The “Teaching” originated as a practical manual for leaders in the Nazorean (Netzari, Nazarene) movement of the first century, composed and redacted by Mar Ya’aqub ha’Tzadik (St. James the Righteous) overseer of the Jerusalem Assembly, to be used in establishing new assemblies.
The Apostles relay the teachings of the Master on ritualistic life in the assembly, including the Two Roads doctrine, eating, baptizing, fasting, praying, the Todah Rabbah (Communion), teachers, apostles, prophets, overseers and deacons, self-examination among equals, and the Last Days.
Brief Introductory Note to the Limuda
Acts 15:25-29, is called the “Limuda”, commonly referred to in the West as the Didache, translated from the Aramaic manuscripts of the Assembly of Jerusalem. This is the Apostolic Letter that was composed by the First Apostolic Council around 50 CE under the direction of Mar Ya’aqub ha’Tzadik (St. James the Righteous). It was sent through Mar Shaul (St. Paul) to the gentile Believers as to what was expected of them to follow as far as Torah Observance.
25 We all have thought fit, when assembled, to choose and send men to you, with our beloved Shaul and Barnabas,
26 men who have given up their lives for the name of Maran Yeshua Mshikha.
27 And we have sent with them Yudah and Silas, that they may tell you the same things orally.
28 For it was pleasing to Holy Spirit, and to us, that there should not be laid upon you any burden that would be difficult, besides these necessary things at this time:
29 There are two ways, one of life and one of death; but there is certainly a great difference between these two ways. (Aramaic Translation)
29 that ye keep aloof from a sacrifice [to idols], and from blood, and from what is strangled, and from whoredom. And if ye keep yourselves from these, ye will do well. Be ye steadfast in the Lord.
The body of the letter communicates in essence the decisions on the two key issues: the spiritual status of uncircumcised Gentiles who have joined the church and regulations for their table fellowship with Jewish Natzratim (vv. 24-27, 28-29). The council does not address the first issue directly. It indicates its position through a disassociation from the Judaizers and an identification with and commendation of Paul and Barnabas. It describes in the strongest terms the disturbing effects of the Judaizers (compare Gal 1:7; 5:10). Troubling your minds is quite literally “a ravaging of your souls,” as destructive as an army’s devastation of enemy territory (Josephus Jewish Antiquities 14.406). In blunt terms the council disowns their mission and message, saying that these went out from us without our authorization.
The council handles the second issue through a Spirit-inspired apostolic decree (Acts 15:29). The rationale in verse 21, the presence everywhere of Jews with scruples in these matters, indicates the circumstances in which this responsibility or burden must be met. It is normative practical wisdom, applicable as a matter of courtesy and Natzratim love whenever fellowship with Jewish Natzratim with scruples should warrant. Abstaining from sexual immorality as an ethical norm, however, is universally applied.
Limuda translated from the Aramaic manuscripts of the Assembly of Jerusalem.
The way of life, then, is this: First, you shall love Alaha who made you; second, your neighbour as yourself; and you should never do to others, what you yourself would not want done to you by others.
And of these sayings the teaching is this: ((You shall)) bless all those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for all those who persecute you. For what good is it then if you love only those who love you? Do the gentiles not also do the same? But you should love those who hate you; and you shall not have an enemy.
Abstain from fleshly and worldly desires. If someone strikes your right cheek, turn to him the other also; this practice shall lead to perfection. If one asks you to go for one mile, go with him two instead. If someone takes away your cloak, you should also give him your coat. If someone takes anything of your own, do not ask to have it back for what good can you do with it in the first place?
Give to every one that asks of you, and do not ask for anything in return; for the Father wills that to all should be given of our own blessings which are free gifts. Happy is he that gives according to the Mitzvoth; for he is blameless. Woe to him that receives; for if one having need receives, he is blameless; but he that receives without having a genuine need, shall pay the penalty, why he received and for what, and, coming into confinement, he shall be examined concerning the things which he has done, and he shall not escape until he pays back the last penny.
But also now concerning this, it has been said, Let your alms sweat in the tight grasp of the palm of your hands, until you know to whom you should give.
The second of the Commandments of the Teaching is this:
You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit paederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practise magic, you shall not practise witchcraft, and you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill a child that has been born. You shall not desire to have the possessions of your neighbour.
You shall not perjure yourself, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not speak evil, and you shall not bear a grudge.
You shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is a trap that will bring you to your demise.
Your speech shall not be false, nor empty, but fulfilled by deed.
You shall not be desirous of the possessions of another, nor greedy, nor a hypocrite, nor disposed to act in an evil manner, nor conceited. You shall not take evil counsel against your neighbour.
You shall not hate any man; but some you should reprove, and concerning some you should keep them in your prayers, and there are others whom you shall love more than your very own life.
My child, flee from every evil and everything that resembles evil.
Do not live a life filled with anger, for anger leads to murder, nor jealous nor contentious nor wrathful; for of all these things are not becoming of a follower of Mshikha.
My child, do not be filled with lust, for lust leads to fornication, neither foul-speaking neither with uplifted eyes; for of all these things lead to unfaithfulness and are not becoming of a follower of Mshikha.
My child, do not be one who deals with sorcery because these practices lead to idolatry, nor a worker of spells nor a worshipper of the stars and signs nor a magician, and do not even seek after those who do practice these things ((or remain in their company)); for it is from all of these things that lead to idolatry and are not becoming of a follower of Mshikha.
My child, do not speak lies, since lying leads to theft, neither greedy neither boastful; for all of these things lead to theft and are not becoming of a follower of Mshikha.
My child, do not go around murmuring, since this leads to blasphemy, neither self-willed, neither as one who thinks evil thoughts; for all of these things cause blasphemy to be developed.
But be meek, because it is the meek who shall inherit the earth.
Be patient in the wrong-doings you suffer and compassionate and without guile and be peaceful and kind to all, always paying close attention to what you have heard.
You shall not exalt yourself; neither shall you permit yourself to be audacious.
You shall not walk with the proud, but you should stay in the company of those who are righteous and humble.
Whatever trials and tribulations come upon you, you shall receive them for your own good, knowing that nothing is done without the knowledge of Alaha.
My child, you shall remember the one who teaches you Divar d’Alaha, night and day, and shall honour him as Maran; for whenever and wherever Divar is spoken, Maran is present.
Moreover, everyday you shall seek out the people who are walking as the saints so that you may find rest in their words.
You shall not cause a schism, but you shall be peaceful with those who are always trying to stir up controversy; you shall judge righteously, and you shall not be partial between people when reproving them for transgressing Torah.
You shall not doubt whether a thing shall be or not be.
Do not be found holding out your hands to receive money all the time, but drawing them in as to giving.
If you have anything, through your hands you shall give ransom for your sins.
You shall not hesitate to give, neither shall you murmur when you give; or you shall know who is the good employer.
Do not turn away from those who are in need; rather, share everything with your brother, and do not say that they are your own possessions ((for all good things come down from the Father)).
For if you are partakers in that which is immortal, how much more in things which are mortal? Do not remove your hand from your son or daughter; rather, teach them the deep reverence ([fear]) of Alaha from their youth.
Do not command your servants to do anything while you are angry, ((because)) they have faith in the same Alaha, because they ((might become offended and)) stop reverencing Alaha who is over both ((master and servant)); for he comes not to call according to the outward appearance, but to all those whom the Spirit has prepared.
And you servants shall be subject to your masters as they are your lord, in modesty and reverence. You shall despise all hypocrisy and everything which is not pleasing to Mar-Yah ((as shown in His Mitzvoth)).
You shall never forsake the Mitzvoth of Mar-Yah; but keep what you have received, neither adding thereto nor taking away therefrom.
In the company of your brethren you shall confess your sins, and you shall never say a prayer while having an evil conscience.
This is the way of life.
And the way of death is this: First of all these things are evil and accursed: murder, adultery, lust, fornication, theft, idolatry, magical arts, witchcraft, rape, false witness, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, deceit, haughtiness, depravity, self-will, greediness, vulgar speech, jealousy, over-confidence, loftiness, boastfulness; persecutors of the good, hating truth, loving a lie, not knowing a reward for righteousness, not cleaving to good nor to righteous judgement, watching not for that which is good, but for that which is evil; from whom meekness and endurance are far, loving vanities, pursuing revenge, not showing pity to a poor man, not labouring for the afflicted, refusing to know Him Who made them, murderers of children, destroyers of that which Alaha created, ((deliberately)) turning away from someone who is in need, afflicting someone who is distressed, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, and outright sinners.
Children, remove yourselves far from all of these things ((and those who practice them shall not even be found among your company)).
See that no one causes you to err from the Halakha of the Teaching, for someone who teaches you to err is causing you to distance yourself from Alaha.
For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of Mar-Yah, you will be perfect; but if you are not able to do all of what is required, do what you are able as you learn.
And concerning food, bear what you are able; but against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly careful; for it is the service of dead deities.
And concerning baptism, ((you shall)) baptise in this manner:
Having first taught all of these things, baptise in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. ([Dalin text reads: water blessed by the Living Spirit])
But if you have no living water ((blessed by the Spirit)), baptise in other water ((preferably cold)); and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm.
But if you have neither, pour water three times upon the head in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. ([Dalin text reads: “But if you do not have enough water, pour a little water three times on the head….”])
But before the baptism let the baptiser fast, as well as the one desiring to be baptised, and if possible whoever else is in the company of the one to be baptised; but you shall at least order the one who desires to be baptised to fast one or two days before their baptism ((between the rising and setting of the sun)).
But do not let your fasting be with the ((days of the)) hypocrites, for they fast on Monday and Thursday. Rather, ((it is our tradition to)) fast on Wednesday and on Erev Shabbat. ((And as far as possible, on Wednesday you should fast from that which contains dairy and on Friday you should fast from that which contains meat. Our fast is from the rising and the setting of the sun.))
Do not pray like the hypocrites do; rather ((you should pray)) as Yeshua commanded in His Gospel, in this manner:
The Prayer To Our Father
(translated into first century Aramaic)
“Oh Thou, from whom the breath of life comes,
who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.
May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.
Your Heavenly Domain approaches.
Nehwê tzevjânach aikâna d’bwaschmâja af b’arha.
Let Your will come true – in the universe (all that vibrates)
just as on earth (that is material and dense).
Hawvlân lachma d’sûnkanân jaomâna.
Give us wisdom (understanding, assistance) for our daily need,
Waschboklân chaubên wachtahên aikâna
daf chnân schwoken l’chaijabên.
detach the fetters of faults that bind us, (karma)
like we let go the guilt of others.
Wela tachlân l’nesjuna
Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, common temptations),
ela patzân min bischa.
but let us be freed from that what keeps us off from our true purpose.
Metol dilachie malkutha wahaila wateschbuchta l’ahlâm almîn.
From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act,
the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.
Sealed in trust, faith and truth.
(I confirm with my entire being)
Our Father in heaven, may your name be sanctified. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us the bread of our need this day. Forgive us our offences, as we have forgiven those who have offended us. And do not permit us to be brought into trial, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen. You should pray this three times as Maran has taught. ([Dalin text does not have this verse])
Now concerning Qurbana, give thanks in this manner: First, concerning the cup:
We thank you, our Father, for the Holy ((and life giving)) Vine of David your servant, which you made known to us through your Servant Yeshua; to you be the glory for ever and ever.
And concerning the broken bread ((give thanks in this manner)):
We give you thanks, our Father, for the life and knowledge which you made known to us through your Servant Yeshua; to you be the glory for ever and ever.
Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let your Holy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your Kingdom; for yours is the glory and the power through Yeshua Mshikha for ever and ever.
But do not permit anyone to eat or drink from Qurbana, unless they have been baptised in the name of Maran; for concerning this also Yeshua has said, “Do not hang sacred ornaments on dogs.” ((Instead, give to those who are not baptised in the name of Maran some of the holy bread prepared for the evening meal afterwards.))
But after the Qurbana meal, ((you should)) give thanks to the Father in heaven in this manner:
We thank you, holy and heavenly Father, for your Holy Name which you caused to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which you made known to us through your servant Yeshua; to you be the glory for ever and ever.
You, El-Shaddai, created all things for your Name’s sake; you gave food and drink to men for enjoyment, so that they might give thanks to you; but to us you freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through your Servant ((Yeshua Mshikha bar Alaha)).
Before all things we thank you and acknowledge you as El-Shaddai; to you be the glory for ever and ever.
Remember, Mar-Yah, your Church, to deliver it from all evil and to perfect it in your love, and gather it from the four winds, sanctified for your Kingdom which you have prepared for it; for yours is the power and the glory for ever and ever. ((And the people in your company should say, Amen.))
Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna to Alaha d’David!
If any one is holy, let him come; if any one is not ((holy)), let him repent. Maranatha. Amen.
You shall permit the prophets to make thanksgiving as much as they desire.
Whoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things in which we have written you ((that have been said before to others)), receive him.
But if the teacher himself turns and teaches another doctrine which is contrary to this, do not even listen to him.
But if he teaches in such a manner that increases righteousness and the knowledge of Mar-Yah ((among you and others)), receive him as Maran.
But concerning the Apostles and prophets, act according to the decree of the Gospel.
Let every Apostle who comes to you be received as Maran.
But he shall not remain within your home more than one or two days if there is a need. But if he remains three days, it could be that he is a false prophet.
And when the Apostle departs ((from your company)), let him take nothing with him, except for a sufficient amount of bread for the period of time he needs to find a place to lodge. If he asks for money, it could be that he is a false prophet.
And you shall not try or judge any prophet who speaks in the Spirit; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven ((and Mshikha alone will hold him responsible for his wrongdoing)).
But not every one who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he holds to the Halakha d’Mshikha.
Therefore the false prophet and the ((true)) prophet shall be known by their ways.
And every prophet who requests a meal while in the Spirit is not ((to be)) the first to partake of it ((at the table)), unless he is indeed a false prophet.
And every ((Apostle or)) prophet who teaches the truth, but does not walk according to what he teaches, is a false prophet.
And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for it is with Alaha he has his judgement; for it was the same with the ancient prophets.
But whoever says, while prophesying or speaking in the Spirit, “Give me money”, or requests something else ((as a payment for his teaching)), you shall not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for the sake of others who are in need, let no one judge him ((for he is moved by the Spirit to speak)).
You shall receive everyone who comes in the Name of Maran, and prove and know him afterwards; for you shall have understanding right and left.
If he who comes is a traveller by foot, assist him ((with all his needs)) as far as you are able; but he should not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be.
But if he desires to remain with you, and has a skill, let him work to earn his food and shelter. But if he has no skills, according to your understanding, see to it that, as a follower of Mshikha, he shall not live with you without working. He does not have to be paid in money, but his food and shelter shall be proficient ((payment)) for him.
But if he refuses to do his part and complains that he is not receiving money, he is taking advantage of Mshikha. Observe carefully that you keep away from such ones.
But every true Apostle or prophet who wants to live with you or in your community is worthy of his support. The teachings of the true Apostle or prophet shall be their labour if they have no specific skill.
Likewise, a true teacher is himself worthy, as the workman, of his support.
Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of the wine-press and of the threshing-floor, of the oxen and of the sheep, you shall take and give to the prophets, for they are your high priests under Mshikha.
But if you have no prophet, give what you are able to those ((you know that are)) in need.
If you make a batch of dough, take the first-fruit and give according to the Mitzvah.
Likewise when you open a jar of wine or of oil ((or of anything new)), take the first-fruit and give it to the ((Apostles and to the)) prophets; and of money and clothing and every possession you have, take the first-fruit, as you are able, and give according to the Mitzvah.
But gather yourselves together on each one of the Lord’s days ((- the Sabbath when Torah is read and on the Holy Days – )) and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure.
But do not permit anyone who is holding a grudge against his brother or who is angry with his brother gather together to dine with you, until they have been reconciled, so that your sacrifice may not be profaned.
For this is that which was spoken by Mar-Yah ((the Alaha over all)):
“In every place and time, offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says Mar-Yah, and my Name is wonderful among the nations.”
Therefore, you should appoint for yourselves Bishops and deacons worthy of Maran, ((from among the)) men who are meek, and not lovers of money, and truthful and proven; for they also shall render to you the service of prophets and teachers.
Therefore do not despise them, for they are your honoured ones, together with the prophets and teachers. And reprove one another – not in anger, but in peace, as you know it is written in the Gospel.
But to all those who act in an unrighteous manner against each other, do not permit them to speak, nor let them hear anything from you until they have had sufficient time to repent.
You should say all of your prayers and do all of your alms and deeds, as you know it is instructed in the Gospel of Maran Yeshua ((bar Alaha)).
Be observant for the sake of your own life.
Do no permit your lamps to be quenched, nor lose sight of your sandals; but always be prepared, for you do not know the hour in which Maran will come.
But you shall assemble yourselves as often as possible, seeking all the things which are befitting to your souls, for the whole time of your faith will not be of benefit to you if you are not perfected in The Way by the last day.
For it will be during the last days when many false prophets and many who are causing corruption shall become multiplied ((throughout the earth)), and some of the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and the love of some shall be turned into hate;
for when lawlessness increases they shall hate and persecute and betray one another, and then the the evil ones will appear claiming to be the sons of Alaha, and the evil one ((who is their master)) shall perform signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into the hands of the evil one, and he shall do unlawful things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning ((and many people will believe what they see by the works of the hands of the evil one and the works of the hands of his servants; and they will claim to see visions and to have seen Maran visiting them in their private chamber giving them secret sayings and visions of death.))
Then all humankind shall come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but those who endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself.
And then the signs of the truth shall appear: first, the sign of the heavens coming down, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet.
And third, the resurrection of the dead, yet not of all ((because the righteous shall rise first)), and it is said:
“Maran shall come and all His saints with Him.”
Then shall the world see Mar-Yah Yeshua coming upon the clouds of heaven.