April 03, 2008

I am an "armchair" Kohen.

At least this is what Reuven Prager calls me. Here's his response to my valid inquiry:

RP: Shalom from Jerusalem!

JHK: Greetings. Judah HaKohain here from http://hamikdash.blogspot.com

RP: Never heard of you. I checked your link above, read its pretensions, and wonder why this is the first time you have contacted me. I have served as a Levite on Duty for 25 years, researching and restoring ancient Israelite customs in preparation for rebuilding the Holy Temple; restoring Beged Ivri, Biblical weddings, broken the taboo against wearing Techelet, identified and made available the 11 original ingredients of the Ketoret and 4 ingredients of the Shemen HaMishchah, and restored the mitzvah of netinat machatzit hashekel, establishing the criteria for the machatzit hashekel for this and future generations. And this filth is what you initiate contact with me for?

JHK: Would you please comment on why you are appearing at a messianic convention in Chicago in August?

RP: I was invited to speak. They agreed to my conditions for speaking; namely that I am to be respected for who I am; I am not to be subjected to any attempts to change my religious beliefs; and I am to be protected by staff from any zealous participant who cannot control the urge to 'witness' to me, so I am not left to defend myself from assault. I do not speak about religion or politics, only about the work taking place in Jerusalem to restore ancient Israelite customs in preparation for rebuilding the Holy Temple.

JHK: Do you endorse "messianic" judaism?

RP: Chas V'chalilah. You are obviously an armchair Kohen otherwise you would know me, my work, and the inanity of asking me such a ridiculous question.

JHK: Are you yourself "messianic" in that you consider the Christian god (aka Jesus) the Jewish Messiah?

RP: Are you insane? No.

Well, there you go. Perhaps I was wrong to question him.

The Levite doth protest too much, methinks.

These were legitimate questions. People are known by the company they keep. "Al tifrosh min hatzibor." Speaking to and thereby legitimizing these people are clearly separating yourself from the Klal. Hashem forbids socializing with idol worshippers. Simple.

As to "this filth" (aka my honest inquiry), I am still perplexed why "messianics" would be his choice of audience. Wouldn't a "Levite on Duty" want to distance himself from idol worshipers and those who prey on Jewish souls? Why give their "movement" credence by speaking to them?

Personally, this "Kohain on Duty" would not have anything to do with these people as they harm Jews. THAT'S where we differ. Sorry if that's filth.

Nowhere does Mr. Prager denounce "messianics" on his site. That would be a great first step. I would also love to see a haskama from Rabbis proclaiming his work with them as kosher. Would they give it if they knew the bulk of his time was speaking to "messianics?" Would Ha-Rav Ha-Gadol Amnon Yitzchak Shlita say this was a positive endeavor for Klal Yisrael?

It is time that we choose sides.

Please chime in, people!


Zahava Pasternak said...

I believe you should email him back and ask for mechila. No telling how many people (those that commented as well) passed this blog onto others. Speaking words that coz friction is not good - we are told to remember everyday what happened to Miriam - she in all sincerity thought she was correct in expressing her thoughts.

My husband has taught me, everything you think, you do not have to speak.

something all of us should think about.

Judah HaKohain said...

I disagree. I merely asked the question. I do not think that a religious Jew should be associating with so-called "messianics." It's sick and we are commanded to stay away from them. What benefit (other than financial) is there to reaching out to evangelical churches and "messianics?"

I accused him of nothing. i merely showed the facts that were readily available on Google and inquired to his reasoning. I am within my rights to ask the question. It's not something I overheard or pulled out of my butt. He is on these fliers. He is on their speakers list.

"My husband has taught me, everything you think, you do not have to speak."

Lovely sentiment. I speak because I fear for Jews who are being mislead. I will continue to probe and get to the truth.

Devash said...

Yasher koach, Judah HaKohain. You are a credit to your people. If we had more like you, we wouldn't be in such a mess. We are our brother's keeper and we are areivim zeh lazeh.

As you point out, this is a very public affair and therefore deserves public scrutiny.

Mr. Prager has responded in a very prideful way, insulting you and boasting of his many "accomplishments" which are debatable in any case.

He comes across this way in person as well. The Erev Rav are motivated by the desire for kavod even more than for money, according to the Vilna Gaon. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, well... The Vilna Gaon says we are obligated to fight these people.

The Ketoret spices shouldn't be on sale to goyim!

Bar Kochba said...

Bless you for taking the fight to avodah zara. I am having the same problem on my site. I simply asked for Christians to stop missionizing, politely, and asked for some common courtesy, and the s*** hit the fan. Check it out if you want.

Anonymous said...

Reuven Prager spends alot of time "speaking" to christians, messianics and ephraimites in particlular. Eddie Chumney who is one of the organizers and speakers of the restorahation conference promotes the two house theory in which Jews are one house of the house of Israel and christians are the other house. In this theory christians are Israelites and as so have a part in the inheritance promised Avraham. They believe that the House of Ephraim (christians) and the House of Judah (Jews) have to do "tshuva" to bring the "Kingdom" in which their "god" will rule from Yerushalayim. Thyy believe that their "tshuva" is to "come back to their jewish roots" and the "tshuva" of Judah is to accept the "true" messiah yashke. If you want to know more about this movement see Ephraim Exposed


So it is not unreasonable to be asking questions about Reuvens involvement with them. He is encouraging them and even helping them in "restoring their jewish roots". I would like to know why he thinks it is necessary for him to "speak" to christians about the Beit HaMikdash. What role does he envision for them in the future Beit HaMikdash? We are supposed to be different in all ways including dress from the goyim so now that he is selling his clothes to them, no Jew should wear them.
In reply to zahava's post-are you seriously comparing Reuven Prager to Moshe Rebeinu? Reuven Prager along with all the other Jews who are working to break down the barriers of separation between Jews and non-Jews should be exposed. What they are doing is dangerous to Am Yisrael.

Anonymous said...

lol...Bar is right!

Yehudi01 said...

Great post, Judah! I thought it was pretty funny...I agree with just about everybody here...I would email him and ask him for mechila...I would be surprised if he has mechila and would like to know where he got it. I also agree with Davash...you are doing a good thing here by calling out a poser. Undress the wolf from the sheep's clothing. Avodah zara is a sin of the worst kind. I love your blog and keep up the good fight, achi!

Anonymous said...


Mechila means forgiveness. I think you may have misunderstood. Judah asked if he has a haskama or permission.

Yehudi01 said...

OY! You're right...I was half-asleep when I wrote that comment. I was thinking of "Semicha", not that that makes anymore sense. LOL!

Rosalie and David said...

Hmmm. I want to first say that I do not believe that we should associate and work with Christians of any flavor. They are not idol worshipers, yet do practice Avodah Zarah (one can do that with out bowing to an idol). That being said I believe you meant well by what you did, but we need to be careful about how we use blogs to pass info off. Your original comments insinuated something before you questioned Reuven Prager. I think if you waited until after you questioned and then posted just the interview then it would have been fine, bu the original post borders on public loshon hara and it could be that is the problem. That being said you should definitely do your best to fight those Jews who think it is fine to go to these things, but remember they believe they are trying to do this to drop the whole Yeshka thing and not knock down barriers. Rabbi Riskin is a perfect example. I completely disagree with his approach, but he like Reuven Prager doesn't associate with these guys because he thinks its a good idea to blur the lines, they really think they can through bringing them close to these concepts draw them into the 7 Mitzvot. It is a flawed strategy, but we have to be careful how we expose them and the tone of voice we use. Other than that kol hacovod and what are you doing in LA?

Judah HaKohain said...

"Your original comments insinuated something before you questioned Reuven Prager. I think if you waited until after you questioned and then posted just the interview then it would have been fine, but the original post borders on public loshon hara and it could be that is the problem."

Sigh. Again, there was no insinuation. I asked point blank about facts based on public knowledge. And again, he answered those questions and I believe his responses to be truthful.

HOWEVER it does not address as to WHY he and his business are catering to not only Christians (questionable) but to so-called "messianics" who are either brainwashed Jews or predatory, evangelical Christians looking to convert Jews.

This is the last I will say of this. It is eating up too much of my daily time.

Mr. Prager, if my post amounted to avak lashon hara (which I don't think it did according to the teshuvah I received on it) then I sincerely apologize.

Let me say this loud and clear for one last time: My personal and sincere belief is that you should avoid these treif groups because they are a real threat and serious danger to our People. I believe dealing with them lends credence to their cause and therefore actually delays our Redemption. If you are working for the Jewish nation to rebuild our Holy Temple and hasten Mashiach, then you should be selling and speaking to Jewish groups, not to ovdei avoda zara. They are a cancer on our people that needs to be cut out, not nurtured.

Anyhow, again... if I stepped over the lines I apologize publicly. You all know how I stand on this subject and I would like to get back to my daily routine. Feel free to continue posting comments.