Take My Yoke Upon You

By Pastor G. Reckart
Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved

The tallit is a symbol of the yoke of the Torah. It is worn by young Jewish boys. Usually a new one is given them on their bar mitzvah. It becomes a part of the male Jewish religious ritual. Before entering into the place of worship they will recite the tallit prayer, kiss both ends of the prayer embroidered in the neck, and then place it over their shoulders. They are now considered to be Torah observant.  Gentiles who are not converts to Torah and Talmud Judaism, must first be circumcised and fulfill all proselyte requirements before they can be considered Torah observant and wear the tallit.

The Tallit Prayer:

"Baruch ata Adonai elohaynu melech ha'olam asher kidshanu bemitzvotav l'hitatef ba'tzitzit.

Praised are you, Lord our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has made us holy with the Mitzvah and instructed us to wrap ourselves with fringes."

Historical investigation:

The tallit was not used in the Tabernacle by the Levites or sons of Aaron.  It is not mentioned among the garments of the priests. It is not mentioned one time in the Old Testament.  There is no record any Prophet wore one. And there is no documentation of this garment by Abraham, Moses, the prophets, or kings of Israel.  John the Baptist sure didn't wear one!

The prayer shawl as a yoke symbol of Law-keeping does appear to have been practiced in the time of Jesus.  Jews picture Pharisees and Pharisee rabbis with it around their neck.  Some even picture Sadducees in a like manner.  It came to represent that the man wearing it was yoked to the Laws of Moses and had taken a vow to keep these ordinances before God and the world. Each tallit would have on each corner a long fringe with knots. These four knotted tassels represent that all the Laws and Ordinances of God were now a yoke upon and around his neck. He was bound by his prayer and the tallit with its prayer sewed into the neck, and the four knotted tassels were to remind him he was a Jew who vowed to observe the Laws of Moses.  This made the male a servant of the Law and also demanded he stand up for the Law against all Law breakers and evil doers, when such has been determined by the High Priest.  Observing the Law carried with it the responsibility to enforce the penalties of breaking the Law. Sometimes this meant execution of the death penalty.  All men who put the tallit around their neck have agreed to observe the Law and any penalties associated with their violation.  There is no mercy or grace within the Law for the guilty.  A male wearing the tallit was giving his public sign not only of his own obligation to observe the Law, but that he stands ready to condemn and judge all Law breakers and meet out their penalty even if it was death.

It is believed by Jews that those who condemned Jesus to die for being a false prophet and a blasphemer, wore the tallit.  This garment became a symbol of Jewish indifference to the first Jewish Christians.  Christians were seen as non-observing Jews, Jews who had not made a vow to place the yoke of the Law about their necks. In some cases, there were Christian Jews who were counted the same as if they were uncircumcised when they did not follow the traditions of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  These Jews were not at all well treated.  It was the practice among the Jews that if a  male was not circumcised he was not to be allowed in the Temple or in any of the many Synagogues.  If this is true, then we can see why Christians who were of Gentile origin and who were not circumcised, were not allowed in these places of worship. It is reported that an ancient Jewish prayer in the synagogue contained language requesting God to bring to an end the "kingdom of Jesus." Many scholars believe these things is what helped bring about a split between Jews and Christians. Christians had to establish their own meeting places. In light of this, consider this verse of Scripture:

"Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought in Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place." (Acts 21:28).

What was the accusation? First, Paul was accused of being anti-Jewish: against the people; Second, he was accused of speaking against the law; Third, he was accused of saying things about the temple (perhaps just repeating the words of Jesus in Matthew 24); Fourth, he was accused of bringing in uncircumcised Greeks and polluting the holy place.  These were serious accusations which any man who made his vow to the Law and who placed the tallit around his neck, was obligated to immediately take action and execute the decreed penalty.

One of the earmarks of Jews who oppose Christianity is their hate against the Apostle Paul. This is no hidden attitude. They openly rail against him for teaching the Gentiles after the Acts 15 convention, that the Law made no man perfect (Hebrews 7:19). That there is no salvation in being Torah observant (Galatians 2:21). That no man is justified by the works of the Law (Acts 13:39). And that Christ was the end of the Law to them who believed (Romans 10:4). These sayings of Paul cut hard against the Jewish beliefs that they could be saved without the false prophet Jesus. They could be saved without the blood of the blasphemer on the Cross. And they could be saved without accepting or practicing any of the teachings of Jesus.  

One can imagine that if there was no New Testament, how Christians might act if they were Jews and were antichrist against a man named Jesus?  What if there was no four Gospels, how would you view Jesus from verbal reports of his enemies? This has been done now for over 1900 years as Jewish boys and girls are taught the New Testament is of the devil and they are not to have one, read one, or believe what they read if they slip up and check it out.  This is why, there is such a great effort by tallit wearing Jewish males to attack the New Testament by trying to point out contradictions, or what they consider lies, antisemitism, or something false. These ideas are indoctrinated into the minds of young Jewish boys and girls and they are raised to hate Jesus and Christians. What the tallit does to a Jewish male, is provide for him a comfort that although he has rejected Jesus as the Messieh, he will still be accepted by God for his works of the Laws of Moses.

The tallit with its fringes is said to have its origin in the words of Moses:

"Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put them upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue" (Numbers 15:38).

"And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring" (Numbers 15:39).

"That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God" (Numbers 15:40).

There is nothing in this text that refers to the tallit. The ordinance applies to daily clothing.  How do we know this? Because it was commanded to all of the children of Israel.  Since only the male priest were originally allowed into the Tabernacle it would not have been an ordinance for all the children of Israel if the fringe was to be worn only on garments worn in the Tabernacle.  Second, there is no mention of fringes upon the garments of the priests that were to symbolize being Torah observant.  Third, there is no such thing as a tassel on each of the four corners that represent the Law.  The fringe was to be along all four sides of the garment with no mention of four knotted tassels on each corner.  The fringe was to remind them of the commandments that they should not seek after their own heart and eyes, things that were unholy, ungodly, or part of pagan customs of the Gentile nations. The fringes were to be blue and no other color. They were to remind all the children of Israel to do all the commandments and to be holy unto God.  There is nothing here that says the tallit was a symbol of a Jewish male alone, to be worn when he goes to Temple.  This is a tradition that has helped Jews retain their opposition to Jesus and Christianity. They can wear the tallit into a Jewish worship place but not a Church. They cannot wear it except they repeat the tallit prayer. And this prayer is so binding upon observant Jews, they are forever in bondage in their minds against Jesus and the New Testament. No where is there any mention of Gentiles wearing the tallit.  This head and shoulder covering was not a part of Christian practice according to the Apostle Paul (1Corinthians 11:7). There is no record or mention of tallit as a requirement of males for worship. And when we observe the first Christians were forced to worship and meet in homes, there was no necessity, even among Pharisee Jews to wear them at home.

The male tallit prayer shawl has reinforced the Jewish tradition of head coverings. The tallit without the kipah, or as is often called, beannie hat: is being half holy. Before the tallit goes on the kipah is upon the head now they are fully holy.  It can come in many different colors. It is what authorizes the male to put the yoke of the Law around his neck. No male is allowed to enter a real orthodox Jewish worship place who does not have one on.  In some Jewish Synagogues there are extras for male visitors. These must be put on or the male is not welcome to be in the service. Perhaps in some of the more liberal Synagogues this is not so strictly enforced. But as I said already, among the orthodox, this practice will not be suspended for any male, Jewish or visitor.

The wearing of the tallit for males is only equaled by the forced wearing of a prayer shawl by females.  Just when this became a forced practice upon Jewish women cannot be determined. We know there was cultural mention of wearing a veil or covering. But we do not find mention of these anywhere in the 618 laws and ordinances of the Torah.  It appears the female head covering was a tradition having no connection to a Law of God.  We do not know if the ancient veils or head coverings were on the same order and design as the Muslim burkah.  These coverings allowed only the female's eyes to be seen.  It has been reported that these head coverings veiled the hair of the female which was seen as a sexual stimulant for males.  So, she was only allowed to be unveiled in the presence of her husband whom it is thought made use of the stimulant in what ever way it pleased him.  But these are traditions that have no Biblical authority. There certainly is no Scripture that a woman cannot pray unless she is veiled.  I have seen all kinds of hat get-ups made from everything from shotgun cleaning patches, hankerchiefs, dorilies, baseball caps, hanna hats, Australian bush hats, to net spun fashions sporting an arrangement of bird feathers and flowers. It is a very difficult thing for Jew or Gentile to claim these styles are equivalent to the head covering veils mentioned in the Bible.

At issue here are cultural practices and man-made customs that have no connection to Biblical ordinances. And to say that a baseball cap is the same as wearing a veil, is to give ample evidence of insanity.

We now turn our attention to the tallit as a yoke about the neck wherein it is confessed by the male wearing it, that he has made a vow to observe the Laws of Moses.  In the same manner, a female who wears her prayer shawl makes her vow.  With these vows in place, both the male and the female are required to keep the Law. They must never accept Jesus as the Messieh. And they must never attend or enter a Christian Church. If a Jewish man or woman does this, they are considered unclean.  In fact, both Jewish males and females, when they pass a Christian church are to secretly spit on the ground, according to the Babylonian Talmud.  The yoke of the Law becomes so rigid when applied by Pharisee standards and traditions, Jesus can never be accepted.  So, to these Jews, it comes down to the Tallit or Jesus.

It is these wearing the tallit who made this declaration by their conduct in Jerusalem. Either deny Jesus as Messieh or be cast out of the Temple. Either deny Jesus was the Messieh or be beaten and put into prison.  Either deny this Church Jesus was to build and accept the Temple, or be thrust out. Either believe in Moses alone or be cursed. The choice is simple for those who can read between the lines. Either wear the tallit and make your vow to the Laws of Moses, or be stoned or put to death.  

Oh my, Stephen in Acts 6:8-15, Acts 7:1-60: was sentenced to death by tallit wearing Jews who stoned him because he showed the Temple cult for the evil that it was.  Preaching the Truth cost him his life.  But, to the Jews they had killed a blasphemer. They had killed a Christian not a Jew.  For you see, within Pharisee Judaism, if a person converts to follow Jesus as the Messieh they are no longer considered a Jew but a Christian. And since they are no longer a Jew, and considered on the same level as pagan Gentiles, their life is no more sacred than that of a dog or a swine.

These sentiments have remained among the tallit wearing, Law-Keeping Jews, for over 1900 years. Those Gentiles who think they are becoming more holy by turning to these Jews for Torah teaching, for learning Hebrew, for adopting rituals, circle dancing, and forms of dress; will in fact become as hateful as the Jews themselves.  They will break all the laws they think they keep with their animosity and hate.  All because between the Law and Christians there is Calvary and Jesus.  Yes, the Cross marks the spot where Jesus paid with his life for the hate and vengeance of those who wore the tallit. Yes, the Jews rejected him, called for his crucifixion, all because he refused to join their religious sham of ritual, traditions of the Elders, hypocrisy, and their fake law-keeping and pretending to be holy by putting on a prayer shawl.

It is time for Christians to take another look at Jewish traditions such as the tallit, which so many Gentiles are now putting on and marching into their churches.  They are walking in ever so proudly that they are finally manifesting their Hebrew roots.  Please understand me, I believe in Hebrew roots. But I absolutely do not believe in Pharisee roots and think observing their man-made traditions is the true Hebrew root of Abraham.  The Law-keeping Hebrew roots movement today among Gentiles is nothing more than antichrist Phariseeism rebirthed among Gentiles.  No group demonstrates this more than the Noahide movement.  The Gentiles who still believe in Jesus are taking up with Phariseeism and the Christ rejecting Noahide proselytes and are made two-fold more the children of hell.  And these actually think they are the holiest people on earth because of the tallit, kipah, prayer shawls, observing the sabbath and feast days, dressing Jewish, practicing Jewish rituals, doing circle snake dances, reciting the Shema, and blowing the shofar.

Ok, let me see if I can finalize this.  The tallit represents the yoke of the Law about the necks of all males.  Only circumcised males are qualified to wear the tallit.  Only males who wear the kipah are qualified to recite the tallit prayer, kiss the ends of the embroidered prayer around the neck, and drape it over their head and shoulders.  Such persons are under a vow to the Law by virtue of the fringes and the four knotted tassels on each corner.  Such persons who wear these, are open and confessed rejectors of Jesus. They are true antichrist as they can be found anywhere in the world. They are not ashamed of this profession. They boldly and proudly speak and oppose Jesus, the Apostles, the New Testament, Churches, and Christians (regardless of the brand name).  It is the yoke of the Law that demands of them this conduct.

Now we turn to Jesus and see if we can get a glimpse of his teachings about the yoke to be around the necks of those who follow him. You will not find it to be the tallit.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (sabbath).

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

The yoke of Jesus here is not the yoke of the Law.  It is not the tallit. It is not a vow to be Torah observant. It is not an invitation to keep the sabbath day. And it has no connection to fringes, tassels, and a prayer shawl.

Jesus is inviting all to him, a person, the Messieh, the Son of God, the LORD of Lords and KING of kings. He is not inviting us to take the yoke of the Ten Commandments. He is not giving us the Shema to recite as a ritual.  A person who recites the Shema and does not believe Jesus is the Lord and God of it, still has the veil of Moses upon their heads.  And if anyone confess Jesus is the Lord and God of the Shema, he cannot put a tallit upon his head and shoulders. He cannot put a kipah on his head and go to the Wailing Wall. If he truly confess Jesus Messieh in his Lordship, he cannot take his yoke of GRACE and TRUTH and remain among the Pharisees and their traditions of men.

When we take upon us the Yoke of Jesus what is this?  If the Yoke of the Law is the Laws of Moses, what if a greater than Moses is here? What did her bring?

"For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Messieh "Christ" (John 1:17).

"For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house" (Hebrews 3:3).

I know for the Law-keepers who have the Pharisee spirit within them, they will not see the dichotomy between the Law and Grace and Truth.  But for those who are not under an antichrist delusion, you can see vividly what I have just accomplished.  I have brought the words of Apostle John into clarity and focus.

Want to follow Moses and wear the tallit and the prayer shawls that represent being Torah observant, or follow Jesus and take his Yoke upon you of GRACE and TRUTH.

Want to follow Moses and reject Jesus and put a kipah upon your head, even for a moment as you go to the Wailing Wall?  You have in a form denied the excellency and supremacy of Jesus.

But, if you are a true disciple of Jesus and want to put the proper YOKE upon your neck, you will place upon your shoulders and around your neck the emblem of GRACE and TRUTH.

Now I know some will not receive the Truth. That is why many will go to hell.  For only the Truth can make a person free and give them an escape from that antichrist place of torment. But what did Jesus mean when he spoke to those who believed in him:

"to take up their cross and follow him?"

You see, the Cross was upon his neck and shoulders.  And this Cross that he bore.  That was the symbol of the rejected David kingdom. That would have inscribed upon it in three languages:

"Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."

This Cross and its message of GRACE and TRUTH, is our YOKE.

Maybe, just maybe, the Communion towel tied about our waist, is symbolic of Jesus'YOKE!  Did he not say: "he was meek and lowly of heart?"  And maybe, just maybe, he showed this when he humbled himself as a servant and washed the feet of the disciples and then wiped their feet with the towel yoked about his waist.  When we bow to wash feet and dry them with the YOKE, we are placing the compassion of Grace and Truth upon them.  Just maybe, we need to take another look at our own emblems and see if it is time to take the curse of the law from around our necks and place the Communion towel around our waist and go forth as Christians of the New Covenant and know what this means when the Communion service is over.  For in the Communion Cup there is no celebration of the Law but a celebration of the New Covenant alone.

Any man who calls himself a Man of God, who does not accept and receive this YOKE is not a Christian. He is not a real disciple. He is not a New Testament Believer.  And when he recites the Shema and rejects that Jesus is the Lord and God of it, places the kipah upon his head, recites the tallit prayer, and places it over his head and upon his shoulders: has now had his mind darkened and his conscience seared with a hot iron.

Now we can understand how the Jews and Apostles felt about the Laws of Moses as a yoke about their necks that neither they nor their fathers could bear:

"But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses" (Acts 15:5).

"Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we are able to bear (Acts 15:10)?

"Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law, to whom we gave no such commandment" (Acts 15:24).

It is very clear that Gentiles were not to be made into Pharisee law-keepers.  The Pharisee law-keeping spirit had been crushed.

Now this is not the work of Paul. It is the work of the Holy Spirit working through the Apostles Peter and James, together with a great number of Elders.  There is absolutely no way to accuse Paul of changing the Church from a law-keeping one to a lawless and evil religion.  What Paul did, in his wisdom as the Apostle to the Gentiles, was make plain the Apostolic doctrine on law-keeping and circumcision.  Anyone who rips out of the Bible the book of Acts from chapter 13 on, and all the writings of Paul, including the book of Hebrews, is an antichrist.  They can still do the circle snake dances, the rituals, recite the Shema and tallit prayer, and act religious, just as religious as the spit-curl Hasidic Jews of Brooklyn, but they are as apostate as those Paul said had bewitched the Galatians.  These are not real Christians.

As I was writing this and my mind racing through the ages, reviewing and beholding the glorious way of God, a verse of Scripture came into my mind:

"Wherefore, I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live" (Ezekiel 20:25).

God said this not Paul!

Why is it that the Law-keepers never get around to discovery of which statutes were not good?  How come in all their alleged Hebrew roots Phariseeism, they have not uncovered what the judgments were that demanded the deaths of Israelites?

See, this is where Law-keeping has its greatest joke upon the Gentiles. They actually think God wants them to keep these statutes. They think they are good when God said they were not good.  And what is so confusing is when Jews and Gentiles who claim to keep these statutes and judgments will not put to death those guilty of violations.

Yes, I have spoken to the Gentile Law-keepers who claim Jesus removed the penalty of death from the Law by dying on the Cross in our place.  But in saying this, how come they cannot see that if the penalty of the Law is abolished, that the law itself is abolished?  And how come they hate Paul for saying these words:

"Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make of twain one new man, so making peace" (Ephesians 2:15).

It is right here, that a real man, if he has a tallit yoke about his neck, will remove it and cast it down.  He will walk off and leave it to rot. He will look afresh at Calvary and bow his knees and cry before his Lord. He will render praise to his Lord for destroying the enmity contained in the law of commandments and ordinances.  And he will ask Jesus to make him into a new man.

A new man?

Yes, a man who now is willing to walk away from the Law and take upon him the YOKE of GRACE and TRUTH.

Pastor G. Reckart
A Man Of Grace And Truth In Modern Times