1. 15 Minute Video of a Rabbi teaching Christians from Chapters of the Fathers. How Jews build a fence around the Torah.

    Rabbi Adler explains the history of Oral Law and the three things that Judges (and we) should always remember regarding judgment, pupils and 'fences'.

    Bob's Application: I find the adding of a safety fence around the Torah to be a beautiful concept. Can you guess what it means to make a safety fence? Don't read further until you watch the lesson!

    Follow this path. What is the most obvious parallel in the NT to a safety fence in the Mishnah? How about 1 Thess 5:22, "Abstain from all appearance of evil." For getting close to evil is starting to look like evil even though it is not. Do you agree with this parallel? OK, if you do, then back up one verse in the NT to 1 Thes 5:21. "Hold fast to what is good". That sounds very similar to the second saying on acquiring pupils, but is stated with the initiative placed firmly on the pupil to find good teaching, so that teachers will acquire such pupils. Indeed, all of us pupils need to learn and hold fast to good instruction. And stepping back one more phrase in the NT, we see a phrase that parallels the first saying on judgment, "But examine everything carefully."

    Did Paul know the Chapters of the Fathers? Of course he did, and probably had much of it memorized! By studying Chapters of the Fathers we get to sit in and hear material that Paul was learning as a boy, material which later found its way into the New Testament. I find this journey incredibly exciting and I hope you do too!

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  2. 15 Minute Video of a Rabbi teaching Christians from Chapters of the Fathers. Hebrew word that is translated 'gave it over to' is used over and over in the first Mishnah.

    Rabbi Elan Adler continues with the first Mishnah of the Chapters of the Fathers. What is the Hebrew word that is translated 'gave it over to' and why is this word used over and over in the first Mishnah?

    Bob's Application: In our Western culture, the way in which we 'give it over' to the next generation is in the form of printed material and keep sakes. A few times, I have held something of great value, that was passed down from the generations. Perhaps our closest experience as Christians is the passing down of the family Bible. However this 'gave it over to' is of a different kind entirely.

    I would suggest that we consider the following NT passage in the light of Rabbi Adler's teaching of UMISARA. 2 Timothy 4:2-4 "Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, the will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths." It seems to me this passage provides us with the result of NOT handing down the truths to the next generation in an UMISARA manner!

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  3. 15 Minute Video of a Rabbi teaching Christians from Chapters of the Fathers. “Moses received the Torah from Sinai” contains in it a hidden lesson of the right attitude of learning.

    Rabbi Elan Adler explains how a very simple statement “Moses received the Torah from Sinai” contains in it a hidden lesson of the right attitude of learning.

    Bob’s Application: We can see Rabbi Adler’s exhortation story of Sinai paralleling very nicely the New Testament story of how disciples of Jesus argued which each other as to who was the greatest. The answer for each case is the same. Jesus answered in Luke 9:48 “for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great” and again in Luke 22:26 “but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” Our application from this lesson is to take the words of Rabbi Adler and to simply “go and do likewise”.

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  4. 15 Minute Video of a Rabbi teaching Christians from Chapters of the Fathers. This work is part of the Mishnah, and much larger Talmud.

    Rabbi Elan Adler introduces a famous Jewish work called “Chapters of the Fathers” which has also been referred to over the ages as “Ethics of the Fathers”. In Hebrew this work is called “Pirkei Avot”. In this introductory lesson, the Rabbi tells us that this work is small -- only 6 chapters long -- yet why it is an important part of the Mishnah, and he explains for Christians what are the "Mishnah" and "Talmud".

    Then the journey begins! Rabbi Adler begins to explain the first few sentences of “The Chapters of the Fathers” in this lesson, to give us a taste of where we might be heading.

    NOTE: Bob’s Applications appear after some of the lessons. They represent his own perspective on how we as Christians could apply this specific lesson to our Christian walk. Please consider writing your own Christian application in the comments of any lesson that touches you!

    Bob's Application:

    The opening words of the first chapter of this work are: All Israel has a share in the world to come.

    This sentence is massive in its scope and claim, and Rabbi Adler’s explanation and his quotes from Maimonides, (probably the most respected Jewish scholar in the last 1000 years), are simply amazing! I’m not going to spoil it here! Go listen to the lesson itself before continuing this application!

    Now that you have listened, did you hear what he said and did you catch the enormity of it? It seems that Maimonides comments touch upon the very same paradox that also exists in the New Testament where Paul says in Romans 11:26 “and so all Israel will be saved” but then says in Romans 9:6 “for they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel, nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants”. Then how does Maimonides distinguish those from Israel, and not from Israel in his mind? His answer is the very same answer that Hebrews 11:6 gives: “without faith it is impossible to please God.” So here is my suggested application. Let’s get rid of the stereotype that many of us were taught as Christians that Jews do not see their life as life of faith. And I expect we will be exploring this topic much more in the weeks ahead, in various ways and from various teachers. So let’s keep our ears tuned for more on faith as we go forward.

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Chapters of the Fathers

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Chapters of the Fathers:
Life's Little Handbook of the Jewish Sages
With Rabbi Elan Adler

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