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A Discussion of Messianic Judaism, the Emerging Messianic Jewish Paradigm, and Related Leadership Issues from the Preoccupied Mind of Rabbi Stuart Dauermann, PhD.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Treasures Old and New

I have just returned from a trip to and from the East Coast, and during my considerable travel time, including lay-overs in both directions, I read in a book which I could hardly put down. It is called “Em Habannim Semeichah: On Eretz Yisrael, Redemption and Unity." The Hebrew title mean "A Joyous Mother of Children." The author is Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal, of Blessed Memory.

Rabbi Teichtal was a right-wing Eastern European Orthodox Jew, who, like today’s Satmar Hasidim and the Neturei Karta, vigororously opposed Zionism. However, when the Holocaust began to rampage through the vineyard of Lord of Hosts (Isa 5:7), the magnitude and extent of the sufferings caused Rabbi Teichtal to reconsider his former opinions, convinced that these sufferings were a divinely ordained inevitability for the Jewish people living in exile, and that the only place where the Jewish people could be safe would be in their own homeland. He vowed that if God would keep him and his family alive, he would write a book extolling the halachic responsibility of supporting and participating in settling in the Land.

Fleeing from the Nazis, he settled in Budapest, Hungary. During the course of a year, he wrote this work of over 500 pages while hiding in the attic of his Bet Midrash [House of Study], with ten other families. In this magnificent book, he quoted perhaps 2500 to 3000 references and sources, entirely from memory, and penned a work which for intellectual acumen and spiritual depth can scarcely be equaled. Reading it is proving to be a heart-rending and spiritually elevating, edifying and intellectually enriching experience.

To give you a measure of the author, consider the following: Eventually he and his family were apprehended by the Nazis, and sent to Auschwitz. However, this was very late in the war (1945) and, with the Allies closing in on the Polish camps, the Nazis began moving prisoners by railway car to camps in Germany. Rabbi Teichtal was one of many placed in railway cars for transport from Auschwitz to Mauthausen. His crowded railway car was filled with Jews and Ukranians, most of whom despised the Jews and were collaborators in their destruction. After a few days without any food, the Nazis tossed a few breadcrusts into the car, to see how people would scramble for them. One of Teichtal’s former neighbors got one of those scraps, but the Ukranians started beating the man to get it from him. Rabbi Teichtal sought to intervene. A number of people tried to stop him, but he said he could not stand by while one of his brethren was fighting for a crust of bread which might mean for him the difference between life and death. So it was that Rabbi Teichtal intervened, whereupon he was set upon by the Ukranians, who tortured and killed him.

And so a righteous man, a genius and a saint, died seeking to preserve the life of another. Truly, he was the kind of person extolled in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, one “of whom the world was not worthy,” who suffered for the sanctification of God's Name.

Too many of us have been taught not to seek spiritual enlightenment from Jewish people who do not believe in Yeshua. Some have told us that because these people lack Yeshua-faith, they could not have the Holy Spirit, therefore, why learn of them about spiritual matters?

I am reminded of a time when I was in the Midwest and visited a Christian seminary bookstore with a Jewish mission figure. He became enraged when he discovered that one of the books on the shelves there was Abraham Joshua Heschel's "The Prophets." He quickly dictated a letter to the President of the Seminary protesting that good Christian people were spending their money to see seminarians trained for the ministry, and not so that these students might learn from "unsaved rabbis."

Of a variety of good responses to this position, I will restrict myself to but one.

When he was in Athens, as recorded in Acts 17, the Apostle Paul was not ashamed to quote from two pagan poets whose insights helped him make his points in preaching to the Athenians. Now, if Paul was not ashamed to quote from pagans, dare we categorically exclude the words and writings of such Jewish giants of piety, members of the Chosen People, whose books proceed from lives of burning zeal to glorify the Holy One which we don't begin to understand or equal? These are no pagans here: these are members of the chosen seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whose lives, and often, whose deaths, were entirely for the sanctification of God’s Holy Name.

Such giants have incalculably much to teach us. The question is, do we have the humility and sanity to sit at their feet, to drink in their words, and to imitate their lives? Failing to do so will leave us impoverished. Refusing to do so should leave us everlastingly ashamed.

At 3/07/2006 11:20 PM, Blogger Tracey said...

This post was beautifully written and your points perfectly made. This is how I feel on a very deep level. It is our loss as believers in Yeshua to ignore the wisdom of the great Jewish sages. Thank you for your thoughts on this subject

At 3/08/2006 5:09 AM, Blogger Stuart Dauermann said...

Dear Tracey,

Having visited your site, I take your commendation of my writing as a high compliment, since your writing is utterly superb.

Thank you for reading here and for your kindness.


At 3/08/2006 6:15 AM, Anonymous Chayamindle said...

"Of a variety of good responses to this position, I will restrict myself to but one."

Stuart, please, please do not restrict yourself. We desparately need to read more of your masterful responses.
Your wisdom and sanctified seichel simply cannot be overrated. Thank you! Thank you!

Zie Gesundt & Chazak til 120 & (eternally beyond)!!!

At 3/08/2006 7:35 AM, Blogger Tracey said...


Thank you for visiting my site and for your generous compliments! As usual, I will continue to keep up with your posts on this blog. I also have a link on my blog to this one. As chayamindle said, don't restrict yourself! LOL


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