Nazarene Space

Nazarene Chassidic Judaism

By

James Scott Trimm

One of the ancient terms used for followers of YHWH in the Tanak is the term "Chasidim":

Sing praises to YHWH, you His Chasidim,
and give thanks to His set-apart Name.
(Ps. 30:5(4))

Love YHWH, all you Chasidim!
YHWH preserves the faithful,
but abundantly requites him who acts haughtily.
(Ps. 31:24(23))

For YHWH loves justice;
He will not forsake His Chasidim.
The righteous shall be preserved forever,
but the children of the wicked one shall be cut off.
(Ps. 37:28)

The Book of Ben Sira recounts to us
32 There is a multitude of hidden things beyond these,
[But] a few of his works I have truly seen;
33 All things has YHWH done,
And to his Chasedim has He given knowledge.
(Sira 43:32-33 HRV)


Then Ben Sira begins a section recounting the Chasidim of the past:


Let me now sing the praises of men of CHESED,
our fathers in their generations.
Elyon apportioned them great glory,
and His greatness from the days of old.
(Sira 44:1-2 HRV)


Ben Sira then recounts the lives of the "men of Chesed" of the Tanak beginning with Enoch the prophet and ending with Simon the Righteous (Sira 44-50). Finally concluding:

And now bless the Elohim of all,
Who everywhere works great wonders,
who fosters our growth from birth,
And deals with us according to His CHESED.
May He give us gladness of heart,
And may there be peace in our days in Israel,
as in days of old.
May He entrust us to His CHESED
And may he deliver us in our days!
(Sira 50:22-24 HRV)


At this time of the apostasy leading to the Channukah story (175-140 BCE) many who wished to remain true to Torah escaped into the wilderness (1Macc. 1:62-64; 2:29) These refugees became know as the Chassidim (1Macc. 2:41; 7:12-14; 2Macc. 14:6).

While we know little about these Chasidim, they were probably led by a certain Antigones of Soko. The Mishnah says of him:
Antigones of Soko received [Torah] from Simeon the Righteous.
He used to say, “Be not like servants who serve their master
for the sake of wages, but be like servants who serve their
master with no thought of a wage – and let the fear
of Heaven be upon you.”
(m.Avot 1:3)


This might be seen as the root teaching of Chasidism. This parallels the doctrine laid out by Ben Sira (who lived around the same time as Antigones of Soko) and that of the "men of Chesed" saying:
How great is the CHESED of YHWH,
And His forgiveness for those who return to Him!
(Ben Sira 17:29 HRV)

 
And now bless the Elohim of all,
Who everywhere works great wonders,
who fosters our growth from birth,
And deals with us according to His CHESED.
May He give us gladness of heart,
And may there be peace in our days in Israel,
as in days of old.
May He entrust us to His CHESED
And may he deliver us in our days!
(Sira 50:22-24 HRV)


The Chasidic movement was a "grace" movement, teaching that we:
Be not like servants who serve their master
for the sake of wages, but be like servants who serve their
master with no thought of a wage...


Because:


How great is the CHESED of YHWH,
And His forgiveness for those who return to Him!
(Ben Sira 17:29 HRV)

 
[He]... deals with us according to His CHESED....
May He entrust us to His CHESED
And may he save us in our days!
(Sira 50:22-24 HRV)


It seems that Antigones of Soko both learned the teaching of Chassidism from Simon the Righteous.

This might be seen as the root teaching of Chasidism. The Chasidim were called "chasidim"

One of his talmidim was Yose ben Yozer:

Yose ben Yozer... received it from them.
Yose ben Yozer used to say:
Let your house be a gathering place for sages.
And wallow in the dust of their feet.
And drink in their words with gusto.
(m.Avot 1:4)

Ben Yozer was the last of the Chasidim:

When Rabbi Yose Qatnuta died, the Chasidim passed away.
And why was he called "Qatnuta"?
Because he was least of the Chasidim.
(m.Sotah 9:15)

Yose ben Yozer was said to be among the sixty Chasidim who, at the instigation of the high priest Alcimus, the son of his sister, were crucified by the Syrian general Bacchides (1Macc. 7:16) in 161 BCE.

The Midrash Rabba reports the following dialogue between Alcimus and Yose ben Yoezer while he was on the way to execution:

Alcimus: "See the profit and honors that have fallen to my lot in consequence of what I have done, while you, for your obstinacy, have the misfortune to die as a criminal."

Yose, quietly: "if such is the lot of those who anger Elohim, what shall be the lot of those who accomplish His will?"

Alcimus: "Is there any one who accomplished His will more than thou?"

Yose: "If this is the end of those who accomplish His will, what awaits those who anger Him?"

On this Alcimus was seized with remorse and committed suicide.
(Genesis Rabba 1:65)


Yose Ben Yozer also served as the first Nasi of the Beit Din which eventually became the Pharisaic Sanhedrin.

THE HOUSE OF HILLEL AND CHESED

House of Hillel Pharisaic Judaism was the succession of the Chassedim and the main line of Judaism. From this point forward the only Pharisee Sanhedrin we know of was led, not by “pairs” but by Hillel’s descendants.

Pharisees polarized into two schools of thought: The School of Shammai and the School of Hillel. The two schools held differing view on many halachic issues and argued throughout the first century. Eventually the School of Hillel prevailed in these arguments and serves as the foundation of modern Rabbinic Judaism. There are also many important connections between the School of Hillel and the ancient sect of the Nazarenes.

Within Rabbinic literature we have record of over 350 disputes between the School of Hillel and the School of Shammai. Generally Shammai gave the stricter interpretation, while Hillels understandings were more relaxed. According to the Zohar (Ra'aya Meheimna 3:245a) The School of Shammai was based on GEVURAH ("severity") while the School of Hillel was based on CHESED ("grace"/"mercy").

A classic example of the conflict can be seen in one of the first passages of the Mishna, which records a conflict between the two houses over how to recite the Shema:

The House of Shammai says:
In the evening one should recline in order to recite the shema, and in the morning they should stand. As it is written “when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deut. 6:7)
But the House of Hillel says:
Everyone may recite the Shema in his own way, as it is written:
“And you shall go by the way” (Deut. 7:7)
(m.Berachot 1:3)


Note that the House of Shammai were concerned primarily with the outward expression, with whether one was standing or reclining, while the House of Hillel were less concerned with such outward expression and much more concerned with the way in which one recited the Shema, that they made it their own way, that they meant it and walked in it. Note the difference in emphasis of the two houses.

Hillel was more concerned with the inner man, while Shammai was more concerned with the outer man. Hillel was concerned with the Spirit of the Law, while Shammai was more concerned with the Letter of the Law.

This overriding concept of sincerity is also found in the Mishna in tractate Menachot:

“…all are the same, the one who offers much and the one who offers little,
on condition that a man will direct his intention to Heaven”
(m.Menachot 13:11)



YESHUA AND CHESED

In Mark's account of Yeshua's summary of the Torah (Mk. 12:28-33) A "scribe" comes to question Yeshua. In Matthew's account this "scribe" is identified as a Pharisee (Mt. 22:34-36). According to Mark's account this Pharisee not only agreed with Yeshua's summary of Torah and repeated it adding:

…and to love his neighbor as himself,
is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
(Mt. 12:33b)


It is not unlikely from this context that the Pharisee was quoting a now-lost saying of Hillel here. In making this statement the Pharisee, who apparently was from the School of Hillel, was pointing to Hosea 6:6:

For I [YHWH] desire mercy (CHESED), and not sacrifice;
and the knowledge of ELOHIM more than burnt offerings.

This Pharisee seemes to have identified "love your neighbor" of Lev. 19:18 with the CHESED of Hosea 6:6. Remember the relaxed halachic positions of the School of Hillel were based on CHESED, it is indeed likely that Hosea 6:6 served as a proof text for many of their halachic rulings, since this passage assigns a halachic weight to CHESED. We also find Yeshau using Hosea 6:6 in support of his relaxed halachic rulings regarding the Shabbat (Mt. 12:7 = Hosea 6:6) here Yeshua argues from Hosea 6:6 that CHESED is of greater weight than the sacrifices. Since CHESED out weighs sacrifice, and sacrifice out weighs Shabbat, then CHESED out weighs Shabbat.

One of the most significant parallels between Yeshua and Hillel is Their profound teaching of Love. Yeshua's teaching of love was a radical departure from the teachings at Qumran. Now Philo tells us that the Essenes had great "desire to promote brotherly love" (Philo; The Hypothetica 11:2) this brotherly love seems to have been only to fellow members of the Yachad (unity). This is reflected in the Damascus Document's use of Lev. 19:18. In the Torah Leviticus 19:18 reads:

You shall not avenge,
nor bear any grudge against the children of my people,
But you shall love your neighbor as yourself:
I am YHWH.


Now the Damascus Document interprets this passage as follows:

As for the passage that says, "Take no vengeance and bear no grudge against your kinfolk" (Lev. 19:18) any covenant member who brings against his fellow an accusation not sworn to before witnesses or who makes an accusation in the heat of anger or who tells it to his elders to bring his fellow into repute, the same is a vengence-taker and a grudge-bearer….
(Damascus Document 9, 2)


Note that this Qumran interpretation of Lev. 19:19 would limit "neighbor" in Lev. 19:18 to "any covenant member" i.e. a member of the Yachad. In fact the Qumran sect taught:

…bear unremitting hatred towards all men of ill repute…
to leave it to them to pursue wealth and mercenary gain…
truckling to a depot.
(Man. Of Disc. Ix, 21-26)


By contrast Hillel is quoted as saying:

Be disciples of Aaron,
loving peace and pursuing peace,
loving people and drawing them near to the Torah.
(m.Avot 1:12)


The Qumran attitude was one of hatred to the sinner. There was no concept
of "drawing them near to the Torah" but rather to "leave it to them to
[sin]… truckling to a depot." Yet Hillel took the opposite approach.
Hillel's attitude was to "Love" the men of ill repute and draw them near to
the Torah. This was also Yeshua's approach.

Yeshua taught:

You have heard that it was said
"You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy."
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you,
do good to those who hate you,
and pray for those who spitefully use you persecute you
that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;
for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good,
and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?
Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brethren only,
what do you do more than others?
Do not even the tax collectors do so?
(Mt. 5:43-47)


Yeshua here begins by quoting the Tanak "Love your neighbor" (Lev. 19:18) but then gives the Qumran corollary "hate your enemy." Yeshua differs with this "hate your enemy" teaching in agreement with the love philosophy of Hillel. Apparently the Qumran community inferred from "Love your neighbor" (Lev. 19:18) that they should therefore bear unremitting hatred toward their enemies. To Yeshua (and presumably Hillel) the issue is the interpretation of "neighbor." In his Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:29-36) Yeshua argues that we cannot be sure who our "neighbor" is, so in order to make sure we do not violate Lev. 19:18 we should love everyone.

Another strong parallel between Hillel and Yeshua is that of the so called "Golden Rule." There is a story in the Talmud in which Hillel gives a summary of the Torah. The Talmud says:

…it happened that a certain heathen came before Shammai
and said to him, "Make me a proselyte, on condition that you
teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Thereupon
he repulsed him with the builders cubit which was in his hand.
When he went before Hillel, he said to him "Do not to others
what you would not have them do to you: that is the whole Torah,
while the rest is the commentary thereof; go and learn it."
(b.Shab. 31a)


A similar incident occurs in the Gospels:

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him
a question, testing Him, and saying, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
Yeshua said to him, " 'You shall love YHWH your God with all
your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' "This is
the first and great commandment. "And the second is like it:
'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
"On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
(Mt. 22:34-40 = Mk. 12:28-31 = Lk. 10:25-37)


Here Yeshua is pressed to summarize the Torah and answers with the Sh'ma (Dt. 6:4-9) and the commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev. 19:18). This is remarkably similar to Hillel's answer to the same question. It is important to note that the Pharisees agreed that Yeshua's answer was correct. Yeshua elsewhere gives a summary of the Torah which parallels Hillel's answer even closer:

Whatever you would that men should do to you,
do you even to them,
for this is the Torah and the Prophets.
(Mt. 7:12 = Lk. 6:31)



PAUL AND CHESED

Paul was also teaching a restoration of Chasidism when he writes:

23 Because all have sinned,
and are found lacking of the glory of Eloah.
24 And they are justified by favor (CHESED) freely,
and by the salvation that is in Yeshua the Messiah--
(Romans 3:23-24)

14 And sin will not rule over you,
for you are not, "Under the Law",
but under favor [CHESED].
15 What then, should we sin because we are not "Under the Law",
but under favor [CHESED]?
Absolutely not!
(Romans 6:14)

When we were dead in our sins,
He gave us Life with the Messiah:
and by His favor [CHESED], He saved us,
(Eph. 2:5)


Paul was professing the doctrine of Chasidism, that we do not observe the Torah as one trying to earn something (the "Under the Law" teaching) because we are under CHESED (grace, favor).

 

In the Eighteenth Century Rabbi Yisroel (Israel) ben Eliezer (known as the Baal Shem Tov "Master of the Good Name" or simply “the Besht”) began an effort to restore Chasidic Judaism within Rabbinic Judaism. He taught that Judaism must be centered not simply around doing the Torah, but around feeling the Torah.

 

There are many parallels between this Rabbinic attempt to restore Chasidic Judaism and the beginnings of the ancient sect of Nazarene Judaism.

 

Both movements grew out of similar social conditions.  In both times the Jewish people were dominated by foreign powers.  Both followed the disappointments of the promises of false Messiahs.  And both grew out of a time when the Jewish religious establishment had grown out of touch with the needs and concerns for the common Jew.  

 

During the time of the rise of the ancient sect of Nazarene Judaism the Roman Empire ruled the Land of Israel as well as most of the “Known World” with an iron fist.  The House of Herod was hated as an obvious puppet of Rome and the people were greatly oppressed and longed for freedom and independence. 

 

It was in this atmosphere that a great Messianic anticipation grew, and false Messiahs arose only to leave the people disappointed and downtrodden:

 

36 For from before this time, Todah rose up, and said concerning his nefesh, that he was something great: and about four hundred men followed him. And he was killed, and those who followed him were scattered, and became like nothing.

37 And Y'hudah HaGalili rose up after him, in the days that men were registered for the poll tax, and caused many people to turn after him. And he died, and all those who followed him, were scattered.

(Acts 5:36-37 HRV)

 

This demoralization of the Jewish people was compounded by a widespread feeling that the religious establishment had lost touch with the concerns of the common people.   The Sadducees were deeply in league with the nobles, the Pharisees were concentrating on halachic details, and the Essenes were reclusive and isolated from the common man.  The people were hungry for restoration. 

 

Some 1,700 years later in Poland an amazingly parallel situation arose.  Like the ancient Nazarene sect of Judaism, the Rabbinic restoration of Chassidic Judaism flourished in the face of oppression:

 

…the social and economic circumstances of Polish Jewery were deplorable.  Jews were the target of religious incitement by the Catholic church; secular authorities imposed onerous taxes.  Pogroms were frequent; the ritual murder charge was promoted to arouse the peasantry against Jewish communities; opportunity for general education was almost non-existent, and the morale of Polish Jewry was at its lowest ebb.

(The Hasidic Anthology; Newman, Louis, 1934; p. lxi)

 

Like the Jews of the Second Temple Era, these Jews cried out for a Messiah to deliver them.  At about that time arose a false Messiah Shabbatai Tzvi, who restored a sense of pride among the Jewish people.  He was claimed by many to be the Messiah until 1666 when he converted to Islam in order to save his own skin.  Jacob Frank was there to pick up the pieces, but his movement quickly degenerated:

 

…In the darkness of night and behind closed doors and windows they held their meetings, and sought by means of song and dance, not without erotic accompaniments, to arouse themselves to that orgiastic, ecstatic state which they believed was necessary preliminary for all religious fervor.

(Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 391, 1948)

 

The Messianic hopes of these false Messiah’s left the Jewish people with shattered promises and broken hopes.  Rabbinic Judaism was in crisis.  And while the people needed a new hope, the religious establishment concentrated on debating the fine points of halacha.  As Martin Buber observed hese scholars treated the “ignorant” masses with contempt.  (The Origin and Meaning of Hasidim, 1960 p. 60).  One Chasidic saying of the time observed:

 

The pious Mitnagdim [anti-Hassidim] are afraid of transgressing against the Code of Torah, but the Hasidim are in fear of transgressing against Elohim.

(Ideas and Ideals of the Hassidim; Dr. Aron Milton, 1969, p. 14)

 

The ancient sect of the Nazarenes also sought to demystify the mystical teachings of Judaism (which in those days were kept in secrecy among the Essenes) by bringing these mystical teachings to the common people (1Cor. 1-2, 12).  The Hasidic movement of the seventeenth century also sought to demystify these same basic teachings which had come to be known as “Kabbalah”.

 

There are also many parallels between Yeshua, the founder of Nazarene Judaism (a restoration of ancient Chasidic Judaism) and the Besht, the founder of modern Rabbinic Chaddidism.  Both were especially drawn to the poor and needy.  Both dedicated their lives to the well being of the Jewish people.  Both administered healing with compassion to the downtrodden.  And while neither of these men wrote a word of their own, their followers after their deaths recorded their words and deeds.

 

The Shivchei HaBesht records the words and deeds of the Besht, just as the gospels record the words and deeds of Yeshua.  Both record claims of miracles performed by their respective subjects and both were written about fourty-five years after their subjects death.  While the book of Hebrews makes the claim that Yeshua never sinned (Heb. 4:15) the followers of the Besht ultimately made the same claim about him (Tales of the Hasidim: The Early Masters; Martin Buber, 1947 p. 35).

 

Yeshua began his ministry at about the age of thirty (Luke 3:23).  The Besht began teaching while in his thirties.

 

Ha Satan came to earth and sought to prevent Yeshua from succeeding in his work:

 

3 And the tempter came; he said to Him, If you are the Son of Elohim, say that these stones be made bread.

4 And Yeshua answered and said: It is written, For not by bread alone will man live, but by everything that proceeds from the mouth of YHWH, will man live.

5 Then HaSatan took Him up to the Set-Apart city, and set Him on a turret of the

temple,

6 And said to Him, If you are the Son of Elohim, drop yourself down. For surely it is written, For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to keep you in all your ways; upon the palms of their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.

7 And Yeshua answered him and said: It is also written, You shall not tempt YHWH your Elohim.

8 And again HaSatan took Him up into an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all: from the kingdoms of the world, and their glory.

9 And said to Him, All these will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me.

10 Then said Yeshua to him: Get yourself gone, adversary, for it is written,

YHWH your Elohim you shall worship, and Him alone you shall serve.

11 Then HaSatan left Him: and behold, angels drew near and attended Him.

(Matt. 4:3-11 HRV)

 

Likewise the followers of the Besht claim that HaSatan came to earth seeking to interfere in his mission:

 

The hours when the hosts of Heaven gathered to listen to the voices of mortals, were hours of grace.  But Satan was there too.  He knew very well that what was in the making down there [on earth] would threaten his power on earth.  So he entered into the body of a sorcerer who could change himself into a werewolf.

 

Once when Israel [the Besht] was walking through the woods and singing with the little ones in his care, the monster fell on them, and the children screamed and scattered in all directions.  Some of them fell ill from the shock and the parents decided to put a stop the the young school assistant [the Besht].  But he remembered what his father had said as he lay dying, went from house to house, promised the people to protect their children, and succeeded in persuading them to entrust them to him once more.  The next time he shepherded them through the wood, he took a sound stick with him and when the werewolf attacked again, he struck him between the eyes, so that he was killed on the instant.  The following day they found the sorcerer dead in his bed.

(Tales of the Hasidim: The Early Masters; Martin Buber, 1947 p. 36-37).

 

Yeshua was known to associate with sinners:

 

10 And it came to pass, as they sat down to eat in the house, behold, many transgressors and sinners came in, and ate with Yeshua and His talmidim.

11 And the P'rushim, seeing, they said to His talmidim, Why does your teacher eat with transgressors and sinners?

12 But when Yeshua heard, He answered, saying:

There is no need of a physician to heal the healthy,

but to heal them that are sick.

13 Therefore, go you and learn what is written:

I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,

for I have not come to call the righteous,

but the sinners.

(Matt. 9:10-13 HRV)

 

Yeshua also stood against those who dismissed the common man:

 

9 And He spoke this saying against the men who were confident concerning their

nefeshot--that they were righteous, and were despising everyone.

10 Two men went up to the Temple to pray: one a Parush, and the other a publican.

11 And that Parush was standing with his nefesh and thus praying, Eloah, I thank you that I am not like the rest of mankind: extortioners, and covetous, and adulterers, and not like this publican.

12 On the contrary, I fast twice in a week, and I tithe everything that I own.

13 But that publican was standing from afar, and did not even want to raise his eyes to heaven: but was beating upon his breast and saying, Eloah: have mercy on me, a sinner!

14 I say to you that this [publican] went down to his house more justified, than that Parush: for everyone who raises his nefesh up will be humbled, and everyone who humbles his nefesh, will be raised up.

(Luke 18:9-14 HRV)

 

The Besht taught very similar views:

 

I let sinners come close to me, if they are not proud.  I keep the scholars and the sinless away from me if they are proud.  For the sinner who knows that he is a sinner, and therefore considers himself base—God is with him, for He ‘dwelleth with them in the midst of their uncleanness.’  But concerning him who prides himself on the fact that he is unburdened by sin, God says, as we know from the Gemara: ‘There is not enough room in the world for myself and him.’

(Tales of the Hasidim: The Early Masters; Martin Buber, 1947 p. 71-72).

 

Yeshua was once asked concerning fasting:

 

14 Then approached Him the talmidim of Yochanan, saying, Why [do we] and the

P'rushim fast often, but Your talmidim fast not?

15 And Yeshua said unto them:

Can the sons of the bridegroom cry, as long as they have the

bridegroom with them? But the days will come, when the

bridegroom will be taken from them, and then will they fast.

(Matt. 9:14-15 HRV)

 

Similarly we read of that the Besht was asked:

 

What is the essence of the service?  We know that in former times ‘men of deeds’ lived who fasted from one Sabbath to the next.  But you have done away with this, for you said that whoever mortifies his flesh will have to render account as a sinner, because he has tormented his soul.  So do tell us: what is the essence of service?

 

The Ba’al Shem Tov replied: ‘I have come into this world to point another way, namely that man should try to attain to three loves: the love of Elohim, the love of Israel, and the love of the Torah—it is not necessary to mortify the flesh.

(Tales of the Hasidim: The Early Masters; Martin Buber, 1947 p. 52)

 

Yeshua emphasized joy in our lives:

 

These things I have spoken to you that My joy might be in you,

and [that] your joy might be perfect.

(Yochanan 15:11 HRV)

 

Likewise the Besht said:

 

No child can be born except through pleasure and joy.

By the same token, if one wishes his prayers to bear fruit,

he must offer them with pleasure and joy.

(The Hasidic Anthology; Newman, Louis, 1934; p. 203)

 

Yeshua emphasized loving ones neighbor and judging him by the same standards by which you judge yourself:

 

34 But when the P'rushim heard that He had silenced the Tz'dukim, they took counsel

together.

35 And one of them, which was a doctor of the Torah,616 asked Him, and tested Him, and

said to Him,

36 Rabbi, which is the greatest commandment in the Torah?

37 And Yeshua answered him, and said: You shall love YHWH your Elohim: with all

your heart, and with all your nefesh, and with all your might.

38 This, is the greatest commandment in the whole Torah.

39 And this is the first, but the second is like it: And you shall love your neighbor as

yourself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the Torah and the Prophets.

(Mt. 22:34-40)

 

1 Judge not, and you will not be judged: condemn not, and you will not be

condemned.

2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged: and with what measure you

mete, it will be measured to you again.

3 And how [do] you see the splinter in your brother's eye, but see not the beam that is in

your own eye?

4 And how [do] you say to your brother, Suffer it now brother,d so that I may pull out the

splinter out of your eye: and behold, a beam is in your own eye?

5 You hypocrite! Pull out at the first, the beam from your own eye: and then you will be

able to see, to pull out the splinter out of your brother's eye.

12 Therefore whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them:420

for this is the Torah and the Prophets.

(Mt. 7:1-5, 12)

 

The Besht likewise said:

 

It lies upon you to love your comrade as one like yourself. And who knows as you do your many defects? As you are nonetheless able to love yourself, so love your fellow no matter how many defects you may see in him.

(The Ba`al Shem Tov’s Instruction in Intercourse with God, translated by Martin Buber (English transl. by Maurice Friedman) in Buber's Hasidism and Modern Man:] 244)

 

Yeshua was known for having a special love for children:

 

13 Then were brought to Him children, that He should lay hands on them and pray, but His talmidim rebuked them.

14 And Yeshua said: Allow the children, and hinder them not from coming to Me: for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

(Matt. 19:13-14 HRV)

 

One of the Besht’s students said of him:

 

I wish people would kiss the Holy Torah in the same manner the Besht used to kiss the children when he gathered them to bring them to their studies.

(Ideas and Ideals of the Hassidim; Dr. Aron Milton, 1969, p. 32)

 

In fact just as Yeshua was resurrected, the followers of the Besht came to claim concerning him:

 

…those whom he had bidden attend to his body and his burial,

said they had seen the Ba’al Shem’s soul ascend as a blue flame.

(Tales of the Hasidim: The Early Masters; Martin Buber, 1947 p. 84)

 

Of course there are also serious differences between Yeshua and the Besht (Yeshua for example was Messiah, the Besht made no such claim).  And of course some of these claims about the Besht are more rooted in legend than in reality (such as claims that he was sinless). 

 

In restoring the ancient Sect of the Nazarenes we are ourselves restoring true Chasidic Judaism, and so there should be no surprise to see many parallels between Nazarene Judaism and Rabbinic Chasidic Judaism.  Both are sects of Judaism seeking to restore the original Chasidim.

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