As a man of Israelite descent, who is following Rabbi Yahshua and practicing Torah, as of late, I have been applauding various circles of Christianity. I recently heard and caught wind of the George Floyd murder. A police officer put his knee on the neck of our dear Hebrew brother, for nearly nine consecutive minutes. I watched the videos of this that surfaced on Youtube. Even though I am cognizant that these deadly episodes of police brutality affecting my Hebrew people are covenant curses happening in real-time, I was infuriated. Livid, even. Though Yahweh my God has opened my eyes to why these traumatic events transpire with my Hebrew community, I’m still human.
While watching the unfolding aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, I have felt all the feels.
Watching the video made me angry. Seeing my Israelite people in pain made me tearful. Watching talk show hosts discover moments of levity made me laugh. Seeing the rhetoric of Hebrew Lives Matter gain ubiquity across the globe, gave me youthful optimism.
The protest chants happening internationally are growing louder. Concurrently, what’s more amplified is the deafening silence of the Body of Messiah.
The Silent Treatment
To be fair, I have seen one dear non-Israelite brother break his silence, commenting on the George Floyd homicide and racism, during his exegesis of a Torah parashah. Yet, Al McCarn seems to be an anomaly. An exception to the rule. For the past two Sabbaths, I’ve been ruminating as to why people in Messianic/Hebrew Roots circles have been mute. Maybe they don’t know what to say? Maybe Israelite and Gentile shepherds alike, don’t want to come off as inept, incompetent, dismissive, or insensitive?
I then asked myself, “What would you like to see, Yoel?” I began to entertain this pertinent query. Do I want to see Tony Robinson have a sit down with Brad Scott, to talk about racism for an hour? Would it satisfy me to see Ed Harris have a Torah-friendly dialogue with Eddie Chumney, regarding white privilege and white supremacy? Do I need to see Arthur Bailey and Greg Hershberg converse about America’s original sin? Or xenophobia? Or to see them couch these life jeopardizing episodes of police brutality in the light, love, and truth of Yahweh’s Holy Scripture?
Rabbi’s Radical Reconciliation
After praying to Yahweh, The Hearer of Prayer, this has been downloaded into my spirit:
A talmid is not above his rabbi; but each one, when he is fully trained, will be like his rabbi. (Elior/Luke 6:40, CJB)
I have an inquiry for all of us in the Body of Messiah right now: Israelites and Gentiles. Men. Women. Boys. Girls. Young. Old. Lunar Sabbatarian. Flat-Earther enthusiasts. KJV-Onlyers. Sacred Name enthusiasts. Are we becoming more like our Rabbi? Are we becoming more like our Lord and Savior? Are we becoming more like The paragon of Torah-obedience? Are we becoming more like Yahshua, The Messiah?
Remember how our Rabbi Yahshua answered the question of, “And who is my neighbor?”
Taking up the question, Yahshua said: “A man was going down from Yerushalayim to Yericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him naked and beat him up, then went off, leaving him half dead. By coincidence, a cohen was going down that road; but when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise, a Levi who reached the place and saw him also passed by on the other side. But a man from Shomron who was traveling came upon him; and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. So he went up to him, put oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged them. Then he set him on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day, he took out two days’ wages, gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Look after him; and if you spend more than this, I’ll pay you back when I return. Of these three, which one seems to you to have become the ‘neighbor’ of the man who fell among robbers?” He answered, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Yahshua said to him, “You go and do as he did.” (Elior 10:30–37, CJB)
Remember when our Rabbi Yahshua did what was counter-cultural and counter-intuitive, when he came to a town in Samaria?
He came to a town in Shomron called Shekhem, near the field Ya’aqob had given to his son Yoseph. Ya’aqob’s Well was there; so Yahshua, exhausted from his travel, sat down by the well; it was about noon. A woman from Shomron came to draw some water; and Yahshua said to her, “Give me a drink of water.” (His talmidim had gone into town to buy food.) The woman from Shomron said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for water from me, a woman of Shomron?” (For Jews don’t associate from people from Shomron.) Yahshua answered her, “If you knew God’s gift, that is, who it is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink of water,’ then you would have asked him; and he would have given you living water.” (Yochanan 4:5–10, CJB)
There was tangible, palpable, generational, antagonism and hatred, betwixt Jews and Samaritans. Being wholly conscious of this, our Rabbi Yahshua still displayed radical, salvational love to her! Undoubtedly, our Rabbi, Yahshua The Messiah, didn’t remain silent. He spoke Yahweh’s Words into every situation and teachable moment, including his moment with the Samaritan woman.
Lastly, remember Shimon bar Yonah’s experiential encounter with Cornelius, a Roman army officer in the Italian Regiment?
As he talked with him, Shimon went inside and found many people gathered. He said to them, “You are well aware that for a man who is a Jew to have close association with someone who belongs to another people, or to come and visit him, is something that just isn’t done. But God has shown me not to call any person common or unclean.
Then Shimon addressed them: I now understand that God does not play favorites, but that whoever fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to him, no matter what people he belongs to. (Acts 10:27–29, 34–35, CJB)
Some translations say it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come to one of another nation. Which command is the Written Torah says this? None. Shimon bar Yonah, an Israelite fisherman, was operating in traditional Pharisaism. Is this silence that I’m hearing from the Body of Messiah traditional? When Hebrew bodies are being slain, are Messianics/Hebrew Rooters traditionally silent? Orchestrated by Yah, like Shimon bar Yonah, maybe it’s time for us to break this traditional silence?
My prayer is that all of us in the Body of Messiah, starting with myself, will start having proactive conversations about racism. My plea to Yahweh is that we will start having candid conversations about white supremacy. My petition to El Shaddai, is that we will converse about microaggressions, implicit bias, xenophobia. My request to Yah, is that through His Holy Spirit, we will break our collective silence, and speak Yah’s Word into all situations, following the perfect paradigm of our Rabbi. Perhaps Yahweh called us out of darkness, into His Wonderful Light, for such a time as this?