A KADDISH FOR DWIGHT – by David Nekrutman – CJCUC

A much appreciated article by friend and colleague David Nekrutman, Executive Director of CJCUC, printed in the Jerusalem Post Christian Edition, to which Dwight regularly had contributed articles over the years.

 

Yahrtzeit-Light

A Kaddish for Dwight

On February 5th, 2011, the world lost a true biblical giant and one of the premier leaders in Jewish-Christian relations, Dr. Dwight A. Pryor. I owe much to Dwight for he has helped me in my sacred calling in Jewish-Christian relations for the last ten years. His writings, sermons and messages have given me a deeper understanding on a growing movement within Christianity, those wishing to learn more about the Hebraic foundations of the Bible.

During his last year on earth I had the distinct honor to develop a personal fellowship with him when he joined The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding & Cooperation’s Jewish-Evangelical Colloquium.  I will sorely miss him and look forward to the day when we will meet each other in the World to Come.

In Judaism, when someone passes away, the rabbinic custom is to say a prayer known as Kaddish. However, if one would examine the prayer in its entirety, there is no mention of death. Why create a custom of saying a prayer without relating it to mourning?

Kaddish in English:

Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will.
May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.
May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity. Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.
May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.
He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

The Kaddish is the doxology of our hope that God’s great name will be sanctified in the whole world. The central phrase of Kaddish is “May His great Name be praised forever and ever and ever.” The biblical verses that come closest to this Aramaic line are Deuteronomy 32:3, Psalms 113:2 & Daniel 2:20. The Talmud says the custom of reciting “may His great name…” was after the teachers preached God’s word in public every Shabbat. The Kaddish affirms that life begins and ends with God and all of it is a gift as the book of Job says (1:21),”The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

There are certain deaths that it is hard to reconcile with God such as the sudden death of a loved one or the passing of a child. Reciting the mourner’s Kaddish allows us the time to make some kind of peace with the judgment of God even if we don’t fully understand it. The Talmud records Elijah the prophet telling Rabbi Yose that when the Jewish people enter synagogues and study halls and proclaim, “May His great name…,” God nods His head and says, “How fortunate is the King Whom they praise in His house like that!  Woe to the Father Who exiled His children, and woe to the children who have been exiled from their Father’s table!”

Notice that when God mentions exile He is known as father and not king. It is only when the Jewish commonwealth is established again in its entirety that God will once again be known as King. Once recited only after learning God’s word, Kaddish since has been integrated into daily Jewish life. It is a yearning of the world-accepting God, and our messianic hope, that His kingdom and peace will eventually reign.

Dwight understood that 1948 marked a significant moment in sacred history and a Christian could no longer hold the view of Replacement Theology. God’s covenantal promises are eternal and for one to truly understand the Bible a Hebraic foundation is essential. I declare May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity for having created a Dwight in my lifetime and paving the way for Jews and Christians to talk to one another instead of at each other.

May we all say a Kaddish for Dwight! Amen!

Dwight the Teacher and Response from Students



DwightPryor

In accord with the legacy and the words of my late husband and great teacher of the Word of God, Dr. Dwight A. Pryor (obm)His-Israel highly values depth of thought and the study of Scripture. We view these as vital and even as “the highest form of worship” as they lead to greater ‘being’ and doing of good according to the will of our Father. Please take a moment to view the tributes to Dwight, peruse his articles and share a few of our memories.

The core value we continue to hold to, as a result of the above, is that of relationship; of pressing through creatively with a deep desire for closer knowledge of, and thus deeper intimacy with, God our Father – as taught and evidenced by Yeshua ha’Mashiach / the Messiah Jesus –  and with one another as those who, as Dwight did so deeply, love Him and share a love for His Land, His Scriptures and His Messiah.

We honor his memory and remain ever grateful for the example and learning he so generously gave, and continues to give, to so many sincere students of the Scriptures.

~ Keren Hannah Pryor

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South Africa 2003 - PE - Garden Route 056

 

Dwight engaged in one of his favorite activities …teaching a class of interested students. (Durban, SA)

 

 

 

 

A great teacher once taught me the difference between mere data and Da’at Elohim. I am forever indebted and grateful for Dwight and Keren Pryor. Thanks for impacting my life and ministry at such deep transformational levels. Love ya!

Pastor Brian and Kristi Phillips ~ The Grove Church, Illinois (1 March, 2014)

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~ June 2014 – from Gold Coast, AUSTRALIA
Phil & Dwight Pryor
To Keren,
I found this photo, taken some years back,  when I was looking through albums today.
Phil (my husband) is seated in the middle. Dwight on the right.
 
Phil regards DPs teachings as very central to much of what we do.

Blessings and strength for the work,

Joan (Moss)

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Dear Dr. Pryor,
All my life I have lived in church streams that regard Israel as superseded, 
but last year [2005] following a powerful revelation regarding the 
Father’s passion for Israel, I was completely disorientated, lost 
and frankly a bit frightened. 
I no longer knew who Jesus was...until I found your writings. I have devoured 
“Behold the Man!” with wonder, excitement and joy. I have read the Scriptures 
many times and now so many things  are falling into place...what a treasure! 
How great and perfect are the ways of God! 

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~ June, 2014 – Father’s Day Tribute  from MIKE DAVIS (Pastor), California, USA

There have been 3 men who have been like fathers to me, they have been mentors and have given me tremendous support.

To them I want to say “Thank you!” for all of the support, mentoring and encouragement they have given me over the years:

To Dr. William Bean... to Bobby G. Bodenhamer! (Whom my kids call Grandpa Bob!)

And to my other beloved teacher and mentor from afar Dwight Pryor.

Dwight you taught me that study and scholarship must always be mixed with personal holiness and a passion for HaShem. You helped keep me balanced and taught me through example as well as your teachings to always maintain respect for those who may not agree with me or my point of view -and vice versa. Thank you, and Keren, for the support you have given to Karen and I. It always meant so much. .Though you are no longer with us and now stand in the Presence of our Lord your influence is still felt and still having impact even today. I thank the Lord for having met and learned from you.

I have the greatest respect for you all and hold you in love and esteem.

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~ May 2008  – from CANADA

Shalom Dwight,

Because of your efforts God has revolutionized my life. I have a hunger for God’s word like I’ve never had before. I can’t get enough of your teaching.

What fun and pleasure it is to do “Behold the Man” with others and to watch their faces light up as they gain new insights into God’s word.

Each week I look forward to receiving the Torah reading with Keren’s commentary.

I prayed Colossians 1:9 would be answered in my life before I knew of you and God has used you to answer that prayer in a way I never dreamed of.

Your brother in Messiah Yeshua,

George (Farnworth)

(Col. 1: 9-10)   For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing  to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you  grow in the knowledge of God.

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~ May 2009  – from the UK

After listening to Keren’s really interesting talk about two ways of measuring time, one in a straight line and the other in a spiral upwards, and how the latter connected with our progression spiritually, I found a poem by the English Christian poet George Herbert (1593-1633) which seems to touch on the same theme. It’s entitled ‘Our Life is Hid with Christ in God‘ (Colossians 3: 3) and reads like this:

My words and thoughts do both expresse this notion,
That life hath with the sun a double motion.
The first is straight, and our diurnall friend;
The other hid, and doth obliquely bend.
One life is wrapt in flesh, and tends to earth;
The other winds towards Him, Whose happie birth
Taught me to live here so that still one eye
Should aim and shoot at that which is on high;
Quitting with daily labour all my pleasure,
To gain at harvest an eternal  treasure.

Quoted from The Works of George Herbert (Ware [UK]: Wordsworth Poetry Library, 1994.

Dr David Collins

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~ March, 2008  – USA

Shalom,

The other day I saw this image in my head and you two (Dwight & Keren) were the first ones that popped into my thoughts shortly afterward. I was talking about it with Ray and she said it reminded her of New Beginnings.

I hope that this little thought from the Father’s heart touches you.

Jay Meyers [ artist, friend, student, mensch ]

Jay's Olive Tree Menorah

 Olive Tree Menorah

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January 2, 2008  – USA

Dear Keren,

It must be discouraging for Dwight to “keep on keepin’ on” sometimes.  I know you already know this but his (and your) ministry is such a blessing to so many people.  Although you probably see the fruits of some of your labor I’m sure that the fruit you can’t see is so much more.  His ministry is, from my perspective, like all good mustard seeds or a drop of water.  It’s small, humble and unassuming but it grows in a way that breaks through rock and causes ripples through the entire body of water.  The teachings have been a great encouragement to me but the very nature of the ministry – being who you are- has been as much or more of an encouragement.  It gives me courage to be “upside down” in a world that tells me it isn’t possible.  When I see Dwight -and I see his pain- it’s a very physical reminder that I can be “upside down” too.

Anyway, I really wanted you both to know that.

May God’s face shine upon you both this week!

Love, Amy

(A very encouraging word from a ‘table buddy’ at one of the schools Dwight taught, after which we remained friends and fellow-talmidim.)