Frequently Asked Questions I get about my faith
So you’re Jewish?
No, but good guess! Simultaneously, I can absolutely see how one can make this conjecture or presupposition. I am a man of Israelite descent. I’m from the Southern Kingdom of Yahudah. I follow Rabbi Yahshua, The Messiah. As a student of Rabbi Yahshua, I follow in his lawful footsteps, practicing Torah. By Torah (which is Hebrew for Law), I mean the Written Torah. The Written Torah is found in the first five books of The Hebrew Bible. The Laws of Yahweh found from Genesis to Deuteronomy, that is my lifestyle. My culture. I try my best to honor the actionable commands that I can, whilst in this Israelite Diaspora.
What’s a black Hebrew Israelite?
A misnomer, which is sadly being stigmatized. Let’s take this phrase or label one by one, no? What is a black? Why are people of color, who were brought to the Occident, specifically The Americas, called black, when our skin is brown? Black is simply a fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28:37. It is nothing more than a byword, superimposed upon us people of Israelite descent. The term Hebrew Israelite, due to relatively recent acts of domestic terrorism, evokes optics that are unsavory. The radicalism and racist rhetoric perpetrated by the 1 West Israelite Camps, doesn’t help us be a light to the nations. Also, Hebrew Israelite is not a denomination. It is an ethnicity.
You keep Torah? Isn’t that abolished and defunct?
I do keep Torah. I love the Torah of Yahweh! Torah is Life! As Psalm 119:142 says: “Your righteousness is eternal righteousness, and Your Torah is truth.” To echo the beautiful words of Shaul, he says in his letter to Believers in Rome, Italy: “So the Torah is holy; that is, the commandment is holy, just and good.” Per Romans 7:12. The rhetoric of the Torah of Yahweh being done away with, comes from an eisegesis of some passages in Shaul’s letters.
And think of our Lord’s patience as deliverance, just as our dear brother Shaul also wrote you, following the wisdom God gave him. Indeed, he speaks about these things in all his letters. They contain some things that are hard to understand, things which the uninstructed and unstable distort, to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. (Shimon Bet/ 2nd Peter 3:15-16, CJB)
I can’t say it better than Shimon bar Yonah. This doctrine can also blossom from people misunderstanding the words of my Rabbi, in Mattityah (Matthew) 5:17. Rabbi Yahshua completes our understanding of the Hebrew Torah and the Hebrew Prophets.
Are you an Ethiopian Jew?
Haha! This one tickles me pink. I believe this reasoning is made due to my brown skin. I am not an Ethiopian Jew. Let’s analyze this a bit. What is an Ethiopian Jew? An Ethiopian that practices Judaism, no? I am not a descendant of Ethiopians. I also do not practice any form of Judaism. I don’t practice rabbinical Judaism. This may surprise some, but I do not go to any yeshiva to study the Talmud, Mishnah, or Gemara. With this said, I hear Ethiopian cuisine is delicious!
You celebrate Passover? Are you sure you’re not Jewish?
Yes, I am sure. Haha. I do celebrate Passover. Passover was a little different this year. It was more intimate. Very minimalist. As my Rabbi Yahshua celebrates Passover, along with all of Yahweh’s Holy Days, so do I. I celebrate all of The Holy Days of Yahweh, articulated in Leviticus 23:1–44. The aforementioned verses actually reveal to us Yahweh’s Plan of Salvation for us all in humanity. From Shabbat to Sukkot!
Since you keep the Old Testament Law, do you sacrifice animals?
I do keep and practice Torah, but I do not sacrifice animals. I am an Israelite in Diaspora, specifically North America. The physical, tangible Temple that was standing in my homeland, in Yerushalayim, has been destroyed. It is non-extant. The sons of Aharon, who occupy the office of High Priest, were instrumental in the offering of animal sacrifices. The cohen gadol (Hebrew for high priest) waved the sheaf after Shabbat. The cohen gadol are an integral, indispensable part of the sacrificial offerings mentioned in the first five chapters of Leviticus. We cannot readily identify who is from the lineage of Aharon today. Rest assured. No rams were harmed in the making of this piece.
What are those strings that you wear? Are they graduation tassels?
Working in corporate America, retail, in the movie theater, I would get this question a lot. I enjoy it actually. I used to be self-conscious about it, now I have relaxed into them. It’s like an invitation to ask me about my faith. An invitation to ask me about my God, and the Rabbi I follow. So I wear a tallit katan, which is a white shirt with an oval opening in the middle. Attached to the four corners of my tallit katan, are four white and blue tassels. These tassels in Hebrew are called tsitsiyot. I wear this to honor the command of Yahweh, mentioned in Numbers 15:37–41 and Deuteronomy 22:12. I wear tsitsyot in order to help me remember to obey all of His Commandments. It’s kind of like a meta commandment. Yoel, you just linked to an article on My Jewish Learning. Are you sure you’re not Jewish? Haha. Yes. I am sure.