There is the temptation to sort through all the “straws that broke the camel’s back”, but that would leave me stalled at the point of break down. I need to move past that point.
I remember Hannukah at a friend’s home where we played a game in which we said “I am leaving Mitzraim and I’m going to take with me___________. Like the 12 days of Christmas each person would recite their choice along with those of every person before them. Some choices were purely sentimental, such as bringing the cat. Some were more practical, like a compass to negotiate the desert. So moving forward, what shall I take with me on this journey and what will be left behind?
I thnk it begins with an examination of the biblicals laws. Yes, all 613 commandments! I have always felt that God would not give us commandments and then say “Nevermind”. So what are we to make of the Torah commandments? I know before I start that many are directed at the priesthood. Without the temple those 100-200 commandments cannot be upheld. What place should the remaining laws take in the life of a believer?
I have been involved in Messianic “Jewish” churches on and off for more than a close to 20 years. It was a way to satisfy my desire to fufill my obligations as a Jew and retain my belief in Y’shua as Messiah. The idea of Messianic Judaism seemed logical and I hoped to meet other Jewish believers who felt as I did. Sadly, the promise of that idea has never become reality. I have stubbornly hung on trying to effect a change. It has taken me a long time to realize that Messianic Congregations are not what I had hoped.
I tried to find peace with the many ways Jewish traditions are distorted and used without understanding or respect because I believed that eventually it would change. To be honest I wanted to hang on to the traditions that had been precious to me as a child. I have come to believe that Messianic Judaism is divisive and is primary a Christian evangelistic movement rather than a branch of Judaism evidenced by the predominance of non-jews in these churches.
After many years in various settings, I noticed that there are few if any Jews who were actually raised as jews. This leads to the distortion and disrespect mentioned. For example, there are many people who blow the shofar when the mood hits rather than the time prescribed in the mitzvot/commandments. In one case, a man blew his shofar in the ear of another congregant at the local Lowe’s hardware. I heard about it after a scuffle with the two men. Another issue is people wearing tallit like a garment, rather than something worn in prayer. Which in itself brings up a third issue, the focus on rabbinic traditions which are not based in scripture. In fact, most of the traditions used in the Messianic congregations are nothing more than costuming that has nothing to do with the 613 commandments.
I suppose in another post I could list the many incidents or straws that lead me to leave Messianic Judaism. Suffice it to say there were many which I brought forward to leadership. When I saw that this was ineffective, I began to search deeper. Perhaps I am at an advantage here, Let’s face it, my jewishness goes with me as I walk in or out of a door. It is easy for me to see the lack of spiritual depth in practicing what you don’t understand. Indeed, I find there is a disconnect with Y’shua/Jesus when you turn towards the Rabbinic practices which were created centuries after his resurrection. I was losing my focus on the Lord.
I was praying for guidance from the Lord for a job situation. Instead of guidance on the job, the Lord made clear to me that I was on the wrong path in following Messianic Judaism. At once I felt peace, relief, and release. And so the life journey continues one step at a time.