(by Christopher Fredrickson from Brutal Planet, The PaRDeS Radio Torah Portions and Torah Portions for Christians)
This walk of the striving of observing the commandments of Hashem is filled with instances where a student puts their hand to the their forehead and pull a Homer Simpson style "doh!!". I had one of these moments today as a matter of fact. I have started doing my personal studies on my own time reading from the Hebrew or Aramaic side of the pages in my Stone Edition Tanach or my Aramaic English New Testament. And I have been doing this for several reasons, the first being, pertaining to the old quote, "you don't use it you loose it" so I needed to brush up. Secondly I have discovered through my studies that often times if a word is written with a differentiation in a Hebrew letter it is to convey something, this often happens with the sizes of letters, often times whether it is bent or upright, open or closed and so many things are involved. So I have found myself reading from the Hebrew and Aramaic side of the pages in personal study because of these reasons.
Through that time I would see a word and say "why is there not a footnote on this one cause there is something incredible going on here because this tzaddi is bent" or "the word for rain has the word for light in it" etc. I would then pull out all the translations I own in hardback form and on my iPad and not totally satisfied with the English. And because of that I have found myself becoming one of those annoying guys who says, "I don't like how 'translation X' renders this word". And I was discussing this with a close personal friend who was a former orthodox rabbi and he said, "oh you are getting away from reading chumash", and I know what chumash was but I was silent for a second thinking to myself, "has my friend lost his mind? What is he talking about?", I said, "can you explain". And he said "surely you don't think your favorite translation or any English translation is without error do you; and that it brings the full meaning of each word or concept?" I said, "of course not, I like the Stone Edition and there have been other translations I have liked and I do not find them to be 100% without error in the English side of the page in fact I think we are only getting roughly 10% of what the text is saying in the English". My friend then said, "it is because you have been used to reading chumash" and I am still not getting the entire cut of his jib and I said, "no I have been reading the whole thing, not just a fifth of it". Cause Chumash means 5th. He then explained to me if a text has even the slightest error then it is "chumash" but "Torah" refers solely to the scroll that your rabbi rolls out at the beginning of service and it is 100% without error. Now Torah can also refer to actually doing mitzviot, or discussing parshyot or discussing halacha, the english text you have in front of you is not "Torah" it is "chumash".
I remember years ago when I would say to orthodox friends, I would refer to myself as "studying Torah" and they would laugh at me and I never understood why and now I do, cause I was not studying "Torah" with my English text I was studying "chumash". And in the revelation of this I am gonna make a conscious effort to adjust my vernacular in future teachings cause I realize that I was in error for referring to my English text as that of "Torah" and in some way I was diminishing from something so sacred as to say that something copied by a machine in mass quantity is equal to that of the scroll a student will write the entire Torah upon without error by hand in Hebrew. I think this is something many of us have picked up on when we initially learned Hebrew and Aramaic from a good source to read the actual texts as opposed to seeing the English text inerrant and working backwards with a text like STRONG'S, that is just bad scholarship and a bad way to learn Hebrew and Aramaic and you will really mess yourself up by doing such a thing.
But I wanted to bring you all this revelation of our terminology of major part of our text we use when we read and study and please do not take this as a demand to follow suit with me on this fact that I am gonna refer to the English not as Torah but rather "Chumash" (pronounced (a phlegmy) ch-u-mish). I only wanted to bring this up for those of you who like myself may not have realized this like I didn't for a long time in terms of the terminology yet I know the best English translations have some slight issues every couple of verses in their rendering and I must say for the most part Artscroll and Netzari Press with the Stone Edition Tanach and The Aramaic English New Testament do help with their massive footnotes in understanding a little closer to what the "Torah" says in terms of English and the words within the New Testament but it is still lacking a bit. And there is not a "perfect translation" out there. If there were, then one page of the English text would have roughly 5 pages of footnotes just to give you a basic understanding of the Hebrew or Aramaic actually says. And this is why Torah She Be'al Peh is so important cause even for those who only know the English we had some great sages and Rabbis who also picked up on these things who spoke Hebrew and Aramaic fluently and who have studied from the actual Torah scrolls many years and them explaining an upright tzaddi as opposed to a bent tzaddi in a verse in Deuteronomy is to them like an architect showing a middle school student how to use a protractor. And it is important to realize until we can speak Hebrew and Aramaic fluently and see these things in the text and find out what they mean, we are that middle school student who has only seen a protractor, we have never seen it even used we don't even know what it really is or it's purpose, yet we at times pretend like we are experts and scholars and this as well is dangerous.
Look, I realized something many years ago. And this is not a bad thing, this is a good thing and if you feel the same way in my next and final statement then you are on the right path in your walk. I have come to realize that the more I learn the less I actually know. Many within their own vanity may say, "may it never be" but let me tell you, this is good thing. Why is it a good thing? Cause we realize we are always pursuant and we realize that Hashem has much much much more to reveal to us each year as we study the chumash together, as we study the New Testament together. And this rings true what it is our sages say when asked how many interpretations there are to each line of Scripture, they argue a bit, and the number keeps climbing and then the final rabbis say, "There are an unlimited number of interpretations of each passage of Scripture that is correct, it is however dependent upon what it is the bat kol or the Ruach HaKodesh wishes to reveal to you at that time". It makes for an amazing journey and an exciting one, that never ends, we mustn't ever become comfortable with where it is we are at we must always wish for Hashem to show us He is bigger than we could ever imagine and see him in every area of life and every motion we make. He shows us this through the Torah scroll a great deal.
(by Christopher Fredrickson from Brutal Planet, The PaRDeS Radio Torah Portions and Torah Portions for Christians)
When I was 15 years old I attended my first concert, I had the cassette tapes and CDs that contained my favorite songs such as "Right Now", "Can't Stop Loving You", "Jump" and "Not Enough". If you haven't guessed it my first concert was on the day before my 15th birthday and it was to see Van Halen on the Balance tour. The thought goes through a person's mind who lived in a world before the internet age, "will they play the songs I like?", "Will they sound like they do on the CD?", "How many songs will they sing?" etc. I went with my dad to this concert and had the time of my life I was singing the songs and I even said, "They sound better in concert than they do on the CD". I was so taken by the guitar playing of Eddie Van Halen and I remembered I wanted a guitar so bad I could taste it. I remembered the exact one I wanted too, I wanted Pevey Wolfgang, the same kind that Eddie played yet I was given a Fender acoustic guitar and I remember my parents telling me, "learn to play this first" year later I then bought my own Ibanez stratacaster and I practiced, and played in many bands and everyone would tell me I was difficult to write songs with because all my playing sounded like Eddie Van Halen. And the reason was, I studied his guitar playing, I bought all the books on how to play like Eddie Van Halen I got the concert video tapes and I studied it intensively and learned to play guitar that way. That love for the guitar and playing it was because of that one concert, I saw Eddie as the coolest dude on the planet and I was a young kid who wanted to be just like him. Now Eddie would never say anything on stage he focused in on his guitar playing and in 1995 he was without a doubt the best. Many of the big name guitarists at any point in history will say they have influences people that caused them to gravitate towards the instrument. In many ways you can reach a person and inspire them without words.
Now that I have grown older and have not played a musical instrument in 7 years my liking of music now is of the jazz greats such as Jim Hall, Diana Krall, Miles Davis and Candy Dulfer each of them equal if not more superior to that of Eddie Van Halen. If I were to see them in concert at the age of 15 they would have inspired me to maybe play something else. But lets get to the reason of this story.
Often times we try and make the case for Torah and Messiah through saying the right things, winning the argument. We treat our faith like one side of the political isle in a round table debate. The question is have any of us ever seen an episode of "Meet the Press" or "Crossfire" or "The Five" or any political talk show where person on one side of the isle then says, "you know what? You have given me sufficient evidence and I see I am wrong and you are right, I am going to go and change my voter registration tomorrow" that my friends has never ever happened. Bob Beckle will always think those suspenders look good on him even when studies have shown that 100% of the population says suspenders do not look good on anyone.
So my question then becomes how in the world can we expect to bring people into the truth of Torah and Messiah by learning the correct Scripture to recite, using the right sources in terms of theology when there is always someone on the other side who thinks their evidence for their belief is either equal or far superior? The fact is this is a style of witnessing that is not the way those in the Ketuvim HaNetzarim, the Ketuvim of the Prophets and the Chumash (Torah) witnessed. This instead is a quest for validation, a quest for self exaltation, a quest for an extra gold star on the teacher's reward board. Yet this is like hard core David Lee Roth fans and hard core Sammy Hagar friends yelling at each other as to who is better. And it turns into this "my religion is better than your religion and you are n idiot cause you don't see it". So the question is......how should Netzari Jews witness?
Refer back to the Eddie Van Halen story, did Eddie Van Halen come out on stage, speak even a single word? Well the answer is no, so he certainly did not come out and give a speech as to why he is better than any other guitarist in the same genre. He played his tail off, he instead ripped through the solos and was able to do things with the guitar no one else has been able to do. Then he went off the stage and went to the next gig. People respect him as a guitarist and are fans of his because he plays the guitar amazingly. So therefore, what is the evidence that we know what we are talking about in Netzari Judaism? We could write up a press release and say, "we know what we are talking about and everyone else is an idiot" which is essentially what social media has turned into and which is one of the main reasons I personally left social media. The evidence that matters does not seem to exist. And the goal of the ministries associated with Nazarene Media (PaRDeS Radio, YeshuaCast and NazFlix) are here to show you how to change that.
Our witness does not come from offering answers to questions not asked, or trying to put a piece of meat under a box with a piece of string and a stick just waiting to snag the animal that goes after the meat. When you have a room full of sick people all infected with a plague and one person who is not infected with a plague the question then becomes "how come this person was not infected....we need to find out what we did wrong and what they did right". Young people who choose a major in college are inspired by someone and they search out how to get into the field of the person who inspired them. If a man tries to replace a radiator fan in his car and fails, yet his neighbor can replace a radiator fan in 5 minutes and he has seen him do it, the neighbor is prone to ask..."how do you do that?".
I am often reminded of Avraham Aveinu, whom you did not see chasing people down, our sages say that Avraham at that time was a revolutionary figure in the theological sense because he was the worlds only monotheist at the time. So we see just how bad everything was then, he was the only one essentially worshiping the God of Creation. But the thing we keep seeing in Avraham Aveinu's life is that he had one attribute that set him apart that people actually saw, we did not see him in theological debate, no where is is said he debated anyone, instead we see he was the embodiment of chesed (loving kindness). In the Parsha Toldos, in the first few verses we see that Avraham stopped his prayer midway through his conversation with Hashem to tend to the needs of 3 men (whom were actually angels yet Avraham did not know this). Through his actions and by doing what he did not out of zealousness, not out of ego, not out of self gratification, but he did it for the sake of Hashem and the love of Hashem is mirrored onto how it is a person treats others. We see Avraham Aveinu is the kind of servant Hashem wants all of us to be. And our Messiah Yeshu as well showed this to be the case when he said above all mitzvios is to love Hashem and to love your neighbor. That is essentially the umbrella over all the Torah. Yeshua also told Keefa he would make them fishers of men. Now if you hang a hook out of your boat with nothing on it do you expect a fish to put his bite down on a naked hook? Of course not. They put instead some kind of thing that a fish, they are hoping to catch, that would be like a sirloin steak to them to get the fish to swim towards the hook. Instead, in the Netzari Faith we tend to be like slick used car salesmen, "you don't want to drive that car you have now it sucks, what you want is the new model......and it has.......and I am gonna throw in a special deal just for you......". And this is the major problem. So how do we break away from even acting like this? Habits are sometimes hard to break.
There is something studied often in Mathematics, Science, and even Social Sciences called Chaos Theory, and Chaos Theory has an element of truth in it on a much gander scale. This can be shown in the book of Esther where we do not see Hashem mentioned anywhere in Esther yet we see the puzzle pieces come together in everything he orchestrated that each motion we take in our life has an impact in some way or another, that every word as the chassidics say is suspended and in existence somewhere in the universe and it has an impact on someone or something living because words are manifestations. When a mitzvah or a mitzvos is fulfilled that is like comparing a butterfly flapping it's wings and how it affects the cosmos and a bowling ball going 90 mph to some bowling pins (yes I know they don't go that fast but I think you get the cut of my jib). Whether you know it or not people are watching you, from up close and from a distance every kind act and ever commandment fulfilled by you each day has a major impact cause those whom you think are watching from farther and farther away in your mind are actually putting you under a microscope and they are seeing if you know the key to changing the the spark plugs that went bad in their life. They are looking for someone with the answers, someone whom inspires them when you think no one is looking believe me you have many friends and family members looking at you. The time you are discounted is when you feel it necessary to go on the defensive and butt heads. For a human being knows that if a person must make a straw man argument he only does so because he does not have a case to make for what it is he believes and it is obviously not in his actions. Therefore, we must look at the Torah much differently than we are accustomed to and in away that many do not wish to teach it. And that is by looking at it introspectively, instead of hoping it convicts someone else, ask for Hashem to convict you each time you read the Chumash, the Writings of the Prophets or the Writings of the Netzarim. Then and only then can you inspire, and you will inspire because of the fact you will be a mirror image of the God in which you serve. Let us stop using the Torah to condemn, rather let us put the Torah inside of us let us instead eat of the scroll and grow within us. As opposed to taking it tearing it up rolling it up into little balls and sticking it at the end of a straw and blowing it out at other unexpectedly. Instead let us be on a constant never ending journey to connect with Hashem and have Him convict us each and every day and ask Him to help us become better servants each and every day and then one day as the prophet said, we will turn around and behind us will be a "gentile pulling on the tzitiot of a Jew saying teach us for we know Hashem is with you". Notice we did not go out searching for the goy, for instead they came to us and they know the fruits that we have produced through Yeshua and they know it was good, and because it is good we say "it is because of Hashem it is good, yet it is not by my hand that it is good but by Hashem's". Happy Hanukkah everyone.
(by Christopher from Brutal Planet and the PaRDeS Radio Torah Portions on PaRDeS Radio and KKVV 1060AM)
One thing I often see in terms of those new to Torah observance is an unhealthy paranoia in terms of the times and dates of the feasts. Often times the closer we get to the observance of the feasts in Leviticus 23 there are many congregational splits that happen over calendar. I attended once a congregation that split because of a lack of spiritual maturity that ensued on both sides of the argument in terms of the dates of the Torah readings and the feasts. This is one of the most divisive things in our faith as Netzari I am sad to say and I see much destruction happen to the body at this time. There are spiritually mature ways to handle these things.
First of all, if there are disagreements on calendar these are issues that should be discussed during the summer when there is a time for adjustment if adjustment is seen to be needed within a congregation or a household. The times approaching the feasts is the wrong time to discuss such things cause a person's focus needs to be on preparation of what the feast is about not on timing.
Look at it like a child who's birthday is coming up, the parents celebrate the child's birthday on the day of his birthday, he gets his cake his presents and he has a good time. Then the child's grandparents come into town and bring him yet another cake and more presents, is the child going to say to the grandparents; “I cannot accept this cause my birthday, take the gifts and the cake back”? Of course he isn't.
I have been hit with many questions surrounding this situation, many have disagreed with their congregations on calendar and have contemplated not attending their congregation's functions for the days they believe the feasts start. I would say whether the congregation has the right or wrong day(s) if the person in disagreeance doesn't attend then it is not the congregation that is at fault nor the rabbi. Instead it is the person who chooses not to attend because of the disagreement who is sinning. The reason for this is especially during Succos this festival is a gathering of brethren and a time to reflect together as brethren, as brothers and sisters. In many cases, despite whether the congregation has the right day(s) or not a person is choosing to put themselves outside the camp. We see the same thing in the Torah in terms of Miryiam and Korach.
The thing we often do not realize is the most essential part of the feasts, festivals and fasts, and that is it is not about us. When we start to argue with other brethren over the days of celebration then the focus is no longer on Hashem, rather it is put upon one's own ego. This is why the rabbis in the Talmud say in the tractate Shabbat that the “new moons and feasts are consecrated”, when we focus not on the representation of the feast of festival we are not consecrated to Hashem. Rather we are seeking validation to put the spotlight on one's self. Many young in their walk act this way often.
So therefore how do we handle such issues of calendar and feasts in terms of one's congregation having a different view than yourself? Follow your personal conviction, if Pesach falls on a different day in the way that your congregation does, I would say hold a private consecrated celebration at your home or with friends who believe the same AND as well attend your congregation's observed days as well, because if one is wanting to be close to Hashem then it is like the child having two days of cake and presents on their birthday, we should have the same amount of joy to celebrate on anther day than we do on the day we feel convicted to keep. A discussion of correction on calendar should NEVER take place during these times and again the reason is “it is not about us”.
I have also gotten several emails from individuals who have roommates who celebrate different feast days. This is often a more sticky situation yet it can still be resolved by again establishing the most important thing mentioned before several times, “it is not about me”. Discuss these issues around the summer when there is a major spread between feasts and work out a compromise if it is important to you and your roommate to celebrate the feasts together. One solution is rotating calendars, the fall feasts being celebrated on one person's calendar and the spring feasts on the other's calendar. Purim and Chanukah should also be discussed during that time and a compromise on those days as well. Another compromise could simply be, “do both”.
When I am personally asked about the timing of the feasts and festivals, the thing I always ask is if the person has a rabbi. If so I always reply, “I am not your personal rabbi so I cannot discuss that halaka with you, it is something you must discuss with him.” The fact is despite the arguments many try to make to make their case Hashem realizes we have been dispersed, He realizes we get contradicting messages from many teachers and views and opinions etc. The thing He wants more than anything is for us to have the relationship with Him and not worry so much on who is right who is wrong etc. Cause then the focus is off of Hashem and it is put upon self and put upon the elevation of another. And this is never a good thing. These petty arguments are what cause people to not be able to grow in Hashem, which causes them to be stationary and their hearts hardened towards those who may simply have a different view. It is a stone in the joint of the body which causes it to be immobile, causes it not to be able to move.
(by Christopher from Brutal Planet and the PaRDeS Radio Torah Portions on PaRDeS Radio and KKVV 1060AM)
The pursuit of knowledge and wisdom is not necessarily the same thing in terms of applied faith. One of the major issues we often acquire in the Netzari Faith is by thinking the two are indeed synonymous. We should realize this when reading the words of Paul in the book of Romans when he implies that one will only be held responsible for what they know.
“There is therefore no excuse for you, O man, who judges your neighbor; for by judging your
neighbor, you condemn yourself; for you that judge do practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of Elohim is in accordance with truth, in regard to those who practice these things. And what thinks you, O man, who judges those who practice these things, while practicing them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of Elohim? Or will you abuse the riches of his benevolence, and his long suffering, and the opportunity which he gives you? And do you not know that the benevolence of Elohim should bring you to repentance?”
(Romans 2:1-4) (AENT)
This very much parallels R. Bachya in his writings in the 11th Century in Duties of the Heart where he said that the intellect of a man parallels his observance, with more intellect comes more of an obligation of observance where the man with less intellect, less is required of him. This appears in his gate of introspection on reflection. This sentiment is also spoken of by the Baal Shem Tov as well as the Ramchal.
The seeking of knowledge is not a negative attribute but it is limited in it's capabilities. A college student is learning to be a lawyer, he gets A+s on all his exams, turns his homework in on time and gets amazing marks on the things he has learned from his professor, yet can he call himself a lawyer honestly until he passes his bar exam and has his first case? Until he does that his knowledge is not applied, thus it is essentially useless until applied. Think of knowledge and wisdom being like a cell phone and a charger for your cell phone. Without the charger you can only speak for a few hours on the cell phone, unless you have electricity and a charger the cell phone is nothing more than an overpriced paper weight and is not really of any use to you if the battery is dead. However, if a person has a home and car charger the cell phone will work as it is intended and not be useless. Our faith in Yeshua and Torah is essentially the same thing.
Often times we try and be smart, we read a lot of books, we listen to tons of commentaries, buy all the DVDs we can find, read tons of articles by authors and commentators you trust to teach you yet, it is doing you no good. The thing I often see in the Netzari faith is something that is a huge stumbling block, which is confusing wisdom with knowledge and thinking they have equal weight, treating the Scripture as a text book to fill the mind with facts for an exam. Though a life without the applied knowledge is nothing more than a waste if one does not find failure and wisdom after they have gained knowledge of a certain thing.
Our wisdom often times comes from failure, for the wisest people I know are the ones who apply many different ways, they try different ways of applying the mitzvos till they find how to connect deeply to Hashem. For instance Sabbath observance, one week a person may turn off the lights in their home and all electronics, the next they may go to the schul,the next they may stay at home and study by watching or listening to commentary. Wisdom comes from personal reflection and personal application to seek after Hashem, or at sometimes accidentally stumble upon Him without meaning to do so. By reading from the Scriptures and noticing something personal, a personal story that you have experienced that parallels what you have read. The verse or chapter or book may then take on a whole new life to you like it never has and that is wisdom. Wisdom is application and it is something that lasts, though with knowledge you do not use it....you may loose it in a short period of time. But a man who works on an engine of a car, and does it and refines the way he does it will become the expert on how to fix the motor when the one who studies the motors at MIT and has never touched a single motor, and has never cut his hands or gotten his clothes greasy will be lost a few months later and will have to re-study the chapter on assembling motors for his final exam. Yet the one who has worked on them will be able to ace the exam without even touching the book in over 30 years because he has applied it. Rabbi Shalom Arush goes into great detail on this in his book The Garden of Peace where he parallels the same premise with marriage:
“In his earliest days, the Holy Celibate Shlit'a decided that his soul years for Torah. He concluded that his best move would be to remain single and find a secluded house of study where he could devote the days of his life to Torah and to Divine service. Soon the Holy Celibate Shlit'a discovered a tiny clapboard synagogue in a rural village, far off the beaten track. He asked permission from the local beadle to eat, drink and sleep within the confines of the synagogue, which also served as the village house of study. He solemnly promised not to disturb a soul. The beadle agreed.
The Holy Celibate Shlit'a would quietly sit in the corner, learning day and night without disturbance or interruption. He barely left the house of study. He limited his food intake to only a few pieces of dried crusts of bread a day. Denying himself of anything he found enjoyable, he drank water from the tap, and slept on a hard wooden bench. Days months and years then transpired in this matter, until the fateful day when the beadle found the Holy Celibate Shlit'a lying lifelessly on the floor of the synagogue.
The entire village escorted the Holy Celibate Shlit'a on the way to his final resting place. They couldn't find adequate words to express his holiness. All the villagers were certain that such an individual, totally withdrawn and aloof from anything mundane, was surely a great tzaddik.
In fact, the Holy Celibate Shlit'a agreed with the villagers; he was sure that he was a tzaddik of lofty merits. And his soul ascended to the Heavenly Court, he was certain that he'd be greeted by an honor guard of history's greatest tzaddikim playing lyres and cymbals, accompanied by a choir of archangels singing in a six part harmony. He was positive that they would be escorting him to his rightful station below the Heavenly Throne to bask in the sublime light of The Divine Presence.
The Holy Celibate Shlit'a suffered a horrifying shock of disappointment. No souls of the greak tzaddikim arrived to greet him. He didn't have any angels playing music in his honor. All he saw were the images of his parents and ancestors standing in front of him with dejected contention. Without any further delay he was rushed off into the Heavenly Courtroom, where he stood before a tribunal of very stern looking tzaddikim.
The Chief Justice opened up a large volume, the life story of the Holy Celibate Shlit'a. He reviewed all of the Holy Celibate Shlit'a's mitzvot, and then addressed him by his first name, ignoring the dignified title “the Holy Celibate Shlit'a”. The chief Justice said 'Yosske , you learned quite a bit of Torah, you prayed, you made the necessary blessings, you put on tifillin daily and you wore tzitzit. You observed Shabbat and the holy days and you fasted even more than required. In fact you have done a good job of observing the mitzvot. There's a problem though with all your good deeds – you didn't complete the mission that you were supposed to complete in the physical world. You learned Torah but you failed to implement what you learned. Had you married you would have seen how far away you are from true Torah observance, for then, you would have had to invest much more effort to fulfill each mitzvah”
Casting a chastising glance at the shocked soul of the Holy Celibate Shlit'a, the chief Justice added: “Don't you know the entire purpose of learning Torah was to acquire emuna? The level of emuna you attained is extremely inadequate. Had you married you, you'd been required to face a long list of trials and tribulations with your wife. When she would have hindered your Torah learning with her various demands, you would have failed the tests. Whenever she would have belittled or scolded you, you'd have tarnished your soul with anger and complaining; only then would you have seen how weak your emuna really is. You thought you trusted in Hashem, but you'd been faced with the challenge of providing for a wife and children, you'd have seen just how frail your trust in Hashem.”
As a people, if Torah learning were for only a historical exam to be studied for then I think a majority of us in the Netzari Faith would get high marks. However, in the reality, when it comes to application and wisdom at times we are very much lacking because we tend to rely on the intellect, yet we don't believe that the intellect requires a paralleled observance for Yeshua himself warned of this very thing.
“And the Pharisees and scribes who came from Urishlim gathered around him. And they saw some of his disciples who were eating bread while their hands were not washed, and they complained. For all the Yehudeans and the Pharisees, if they do not carefully wash their hands, they do not eat, because they hold to the traditions of the elders. And goods from the marketplace, unless they are washed, they would not eat. And there are many other traditions that they have received to keep washings of cups and of pots and of brass vessels and of beds. The scribes and the Pharisees asked him. “Why don’t your disciples walk according to the traditions of the elders? But while they eat bread their hands are not washed!” And he said to them, “Yesha’yahu the prophet did well prophesy about you hypocrites! As it is written that, ‘This people honor me with their lips. But their hearts are very distant from me. And vainly they fear me while they are teaching the doctrines of the commandments of the sons of men.’For you have left the Commandment of Elohim, and you have embraced the tradition of the sons of men: the washing of cups and of pots and many others that are like these.” He said to them, “You well rejected the Commandment of Elohim that you might establish your tradition. For Moshe said to honor your father and your mother, and anyone who reviles his father and his mother, ‘Let them be put to death!’ But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or to his mother, “My offering is what you have gained from me,’ Then you do not allow him to do anything for his father or for his mother. And you despise the Word of Elohim, because of the tradition that you have handed down and that resemble these many things that you do.” And Y’shua called all the crowd and said to them, “Hear me all of you and understand, There isn’t anything that is on the outside of a man that enters into him that is able to defile him. But the thing that goes out from him, that is the thing that defiles a man. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” And when Y’shua entered into the house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about that saying. He said to them, “You are likewise slow to understand. You do not know that everything which enters into a man from the outside is not able to defile him. Because it does not enter into his heart, rather into his belly and is cast out by excretion, which purifies all the food. But anything that goes out from a man is that which defiles a man.”
(Mark 7:1-20) (AENT)
Seek wisdom brethren and do not be afraid to fail cause with great failure comes great wisdom that is only gained through application. Everything can look great on paper until it is applied then we gain more intellect through wisdom and the table is then turned on our former perception of which is more valuable even during times of discourse.
(by Christopher from Brutal Planet and the PaRDeS Radio Torah Portions on PaRDeS Radio and KKVV 1060AM in Las Vegas)
Our sages, of blessed memory, tell us that Hashem put a part of himself into all of Creation. Therefore given the fact that hundreds billions of individuals have existed throughout our nearly 6,000 year history on earth, 7 billion alive today and each a unique individual. There are over 3 million species of animals in existence today and almost 1 million species of plants, shrubbery, and trees. We can also take into account the billions of kinds of microscopic organisms many of which that have not been discovered. Is it possible that God is trying to show us something given that His Creation is a reflection of Him?
When I read the writings of Jeremiah and Ezekiel speaking of the same events, I see how they did not necessarily agree with one another from certain vantage points yet they had mutual respect for one another. Paul and Peter did not agree with one another on several small points and neither did Paul and Barnabas. Then there is the writings handed down from the oral of our Rabbis of old, same thing yet also a mutual respect. Why did they handle themselves in reverence to one another yet they did not always agree on several issues? The answer is very simple, and very divine. The fact is the mutual respect came from the fact that they realized how big Hashem is and they realized that each was given a unique divine spark within them that caused them to see things differently that was not in contradiction with one another yet however complimented one another by in essence making the Scripture 3 dimensional. One prime example of this are the three accounts of the throne of Hashem as recorded in Daniel, Ezekiel and in Revelation. Each saw the throne from a different vantage point. This in terms gave us a greater understanding as to what it actually looks like.
One of the main issues in the body of Messiah that has caused us to basically be our own worst enemy is the need for validation of our own personal interpretation and for the Scripture to only be seen through the eyes of one individual's interpretation within the Netzari faith or the Messianic faith or the Hebrew Roots. We tend to reject the individual, our own egos which is watered and fed by the yetzer hara, and we in turn reject God's diversity and we place Him in a box within our own minds. This ideal causes more division in the body and breads more ego and self righteousness than anything else. So what happens? To hold onto a little bit of unity we then decide to attack a common enemy we have been trained to hate, that being our former religious institution. This may seem to cause unity by preaching to the crowd cause written history can only be taken one way as opposed to the Scripture. Psychologically we then treat the Scripture the same way because of all the history we have read and we read the Scripture as only a literal novel. We say subconsciously, "well the history in terms of the who what where when and why is very straight forward and the case is closed so Scripture must be read the same way." This is dangerous and it is the essential reason so many cannot grow in their walk because they focus on looking back. Notice that Lot's wife looked back and she turned into a pillar of salt, notice that Yeshua said, "put your hand to the plow and do not look back." Yet it is simpler to look back then it is to move forward.
The thing that is amazing to be is how perfect the Tanakh is in it's Hebrew form and the New Covenant Scriptures in it's original Aramaic form, so much so even the rabbis and sages see the Scripture as being something as divine. In fact they believe every single line encompasses 72 interpretations that are indeed correct. That is rather amazing if you ask me. Notice we never hear of the Maharal bashing R. Bachya or the Baal Shem Tov bashing the Ramchal or Rambam bashing Rashi. Mutual respect all around and a humility of saying that their contemporaries had something to contribute in various areas and it is centered around the very simple concept of humility and a love for Hashem and realizing because of Hashem's amazing intellect there is so much we can learn from others and the divine spark he put within them that is different than any other individual. This is also why fellowship is so very important so that we may converse and reason together and realize, "hey I have my own sacred cows I need to get rid of and realize Paul spoke of a body in Ephesians 5-6 and 1 Corinthians 12, not just one attribute of it that made up the entire body".
Our inability to come together in true shalom is because of our inability to see how big Hashem is, He has given us many proofs of this in the formation birds fly, in the fact that no two sea shells are the same, or that each person's fingerprints are different, and to realize Hashem created not only the fingerprints, the birds or the sea shells but he also created the divine order. When we realize this, then we can come together as an effective body for our Messiah Yeshua but until then we will continue down a path of destruction we bring upon ourselves. At times we are not victims but rather we are volunteers.
by Christopher Fredrickson from Brutal Planet and The PaRDeS Radio Torah Portions on PaRDeS Radio and KKVV 1060AM
There was a man, who wanted to celebrate one of the Biblical feasts. Yet he had many things in his way. First of all he was new in his walk, and had not celebrated the feast in the past. He also had physical limitations, and could not afford the things needed for the feast. He even asked his Rabbi if he could use milk instead of the wine that is traditionally used and commanded to be used in the said feast.
The Rabbi tells his secretary to bring him a box of matzo from his private stash and some candles. The Rabbi knew the difficulties of the man, he knew the man struggled with alcoholism before attending the Rabbi's shul, and he knew financially the man was in dire straights. So the concession was made, yet it is written bread and wine. Why was the concession made? Because the man had a heart for Hashem and wanted to celebrate the feast.
Another story is that of a Tzaddik and a Rabbi who were entering into the shul to take their students to Sukkos. A party was held and half the students were drinking wine and being merry, the others abstained and were sober. The Rabbi asks the Tzaddik which of the students were righteous in their actions. The Tzaddik turns to the Rabbi and says, "do you know why one half drinks of the wine in preparation of the feast?" The Rabbi ponders and was unable to give an answer he was confident in giving. The Tzaddik says, "the ones who drink are acting righteously because the wine causes them to exaggerate the good qualities of their fellow men and they bring shalom. But the ones who abstain are acting just as righteously because if they were to drink they would exaggerate the negative of their fellow brothers"
The reason I bring up these two stories is because of the fact that I have come to see the Hebrew Roots and the Netzari or Messianic faiths as becoming our own worst enemy. The young believer goes through a mourning period and an anger period which is natural feeling that they have been lied to by their former religious institution. Thus a spirit of hate festers from within their yetzer , their own inclination, the focus then becomes that of what is pagan, and the perceived evil of their former religious institution in through the crafters of that particular faith. They then take the sins of a few and say that it is the sins of all. The Torah even speaks against this ideal in terms of a family.
"Fathers shall not be put to death because of sons, and sons shall not be put to death because of fathers; a man should be put to death for his own sin" (Deuteronomy 24:16) (SET)
Thus to damn a person because of their ignorance and because of their upbringing does not mean they are condemned to death because of the sins of the crafters of their former religious institution. All too often I see those within our faith as Netzarim call those in the Christian world, "pagans", the "tools of HaSatan", "deceived", "idolaters" etc. It has even becomes the status quo to go on pagan witch hunts and have that be the infestation of radio and television teachings and these teachers get a great deal of coverage. The question then becomes, why would someone act in this matter? And I mean REALLY why? And does this behavior helps advance the Kingdom?
Let us first tackle why a person does this and acts in this matter, subconsciously a feeling of validation and community is needed because this is the infancy stage and for some reason us as human beings love to carefully guard our egos and we love to feel like we are smarter and we need to be assured of that. So what a person young in their walk does is they throw rocks at their former religious institution and invites everyone to throw rocks with them, but what in turn happens is within the building they are throwing the rocks into is a defenseless infant who is stuck on the head an killed. A militia is formed and we are not better than our former religious institutions and their crusades of death and destruction. Only this time we are not taking out the physical man, but we are destroying the thing that is eternal within him, his spirit, the thing that lives on. We cause many to stumble and a majority do not agree with us but rather they dismiss God all together because they do not see God in the truth you are claiming to be presenting to them. Secretly these people want nothing more than a pat on the back and they want to feed the ego by surrounding themselves with those with whom only agree with them. This is dangerous and causes a person's spiritual growth to be either stunted or lessened as they do this. A person who needs to be validated can never grow, they only wish to be right, they feel they are above the prophets above the Talmidim and even in many cases feel they are above Yeshua feeling that they should never be corrected. Because it is no longer about truth at this point it is instead about validation and the selfish attributes one wishes to feeds which in turn kills the man, spiritually.
Does this behavior advance the Kingdom? Some thump their protruding chests and say, "I am teaching truth!!" with an emphatic explanation of their own piousness. A servant, never props himself above that of the person he is speaking to.
Let it not be thus among you, but whoever among you desires to be great, let him be a servant to you. And he who among you desires to be first, let him be a servant to you. Just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give himself as a ransom for the sake of many.” (Matthew 20:26-28) (AENT)
The fruits then of the Spirit are these: Love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. Against these there is no instruction put in place. (Galatians 5:22-23)
I must be honest, I see why it is we seem ridiculous to the orthodox and why we seem ridiculous to the Christians. The reason is we feel we are in a cable news channel debate 24/7 in terms of our faith. Thus is the reason why I, personally, have found myself listening to mainly orthodox and chassidic teachings now. I am confident beyond the shadow of a doubt that Yeshua is my Messiah. But when I listen to an orthodox teacher or a chassidic teacher, they are confident in what they believe and they say, "let's learn it an apply it" in the Hebrew Roots a majority of our "teachers" do not do this, instead they argue their case, they feed head knowledge, and are always on the defense. This goes to show we have some major problems when teachers who talk about application are few and far between. This is sad, we need to turn this around. This is also the reason why PaRDeS Radio is looking for new radio show hosts. Given that we have the biggest internet radio audience in the world in terms of the Hebrew Roots, we have an opportunity to lead the way in the right way to teach the faith of Torah and Messiah.
Shalom everyone. I am happy to announce only a month after the initial release of "Yetzer Shalom: Inclinations of Peace" we had sold over 320 copies raising $320 dollars for the organization "Autism Speaks" which is amazing and it is servitude in action.
It is amazing cause the day of the release of the first edition I started working on the second edition immediately, because I knew how special this book was to people when the PDF initially was released before the hardcover was printed. I said, "This is not anywhere close to being done", Hashem made my mind fill with more inclinations of shalom and I put the pen to the paper and got started immediately on the second edition.
The second edition offers 30 more pages of inclinations of peace not found in the 1st edition, we also changed the Hebrew font to a much more bold font and made the text more bold as well within the English portions of the interlinear part of the book. And as always the PDF of the book is absolutely free and I am also happy to announce on August 10th 2013 we will be having a live book signing and live radio broadcast for the Yetzer Shalom: Inclinations of Peace at the Blu Butterfly in downtown Easley, SC (The Greenville area). If you are interested in attending then send us an email in our "contact" section on Nazarene Media. And we will be signing the new softcover version of the 2nd edition. The 2nd edition of the hardcover and softcover can both be found in our "Store" tab right here at Nazarene Media.
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(by Christopher Fredrickson aka Rabbi Eh'bed Baw'naw)
My most anticipated book thus far written is finally here in FREE e-Book format. I am very proud of this work, and it is a book about applying the Torah through the spirit of the Torah and Messiah that is that of shalom. This book will cause you to look at the Torah in a brand new exciting way, through the eyes of shalom, servitude, and matters of the heart. I pray this book is a blessing to you and also know we have the hardcover of the book in our e-Store here on Nazarene Media and the hardcover is only priced $1 above wholesale and that $1 goes to the organization "Autism Speaks". I often talk on my radio programs about servitude and I am proud that with this book I can put that into action by offering it for free and making the sales of the hardback go to charity for some amazing kids. Enjoy the book and if you wish to order the hardcover there is a button below the PDF download that will direct you to our e-Store. Shalom :)
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by Christopher (From Brutal Planet)
In doing my radio series "The Garden of Peace" I have been pondering a great deal on the attributes of Elohim and how our roles in our family exemplify the 3 echad attributes of Elohim.
The past few months I have been studying countless hours on what it means to be a servant, what it means to be a man of YHWH. While studying and meditating on the Word in terms of edification, and being at the age of 32, I tended to focus a little on my own mortality, and I then had to ask the question, "How do I want to be remembered? What would be my legacy when I leave this world?". This is something we as men do not like to think about but it is something that we must address in our own lives. I concluded I would want my legacy to be not that, "Christopher was a great teacher" but rather, "Christopher was a good man, and a servant". Though there is more prestige in being "a great teacher" I think our hidden intention can cause eternal problems if that were our reason for servitude and as a man, I often need a gut check. There is a balancing mechanism that YHWH put into place that causes us to be able to live a set apart life and to be able to properly apply the Torah. And that is the family unit....what do I mean?
Though an unmarried manm who has never been married, I notice that many of us men have interpreted the role of "head of the household" horribly incorrectly, we tend to recite the hold line from the Honeymooner's "King of the castle, Lord of the manor" and we think we are a towering man on a horse that demands respect and must be revered. Let me ask this, "Does anyone revere a tyrant? Or do they simply just try and not be killed?".
Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home) is always the goal and should be the goal of a man, but it is important for him to realize his role and the role of his wife and children at the same time, and it is not the role that is taught in many cult like sects of the Hebrew Roots (and there are some within our faith I am sad to say). The man is commonly the face of the family, when a wife goes to lunch with a new friend, the conversation seems to always turn to, "so what does your husband do, how long have you been married etc" and these are questions wives are asked often, and it is to be expected given that she took his last name. Now she knows this, and she realizes that he is her mirror. I get men telling me often about marital problems and a "nagging wife", yet they do not realize why their wife nags them. The thing us men must realize is that a woman's family is her honor, especially her husband, and she wants the world to see the amazing things within her husband that sometimes only she sees. Thus her job is to refine him, so that the world will see him as a tzaddik.
Isaiah 11:2 refers to the Ruach haKodesh as "wisdom", notice as well that the Ruach haKodesh grammatically is female. Thus one's wife is his wisdom, she is the one who helps refine her husband because he is her honor and her love for him wants the world to see what she sees in him, this is why when a wife is distressed it is usually because she is trying to get her husband to see something that he does not see. Notice that the women in the Scripture seem to be the ones who understood the underlining things. Remember when Yeshua told Martha, "your brother will rise again" and she responded with, "I know my Master on the resurrection day". One's wife is their refiner, they correct not for selfish reasons but actually for the most selfless reasons in the world, it is because they care how it is how their husbands are perceived and they want to be echad with their husband they want to dance together with their husband in their walk in Torah and Messiah as well as in other aspects of their lives together and when we act as two polar magnets we see this cannot be achieved. The walk together must feel like a gliding motion where one knows when to glide to the right and two the left and back and forward with their spouse without tripping, and it is through a constant correction from one's wife this can be achieved, and it then becomes natural and as you grow together there are new moves added in which symbolizes the love for one another growing through marriage as opposed to fizzling out.
And it is important for men to understand, their role is that of a servant, notice YHWH the father fed the children of Israel when they were hungry, notice on their journey they had the shekinah over-seeing them. Notice as well how he provides for you each and every day the things we take for granted, could your house stand without him? Of course not. Could you breathe without him assembling the system he did for the plants to produce oxygen and the plants to breathe in our CO2? Of course not. This is why us men are called to be providers, and there is a parallel in heaven of what we experience here on earth, which is why YHWH put great emphasis on on His very own family model so that we may conduct ourselves as a mirror in the same way.
I am amazed when I see a young person put on their tallit, and their tzit tzit, maybe a kippa. They are so proud of the significance of these things, and they are the first to tell a grandparent or a family friend what it is, what it represents and they bring honor to these things. Often times we are like the stubborn Galatians, we wear our tzit tzit, because it us commanded and at times even forget it is there, it is a part of a routine for many of us. I think children really help us get the proper context of these things, by seeing their eyes light up when they get excited to serve their Melek Yeshua and they help remind us of what it is we have forgotten and taken for granted. This is why Yeshua always loved to be around the children and said we must be like them. Sometimes, we hit a part in our walk where we become callus, we become uninterested and the fire fizzles out a little. I think this is why children are vastly important in the family unit, their reactions, and their wonder and their kindness helps remind us of what us adults have lost at stages in our walk. And it is interesting that Yeshua came as "The Son of the Father", though he came to re-establish the marriage covenant and he also fulfilled the role of the child in your own family as well, cause he reminded us, why we keep Torah, why we must honor the Father and he gave us that heart of flesh like we had when we were children by setting the halaka straight. Just like your children do when they put on their tallit, tzit tzit and kippa on for the very first time. When you see them do that, you are reminded and you see Yeshua through them.
This is why I dare say, that many of the commandments we cannot fully fulfill and apply outside of the family model, we cannot see and experience the 3-D model of our walk in Torah and Messiah outside of the family model.
by Christopher (From Brutal Planet)
As many of you know I personally of you know I find edification to be the key to real change in the Hebrew Roots, that rids the body of sickness, disease, emotional, spiritual and physical ailments. Does the Scripture back up this concept? And does the original languages prove that our words are not just simply verbiage, and not just something written. Let us look at John 1:1, and notice the original words used in this verse as we also progress on into other verses used throughout the Scripture and we will be able to see from the Hebraic/Jewish concepts within the Scripture what "words" actually are
In the beginning was the Miltha (מֶלתָֿא). And that Miltha (מֶלתָֿא) was with Elohim. And Elohim was that Miltha (מֶלתָֿא)."
Often times we word "miltha" is translated as "word" in the New Testament, and in places in the Tanakh, now it is important to understand that translators, main job is to decipher words they are not necessarily always theologians or religious scholars in practice. But the original Aramaic word "Miltha" is really interesting given that it can mean many different things.
The phrase B’resheet aytohi hwa miltha breaks a most basic rule of Aramaic grammar by combining a feminine noun (miltha) with two masculine verbs for “to be” (aytohi, hwa). This is unheard of in Aramaic literature other than right here in this passage and in 1 John. This shows YHWH has male and female “images/spirits” even though YHWH remains a He. It may also be a midrash on Isaiah 11:1-2, which describes the Spirit of YHWH descending on Mashiyach using both masculine and feminine suffixes."
(Footnote pg. 232 AENT 4th edition)
Miltha has no direct English equivalent. It can mean ‘Word’, ‘Manifestation’, ‘Instance’ or ‘Substance’ among other things. In this context, it may best be left untranslated."
(Footnote pg. 232 AENT 4th edition)
So we see that the word "miltha" can mean "WORD", "MANIFESTATION", "INSTANCE: or "SUBSTANCE" this is very interesting and I decided to go back into the Targums and look at what word was used in a verse I have been quoting often, in Proverbs and what I found was startling.
Pleasant Mitha (words, manifestations, instances, substances) is like honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
Let us also look at another passage from the words of Yeshua.
You have heard that it has been said that you should not commit adultery. But I say to you that all who that looks at a woman as lustfully at once has committed adultery in his heart.
Now the question we must pose is are our words just something that comes out of our mouths, or are they something much more?
Yose ben Yohanan of Jerusalem said: Let your house be wide open and let the needy be members of your household, and do not engage in too much idle talk with a woman. They said this of a man’s own wife, how much more so of his fellow’s wife. Hence the Sages said: Whoever engages in too much idle talk with a woman brings evil upon himself, and neglects the study of the Torah, and ultimately will inherit Gehinom.
(Pirkei Avos 1:5)
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
The miltha of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their Miltha (and deeds) are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence.
The thing I find interesting is in the above verse from Proverbs 16:24 as well as the wisdom from the Rabbi's in the Pirkei Avos as well as all the parallel verses in Proverbs and Isaiah, what we tend to see is that words are synonymous with "Manifestation", thus we see Yeshua in Matthew making the point of where our words and actions start. Let us look at it in this instance for a clearer understanding of what Yeshua was saying and how it relates to our words:
A man craves a hamburger, he has been craving it all day, his mind says, "Dude go get a burger from your favorite burger joint", the man then physically gets into his car, drives to his favorite burger joint, and tells the waitress, "Mam, I would like a hamburger with some pepper jack cheese, mayo, mustard and ketchup" he vocalized what it was he wanted and the waitress puts in the order and the cooks in the kitchen then make the hamburger. What we see here is how a though brought about these actions:
- The man physically gets in his car
- The man vocalizes his order to the waitress
- The waitress puts in the order
- The cook makes the order
- The waitress brings out the cheeseburger
- The man eats the cheese burger thus satisfying his craving
- He then exchanges currency for the burger and tips the waitress
What we see is how a thought leads to action and vocalization that affected the people around him in the burger joint. There was a positive inclination for him cause he got what he wanted, the waitress got a tip, the cooks had to do physical labor and the restaurant stays open cause many people wanted hamburgers from that particular establishment. So what we see has happened here is the inclination for the burger started with a thought that later engaged in words being spoken to produce the hamburger which ended up in his stomach. Thus is the same with other dealings with people especially in terms of the Scripture and our halaka (walk).
If a person, is prayed for, and they are edified through kind words, and words of encouragement and it comes from the heart then what is expected to happen? Well the person is expected to get better. However, if words of bitterness are expressed, is there a physical manifestation through the miltha as well? Well of course there is, how often do we read about children whom have committed suicide in high school or college because they were bullied? It is a common occurrence. We have the choice of bringing forth life or death in our words and most importantly in our thoughts. Cause in our thoughts is where these words originate thus, the manifestations originate in our thoughts.
One of the things I often teach is for new converts to first learn the 2 most important commandments, which are to love YHWH you Elohim with all your mind heart soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself, a premise taught by both Hillel the Elder and Yeshua our Messiah and to avoid confusion by taking baby steps in their walk and therefore I advocate the 3 year Torah cycle for new converts. The reason for this is for a person to find shalom within themselves and to not allow in an unclean ruach of confusion which manifests by throwing them in and saying, "read just read now, read" which is the usual mindset, this brings a flood of questions and stresses, and it takes them forever to find the inner shalom, therefore anger is felt within cause they do not understand and their frustrations are vocalized, confusion sets in and unedifying words are spoken because someone may show them something different than what they were taught and what ends up manifesting are not only these unclean spirits within a person but also sickness, depression disease etc and they are surrounded by a bickering community that only makes things worse. And each unedifying word has a "manifestation" which the original languages show us in the oldest texts, cause our ancestors of the faith understood this premise and this is why YHWH despises and evil tongue. And evil tongue is destruction to not only the person manifesting the words and thoughts but it is also something that infects the body like a cancer and it is almost impossible to stop.
Let us be mindful of our words and our thoughts, let us find shalom from within, let us take that shalom into our homes and exemplify it there, and lets work towards bringing that shalom with us in our daily dealings with everyone we come in contact with cause a single unedifying word is a poison with the power to kill and the power to spread to the innocent who then become collateral damage in the process. Shalom Shalom