There’s a lot of lip service in Messianic Judaism to “The Torah”. Again, for those who don’t know, the words “the Torah” refer both to the 5 books of Moses and to the 613 laws spread throughout the 5 books of Moses.
Messianics strongly imply that you must keep the law – but this stance is changing. They’re altering the stance from one of “You must keep the Law or you’ll lose your salvation” to one of “Gentiles are free to keep the law if they wish, but Jews must.”
The approach is a step in the right direction, but what it will do is yield a large number of Gentiles suddenly claiming that they’re Jewish, and doing vain genealogical research to try to find someone, anyone whose name might be Jewish.
That’s the wrong approach entirely, and you’ll find that the Gentiles in your congregation dwindled down to the three or four who understand there’s nothing wrong with being a Gentile.
But as I showed, there’s a huge disparity between Messianic Torah observance and actual Torah observance.
A Chassidic Rebbe (the Chofetz Chayim) actually did research and was able to narrow the Torah down to 100 commandments that can be done today. (My Rabbi dismissed this work as, “He was a bit of a nudnik”).
The problem with trying to keep the Taryag Mitzvot is this – many of the 613 commandments require the Beis Hamiqdash, the Temple. And many others require living in a theocracy in Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel,
And thanks to the efforts of my last series on Messianics, someone took the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and codified it for E-Sword – so you all can play along!
By the way, the KSA is an absolutely beautiful couple of books – a really rich blue cover, nice choice of Hebrew fonts, right to left printed, and gold leaf pages. Wow. It was beautiful to have on a bookshelf, and I almost wish I still had mine.
Here’s a quick explanation of the Law.
Upon rising in the morning, you should put on a yarmulke (men only) and say a very brief prayer. Then go into the bathroom, and wash your hands. You need a two handled cup to do it. Make sure you say your brakha, the n’tildat yadayim. Then you have to say the benediction of health when you leave the bathroom for the first time that day. If you sleep in your tallis katan, then you should take the tsitsis in one hand and say the al mitzvat tsitsis (apparently, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch editor was a sephardi, and took great pains to modify the correct pronunciation of Ashkenazi Hebrew into some other form…). If you don’t sleep in it, this is the time you put it on and say the brakha. Women do not wear a tallis, either katan or gadol.
Next, go into the kitchen. Before you can drink your morning coffee or take any pills, you have to pray the Shema.
The morning prayers must be said by the appropriate time (Orthodox have morning prayer times – the Chabad ritual was “before noon”). You need to put on the Tallis Gadol and the gartl, and then tefillin (some Chabad reverse this and put on gartl before tallis). Now you put on Tefillin (men only). Be sure not to shake them out of the bag – this is contempt. Reach in and take them out. Place them on correctly. Open your siddur and pray Shacharis.
The food you eat must be from sources that are ritually clear – no treif animals must have been killed or cut on those machines or surfaces, no unclean fats used, clean and free of bug debris or parts. The animal must be shechted in the appropriate manner (it’s painless). Meat cannot be mixed with milk products. I can remember being in a kosher deli, and a man ordered a roast beef with mayo. The deli man stared at him, and the customer shrugged. “So I’m a goy.” he said.
It was kind of funny. Mayo is not dairy unless milk product is added. Cheeses create problems for kashrus, so a lot of observant Jews simply avoid cheese. Eating liver is a real problem for a lot of Jews – you have to cook it REALLY well done, and there’s rules.
Meat is served on meat dishes, dairy on dairy dishes (this is why you can often find the same sets of china in two different colors, often red for Fleishig and blue for milchig). You have to wait six hours between eating meat and eating dairy, but the other way around there’s no real wait, unless it’s a hard cheese, and most of those contain rennet anyway (a meat product to stiffen the cheese).
Carefully watch your tongue during the day, because the first chapter of the Kitzur Shulchan aruch enjoins that if in the presence of an earthly king, we’d mind our tongues – and since we’re in the presence of the Heavenly King at all times, we should be especially mindful. To quote Rabbi Shammai, “There is nothing better for a man than silence.”
Here’s the trick – you’ve only made it to noon – have you broken ANY of these?
That’s an averah, a sin.
One sin – just one – condemns you to hell.
That’s why Jesus Christ came.