The Importance of a Chavurah

I was at a congregation where a leader was explaining what a “Chavurah” was to a visitor.  He said its technically part of the congregation, but he doesn’t push it, and it is basically a get together of people, but not very important. I have to say that the leader doesn’t have much understanding about the value of a chavurah, or the needs of his people.  For him, everything is the “service,” on Shabbat morning.

The reality is, the service is about worship.  People don’t really get to know one another at a service, and the service may meet some needs, but it doesn’t create or build community. A chavurah provides the opportunity for people get together and enjoy one another’s company.  It also provides an opportunity to worship, as we have a torah service in our chavurah.  A chavurah also provides good teaching.  It provides an informal setting for people to get to know one another, and for new people to relax and enjoy themselves.

In short, a Chavurah builds a sense of community and belonging.  There is good food, and everyone has a great time. It is just as important as the congregational meeting, which is more formal, and has a potential of being boring.  While we may have an Oneg Shabbat at a congregational service, it just doesn’t compare.  No one who is part of a chavurah considers it boring.  It is a wonderful experience that I hope everyone gets to share.


10 thoughts on “The Importance of a Chavurah

  1. Thanks Doc Schiffman 🙂 i truly enjoyed & do appreciate this share! As a grafted in species of called out ones, I have much to know, yet rest content, experiencing bit-by-bit as Abba teaches & confirms with His Word &/or by sending another like yourself into my path. One day Father said, “Think relationship, not routine”. He leads us in the wisdom & knowledge which He desires us to have. Like what you expressed in this article about gathering in relaxed fellowship with food & music to honor God in the way He instructed me, “1st, you will teach them about Me; 2nd, you will return their happy spirit, teach them to sing, dance, & praise; 3rd, you will teach everything else.” And so that is how it goes on our little portion of YHWH freedom farm aka Planet Earth 🙂 when we gather beneath Yahshua’s veil to lift up Abba’s LOVE LIGHT & let it shine from east to west. Father also said to me one day, “There is much you will never know”. I take that to heart with gratitude & thanksgiving! For I wouldn’t know what to do with all that responsibility. And like my Lord says, “To whom much has been given, much will be demanded.” Besides, my Father in heaven the great I AM knows 🙂 & has mercy, patience, righteousness & LOVE beyond end. He is the ONE both Father & Truth who knows how to operate/exercise in perfect LOVE with unquestionable power & authority! January 2, 2006, the Ancient of Days looked down from out of heaven & sang thru me when I called upon Him from the depth of my heart! He said, “I gave My Life!! My Son for you!!…I AM. I AM your Father” then a voice I’d always known (somehow) called “Come”. Wow. Holy wow!! How great is our G-d!!

  2. We have such misconceptions as this congregational leader, because most of the MJ movement is still being heavily influenced by the values and practice of the church. We still don’t have an authentically Jewish practice among MJ congregations. I really can’t fault anyone, because 99% of these people have come from the church. However, we have to begin teaching an authentically Jewish faith before we can get them to understand the value of Jewish traditions such as a chavurah. Keep up the great work. Shavua tov!

  3. The Jewish Community is unique historically in that Jews had to bond and help one another while surrounded by various persecutors. A newly arrived person would NEED this meeting in a safe place to speak so as to begin new friendships, find work, find a home, and otherwise exchange information and find ways to give and receive help for survival. Modern Americans wouldn’t understand that, but European Jews in small communities and ghettos certainly would.

  4. My wife and I used to be in a Chavurah, but had to leave for reasons that are not relevant here. That has left a large hole in my life. I miss the fellowship with people we had known for many years, and especially the exceptionally wise teaching we got there.

    Our current synagogue has a “Torah Study” occasionally, on Shabbat morning, but the teaching is shallow enough that sometimes I think I could teach it myself. The Rabbi teacher has a lot of very deep knowledge of Talmud, Kabbalah and such, but does not acknowledge Yeshua as Messiah. That puts a big crimp in things. We don’t ever proselytize, but it is so annoying to hear how close many of them are, without being quite able to make the connection.

    A Chavurah attended and taught continuously by the same people, but with occasional new people, is a gathering of mishpochah, and a thing that should be a lot more common.

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