Saturday, July 6, 2013

NT Day 2: Rabbi Moshe

Class with Rabbi Moshe
Today has been rather unique. Our professor for the day has been Rabbi Moshe (Moses in the Greek language). We began the morning by discussing Jewish Literature, their use of Scripture, the Mishna and Classic Rabbinic Literature, and particularly the use of parables. Rabbi Moshe has taught at JUC for 22 years and knows our New Testament quite well. Rabbi Moshe, and the general Jewish culture for that matter, would be considered "heretical" by many Christians today in their use of Scripture. However, their methodology does help to explain how Jesus, the apostles, and Paul seem to use – and in some cases almost "misuse" Scripture in our western context. When addressing parables from Jewish literature, much of the class seemed to get caught in the "message" of the parable rather than the "use" of parables. Of course, we are not going to agree entirely – after the coming of Messiah and the destruction of the temple, both Christianity and Judaism have gone their separate ways. Neither represents Old Testament Yahwehism. The point of the lecture however, was how they are used to communicate a message. Nevertheless, these parables got us to think and ask more questions about God and the accounts in the Old Testament. I will certainly be "flying" away from Israel with more questions than answers. Which I believe is a good thing. This will spur me on into deeper study, and I pray into His truth with many lessons along the way.

The Inn of the Good Samaritan 
In the afternoon, Rabbi Moshe took us to the inn of the Good Samaritan. Although the parable Jesus told never actually took place (as it was a parable), the imagery and references he used were real. The traveler would have been on the Ascent of Adumim – a dangerous route to be traveling alone – and the inn represented a real inn. Today there is an open "church" on the premise over a Byzantine chapel, which had been constructed over the first century inn. Today the site serves as a mosaic museum for mosaics all over the country. Many of the sites we had visited the last few weeks had mosaics here such at Mt. Gerizim, Shiloh, and others. Some were from Jewish synagogues, others from Samaritan synagogues, and several from Byzantine churches. Often times I have heard it stated that the Levite and the priest did not help the stranger because they did not want to become "unclean." Rabbi Moshe made a good defense that this was not the case at all. Rather, according to the Torah, the Mishnah, and the logistics of the parable, they were obligated to help and did not. Making their avoidance all the more revolting! Afterward, we headed back to the bus and out to Sataf. We had been here a few weeks ago, but this time we focused more on the agricultural analogy used both in the Old and New Testaments. Jesus used contemporary analogy to communicate messages to his listeners.

All in all, I really enjoyed the day with Rabbi Moshe. We were blessed to have his sister and nephew tag along for the day. We were able to get glimpses of his story. After arriving back at campus and reflecting on the day, my heart began to break for Rabbi Moshe. He is so close to the truth and the spring of living water, but yet so far away. He knows the teachings of Christ, but far from a believer. He has had interaction with Christians and the Gospel message for well of twenty-two years, but has not entered in. The next morning Dr. Wright reminded us of the truth that it is not we who change people but God alone. We can only be his emissary. It is God alone who does the transformation. This is the case with Rabbi Moshe and with so many of the Jewish community. We can only pray that through the power of His Spirit, that Rabbi Moshe's eyes may be opened to his Messiah.  

This site preserves many mosaics from all over the country. 

Some of the Mosaics come from Samaria, Galilee, Golan, Judea, etc ... 

They represent both Samaritan and Jewish Synagogues as well as Byzantine
Churches - Amazing complex designs!

My picture with King David :)

At Sataf - looking north toward the hospital on the southern side of Jerusalem

The village of Sataf in the distance. We didn't go very far down this time.
Only far enough to enter the vineyard for a lesson on some of the imagery
used in Jewish Literature.

Grapes are abundant ... just not ripe yet. 

No comments:

Post a Comment