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The Birkat ha Minim

By Robert Wurtz II

      According to the Encyclopedia Judaica there were 7 different types of Pharisees (Perushim). Two of them were after the order of Abraham and Job and the other 5 were hypocrites (?). The Pharisee's that fled to Yavneh would likely have included no Nazarenes as they were deemed a heretical sect within Judaism along with many others.

      Note some things mentioned by Daniel Gruber concerning the "minim" (heretics) in his lesson "The Day the Rabbi's Were Wrong."

      * Minim may be a shortened, derogatory form of ma'aminim, believers (in Yeshua)

      * Rashi explains the minim refered to disciples of Yeshua (Jesus) "who did not believe in the words of the wise."

      * Determining who is a Jew was a very vital question, since if you weren't a Jew, you had to sacrifice to the Emperor, and if you didn't you were guilty of treason.

      * Minim were a threat because they could draw away followers of Pharisees (soon to be called Rabbis) by their teachings, writings and healings.

      * Pharisees (soon to be called)Rabbis forbade reading the writings of minim and sanctioned burning their books.

      * Birkat ha-Minim blessing (curse) developed and recited daily in every synagogue to weed out unknown Minim and their sympathizers and inculcate popular hatred of them (p. 156).


      When Jews assemble to pray they recite the Shemoneh Esreh (Eighteen Benedictions). It is the quintessential prayer in Judaism and
      is also called the AMIDAH (which means standing). The insertion of a 12th benediction in
      the late 1st-century against the "minim"(heretics) increased the number to nineteen and thus voided the original name. This benediction was aimed at the many Jews who had accepted the Messiah and is essentially a curse upon them. Under Rabban Gamaliel II there was a question asked if anyone knew a way to deal with the heretics... they found one... it was the Birkat ha Minim (12th ben.). Believing Jews had to endure synagogue services that essentially cursed them! This drove a deep wedge between what would eventually become Rabbinic Judaism and the believing Jews that still tried to coexist with their hostile non-believing non-believing friends and family. This addition is no doubt a landmark in the split between the Church and the non-believing Jews.

      In our next lesson we will begin discussing how the Gentiles added to the alienation of the believing Jews by their behaviors, etc. Anti-semitism has long been a horrific problem among the Catholic and Protestant Church. Hearing these stories and understanding the issues heretofor presented will no doubt open many eyes to the reality of why so few Jews believe in their Messiah.

      All references and info is readily available on thw web. Just use the various key words.

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