It is not unusual that many of us that studied ourselves out of Christianity, and entered into a Torah centric life, have the same road map. For example, when I traveled deeper on my Christian path, I became more dependent on “The Word” as opposed to sermons and teachings. The pat answer to give someone when they asked what Christian writer I follow wasn’t Rick Warren, Francis Chan, Joyce Meyers…., it was to say “I just followed the bible”. My response was usually meet with an eye roll followed with a “Me too but…”. I even noticed when I got into a theological disagreement people really didn’t want to open the bible and talk it through, they were more apt to say “Well my Pastor says…” or even the “I will talk to my Pastor and see what he says about this”. Yet, worse than conceding to an absent Pastor as “tie breaker” was being sent a lengthy article or YouTube video that galvanized their theological point. “Really!”, we can’t just work this out between me, you and God’s Word? It is no wonder I studied myself out of that camp. After passing through the anxiety of leaving the cross, I felt the breath of fresh air that can only be found when pursuing truth. I finally found “peps” I could study and have fellowship with.
At last, I was finally home. Yet, was I? What was disheartening was that in many cases “My Pastor says…” was now replaced by “Rabbi so-and-so says…”, additionally top Christian theologians were replaced by Rashi (Shlomo Yitzchaki), Rambam (Maimonides), or whatever Sage people relinquished to. Yes, there are great things said by great men that should be shared but they should never eclipse the Word of God. Point and fact: Rashi and Rambam didn’t always agree. They, in truth, presented two unique points of views that holistically give us a different perspective of the Torah. But; either are not declared as a sole source to interpret Torah. To forgo our willingness to process Torah on our own is to surrender our opinion to another authority. How can we justly minimize Christians for clouding up God’s Holy Word with the New Testament when we are electively to willing do that with our own external sources.
In some ways things have not changed since Mount Sinai. God wanted a personal relationship with His people (Exodus 6:7, 19:5-6, Leviticus 26:12). Yet, the Israelites insisted that Moses be their mediator (Exodus 20:15-16, Deuteronomy 18:16). Although God did recognize Moses as a conduit, He still held individuals responsible (Exodus 32:30-33). Additional, God did warn against false prophets (Deuteronomy 18:15-22). In Deuteronomy 18 He establishes His Word as the plum line. This begs the question, if we don’t plainly understand His unfiltered Word how can we have the objectivity to discern a false prophet? We need to immerse ourselves in the Word, processing it, before we seek other perspectives.
To borrow a quote from Moshe Ben-Chaim
“The Torah was purposefully written in a cryptic style so as to engage the mind in this most prized activity of analysis, induction, deduction and thought”
We have the opportunity to study at the feet of the Master, why would we want to give that away?