The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

Archive for April, 2015

THE LORD WILL DO BATTLE FOR YOU AND YOU SHALL BE SILENT!

Monday, April 13th, 2015

THE LORD WILL DO BATTLE FOR YOU AND YOU SHALL BE SILENT!
by Rabbit Shlomo Riskin (Arutz Sheva news)

The last day of the festival of Passover is dedicated to the splitting of the Red Sea, one of the most dramatic and cataclysmic events in Biblical history. The Israelites have left Egypt and believe they are “home-free”; however, the Egyptian hordes change their mind and begin to chase after the newly formed free men. The Israelites, faced by the Egyptians behind them and the Sea in front of them, panic – and in their fear they cry out to Moses, ‘Are there then no graves in Egypt that you have taken us out to die in the desert?!’” (Exodus14:11). Moses attempts to comfort his people, exhorting them not to fear but rather to watch for Divine salvation “The Lord will do battle for you and you shall be silent” (Exodus14:14).

But is this indeed the religious message of the Exodus? Does the Almighty expect us to stand quietly by in times of danger and challenge, simply waiting for the Almighty to emerge as adeus ex machina plucking us out from the fires of our enemies? Is such silence on our part consistent with Jewish History, and especially with these last six decades following the Holocaust? Where would the Jewish people be today had we not attempted to take our destiny into our own hands and fought battle after battle for the Jewish State?

Indeed, the classical Hassidic interpreters have turned the verse we’ve just cited on its head by providing an alternate literal interpretation: “The Lord will provide you with bread (the Hebrew yilakhem can mean to do battle but can also mean to provide bread from the Hebrew lekhem; most wars are after all fought after bread or material gain) but you must plow (the Hebrew heresh can either mean to be silent or to plow).” (Exodus 14:14) And although this reading of the verse would seem to be the very antithesis of its meaning in context, it is nevertheless the true meaning of this most dramatic miracle.

Yes, Moses expected God to act and counsel the Israelites to silently await God’s miracle. But that is not the message that God conveys to Moses in the very next verse of the text: “And God said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Speak to the children of Israel and let them move forward’” (Exodus14:15). God is ready to effectuate a miracle, but not before the Israelites prove themselves by putting their lives on the line. Before God does anything, the Israelites must jump into the raging sea and attempt as best as possible to get away from the Egyptians. It is only after “the children of Israel have entered into the midst of the sea” – despite its inherent dangers – that the waters will miraculously part and the Israelites will find themselves “on dry land” (Exodus 14:16).

Rashi even goes as far as saying in God’s name, “This is not the time to engage in lengthy prayer when the Israelites are in such deep trouble.” When the going gets tough, tough people get going; from God’s point of view; prayer must be coupled with action. From this perspective, the Hassidim may be literally wrong but conceptually right.

I believe there is yet a second interpretation of Moses’ statement to the Israelites that God will do battle and they remain silent. Perhaps Moses understood very well that although the ultimate victor in Israel’s battles is the Almighty Himself – “The Lord is a Being of battle, the Lord is His name” (Exodus 15:3) – nevertheless, God does not fight alone. He battles alongside of the Israelites, but the Israelites themselves must wage the war. They were frightened to take on the seven indigenous nations inhabiting Canaan during their first forty years in the desert, so God did not make war either. It was only in the case of Amalek and then later in the time of Joshua that Israel fought – and then God fought with them and led them to victory.

However, every war is a tragedy because the fallout of every war is the cruel and untimely death of the best and brightest of our people. Yes, we won the wars against Amalek, just as we won the wars in conquest of Israel four thousand years ago; we also won our recent wars of self defense enabling us to come home after 2,000 years of exile and establish Jewish Sovereignty in Jerusalem. But despite these miraculous victories, we suffered unspeakable losses of so many of our best and brightest and bravest and most committed.

In 1952 I was privileged to pray in the Beth Moses Hospital, which had been taken over by the Klozenberger Hassidim who had survived the European Holocaust. That particular Sabbath was the first Sabbath circumcision the Hassidim had experienced since leaving Europe. The Rebbe, who himself suffered the loss of his wife and 13 children, rose to speak ‘And I see that you are rooted in your blood (damayikh) and I say to you, by your blood shall you live, by your blood shall you live.’

This verse of the Prophet Ezekiel is intoned at every Jewish circumcision, explaining to us that the price for our eternity is the necessity that we shed blood on behalf of our God, our faith and our ideals. However, I would give the verse an alternate interpretation. The Hebrew word dam is usually translated as blood; but the root d-m can also mean silence, as in “vayidom Aharon”, and Aaron was silent, when his two righteous sons died a tragic and untimely death. I believe the prophet Ezekiel was telling us that when Jews suffer, and even seem to suffer needlessly, tragically and absurdly, but still remain silent and refuse to cry out against God, we express with that silence the profound inner strength which justifies our eternal life. “I see that you are rooted in your silence and I say to you that because of that silence do you live.’”

Perhaps this is what Moses was saying to the Jewish people: yes, the Lord will wage battle for you, and some very good Israelites will tragically die in battle, but you must still remain silent in terms of your relationship to God. It is by the faith of that silence that you will live eternally and ultimately redeem the world.

THE TWO STATE SOLUTION – NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

THE TWO STATE SOLUTION – NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!
by Rabbi Dov Fischer (Arutz Sheva News)

Several friends are having coffee at a café. Someone asks: “If Barack Obama gives you ten million dollars, how will you spend it?’ You answer: “I would spend it on building yeshivot (Jewish religious day schools).” Another person gets angry: “That makes no sense! We have enough buildings. You need to spend it on subsiding yeshiva tuitions so that students can afford to attend!” The next one says: “I thought I knew you both better. This is a crisis time — I would donate it to Birthright to bring more young people to Israel.” The next one: “I would donate it to the yishuvim (settlements) in Judea and Samaria.” Another pipes in: “I would build another Holocaust museum. You can never have too many Holocaust museums.”

The Arabs are not asking to be given the Mediterranean Sea. Thoughtfully, they are reserving that venue for the Jews of Israel. Soon, they all are arguing and fighting. Harsh words are spoken, and life-long friendships are jeopardized. And then Elijah the Prophet enters the room, and he speaks these words: “News flash! Barack Obama is not going to give you ten million dollars, not one million dollars, and not a single dollar.” Everyone pauses. The Prophet is right. They all thank Elijah and calm down. Back to sipping coffee.

There will not be a “two-state” resolution west of the Jordan River. It never is going to happen. The debate once may have made sense. It no longer makes sense; it is absurd. It never-ever will happen. No one is going to uproot 750,000 middle-class and upper-middle-class Jews from their homes. And there is nowhere to put nearly a million Jews, all uprooted at once. Israel could not even find homes for the uprooted of Gush Katif. Where are they going to put a million uprooted Jews? Is the Knesset going to set up D.P. Camps for displaced persons? Refugee camps like the ones on the borders of Syria and Iraq and Turkey and Somalia? Will they sublease space in refugee camps in Jenin? Will the Knesset ask Poland to reopen the Auschwitz facility for emergency housing? Will they ask the UNRWA to do it? This is never-ever going to happen.

In the naïve days of Oslo, there were leftist Jews willing to give up “land for peace.” A fool named Stanley Sheinbaum, a California Jew who married into the Warner Brothers millions, joined with four other American Jewish naifs and met with Yasser Arafat, arms around each other. Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, others believed Arafat would make peace everlasting if only he were given a country of his own or a foundational land grant intended for statehood. So they gave him the Palestine Authority. They gave him control of television and radio, newspapers, schools, text books, summer camps, naming street signs. Gee, that worked swell.

After Arafat checked out, the insane idea of a “Palestine” country consisting of two disparate lands — Gaza on one side and Judea-Samaria on the other side — quickly blew up when Hamas seized Gaza from the P.L.O. or Fatah or whatever name Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) called his henchmen. In seizing Gaza, Hamas terrorists tortured and murdered so many Fatah terrorists that Abbas ultimately realized that, if he wanted to keep Hamas from gaining Judea and Samaria, he had to cancel future elections, pretty much for the rest of his life. So he ended up with an elected term that expired six years ago and never held another election. Smart.

Ehud Barak boasted his creative thinking as he just walked away from South Lebanon without any quid-pro-quo deal, his sure-fire way to create a haven of stability. Immediately, Hezbollah rushed in and soon were shelling Israelis throughout the north. Ariel Sharon, after trouncing Barak electorally, in great measure because voters rejected Barak’s failure, eventually replicated the insanity by walking away from Gaza without a quid-pro-quo deal, expelling the Jews of Gush Katif. Hamas rushed in and soon were shelling Israelis throughout the south. That leaves Israel’s Left with only two boundaries to give away: the Mediterranean Sea and Judea-Samaria.

The Arabs are not asking to be given the Mediterranean Sea. Thoughtfully, they are reserving that venue for the Jews of Israel. And only the most oblivious and suicidal of Israelis harbor any notion that an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria will result in peace. If Israel were to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, the question is not whether Arab terrorists would enter and start shooting rockets into Tel Aviv and Haifa (and Raanana and Herzliyah and Kfar Saba and . . .). Rather, the question only is who: Al Qaeda? ISIL? Fatah? Hamas? Force 17? PFLP? Or one of the hundred new terrorist outfits that have not yet been heard from? They grow every day not like weeds but like kudzu.

The Labor Party leadership knows this. Every single time the rockets of Hezbollah and Hamas are extinguished, they re-stock. Every single time that Israel allows cement and steel inside for re-building hospitals and schools, the materiel ends up being used instead to build terror tunnels. Everyone in Israel, except for 5 ultra-leftist Knesset members from Meretz, and the delegation of Arab List Knesset members pledged openly or quietly to erase Israel from the map, has it figured out.

A “Two-State Solution” is a “Final Solution.” We Jews do not do so well with other people’s Final Solutions for us.

France has other ideas? So be it. In a century, if not sooner, the French will be knocking on Israel’s doors, pounding and pleading, like today’s immigrants into Israel from Africa, begging to be granted asylum and refuge from the demographic change that will end their way of life. They do not know it yet. But tell your children that you read it first here.

As for “American guarantees” that “we have Israel’s back,” ask the South Vietnam government how those guarantees worked for them. South Vietnam disappeared from the map, watching all the guaranteeing Americans race for the helicopters to get out. It made for a great musical scene on Broadway. The Americans came in to secure South Lebanon. One day, 241 marines were blown up by Arab terrorists, and America left the region. Israel does not have that luxury.

And Obama? His word does not matter. He does not matter. The plain fact, after six years, is that he now is revealed to be a shameless public liar. Ask the former government of Yemen how Obama’s protection helped. Obama? He promised Americans that, if they liked their health plans and doctors, they could keep their health plans and doctors under a new Obamacare health law. It was a lie. He drew a red line with Syria. He backed down. He told people for six years that he lacks Constitutional authority to change American immigration law unilaterally, and then he did so anyway.

He lies. Sometimes he knowingly lies, and sometimes he makes promises without thinking through the consequences, therefore needing to change his mind afterwards when he figures out the calamity he has caused. Sometimes he is too inconsequential to honor his promises anyway.

And then there is his National Security Advisor, Susan Rice.

It always cheapens an opinion editorial to engage in name calling like “stupid” or “idiot.” So we shall say of Obama’s National Security Advisor merely that she is inartful and lacking in political erudition. In America, she is a punchline to jokes. When America’s ambassador was murdered in Benghazi, on the eleventh anniversary of September 11, she appeared on one television talk show after another, blaming his assassination on a ten-minute Youtube video that virtually no one had seen.

When Obama released five major Al Qaeda terrorist leaders in return for a captive American soldier named Bowe Bergdahl, Rice went all over, repeatedly telling the newsmedia and the American public that Bergdahl had served the American military with “honor and distinction.” Meanwhile, in the outdoor world of reality, from whose glaring daylight Obama thoughtfully shields Ms. Rice, Bergdahl now is being charged by the military with desertion and with one count of “misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place.” So her opinion does not matter either.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden is already advising American Jews that only Israel can guarantee their future, not America. In the topsy-turvy world of Obama’s Washington, that actually is the most honest statement of all.

There is no room for another terrorist country in Israel. There is no inherent need or “right” for a “Palestine.” America is not creating a separate country for its Native Americans — no Sioux State, Navajo State, or Cherokee State. Not even a single “Indian – Native American State.” When will Putin create an independent Armenia? When will France or Spain give independence to Basques? What of a Kurd country carved out of Turkey? Surely, Turkey can be carved.

Even if a “Palestine” were created insanely in the “West Bank,” that would not address the majority of claimants who insist that they and their fig trees came from Yafo or Haifa or somewhere else that Jews have blossomed and have no interest in living in Jenin. That is why those who do live in Jenin call their homes a “refugee camp.” Who ever heard of natives living in “refugee camps” in their own country? The thing is, they do not regard Jenin or Ramallah as home, merely a stepping stone to King George Street in West Jerusalem. O Jerusalem! — a city that neither they nor the Koran coveted through their first thousand years, until Jews lived there. They want Tel Aviv and Haifa and Beersheva and Ashkelon, not Ramallah. The country they covet is not Gaza nor the “West Bank.” They want pre-1967 Israel, all of it, and nothing less.

When Jordan illegally occupied Judea and Samaria before June 1967, did the PLO terrorize Jordanians as “occupiers” of “Palestine”? Did they attack Egyptian airliners or athletes then, even though Egypt held Gaza through those years before June 1967? No. They did not want Gaza or the “West Bank.” Rather, Al Fatah attacked Israel. Israel is their “Palestine.” Ours, too.

A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. Look at a picture of the Hamas logo . Or the Fatah logo. It is not the “West Bank” and not the Gaza Strip. It is, rather, pre-1967 Israel. All of it. That is what they want. That is all they want. Obama may speak of a “Two-State Solution,” and Hillary Clinton may speak of a “Two-State Solution,” but it never will happen. Look at the pictures. Those who represent the “Palestinian People” want a One-State Solution: Israel off the map, and they in its place. For those who cannot listen, they just need to look at the pictures. Even the politically myopic are not literally blind. Look at the pictures. One-State Solution.

There is little chance that one day Barack Obama will give someone (other than his kids) ten million dollars, and there is no chance that there ever will be a “Two-State” resolution west of the Jordan River. It never will happen.

OBAMA: VULNERABLE ISRAEL WOULD BE THE “FAILURE OF MY PRESIDENCY”

Monday, April 6th, 2015

VULNERABLE ISRAEL WOULD BE THE “FAILURE OF MY PRESIDENCY” (Arutz Sheva Staff)

Obama talks about ‘moral failure’ if his actions endanger Israel, vowing to defend Israel while claiming Iran deal is ‘most effective.’

US President Barack Obama has said that a weakened Israel would be a “fundamental failure of my presidency,” claiming solidarity with America’s long-time ally despite recent differences over the Iran nuclear deal.

Obama admitted Israel has reason to be concerned about its foe, Iran, but he defended the framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that negotiators drew up last week.

Obama made the comments to The New York Times in a 45-minute video interview on Saturday that was posted on Sunday, reports AFP.

“I would consider it a failure on my part, a fundamental failure of my presidency, if on my watch or as a consequence of work that I’ve done, Israel was rendered more vulnerable,” Obama said.

He said he would consider it “not just a strategic failure, I think that would a moral failure,” adding that no disagreements between Israel and the United States can break their bond.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has strongly denounced the agreement which America and world powers sealed with Tehran as a bad deal endangering Israel’s survival, pointing out that it will leave Iran with all of its nuclear facilities intact and will allow it to continue enriching uranium at a limited rate for ten years, at which point those limitations are to be lifted.

The two leaders have also clashed over the peace process, with Netanyahu saying a Palestinian state will not be created in his term – a statement he quickly distanced from, while the White House has been pressing to divide Israel in the two-state solution paradigm.

“Even in the midst of the disagreements that I have had with Prime Minister Netanyahu both on Iran as well as on the Palestinian issue, I have been consistent saying that our defense of Israel is unshakable,” Obama claimed.

Regarding defense, during the counter-terror operation against Hamas in Gaza last summer, tensions between Obama and Netanyahu were seen at a high as Obama blocked a routine transfer of Hellfire missiles and ordered greater scrutiny on future transfers.

The US President also defended the Iran nuclear deal, which paves the way for Tehran to continue enriching uranium at limited amounts in exchange for relief from punishing economic sanctions that brought it to the negotiating table.

“There is no formula, there is no option, to prevent Iran from getting a new weapon that will be more effective than the diplomatic initiative and framework that we put forward, and that’s demonstrable,” he told the newspaper.

But Netanyahu has pressed for America to ramp up its sanctions against Iran instead, to force it into accepting a better deal. Israel has pointed out that of the 17 states with peaceful nuclear programs, none of them enrich uranium, a key component in building a nuclear weapon.

Obama said Israel was “right to be concerned” about Iran, and sent a message to enemies of Israel.

“What we will be doing as we enter into this deal is sending a very clear message to the Iranians and to the entire region that if anyone messes with Israel, America will be there,” he said.

On the Iranian negotiations, Obama said that Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is “a pretty tough read” and “deeply suspicious of the West.”

But Obama added: “He does realize that the sanctions regime we put together was weakening Iran over the long term, and that if in fact he wanted to see Iran enter into the community of nations, there would have to be changes.”

THE NEED OF PRAYER

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

THE NEED OF PRAYER
by David Hocking

Yeshua told us that “men ought always to pray and not to faint.” Don’t ever give up!

Thank you all for your prayers for my wife – she still is unable to walk, and remains bed-ridden in a rehab facility. Your prayers and words of encouragement mean so much to us during this difficult time.

Our good friends, Richard & Dorothy Bennett, have been great examples of prayer. Richard is having surgery Monday, April 6 – please pray for him. The current prayer letter of their ministry – “Cross Currents International Ministries” is a grat blessing. That organization has been using “GOOGLE ADS” to reach people in persecuted and difficult regions. There have been over 425,000 responses to their wonderful booklet entitled “YOUR QUEST FOR GOD” – it is on the front page of our web site.

If you would like to communicate with these wonderful friends of ours, here is their address:
Richard and Dorothy Bennett
PO Box 1058
Lynden, WA 98264

Their recent prayer letter focuses on the terrible killings and persecution of believers in central Africa. How we need to pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering greatly under such persecution.

Today is RESURRECTION SUNDAY – we rejoice that our Lord Yeshua is alive and is coming soon!

God bless you all – David

ISRAEL SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER STRIKING IRAN

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

ISRAEL SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER STRIKING IRAN by Benny Toker and Ari Soffer (Arutz Sheva News)

Israel should “seriously consider” a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in the aftermath of the “framework deal” announced between Tehran and western powers Thursday, a leader defense and security expert said.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva Friday, Professor Efraim Inbar, who heads the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, said the deal had realized Israel’s worst fears by leaving Iran’s nuclear program essentially intact.

The Islamic Republic’s nuclear program has been granted “legitimacy” by the agreement, which still allowed it to continue enriching uranium and to maintain a reactor capable of producing enriched plutonium, he said. “And that’s what worries Israel, that they (Iran) will be able within a short time frame to reach a nuclear bomb.”

“I hold the view that the only way to stop Iran in its journey to a nuclear bomb is through military means,” Inbar maintained, suggesting that “Israel needs to seriously consider striking a number of important nuclear facilities” to head off the threat.

Inbar went further, stating that Israel had made a serious mistake in not taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities until now. Now that the deal – however bad – was struck, a military strike would be far more difficult, he posited.

Nevertheless, practically-speaking Israel was left with little choice short of accepting a nuclear-armed Iran.

“As long as there was no deal it was easier for Israel to strike. They should have carried out a strike two years ago,” he said. “This is not an easy decision but it’s what needed to be done.”

Despite that fact, many countries – most notably Israel’s immediate neighbors – would be supportive of such a strike, and were waiting for Israel to neutralize the threat posed to them by a nuclear-capable Iranian regime.

“In practice no one wants to see a nuclear Iran; all of them are playing the game so that Israel can pulls the chestnuts out of the fire.

The deal, announced yesterday at a joint conference in Switzerland and widely celebrated as a “victory” in Iran, was quickly lauded by US President Barack Obama as an “historic” agreement.

“I am convinced that if this framework leads to a final comprehensive deal it will make our country, our allies and our world safer,” Obama asserted, insisting that despite criticisms the agreement would effectively cut off any options for Iran to build a nuclear bomb.

But despite Obama’s claim that there was “no daylight” between the US’s commitment to Israel’s security and the framework deal, Israeli officials heavily criticized it as an “historic mistake”.

“If an agreement is reached on the basis of this framework, it is an historic mistake which will make the world far more dangerous,” said the officials, briefing journalists on condition of anonymity.

“It is a bad framework which will lead to a bad and dangerous agreement. The framework gives international legitimacy to Iran’s nuclear program, the only aim of which is to produce a nuclear bomb,” they added.

In Congress as well – where legislators on both sides of the aisle have expressed serious concerns over the pending deal – House Speaker John Boehner branded the agreement “an alarming departure” from the President’s own declared goals. Nevertheless, legislators have given the White House a three-month reprieve on a bill to level harsher sanctions against Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is due to address the deal directly at a press conference Friday, after holding top-level talks with security officials.

IRAN TALKS WRAP UP WITH NO END IN SIGHT

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

IRAN TALKS WRAP UP WITH NO END IN SIGHT
by Shlomo Pitrikovsky & Cynthia Blank (Arutz Sheva)

Two days past deadline, all night negotiations between Iran and world powers adjourn at six a.m. to begin again later on Thursday.

US negotiating team meets with Iranian counterparts for nuclear talks

After an all night round of extended talks between Iran and six world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program, negotiations have adjourned until later Thursday.

United States Department of State spokeswoman, Mary Sharp, wrote on Twitter Thursday morning that talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, which are already two days past their March 31 deadline, came to a close at 6 a.m. local time.

Despite ongoing debate, no agreements have been reached between Iran and the foreign ministers of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

Negotiators are expected to resume talks in the coming hours, in yet another attempt to overcome differences and reach an understanding between Iran and the world powers.

Representatives of the world powers have already begun blaming the lack of progress in talks on Iran. Reportedly, the Iranians are refusing to be flexible or present an alternate position to advance a final deal.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who returned Wednesday night to Lausanne, despite having left for Paris the previous day, told reporters Wednesday that “we are a few meters from the finishing line, but the last meters are the most difficult.”

He also urged Iran to make an “extra effort” to reach an agreement.

For his part, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said that the nuclear talks will only succeed if the West drops its “excessive demands.”

“Iran has shown its readiness to engage with dignity and it’s time for our negotiating partners to seize the moment,” Zarif told reporters in Lausanne, according to AFP.

Iran had shown that it wants “an entente” with the world but it “will not accept submitting to force and excessive demands. Those we are negotiating with should accept this reality,” Zarif declared.

WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT PASSOVER

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT PASSOVER by David Lazarus (Israel Today News)

This is the title of a new book (available on Amazon) by Reform Rabbi Evan Moffic, who demonstrates a deep appreciation for the central place of Jesus in the Jewish Passover. In his book, which came out in February just in time for the holiday, Moffic hopes to help Christians understand the intimate connection between Judaism and Christianity in the Passover, the principal festival for both Jews and Christians.

“Exploring the Passover helps us learn more about the context of Jesus’ own religious and spiritual life, and it sheds light on Easter, the resurrection of Jesus and the meaning of redemption,” he explains.

Written in a popular style for a wide audience, the rabbi’s book should appeal to Christians wanting an inside, intimate look at a traditional Jewish Passover. “Jesus experienced a traditional Passover Seder guided by the blessings and rituals Jews have practiced for three thousand years,” writes Moffic. “The stories and interpretations he heard are ones still taught at Jewish Passover Seders today. In this book you are invited to experience the real thing.”

In a chapter titled, “Celebrating the Passover Seder Yourself: A Haggadah for Home Use by Christians and Jews,” Moffic offers a Passover celebration with annotations for those wanting to commemorate Jesus as the Passover Lamb of God. By including ancient Hebrew prayers and even recommendations for traditional holiday recipes, he provides Christians interested in the Hebrew roots of their faith with an authentic Passover experience.

For example, the rabbi notes that “the shank bone symbolizes the lamb offered as a sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. The lamb symbolizes God’s mercy in redeeming the Israelites from slavery to Egypt. In Christian tradition, the lamb symbolizes Jesus, the Lamb of God, whose sacrifice frees believers from the sins of the world.”

Moffic makes it clear throughout the book that the Passover celebration should never be a boring religious tradition, but rather a life-giving experience setting us free from our painful past and giving us hope for a better future. “What meaning do we make out of tragedy and loss? God commanded them to observe a holiday in which they were to make some sort of sense, some sort of meaning, from their loss.

The Passover celebration is the medium through which Jews, over the centuries, have remembered and made meaning from the trauma of slavery. They do not define themselves as victim. They do not seek revenge. Rather they hold the first sacred Passover meal telling their story of God’s redemption.”

Moffic offers some unconventional interpretations of the Passover ceremony, many of which are already used in Messianic Seders that seek to join faith in Jesus with the Jewish festival. “In Christian tradition, the three pieces of matzos [unleavened bread] represent God’s presence as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” he writes. “Some Christians interpret the perforations of the matzo as symbolic of the piercings of Jesus on the cross. Jesus is the Bread of Life afflicted in sacrifice yet nourishing the world.”

In a moment of unrestrained candor, Moffic confesses that he has “found great inspiration in the description of love from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. My own prayer life has been transformed by what I learned from pastors and Christian writers. Quite often I learn more about my own faith.” Conversely, the rabbi reminds us of the ways in which “Jewish wisdom can bring Christians closer to their faith.”

This is not the first time Rabbi Moffic of the Solel Congregation in Chicago writes openly about Jesus. It was with great fascination that I reviewed his previous essay, 5 RABBIS EXPLAIN JESUS, which demonstrated that for the better part of the past century, and especially in more recent years, Judaism has been looking to reclaim Jesus.


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