A Nazarean Community

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

And Micah ben Hillel

 


A Nazarean[1] community needs to be structured around the needs of the people in the community. This requires, first and foremost, people – a kollel.[2] At a minimum, we need to have a minyan.[3] If the minyan have families, and I presume that they will, then we need to consider their needs as well. The people who feel compelled to join a Nazarean community will be committed to a Torah observant lifestyle since that will be the primary focus of the community. The minyan will be meeting together on Shabbat, so they must be living within walking distance of each other. These Nazareans will be committed to the highest standards of nobility of speech, chesed,[4] and tzedaka.[5] The training of these noble people will be a major focus of this community.

 

1.   To start a community we need at least ten (10) males, committed to a Torah observant lifestyle, living within walking distance of each other.

 

a.       Bamidbar (Numbers) 14:27 This verse talks about a congregation that consisted of just ten (10) men, the spies.

 

b.       Bereshit (Genesis) 18:32  Abraham understood that if there were not at least ten men to pray, then there was no hope for the cities.

 

Once the necessary funds have been procured, the community must begin organizing themselves into authorized groups to facilitate advancing the communal needs. For example, we need a group, authorized to spend communal funds, so that they can quickly procure a mikveh (this is our first priority), since without a mikveh it is impossible to live a Torah observant lifestyle. If there is a mikveh in the Jewish community, we should see if we could share the mikveh. If sharing is out, and I suspect that it will be, then the community needs to begin saving money to build a mikveh. If a “gathering of water” is available within driving distance, this can be used temporarily. The mikveh must be built on communal property. It must have at least a modest structure to protect the privacy and dignity of those who use it. The mikveh requires an attendant, so we will need to have a trained male and female attendant. Proper use of the mikveh will require that the community understand all of the Torah details regarding the use of the mikveh.

 

2.   A mikveh must be available. This must be our first priority.

 

a.       Shemot (Exodus) 19:10 A convert is required to immerse himself.

 

b.       Vayikra (Leviticus) 15  The menstruant women must immerse before she is permitted to her husband.

 

3.   The people of the community must be committed to a noble lifestyle.

 

a.       Yaakov (James) 2:8 If the Nazareans follow the law of royalty, they must be a nobel people.

 

b.       1 Kephas (Peter) 2:9  If we are royal priests, we are a people of nobility.

 

The members of the community will meet the needs of the community, to the extent that they are able. A successful community will have a need for every individual. That means, that every individual must have a task to perform that the community depends upon. We must sensitize the members of the community to understand that the janitor is no less important than the teacher. All the men must be committed to taking their place of honor for an aliyah.[6] Each man must be committed to Torah study, Torah teaching, and the mitzvot. This will enable every member to feel valued and important, a prime requirement of Nazareans.

 

4.   The folks in the community must have community related duties to perform.

 

a.       Ephesians 4:28 If a thief is required to meet the needs of the community, how much more so those who are not theives.

 

b.       II Luqas (Acts) 20:35 We are all weak in some way. Therefore, we all need to be supported by others.

 

The community will, therefore, need people who will be focused on the needs of the people of the community. In order to succeed at this task, we will need to have an inventory of the skills of each member of the community from bar/bat mitzvah[7] age and up. The primary need of the folks in the community is a support for a Torah observant lifestyle. In order to achieve this lifestyle, we must understand the requirements that Torah places on Nazareans. To this end, the community will require a Hakham[8] who is interested in teaching, by word and deed, the community how to live a Torah observant life. The Hakham, and his family, must be willing to “live in a fishbowl”, in order to properly teach the community.

 

5.   We need an experienced Torah teacher – a Hakham, who is suitable to the congregation.

 

a.       2 Titus 2:2 From teacher to student, till the student becomes the teacher.

 

b.       Bereans (Hebrews) 5:12 It is expected that all students will become teachers even as they were taught.

 

c.        Berachoth 55a R. Isaac said: We must not appoint a leader over a community without first consulting it, as it says: See, the Lord hath called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: Do you consider Bezalel suitable? He replied: Sovereign of the Universe, if Thou thinkest him suitable, surely I must also! Said [God] to him: All the same, go and consult them. He went and asked Israel: Do you consider Bezalel suitable? They replied: If the Holy One, blessed be He, and you consider him suitable, surely we must!

 

Since a Hakham receives his authority from a Bet Din,[9] our community must have a Bet Din. A Bet Din is composed of a least one member who has received “smichah”,[10] a Hakham, and two Torah observant male Jews. All three must be Torah scholars who have a zeal for the administration of loving-kindness.

 

6.   We need at least two Torah observant, male, Jews for the Bet Din.

 

a.       Sanhedrin 2a Chapter I Mishnah. Monetary cases [must be adjudicated] by three judges; cases of larceny and mahem, by three; claims for full or half damages, the repayment of the double or four or five-fold restitution [of stolen goods], by three, as must cases of rape seduction and libel.

 

b.       Yevamoth 46b R. Hiyya b. Abba stated in the name of R. Johanan: The initiation of a proselyte requires the presence of three men; for law has been written in his case.

 

The most immediate need of the community is kosher food. This means that there must be a reasonable way to obtain kosher meats and cheeses, since most other kosher foods are readily available. The ideal location, therefore, will be situated near an existing Jewish community. The existing community will have a convenient way of obtaining reasonably priced kosher meats and cheeses. As long as the community is within a reasonable driving distance, we ought to be able to get all of our normal kosher foods.

 

7.   We need to be able to obtain kosher meats and cheeses, along with other kosher foods.

 

a.       Devarim (Numbers) 12:21  Our meat must be slaughtered just as Moses was shown on the mountain.

 

b.       Vayikra (Leviticus) 11:2 Only certain animals are permitted for food.

 

Once kosher food is readily available, we will need to be sure that adequate housing is available within walking distance of the others in the community. This entails having affordable houses and apartments within normal walking distance. Affordable means that the housing must be cheap enough that every family can afford to have a dignified roof over their heads. It also means that the community must have facilities to temporarily house the newcomers, the visitors, and the needy, with dignity.

 

8.   Inexpensive, dignified, housing must be available for the families of the community, visitors, newcomers, and the needy.

 

a.       Bereishit (Genesis) 19:1-2 As Lot was hospitable, though it endangered his life, how much more so should we be hospitable.

 

b.       1 Kephas (Peter) 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

 

Once a reasonable location has been established, the community must begin pooling their resources to procure a mikveh,[11] siddurim,[12] chumashim,[13] machzorim,[14] Torah scrolls, and buildings for the use of the community. This will involve creating a “communal entity”, like a company, that has preferential tax treatment and legal rights, in order to pool our moneys for these requirements.

 

9.   The community must agree to pool their monetary resources for the benefit of the community.

 

a.       2 Luqas (Acts) 4:32 They had all things common.

b.       Shemot (Exodus) 35:20 Klal Israel pooled their resources to build a place of prayer.

 

10.            The community must establish a legal communal entity.

 

a.       Matitiyahu (Matthew) 22:21 Lets not give to the government more than is required.

 

b.       Romans 13:7 Lets put our resources in the right place.

 

 As soon as the funds are available, we need to procure Siddurim, Machzorim, and Chumashim for the community. We will need to store these in the location where we gather for prayer and study. The place for prayer and study needs to be large enough to meet the needs. The community must have a servants attitude towards the needs of the community, such that property of the community will be treated with respect, cleaned, and repaired in a diligent manner. Those assigned to this task must be zealous to “do” and to teach. This means that we do not put siddurim or chumashim on the floor. The honor we have towards holy books, must be reflected in our actions. The whole community must take this to heart. We must diligently train all those who forget. In order to pray, the community must procure communal talitot.[15]

 

11.            The community needs to establish a place to pray.

 

a.       Melachim (Kings) 8:29 The synagogue is a small sanctuary where HaShem is attentive to prayer.

 

b.       Divre Hayyamim (Chronicles) (II) 7:15

 

12.            The community needs to procure siddurim and chumashim for communal use.

 

a.       Nedarim 48a What are the things that belong to that town e.g., the public square, the bath-house, the synagogue, the ark [in which the sacred scrolls were kept] and the books [of the law]

 

b.       Shabbath 2b … the carryings out of the Sabbath are two which are four. Now, why is it taught here, TWO WHICH ARE FOUR WITHIN, AND TWO WHICH ARE FOUR WITHOUT; whereas there it is [simply] stated, ‘two which are four,’ and nothing else? — Here, since the Sabbath is the main theme, [both] principal [forms of labour] and derivatives are taught; but there, since the main theme is not the Sabbath, principal labours only are taught, but not derivatives. What are the principal labours? — carryings out! But the carryings out are only two? And should you answer, some of these involve liability, and some do not involve liability — surely it is taught on a par with the appearances of leprosy: just as there all involve liability, so here too all involve liability?-Rather said R. Papa: here that the Sabbath is the main theme, acts of liability and non-liability are taught; there, since the Sabbath is not the main theme, only acts of liability are taught, but not of exemptions. Now, what are the cases of liability-carryings out? But the carryings out are [only] two? — There are two forms of carrying out and two of carrying in. But ‘carry ings out’ are taught?-Said R. Ashi: The Tanna designates carrying in’ too as ‘carrying out.’ How do you know it? — Because we learnt: If one carries out [an object] from one domain to another, he is liable. Does this not mean even if he carries [it] in from the public to a private domain, and yet it is called ‘carrying out.’ And what is the reason? — Every removal of an article from its place the Tanna designates ‘carrying out.’ Rabina said: Our Mishnah too proves it, because CARRYINGS OUT are taught, yet straightway a definition of carrying in is given; this proves it. Raba said: He [the Tanna] teaches [the number of] domains; the domains of the Sabbath are two.

 

Because not all can afford talitot, the community must make provision for them. As people of nobility it is important for us to be aware of the needs of others, before they ask.

 

13.            The community needs to procure talitot for communal use.

 

a.       Shabbath 2b

 

b.       Sukkah 42a … A MINOR WHO KNOWS HOW TO SHAKE THE [LULAB]. Our Rabbis taught, A minor who knows how to shake [the lulab] is subject to the obligation of the lulab; [if he knows how] to wrap himself [with the tallith] he is subject to the obligation of zizith;

 

14.            The community must establish processes to facilitate the procuring and the running of communal properties and communal duties.

 

a.       Luqas (Acts) 13:14 Rulers of the synagogue.

 

b.       Luqas (Acts) 4:20 and Revelation 2:8  Sheliach Tzibbur (Angel of the Assembly or Angel of the Church)

 

c.        Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Timothy 3:10  Pastors  and deacons. The three citations above are the “seven good men of the city

 

d.       Megilah 27a THE SAME APPLIES TO ANY MONEY LEFT OVER. Raba said: This is the rule only if they had money left over from a sale; but if they had money left over from a collection, it is permitted [to use it for any purpose]. Abaye cited the following in objection to this: ‘When does this rule apply? If they made no stipulation; but if they made a stipulation, they may even give it to the duchsusia’. Now how are we to understand this? Shall we say that they [the seven good men] sold [a holy article] and had money left over [after purchasing a new one]? Then even if they made a stipulation [that they could do what they liked with it], what does it avail? We must say therefore that they collected money and had some left over, and the reason is given that ‘they made a stipulation’, but if they made no stipulation they cannot? — I still maintain that [what is meant is] that they sold and had something left, and the statement should run thus: ‘When does this rule apply? When the seven "good men" of the town did not make any stipulation in the assembly of the townspeople; but if the seven good men of the town made a stipulation in the assembly of the townspeople, it may be used even for paying a duchsusia’.[16]

 

15.            Trained male and female attendants must be available at the mikveh.

 

16.            The community must be trained in proper mikveh use.

 

 Once a mikveh is available, the community needs to begin pooling resources for a Bet Midrash.[17] The Bet Midrash must be designed to be a temporary substitute for the synagogue, as well as a permanent Bet Midrash. A Torah centered lifestyle requires lifelong learning. This means that we need to have a place to study. This building should be located somewhere near the center of the community, in order to make access as easy as possible. The Bet Midrash must be organized to teach the children as well as the adults. We will need teachers for the children and teachers for the adults.

 

17.            Need to procure teachers for the children.

 

a.       Devarim (Deuteronomy) 6:7 If a man is unlearned, he must procure a teacher from the community, for his children.

 

b.       Devarim (Deuteronomy) 4:9

 

18.            Need a building for the Bet Midrash for use by the children and the adults.

 

a.       Megilah 27b MISHNAH. [A SYNAGOGUE] BELONGING TO A COMMUNITY SHOULD NOT BE SOLD TO A PRIVATE PERSON BECAUSE ITS SANCTITY IS [THEREBY] LOWERED. SO R. MEIR. THEY SAID TO HIM: IF SO, IT SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO SELL FROM A LARGER TOWN TO A SMALLER ONE.

 

b.       Yevamoth 16a The Talmud throughout assumes a house of study and a synagogue.

 

Once we have a place to study, we will need to have study materials. The members of the community may be able to share books for the short term, but in the long term we will need communal books. It would be appropriate to establish a library. Additionally, if the community can afford it, we ought to have computers and software available in the Bet Midrash.

 

19.            We need to procure Torah study books and materials. We will need copies of the Talmud, Midrash, and Zohar.

 

20.             The community must procure a shofar and any other items required by the whole community.

Once the community has established itself, and has a proper place of prayer, we will need to procure an aron and a Torah scroll.

 

a.        Need an aron[18] and Torah scroll.

 

b.       We will also need a Megilat Esther.[19]

 

One of the best ways to build and establish community is by celebrating Shabbat with others, in our homes. In addition to providing food, it also allows us to teach and to enjoy fellowship while performing mitzvot.[20] There is no better way to build a community then by celebrating Shabbat together, in our homes.

 

We can also fulfill a great mitvah[21] by celebrating Pesach with the needy of the community. By sharing this important moed with the community, we build and establish our community.

 

A community which gives of its time and resources, will be a thriving community. Therefore, we must look, again, at the people who form a Nazarean community. They must be people of nobility. People who are dedicated to serving others. Our community will have many opportunities for joy and mitzvot: Brit milah[22] (is there a mohel[23] and a sandak[24] around?), weddings (anyone got a minyan?), escorting the dead (anyone want to be part of the Chevra Kadisha-the sacred burial society?), serving in the mikveh (Who wants to be the ‘Lady of the Lake’?), leading prayers (Do we have a chazzan with a pleasing voice?), and a whole host of other places for service.

 

* * *

 

Marqas (Mark) 10:42-45 But Yeshua called them [to him], and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

 

Surely the Nazarean will be great in the kingdom, therefore, they must be the servant of all!

 

* * *

 

This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

and Micha ben Hillel (Micah Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address: gkilli@aol.com

Web page: http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

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Send comments to Greg Killian at his email address: gkilli@aol.com



[1] Those Jews and Righteous Gentiles who follow Yeshua, The Master from Nazareth.

[2] A kollel (Hebrew: כולל, pl. כוללים, kollelim, a "gathering" or "collection" [of scholars]) is an institute for advanced study of the Talmud and rabbinic literature.

[3] A quorum of ten (10) men for prayers.

[4] Hebrew transliteration that means kindness.

[5] Hebrew transliteration that means charity or generousity.

[6] Hebrew translitteration that literally means “to go up” and is the normal way of referring to those who read the Torah in the synagogue.

[7] Girls at age twelve and boys at age thirteen.

[8] A Sephardic Rabbi.

[9] A Jewish court.

[10] Rabbinic ordination.

[11][11] A place for immersion.

[12] Prayer books.

[13] A book which contains the Torah and the readings from the Prophets in the annual Torah lectionary.

[14] Prayer books used for the festivals.

[15] Prayer shawls.

[16] The town horseman - Whose function it was to take urgent messages to the authorities on behalf of the town.

[17] A house for Torah study.

[18] An ark for storing Torah scrolls.

[19] A scroll of Esther read on Purim.

[20] Torah commandments.

[21] Good deed.

[22] Circumcision.

[23] One who performs a circumcision on a male.

[24] The Sandak is the person given the honor of holding the child/adult's head during the circumcision.