The 13 Petals Initiative
Over the past few decades, with greater frequency, the phenomena of gentiles turning toward Torah has been increasing. Unfortunately, due to centuries of separation from kosher Torah instruction, these people have been lost in a maze of opinions, led by ‘messianic’ and ‘Hebrew Roots’ teachers, many of whom until recently had been pastoring at a church.
Despite this confusion, the general shift in attitudes and specific interest in ‘observing’ Torah on the part of gentiles, has been noticed by some rabbis in the Jewish community, and is seen as a ‘sign of the times.’ This is prompting a subtle movement on the part of the latter to ‘reach back to Esau,’ to help them learn Torah – not in some limited “Noachide” fashion, but to far fuller scale. (See here for an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIKGTyGVl9w)
At this time, there is both a disconnect between ‘messianics’ toward Judaism/oral Torah, and also from the other direction, in that the ‘Jewish side’ desiring to reach back, lacks the resources, experience and ‘allies’ to get their message across. The 13 Petals Initiative will play key role in this paradigm shift, in providing a necessary mechanism to enable that connection.
The Web Site
The 13 Petals web site is a spiritual resource center, providing distinct perspectives on Torah-related issues, pertinent to our times. The web site, as part of the greater initiative, functions in coordination with various Facebook groups, programs, conferences and other efforts.
Unique to this web site is its viewpoint on the books of the “New Testament” and its main character, Yeshua of Nazareth. It is our position that perceived contradiction between the New Testament and Chazal* is largely based on misunderstanding, and that the original teachings of Yeshua and the remainder of the New Testament are consistent with traditional and ancient Jewish Torah concepts. It is our goal to cause tikkun to this misunderstanding, by giving an interpretation in holiness (beKedusha), which returns the original understanding and brings people closer to Hashem.
In addition to the web site, our other initial programs are; a weekly online parsha discussion; a “Lifestyle” area dealing with; halakha & observance, mussar, prayer, meditation and music, as well as a ‘women’s group.’ The latter is especially significant as the sages speak of the first redemption occurring due to the merit of the women and that the last redemption would be much like the first.
The name “13 Petals” comes from the opening paragraph of the Zohar and is associated with G-d’s relationship to Israel and the thirteen categories of mercy mentioned in the Torah.
Zohar 1:1 – Rabbi Hizkiah opened his discourse with the text: As a lily among thorns, etc. (Song of Songs 2:2). ‘What’, he said, ‘does the lily symbolise? It symbolises the Community of Israel. As the lily among thorns is tinged with red and white, so the Community of Israel is visited now with justice and now with mercy; as the lily possesses thirteen leaves, so the Community of Israel is vouchsafed thirteen categories of mercy which surround it on every side. For this reason, the term Elohim mentioned here (in the first verse of Genesis) is separated by thirteen words from the next mention of Elohim, symbolising the thirteen categories of mercy which surround the Community of Israel to protect it. The second mention of Elohim is separated from the third by five words, representing the five strong leaves that surround the lily, symbolic of the five ways of salvation which are the “five gates”. This is alluded to in the verse “I will lift up the cup of salvation” (Psalms 116:13). This is the “cup of benediction”,which has to be raised by five fingers and no more, after the model of the lily, which rests on five strong leaves in the shape of five fingers. Thus the lily is a symbol of the cup of benediction. Immediately after the third mention of Elohim appears the light which, so soon as created, was treasured up and enclosed in that b’rith (covenant) which entered the lily and fructified it, and this is what is called “ tree bearing fruit wherein is the seed thereof”: and this seed is preserved in the very sign of the covenant. And as the ideal covenant was formed through forty-two copulations, so the engraven ineffable name is formed of the forty-two letters of the work of creation.’