There is a very good reason why architects have to study to a high level before they begin to actually design houses and buildings for people to live in and for life to function in. Surely we all may have a dream house in our minds eye of what and how this ideal dwelling should look like etc. Few though would be so foolish as to grab a spade and start to dig, lay the walls and so on, knowing that without the right foundation being laid, mathematically worked out, and without load bearing walls correctly located, any final ‘dream’ construct will collapse and possibly cause loss of life too in the process. So too the process of renovation and building renewal; a thorough understanding of the pattern of construction and design envisaged by the original Architect is required before such a process can begin. The point? If Judaism (in the general sense of that word as the ‘religion’ outlined by the Torah and Tanach) is to be renewed then we MUST reconstruct along the lines originally envisaged by the One who first called the ‘building’ into existence.
What is at stake? Everything. If we get this basic understanding wrong then the whole edifice will collapse and cause untold harm to Israel, the global Jewish community and to the nations too who look to us for inspiration and spiritual guidance. Messianic Judaism is a renewal Judaism, seeking to renew and rejuvenate Judaism in line with original Torah precept. Many it seems in our day are trying to re-decorate the house, some even revamping the first floor with ‘Messianic’ wallpaper and shifting the load bearing walls at will. But the foundation hasn’t been touched. If the modern foundation of what has become known as ‘Judaism’ is out of true, then no amount of tinkering in the loft will save the building, in fact it could be disastrous for all concerned.. This renewal has to go right back to below ground level, back to the original plans written by the Creator and Designer Himself. And if that means re-digging the foundations, then so be it.
Mashiach Yeshua told a story about new wine in old wine-skins, that an external form needs to be appropriate and fit for service for the contents therein. Tinkering on the edges will cause the skin to burst, the building to collapse. Judaism is a ‘faith’ that is predicated on salvation, the acts of deliverance of our G-d down the ages, His desire and call to us to return to Him from our sins and wayward lives. This ‘sub-text’ is the motif (foundation) that connects Judaism and Jewish thinking, and all these threads lead to One man, One act in history that brought the possibility of salvation to all who would call on His Name: Yeshua. This ‘sub-text’ creates the right foundations for the whole building, and so we can build, reinvigorate the construction according to ancient precept and design, confident that with the core idea in place, all redesign work will function correctly.
Messianic Judaism is NOT a renewed form of Rabbinic or better Talmudic Judaism. That form exists to serve its own purposes. Messianic Judaism seeks the old paths and desires to walk in them. Nothing short of a radical redefinition of Judaism orientated around the halacha Yeshua taught will suffice. Anything else will crumble before our eyes. What is at stake? Everything. During these days of awe running up to Yom Kippur we should not just consider a redecoration plan but a thorough inspection of everything in our Jewish lives that may be out of kilter.