QA: Should Messianic believers submit to Rabbinic Oral Torah, Jewish Halacha and Rabbinic authority?
What do we mean that Messianics, Ten Tribers and Hebraic Roots Restorers should return to Jewish Halachah and Rabbinic authority?
Let us give an example to illustrate:
In our English translations of the Torah we read, “And you shall write them (the Laws. Mitzvot) upon the doorposts of your house, and on your gates” (Deut 6:9).
How do we do this particular Commandment? This is what Halachah relates to, the issue of how to actually keep or observe (“do”) a specific Commandment. The Torah mentions numerous Commandments (and most in very brief form). Halachah is the body of Jewish law that explains how these Commandments play out in day to day life. The word “halachah” actually comes from the Hebrew word “halach” meaning “to walk.” It can go together with “ha-derech” which means “the way.” Put the two together, and you get, “to walk the way.”
To continue the example from Deut 6:9, if you ask Messianic folk how they observe this particular Commandment, we’ll come up with all kinds of interesting ideas (or no idea at all, just a blank stare that says, “Huh?”). Do we get a laser out and engrave all the words of the Torah on our doorposts? If not all the words, which ones are we to write on them? On what material do we write them? Which doorposts do we put them on? All doorposts, or only some? Where do we put it on our doorposts? On the bottom, next to our feet, or way above our head, or at eye level? Can we use photocopies of what is written or must they be originals? etc. All of these questions have already been asked and answered over the centuries. We can ask them—which we should—but the answers exist already in Jewish Law, i.e. the Halachah.
Sadly, most Messianics (Ephraimites, Ten Tribers) think that they are sufficiently knowledgeable in Torah to answer these questions themselves, and so by rejecting “Jewish Oral Torah” they generate their own “oral Torah.” The common thought is that since they know who the Messiah is, they should be able to interpret Torah according to their own understanding. Their mantra seems to be the age old expression of rampant self-expression and independence, “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” But this approach, does not produce a nation.
Did YAHU’SHUAH specifically say anything about this important question? Yes, He did. Even though He observed some serious hypocrisy with some of the Scribes and Pharisees (i.e. doing things before man, rather than before YHVH, and teaching others but not observing it themselves), He said, “The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you to observe, that observe and do; but don’t do after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matt 23:2-3). This is a very strong statement supporting adherence to orthodox Rabbinic authority and Jewish Halachah.
Again, in Mathew 5:17, He states:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law (Torah) or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Torah until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these Commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these Commands, will be called great in the Kingdom of heaven.”
And in Math. 5:20
“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Now, we may have numerous responses to this statement of YAHU’SHUAH. Here are three: (1) ignore it, (2) convince ourselves that He did not mean this at all, or (3) accept it as true and commit our lives to it.
Realizing that there has always been numerous ways to read the Torah and that there would be no end to self-guided approaches to Halachah, YAHU’SHUAH gave His disciples an easy to understand and simple method to avoid all of the contention and strife.
Nevertheless, much of this will still be highly irrelevant to many of us as long as we continue in the spirit of Jeroboam, meeting in separate houses of worship from the Jewish people and generally, just doing our own thing. The spirit of division, strife, and aloofness are all works of the flesh.
This is one of the last bastions for Hebraic Rstorers to get over in their return as the prodigal son, and get over it they must. For the sake of unity, harmony, and reconciliation, for the sake of YHVH, for the sake of the consolation of Zion, for the sake of Jerusalem; for the sake of Messiah, it is time to follow up on YAHU’SHUAH’s Commandment without further delay.
YAHU’SHUAH said, “Salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22. He did not say, “Salvation is of the Christians” or “Salvation is of the Messianic Ephraimites.”