NY Legislator Doubles Down on Condemnations of Pro-Palestinian Student Group


New York assemblyman Dov Hikind reaffirmed his condemnation of a pro-Palestinian campus group at City University of New York, calling for it to be shut down immediately — while the group’s lawyers pushed back.

Students for Justice in Palestine, which is already being investigated following allegations of anti-Semitic behavior, is a prominent voice in the boycott divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, or BDS.

“They should be dismissed immediately. They’re getting my tax dollars and being funded by the university,” said Hikind, who rallied more than 30 other New York legislators to sign a sternly worded letter on March 29 to CUNY about SJP, which he believes encourages “violence against Jews.”

“I’ve had more than one person tell me they won’t wear a Star of David on campus because they feel uncomfortable,” said Hikind. “If there was one incident that had to do with gender or the minority community, there would be an uproar, there would be action. Why should Jewish students be fearful?”

Hikind praised CUNY’s decision to investigate the allegations of anti-Semitism but said he didn’t “have much faith” in the process. “This is a way to encourage those involved in investigating [the group] that they carry it out honestly.”

SJP’s defenders are pushing back.

“It’s a disgrace that legislators who are sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution are calling for CUNY to violate students’ First Amendment rights in order to protect Israel from criticism,” said Radhika Sainath, a lawyer for Palestine Legal, which provides legal advice to SJP.

While SJP has sparred with pro-Israel groups in the past, the most recent round of allegations about anti-Semitism stem from a 14-page letter from the right wing Zionist Organization of America, alleging that SJP had created a toxic environment for Jewish students on four of it’s senior colleges. CUNY responded swiftly into the ZOA’s allegations, mounting an independent investigation.

Republicans in the state senate also seized the issue, passing a budget resolution to shift $480 million in state funding to the city, to “send a message” that the school should be doing more to fight campus anti-Semitism.

The ZOA alleges that SJP is largely responsible for anti-Semitism on CUNY campuses.

A Forward investigation this week into the ZOA’s allegations found a more complex and somewhat murkier scene.

It is clear that some Jewish students on CUNY campuses had experienced discrimination as described in the ZOA’s letter. But it was not clear that the anti-Semitism was as sweeping as the ZOA alleged, nor that SJP — which has Jewish members and has partnered with leftist Jewish groups — could be held responsible for all of the incidents that ZOA described.

The ZOA’s allegations were largely self-reported by students. The group declined to provide any names of sources to the Forward.

CUNY has declined to reveal details about their ongoing investigation into SJP, and did not respond immediately to comment on Hikind’s public letter.

SJP representatives condemned anti-Semitism on campus. An SJP leader, Nerdeen Kiswani, conceded that “people can use the Palestinian cause to spread their own hatred,” but SJP as a group “stands against any form of racism,” she said.

Jewish Voice for Peace, which has previously partnered with SJP, wrote a letter in defense of the group to CUNY last month. “Students for Justice in Palestine have a fundamental right to exist on campus,” the left-leaning JVP wrote, “and to freely pursue their goals of supporting Palestinian rights,” “criticizing unjust policies of the Israeli government, and supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”

Another Jewish group objected to the state Republicans’ move to defund CUNY.

“We stand unwaveringly in our condemnation of anti-Semitism and our support of publicly-accessible education for all New Yorkers,” a statement from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice read. “We reject the idea that the reported incidents at CUNY prove there is a systemic problem with anti-Semitism on CUNY campuses.”

Bron: http://forward.com



Paul wrote in Romans 11:11 about his own people, “So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.” 

This is the calling of the followers of Messiah in the nations that we must pray for. In order to fulfill this calling to make Israel jealous, it is necessary to return to the original roots of the church among the Jewish people. How can we make Israel jealous over something that is forbidden for them? It is impossible! 

It is an undisputed fact that the church began among the Jewish people in Jerusalem. Throughout the book of Acts, faith in Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth was viewed as a Jewish movement. Swedish Pentecostal minister and doctor of theology Göran Lennartsson, has done an excellent job in showing this in a book recently released by Word of Life in Uppsala, Sweden. The title of his book is Grafted In – Concerning the Jewish Roots of Christianity. He writes,  “The church in Jerusalem has been a model for revival movements in every generation. The ideals of genuine Christian faith, church order and Christian life in the power of the Holy Spirit have been taken from the Book of Acts. This is no doubt absolutely correct. 

“But one aspect has sometimes been forgotten; the church in Jerusalem consisted only of Jews. This is important to remember in order to understand the beginning of Christianity, but also in order to come to grips with our Christian identity.”[1] 

He continues,  “It is correct to say that the roots of Christianity is Judaism, even that pristine Christianity is a form of Judaism. It was solely made up of Jews who believed in the God of Israel, lived according to the Jewish Bible and followed the Jew, Jesus of Nazareth. Pristine Christianity was Apostolic Judaism.”[2] 

In the final chapter of the Book of Acts when Paul came to Rome, the Jewish leaders there said to him, “But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.” (Ac 28:22) Luke is using the same Greek word translated in this verse as “sect” as for example in Acts 5:17 where it is used about “the party of the Sadducees” and in Acts 15:5 about “the party of the Pharisees”. The word is referring to a religious stream within Judaism. The Jewish leaders in Rome viewed Paul’s message as a Jewish faith. They did not see it as a new religion separate from Judaism. 

Christianity not only has its roots among the Jewish people. It is also where its future is when God fulfills his promises to them! Paul wrote about the mystery of Messiah that he preached, “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power.” (Eph 3:6-7) 

Göran Lennartsson also shows in his book how the connection with the Jewish roots was broken and the tragic consequences it has led to. Fairly soon Paul’s radical message that Gentiles who have come to faith in Jesus do not need to convert to become Jews, was interpreted as a complete rejection of everything Jewish. Lennartsson writes about this, “Like Marcion, Tertullian believed that Galatians was directed against Judaism. Both of these theologians failed to understand that this letter does not deal with Judaism at all, but with a Gentile Christian problem. Galatians does not picture Christianity in opposition to Judaism. Paul is talking about works of the law that certain Judaizers believed were necessary in order for Christians to be saved. The question was if Gentiles could come to God directly without having to first convert and become Jews. 

“… Tertullian viewed the difference between Christianity and Judaism as the difference between the new and the old covenant. … The problem with this theology is first of all that it fails to recognize what is obvious in the New Testament: that the new covenant (Jer 31) was made with Jews – not with Christians. … Secondly, this teaching is blind to the fact that the Jesus movement is Jewish and that Gentiles have been grafted into this Jewish movement (Ro 11:17ff; Eph 2:12ff). The theology of Tertullian is founded on the assumption that the church is a Gentile phenomenon. His ecclesiology is not in line with the New Testament.”[3] (Emphasis added) 

The question at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 was not if the Jewish believers needed to follow the Torah. That question was already a given and was never discussed. All the Jewish believers in Jesus were zealous about the Law of Moses, see Acts 21:20. They built no churches, but gathered in the Temple (Acts 2:46; 3:1) and in the synagogues (Acts 9:1-2) where they worshiped God together with other Jews. The Jewish people in Jerusalem admired the believers (Acts 2:47; 5:13). Many of the priests came to faith (Acts 6:7). They did not stop working as priests in the Temple. Paul sacrificed in the Temple the last time he visited Jerusalem and he went through all the purification ceremonies before the priests as commanded in the Torah (Acts 21:26; 24:17-18). The man that prayed for him to get healed and filled with the Holy Spirit was “a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews”. (Acts 22:12) Grace is not the opposite of the law (Acts 5:33; 21:20). 

The difficult question that was discussed at length in Acts 15, was how much of the law that the Gentile Christians should keep. It was decided that they do not have to convert to become Jews and thereby have a responsibility to keep the whole law. But Jesus did not abolish the Law of Moses when he died on the cross. That is a terribly heresy! We will never be able to make the Jews jealous with such a message. God has specifically told them that they are not allowed to believe in such a Messiah (De 13:1-5). The Apostles did not preach such a Gospel. 

It is a very encouraging sign that Word of Life in Sweden has published Lennartsson’s important book. It was Word of Life´s founder Ulf Ekman who initiated the tragic movement towards the Roman Catholic Church several years ago, and two years ago took the consequences of his beliefs and converted to the Roman church. The book by Lennartsson deals a deathblow to this movement. If we are to talk about spiritual roots in a serious way, we cannot just go back to something that in many ways had become the very opposite to what the apostles preached. Lennartsson describes what happened when the church cut off its Jewish roots: 

“By believing that church tradition also carries revelation, the church incorporated customs that are foreign to the Bible. Church practice became doctrine. The prohibition in the Bible against images was abolished, which gave way to icons and statues supposedly carrying divine presence. Church worship changed from the family oriented style of the synagogue and the presence of God (shechina) into an orchestrated drama in church buildings resembling contemporary [pagan] temples.”[4] 

It is also a great blessing that Anders Gerdmar, associate professor in New Testament studies at Uppsala University, principal at The Scandinavian Theological Institute and long time member in Word of Life Church, has taken a strong stand against Ulf Ekman’s changed views in an interview with the title “Ekman’s Changed View of the Bible Is the Main Issue”.[5] This gives hope for the future.

A Vision of the Restoration In Our Day

Göran Lennartsson writes, “As Christians in the third millennium we have every reason to seek our roots and renew our identity from the first century. This does not mean that we naively can reject nearly two thousand years of Christian history.”[6] 

We agree. We must tread carefully, or we will risk throwing out the baby with the bath water and uproot the wheat with the tares. Six years ago I (Lars) saw a vision about this. 

I saw a landscape divided in the middle by a canal. The right side of the canal represented Judaism, including the Apostolic Judaism we see in the Book of Acts. The other side represented Christianity as it later developed, separate from its Jewish roots. It was on the Jewish side that Christianity began as a movement within Judaism. In the horizon on this side is also the coming of Messiah back to Jerusalem. He came the first time to his own people and he will return again to them in Jerusalem when they welcome him. That is where the goal is. What a day it will be when the leaders of his own people will welcome him in Jerusalem. Then all true Gentile believers will also be there. There is only one table in the Kingdom. (Mt 8:11) 

In the vision I understood that the church had begun on the Jewish side of the canal, but had somehow ended up on “the wrong side,” separate from the Jewish people. In then saw in the vision some Christians who had begun to realize this. They wanted to cross the canal to get over to the other side as quickly as possible and built a bridge over the canal. 

I saw them traveling on a train which made a 90-degree turn to the right thereby turning their backs towards the Christian side. The train began moving up on the bridge, which was built like an arch over the water. The progress was slow in the beginning, but when it came to the top in the middle of the bridge, it began to descend towards the other side and now the train picked up speed really fast. 

The problem, however, is that the goal is not 90 degrees to the right, but in the horizon on the right side close to the canal. In order to get there, the train had to make another 90 degree turn on the right side as it came down off the bridge. 

In the vision I was moved to see this from the perspective of the train. I looked out the window as the train came rushing down on the other side. It was a feeling similar to being on a roller coaster ride in an amusement park. When I saw what was happening I cried out: “Oh no! This is never going to work!” I saw that there was not a chance for the train to make another 90-degree turn on the other side in the high speed that it was now traveling downhill. And, sure enough, when the train came rushing down on the other side it just continued straight ahead into the landscape and got stuck. At this point I woke up from the dream. God spoke to me: “The turn over to the right side back to the original roots will take place gradually, not in a 90-degree angle!” 

It is not possible to just turn our backs on everything Christian and only stare to the right towards what is Jewish. We have to keep our eyes on the goal, the coming of Messiah. Then we need to move towards that goal through the restoration of the Spirit when he reveals the truths in the Scriptures to the Church. In this way everyone who has an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying will arrive safely to the right side and reach the goal, just as Jesus said, “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold [the Jewish people]. I must bring them [the Gentile believers in Messiah] also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (Jn 10:16) 

This is the great work of unity that the Holy Spirit is doing in this hour when the hearts of the fathers (the Jewish people] are being turned towards the children (the church) and the hearts of the children towards the fathers. God is the God of history and he will accomplish a change and restoration on both sides. May we have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying! 

The two sides of the canal can also be likened to Babylon and Jerusalem, the harlot and the bride. We are on a journey away from Babylon back to Jerusalem. Isaiah prophesied, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’ The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion. Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the Lord. For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight, for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” (Isa 52:8-12) 

It took quite a long time for the church to leave its Jewish roots and the connection to Jerusalem. The work of restoration back to the right foundation will likewise not take place over night. When God led his people out of Egypt to the Promised Land, he did not bring them the closest way through the land of the Philistines (Ex 13:17). It took an entire generation for the LORD to reprogram them in the wilderness during 40 years before they were ready to take the Promised Land. 

We cannot stand still. We have to begin moving in the direction of Jerusalem back to the right roots. But we cannot rush ahead in our own strength and wisdom! The LORD must go before us. For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight, for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” (Isa 52:12) 

When David was going to move the ark to Jerusalem he first placed it on a cart just like the Philistines had done. It ended with a catastrophe. David had to begin all over again and to seek God about the right way. Then they carried the ark on the shoulders of the priests according to the instructions in the Word. When they had taken six steps they stopped to sacrifice to the LORD. Imagine how much time that took, compared to just placing the ark on a cart and take off! And how expensive it was! But it was God’s way. 

The great work of restoration that is going on right now through the work of the Holy Spirit will require a lot of wisdom, much patience and great sensitivity. And the work must be propelled forward step by step through much prayer, until the LORD has a people made ready for him. A humble and mature leadership must lead the way carrying the ark on their shoulders. He wants his church restored back to the way it was in the beginning in the book of Acts. That is where the true pattern is found also for us today.


[1] Göran Lennartsson, Inympad – Om kristendomens judiska rötter, 2015, Uppsala, Livets Ords Förlag, p. 77 translated from Swedish.

[2] Ibid. sid. 82-83

[3] Göran Lennartsson, Inympad – Om kristendomens judiska rötter, 2015, Uppsala, Livets Ords Förlag, sid. 133

[4] Ibid. sid. 127

[5] http://www.varldenidag.se/nyheter/ekmans-andrade-bibelsyn-ar-storsta-fragan/cbbokf!LXcQMQ8yLH658CeGQ5FJ0Q/

[6] Göran Lennartsson, Inympad – Om kristendomens judiska rötter, 2015, Uppsala, Livets Ords Förlag, sid. 139

Bron: http://www.thewatchman.org


Pillar of Fire


Beste allemaal,

We kijken in dit jaar 2016 alweer terug op een aantal hele goede dagen en avonden van onderwijs. De video’s hopen we binnenkort via de site aan te bieden. Voor de volgende activiteiten nodigen we u graag weer uit.

Jacob Damkani: woensdag 13 april: – met LIVESTREAMING

Pesach: Sedermaaltijd zaterdag 23 april a.s. in Den Haag

– Voor de Internat. Gebedsconferentie in juni 2016 kunt u zich nu aanmelden via de site.

Maar ook: nieuws!

Naast onze activiteiten bieden we u ook via onze site met regelmaat goede nieuwsartikelen aan over en uit Israël, nieuws wat u doorgaans nergens anders hoort. Geef het ook uw vrienden en familie door, laten we Israël zoveel als we kunnen positief onder de aandacht brengen – zij zijn geroepen een licht te zijn voor de wereld, en dat doen zij o.a. met hulpverlening en veel belangrijke ontdekkingen. We bevelen graag de volgende artikelen bij u aan:

Israëlische gaat undercover om Syrische levens te redden

Hebreeuwse Universiteit ‘ice tech’ zou tekort transplantatie-organen kunnen oplossen

Technion ontwikkelt draagbaar echografie-apparaat

Woensdag 13 april: Jacob Damkani


Jacob is de oprichter van Trumpet of Salvation to Israel, een organisatie die “zich heeft gewijd aan het brengen van de Joodse Messias aan het Joodse volk, op een Joodse manier zodat Gods Verbondsvolk hun Messias zullen herkennen, die hun voorvaderen was beloofd en die al vele generaties wordt verwacht maar die hen is “vervreemd” door vele tragische interacties met mensen en kerken die geen ware volgelingen waren van Yeshua (Jezus).”

Ook roepen zij de Kerk op wakker te worden en haar roeping te vervullen om Gods volk ‘tot jaloezie te verwekken”, naar Romeinen 11:11.

Jacob beschreef zijn levensverhaal in “Waarom ik?” (verkrijgbaar bij Pillar of Fire,

€ 10,-).

Locatie: Kerketuinenweg 10, Den Haag. Lees meer

Aanvang 20.00 uur, deuren open 19.30 uur (met Livestreaming).

Pesach met Sedermaaltijd, 23 april


Op zaterdag 23 april a.s. hopen we weer de Sedermaaltijd te houden met elkaar. Doet u mee?

Meld u dan svp aan via info@pillaroffire.nl. Vol = vol!

Aanmelden: uiterlijk 18 april, dit ivm de nodige voorbereidingen!

Prijs p.p. € 15,-. Zie hier op de site.

Internationale GebedsConferentie 2-3-4-5 Juni 2016



Op 2, 3, 4 en 5 juni 2016 hopen we weer een Internationale Gebedsconferentie te hebben in Den Haag.

Het doel van deze Gebedsconferenties is om geestelijk de weg voor te bereiden voor een Congres in 2017, dat zich zal richten op het naar voren brengen van Waarheid voor Israël, en waarheid met betrekking tot haar recht op het haar door God gegeven Land.

Deze keer willen we ook al een dag eerder beginnen, op donderdag 2 juni, voor een tour door Den Haag langs strategische plaatsen, én we willen ook graag nog op maandag 7 juni een dag organiseren voor een leuk en gezellig toeristisch uitstapje, met name voor onze buitenlandse gasten. Vrijdag 3 juni wordt een dag met onderwijs.


Reserveert u de data alvast in uw agenda? We houden u op de hoogte!

We hebben Nederlandse en Engelse folders beschikbaar. Interesse om uit te delen? Mail ons hoeveel u wilt hebben: info@pillaroffire.nl

Lees meer


Joodse Lezingen – 10 april 2016

10 april spreekt Rabbijn Corrie Zeidler over:

Jodendom in veranderende tijden.

Let op deze lezing is in de synagoge van Dieren.

Aanvang 15:00 uur. Einde 16:45 uur.
Alle informatie (parkeergelegenheid ed.) 
vindt u op onze site.

Juist ook voor niet-joden is dit onderwerp interessant.

Jodendom is oeroud en heeft zich altijd
staande weten te houden.
Welke dynamiek kenmerkt het Jodendom?
En wat kunnen we daarvan leren?

Uw betrokkenheid bij JoodseLezingen betekent een morele steun aan de – in de tweede wereldoorlog – gedecimeerde Joodse gemeenschap.

Wij hopen dan ook dat u bij onze afsluitende lezing aanwezig kunt zijn en dat de synagoge in Dieren net zo goed bezocht zal worden als in Apeldoorn.

Wilt u al vast kennis nemen van de synagoge, evenals haar rijke historie?…

Op onze facebookpagina JoodselezingenPrikbord vindt u een uitgebreide presentatie (de moeite waard!).

We ontmoeten u graag in de Synagoge Dieren,

Spoorstraat 34.

Een vriendelijke groet,

Team JoodseLezingen

Removing the Leaven of Unbelief

  • Removing the leaven of unbelieve

Torah Portion SH’MINI – Vayikra (Leviticus) 9:1-11:47

Preparation for Passover

For seven days no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory, and none of the flesh which you sacrifice on the evening of the first day shall remain overnight until morning. Deuteronomy 16:4

Shabbat shalom dearly beloved!

The other day I was speaking with my Orthodox sister about the Passover preparations. The Orthodox Jews take these preparations very seriously! It is actually an exhausting time of cleaning and removing all traces of “leaven”. Leaven is what causes flour to rise and it is a “live organism” as opposed to “leavening agents” such as baking powder that are chemical and dead. Leaven can keep on multiplying with no limitations. In the New Covenant “leaven” is both likened unto SIN and also as a neutral agent that cause growth and expansion of the Kingdom. So it depends what leaven does, just like money is neutral and if used for Kingdom purposes it is actually good!

Negative Connotation

They are all adulterers, like an oven heated by the baker Who ceases to stir up the fire From the kneading of the dough until it is leavened. Hosea 7:4

And Yeshua said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Matthew 16:6

Positive Connotation

He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened. Matthew 13:33


Sin of delayed obedienceThey baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves. Exodus 12:39

In the story of Passover “leaven” represents the sin of “delayed obedience”. The Children of Israel did not have time to wait for the dough to rise or to leaven in order to bake their bread for the journey! They had to obey promptly and escape Egypt swiftly!

Thus eating MATSA-Unleavened Bread in Pessach is to remind us of their swift obedience. Delayed obedience would have caused the dough to rise and the People of Israel would have been still slaves in Egypt to this day! Delayed obedience stems from UNBELIEF. When we do not believe in His revealed Word and Promises, we stall. Stalling cost the wife of Lot her life, since she looked back!

Every time we delay obedience, we are actually going to look back; there will be a yearning for the familiar versus that which is awaiting us as we move forward. That of course will bring slavery and death! YHVH is calling us to Prompt Obedience, Unleavened Faith!

Especially when it comes to the End Time Message of REPENTANCE, Teshuva from all sin including Replacement Theology and the pagan religious system, many people tend to stall. They start to look back to their Christmas Trees, Christmas memories, Easter celebrations, pork “delicacies”, the acceptance of their home church and other Christians and before you know it their “dough” is leavened and they cannot move forward and actually die spiritually and some -times physically because they did not promptly obeyed the MAP Revolution Message of Repentance! This Message is a Prophetic Word to the whole Body of Yeshua and receiving it is a matter of life and death! YHVH is cleansing and repossessing His Bride from Replacement Theology and all Babylonian system with the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and pride of life!


Time for truthTherefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua . For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2

Many people say “do not put me under “condemnation”” Beloved there is NO condemnation to those that walk in the Spirit- that means led by the Holy Spirit that wrote the Torah, by the Finger of Elohim! But there is condemnation for those who walk in their carnal mind and understanding! If we are walking in the Spirit, we will all come to REPENTANCE from all that is a LIE, and Replacement Theology is a LIE!

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:6, 7

The Holy Spirit is our helper! He helps us to obey YHVH promptly with no delays! When we are in the flesh we break His Commandments! We are not saved by obedience! Obedience is an outcome of FAITH. True Faith will be followed by prompt obedience. That is why the highest form of leaven (sin) is actually UNBELIEF. Unbelief in YHVH, His Word, His Power, His Character and His Promises is actually belief in something else. We do not live in a vacuum! If we do not trust Him who or what do we trust?

We are not talking about a “legalistic walk” here but a Holy Spirit, Faith empowered walk that seeks to obey Yah promptly whether it is in keeping His Shabbat Holy, His Dietary laws, giving of tithes and offerings, praying for Israel, ministering healing and deliverance or keeping yourself pure before marriage! All these things Yeshua did as a Perfect Jew (not a religious Jew!) and He is calling both Jew and Gentile to follow His example!

The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 1 John 2:6

He totally trusted the Father and performed and spoke His Word over all circumstances even when satan tempted Him to sin in the desert!

The Healing Power of the Roots

The healing power of the rootsTherefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. Acts 3:19-21

Prior to Bishop Dominiquae’s writing of her now classic book The Healing Power of the Roots, she had ministered the first “Back to the Roots” seminar ever in Switzerland. There was so much glory poured out and so many miracles, that on her way home to Israel she asked YHVH a question. “What is so important about preaching the Jewish Roots to the Church?” His answer was clear: “It is a matter of life and death. The Church is like a beautiful Rose, cut from her garden, put in a vessel with water for two days. But in the Third Day if she is not replanted back, she will surely die! Third Day is the Third Millennium as one day is like one thousand years to Adonai!

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 2 Peter 3:8

Since she received this word she has written many more books and by Yah’s grace has created an entire video Bible School called GRM that is now going to all nations in many languages! Time is late and YHVH is calling the whole Church to promptly leave the Egypt/Babylon of Replacement Theology. Bishop’s resources can help you do it at the speed of light! But many are “stalling” and waiting for some “favorable time”. This is the favorable time and there will be no other! This Prophetic Word was received by Bishop Dominiquae Bierman in 1994 and Yah is accelerating everything! There is really no time to waste!

You will arise and have compassion on Zion; for it is time to be gracious to her,
for the appointed time has come
. Psalm 102:13

Click here to order The Healing Power of the Roots.


Labourers neededFor you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15

Removing the leaven of unbelief is mandatory as we prepare for Passover this year! This affects our walk with Yah. Yeshua said 2000 years ago that that harvest was plentiful but the laborers are few? Why are they few because of UNBELIEF which includes FEAR. Some of the most common fears are; fear of the unknown, fear of men, fear of suffering and fear of making mistakes. But fear and unbelief make very bad drivers and they actually kill us! Walking in fear is opposite than walking in LOVE!

And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Luke 10:2

YHVH is calling many to lay down their lives for Kingdom purposes and in order to answer we have to get rid of the leaven of fear and unbelief!

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:25


Leaven manifest in our thouhtsTruly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Mark 11:23

The natural mind is in enmity with Elohim! We must have the Mind of Messiah and relate to the Promises of YHVH as a “done deal”! Begin to call things that are not as if they were and stop relating to the circumstances of life as to ultimate reality! King David who was not born again understood this principle! He acknowledged the hardship but always ended in a note of hope and faith! He trusted His Covenant with YHVH beyond his own mistakes and weaknesses and beyond his circumstances! He commanded his soul, mind, will and emotions to bless YHVH!

Bless YHVH o my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.  Bless YHVH, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits. Psalm 103:1, 2

Truly without faith we cannot please the Almighty! Even if you try your best to obey by your own strength if you do not put your trust in His strength and Promises, you are “leavened” and will be in enmity with Elohim!

 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

It is important to declare His Word and Promises constantly with your own lips. Until you do that you will not be able to activate the LIFE in them! You will have whatever YOU say!

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

In fact He is able to do much more than what we think or ask, but we must THINK and we must ASK! It is important to meditate on His Torah-Word and Promises if we are to see miraculous outcomes come to pass!

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. Ephesians 3:20


Watch over your heartWatch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious speech far from you. Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Proverbs 4:23-25

Any time that we speak our interpretation of our circumstances rather than Yah’s Covenant Word of Promise it is a devious and deceitful mouth and speech!

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious speech far from you. Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Proverbs 4:23-25

Any time that we speak our interpretation of our circumstances rather than Yah’s Covenant Word of Promise it is a devious and deceitful mouth and speech!

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

This entire humanistic system with its “psychological interpretations” is based on unbelief and lies!

King David acknowledged His hardship to YHVH and then went ahead to extoll Him and praise Him. He did not deny he was going through a rough time but he put his emphasis on Elohim’s Covenant Promises and abilities and not in his adverse circumstances!

O YHVH, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of my soul, “There is no deliverance for him in God.” Selah. But You, O YHVH, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. Psalm 3:1, 2


What are you speakingIf I would have spoken circumstances instead of Promises, I would have had a “vegetable” for a daughter, a dead son, a failure of a Ministry, no money so no traveling and no printing of books or creating of Bible School! I would have been handicapped for life after so many falls! My husband would have been sitting in a wheel chair after a terrible accident with broken discs or actually dead after two heart attacks. I would long ago not be in Eilat because of the persecution and slander suffered from the hands of “believers” and I would have forfeited my call all together as a Woman in Leadership as it is too hard and unacceptable in many religious circles. I have much more to say about this but enough is to say this,

Because I trusted, declared and obeyed His Word and Promises over all my adverse circumstances, I am still in the Ministry and thriving, we are in Eilat and have purchased the Prayer Tower and are about to purchase the Penthouse next door to complete the purchase of all the roof apartments, my daughter is greatly successful in her studies and will soon start her Master’s in Education, her friends call her “the Minister of Education” because she is so brilliant and inspired by Elohim in all she does, my son is alive, my husband is healthy with a strong heart, I am up and running to many nations, goodness and mercy run after me all the time and much, much more!

But I declared all of these much BEFORE they manifested! When things went wrong I said- All is well with my soul! I said it by faith and then it manifested because I can have and you can have whatever we SAY!

You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you; and light will shine on your ways. Job 22:28

We all have “circumstances” and some of us have more adversity than others but the difference is in whether we have the “leaven of unbelief” or the preciousness of FAITH! What are you thinking and talking?

Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand YHVH brought you out from this place. And nothing leavened shall be eaten (thought or spoken BD). Exodus 13:3

May you have a Kosher Passover totally void of the leaven of unbelief so you can go on and possess your Promised Land!

Blessed Passover Preparations!

Bishop Dominiquae & Rabbi BaruchYour Mentors and Friends in Israel,
Bishop Dominiquae and Rabbi Baruch Bierman

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent” Isaiah 62:1

The 2-state notion is no solution

Martin Sherman

One of the most perverse paradoxes in the political discourse on the Israeli-Arab conflict is that the people who supported the two-state principle should have been its fiercest opponents — at least if we are to judge by the “enlightened” moral values and progressive political pragmatism they purportedly invoke for endorsing it.

For even the most perfunctory analysis quickly reveals the two-state endeavor to be not only an exercise in utter futility, which will not attain any of its declared aims, but one that is both self-obstructive and self-contradictory. In fact, it would most likely bring about the exact opposite of its stated aims.

The two-state endeavor is immoral, irrational, and incompatible with the long-term existence of Israel as the Jewish nation-state.

It is immoral because it will create realties that are the absolute negation of the lofty values invoked for its implementation.

It is irrational because it will generate the precise perils it was designed to prevent.

It is incompatible with Israel’s long-term existence as the Jewish nation-state because it will almost inevitably culminate in a mega-Gaza on the outskirts of the greater Tel Aviv area.

Why the two-state endeavor is immoral

Typically — indeed, almost invariably — two-state proponents lay claim to the moral high ground, invoking lofty liberal values for their political credo, while impugning their ideological opponents’ ethical credentials for opposing it.

Indeed, given the socio-cultural conditions in virtually all Arab countries, and the precedents set in Palestinian-administered territories evacuated by Israel, the inevitable outcome of the two-state notion is not difficult to foresee. Indeed , there is little reason to believe (and certainly two-state proponents have never provided anything approaching a persuasive one) that any prospective Palestinian state, established on any territory Israel evacuated, will quickly become anything but yet another homophobic, misogynistic Muslim-majority tyranny.

Why on earth then would anyone who allegedly subscribes to values of gender equality, tolerance of sexual preferences and political pluralism endorse any policy that would almost certainly obviate the ethical tenets they purport to cherish? On what basis could advocating the establishment of such an entity be made a claim for the moral high ground — or indeed for any moral merit whatsoever?

Why the two-state endeavor is irrational

But it is not only in terms of moral outcomes that the two-state paradigm is a perversely self-obstructive endeavor. The same is true for the practical outcomes that it will almost certainly precipitate.

It is hard to say what has to happen before it is recognized that the land-for-peace doctrine, on which the two-state concept is based, is a perilously counterproductive endeavor — as it has in every instance it was attempted, not only in the Arab-Israeli context, but whenever an effort was made to appease tyranny with political concessions and territorial withdrawals.

For whenever that unfortunate formula has been applied, rather than result in peace, it has produced increased violence and bloodshed. Every time territory has been relinquished to Arab control, that territory has, sooner or later — usually sooner rather than later — become a platform for launching lethal attacks against Israel: Almost immediately in Gaza, within months in Judea and Samaria, within years in southern Lebanon and after several decades in Sinai, which is now descending into the depths of depravity and unspeakable brutality — with no good options on the horizon.

In light of the grim precedents provided by previous land-for-peace experiments, together with the no less grim trends in Arab society in general and Palestinian society in particular, continued insistence on this fatally flawed formula is both gravely irrational and grossly irresponsible.

Why the two-state endeavor is incompatible with Israel’s existence

Thus, apart from wishful thinking, dangerously detached from any prevailing (or foreseeable) reality, stubborn adherence to the two-state dogma has no value — neither in terms of its moral merits nor its political pragmatism. Worse yet, the pursuit of it is totally incompatible with Israel’s long-term existence.

To grasp the fundamental validity of this seemingly far-reaching statement it is necessary to recognize that today, with the changing nature of Arab enmity, the major existential challenge to Israel’s existence as the Jewish nation-state is no longer fending off invasion, but resisting attrition.

Nowhere was this more starkly evident than in the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, where continued bombardment resulted in the evacuation of entire Jewish communities in Israel’s south.

Without compelling evidence to the contrary, there is little reason to believe, and certainly to adopt as a working assumption, that the realities in the south will not be repeated on Israel’s eastern border — with several chilling differences.

The most plausible outcome of an Israeli evacuation of Judea and Samaria is the emergence of a mega-Gaza on the very outskirts of the greater Tel Aviv area and other major urban centers in the heavily populated coastal plain. But unlike Gaza, which has a border of 51 kilometers (32 miles) and no topographical command of adjacent territory inside the pre-1967 frontiers, the situation in Judea and Samaria would — to understate the case — be alarmingly different.

“Depraved indifference” of the two-state paradigm

Any Arab entity set up there would have a front abutting Israel’s most populous area, of about 500 kilometers (about 300 miles) and total topographical superiority over 80% of the country’s civilian population, vital infrastructure systems and 80% of its commercial activity.

All of these will be in range of weapons used against Israel from territory evacuated and transferred to Arab control. Accordingly, this grim caveat cannot be dismissed as “right-wing scaremongering” for it is merely the empirical precedent.

Any force deployed in these areas — whether regular or renegade — could, with cheap readily available weapons, disrupt at will any socio-economic routine in Israel’s coastal megalopolis, turning the popular tourist city of Netanya into a Sderot-by-the-sea, and making the attrition in daily life increasingly onerous.

There is, of course, little dispute over the assessment, that if Israel were to evacuate Judea and Samaria it would almost certainly fall into the hands of Hamas-like elements, or worse. At the very least, such an outcome is highly probable. Indeed, the only way to ensure that what happened in Gaza does not happen in Judea and Samaria is for Israel to retain control of this territory — thereby obviating implementation of the two-state formula and the emergence of a Palestinian state.

Surely then, given the grave — indeed, existential — risks inherent in the two-state paradigm, considerably heightened by the precarious position of the current regime in neighboring Jordan, threatened, as it is, by ever-ascendant Islamist elements, would it not be eminently reasonable to consider further advocacy of this perilous prescription as “reckless endangerment” — even “depraved indifference”?

Immediate imperative

Accordingly, with the catastrophic consequences of continued insistence on the quest for a two-state resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict an ever more ominous likelihood, a determined search for plausible and durable alternatives — more moral, more rational and more compatible with the survival of the Jewish nation state — is now an urgent imperative.

Dr. Martin Sherman (www.martinsherman.net ) is founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies (www.strategicisrael.org).

Bisschoppen houden Israël verantwoordelijk voor aanhoudend geweld

Ernstige blunders in rapport commissie mensenrechten.


jeruzalem-kruis-rotskoepel-300x203– Door Tjalling –

In het Katholiek Nieuwsblad werd recent een artikel gepubliceerd over de bevindingen van de mensenrechtencommissie van de bisschoppen van het Heilig Land. Die hielden verband met de bezetting door Israël van Palestijnse gebieden. Volgens een op 21 maart door de commissie uitgegeven verklaring zou die bezetting de oorzaak zijn van het conflict. Het is echter onjuist om die bezetting als oorzaak van het conflict te beschouwen en alleen Israël verantwoordelijk te houden voor de huidige situatie.


Laten we beginnen met het grote misverstand, waar zich trouwens ook niet kerkelijke kringen door laten misleiden, namelijk dat de wortel van het conflict tussen Palestijnen en Israëli’s zou liggen in de bezetting van de Palestijnse gebieden. Dat is pertinent niet waar; de werkelijke oorzaak van het nu al bijna 70 jaren durende conflict – met tussenpozen van enige ‘wapenstilstanden’ – is de categorische afwijzing door de Arabische landen van een Joodse staat. Deze afwijzing is ook de oorzaak van het nog steeds aanhoudende geweld tussen Palestijnen en Israëli’s. Daarbij worden van beide zijden ernstige fouten gemaakt, maar het is onjuist om alleen Israël verantwoordelijk te houden voor de actuele situatie.

Problematisch verleden

Het is niet alleen onjuist dat de commissie van de bisschoppen in het Heilig Land anders oordeelt dan de realiteit aangeeft, gelet op het verleden is dit bovendien onaanvaardbaar. Door het onoverbrugbare grote verschil tussen het Christendom en Jodendom zijn er in de afgelopen twintig eeuwen grote spanningen gerezen tussen deze twee godsdiensten. Met name de zogenoemde Vervangingstheologie heeft de verhouding tussen Christendom en Jodendom absoluut geen goed gedaan. Het Christendom belijdt dat God in Jezus een nieuw begin heeft gemaakt waardoor het al veel langer bestaande Jodendom overbodig zou zijn geworden. De Vervangingstheologie kan niet rechtstreeks verantwoordelijk worden gehouden voor – christelijk – antisemitisme, maar heeft wel de positie van de Joden ten opzichte van de Christenen sterk ondermijnd. Van een commissie die verbonden is aan ’s werelds grootste kerkgenootschap mag beter historisch besef en realiteitszin worden verwacht. Het gebrek daaraan is echter niet de enige blunder van de commissie.

Wel ophitsing

Volgens deze commissie wordt het – actuele – conflict niet aangewakkerd door Palestijnen. Wat als ophitsing wordt aangemerkt, zou deels enkel gaan om de verhalen die Palestijnse ouders aan hun kinderen vertellen over ‘het ontstaan en het aanhoudende drama van de Palestijnse ballingschap’.

De continue ophitsing via de Palestijnse tv – niet alleen door Hamas maar ook bij de Palestijnse Autoriteit – wordt genegeerd door de commissie, evenals de openlijke Palestijnse verering van terroristen. Het Israëlische rechtscentrum Shurat HaDin in Tel Aviv werkt momenteel aan een aanklacht bij het Internationale Strafhof (ICC) in Den Haag, tegen de directeuren van de officiële Palestijnse omroep. De oproepen tot geweld tegen Joden op de Palestijnse televisie hebben volgens Shurat HaDin de afgelopen maanden recordhoogten bereikt. Meerdere daders van de steekaanvallen van de laatste tijd verklaarden dat ze daartoe waren aangezet door Palestijnse tv-uitzendingen. Regelrechte ophitsing dus en dat nota bene door de Palestijnse televisie, die onder controle staat van de Palestijnse Autoriteit en ook nog met Europees hulpgeld wordt gesteund.


De mensenrechten commissie van de bisschoppen heeft zich naar alle gedachten weer eens laten leiden door enkel de Palestijnse kant of hun eigen ‘herderlijke’ inzichten die echter niet stoelen op feiten en historisch besef. De aanbeveling van de commissie, namelijk dat ‘de bezetting de oorzaak is van de actuele ellende en z.s.m. moet worden beëindigd’ is, zoals reeds is gezegd, onjuist. De aanbeveling had moeten luiden: ‘Voor alle verdere ontwikkelingen moet er eerst een erkenning in alle talen komen door de Arabische landen van de Joodse staat Israël’. Mocht dat inderdaad gebeuren, dan kan daar – ook – de beëindiging van bezetting van Palestijns grondgebied uit voortvloeien.

Misplaatst mededogen

De vraag rijst dan natuurlijk wel waarom die mensenrechtencommissie enkel Israël verantwoordelijk houdt voor het aanhoudende geweld. Waarschijnlijk is dat omdat zij Israël beschouwt als de, ook in moreel opzicht, sterkere partij. Christelijke barmhartigheid of mededogen geldt vooral voor de zwakkere, waarbij jammer genoeg het morele aspect maar weinig aandacht krijgt. Met betrekking tot het conflict tussen Palestijnen en Israëli’s speelt dat laatste zeker een rol. Heel scherp gezegd: In relatie tot het Palestijns – Israëlisch conflict zet het doorgeschoten en eenzijdige medelijden met de ene kant het bestaansrecht van de andere kant onnodig onder druk.

Bron: http://www.israel-palestina.info


פרשת שמיני How God was Sanctified through Nadav and Avihu’s Death

After the shocking death of Nadav and Avihu, Moses says to Aaron that this is what God meant when he said, “through those near to me I will sanctify Myself.”  Rashi, Rashbam, and Nahmanides struggle to understand the meaning of Moses’ message.

Prof. James A. Diamond

Illustration from “Figures de la Bible”, published by P. de Hondt in The Hague 1728. edited.

Part 1
The Consecration of the Tabernacle:
From Celebration to Mourning

The consecration of the Tabernacle (mishkan) in the wilderness after the Israelites’ miraculous escape from Egypt should have been a purely joyful event. It was poised to signal both a concrete break with an oppressive subjugated past and optimistically anticipate an autonomous future revolving around Israel’s own cultic centre and an exclusive covenant with their God.

For an instant, this was indeed the case. The inaugural sacrifices celebrating the Tabernacle’s completion climaxed with a spectacular expression of divine approval, communal revelry, and pious solemnity (Leviticus 9:24):

ויקרא ט:כד וַתֵּ֤צֵא אֵשׁ֙ מִלִּפְנֵ֣י יְ-הֹוָ֔ה וַתֹּ֙אכַל֙ עַל הַמִּזְבֵּ֔חַ אֶת הָעֹלָ֖ה וְאֶת הַחֲלָבִ֑ים וַיַּ֤רְא כָּל הָעָם֙ וַיָּרֹ֔נּוּ וַֽיִּפְּל֖וּ עַל פְּנֵיהֶֽם:
Lev 9:24 A fire (then) came forth fire from before YHWH, and devoured upon the altar the burnt-offering and the fat; and when all the people saw it, they shouted, and fell on their faces (NJPS with adjustments).

And yet this premiere event of national celebration is immediately marred by an affront to God, rejection, death, and grief. Jubilation turns into anguish when Aaron’s sons initiate their own sacrifices prompting an identically spectacular, yet this time vicious, divine response (Lev. 10:2):

ויקרא י:ב וַתֵּ֥צֵא אֵ֛שׁ מִלִּפְנֵ֥י יְ-הֹוָ֖ה וַתֹּ֣אכַל אוֹתָ֑ם וַיָּמֻ֖תוּ לִפְנֵ֥י יְ-הֹוָֽה:
Lev 10:2 And there came forth fire from before YHWH, and devoured them, and they died before YHWH.”

The precise replication of a divine conflagration (וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי יְ-הֹוָה וַתֹּאכַל) which describes divine consumption of both the animal sacrifices and Aaron’s children in exactly the same terms invites some unseemly analogy. This flagrant juxtaposition of simultaneous divine acceptance and rejection stimulated much rabbinic exegetical activity.

What did Nadav and Avihu Not Do?!

The narrative overtly attributes Nadav and Avihu’s deaths to their own dedication of the Tabernacle with an “alien fire” (NJPS), or “unauthorized coals” (Milgrom).[1]  The myriad of both modern critical and rabbinic interpretations to determine the precise meaning of the phrase only serve to accentuate the ambiguity involved.[2]  Opinions range across a wide spectrum of “crimes” we might classify in modern terms as political, cultic, ethical, mystical, or even breaches of social convention. They include rebellion to usurp Moses’ and Aaron’s authority, disrespect, drunkenness, bachelorhood, childlessness, wearing of improper priestly vestments, sacral procedural anomalies like omitting the washing of hands, unobstructed viewing of the divine presence, extending even to as minor an ethical infraction as discourtesy in failing to consult each other prior to their dedication.[3]

A Theological Problem More than a Textual Problem
These numerous solutions reflect attempts to come to terms with a gut-wrenching narrative involving divinely sanctioned deaths of the most prominent spiritual figures, struck down violently at a moment of supreme spiritual achievement.

This frenzy of midrashic activity reflects the age-old theological enterprise known as theodicy, the justification of a benevolent God by reconciling His goodness with what appears as injustice and undeserved suffering in the world.

An early midrash conveys this problem in a most graphic way by considering the horror felt by Job, the paradigmatic biblical personage dealing with the theodicy problem, whose “heart quakes and leaps from its place,” (Job 37:1) as a reaction over this injustice:

טיטוס הרשע נכנס לבית קדשי הקדשים וגידד שתי הפרכות ויצא בשלום ובניו של אהרן נכנסו להקריב ויצאו שרופים!
“The evil Titus entered the Holy of Holies, ripped apart its curtains, and was left intact, while Aaron’s sons entered to offer sacrifices and left as ashes!”[4]

That these opinions reflect something far beyond discovering their “actual” meaning in the context of its ancient Near Eastern setting is evident in their near disregard for what the text explicitly states.

Keli Yeqar:  So blatant is this exegetical elision that it prompted R. Shlomoh Ephraim Luntschitz (1550-1619), another seminal rabbinic thinker and author of the renowned Torah commentary Keli Yeqar, to don his critical scholarly cap for an instant, and remark regarding the phrase “they offered before YHWH אש זרה, which He had not enjoined upon them,” from Lev 10:1:

 הרי מקרא זה מכחיש כל הדעות ההם.
This verse controverts all of these interpretations.

Part 2
Moses and Aaron’s  Ambiguous Exchange 

A Contextual Appreciation of Rashi, Rashbam, and Ramban

The terse exchange between Moses and Aaron in response to these tragic and inexplicable deaths, like the actual cause of the deaths, is shot through with an ambiguity that also fuels a vigorous debate among the most prominent medieval Jewish biblical exegetes. The Torah records the pithy exchange as follows:

ויאמר משה אל אהרן הוא אשר דבר י-הוה לאמר בקרבי אקדש ועל פני כל העם אכבד וידם אהרן.
Moses said to Aaron, “This is what YHWH meant when He said: ‘Through those near to Me I will sanctify Myself, and be glorified before all the people.’” And Aaron was silent.

Rashi’s Interpretation:
Death was a Sanctification of God

The interpretation of Rashi (R. Shlomo Yitzhaqi, 1040-1105), has traditionally dominated and became the focal target of opposing views. As with many of Rashi’s readings, a textual problem stimulates his explication.  In this case, taking the statement this is what God spoke of literally, he hones in on the apparently unfounded claim asserted by Moses to have been privy to God’s words. If this is a direct quotation, it is impossible to locate in the earlier Torah text–thus Rashi’s question: “Where did He [God] speak this?”

Basing himself on a talmudic source (b. Zevachim 115b), his quest leads him to the textually distant verse Exodus 29:43, layered by following rationale:

רשי ויקרא י:ג  “הוא אשר דבר וגו’” – היכן דבר ונועדתי שמה לבני ישראל ונקדש בכבודי (שמות כט מג). אל תקרי בכבודי אלא במכובדי. אמר לו משה לאהרן אהרן אחי יודע הייתי שיתקדש הבית במיודעיו של מקום והייתי סבור או בי או בך, עכשיו רואה אני שהם גדולים ממני וממך.
Rashi Lev 10:3 “This is what He meant…” Where did He speak this? “And there I will meet with the children of Israel; and [the Tent] shall be sanctified by My glory” (Exod 29:43).” Do not read it “by My glory,” but rather “by My glorified ones.” Moses said to Aaron, “Aaron, my brother, I knew that the House would be sanctified by those intimate with God, and I believed it would be either by me or you, but now I see that they [Nadav and Avihu] are greater than both you and I.”
“וידם אהרן” – קבל שכר על שתיקתו. ומה שכר קבל, שנתייחד עמו הדיבור
“And Aaron was silent” – And Aaron was rewarded for his silence. What was the reward he received? God addressed him confidentially.

Rashi locates a prooftext for Moses’ citation in an unrelated biblical context in Exodus, regarding God’s assurance that He will grace the Tent of Meeting with His presence within the wilderness camp. Rashi then adopts a midrashic resolution of the “problem” by using a classic rabbinic interpretive practice called אל תקרי – do not read it [as it is written], read it as follows [usually a word play on the text] – that vastly expands the hermeneutical range of biblical language.[5]

In this re-reading, Moses assures Aaron that God values the deaths of his sons as a sacrifice for a greater good, which is the sanctification of God. Aaron’s silence gestures his deference to Moses’ glorification of his sons’ martyrdom by refraining from public grieving. Aaron’s suppression of the visceral emotions naturally expected from any parent suffering such devastating loss, privileges him to his own private audience with God.[6] Rashi’s interpretation of Moses’ “consolation” is premised on God’s categorical endorsement of the sanctification of God through the deaths of the righteous beyond the particular circumstances of Nadav and Avihu by his interpretation of the second half of Moses’ assertion, and I am glorified before all the people, which emphasizes its public effect.

כשהקב”ה עושה דין בצדיקים מתיירא ומתעלה ומתקלס.
When God punishes the righteous He becomes feared, exalted, and acclaimed.

In other words, dying for God is a public relations coup for God’s eminence and worthiness as an object of adoration and worship.

God’s Need for Martyrs in Rashi, Philo, and the Zohar
For Rashi, the death of Aaron’s sons advances the cause of God and religion, providing a vivid historical paradigm of God’s inherent need for martyrs, as well as the human need for them, to reinforce and reassure one’s own faith in God. Rashi’s interpretation is buttressed both earlier in Jewish intellectual history by the ancient philosopher Philo, who viewed Aaron’s son’s deaths as “perfect burnt offerings,”[7] and later, by the Zohar, the canonical text of Kabbalah, which cites their deaths as an endorsement of the notion that the deaths of the righteous constitute a form of atonement.[8]

Why Rashi is Not Peshat

Rashi’s interpretation however, is both philologically and contextually problematic.

  • No Source for Quote: As Rashi admits, the Torah itself contains no explicit source for the quotation attributed to God. This is the most serious problem.
  • ידם Does Not Mean “Comfort”:  The root of the Hebrew rendered by Rashi  as a  silent unresponsive gesture of accord with Moses’ assertion often connotes a response that is anything but acquiescence.
Exodus 15:16
תִּפֹּ֨ל עֲלֵיהֶ֤ם אֵימָ֙תָה֙ וָפַ֔חַד בִּגְדֹ֥ל זְרוֹעֲךָ֖ יִדְּמ֣וּכָּאָ֑בֶן
Terror and dread descend upon them, through the might of Your arm they are stilled as stone.
Amos 5:13
הַמַּשְׂכִּ֛יל בָּעֵ֥ת הַהִ֖יאיִדֹּ֑ם כִּ֛י עֵ֥ת רָעָ֖ה הִֽיא
Thus the prudent man is silent, for it is an evil time.

The Egyptians might be petrified at the splitting of the Sea, but they are not resigned to it. The prudent observer might be outraged or rendered speechless by the evil time, but he certainly does not condone it, and is not comforted by it.  Thus, Aaron’s silence might also express astonishment at his brother’s, at best, insipid attempt at comfort.[9]

Rashbam: Aaron Complies with the
Halachic Imperative not to Mourn

As often happened, Rashi’s view  was challenged by other major biblical exegetes.  His own grandson, Rashbam, notorious for disavowing his grandfather’s midrashic approach in favor of the sensus literalis or peshat, categorically rejects his midrashic interpretation of Moses’ “comfort.”

האגדה שאו’ שהיה מנחמו משה לאהרן… אין זה לפי הפשט. וכי היה מבשר הק’ למשה עשו לי משכן ובו ביום ימותו הגדולים שבכם
The aggada that says that Moses was comforting Aaron… This is not according to the peshat. Would God really have said to Moses, “Make me a Tabernacle, and on the day you do, two of your greatest will die”?!

According to Rashbam, Moses’ response pertains to the laws of mourning which calls for the High Priest to refrain from overt expressions of bereavement.

וידום אהרן – מאבילותו ולא בכה ולא התאבל… וזהו מוסר ואמיתת פשוטו.
“And Aaron was silent” – from his mourning, and he did not cry or mourn… and this was proper behavior, and this is the true peshat.

It is Aaron, not his sons, that is the subject of sanctifying God, by the heroic manner he conducts himself in response,

ועל פני כל העם אכבד – זהו כבוד שכינה שרואה בניו מתים ומניח אבלו בעבודת בוראו.
“And be glorified before all the people” – For this is a glorification of the divine Presence, seeing his sons die and yet displacing his grief for the sake of worshipping his Creator.

Moses, the lawgiver, determines the applicability of divine law in this situation, which places Aaron, as High Priest, in a different halakhic category than normally pertains. Such is indicated, Rashbam notes further, by the laws that specifically restrict the High Priest from actions normally associated with mourning like dishevelled hair and rending garments, as well as coming into contact with corpses even if they belonged to immediate relatives (Lev 21:10-11).  Aaron, the dedicated disciple of Moses and servant of God, complies with Mosaic stricture

Nahmanides: Moses Interprets God’s Will
and Aaron Silences Himself

Another of the great medieval commentators, the seminal thirteenth century Geronese kabbalist, Talmudist, and exegete Moses ben Nahman (Nahmanides, 1194-1270), offers an entirely different perspective. As is often the case in his commentary, Nahmanides trenchantly critiques Rashi’s explication. In particular, he targets Rashi’s convoluted location of the divine source for Moses’ claim that the tabernacle would be eventually sanctified by martyrs, and provides a credible alternative hermeneutic that allows for a wider semantic range to the key biblical term in question- dibber.

Nahmanides demonstrates philologically that in addition to its literal sense of “spoke,” the term ד-ב-ר bears a figurative one that denotes “His decrees, His thought, and the manner of His ways.”[10] In addition to its most common oral sense of speaking out loud, the term “dibber” can also refer to unspoken thoughts and intentions. In other words, Moses did not cite God verbatim, but rather offered his own understanding of the manner in which God governs the world. Aaron concedes, this time to his brother’s understanding of God’s ways, and, according to Nahmanides, poignantly expresses his compliance by abruptly and overtly repressing his natural  fatherly reaction,

שהיה בוכה בקול, ואז שתק.
For he was crying loudly and then suddenly silenced himself.

Three Images of Moses:
Prophet, Posek, Theologian

Thus, among these three seminal medieval parshanim, three very different depictions of Moses emerge in his attempt to rationalize the deaths of Nadav and Avihu to Aaron, their father and his brother.

Rashi, in his literal understanding of Moses’ citing God’s communication, presents us with Moses as prophet, as the mediator of God’s direct word.

Rashbam, in contrast, views Moses in his capacity as a rabbinic posek or halakhic decisor, issuing a ruling regarding the specific mourning practices that would relate to Aaron’s unique position as High Priest.

Nahmanides views him as a kind of theologian, who, because of his extraordinary proximity to God, understands the nature of God’s providence.

In Rashi’s view, Moses is the scribe who cites verbatim, while in Rashbam’s view, Moses israbbenu who interprets, guides, and instructs halakhically, and in Nahmanides’ view, he is aRabbi, sermonizing on the spiritual lesson of a historical event.[11] 

Contextualizing the Three Approaches

All of the commentators discussed struggle with and against the text in order to resolve pressing theological and existential crises. Their encounters with the Hebrew Bible continue in the vein of ancient interpretation that, as James Kugel noted, “had a stake in what the text would end up saying,” as opposed to “merely a cold, objective search for the truth about the text.”[12]

The three primary perspectives examined may also be products of disparate historical weltanschauungs.

Rashi – A Post-Crusader View on Martyrdom
Rashi continued to live for almost a decade after the decimation of French communities during the First Crusades in 1096. He certainly was aware of the painful episodes of Jewish parents murdering their own children rather than leaving them to face forced baptisms. Though it is difficult to determine with certainty, it is not implausible to infer that Rashi’s consideration of the children’s deaths in our passage in Leviticus as a qiddush hashem may have been shaped by these horrifying events, imagining them as biblical precedents for the literal sacrifice of children in his own time al qiddush haShem.[13]

Rashbam – The Halakhist
From a historical point of view, Rashbam’s perspective may have been shaped by very different circumstances. Jewish communities were not as decimated during the Second Crusades, as they were in the First during Rashi’s lifetime, nor was there any self-martyrdom as there was in the First. The single narrative of Jewish experience in the Second Crusade actually “minimizes the depiction of martyrdom and instead foregrounds the effective strategies for Jewish survival employed during this crusade.”[14]

From a methodological perspective,  Rashbam lived his life primarily as an eminent Tosafist whose dominant preoccupation was a dialectical engagement exclusively with the Talmud and its juristic complexities.[15] Although Rashi, of course, was also a halakhist, his midrashic bent when it came to his biblical interpretation, led him down an entirely different exegetical road that has no regard for context. Rashbam, however, is far more attuned to the context.

Though also not averse at times  to interpreting the bible contra accepted halakhic norms,[16]in this passage he finds a perfect confluence of biblical halakha and context. The rationale for those  laws prohibiting the High Priest from mourning rites and defilement on contact with the dead is stated explicitly  so that “he does not profane the sanctuary” (Lev 21:12) Thus reading  “sanctifying” as refraining from mourning would be the opposite of overt mourning and “profaning.” There could be nothing more sublime for Rashbam than a Moses displaying his halakhic acumen in a difficult situation where the narrative context calls for it.

Nahmanides – The Kabbalist
Nahmanides, on the other hand, is one of the most prominent medieval pioneers of Kabbalah, Judaism’s mystical tradition. A staple of that tradition is the esoteric knowledge of the inner dynamics of the Godhead, and the relationship that pertains between its various components known as sefirot, both internally and externally with the material world. Thus, he views Moses as expounding on a particular aspect of Gods’ governance in this situation, which he is qualified to do because of his intimate knowledge with all the divine channels of providence.[17]

Conclusion: Existential Struggles Underpinning the Parshanut
When we examine the various exegetical positions of major biblical parshanim such as these it is important to be mindful that they are not, even if they say so, struggling to find thepeshat in the sense of the original meaning of the text.  Their commentaries reflect both existential struggles with, and different exegetical and philosophical approaches to,   a living text that seek to draw out  the divine voice long ago silenced, yet pulsating underneath its surface.


Jim DiamondProfessor James A. Diamond is the Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Chair of Jewish Studies at the University of Waterloo and former director of the university’s Friedberg Genizah Project.  He holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and Medieival Jewish Thought from the University of Toronto, and an LL.M. from New York University’s Law School. His primary areas of study include biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, medieval Jewish thought and philosophy, Maimonides, and rabbinics. He is the author of Maimonides and the Hermeneutics of Concealment(SUNY, 2002) which was awarded the Canadian Jewish Book Award and  Converts, Heretics and Lepers: Maimonides and the Outsider (University of Notre Dame, 2008)  awarded  Notable Selection-Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in the Category of Philosophy and Jewish Thought for best book in  4 years (2008) as well as the  Canadian Jewish Book Award. His most recent book, Maimonides and the Shaping of the Jewish Canon (Cambridge, 2014), argues that Maimonides’ philosophy and jurisprudence  has become an integral part of the Jewish canon alongside the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud.

[1] Jacob Milgrom Leviticus 1-16: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary(Anchor Bible; New York: Doubleday, 1991), 598. He argues that the other attestations to the sin in Num 3:4; .23:61, and the LXX support this translation.

[2] For a good overview of the various alternatives offered in biblical scholarship see John Laughlin, “The Strange Fire of Nadab and Abihu,” Journal of Biblical Literature 95.4 (1976):  559-565,  but as he states, “The original event which gave rise to this story may never be recovered” (p. 562). See also Ed Greenstein’s TABS essay, “The Incident of Nadav and Avihu: A Mysterious Transgression or a Mysterious Deity?”

[3]For an overview of all the various rabbinic suggestions see Avigdor Shinan, “The Sins of Nadav and Avihu in Rabbinic Literature,” Tarbiz 48 (1978-79) pp. 201-214 (Heb.).

[4] Pesiqta deRav Kahana, ed. Mandelbaum, 27, Aharei Mot.

[5] This technique is often used for minor textual emendations mostly involving vowel letters.  See I. Heinemann, Darkeh Ha-Aggadah  (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1970), 127-129. However, this instance is an example of what Salo Baron described as not intended “to impugn the authenticity of the accepted version,” but rather as toying “with the richness of the Hebrew vocabulary which, by a slight turn, could yield entirely new implications.” See A Social and Religious History of the Jews, vol. VI, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1958), 166.

[6] God’s regard for Aaron compensates for the loss of his children with a kind of measure for measure reward. Aaron unquestioningly accepts his brother’s report of a divine communication no one else but Moses was privy to, and so he himself becomes a recipient in turn of a divine address to which no one else, including Moses, had immediate access.

[7] De Allegoriis Legum, ii. 15, ed. Cohn and Wendland, p. 101

[8] Zohar, vol 3, 56a.

[9] This sense conforms to the Septuagint translation of it as “his heart was pricked”, or “shocked”, depicting Aaron as stupefied and perhaps open to the inference that he was deeply wounded, rather than comforted.


ולדעתי בדרך הפשט אין צורך לכל זה, כי דבר השם, גזרותיו ומחשבותיו וענין דרכיו, והדבור יאמר בכל אלה, דברתי אני עם לבי (קהלת א טז), חשבתי מחשבה זו וכן ותהי אשה לבן אדוניך כאשר דבר ה’ (שם כד נא), גזר…והנה אמר משה, המקרה הזה הוא אשר גזר השם לאמר אל לבו, בקרובי אקדש, שלא יהרסו אל קדושתי, ועל פני כל העם אכבד, שיהיו נוהגים כבוד במשכני:

[11] Regardless of their exegetical models, Rashbam’s and Nahmanides’ alternative approaches allow for a more nuanced sense of Aaron’s silence to emerge that is consistent with the Septuagint and the typical connotations of the Hebrew word  וידם.  It might then convey an anguished or conflicted emotional response, reflected in Aaron’s subsequent willingness to challenge a different ruling of Moses later in the story.

[12]James L. Kugel, How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now (New York: Free Press, 2007) p.137.

[13]See for example E. M. Lipschutz, Sefer Rashi, ed, Rabbi Y. L. Hacohen Maimon (Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1957) p. 285 and Harvey Sicherman, Gilad J. Gevaryahu,  “Rashi and the First Crusade: Commentary, Liturgy, Legend,” Judaism 48:2 (1999) pp.181-197.

[14] Chaviva Levin, “Constructing Memories of Martyrdom: Contrasting Portrayals of Martyrdom in the Hebrew Narratives of the First and Second Crusade,” in Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, and Identity, eds., Nicholas Paul, Suzanne Yaeger (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012)pp.50-69, at p.53

[15]See Ephraim Kanarfogel, “Peering Through the Lattices”: Mystical, Pietistic, and Magical Dimensions in the Tosafist Period (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2000) p.186.

[16] The classic example is Rashbam’s comment on Gen. 1:5 that the day described in the creation account begins in the morning rather than in the evening as understood in the rabbinic tradition. See Zev Farber’s TABS essay, “Can the Torah Contradict Halacha?”

[17] As Nahmanides describes Moses in in his Introduction to his commentary on Genesis, he was possessed of the absolute limits of human knowledge which consisted of 49 “gates of understanding” וכבר אמרו רבותינו חמשים שערי בינה נבראו בעולם וכלם נמסרו למשה חוץ מאחד  .

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