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Shalom! Rabbi I have a question regarding jewish law, recently my belief in God was challenged by an atheist who discredited my faith because he claims rape is condoned in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 22 verse 28.... Can you give me clarity on this as I know in verse 25 the word for force in hebrew is different than in 28 that says to lay hold. Please if you could give me the proper textual analysis that I may defend the truth of scripture.

The problem here is with the translations as well as with cultural and textual context. Let's look at the passage first...

28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

Reading it as is, it does sound like a rapist is given the victim. But if we read it in context we find that a woman who is raped is the one who "cries out"...

23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

Now, this doesn't mean that she MUST scream in order for it to be considered a rape. It was well understood that there are times when a woman couldn't scream (she may be under threat or incapacitated) and that was taken into consideration. Deut. is simply a guideline to the Law and those Laws were expected to be expanded more exhaustively. Take the Sabbath for example. The Torah says "Do no work on the Sabbath". Well what constitutes work??? There's not enough in the Torah to know exactly what would fall under that category in any and every circumstance. Look at American law and you'll see how much has been laid out for even simple laws like "stealing".
There's another key word to look at concerning this passage. It's the word "they". 8 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
If he was the only one committing the crime, in Hebrew it would've said and "he be found".
We can now look at another translational problem. The word translated as "lay hold on her" comes from the Hebrew word "taphas" and it can also mean "to handle". It doesn't always mean "by force". The other problem is with the word "find". In English when you use the word "find" as in this passage, it sounds like it's someone random that he has come across. Not necessarily in Hebrew. The word there is "yimtza" and it can also mean he found someone he already knew.
Knowing all this we can now proceed to translate this passage properly. I would translate it like this... If a man comes across a woman he knows who is not betrothed and they decide to lie together and they are found then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.
Translating word for word isn't always the right choice when translating either. The culture and the essence of what's being said along with the idioms of the day ("cries out") MUST be taken into consideration so that the meaning of what's being translated comes out in the communication.
I hope that helps,
Rabbi Stanley

Hi I am so glad to have found you. I have been raised Baptist for 36 years but have recently been guided into messianic judaism. I am a single mother of 5 children and just told my children about the pagan holidays, its sad and unsettlingg and I have so many questions on how and where to befgin to convert my ffamily over to Yahweys commandments...How ddo I get our lives on the right track to righteousness??? Please help, I study the scripture every day almost and am seeking to be feed the truth, but I need alot of guidancee on how to convert my family over to what Yahweey commands...please help me!!!!

Shalom, we're glad you found us too. I need some contact information from you. Please send at least an email address to Rap_Rabbi@hotmail.com and I can answer any further questions you may have.
Rabbi Stanley

I am a gentile (raised in a Christian home and church). I do believe the "church" has strayed from its roots and is a much different church than the early church. But I am a Gentile, how do I fit in? Are there different standards (ie, eating kosher, etc) for Gentiles and Jews. I believe Jesus was the Messiah for the Jews and saviour of the world. I greatly appreciate what you are doing. But I still don't know how I fit in as a Gentile.

There isn't a short answer to this...
before we can know anything else,  we have to know the roots of the First Church.
There is a lot of talk out there these days about getting back to our roots or getting back to the New Testament Church.
One thing many fail to realize is that the original New Testament Church didn’t have a New Testament or a Church.
What they did have was the Tanach (Old Testament in Hebrew) and the Synagogue.
At the time of the original group of Believers in Yeshua the word “Christian” hadn’t even been coined yet and neither had the word “Church”.
This helps us understand that Yeshua didn’t come to start a new religion called “Christianity”, He came to be the Messiah of Israel.
Now the first thing we want to look at is who’s who in the first Messianic movement.
We can’t know anything till we know who is who so we have to understand what they (Believers) were called.
Terminology is important.
The first group of people who followed Yeshua were called the people of “The Way”. Not “Christians”!
They were a mix of Pharisees, Sadducees and other sects
We see the first time The Way is used in Acts…
Acts 24:14
14 "But this I do admit to you: I worship the God of our fathers in accordance with The Way (which they call a sect). I continue to believe everything that accords with the Torah and everything written in the Prophets.
Another thing we need to notice here is that it is called a “sect” (section, part of a whole)
A sect of what?
A sect of Judaism!
How is the word sect used in the New Testament?
Acts 5:17Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation.
Acts 15:5But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
There were many sects of Judaism. There were the Essenes, The Dead Sea Sect, The Herodian Sect, The Daggermen (Sicarii) etc. Many different sects and one of them was the sect of the Notzreem/Netzareem (Nazerenes)
The word Christian first appears in Acts
Acts 11:26And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the students (disciples) were called Christians first in Antioch.
David Stern points out correctly that the term “Christian” was used to denote Gentile believers in Yeshua, not Jewish believers in Yeshua.
   (David Stern Messianic Manifesto)
Who was in Antioch?
Paul and Barnabas!
Their students, in Antioch were called “Christians”.
It’s not saying that THE Disciples were first called Christians in Antioch… it’s saying that the disciples of Paul and Barnabas were first called Christians there.
Paul and Barnabas weren’t even part of the 12 Disciples. They were apostles!
The people of Antioch were Gentiles, NOT Jews.
The Jews who believed in Yeshua were the Jewish sect of the Nazarenes!
They called themselves “Jews”.
Acts 21:39
But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.
More specifically in his particular case he called himself a Pharisee in Acts 23:6 …
Acts 23:6
Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead."
I’m gonna stray just a little here, but it ties back shortly…
These first Believers in Yeshua kept the Laws of the Old Testament (Tanach).
The famous Church Father, St. Jerome (350 AD), who was a Christian says this of the original Church…
He said, “They are those who accept Messiah in such a way that they do not cease to observe the old Law”
St Epiphanius
   (310 AD), another Christian and Church Father goes into a little more detail…
“These sectarians didn’t call themselves Christians but Nazarenes, however they are simply complete Jews. They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well. They have no different ideas but profess everything exactly as the Law proclaims it in the Jewish fashion. Except for their belief in Messiah if you please! For they acknowledge the resurrection of the dead and the divine creation of all things and declare that God is one and that his son, Yeshua is the Messiah. They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew for among them the entire Law, the prophets and the entire Writings are read in Hebrew as they surely are by the Jews. They disagree with Jews because they have come to faith in Messiah but since they are still fettered in the Law, circumcision, the Sabbath and the rest they are not in accord with Christians, they are nothing but Jews. They have the good news in Mathew in it’s entirety in Hebrew. For it is clear that they still preserve this in the Hebrew alphabet as it was originally written.”
Wouldn’t it be great to have this as a statement of faith!!!
“What’s your statement of faith?”
“Actually, our statement of faith is your Church Father’s criticisms. We believe in the Old Testament, stuff like that.”
So here we see the First Church keeping the Shabbat and circumcision and the rest of the Law.
They were quite different then the Christian Church as early as 310 AD!
Epiphanius says: “they are not in accord with Christians”.
So you can begin to see why I don’t call myself a Christian. Even from way back most “Christians” weren’t really Christian.
So we know that the original Jewish Believers were called Jews. More specifically… a Person of The Way.
(Later on they were called Notzreem/Nazarenes.)
More specifically they could be a Pharisaic Notzreem or an Essenic Notzreem or Herodian Notzreem etc.
But never were Jews from the first century called “Christians”.
Furthermore, a “Christian Jew” is a contradiction of terms.
Gentile Believers in Yeshua were called Christians and it was actually a derogatory label placed on them
It was not a word they gave themselves.
“Well isn't Paul called a Christian by King Agrippa in Acts 17???”
Let’s look at it…
Acts 17:28
Then Agrippa said to Paul, 'Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?'" (NIV)
Herod Agrippa was the grandson of Herod the Great.
He was NOT a Jew.
Do you remember Herod the Great?
He was the son of an Idumean and a Nabatean princess. Not a drop of Jewish blood in him.
The word "Christian" appears only three times in the New Testament.
The New Testament's use of this term indicates that it was a term of derision, a term placed upon Gentile followers of Yeshua, by their critics.
Peter 4:16: "However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name"
Peter was talking to Believers here!
“Christian” obviously was a name that Believers didn’t like.
But Peter says if they call you this name, praise G-d for it.
And Peter is correct here.
Even though I’m a Jew, if I’m called a Christian by a persecutor, I’ll bear it gladly.
That doesn’t mean I’d call myself that and it doesn’t mean you have to call yourself that either if you so choose.
How do we know that Christians didn’t call themselves “Christian”?
Let’s look at the Bible in Acts 11:26 again
Acts 11:26And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the students (disciples) were called Christians first in Antioch.
In Greek if you place a name on yourself you’d say “you call yourself” or “they called themselves”.
If someone else is calling you something, you’d say they were called…
This was a name forced on them.
So then what should a Gentile Believer call themselves? Who are they?
“A Believer” is an ok name. But “A Believer in what?” would be a good question.
“A Messianic Believer” is a good name. That denotes that it’s about the Meshiach.
If you’re keeping the particular Laws that apply to the Jewish people then you can call yourself a Messianic Jew even if you don’t have any Jewish blood.
How can I say that?
Because if you’re keeping the covenantal Laws, you ARE a Jew!!!
If you’re a Gentile believer but do not keep the covenantal laws and you call yourself a Jew.
The Bible says you’re of the synagogue of Satan.
Revelation 2:9
9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
That’s exactly what that verse is talking about.
If you’ve ever said “I’m a spiritual Jew”. Please stop saying it. There’s no such thing.
Just like there’s no such thing as a spiritual Irishman
Either you’re a Jew or your not.
If you’re keeping Sabbath, if you’re a male and circumcised, you wear the tzit tzits, you keep Biblically Kosher, you’re doing your best to keep all the other laws as you learn about them… welcome to the family.
So why in the world would you want to be a Jew? What advantage is there?
I have one answer to that…
Romans 3:1
1What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
2Much in every way. chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
If one wants to be a Jew, then come on board.
But let me tell ya…
It aint easy.
We’re the most persecuted people on the planet.
You may have to give up many things that ya like
Gotta observe all the commandments given to the Jewish people.
It’s really hard at first but you do come to love them and understand that they are beneficial and healthy.
Before long, you’ll actually look for more Instruction (Torah).
If you want to stay a Messianic Gentile, no problem. You’re still our brother or sister in Yeshua.
Simply put, there are promises for Believing Gentiles and there are promises for Believing Jews.
Different promises but never-the-less promises.
Believing Gentiles will receive a portion of the “World to come” outside of Israel
And the Believing Jew will receive a portion of HaAretz (Israel) in the “World to come”.
So what the Messianic movement is trying to do now is get back to the way it was during Yeshua’s time.
We feel we’ve been going down this Paganized Christian road for 2,000 plus years and now it’s time to stop and get back on track.
That doesn’t mean we have to go back to wearing robes, but it does mean that we have to keep His Laws and Commandments in order to be a part of the Covenant.
We encourage Gentiles to keep covenant for a variety of reasons.
For one… it is a healthier lifestyle.
For two… there are advantages “in every way”
This is NOT Judaizing!
Judaizing is saying you can’t be SAVED unless you keep the Peculiar Laws of the Jewish covenant with G-d.
Otherwise if you told someone to not murder, you’d be a Judaizer!
A gentile who doesn’t keep the Peculiar Laws is just as Saved or Born Again, as I am.
After Salvation there are differences.
This really isn’t that different then how the Church sees it…
In a Church, if I sacrifice a lot for G-d (ie. fasting) will a Pastor tell me that that causes me to grow closer to G-d?
Yes, he will say that.
If I sacrifice my very life, he’d say I have treasures in heaven through eternity as a martyr.
I’m saying if you become a Messianic Jew, you will be sacrificing a lot and in turn, you will grow closer to G-d.
It’s really not that different in that regard.
We even see this in the model of the Temple.
In the very structure of the building we see where G-d’s Shechina rested. His throne was in the holy of holies.
Further away from His throne was the holy place.
Further away from G-d’s throne was the Court of the Jews and the furthest away from that was the court of the gentiles,
They were on the outskirts because they didn’t want to get circumcised and keep all the peculiar laws.
They were Saved, no doubt about that, but they didn’t get to look into the inner Temple.
Speaking metaphorically, I want to look into G-d’s inner Temple. I want to see the holy of holies, at least the Holy Place.
I’m not saying that a Gentile Believer can’t grow in the L-rd, but I do have to agree with Paul that there are advantages to being a Jew.
For women, it’s really quite easy being a Jew
If you’re a man and not yet circumcised… not so easy.
But it’s worth it.
I truly believe that if you become a Messianic Jew, G-d will open up the Scriptures to you because it becomes your inheritance.
The Oracles of G-d are a great advantage! But there's many more advantages then only that.
Rabbi Stanley

May 1 2012
whats the actual figure of sects in the old and new testament?
I'm not sure what you're asking but I can tell you how many sects of Judaism there were in the first century.
From Josephus, we know of five major sects:  Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots and Sicarii.  But there were also many sub-sects of those. Then there were also many sub-sects that developed from Christianity and the sect of the Nazarenes as well. If you'd like more details, just let me know. Rav

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