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The Mishnah of Marqos: A Commentary

By Hakham Dr. Yosef ben Haggi

“Thus, rejecting the Oral Torah of Yisrael as expressed by our Jewish Sages who whether they acknowledge him or not has strictly supervised them, amounts to rebellion against the angels (Rabbis) of G-d, rebellion against the Mashiach (in whom G-d’s Name is in Him), and what is more important rebellion against Ha-Shem Himself and His G-dly rule. This Mishnaic treatise of Marqos alerts us in these two introductory verses in no uncertain terms against such despicable behaviour, and the more coming from anyone who advertises to be a follower of the Mashiach, be he a Jew or a Gentile.”

 

Beit HaShoavah emerged from the Mayim Hayim Learning Center. Under the Leadership of Adon Gabriel ben Abraham. The Esnoga is an Orthodox Nazarean Esnoga and I am in great debt and gratitude  to Hakham Dr. Yosef ben Haggai for allowing me to become a Hakham Tamid and to teach me the ways of our Chazal.

The Torah quotes Balaam as saying, הֶן־עָם לְבָדָד יִשְׁכֹּן וּבַגּוֹיִם לֹא יִתְחַשָּׁב׃   ” It (Israel) is a nation that dwells in solitude and is not to be reckoned among the nations. ” Israel is a nation alone that does not intermingle with other nations.

Why is it necessary that we be a nation alone and why have we, throughout our history, always been the outsider and the foreigner?

 The role of Klal  Israel

The Jewish perspective regarding other nations/ religions is unique. We do not believe that other nations who do not follow our religion have no purpose in the general scheme of creation. Most of the religions believe that those who do not share their beliefs are denied salvation and may be considered infidels whose lives have little or no value, souls that are doomed or, at best, souls that can never achieve eternity.  We do not share this attitude.  We believe that all of mankind, Jews and non-Jews, were created b’tzelem Elokim- in the image of God- and deserve respect. We are forbidden to steal from non-Jews, to cheat him, or to mislead him in any way, even if our action cause him no loss or harm. Chazal teach us that non-Jews could have a share in the Olam Haba if they adhere to the 7 Noahide laws.  However, we also believe that Klal Yisrael  is the Am HaNivchar-the Chosen People- and, as such, we must understand the unique role of Klal Yisrael.

We were chosen to have a special relationship with Hashem and to serve him in a very  specific  and unique manner. However, this does not preclude the significance of non-Jews. There is an interrelationship between Jews and non-Jews. The purpose of Klal Yisrael is not merely self-centered on his own avodat Hashem, either as individuals or as a nation. We have a responsibility to other nations as well. The Navi says:  in Isaiah 49 verse 6, וּנְתַתִּיךָ לְאוֹר גּוֹיִם לִהְיוֹת יְשׁוּעָתִי עַד־קְצֵה הָאָרֶץ׃ – “I will make you a light for the nations, so that my salvation may extend to the ends of the earth.”

  This is the meaning of the verse “וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ־לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹשׁ ” – “You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” The relationship between Jews and other nations is comparable to the relationship between the Kohanim (Priests) and other Jews. Kohanim Were given task that are different from those of other Jews and Kohanim were sanctified because their role in the service of Hashem is unique.

This website is dedicated to that role.  To work in harmony Jew and non-Jew together to make this world in the image of Hashem.

 

Each morning of Sukkot, the priests went to the pool of Siloah (Silwan) near Jerusalem to fill a golden flask. Shofar blasts greeted their arrival at the Temple’s Water Gate. They then ascended and poured the water so that it flowed over the altar simultaneously with wine from another bowl. When the priest was about to pour the water, the people shouted “Raise your hand!” because of an incident that occurred in a previous year: The high priest Alexander Jannaeus (103‑76 B.C.E.) showed contempt for the rite by spilling the water at his feet, a transgression for which worshippers threw their citrons at him.

The pelted priest had demonstrated his alliance with the Sadducees, who literally followed Torah and only what was specifically in Torah. (Explained as an oral instruction given to Moses at Sinai, this water rite was not mentioned in The Five Books.) The deliriously happy celebration connected with the water drawing developed when the Pharisees (who believed in the Oral Tradition and interpretation of Torah and gave us the rabbinic Judaism we know today) triumphed over them in the first century.

Based on Isaiah’s promise “With joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation” (12:3), rejoicing began at the end of the first day and took place every night except Shabbat. Talmud recorded that “one who had never witnessed the Rejoicing at the Place of the Water Drawing had never seen true joy in his life.” (Although the celebration was for the libation that would be made the next morning it was named for the preparation for the ritual‑-the water drawing-‑which the rabbis said showed that getting ready was sometimes of greater merit than the mitzvah itself because of its positive effect on the person doing it.)

The Talmud describes the festivities in detail, from the lighting of immense candelabrum set in the Temple courtyard (each holding gallons of oil and fit with wicks made from priests’ worn‑out vestments), which generated such intense light that they illuminated every courtyard in the city. A Levite orchestra of flutes, trumpets, harps, and cymbals accompanied torchlight processions, and men who had earned the capacity for real spiritual joy through their purity, character, and scholarship danced ecstatically to the hand‑clapping, foot-stomping, and hymn‑singing crowds.

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House of The Water Pouring