The great nineteenth-century Messianic Jewish luminary and scholar, Rabbi Yechiel Tzvi Lichtenstein, left this world and entered the world of truth on February 20, 1912. Today his words still inspire the Messianic Jewish movement, even if we sometimes conflate him with the other Rabbi Lichtenstein.
I looked into the future with the hope that a Sabbath day would dawn when birdsong and the voice of mankind would be mingled together, singing in praise and thanksgiving; when the sound of shooting would no longer be heard in the holy city nor in any other part of the world.
Rosh Chodesh Kislev this year should be declared Messianic Judaism’s “Lucky Day.” Not only does it invoke the happy Festival of Hanukkah, this year it marks one hundred years since the death of Messianic Jewish pioneer, Chaim Yedidiah Pollak, aka, Theophilus Lucky (1854-1916).
We were in the torture chambers of the Dachau concentration camp. The fact that three young Jews walked through the halls alive and well infused hope into the story like the sun rays shined light into the cells. The hall was eerie and rooms held their own demons. We came to remember.
As we peer through the window at the Torah movement, it is useful to take a look back at some of those who walked the path of discipleship before us. Among these heroes is Rabbi Isaac Lichtenstein. Like the apostles, like the first century believers, he never turned his back on Torah or on the traditions of his people.
I had spent days tracking down the location. I read multiple accounts in English, German, Hebrew, and Yiddish that testified to him being buried in the small Jewish cemetery (Jüdischer Friedhof) of Plau am See, a tiny provincial town approximately two hours’ drive north of Berlin.
Franz Julius Delitzsch came into this world on February 23, 1813. Born into a Gentile Christian family his life would be one of greatness. To simply write about the impact of his life work seems to do it very little justice. Delitzsch was a thinker. He was a seeker. But most importantly he sought after truth.
Pauline Rose (1898-1973) was called the “Lady of Mount Zion.” She could also be considered the first lady of twentieth-century Messianic Judaism. She was a pioneer of the Messianic Jewish movement in Israel and abroad, starting the first Messianic Jewish congregation in Jerusalem in the modern era.
We are often told how one small act can have a great impact, how the actions we choose every day will not only affect ourselves, but also those around us. Few in our Messianic community know of Levy Hirsch, yet his investment changed the face of pre-World War II Messianic Juda-ism.
Abram Poljak was perhaps the most influential visionary for modern-day Messianic Judaism. Just inches from Abram Poljak’s grave, we found the grave of Dr. Agnes Sara Waldstein. While she is far less known than Poljak, she was no less influential.
We are now tasked with a new errand. We have the honor of traveling to the graves of the holy men and women whose words we lovingly pore over in translation and publication. It is possible that many of these ancestors of our faith have not received visitors to their graves since their deaths.
HaShem is righteous, a lover of righteous deeds, and there is no end to his mercy. That which he has said he will do, and he will surely have compassion just as he said. HaShem is near to all who call upon him in truth.
If we were to be allowed to come to Mount Zion at all, then we believed that all our steps and plans would be guided by the same power that had brought us there. Somewhere on Mount Zion we would find the place intended for us.
First Fruits of Zion is proud to present the following excerpt of the newly released book Siege of Jerusalem written by a Messianic Jewish voice from the past, Pauline Rose (1890-1973). These are her firsthand accounts, eyewitness testimony, diary notes, and letters of correspondence written from Jerusalem between 1946 and 1949.
Paul Phillip Levertoff, born Feivel Levertoff, was raised in an Chassidic home. His family was Sephardic and was a descendent of Rabbi Schneur Zalman. As a child he attended cheder (Hebrew primary school) and later the prominent Volozhin Yeshiva.
What is Lag Ba’Omer, and why would a Messianic Jew care? Meet Rashbi (Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai), a second-century hero of the Jewish people and a favorite subject of legend. Messianic Jewish pioneer Theophilus Lucky believed that Rashbi was inspired by the Holy Spirit and the teachings of Yeshua.
Many believe Christmas to have solely pagan roots that were re-purposed by early Gentile Christians. Messianic Jewish luminary Theophilus Lucky has a different, interesting take on the theory of Christmas’ origins. Lucky believes that the birth of Messiah was celebrated every year at Hanukkah on the 25th of Kislev.
Even though numbers may not be everyone’s strong suit, some simple addition can uncover some deep spiritual concepts. It may be the glory of HaShem to conceal these matters, but it is our glory to search for them. I decided to try my brain at gematria. Something cool popped up.
Theophilus Lucky was a Messianic Jewish pioneer of his generation and of ours. He held strongly to the Torah of Moses and the testimony of Yeshua, calling his Jewish brothers to follow suit. His example and his writings can serve as an example and inspiration to us all as we codify our theology and practice.
Rabbi Daniel Zion was one of the chief rabbis of Sofia, Bulgaria during World War II and a Jewish believer. He was warned about the holocaust in a vision of the Master, and he helped save 800 Jews of Sofia from the Nazis but was himself interned in a concentration camp in 1943. In 1949 he emigrated to Israel.
Nineteenth-century Jewish believers had teachings to share about the Gentiles’ relationship to the Torah. One Jewish thinker has an explanation about the Jerusalem Council decree. The disciples were not slighting the new Gentile believers by requiring seemingly so little. Rather they were showing love and distinction within equality.
Rabbi Isaac Lichtenstein, of most blessed memory, left this earth on Hoshana Rabbah, the year of 5669 (1908), during the happy season of Sukkot. Hoshana Rabbah is the seventh day of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the 21st day of Tishrei. His Yahrzeit this year will fall on Sunday, October 4.
Just as the student’s love and trust of a Tzaddik is an expression of his love and devotion to God, likewise our relationship with Yeshua is a reflection of our relationship with God. Levertoff tells us elegantly that our love for God is rooted in our love for the Messiah.
A fresh translation from Messianic Jewish pioneer Theophilus Lucky’s monumental publication Edut L’Yisra’el. In the first issue printed in Tishrei of 1888, we find a book review of Franz Delitzsch’s Hebrew New Testament. The historical value of these writings is priceless.