I just read most of David Friedman's "They Loved the Torah" but unfortunately he didn't address any of the really important questions. It was a small book, and easy to read. He successfully showed that Jesus was Torah observant, but everybody already knew that because He was "born under the Law to redeem them that are under the law" (Galatians 4.4-5). So the fact that Jesus fulfilled the Torah is not news to anyone and it does not impact the question of "Torah observance" in the life of a Christian at all.

Friedman then tried to show that all the disciples - most importantly Paul - also were completely "Torah observant" but I think he failed in that respect because he didn't deal with any of the really important texts. I mean, he didn't even mention Galatians anywhere in his book!

His conclusion is very revealing. Here's a snippet:

From David Friedman's Conclusion ---
The evidence clearly confirms that the individuals studied in this book, including Yeshua himself, lived a Torah-observant lifestyle. Though the exact methods of Torah observance may have differed between people - the Torah was not discarded as an invalid document. Their continued observance of the Torah implies its ongoing significance in their lives and their acceptance of this theological fact.
This is an example of the fundamental problem with the whole discussion about "Torah-observance." I do not know of a single Christian theologian worth his salt who would ever suggest we should "discard" the Torah as an "invalid document." And it is my opinion that anyone who would compose such a sentence is not familiar with the profound theological issues involved with question of "Torah observance" for a follower of Jesus Christ. I'm not trying to be judgmental. I'm just stating the facts as I see them. For example, when trying to show that Peter (whom he called Shim'on) was "Torah observant" Friedman wrote: "If Shim'on had a problem with the validity of the Torah after becoming a Messianic Jew, he certainly would not have quoted from it to prove his points." That assertion is, of course, absurd, because Paul himself quoted the Torah to prove that because of sin, the Torah contained a curse that could be alleviated only through faith in Christ. And in the same epistle, Paul explicitly contradicted the Torah's circumcision commandment, saying "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." (Galatians 5.2). And besides that, the removal of the "yoke" of the Torah through its fulfillment in Christ does not contradict its continued existence as the sacred Word of God which is "holy, and just, and good." (Rom 7:12).

So the bottom line is this - Friedman's book contained no theology at all, and so offers no help in resolving the the theological question concerning "Torah observance" and the Christian.

As a final note, I strongly reject Friedman's invalid reference to Paul as "Rabbi Sha'ul" - an error he repeated throughout the book. I consider that to be unnecessarily divisive to the Body of Christ and grossly disrespectful of the revealed Word of Almighty God in which the Apostle Paul is always called "Paul" in his Epistles, a name confirmed by Peter in his second epistle and by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself when He called him "Paul" in Acts 23:11:

Acts 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
Some Messianics argue that Paul had two names, which is a possibility, but not certain. If he really did have two names, then we would expect his Hebrew brother Simon Peter to call him by his Hebrew name when he wrote to the Hebrew tribes "dispersed abroad." But Peter called him "Paul" even when speaking to fellow Hebrews:

2 Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
This is confirmed by the fact that Paul called Peter by his Aramaic name Kepha but Peter never called Paul "Sha'ul." And finally, I do not know of any early church documents that called him Sha'ul. So if we started calling him "Shaul" now in the 21st century, it would seem like we were turning away from our "Hebrew roots" rather than towards them, since the original Hebrews who knew him - including Jesus, Peter, all the early Church fathers, and most notably Paul himself - called him "Paul."

Richard