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As you read through the many studies here at AllFaith.com and my Facebook it may seem as though there is just too much material to wade through, let alone to understand! People ask, "Do I really need to understand all of this just to worship God correctly?"
The answer is an absolute no! You do not!
My studies go way beyond what is required. I hope they are interesting to you. They are here for study and interest sake and reflect my personal sojourn as much as anything else. I learn by sharing.
Here's what matters:
1. Love HaShem as fully as you can according to your knowledge.
2. Love others as fully as you can according to your abilities.
Its that simple.
Surely there is more? There is always more! Consider:
The Talmudic sage Hillel was born in Babylonia in the first century BCE. He and Rabbi Shammai often expressed contrary opinions on how Torah should be interpreted and applied. Shammai often follows a more legalistic interpretation whereas Hillel tends toward a more lenient understanding. In most cases Hillel's opinions prevail because Judaism has traditionally stressed a more liberal attitude. Historically Judaism has encouraged the importance of individual study and practice rather than hierarchical conformity. Historically Judaism has been a path of informed inspiration and personal observance from the heart. Rabbi Hillel encouraged his disciples to follow the example of Aaron the High Priest: to "love peace and pursue peace, to love God's creations and to bring them all closer to the Torah." This should be the attitude of all religious Jews including our rabbis. Sadly this is not always the case.
A famous account in the Talmud (Shabbat 31a) tells about a Gentile who once claimed he wanted to convert to Judaism on a condition that a rabbi could teach him the entire Torah while he, the prospective convert, stood on one foot. It is the responsibility of our rabbis to confirm the sincerity of potential converts, however it is also their responsibility to provide the way for those who are sincere. Consider the following: First this prospective convert went to Shammai, who, insulted by this ridiculous request, threw him out of his house. The man next went to Hillel with the same challenge. Hillel, understanding the man's sincerity, accepted the challenge and revealed the heart of Torah. He told the man:"What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary -- go and learn! The man converted.This is the heart of Torah. This is what HaShem requires.
For those who continue learning, Torah shows the way to peace and joy. For Jews Torah prescribes 613 Commandments. Through these mitzvot Jews are brought closer to HaShem and His purposes for us. For Noahides there are The Seven Laws. By observing these Gentiles please HaShem and are accepted. This is why, in part, for most Noahides conversion to Judaism is not needed nor recommended.
Micah explains it this way in the Tanach:Micah 6:6 "With what can I come before ADONAI to bow down before God on high? Should I come before him with burnt offerings? with calves in their first year?
7 Would ADONAI take delight in thousands of rams with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Could I give my firstborn to pay for my crimes, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"
8 Human being, you have already been told what is good, what ADONAI demands of you - no more than to act justly, love grace and walk in purity with your God.
As one grows in his or her love of God it is natural to grow in knowledge of the Beloved. As we grow our hope increases.
Those who understand Torah embrace the Shema:Deuteronomy 6:4 "Sh'ma, Yisra'el! ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad [Hear, Isra'el! HaShem our God, HaShem is one];HaShem is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob AND the Noahides. He is the Hope, haTikvah. Those who are wise place their hope in Him alone and embrace His Torah.
5 and you are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources.
The Coming MashiachSeveral of Israel's prophets foretold that one day an anointed king will arise among the Jewish People (Isaiah 11). Belief in his coming is one of the Thirteen Principles of Judaism advanced by Rambam and accepted by the majority of religious Jews. The coming Messiah will bring Klal Israel into harmony with HaShem. He will also bring the Gentiles into harmony with the Jews so that all the world will bask in the Light of HaShem and hence live in Shalom. This is the ultimate Hope.
It is obvious that this leader has not yet come because there is not peace and Israel has only recently been restored (part of) our homeland. When he does come all the world will know it because he will fulfil the following prophecies among others:
Isaiah 2, 11, 42; 59:20When he comes:
Jeremiah 23, 30, 33; 48:47; 49:39
Daniel 10:14Isaiah 56:7 Even them [i.e. the non-Jews] will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.Melekh ben David HaMashiach (King Messiah, descendent of David) will bring all the Jews back to Israel, restore all of the land granted to us by HaShem and rule over restored Eretz Israel with Peace and Justice in the Name of HaShem alone. When this happens the non-Jewish nations will voluntarily seek his guidence and embrace his rule:Zechariah 8:23 Thus saith ADONAI-Tzva'ot; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
This is our Hope. That this day will come soon and during our lives and the lives of our children.
This is our conviction, no matter how long we have to wait.
HaMashiach is the Hope of the whole Earth. The establishment of the theocratic Kingdom remains the ultimate hope of the world for all who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
The rebirth of Israel in 1948 and the 1967 restoration of Jerusalem to the Jewish people signifies that the Theocratic Kingdom is at hand. The present day nation of Israel is surely the sprouting forth of the Tree that will eventually put forth the leaves of the Kingdom of God when Messiah arrives -- May it be quickly and soon and say amen!
As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,
With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,
Then our hope - the two-thousand-year-old hope - will not be lost:
To be a free people in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
||Kol ode balevav
Nefesh Yehudi homiyah
Ulfa'atey mizrach kadimah
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