Messianics

Messianic translations problems

Why try to translate the Christian Testament into Hebrew?

33 Rabbinic Laws by Rabbi Jesus - Who is supposed to observe them?

Chessed Fund

We never use verses of lesser stature or authority to correct Ha Torah...

Do not use the term "Gentile" or "Goy", use non Jew or Spiritualist


This class discussion is dedicated to the loving memory of Mr. George Belk, my Father, may he rest in peace.


From Sandra,

1.) Please explain the connection between B'nei Yisroel and Shabbat. 
The Shabbat is a covenantal sign that G-d established with B'nei Yisroel. It was given to Moshe and B'nei Yisroel at Mt. Sinai as part of the TenCommandments. Shabbat is a weekly reminder to rest, to concentrate on living the Torah and to pay homage to our Creator. GOOD

2.) Where are you in this process? What is your situation? Please explain. 
I have observed the Shabbat since 1995. I have yet to light the candles, but am moving in that direction. I don't handle money, I don't watch TV or listen to the radio. I am usually reading and studying the Torah portion for the week. GOOD


Shalom Sandra,

Please include your name with assignment answers and questions.

It takes me a while to associate e - mail address and names, that is why I like names included. 

Please fill in a few gaps for me...
Religion: Are you Jewish or non Jewish by birth?
Children living at home: Male or female? Age?
Former spouse Jewish or non Jewish by birth?

If we at BNTI can be of assistance in your learning please let us know.

Blessings, Love and peace!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel 


- - - - - - -


From Michal,

ASSIGNMENT ANSWERS.

Q1... "explain connection between B'nei Yisroel and Shabbat"
Answer: Shabbat is a sign between G-d and B'nei Yisroel. It is an everlasting covenant between HaShem and B'nei Yisroel. HaShem rested on that day and has commanded us, through Torah, to do the same because it is holy to us, as B'nei Yisroel. Non-Jews are not bound by this. EXCELLENT


Q2: Where are you in this process? What is your situation? Please explain.
Answer: As a Jewish convert, it is my personal opinion that if I am going to follow the faith of my forefathers Avarham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, then I am going to follow all the mitzvot as well, including those outlined in the Torah about observing the Shabbat. If I had no intention on following the law, I could have remained a Non-Jew. I do not believe HaShem tells us to observe Shabbat for no reason. How does it feel to know you don't have to go anywhere on Shabbat? To know you don't have to take phone calls? To know you don't have to cook, clean, do laundry? Have you ever sat in silence and listened? I have six days to do all that work, and on Shabbat, it is my time with Hashem alone. It is my time to be still, silent and listen to G-d. EXCELLENT


Michal


- - - - - -


From David,

Assignment:

1.) Please explain the connection between B'nei Yisroel and Shabbat. 
a) Gematria connection: B'nei Yisroel + 8 letters = Torah. GOOD
b) Shabbat observance: One of the cornerstones of the Torah - the 7th day is a space in time where we can remove ourselves from our physical world and connect to the spiritual essence of our souls 
GOOD
c) The B'nei Yisroel are COMMANDED to observe the Shabbat 
GOOD

David, ACTUALLY WHAT YOU HAVE JUST DEFINED IS "SHOMAR SHABBAT" {ONE WHO GUARDS SHABBAT} Yes, what you have just said is accurate as far as guarding Shabbat is concerned. However there is another side to this called elevating Shabbat. On my CD entitled Steps Of Observance I explain the importance for every Jew to elevate Shabbat. By this I mean that the positive Shabbat observance a Jew does elevates the holiness of the Day. So if a Jew worked on Shabbat, G-d forbid, and began only working 1/2 of Shabbat with the intention of honoring the other half, that would be an act of elevating Shabbat. If a Jew normally turned lights on and off during Shabbat but stopped in order to honor Shabbat, that would be an act of elevating Shabbat! Now on the other hand, if a Jew did not attend shul on Shabbat but began driving to shul, normally that would NOT be elevating Shabbat!

2.) Where are you in this process? What is your situation? Please explain. 
a) I am inbetween the "0" and the "1" - this is a scary realization that, according to what I read in your email, I have in fact not been observing Shabbat at all. I attend services, listen to the weekly Parsha reading, do not work, meditate and recharge my soul BUT I often switch the lights on or off, listen to the radio or watch Sports on TV. My spiritual goal is to observe Shabbat 100% ... 

Shalom David! {Dovid}

This is a very good goal that will help to bring Moshiach!!

Blessings, Love and peace!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


- - - - - - -


From Eugenia's Husband Derek,

Dear Dr Akiva,

My wife asked me to send this message to you as she had to return to Brazil at short notice a few weeks ago. She is due back on Thursday
 [Yom Chamishi]. This has meant she has been unable to complete any class assignments. In addition, she asked me to advise you that she may struggle with these as she doesn't have a great command of English just yet (although I'll certainly help her out wherever I can). 

She is very keen to continue with the course.

Best Regards,
Derek H.


Shalom Eugenia's Husband,

Thanks!

Blessings, Love and peace!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


- - - - - - -


From Bill,

Dr. Belk,

I was called out of town for two weeks, (my 82 year-old-mother had brain surgery; recovering nicely) and I've just read the class rules. I apologize for inadvertently violating your rules before I even got started. However, with your permission, I would like to catch up. I have just e-mailed the first lesson to you. If my tardiness is not acceptable I am sure you will let me know. 

Sincerely,
Bill S.


Shalom Bill,

Please catch up... I understand. Also please place your mother's name on our prayer list.

Blessings, Love and peace,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


Assignment:

1.) Please explain the connection between B'nei Yisroel and Shabbat.
 
Shabbat, or more precisely, the observance of Shabbat, since every living being experiences the seventh day of the week, was intended as a celebration reserved only for the Jews. I use the word "reserved" in the context that it was set aside by the Most High G-d as a day for His Chosen People to rest from their labors, reflect on their relationship to the Creator, and to pay homage to HaShem through worship, 
GOOD both individual and corporate. Obviously, if the seventh day found them on the road while traveling, or in the field tending their flocks and herds, worship must be individual. [JEWS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO TEND FLOCKS ON SHABBOS OR TRAVEL] If, on the other hand, they were in town, they would gather for organized corporate worship. There is much I do not know about Shabbat and I assume the next few weeks will plug some of the gaps in my knowledge. Classmates, it is necessary to take issue with Bill at the conclusion of his assignment answers.

2.) Where are you in this process? What is your situation? Please explain. 
I am aware of Shabbat, probably more so in my heart than in my head. I do not always honor Shabbat as I know I should. We attend Erev Shabbat services every week. Saturday [Yom Shabbat] often becomes a work day through expediency. 

My Paternal Grandmother was Jewish so you would tell me since my mother is a Gentile [Non Jew] I am not Jewish. For 60 years of my life I was a Baptist Christian and I would have probably agreed with you. Then I realized a couple years ago that if I had lived in central Europe in the mid 1930's, I could have died for being a Jew. Why then can I not live as a Jew?

I am now a member of a Messianic Synagogue, I observe the Feast Days, I serve on the Yom HaShoah Remembrance Committee and I strive to follow a Kosher diet. No Rabbi can remove the genes of Moshe from my DNA nor can any Rabbi cause me to regrow my foreskin. 

In the last two years I have encountered more outright hatred from the Jewish community than anti-Semitism from the non-
Jewish community. I decided to take this course to learn more about Judaism. I trust I have explained my situation satisfactorily?

Shalom, 
Bill  


Shalom Bill,

I could go on for pages answering your questions BUT Shuvah 101 is not designed for that purpose. First, you have made your mind up that you are Jewish and based upon less observant teachings. Yet you are by your own admission not observant of Ha Torah. One mitzvah you should work on is Shabbat observance. Second, you are Messianic. Both are in conflict with Ha Torah. Third, the absence of your foreskin does not mean you have had a brit milah nor accepted the 613 commands of Ha Torah. 

Bill, I understand where you are and understand much of how you feel. I was a Messianic for 39 years. I also understand that you want to learn about Judaism but I must ask you, Why do you want to learn from me? Christian Messianics teach that Jews who do not believe in Jesus are blind of the truth and going to Hell. What light could I possible provide you based on this doctrine? I am not suggesting that you withdraw from BNTI but that you just expand your thinking some...

Thank you for learning with me...

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


- - - - - -


From Adelle P.,

Assignment:

1.) Please explain the connection between B'nei Yisroel and Shabbat. 
Shabbos Observance is given only to the descendants of Yisroel / Yaakov. Essentially this means, the descendants of Yaakov / Jacob‰ who have continued to guard Shabbos as originally given by Hashem. This means the descendants who have passed down proper Shabbos observance from generation to generation. So it is possible that one may be of Jewish descent yet not be included in the Torah's meaning of B'nei Yisroel. 

One may have Jewish heritage but not be considered Jewish. In other words, one's father may be Jewish but that does not make the children Jewish. One' grandmother and grandfather may be Jewish but that does not make one Jewish if one's mother is not Jewish...

First, I am unclear whether Shabbos and Shabbat are interchangeable terms for the same thing / idea, or whether Shabbos refers only to the initial candle lighting. It seems also as if Shabbat might refer to the holiday and Shabbos refer to the celebration, that is a linguistic dichotomy of spirit and praxis. (I see a definite need for a Hebrew / English dictionary -- immediately!) However, a split between the spiritual and physical seems -- to my limited background -- to be more of a platonic concept than Hebrew, so I'll proceed on the basis of the terms being interchangeable. 

The above is answered in BNTI Glossary which is part of the BNTI Classmate package for tuition classmates... Shabbos is the Ashkenazi pronunciation and Shabbat is the Sephardic pronunciation... They mean the same thing...

B'nei Yisroel then is not only a matter of heritage but of hereditary practice. While one may have a Semitic racial heritage of "Jewishness", if one does not have the tradition passed down to one, faithfully and seamlessly, then one has compromised the lineage of B'nei Yisroel. "Shabbat is the most important ritual observance in Judaism. ... We are commanded to remember Shabbat; but remembering means much more than merely not forgetting to observe Shabbat. It also means to remember the significance of Shabbat, both as a commemoration of creation and as a commemoration of our freedom from slavery in Egypt."VERY GOOD

The point is to retain both group and personal identity as the B'nei Yisroel: to consistently reinforce what it is that defines the difference between "them" and "us". For the B'nei Yisroel, identity is that of G-d's chosen people. This constitutes a separation from the rest of humanity, an incredible blessing that is not available to others. Always, to whom much is given, much is required. Remembrance is not enough. It is too easy to say, in essence, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember already." The Shamor (observance) is frequently inconvenient in that it takes prior planning and delays activities that one might want to accomplish. The weekend is only so long, after all. Absolute observation of the restrictions and celebrations becomes a question of personal/temporal choice versus alliegance to the preservation of the Covenant. To observe all the restrictions and celebrations of Shabbat is what provides the continuity of identity, the guarantee that nothing will be lost or eroded over the generations. If one piece of a 1500 piece puzzle is lost, yes, one can still see the picture and one might think, "No big deal. The piece is probably around somewhere. I'll find it later." At what point does the loss of pieces become irreversible? At what point is the picture so compromised as to be unrecognizable? Can one pass the puzzle on to another with simply an explantion of what it is supposed to be, or does it really make a difference if the puzzle remains intact? The concept of B'nei Yisroel as the people who have faithfully practiced the "most important ritual" in unbroken generations claims that all the pieces have to be there, that the puzzle has to be passed down intact.

Shabbat is a tithing of time and attention. The L-rd 
[WE USE "HASHEM"] gives one the week; one gives back Shabbat. If a covenant is a contract, a broken contract has to be renegotiated. If the Covenant is broken ... can one renegotiate with G-d? GOOD


2.) Where are you in this process? What is your situation? Please explain. 

As a gentile, I am "out of the loop", so to speak. 

I am a retired professor of humanities: community college introductory courses. With few variations, I taught western culture up to the Renaissance. That was 10,000 years of politics, history, art, architecture, music, philosophy, religion, psychology, sociology ... from 3 continents. I told my students that the course covered about 1/3 of the library and their chances of "learning it all" in a 6 week course were even worse than their chances of winning the lottery. What I tried to provide was a scatter-shot approach of tidbits that might be interesting enough to encourage further exploration on their own. 

Judaism fell after the stone age, Mesopotamia, and Egypt, and before Greece, Rome, Islam, medieval Europe (including the development of the Greek Orthodox & Roman Catholic Churchs in all their political as well as religious guises), and equatorial West Africa. Judaism was crammed into one 3-hour session: I had to cover the ancient history of a peripatetic people, the academic approach to the texts as texts, archeological evidence of the events described in the texts (and a bit of archeological evidence disputing the texts -- I'm an academic, remember?), some few aspects of the culture (such as the position of women with regard to the Law, i.e. children, marriage, divorce, ownership of property, battering ... It's hard not to notice that Proverbs has a lot to say about the difficulties of living with a contentious wife, but nothing to say about living with a man with a violent temper, and the political/social/legal position of the Jews in medieval Europe. 

I am looking for something beyond the academic appreciation of a cog in the development of my own 20th century American culture. I approach this course with respect and humble profession of gross ignorance.

Adelle P.


Shalom Adelle,

There is something that you did not mention in question number two, "Spirituality." Few know about Spirituality because of the degradation of humankind. Bereishis {Genesis} 4:26 explains that just after 235 years from Creation, humankind had so drifted from our Creator's intention which we refer to as "The Original Operating System" at BNTI that "man began to call idols by the Name of Hashem." This was the introduction to all the world's present religions. Ha Torah does not consider Judaism or Spirituality to be religions... 

We cover this material in Bereishis 101... Bereishis 101 teaches non Jews Spirituality and Shuvah 101 teaches Jews Judaism. I recommend that you consider enrolling in Bereishis 101. We will begin a new class in several weeks.

Blessings, Love and peace..

Dr. Akiva Gamliel

- - - - - - -

From Bill,

Your comment on Question #1:
 [My comment is in red] Obviously, if the seventh day found them on the road while traveling, or in the field tending their flocks and herds, worship must be individual. [JEWS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO TEND FLOCKS ON SHABBOS OR TRAVEL]

My response: [Bill's] I understand Jews are not supposed to work on Shabbos. However, sheep being dependent on the shepherd would require even more work if confined to a sheepfold for Shabbos. They would therefore have to leave them in the field to graze. Am I to assume the Shabbos goy was employed to guard the sheep from predators and lead them back to safety at nightfall?

BILL, YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT TORAH JUDAISM TEACHES... HA TORAH SAYS REMBER THE SHABBAT... HONOR THE SHABBAT.. THIS DOES NOT EXCLUDE JEWISH SHEPHERDS!!

Your question on Question #3 "I also understand that you want to learn about Judaism but I must ask you, Why do you want to learn from me? Both Christian and Messianics teach that Jews who do not believe in Jesus are blind and going to Hell."

I found you website while surfing the Internet. I was intrigued by the description of the course (and the offer of no tuition). I spent my life as a Christian, worshipping Jesus. Three years ago I discovered Messianic Judaism and learned His name is really Yeshua. Messianic Jews feel ill at ease thinking of themselves as Christians considering all the things that have been done to Jews down through history in the name of Christianity. They want to retain the rich heritage of Judaism and keep the Feast Days, etc. They simply believe the prophecies concerning the coming Messiah, all 312 of them, have been fulfilled by Yeshua.

I did not seek your class to learn about Yeshua HaMeshiach, but as you noted above, to learn about Judaism. As to the subject of eternal destination, if you have the time and inclination to discuss it, I would be delighted to have a dialogue with you. 

Shalom,

Bill S.


Shalom Bill,

It is clear to me that you want to argue, NOT LEARN. Let's get a few facts straight.

First, the New Testament was written in Greek, NOT HEBREW! 
Nowhere was Jesus ever called Yeshua. In the 1800's Christian Messianics began to call Jesus Yeshua. This is a Messianic invention! Next Messianics began to attempt to translate the New Testament into Hebrew. Why? According to the Trinitarian Bible Society, "for distributing the holy scriptures to the Jews." If you could read and understand Hebrew you could examine the various translations and make comparisons as I have done. It only takes a few minutes of reading to realize most Messianics have a very poor education in Hebrew!! Yet it is these people who attempted to translate the New Testament into Hebrew.

Second, this number 312 is fictitious. It is not recognized by Torah Judaism. This is another Messianic invention. You say that you want to learn about Judaism. You are learning about Judaism. Judaism exposes Jesus for who he is. To you Jesus is the Messiah. Judaism teaches that Jesus is not the Messiah. At BNTI you may refer to Jesus ONLY by the name "Jesus" NOT "Yeshua". Now you are learning Judaism! In our Three Step Enrollment we clearly state the following:

Use of Unacceptable Terms / Words
In addition there are certain terms and concepts that are not scripturally supported by Ha Tenach. Please note the following about B'nai Noach Torah Institute:

- We do not call Jesus "Yeshua"

- We do not call Jesus a "Prophet" Jesus is a 'False Prophet' see Mt. 12:40

- We do not call Jesus "the son of G-d"

- We do not refer to Jesus as "the Christ" or "the Messiah" or Ha Moshiach"

- We do not call the New Testament "the Brit Ha Dah Shaw"

- We do not refer to the New Testament as "the scripture" or "the Scriptures"

- We do not accept the common view taught by Christianity that the Christian New Testament is built upon Ha Tenach, what Christianity refers to as "the Old Testament"

- We use the Term Christian Scriptures or Christian Bible or Christian Testament.

- We do not refer to Tenach as the "Old Testament"

We use the Term Hebrew Scriptures, Hebrew Bible or Hebrew Testament.

Now classmate, we at BNTI are not suggesting that you have to believe as we do. We are only saying that in the course of your discussion with us these terms are not acceptable and will not be accepted. BNTI is not a Christian Institute and does not support many Christian teachings or doctrines. We reserve all arguments regarding Christian doctrine to the course "Messianic Challenge."

Bill, do you understand what rabbinical law is? Christians, Baptists and Messianics teach Jews are legalistic. They teach that our rabbim burden us with laws... Messianics teach Jesus was a rabbi. The Christian Testament teaches Jesus was a Rabbi. That being the situation few Messianics realize that Matthew chapter 5 is R abbinical law directed at Jesus' Talmidim... his followers of which you claim to be a follower also.. Have you considered what Jesus burdens you with in comparison to Ha Torah?

First let's learn what Judaism teaches regarding Rabbinic Law...
In the world today only several rabbium have the recognized stature and authority to make rabbinic law that Kal Yisroel will follow. Yet few rabbinic laws are made. Devarim 18:15 instructs us to obey the laws of a Prophet... This also includes changing a Torah Law for a short time. Such a things happened in the days of the Maccabees. Mattathias, a Kohein, and other pious Jews decreed that they must fight on Shabbat to defeat the enemy. This Rabbinic Law was in place in Yisroel for several years. When the war was over the law was repealed. {1 Maccabees 2:39-41}

Bill, the point to all this is many Rabbinic Laws are good. Some are not. Yet Rabbinical Law is established by Ha Torah. Not all Rabbinic Law is followed. If Kal Yisroel does not agree to follow the Law then it is not established. According to the Christian Testament Rabbi Jesus had a large following. His following respected him. Yet I find it very interesting that the writer of Matthew fails to state that Rabbi Jesus instituted rabbinic law for his followers even though it is clear that this is exactly what he did. Bill, few pastors, Christians or even Messianics realize that Jesus' directives... instructions in the Gospels are based upon his understanding of Ha Torah. I am providing you with a brief example below. It is actually not brief. Yet in the scope of 28 chapters from Matthew it is brief. 
I am reviewing the Rabbinical law Jesus commanded his followers to observe. In the short span of just Matthew 5, Jesus commands his followers to observe OVER 30 of his new Rabbinical Laws. In just 48 verses Jesus requires his followers to obey all these new Rabbinical Laws. Let's learn some more about Judaism. In Matthew 5 Jesus legislates more rabbinical Law in just one chapter of the Christian Testament than the total number of Laws in any chapter of Ha Torah. In all of Ha Torah there are only 613 Commandments. In comparison, one chapter of Matthew has 31 Rabbinical Laws... 

Bill, as you review the Rabbinical Laws Jesus established in Matthew chapter 5 please notice that I have added the references Christians / Messianics give in the side margins of their Christian Testaments and commentaries. These references prove that Christians / Messianics who referenced and published the Christian Testament books recognized that Jesus was speaking about the Law of Moshe. Jesus made Rabbinic Law, changed Torah Law and added RabbinicLaw. 

Rabbinic Law # 1 from Jesus
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:17, 18

Bill, this means according to 'Jesus' law' the Jewish Scripture is NOT done away with... even though Christian Messianics teach it is... Why? Because Heaven and earth still remain...

Rabbinic Law # 2 from Jesus
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments[Torah Mitzvahs], and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven:" Matthew 5:19

Bill, do you understand what this means? Right here in 
the Christian Testament Jesus proclaims that if anyone teaches you to violate... to break Ha Torah he will be the least in the kingdom of Heaven. Bill, how do we know that Jesus was referring to Ha Torah instead of the Christian Testament when he made this rabbinic Law? The Christian Testament did NOT exist at that time. The concept "ChristianTestament"... i.e., the very term "New Testament," was not even uttered until hundreds of years later. The book of Matthew was not even written until decades later... Bill, examine every reference that Jesus made to the term "Scriptures." Every instance was to Ha Tenach!! NO EXCEPTIONS!!

Rabbinic Law # 3 from Jesus
"...whosoever shall do and teach them [the mitzvahs of Torah], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:20

This is proof that Jesus commanded his followers to obey... follow Torah. Here Jesus states that those that "do" - Do what? That do - [observe Ha Torah commandments] and that teach others to observe Torah Commandments will be called great... Jesus' own teaching rebukes Messianic teachings and doctrines...

Rabbinic Law # 4 from Jesus
"For I [Jesus] say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:20

Bill, do you realize that Jesus' Rabbinic Law in this area is an extreme position that Torah Judaism does not Teach. This extreme position is only taught by Jesus. "For I say unto you...' This is not a teaching of grace but of EXTREME Works which Paul, a follower of Jesus, condemns... Here is a clear addition of Rabbinic Law by Jesus. This teaching by Jesus is by far more strict than Torah... This Rabbinical Law, that you Bill as a Messianic are required to follow, is harder than any Rabbinic Law of Ha Torah!! What Jesus imposes here makes it nearly impossible for most to enter the Kingdom of Heaven for his followers!

Rabbinic Law # 5 from Jesus
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; [Shemos 20:13] and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I [Jesus] say unto you, 'That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:'" ... Matthew 5:22

Bill, this is another extreme position that Ha Torah does not teach or endorse. Here, Jesus issues another harsh rabbinic law... 
This is a doctrine but it is NOT a doctrine of "Grace." Jesus is making another addition to Torah for his followers. Jesus' addition is by far more strict than anything taught in Ha Torah Judaism.

Rabbinic Law # 6 from Jesus
"...and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council..."
Matthew 5:22

This is humorous. First, after checking with a variety of Christian / Messianic commentaries I was surprised to learn that their best know NOTHING about the word "Raca". Even more interesting, the publishers who translated the New Testament from Greek into English could not find the word "Raca". So they made one up... There are a number of opinions among Christians / Messianics about what this word means. They don't know! They're guessing...

I am not going to give them any light on what they don't know... except to say, Jesus is teaching another extreme position NOT taught by Ha Torah. Ha Torah requires that an individual first be warned, then after being warned the individual must be seen by two witnesses to bring him to the Bet Din... {Jewish Supreme Court}. Bill, this is Judaism. Judaism is much more understanding than Jesus!

Rabbinic Law # 7 from Jesus
"but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Matthew 5:22

Bill, this is not a Torah Commandment. This is a Law Rabbi Jesus as a radical leader placed upon his followers... The word "fool" does not even appear once in the Torah. Bill, several weeks ago I wrote about Loshon Hara which Torah Judaism discusses in 31 separate places. Rabbi Jesus just raised the level of observance from 18" in Torah Judaism to over 7 feet for his followers! 
Do you really believe this?

Rabbinic Law # 8 from Jesus
"Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." Matthew 5:24

Bill, Torah Judaism teaches that as part of Shuvah {returning / repentance}
 #1,one acknowledges their error, #2, makes a plan not to repeat the error and #3,pays restitution for their error to the victim. One does not approach the Mizbayach {altar} without first following the path of repentance. Torah Teaches these elements are essential for repentance. The victimized party may not forgive you. It may be impossible to be reconciled to such an individual. That is why the Bet Din rules on these matters. The Bet Din determines what is fair based upon Ha Torah. An individual may disagree with the Bet Din... The point is that one does not come 
haphazardly to the mizbayach with an offering. It is well thought out. It is planned. 

Rabbi Jesus' teaching lacks consideration for the expense of the offering and shows a lack of understanding regarding Ha Torah's process for repentance.

Rabbinic Law # 9 from Jesus
"Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison." Matthew 5:25

This is sickening. Nowhere in Ha Torah do we read anywhere of the word prison except for Yaakov's son Yosief being cast wrongfully into prison. When someone does wrong, Ha Torah teaches a decent, humane way of correcting the problem. Ha Torah does not teach anything about prison. Ha Tenach does speak several dozen times about Jews being tossed into prison. Jesus' teaching has to do with dealing with non-Jews.

Rabbinic Law # 10 from Jesus
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: [Shemos 20:14] But I [Jesus] say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matthew 5:27,28

Again this is another example of an extreme teaching by Jesus. Judaism Teaches that a man should not touch a woman other than his wife. Judaism teaches modest dressing for men, women and children. Judaism teaches that a man should not compliment another man's wife. A man should limit his conversations with women other than his mother and his wife. Yet in these very areas we often violate the intention of Torah... Here once again 
Jesus raises the bar for his followers!! Jesus' Law is much more difficult to observe than Ha Torah!!

Rabbinic Law # 11 from Jesus
"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." Matthew 5:29

Most Christians / Messianics will tell you that this verse does not actually mean pluck out your right eye if your right eye causes you to lust. They will say that Jesus was speaking only in an allegory. Regardless, this is extreme. One does not read of such self-destructive behavior in Ha Torah. In fact Ha Torah forbids any form of self-mutilation, so to even suggest mutilation of body parts in a story or an allegory is inappropriate. It is wrong! IT IS A SIN according to Torah Judaism!!

Rabbinic Law # 12 from Jesus
"And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." Matthew 5:30

Ha Torah does not teach the Christian concept of hell, fire and brimstone. The term hell only occurs once in all of Ha Torah. The New Testament preaches this hell concept 23 times... Here Jesus is teaching his followers that self-mutilation, a Torah violation, is better than perishing in the Christian version of Hell. This is nowhere near a Torah concept... Torah value... Torah Teaching...

Rabbinic Law # 13 from Jesus
"It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement." [Deuteronomy 24:1,2] Matthew 5:31

Devarim {Deuteronomy} 24:1 does not talk about putting one's wife away. Ha Torah recognizes that a couple may not get along. Ha Torah acknowledges that a couple may not be right for each other... Ha Torah understands marital complications. Ha Torah wants husbands and wives to enjoy each other. Ha Torah desires for couples to enjoy Shalom Bais {peace at home}. When a relationship does not work out Ha Torah teaches that a couple should divorce and seek a new, better relationship. Hashem's desire is for Shalom Bais!

Now I find it absolutely amazing how Christians blaze right by Rabbi Jesus' teaching regarding divorce. Almost half of the married Christian world has been divorced at least once! WOW! Christians by their very actions embrace Ha Torah doctrine when it comes to divorce. So, classmates, any time a Christian / Messianic approaches, ask them if they have ever been divorced. If they say "Yes!" Then tell them to practice what they preach before preaching to you...

Next, I am just beside myself. Do you know the definition of fornication? Jesus doesn't according to Matthew! Fornication is between unmarried people. The correct term should have been adultery. 

Rabbinic Law # 14 from Jesus
"That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery." Matthew 5:32

Ha Torah does not teach this! Ha Torah teaches it is better to find happiness in another marriage than to fight, argue, speak evil, etc. in a marriage that should have never occurred. Yet Jesus teaches his followers that if a divorced man or woman remarries they are each living in adultery. This is extreme! It is harsh! Clearly Jesus' Rabbinic Law increased the level of harshness on this good, understanding, compassionate Torah commandment. Again, much of the Christian community does not observe Jesus' rabbinical commandment here. 

Rabbinic Law # 15 from Jesus
and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. Matthew 5:32

Bill, I have actually met people claiming to be Christians that require a divorced person to divorce their present mate and to remarry their former mate whom they divorced. 
Torah Judaism does not teach this... Would you call this adding to the Law? This is what Christians... Messianics dislikes... This is what they accuse Jewish rabbium of doing! The entire New Testament is full of rabbinic law from Jesus and from Paul... 

Rabbinic Law # 16 from Jesus
"
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: [Leviticus 19:12]. But I say unto you, Swear not at all." Matthew 5:33,34

Rabbinic Law # 17 from Jesus
"
Neither by heaven; for it is G[-]d's throne." Matthew 5:34

Rabbinic Law # 18 from Jesus
"
Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool." Matthew 5:35

Rabbinic Law # 19 from Jesus
"
Neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King." Matt. 5:35

Rabbinic Law # 20 from Jesus
"
Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black." Matthew 5:36

Rabbinic Law # 21 from Jesus
"
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." Matthew 5:37

Bill, again Jesus has expanded beyond what Ha Torah teaches. 
Jesus is teaching a much harsher law than Ha Torah. G-d never commanded this!

Rabbinic Law # 22 from Jesus
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: [Shemos 21:24]. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Matthew 5:38,39

Bill, the very first issue here clearly shows that Rabbi Jesus did not understand Ha Torah halacha regarding damages. G-d in His wisdom placed limits on what damages a victim could receive. When Ha Torah states an eye for an eye it does not literally mean an eye for an eye. Ha Torah means that one should pay the value of an eye. For example: the value of an eye to a doctor is greater than for an uneducated day laborer. Both have value but the value is different. Ha Torah, as stated earlier, does not teach self-destructive behavior or any form of self-mutilation.

Here we again see Jesus changing Ha Torah even though Jesus said,
 "Think not that I am come to destroy / change the law, or the prophets..." The point is that in every situation we have discussed so far in which Jesus has discussed Ha Torah {The 5 Books of Moshe} he has increased the level of harshness. He has made it more difficult! He has imposed a more strict law to observe. I know of few Christians / Messianics that observe this Rabbinic Law imposed upon them by Jesus.

Rabbinic Law # 23 from Jesus
"And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." Matthew 5:40

What Christian or Messianic practices this rabbinic law?

Rabbinic Law # 24 from Jesus
"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain." Matthew 5:41

How many of the Christians / Messianics that have been divorced have said 'Here, dear, take the house and the car keys also...'? Most Christians / Messianics do not follow these rabbinic commands by Jesus in the New Testament.

Rabbinic Law # 25 from Jesus
"Give to him that asketh thee." Matthew 5:42

Rabbinic Law # 26 from Jesus
"and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." Matthew 5:42

Rabbinic Law # 27 from Jesus
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, [Leviticus 19:18] and hate thine enemy. But I [Jesus] say unto you, Love your enemy..."Matthew 5:43, 44

Bill, Ha Torah teaches us to love our neighbor. This is the same for Jew, Spiritualist and Christian... However, Jesus was mistaken when he claimed "and hate thine enemy." This is an untrue message. Ha Torah does not teach the Jew or Spiritualist to "hate their enemy." 

Rabbinic Law # 28 from Jesus
"Bless them that curse you..." Matthew 5:44

Rabbinic Law # 29 from Jesus
"
Do good to them that hate you..." Matthew 5:44

Rabbinic Law # 30 from Jesus
"...and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Matthew 5:44

"That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?" Matthew 5:45 - 47

Rabbinic Law # 31 from Jesus
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."Matthew 5:48

Bill, after reviewing just one chapter from the New Testament book Matthew it should be quite clear that Rabbi Jesus according to the New Testament used his power to institute rabbinical law. What you have just read in Matthew 5 is NOT some Sunday School lesson by Rabbi Jesus. It is not just a sermon. IT IS RABBINIC LAW INSTITUTED BY RABBI JESUS to his followers. Knowing this has impact. 

If you pay attention here you should have learned MUCH about Torah Judaism..

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


- - - - - -


From Raymond K.

1.) Please explain the connection between B&Mac226;nei Yisroel and Shabbat. 
In this connect between B'nei Yisroel and Shabbat there is a base of knowing that Hashem has made a mitzvah or (covenant) with the childern of Yaakov, to which there is an everlasting sign. The Sabbath is Holy because it is tied to B'nei Yisroel, and whenever there is a reference made to B'nei Yisroel there is a separtion from people and the world. So the connection that is made is one of cessation of work but also of ceasing to place self as the authority THE CONNECTION IS THE SIGN OF SHABBAT. IF JEWS DO NOT HONOR SHABBAT THEN WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE OF THE SIGN?

2.) Where are you in this process? What is your situation? Please explain.
 I still have a long way to go, and I feel that as I study the Torah I can know what Ineed to work on and give that the attention that I need to. I am not Jewish by birth but would like to convert if at all possible, but I am willing to take my time as I do this. I want to be sure of what I need to do before making this step.GOOD

Shalom Raymond,

Please keep me informed about where you are going with thoughts of conversion. I think you should enroll in Bereishis 101 to learn about Spirituality...

Spiritualists observe about 80 commands of Ha Torah.

Blessings, Love and peace!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel 


- - - - - - 

From Zenaida S.

Shalom Dr. Akiva 

First of all I'd like to thank you for your warm welcome, I eagerly hope to be able to cope with this course so interesting and so different at the same time from all I've learned before in my present religion. I can tell you that I feel very attracted to Judaism, perphaps in a romantic search of my family's Sephardic roots.

Please excuse the English faults you might find in my written exchange with you as, even though I have a good command of the English language, my mother tongue is Spanish. Could you please recommend me a special Hebrew-English Dictionary containing the lexicon (words like Kohein, challah, aliyahah, etc.) used in this and other courses related to this one, or perhaps and even better a Hebrew-Spanish one? 

One of the questions arising after reading your texts is: Why do you write the word G-d without the vowel? Is this vowel pronounced when speaking? I ask you to please be patient with me as all about Judaism is new to me.


Below please find my Assignment:


1) B'nei Yisroel observe the Shabbat as it is an essential element of the agreement that Jewish people have with the Creator.
 GOOD


2) My elders were Sephardic Jews who fled from Spain due to the religious persecution. As far as I know, first they moved to Portugal and from there to Amsterdam, Curazao, finally reaching Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (where I was born). In Santo Domingo Sephardic Jews spread all over the country. The small size of this community and lack of communication among them due to the remoteness of their respective locations, made impossible the celebration of their rites; soon afterwards they assimilated local customs and Catholicism, and as a result I belong to the sixth generation of Christians of this family; as you can see my process is rather insignificant. 

Hoping that you receive my warm regards, 

Zenaida S.


From K. O.

Greetings,

Thank you for adding me to this class. I think I should withdraw as I have not been in a position to contribute at this point.

I appreciate your time and effort and thought I should withdraw to avoid any inconvenience to yourself.

Thank you again.


Shalom K. O.,

Our position at BNTI is to teach Judaism and Spirituality. Yes, we do need finances to pay our expenses, etc. but we have a Chessed Fund for those desiring to learn. Please make an application to our Board of Advisdors. All that is necessary is to write a letter stating your situation. We discuss this in the Three Step Enrolment under Chessed Fund as follows:

Chessed Fund
At B'nai Noach Torah Institute we have a Chessed Fund which is designated to assist any classmate who is in excellent standing. If funds are available in the Chessed Fund, classmates who are impoverished may request that funds from the Chessed Fund be used to pay for their course. When we say in excellent standing we mean a classmate must take their one free course at BNTI and follow procedure.

These classmates are required to do special research projects of appreciation in gratitude for learning at BNTI through use of Chessed funds.

The Chessed Fund receives money from BNTI classmates who want to lovingly reach out to those who cannot afford our courses. BNTI matches 30% of all gifts to the Chessed Fund.

Below are the assignment questions for Step 3. Thank you for taking the time to complete them. After we receive your assignment you will receive Lesson 1, G-d willing!


Blessings and peace,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


From Ari

The connection between B'nei Yisrael and Shabbat. 
The first Shabbat is enshrined in the story of 
Creation, when G-d rested on the seventh day after Creation 

...the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array. And on the seventh day G-d finished the work which He had been doing, and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work which He had done. And G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on it G-d ceased from all the work of 
Creation which He had done. 

(Genesis 2:1-3) 

GOOD - ARI, IT IS ALSO GOOD THAT YOU USE THE DASH BETWEEN THE G AND THE D OF G-D... YOU MAY USE THE TERM "BEREISHIS" {IN BEGINNING} FOR GENESIS 

Following their redemption from bondage in Egypt, Moshe and the Israelites with him, received a revelation that changed the status of this people from one living by faith to a nation bound by a covenant of statutory law, the Torah, presented to the people by Moses as the word of G-d. (Wouk1987). 

Among these laws was the institution of the Shabbat, and the commandment to both remember and observe, as it was to be a sign between Hashem and B'nei Yisrael. 
GOOD
An agreement that 
If you walk in my statutes and keep my covenant .I will be your G-d and you shall be my people (Lev: 26:3-12) 
THIS IS GOOD BUT SHEMOS {EXODUS} 31:16-17 IS CORRECT...

Therefore, Shabbat was a seal of identity, between Hashem and the children of Yisrael. An identity which would set them apart as Holy (separate)
EXCELLENT

And you shall be to me a Kingdom of priests, a Holy nation (Exodus 19:6) 
YOU MAY USE THE TERM "SHEMOS" {NAMES} FOR EXODUS 

Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe throughout their generations for a perpetual covenant. Exodus 31:16-17 

The following verses show that the covenant is conditional upon observance 

Jerusalem's glory depending on keeping the Sabbath. Jeremiah 17:24,25,27, 

G-d rebukes Israel's continued disregard of the Sabbath. Ezekiel 20: 10-13, 17-22, 

ARI WE NEVER USE VERSES OF LESSER STATURE TO CORRECT HA TORAH.. HA TORAH IS PERFECT. JEREMIAH AND EZEKIEL ARE NOT. ALSO BNTI DOES NOT PERMIT CLASSMATES TO JUST MAKE REFERENCES TO ANYTHING. ONE MUST QUOTE WHAT THEY ARE MAKING REFERENCES TO. THIS SAVES TIME FOR THE PROFESSORS.. THANK YOU!

The observance of Shabbat is essential to maintain Jewish identity and to remain faithful to the fulfilment of the covenant given to B'nei {THE PUNCTUATION BETWEEN THE "B" AND THE "n" of "B'nei" IS AN APOSTROPHE, NOT A COMMA} Yisrael on Mt. Sinai. GOOD

It is a visible sign demonstrative of distinct separateness between Jews and Gentiles. WE DO NOT USE THE TERM GENTILES WE EITHER USE THE TERMS NON-JEWS OR SPIRITUALISTS. WE TRY TO BE SENSITIVE TO THE FEELINGS OF OTHERS.. THANK YOU

The Shabbat is a time where B'nei Yisrael can reflect and fully identify with who they are and what is required of them as people, it is a time of withdrawal from the demands of the world and become immersed in relationship with Hashem. It is also a time of remembrance of G-d's blessings and his promises. GOOD
Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the L-rd your G-d freed you from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the L-rd your G-d has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day. (Deuteronomy 5:12-15


YOU MAY USE THE TERM "DEVARIM" {WORDS / THINGS} FOR DEUTERONOMY 

Throughout history, the Shabbat has provided B'nei Yisrael with a focal point of continuity and survival of their faith and moreover, as a people, it has maintained separateness and facilitated coherence among the Jews during times of dispersion 

It is said that more than Yisrael has kept the Shabbat, the Shabbat has kept them 

My position: 

I am a 45 year old male (divorced) presently working as a Nurse. I am also completing a degree at a Melbourne University of which is almost completed. 

Most of my life I have been preoccupied with the search for meaning, purpose and fulfilment. Raised as a Catholic, I had long abandoned the rationale that the salvation of mankind lies in a statement of faith. 

After investigating many of the very extensively marketed worldviews and studying widely, I discovered myself being consistently drawn towards the faith of Judaism. 

At present, I am studying the Torah, reading many books on Jewish belief, practice, history and folklore. I possess PC software that I'm using to learn Hebrew, praying, 

Learning about Kosher, and trying to observe as much as I'm currently aware. 

My intention is to approach a Rabbi to undertake a formal conversion. 

In regard to the observance of Shabbat, I have traditionally worked Saturdays but I'm reviewing and negotiating my contracts to exclude Saturday for the purpose of full and proper observance. I have learned some of the blessings in Hebrew (Kiddush) and eat a Shabbat meal on the Friday evening. As my knowledge improves I will continue to move forward. 

Ari 


Shalom Ari,

Thank you for sharing with me. Your answers to the assignment were very good. In the future please remember to include the question in red before the answer in blue. Presently I review about 21 different courses. Remembering this helps. Thank you! Also please keep quotes and references together. Thank You!

The Bereishis series, Torah series and Parsha series would all be helpful to you. Also being a registered classmate would be helpful even though it is not required for this first course. Registered classmates can use the BNTI Search Engine, BNTI Glossary, Message Board, plus much more...

I am really pleased that you did your first assignment and that it was very good!

When you have the opportunity could you give me a little more detail on the book Wouk, H. (1987) This is my G-d: Canada; Little, Brown and Company Ltd...? Thank You!

May Hashem Bless you!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk


References: 
Kolatch, A.J. (1981). The Jewish book of why: NY; Jonathan David Pulishers, Inc. 
Wouk, H. (1987) This is my G-d: Canada; Little, Brown and Company Ltd


Shalom [Dr. Akiva]
Thanks for the prompt return of my work, your encouragemnt and corrections.
The book, This is my G-d by Herman Wouk was part of a preconversion reading list obtained from a local site (Melbourne, Australia) which runs conversoin programs for non-Jews. I have found the book very readable and informative. It was described in the reading list as "a very accessible introduction to Jewish beliefs and practices, by an Orthodox Jew, who is also a leading novelist.

Its contents cover Jewish history and survival, The faith of Judaism, Shabbat, Festivals, High Holy Days, Minor Holy Days, Prayers, Synagogue and Worship,Food Clothing and Shelter., Birth and Jewish life cycles, Love and Marriage., Explainations of the Torah and Talmud, Differences in expressions of Judaism,Israel, etc.

I obtained a copy from the local public libarary, Publishing details were as I provided with my assignment reference.

Hope this is useful for you 

Toda Raba
Ari


Shalom Ari,

You're welcome. My goal is to assist you where possible.

Thank you for the prompt information... also...

G-d willing I will check into this book.

Please don't forget to check out my new book releases at: bnti.us/books.html



Blessings, Love and peace!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


ב''ה

Course: Shuvah 101

Would You Like To Be Jewish?

Lesson 2 Class Discussion 2


By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

QUESTIONS

Class Discussion on:

Wrong E - Mail address and route address

Contradiction of terms "Jewish Messianic Congregation"

Brit Milah

This class discussion is dedicated to the loving memory of those we love  may they rest in peace.

Greetings Dr. Belk,

Following is my response to Shuvah 101 Lesson 1:

1. Please explain the connection between B'nei Yisroel and Shabbat: 
The observance of Shabbat is a Command given to B'nei Yisroel by G-d. GOOD

Shabbat is a sign from Hashem to B'nei Yisroel that He is making His people holy and setting them apart. VERY GOOD

We are to observe the Command and to pass it down to future generations. The command to observe Shabbat is not open to reinterpretation or adaptation.GOOD

However, Hashem knows our past, present, and future and He is kind when it comes to judging our current levels of observance. GOOD - This is a good point and very important to remember. 

A purpose of Shabbat is to take the time to look inside to find our errors and to repent of them. The process of teshuvah requires introspection. 
GOOD

We connect ourselves to Holy Temple Jerusalem when we find and follow the inner light. 
GOOD

I am ignoring the whole number presentation for the moment. I know it is significant, but I have not yet grasped the concepts you presented. My guess is that it is Kaballah-esque. Or in other words, I am pretty literal-minded and just don't get it. Give me a leaf, fruit and tree metaphor and I can usually figure it out. Gematria is Jewish Mysticism.
 It's not a requirement of this course or of BNTI to become deeply involved in Gematria. I use a little Gematria in two other lessons of Shuvah 101. 

Thank you for teaching me. You're welcome...

2. Where are you in this process? What is your situation. Please explain. 
I am like a wee child when it comes to Torah Observance. I have taken my first wobbly steps, experienced some peace and joy and some failure and repentance. I have serious trust issues and have not sought out any other Jews to join with. I live 20 miles from the nearest Shul and had to get over the whole driving part way and walking the rest thing. I have found some helpful friends over the internet and their encouragement is making it easier for me to take the next steps. I am studying Kashrut and am working to modify my diet and cooking methods. I try and take a few steps every day. I will confess that yesterday I was feeling totally overwhelmed and kind of lonely and read a novel instead of worrying about everything I am not doing right. 

Respectfully, 

Jodie M.


Shalom Jodie,
I encourage our classmates to take steps that they can maintain. It is better to take small secure steps than to take large steps and become discouraged. So do what you can yet don't over do it. Grow at a reasonable pace. Consider every decision carefully. When you consider Kashrut it is very important to consider all the costs... It is good to learn about Kashrut at a slow steady pace before purchasing new pots, pans, plates, etc...

I would change my focus to being happy with what you enjoy about Ha Torah and the level of Jewish observance you are at regardless of what others think. If you are feeling stuffy, claustrophobic, etc. it is probably because you are pushing too much. Slow down some. Give yourself a break..

Blessings, Love and peace!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


- - - - - - -


From Ya'akov B.,

1.) Please explain the connection between B'nei Yisroel and Shabbat
The Torah definition of Shabbat Observance and B'nei Yisroel remains exactly the same as the day Hashem gave it. The definition of Shabbat Observance and B'nei Yisroel is not open to reinterpretation or adaptation. Their definition and purpose remain the same from generation to generation.
We call Shabbat holy. There is a reason for this. That reason is directly tied to B'nei Yisroel. Kaw Dohsh {holy} also means separate. Shabbat, the seventh day, is separated from the other 6 days of the work week. B'nei Yisroel, which again only occurs 7 times in Bereisheit, is separated from the other peoples of the world. One of the main points of that separation is observance of Shabbat... is separating Shabbat from the other days of the work week 
VERY GOOD

2.) Where are you in this process? What is your situation? Please explain
A) Shabbat observant, All High Holy Days, including the 7th day Shabbat.
B) I'm a member@ Beth Hallel, a Jewish Messianic Congregation, fully Shabbat observant.
Converted 1984, from the traditional Christian doctrine. I do not indulge in any pagan holidays such as easter, christmas etc. I identify myself with the Seed of Avraham, adopted by Grace as an heir according to the promises (B'RESHEET 17:3-9)

May G-D Bless You and Your Family Forever,
Ya'akov

Ya'akov B.

Shalom Ya'akov,
It goes without saying that neither I nor B'nai Noach Torah Institute agree with the term or concept of "Jewish Messianic Congregation". One cannot be Jewish and Messianic, i.e. observe Ha Torah and the New Testament. They are two different books that often do not agree. 
This will become clear as we learn together. One may believe in Jesus as the Messiah and one may follow the teachings of the Christian Testament as closely as possible, yet if one is born of a Jewish mother much of this is in violation of Torah observance. I did the very same thing for almost 40 years.

Most groups in Judaism consider such an individual NOT to be Jewish because of their desire to observe the Christian Testament, Jesus and Paul, etc. I do not agree with this position. I believe that our Creator, blessed is His Name, in His Long-suffering, Compassion, Tender Mercy and Gracious Kindness does not agree with this position either. Why? The Thirteen Attributes of our Creator express how eagerly our Creator forgives, even in-your-face, deliberate, rebellious sin - let alone sins of misunderstanding or absence of understanding.

Through the years there is one common issue among all humans, "misunderstanding". Truth corrects our misunderstandings. 

Ya'akov, I am not sure what you mean by the statement, "fully Shabbat observant." I would appreciate a little more detail on your definition of Shabbat observance. I do appreciate your comment "I do not indulge in any pagan holidays such as easter, christmas etc." You will observe that I encourage all my classmates and talmidim to bring honor to G-d by not using the pagan names of the month or pagan days of the week. I would appreciate a little more information on why you do not indulge in Christmas and Easter. 

The observant rabbium strongly discourage non Jews from observing beyond the required observance of Ha Torah for Spiritualists. Why? Once they have observed a Torah Mitzvah three or more times it is the same as an oath or vow. One has embraced the mitzvah. So many of your self-imposed observances for whatever reason become required observances... 

I must inquire, have you observed Brit Milah? 

Ya'akov, thank you for sharing with me regarding these very important details of your life and observances.

Blessings, Love and Peace,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


A)Ya'akov, I am not sure what you mean by the statement, 
"fully Shabbat observant." I would appreciate a little more detail on your definition of Shabbat observance. 
A)What I mean is, I keep the Shabbaths required in Torah. (Vayikra) Leviticus: 23

Ya'akov, I understand what Ha Torah requires of Shabbat Observance. What I was more interested in is how you understand and observe Shabbat. How do you keep Shabbat? 

B) I do appreciate your comment 
"I do not indulge in any pagan holidays such as easter, christmas etc." You will observe that I encourage all my classmates and talmidim to bring honor to G-d by not using the pagan names of the month or pagan days of the week. I would appreciate a little more information on why you do not indulge in Christmas and Easter. 

B) Please forgive me, I did not intend to offend anyone, it will not happen again, I only meant that these holidays are for the worship of idols. It is true that my family keep these holidays, and so did I before I learned about Torah and whatG-D expects of us. I feel these are not Jewish holidays, but all who worship G-D Alm-ghty [a dash is necessary out of respect to His Holy Name] in truth.

Ya'akov, BNTI agrees that Christmas and Easter are pagan days. What I was attempting to state was that just as these are pagan holidays days, NOT HOLY DAYS, the names of the months and the names of the days of the week are pagan names that do not bring honor to our Creator. Ha Torah uses numbers. "In the first month" Vayikra 23:5 "In the fourteenth day of the first month" Vayikra 23:5 So my point was don't just stop with not observing Christmas or Easter but stop using the pagan names of the month and the pagan days of the week also... In other words, honor our Creator by separating from the usage of these names...

I also understand that the NT & Torah are two separate books.
I want to study Torah with an understanding and insight, from a master.

I must inquire, have you observed Brit Milah? 

No, only because of this:
Rom 2:25 For circumcision indeed profits, if you are a doer of the law, but if you are a transgressor of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 

Rom 2:26 If therefore the uncircumcised keep the ordinances of the law, won't his uncircumcision be accounted as circumcision? 

Rom 2:27 Won't the uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfills the law, judge you, who with the letter and circumcision are a transgressor of the law? 

Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh;

Rom 2:29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not from men, but from G-d. 


Shalom Ya'akov,
I am not suggesting that you go out and have a Brit Milah. Yet Brit Milah is a requirement of Ha Torah given to Avraham when he was 99 years old. {Bereishis 17:9-27} Brit Milah was commanded by our Creator before Shabbat observance. Brit Milah is a requirement of every Jewish male of eight days and older regardless of what Paul says... I don't mean this in a hostile way.

You can mark this as a clear difference between Ha Torah and the Christian Testament. Ya'akov, just as Shabbat observance is a sign, so is brit milah a sign. Shabbat is a sign that all B'nei Yisroel can observe. Brit milah is a sign that only Jewish males can observe. Just as Shabbat separates the Jew from the rest of the world brit milah separates the Jewish male from other men. 

What we have here is one of those very serious misunderstandings between Judaism and Christian Messianics. Ha Torah teaches that observance of the 613 Mitzvahs makes one holy. The ChristianTestament teaches that Jesus makes one holy. Ya'akov, holiness is an action that one does. Without the action there is no holiness. We observe Shabbat. Why? Because G-d rested on the Shabbat.

I cannot go into this with you now, but we will learn about brit milah in another course in the future, G-d willing. You and the rest of Shuvah 101 will be receiving 4 lessons this week, G-d willing.

Blessings, Love and Peace!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel

ב''ה

Course: Shuvah 101

Would You Like To Be Jewish?

Lesson 3


By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

QUESTIONS

The Blast Of The Shofar ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

Rosh HaShanah is divided into two parts: The days leading up to Rosh Hashanah and the actual days of Rosh HaShanah. Rosh HaShanah begins at night on 1 Tishri. This can be confusing for western society because days begin at midnight instead of sundown like in Judaism and Spirituality. Most western calendars put Rosh Hashanah on the day following the evening. So when one notices that the calendar posts Rosh HaShanah beginning on 09-27-03, Rosh Hashanah actually begins at sundown on 09-26-03. However to be sure one should check with the local Rabbinic authority.

Since Rosh HaShanah begins on 1 Tishri, Rosh HaShanah is also Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of a new month. One can tell that a new month is beginning by observing the moon. When the moon is not a full moon, not a half moon, not a quarter of a moon, not an eighth of a moon but close to one sixteenth of its full size the new month begins.

On the Shabbat before the new moon occurs special blessings / prayers are said before the Torah is returned to the Aaron Kodesh. The Shul gabbai normally is the one to publicly announce the name of the coming month, the day, the hour and the exact minute the new month begins. 

On the day the new month begins special prayers from Tehillim {Psalms} are said except on Rosh HaShanah. Now we are about to begin our journey from Elul to Rosh Hashanah. The new Month of Elul announces with the first blast of the shofar {except for Shabbat} the soon to come day of Rosh HaShanah.

We blow the shofar for the entire month of Elul each morning leading up to Rosh Hashanah except on Shabbat. Tradition has it that this will confuse the suttan. If he is confused then he will not know which day is the judgment day. He will not know what day to accuse us on before our Creator.

In addition to the blowing of the shofar special prayers called "Selichot", penitential prayers, are said along with "Orchos Chaim," a list of important guidelines for studying and living each day of the week. Each of these reminds us of the coming day of judgment, Rosh HaShanah.

1 Tishri is not only Rosh HaShanah and Rosh Chodesh. 1 Tishri is also the birthday of the universe. Hashem began Creation on 1 Tishri. It is customary to wish every Jew Happy New Year and a successful outcome on judgment day, on Rosh Hashanah. There are several ways to do this.


Li Shaw Naw - Toh Vaw - Tay Caw Tay Vu - Vi Tay Chaw Tay Mu

"May you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life."


1 Tishri is also Oul Yaw Meem - Vi Shaw Neem, {and days and years} the Spiritualist New Year. 1 Tishri is the day of judgment for every human... every particle in the universe... every bit of matter... for every being of the animal, bird and insect world... 1 Tishri is the day when all Creation stands before the Creator to give account of the past year and to be judged. It is the day of fruit and grain sacrifice for the Spiritualists of the world to Hashem the Creator.

The month of Elul is charged with electricity. It's full of excitement! Elul is the official call each morning to the much anticipated arrival of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is one of my most favorite times of the year. Shuls in general take on a different atmosphere as Yidden come for morning prayers. The sound of the shofar fills the air waves. It's a wonderful time as Jews worldwide begin turning their attention and hearts towards the High Holy Days. There is no way to adequately express the feeling when one hears the shofar's blast. It is a powerful yet gentle call to the urgency of preparing oneself to stand before the Judge. It is an awesome feeling!!!

Can you imagine standing before the Judge to give account for this past year's actions? It is indeed awesome. However, the greatness of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that each of us can prepare for them. We know the High Holidays are coming. It is not a sudden surprise like the day of one's death, G-d forbid. It is wonderful to know...it is comforting to be a part of...it is a secure anchor for one's soul. WOW! When a Jew is truly anchored in the High Holidays, it means that Jew can drift only so far before the mooring of the Elul with the sound of the Shofar begins beckoning shuvah...shuvah...shuvah each morning. In Yiddishkeit we have a very definite boundary. It is lovingly set there by Hashem as a reminder to RETURN to Torah study! ...Return to morning prayers... ! Search your heart, the Commander is coming for an inspection... ! Think about where you're at. Are you pleased with your actions? Do you need to make things right?

There is no way to describe the powerful emotions of shuvah / repentance during the month of Elul.

I remember many years ago in the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah as a baal t'shuvah, (a Jew who has returned to Judaism / a Jew who is on the road of return to Judaism) living outside of the formal Jewish Community like many Jews do. Yet my heart was desiring to return like the Jews living inside the Community. However the thought of attending a shul was just too stuffy. The services would be long. I had rarely attended a shul. I was a stranger to my own religion. It was difficult to connect with Denver's Orthodox Community because of the environment I lived in at the time. 

That year I went up into the mountains to pray on Rosh Hashanah. It was a great relief to take a vacation from business in an effort to relax, pray and connect with G-d. At that time, in my mind, going to the mountains was the closest I could get to G-d. Then it had the mental effect of climbing Har Sinai like Moshe Rabbeinu so to speak.

On Rosh Hashanah morning while praying Shacharis a beautiful, beautiful connection happened. There, where I was camped alongside a dirt road at the edge of the forest on a mountainside above Fraser, Colorado, G-d heard the prayers in the absolute stillness. This happened while I was praying Dovid Ha Melech's "Song of Praise" to Hashem, "Then the trees of the forest will sing with joy before Hashem," 1 Chronicles 16: 8-36. Just as I uttered the above words, a forest that had been frozen with stillness was immediately charged by an enormous Ruach sweeping the giant blue and green spruce trees, the aspens and lodge pole pines back and forth with one very powerful gust. The trees of the forest swayed back and forth, circling side to side then they returned to their still up right position as if they were unmovable. The forest returned to absolute stillness again.

Being there, experiencing this was possible like Adam and Chava experienced G-d's presence in Gan Eden in the cool of the day. This was not any wind that I have experienced before or after. It was like the introduction to the arrival of G-d's presence on the mountainside. It was awesome! My sons were fortunate enough to be praying there with me, experiencing this very special revelation of G-d's presence during that particular Rosh Hashanah prayer.

To this day when I reach this verse in Dovid Ha Melech's "Song of Praise" to Hashem, I remember that Rosh Hashanah on the still mountainside.

Each of us has our own way of connecting to G-d during this most important time of the year. Even though community is very important, CONNECTION TO G-D is more important. Make that connection!

Please don't forget to check out my new book releases at: bnti.us/books.html


Wishing you the very best,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel

Assignment:

1.) Explain what happens beginning 1 Elul of this coming year

2.) What is 1 Tishri? {There are two answers...}

3.) What happens on Rosh HaShanah?

4.) How does one prepare for Rosh HaShanah?

ב''ה

Course: Shuvah 101

Would You Like To Be Jewish?

Lesson 3 Class Discussion 1


By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

QUESTIONS


Class Discussion on:

The Month of Elul

What Happens on Rosh HaShanah

Preparing for Rosh HaShanah

What Repentance Is

There is a Difference Between Repentance and Forgiveness

The Purpose of Assignments

Quoting Other Web Sites

This class discussion is dedicated in the loving memory of those we love may they rest in peace.

From Bill S.

Lesson 3 Assignment:

1.) Explain what happens beginning 1 Elul of this coming year
The Shofar will be sounded every morning of the month of Elul. GOOD

2.) What is 1 Tishri? {There are two answers...}
a) The beginning of Rosh Chodesh, the new month, and Rosh HaShanah, the new year. GOOD - THE NEW YEAR FOR WHO?
b) The anniversary of the first day of Creation. GOOD

3.) What happens on Rosh HaShanah?
All Creation stands before the Creator to give an account of the past year to be judged. GOOD

4.) How does one prepare for Rosh HaShanah?
One must return to Torah study, return to morning prayers. Search your heart. Think about where you are. Think about your conduct, your actions. Consider what areas of your life you may need to make right. GOOD Each of these are good answers. Yet, in addition to this we say extra prayers called Selichos {Prayers of Pardon, forgiveness, penitential prayers} and we recite Orchos Chaim Of The Rosh. These are prayers that focus our attention on important areas of living that every Jew and Spiritualist should pay close attention to.

Bill, in Ha Torah we do not simply say, 'I'm sorry' when we make a mistake and the sin is canceled! REPENTANCE DOES NOT WORK LIKE THIS! The course Bereishis 104 is devoted to how to receive forgiveness. In Tehillim {Psalms} 201 we refer to this as beating down a path of unrighteousness. What I am saying is this. How frequently do we say "I'm sorry" for doing the same thing over and over again... for repeating the same mistake time and time again?

Repeating the same mistake is beating down a path to unrighteousness! When one continues to make the same mistake over and over again it shows / proves one has NOT ADEQUATELY DEALT WITH THAT PROBLEM!

So what I am saying is that simply saying 'I'm sorry!' so often falls short of Ha Torah's definition of REPENTANCE. Repentance requires:

1.) Acknowledgment of Sin - One has to take ownership of what they have done wrong. This means statements like, "If I have done anything to hurt you... I am sorry!" or "If I have done anything wrong... I am sorry!" The problem of these statements is there is no acknowledgment so there can be no repentance.

2. Change Behavior / Correct the Problem - This is built on acknowledging the problem. If one does not acknowledge the sin they are either not aware there is a sin or they are denying the sin. Acknowledgment is saying, "I have sinned! This is my sin!" When one acknowledges their sin they can then move to step two, changing their improper behavior... correcting their problem. So the second step of repentance is making a plan to change one's improper behavior from what it was to what Ha Torah expects it to be. This may take weeks, months or even years and may require professional assistance. Yet the point is that one has acknowledged their problem. One has made a plan to not repeat their problem again. One is actively taking action to improve! 

Simply saying "I'm sorry" fails to accomplish this!!

3. Restitution - Once one has failed, acknowledged their failure and begun to work at correcting the improper behavior, the third step is DAMAGES! We must resolve any reasonable damages our behavior has created.

Bill, this is what Ha Torah expects when Ha Torah uses the term "Teh Shuvah" {return / repentance}.

Bill this is just one major problem with the concept of Jesus forgiving everyone of every sin they every committed. 
"Forgiveness" is not repentance. When we read in the Christian Testament "If we confess our sins, [Jesus] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 this does not say anything about step two - changing one's behavior or step three - paying restitution which are 2/3rd's of repentance. So based on 1 John 1:9 the sinner is only required to confess not change... Confession alone is not Teh Shuvah according to Ha Tenach!

Bill, we read in the New Testament 
"that if we wilfully sin after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for [our] sins." Hebrews 10:26 In other words, the Christian Testament teaches that one MUST change their behavior even though John does not state this. In addition, the Christian Testament states "there remains no more sacrifice for [the one who] sins." Ha Tenach does not teach this!

Blessings, Love and Peace!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


- - - - - - -


From Raymond K.,

1.) Explain what happens beginning 1 Elul of this coming year
There is the blowing of the shofar for the entire month, and also special prayers are prayed which are called Selichos or penitential prayers. The Orchos Chaim is read which is a study for living GOOD

2.) What is 1 Tishri? 
It is the beginning of Rosh HaShanna and also Rosh Chodesh, and it is also the birthday of the universe. GOOD

Tishri is also Oul Yaw Meem-Vi Shaw Neem (Days and Years), the Spiritualist New Year. 
GOOD

3.) What happens on Rosh HaShanah?
It is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year. No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah, and much of the day is spent in the synagogue for prayer. The name "Rosh Hashanah" is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday. The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance), and the holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25. The common greeting at this time is L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem, which means May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year. VERY GOOD

4.) How does one prepare for Rosh HaShanah? In preparing for Rosh HaShanah we search our hearts, and make an effort to let go of those things that are not pleasing to Hashem. I am not sure if one ever gets to the point of never making mistakes again, but I am sure that Hashem loves us enough that He knows we are going to have human moments. This to me is the beauty of Rosh HaShanah, knowing that we can be forgiven in those moment of weakness. GOOD

I am indebted to Dr. Belk for raising new questions for me to explore, outside the context of the class. For example, it is interesting to know that there is a very specific time, measured in minutes, for Shabbat to begin and end. However, this time strikes me as a fairly modern addition to praxis as I doubt Swiss clockwork (much less digital technology) predates Marco Polo's trip to the Orient. WHERE that specific time came from and why interests me much more than simple memorization of 18 minutes before and 63 minutes after sundown.

If failure to respond appropriately to the questions constitutes requirement for withdrawal, then so be it. Please extend my gratitude and thanks to Dr. Belk for the pleasure of his writing and his providing new areas to explore and learn.

Sincerely,

Adelle P.


- - - - - - -


From Zenaida S.

Lesson 3 Assignment:

1.) Explain what happens beginning 1 Elul of this coming year
The shofar will be blown each morning starting on 1 Elul throughout the entire month. During this time Selichos are said along with Orchos Chaim, which are important guidelines for studying and living every single day of this period.GOOD

2.) What is 1 Tishri? {There are two answers...}
Rosh HaShanah 
GOOD... and Yom Kippur [NOT YOM KIPPUR 10 TISHRI IS YOM KIPPUR] / OulYaw Meem - Vi Shaw Neem GOOD

3.) What happens on Rosh HaShanah?
Is the day of the judgment when all Creation stands before the Creator in order to give account of the past year's actions to be judged. VERY GOOD

4.) How does one prepare for Rosh HaShanah? 
With special prayers from Tehillim for repentance. GOOD


Shalom Zenaida Senior Rojas,

Good study!

Blessings, Love  and Peace!

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


- - - - - - -


From Ari,

1.) Explain what happens beginning 1st Elul of this coming year 
The first day of Elul proclaims the coming of Rosh HaShanah. The shofar is blown each morning, every day, during this month with the exception of Shabbat.GOOD

Special prayers called Selichos, ( penitential prayers) are recited with a list of important guidelines (Orchos Chaim) for the study and way of conducting one's life each day of the week. 
GOOD 

2
.) What is 1st Tishri? 
The first day of Rosh HaShanah and the beginning of a new year, the date that marks the birth of the universe or the beginning of Creation. 
GOOD

It is a day of judgment when Creation stands before G-d and gives an account of the past year and seeks atonement by repentance. This is especially the focus during the 10 days leading up to Yom Kippur, a time of increased effort and mindfulness of one's deeds and intentions. 
GOOD

3.) What happens on Rosh HaShanah? 
One makes a special effort to connect with G-d in a personal and intimate way. It is a focus of the entire community at this time but emphasis is upon one's personal connection. 
GOOD

4.) How does one prepare for Rosh Hashanah? 
The coming of Rosh HaShanah during the month of Elul is expressed by attention to and anticipation of the coming of the High Holy Days. The sounding of the shofar calls to remind us to return to morning prayers, study of the Torah, reflecting upon one's actions, repentance and refinement of one's self prior to standing before G-d on this truly awesome occasion. EXCELLENT


Please don't forget to check out my new book releases at: bnti.us/books.html


Blessings, Love and Peace,


Dr. Akiva Gamliel



ב''ה

Course: Shuvah 101

Would You Like To Be Jewish?

Lesson 3 Class Discussion 2


By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

QUESTIONS

Class Discussion on:


This class discussion is dedicated in loving memory of those we love, may they rest in peace.

From Ya'akov B.,

Assignment:
1.) Explain what happens beginning 1 Elul of this coming year
The new Month of Elul announces with the first blast of the shofar {except for Shabbat} the soon to come day of Rosh HaShanah. We blow the shofar for the entire month of Elul each morning leading up to Rosh Hashanah except on Shabbat. GOOD

2.) What is 1 Tishri? {There are two answers...}
Rosh HaShanah GOOD
Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of a new month, 1 Tishri is also Oul Yaw Meem - Vi Shaw Neem, {and days and years} the Spiritualist New Year GOOD

3.) What happens on Rosh HaShanah?
The day of judgment for every human... every particle in the universe... every bit of matter... for every being of the animal, bird and insect world... 1 Tishri is the day when all Creation stands before the Creator to give account of the past year and to be judged. It is the day of fruit and grain sacrifice for the Spiritualists of the world to Hashem the Creator. GOOD

4.) How does one prepare for Rosh HaShanah?
[THE] greatness of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is that each of us can prepare for them. We know the High Holidays are coming. It is not a sudden surprise like the day of one's death, G-d forbid. It is wonderful to know... it is comforting to be a part of... it is a secure anchor for one's soul. WOW! When a Jew is truly anchored in the High Holidays, it means that Jew can drift only so far before the mooring of the Elul with the sound of the Shofar begins beckoning shuvah... shuvah... shuvah each morning. In Yiddishkeit we have a very definite boundary. It is lovingly set there by Hashem as a reminder to RETURN to Torah study! ... Return to morning prayers... ! Search your heart, the Commander is coming for an inspection... ! Think about where you're at. Are you pleased with your actions? Do you need to make things right? GOOD


Shalom Dr. Belk,
After reading the class discussions, especially the one regarding Jesus, on Matthew 5, I have a better understanding now, more than ever before. You know I try and live my life by the Golden Rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I had a Rabbi tell me [one] time that the Torah teaches men to love one another, everything else is commentary. This statement is one that I took to heart, so you're right when you say that mankind was created with Spirituality, and not religion. My crossing over to Spirituality is one that I cherish very deeply. I feel the need to learn Torah, because of the nature G-D has placed in all mankind; some listen, others don't. 

I know you don't like attachments, however there is something I would like for you to read. There was an article in the Jewish Times, about the Temple I attend "Beth Hallel." It's not a faltering article, but with your permission I will send it to you.

Thank you for taking the time to go into such detail with classmates, and our individual needs.

G-D Bless,
Ya'akov


Shalom Ya'akov,

Please tell me which paper, day of the article, the article title and author. I will look it up on the internet, G-d willing. 

Please don't forget to check out my new book releases at: bnti.us/books.html


We will be posting more lessons, discussions and stories soon...


Blessings, Love and Peace,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel


ב'ה

Course: Shuvah 101


Lesson 4


Opening The Gates Of Change ©


By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk



Outside of Eretz Yisroel Rosh HaShanah is celebrated over two days. Each day is the same except for the Torah reading and the Haftarah reading in Temple. Also candle lighting is delayed until exactly at sundown. One lights a candle from an existing light source like the pilot light on a stove on a long burning candle light lit before Rosh Hashanah began.


First day

Genesis 21, Maftir: Numbers 29: 1- 6

Haftorah: 1Samuel 1:1-2:10


First day

Genesis 22, Maftir: Numbers 29: 1- 6

Haftorah: Jeremiah 31:1-19


On Rosh Ha Shanah we attend services at our local Congregation, Shul or Temple? Will we be bored? Will we pray the same long, long prayers? Will we pray for hours? Will we visit with friends that we haven't seen since the last High Holy Days? WHAT WILL WE DO? 


After years of participating in Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur services there is one thing extremely clear! Very little changes! What is the point of all of the praying? What is the point of fasting, of afflicting one's body? What is the point?? 


The point of Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur is REPENTANCE! There are Three Steps To Repentance.


1. Repentance is acknowledging ownership of one's sins. In past lessons I have discussed that: extensively on acknowledging one's sin. Acknowledgement of sin is the first step in repentance. Without acknowledgement / ownership of sin, the entire process is circumvented! We are side stepping our guilt! We're playing games with ourselves! Forgiveness is based on a genuine acknowledgment of sin!


2. Repentance requires a plan, a map of how not to repeat the same sin. Alcoholics Anonymous has a plan, "Don't take the first drink." 


3. Repentance is satisfying one's debt! One can acknowledge sin and one can design a plan not to repeat sin but THAT is not enough! How sincere is an acknowledgement of sin without a willingness to pay restitution? That confession is a sham! It lacks sincerity! It is only a mask and nothing more!!


So we come back to Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur -- same day, same time, another year... another year and another year ... we go through the motions and nothing changes. We keep coming back because it's our Jewish tradition. Yet there is more to Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur than tradition! If we are not improving as individuals because of Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur... if our character remains the same after Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur... if our improper habits do not change as a result of our prayers and our confessions and our repentance on Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur then we should be asking ourselves, "What is beneath our foundation?" 


This is like being in the red zone without scoring. This is like driving in reverse. This is like a rocket that cannot break free of Earth's gravity. This is like going to school without learning. THIS IS ATTENDING ROSH HA SHANAH and YOM KIPPUR SERVICES WITHOUT CHANGE!!


Classmate, let's focus on repentance, on conduct change, on breaking free from improper habits and on self improvement. In Parshat Nitzovim {Deut. 29.9 - 30.20}, we discussed immunities that we often subconsciously provide ourselves. This week we want to continue with that thought. Our subconscious self is very powerful. It influences our every movement. Our subconscious self is the soil beneath our foundation. So when we struggle with change we must look at our subconscious self.


For example in the parshat for Rosh Ha Shanah, GENESIS 21, the Torah responds to Sarah's subconscious self. Remember in Parshat Vayeira Sarah's subconscious self laughed when the angel said, 'I will surely return to you at this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son,' {Genesis 18: 10} 


Genesis 17: 15

And G-d Said to Abraham, 'As for Sarai your wife - do not call her name Sarai, for Sarah is her name. I will bless her; indeed, I Will Give you a son through her; I Will Bless her and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples will rise from her.'


Genesis 17: 16-19

And Abraham threw himself upon his face and laughed; and he thought, 'Shall a child be born to a hundred year old man? And shall Sarah a ninety year old woman - give birth? And Abraham said to G-d, '0h thatYishmael / Ishmael might live before you! 


G-d Said, 'Nonetheless, your wife Sarah will bear you a son and you shall call his name Yitzchok / Isaac; and I will fulfill my Covenant with him as an everlasting Covenant for his offspring after him...


Classmate, the birth of Yitzchok was an extremely important issue at stake here. Yet in these two instances we see Abraham and Sarah struggling with their subconscious selves just as many of us do ... 


So at Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur it is imperative for us to wrestle with a chronic condition that opposes change, a chronic condition hidden deep within our subconsciousness! This does not mean another round of quick fix self improvement classes. That is why so many of us have failed in our attempts to change. We placed emphasis upon what is known as personality ethic. Personality ethic focuses on quick fix influence techniques, communication skills, positive attitudes {especially mind over matter}, etc. It does not insist on real bona fide change! This is the fundamental difference between personality ethic and character ethic. What we need in our lives, if we want change, is to deal with and to focus on our character ethic. This requires dedicated effort! It is not like using a can of flat fix on a flat tire. It is removing the nail, sanding the punctured area, gluing and patching the puncture, mounting and rebalancing the tire.


When we look at the parshat for Rosh Ha Shanah we see words Vah Tah Hahr, meaning 'She conceived.' This is the Torah's reference to Sarah's giving birth to Isaac. The message, 'She conceived' is the Torah's paradigm shift to the subconscious self of Abraham and Sarah. This was a view different from the one Abraham and Sarah originally had. Their subconscious selves did not allow for the birth of a son at their advanced ages. Yet the words 'She conceived' pre-empted their subconscious selves. The message from the angel provided them with a new paradigm that contradicted - that conflicted with - their own subconscious selves. 


From right to left;

Vah Tah Hahr

She conceived

ו6 ת400 הר200 = 611


Torah

Five Books of Moshe

ת400  ור200 ה5 = 611


Now the message 'She conceived' ties in so beautifully with the Lord's aforementioned promise to Abraham, "I will fulfill my Covenant with him as an everlasting Covenant for his offspring after him..." We recognize this Covenant to be the Torah. The Gematria for Torah and for Vah Tah Hahr are both 611. Sarah's conception was a paradigm introducing the Covenant, the Torah! The Torah is a paradigm to our conflicted subconscious self which provides direction and character ethic to those of us who carefully observe it! Not only do we see a message of hope in the words Vah Tah Hahr, but we see the method which we can use to rise above defeat, the Torah. Vah Tah Hahr is a message of change to every Jew! It is the conception of the Torah! It is the soil beneath the foundation for Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur. It is the map to follow. It is the open gate to positive character change!


Blessings, Love and Peace,


Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk


Assignment:


1.) What are the three steps of repentance?


2.) How does one open the gate to change?

December 2012: Monthly Archives

Categories

Powered by Movable Type 4.1

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Would You Like To Be Jewish? category.

Weekly Parshat is the previous category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.