What Does The Way Bring To Judaism?
Talmidaism – the Way – is most definitely not “Judaism with Jesus”!
Throughout history, theologians and historians, as well as ordinary men and women, have been trying to recapture the historical Jesus, in the hope of thereby gaining an insight into what his teachings truly meant. In recent years attempts have been made to go further, and actually recreate the original intent and practises of the Jewish religious movement that was founded on his teachings.
Several options have been explored in the past:
- that Yeshua` came to bring an end to all religion;
- that Yeshua` was more in tune with far eastern religions, and was in fact a New-Ager who taught reincarnation;
- that Yeshua` was a Pharisaic Jew;
- that Yeshua` rejected rabbinic authority and interpretation, and called us back to a simpler, more just and compassionate practise of the original Israelite religion.
The first two have already been tried out by various non-Jewish groups. Unfortunately, they all seem to forget that Yeshua` was born, raised and died a Jew. They project modern, western Gentile values back onto a rural Galilean Jew of the 1st century CE, and there is unfortunately no logical or historical match.
The third option results in “Jews-for-Jesus”. It ends with rabbinical Jews who believe in Jesus, whether as a man (Nasoreans), or as a god-man (Nazarenes). This option ignores Yeshua`s traditional objections to the Oral Law of the rabbis.
It is therefore a strange and peculiar fact, that the fourth option has never been tried before.
THE VARIOUS TALMIDI JEWISH COMMUNITIES
There exists today various Talmidi Jewish communities (Ebionites, Liberal Talmidis and Yeshuinists), who live this fourth option. Below is a general statement of our ethos:
“The most profound emphasis of Yeshua is the immediate and joyful
presence of YHVH; that YHVH is always with us, and not far away in a distant heaven; that YHVH cares for each and everyone of us, regardless of who we are, or what we have done, or how far we have come in our spiritual journey. YHWH loves us, and is concerned about each and every one of us.
The second important thing is the kingdom of God. We should exercise kindness and compassion in our daily practice of religion. Without care, consideration and concern for others, anything else we might do is pointless. The Way emphasises that all deserve to be included in the kingdom of God – the poor, the outcast and the rejected, and not just those whom religious teachers have judged to be righteous. We are all imperfect, and no one should be made to feel that they have failed even before they have started.
The Way points out that if we simply follow mitzvot (commandments) without any concern for the heart of God’s teaching, then we are following mechanically, and our observance is worthless. YHWH’s Torah is meant to turn us into a holy people – that is, a people whose behaviour is different and distinctive from that of others; ‘if you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Because even tax collectors do the same!’
When you do good, and follow the precepts of YHWH, then expect no reward from other human beings; you will only be doing these things expecting praise, and not for the sake of our God, or for the welfare of God’s children or creation.
We should ever be mindful of religious hypocrisy – this was a big part of the teaching of the Way. We cannot tell others not to do something, and then go and do that very thing ourselves.
It is important to practice religious humility. One who practises religious humility exudes warmth, and even people who are outside of our religion, even non-believers, throw down their defences, and their hearts and minds open up to us. But the one who shows religious arrogance, that person is closed to all, their heart is cold, and appears as nought but dark and frowning towards others.
In addition, we are not waiting for some ‘salvation-event’ to happen in the future, because our God is already here. God is working and active now – YHVH’s power is the same now as it will always be. And we humans – all of us – are the agents who work for YHWH to bring about God’s kingdom. If we wait for some ‘messiah’ or other ‘redeemer’ to come in the future, we are failing in our duty by sitting back and doing nothing.
We should help each other and support each other so that we do not worry about things, because the greatest enemy when we are in dire straits is despair. We should work towards giving hope to those who have none. ‘Who of you by worrying can add a single cubit to the length of their days?’
Wealth in itself is not sinful. If it is used for good, then it is good. If it is used for greed, and a goal only for itself, then it is worthless. ‘You cannot serve both God and wealth’.
We should not give up on people, or abandon them. Each living soul is dear to God, and of great value. ‘You are worth more than many sparrows!’
Don’t give up in prayer – God hears every prayer, whoever we are; ‘If you who are imperfect, know how to give good things to your children, how much more will our Father in heaven give us when his children ask him!’
We should not hide our light under a bushel. We should not hide our values, our identity or our heritage. In ancient times, Gentiles were attracted to Jewish culture because they could see it and found it attractive. When explaining your faith to those who are genuinely interested, do not be defensive, but in your words show that your faith brings you joy, and meaning and excitement. Don’t make our identity to scowl at others, rather, when someone thinks of us, they should think of a people with a kind, warm and loving spirituality.
Even though we differ in our interpretations, we are still Jews, and we should seek rapport and common experience with other Jews. We are stronger when we are united – remember Yeshua`’s teaching, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and every house divided falls.”
Even if you cannot give of yourself materially, try to give of yourself spiritually. Many people are seeking something, and a helpful or supportive word here, a word of encouragement there, helps to spread the kingdom of God.”
There are other aspects to our culture which at first glance may seem odd, but upon further investigation, their origins become perfectly logical.
For example, we do not accept the rabbinical additions to Torah; we do not accept the binding authority of the Talmud. As a result, we do accept paternal as well as maternal Jews; our New Year is in Spring – on the first day of Nisan – and not in Autumn, on the first day of Tishrei; our months and calendar is worked out according to the sighting of the New Moon; we don’t wear kippot, our tallitot (prayer-shawls) have blue thread on the corner tassles; and more.
To read more about Oral Law related differences, read the article on our Differences with Rabbinical Judaism.