Category: Messianic Lifestyle

Praise His Name in the Dance

Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise in the congregation of the saints. Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name in the dance: let them sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord taketh pleasure in His people; He will beautify the meek with salvation. Psalm 149:1-4

To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the sun. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4

Said David to his G-d: Hear O Lord ….Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing. Psalm 30: 10&11

The Messianic Community has learned to praise G-d and worship Him in the dance. We rejoice in G-d our Saviour and wish to honor Him in this way. At most Congregations, everyone is welcome to join this form of worship. The only requirement should be that you take responsibility for the way you dress by wearing modest clothing.

During the hot summer months, some tend to dress more casually but there should be absolutely NO shorts, mini skirts, tank tops or low cut tops. This should be your standard for a worship service anyway.

If you have never danced before the Lord, you can try it in the privacy of your own home and see what a blessing it is to worship the Lord with your body. We are told to worship Him with all we are – our voices, our minds and our bodies.

I’m sure you will be blessed by this form of worship!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
*****************************************

What is the Church?

This is a question you may have never thought of.
But is one that needs to be addressed. The “Jewish Voice Today” magazine, of which I am a subscriber, had the following article in its May/June issue. Their website is www.jewishvoice.org and is headed by Jonathan Bernis. You may have heard of him and his work among the Jews of Russia and other Eastern European countries. Our friend, Linda Caffaro, has worked with his organization for many years. She has worked on ships bringing the Jews “home”.

Here is the article in question:

“Dear Jewish Voice,
I love ministries such as yours that reach out to the unsaved Jews. However, I don’t understand why the Jews that become Christians don’t come to church. In our city, we have a “Messianic Synagogue” where Christian Jews go. Why don’t they go to church on Sunday, since they are now Christians? Doesn’t the Bible say, “To God be the glory IN THE CHURCH?” CAF, Jackson, MI”

Dear CAF,
Thank you for writing with your kind encouragement and thoughtful question. You are referring to Ephesians 3:21, which indeed says this exact phrase. We must look at this phrase, however, within the context of who was speaking, to whom it was spoken, and what it meant in that context. We must consider that at the time this verse was spoken/written, “church” did not have the same meaning that it has today. (We can see this idiomatic phenomenon with the word “gay“ very clearly.)

Let’s look at the Greek word used in this text for “church”. ekklhsia, pronounced “ekklesia”
say (ek-clay–SEE–ah) It means:

1. a gathering of citizens ‘called out’ from their homes to a public place
2. The assembly of the Israelites
3. An assembly of Believers gathered for worship in a religious meeting
4. The whole body of Believers scattered throughout the earth
5. The assembly of faithful Believers already dead and received into heaven

Are you surprised? Most people think that “church” means a building that Christians go to on Sunday – but that is not the biblical definition. God desires that He be glorified through the lives of those that love Him, whether we are gathered together to worship, pray or study, or simply living our daily lives as His child.

Regarding Messianic synagogues; these would be similar to the meetings of Yeshua’s followers and the Apostles of the First Century. The concept of a building that people go to on Sundays had not been considered. The total break from the Hebraic foundation and expression of faith did not occur until later centuries. As we have addressed in this issue, this was a very decisive move to break ties with the Jewish People due to rabid anti-Semitism. It was not birthed by God. After the Third Century, the Hebraic expression of faith became extinct as “the Church” was radically altered, changing the days of Biblical observance, including a change from Saturday to Sunday, and accommodating the pagan practices of the Roman empire. For 13 centuries, the Bible was forbidden to the common man, and “the Church”
(Catholic) ruled with an iron hand. A step toward restoration came through Martin Luther. However, in 1967 when Israel regained Jerusalem, there was a rebirth of the “First Church”, or Hebraic style of worship. There was also the phenomenon of Jewish people coming to faith in Messiah – the first time in such numbers since the First Century!

With these Jewish Believers in Messiah came a God-birthed desire to reach the Jews with the message that the long awaited Messiah of Israel had come. With the advent of Messianic synagogues and the restoration of the Hebraic (Biblical) roots of the faith, a message that has been irrelevant at best and hateful at its worst to the Jewish people, became recognizable and more easily embraced. Messianic congregations have sprung up all over the globe with membership including large numbers of Gentiles that have embraced this vision.”
from “Sarah”

What “Sarah” didn’t say was that Jews need to be Jews. They need and want to be obedient to Torah not just follow pagan customs that have become infiltered into the “Church”. Y’shua did not come to start a ‘new’ religion – He came to correct to original one that had been comprimised and to further its growth. His disciples were not Christians! They were Jews. The Scriptures Timothy told us to study was the Torah – the “Old” Testament. They kept the Sabbath and G-d’s holy days. We made them holidays and quit observing them and instead substituted the pagan ones.

Many Gentiles have seen the truth and have joined their Jewish brethren in Messianic synagogues. After all, we (Gentiles) are adopted in to the Commonwealth of Israel and are now part of G-d’s family. There is one law for all. So let’s let the Jews be Jews and let’s join them in Spirit and in Truth and do it G-d’s way!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
****************************************

Yom Hulade Sameach! (Happy Birthday!)

Today, May 12, 2005/5 Iyar is Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israeli Independence Day!

May 14, 1948 on our calendars and 5 Iyar 5708 on the Jewish traditional calendar marks the birth of the nation of Israel – or should I say – rebirth! After 2000 years of exile, the Jewish people have come home to establish a sovereign State. No one can believe the comedy of errors that occurred all during these early times.
The Israelis fought with pop bottle rockets dropped out of their few planes and other non-conventional materials due to lack of money and arms. G-d was truly with this rag-tag army and victory was theirs under horrendous odds!

Israel has lost more than 20,000 soldiers since the formation of the Jewish State. Yesterday, the Nation remembered these fallen heroes with sirens and silence. . . The Memorial Day is called Yom HaZikaron. It comes the day before Independence Day. One cannot celebrate great joy without counting the tremendous cost

But today is a day for joy and celebration! Here’s an exerpt from one Israeli news source:
On the occasion of Yom Ha’atzmaut, several leaders from around the world send their wishes to president of the State Moshe Katsav. The list includes the Queen of England, the King of Sweden, of Luxemburg, the governor of Australia and the president of the USA. (Guysen.Israël.News)

We are still instructed to pray for the peace of Jerusalem so let’s make a special effort to do that now. In so doing, we are calling for the appearance of the Prince of Peace – Sar Shalom! May He come quickly and in our time.

“Sha’alu shalom Yerushalayim!”

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
****************************************

Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israeli Independence Day!

Tomorrow, May 12, 2005 is Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israeli Independence Day!

Today, the day before Independence Day, we observe Memorial Day. It is a day to remember our fallen heros. Please take a moment and reflect on their sacrifice and what we would have done without them!

In celebration of Israel’s 57th birthday, we present our readers “Ways You Can Help Israel”. Here are the first four. Go to the website for the rest. This was written three years ago, so there are 54 ways… think of three more yourself!

http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/jewishsociety/54_Ways_You_Can_Help_Israel.asp

1. Buy Israeli products and services.
With the Israeli economy suffering, go out of your way to support Israel’s export trade. www.shopinisrael.com, www.usaisrael.org, and www.israeliwishes.com allow you to but Israeli products directly. www.shorashim.net is on online tourist gift shop. When in the grocery store, look for brands like Elite, Telma, Osem, and Ahava beauty products — even if you have to pay a few more dollars for Israeli products. Ask the supermarket manager to order these items specifically. Buy Israeli wine to bring as a gift when you visit friends. Home Depot and other stores have many made in Israel products — especially plastics. www.israelexport.org lists the names of products sold in the USA.

2. Speak out!
The next time you hear something that puts down Israel, don’t wonder to yourself, “What is anyone going to do about it.” YOU say something. Be a roving ambassador for Israel by explaining the true facts to everyone you meet. Even the cashier in the supermarket needs good information. You never know how your contribution may affect someone else’s views. The possibilities are endless. The worst thing that one can do is to remain quiet in times like this. So do something

3. Get the facts.
The Internet is a great resource for getting an accurate picture of what is really happening in the conflict. For daily news, visit the Jerusalem Post (http://www.jpost.com) and IMRA (http://www.imra.org.il). For crucial background information, read “Israel: A History” (by Martin Gilbert), “From Time Immemorial” (by Joan Peters), and “Myths and Facts” (by Mitchell G. Bard) — online at http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/myths/mftoc.html.

4. Pray.
Pray to God to bring peace to the land. Pray for Israel’s leaders who need wisdom. Pray that they continue to do what is best for Israel in spite of international pressure. Pray for the safety of Israeli civilians who are targeted by suicide bombers. Pray for the protection of IDF soldiers as they root out every last terrorist. Ask God to heal Israel’s wounded soldiers and civilians and to thwart future terrorist attacks. And pray for the Arabs to realize the true nature of their leadership and doctrines that teach hate and murder. Regardless of your level of observance, you can add a request for Israel to your regular (or even irregular) prayer regimen. No prayer goes to waste. You can send prayers via the Western Wall at www.thewall.org. Cry out for God’s compassion — because the gates of tears are never closed. And remember: God is in ultimate control. He has done miracles before and will do them again.

Happy Birthday, Israel!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
***************************************8

Mother’s Day thoughts …

I can’t say I agree with R Lapin on this — but neither can I disagree! Let’s think about this for awhile and see what happens… I admire Daniel Lapin and I have told him he is my second favorite rabbi! You know who my favorite rabbi is….

Why our Family Doesn’t do Mother’s Day.
by Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Mothers’ Day is sacrosanct. It is almost a law of nature. Nobody dare disparage the purchase of those boxes of chocolate and the saccharine-flavored greeting cards that accompany them. Few would dissuade from dragging mom out to a crowded restaurant for that obligatory Mother’s Day meal. It is behind us now. Had I questioned its value as a revered date on our calendars last week, I would have been excoriated for blasphemy. This week however, my musings can be welcomed as, oh say, research.

You see, here is what bothers me about it: Whether you like it or not, most would agree that the Ten Commandments lie at the core of Western civilization. Why, even retaining our seven-day week in place of what would be a vastly more convenient calendar based upon a five-day week, is only on account of the fourth Commandment regarding the Sabbath day. Without that pesky fourth Commandment, we could reuse our calendars year after year since every year would be identical.

Well, the fifth Commandment doesn’t instruct us to honor our fathers and mothers only on two special days each year, does it? No, the Commandment is valid for 365 days each year and 366 in leap years. My wife and I have always suspected that observance of an annual Mother’s Day or Father’s Day actually diminishes observance of the fifth Commandment. Not wanting to run the risk of that happening, we just declared from our children’s’ infancy that in our home, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day was everyday!

To my relief, our children accepted this, but on growing a little older, they inquired about another verse found early in the 19th chapter of Leviticus, “Everyone should fear his mother and father.” Contrasting this with that fifth Commandment which did so much for our family’s lifestyle, they asked, “Why reverse the order?” In Exodus, honor your father and mother but in Leviticus fear your mother and father? Does the Bible instruct us to honor our fathers more than our mothers but to fear our mothers more than our fathers?

Of course not! The Bible never asks us to do the easy and the natural. In fact, its very greatness is how it introduces us to the revolutionary idea that makes Western civilization possible. Namely that it is not only possible, but vital that we overcome nature, particularly our own. Toilet training a young child is the first time this lesson is administered. Don’t relieve yourself when it would be natural to do so, just as animals do. Be unnatural. Hold it in until an appropriate time and until you’re in an appropriate place. Behaving naturally is not the goal, dominating our nature is.

Although many in America consider it uncivilized to eat without first saying a blessing of gratitude for the food, it would be hard to find instructions about grace before meals in the Bible. However in the eighth chapter of Deuteronomy we are clearly instructed to give thanks after eating, “And you shall eat, be satisfied, and bless the Lord your God.”
Ancient Jewish wisdom assures us that most of us feel considerably more spiritual and holy when hungry. (This dictum must be related closely to the one about no atheists in foxholes!) Fasting is necessary to observe the Day of Atonement because it puts us in the mood to atone. Since hunger induces piety, it is completely natural for all sensitive humans to say grace prior to satisfying their hunger. Thus, we can be counted on to do so without instruction. What is unnatural is for the satiated diner with bulging belly, to pause prior to staggering away from the table in order to express profound gratitude to the Creator. That is an amazingly unnatural feat and it is precisely what is demanded of us.

Similarly, most of us feel a natural respect toward our mothers while we feel a natural fear of our fathers. I know that as a child, I much preferred my frequent mischief to be discovered first by my mother. Thus the fifth Commandment teaches us the unnatural. Honor your father as much as you would naturally honor your mother. Then, in Leviticus, fear your mother just as much as you naturally fear your father. In other words, always strive to be far better than nature dictates. Mother’s Day may be part of nature, but it is unnatural and far more desirable to make today and tomorrow, and yes, everyday, just as much a Mother’s Day as was last Sunday.

This article originally appeared in National Review Online.

Author Biography:
Rabbi Daniel Lapin is president of Toward Tradition.- Mercer Island, WA. (Seattle )

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
******************************

About the Counting of the Omer

Today, May 5th, is the 12th day of the counting according to Hallel’s calender. It is day 41 if you are a barley-watcher. It is also the American National Day of Prayer and Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Scriptures command us to count the omer. Why? No one really knows and if they do they haven’t told me! We are told to count the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot even though the number of days never changes. The word for “number” in Hebrew is mispar. Its root could be closely related to the word for “story” — sipur. What is the relationship between the two?

A collection of events becomes a story — as opposed to a random string of events — when there is a beginning where the characters are introduced, a middle where conflict takes place, and an end in where there is resolution. (Sounds like our lives!)

Our lives go by so quickly that we frequently lose awareness of the awesome power of our own living stories. As each day flows into the next, we lose consciousness of beginnings and endings.
Nevertheless, we each have many stories to tell. The commandment to count opens our hearts to hearing stories.

One important story is of G-d’s people as they, at last, left Eygpt, when they gained their physical freedom and watched it turn into spiritual freedom at Mt. Sinai. Why didn’t G-d give the Torah to the people as they left Egypt? Because they were not ready to receive it! They had been slaves for 400 years. All the stories passed down from many generations were ones of a slavery mentality. They knew nothing of personal freedom. They needed 50 days to prepare themselves to recognize and accept spiritual freedom.

I believe they (and we) were told to count each day as a form of anticipation. When you count days to a special occasion such as a birthday, a vacation, etc. you count down, not up. For example – “Only 14 more days until my birthday.” But for the coming of Shavuot – we count upwards, from one to 50. Each day brings us closer to the Big Event! In this case mature, spiritual freedom.

Barley is the first harvested grain and it was food for the common man as well as fodder for the animals. Barley was the sacrifice at Passover. (the physical always comes first) The story of Ruth has her and her mother-in-law returning to Israel at the time of the barley harvest. Early spring. Passover. Ruth is the story of a poor woman who made good – marrying Boaz, one of the richest men in town. This happened during or just after the wheat harvest. Summer = Shavuot. Spiritual freedom. Wheat is a later harvest and was eaten by the wealthier folks. Anyone can eat barley, but wheat was used to make the finest bread. Wheat harvest = a better harvest. Shavuot, the giving of the Torah is a spiritual freedom. Spiritual is better than physical. And the physical always comes first.

The omer was “the first sheaf of grain cut during the barley harvest and presented in the Temple as an offering during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Omer also refers to a dry measure, one tenth of an ephah.” according to FFOZ. The omer is counted as we wait in anticipation. We have no Temple, except the one we live in. We have no measure of barley but we can still wait in holy anticipation for better things to come.

See you next time.
Shalom, Sharaka
***********************************

Havdalah – end of the Sabbath

Havdalah Service
Havdalah is a very old tradition among the Jewish people, the purpose of which is to mark the end of the Sabbath and the beginning of the next week. Just as we have a special service around our dinner table to welcome in the Shabbat on Erev Shabbat (Friday night), so also we have a meaningful ceremony to bring the day to a close. We greeted one another as Shabbat came in with, Shabbat Shalom. Now, our final words at havdalah are our way of speaking forth a blessing over each one present, as we say, Shav’uah Tov! (“May you have a good week”).

This ceremony uses all five senses: taste, sight, smell, hearing, and touch, to convey the message of G-d and our relationship to Him.

This is what we use:
A cup of wine (or grape juice)—filled and overflowing into a dish. This is a symbol of the joy of the Shabbat Rest of God. As we practice yielding our bodies to Messiah’s life in us, His life will flow from our innermost being. It will be His life, Mayim Chayim (Living Water), flowing from us bringing life as we serve one another. True joy comes in bringing life to each one in the community. His Word lived out is the Water transformed into “wine”—His Word transformed into our joy! We must participate in His Word for it to be transformed into our joy. We begin our service with singing, then we lift up our cup of joy to remember what this Shabbat was all about, and enter the week now facing us in remembrance of these things. Just before we take a sip, we can say the traditional blessing for the wine:

Baruch attah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam borei pri hagafen.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe Who creates the fruit of the vine.

A spice box – filled with cloves, cinnamon, rosemary and lavender or something of your own choosing. You are welcome to use a jar, or a wooden box or a traditional metal container available at Judaica shops with any aromatic spices that you like. It is nice to keep the fragrance the same from week to week however, because it creates a sensory picture for our minds.

A Havdalah candle – This is a candle with many wicks, usually about 4-6. It is a very large and sometimes vibrantly colored candle. In Hebrew the Havdalah candle is called a lapidot, a plural Hebrew word for torches. The candle is lit in a darkened room, and the appropriate blessing is recited. The candle is then passed in front of each present who extend their hand toward the flame. The candle must pass close enough for each to feel its warmth. The fingers are spread to allow the rays of light to pass through the fingers. The next element in our Havdalah seder is the candle. Before it is lit the following blessing may be recited:
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha’olam borei ma’oreh ha’esh.
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe Who creates the illuminations of the fire.

As we look at the light of the candle and feel its heat, someone reads the following paragraph:
The candle, with many wicks, stands tall and bright. Together as one, we stand gazing at the blaze of light. In the light of Shabbat we have learned more of what it is to love one another, not withholding and holding back who we are one from the other. In so doing, we stand up as one into the fullness of who we are as the body of Messiah, lifting up the head, the Light of the world. It is He that brings Light into challah to be broken into small portions all around. Then, by the light of the Havdalah candle, we listen attentively as one of us reads aloud the words recorded for us in Matthew 6:25-34.

Next we all smell the sweet fragrance of the spice box by passing it around. There is also a traditional blessing that we can say before the leader takes the first sniff.

Baruch attah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha’olam borei menay b’samim.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe Who creates species of fragrance.

As we pass the box quietly, we inhale deeply and savor the sweet, pungent aroma. We hear the words of Romans 12:1–2 as someone reads the following paragraph:
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Our new creation lives lived out consistently before the throne of God is like a sweet smelling aroma rising to the nostrils of God as the burnt offering of the Mishkan once did. Again, yielding our members as a living sacrifice, not going the way of our flesh and thereby withholding who we really are from one another— “this is our reasonable act of worship.”

Next, another person reads or paraphrases the following paragraphs:
As at the Shabbat table we celebrated and thanked Abba for His every provision during the week, so at Havdalah we look to this new week ahead of us now by faith. Abba has faithfully provided everything that we need in order to serve Him each new day. One such provision is the God-given strength, to let Messiah’s life flow from us in order to meet any given situation that we may encounter. In addition, God has already provided what we need to obey His call in any one moment by virtue of Yeshua’s life in us and in our being His new creation. Anything that He would ask of us is not complicated nor is it beyond our reach. (Deuteronomy 30:11)

A Havdalah Seder:
We begin our service with singing. Our Congregation has a specially written song we sing every week.

Then we lift up our cup of joy to remember what this Shabbat was all about, and enter the week now facing us in remembrance of these things. Just before we take a sip, we can say the traditional blessing for the wine:

Next we all smell the sweet fragrance of the spice box by passing it around after saying the blessing. As we pass the box quietly, we inhale deeply and savor the sweet, pungent aroma. We hear the words of Romans 12:1–2

We thank Abba for His every provision during the week, so at Havdalah we look to this new week ahead of us now by faith. Participants share their stories as the torch represented by the Havdalah candle passes around the room. Each should think of the Messiah. Thoughts of His coming in power, the warmth of His presence and touch, the promise of the resurrection, the marriage that is coming, and the covenant of which He is the center. We also remember the consequences of turning away, the judgment that follows those who reject the light and covenant.

A shout of “Shavuah tov!” (have a good week) and the service ends.

Using such traditional elements is not necessary, nor commanded in the Bible. Your own community has the complete liberty and freedom to design a tailor-made seder for your own use. What is important in Havdalah, however, is for us to know how helpful it is for us as we personally prepare our lives for the coming week. Our need is to be reminded to let Messiah’s life flow forth in our earthen vessels, and to consistently make every effort to enter His rest. Havdalah has been observed since Bible times. It makes a wonderful way to end the Sabbath – and remember, it’s only six days till Shabbat!

Thanks to FFOZ for some of this information.

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
****************************************

Our Bridegroom and Jewish Wedding Customs – Part V

This is one position that many Believers hold. It comes from the late Polly Perkins. My favorite Messianic teacher, Joe Good, holds this view and teaches it. There are several other views. I tried to get an opposing view but wasn’t successful. No one really knows exactly what our future holds. Whatever G-d has in mind, I know it will be the very best because all things will work according to His purpose. The prime target is to be ready and to take as many into the Kingdom as we can. “Work for the night is coming!”

The groom arrived at the home of the bride with a shout! So our Heavenly Bridegroom will appear with a shout and the sound of the shofar! We have been waiting for two thousand years since the betrothal took place. Soon the Father will say, “Son, go get your bride!” This catching away is commonly called “the rapture”. There is no such word in the Bible, but it is referred to as “the catching away” of the Believers. See I Thessalonians 14:13-17. Jewish people also believe in the resurrection of the dead when Messiah comes, but most don’t believe Y’shua (Jesus) is the One. Isaiah 26:19-21 mentions that the dead will live and arise, entering into the bridal chamber to hide for a little while for the Lord will punish the inhabitants of the earth for their sin. He surely is speaking of the catching away of the saints who are to be hidden away for a week. A “week” can be seven days or seven years. The unrighteous will remain on earth to experience the great tribulation. (Jacob’s trouble)

So we have the bride, made up of the Old Testament and New Testament Believers, rejoicing with the Bridegroom in the heavenly bridal chamber in their glorified bodies and enjoying the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. During this same seven year period, those remaining on earth will be paying for their lack of response to the gospel. Remember, at the sound of the trumpet and the catching away of the saints, the Messiah does not “return” to earth, but meets the saints in the clouds. This is NOT the second coming. See Revelation 19:6-9 about the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

As the Believers are called out by the sound of the shofar and taken out of the earth into heaven for the days of the chuppah, (bridal chamber) they are hidden away from the wrath of G-d poured out on the earth. (Psalm 27:5; Joel 2:1-11 & Zephaniah 1:14-17)

There will be a time of great tribulation and distress in Israel; as she is surrounded by her enemies (we can see that today) In that day, she will at last call out to G-d and He will hear and answer. G-d, Himself, will fight the battle for her and her enemies will be destroyed when Israel repents and returns (teshuvah) to her Father G-d. See Zechariah 9:16-17; 12:8-14; 13:1; Joel 2:12-32; and 3:16-21. “……they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced and they shall mourn as one who mourns for his only son…..” Zechariah 12:10. In that day, at last their blindness will be removed and they will their Messiah. They will see that rejecting Y’shua is the same as rejecting G-d, because they are One.

When Israel realize the dreadful national sin they have committed, deep sorrow shall come upon them and they will mourn. This day is the fulfillment of Yom Kippur as described in Isaiah 53. Since 1967 many Jews have already had the scales lifted from their eyes and they have recognized their Messiah is Y’shua.

There has been a Messianic movement not seen since the days after the crucifixion. Today there are many Jewish Believers and many Gentiles have joined with them in that they have left the “church” and become Messianic Believers. Those are non-Jews who stand with Israel, recognizing the blessing of keeping Torah – not for salvation – but for how to live a life that is pleasing unto G-d.

After the seven year period of celebration in heaven and wrath on earth, Y’shua will return with His bride to the earth, set His feet on the Mount of Olives and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords – the Messiah of Israel. See Revelation 21:3 – “….and God, Himself, shall be with them, and be their G-d.”

Maranatha – “Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.”

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
******************************************

Our Bridegroom and Jewish Wedding Customs – Part IV

As the bride of Y’shua, also called “the Church” or the “called out ones”, we are to be waiting expectantly for His return. This group is not a denomination but includes all those who are true Believers in Y’shua HaMashiach. (Jesus, the Christ) They are Jew and Gentile, male and female, rich and poor – in other words, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

We are to be preparing to meet Him, learning how to please Him, being washed with the water of the Word so that we will be without spot or wrinkle, blameless and without sin. He came already to take our sins away and He’s coming again to take us away.

Pastor Carl Smith, of Avodah Fellowship, tells the story of an Aussie who came up to everyone he met along his way and said, “Excuse me, there are two ways to walk in this life. One way leads to heaven and the other to hell. Too-tel-loo.” He spent his life leaving this little message. Many were touched by its simplicity and some were won to the Kingdom. What are you doing to get the message out? We all have friends and loved ones who are not ready to go. If we don’t leave a testimony – who will? When the Bridegroom comes, there will be no time to make a decision, to change lifestyles or clean up their act.
Let’s not waste any more time worrying about the future – let’s do something to cause it to change and pray that the Spirit uses us to do that. First we must clean up our own lives and make sure we have a witness that we can leave. After all a bride-to-be can’t stop talking about her true love, telling everyone how wonderful he is and how much she longs to be with him.

At last it was time! The father said, “Son, go get your bride!” The groom would dress in his finery, as much like a king as possible, and call for his close friends. They would leave his father’s house and begin a torchlight procession to the home of the bride. She would have no idea he was coming. Bystanders would begin to shout, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh!” as they realized a groom was headed for his bride. Others would pass on the good news until it came to the home of the bride. This gave her a few minutes to dress and gather her things and say good-bye to her family. Her near-by bridesmaids would come and help and be ready to go with her to the wedding. A great procession would then be ready to join the groom and his party. Often there were musicians, singers and dancers and other performers doing acts.” The voice of joy, the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, praise the Lord of hosts for the Lord is good; for His mercy endureth forever.” Jeremiah 33:11.

The bride would be dressed as a queen often with family heirlooms., Her hair often braided with gold and jewels. She would be wearing an ornate head dress and have a veil over her face. She would be carried on a sudan chair, riding on an animal, or in some cases on foot. Torches were carried to light the way (remember the old phrase – “carrying the torch”) Great crowds would gather on balconies, the garden walls, the flat roofs of the houses and along the roads to watch the spectacle.

When the procession arrived at the father’s house, they were met by a large gathering of friends and relatives who had heard about the coming events. The celebration was given by the father of the groom, unlike today when the bride’s family is in charge. Many times after the bridal party had entered the father’s house, the doors were shut and no one else was permitted to enter in. In most instances, the groom’s family provided special wedding garments for the guests and these had to be worn. There was no set ceremony but a great party was going on with feasting and drinking. After a time of greeting to all the people, the bride and groom were shown to a special bridal chamber covered by a beautiful canopy called a “chuppah” (don’t pronounce the “c”) The couple would enter alone for their first kiss and to enter into physical union for the first time, fulfilling the covenant they had made so long before. The ‘best man’ stood outside the door, guarding against intruders and waiting for the groom to tell him of the consummation of the marriage.

The friend of the bridegroom is mentioned in John 3:29 where John was telling the people that he was sent before Him; the ‘friend of the bridegroom”. “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom which standeth and heareth him rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: thus my joy is fulfilled.”

After the announcement, a seven day period of festivities would begin. During this time, the bride would stay in the bridal chamber – hidden away. At the end of the seventh day, the groom would escort the bride out with her veil removed so every one could see her face and they would attend the actual wedding supper.

Won’t that be a great day when we attend the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? Are you ready? Are your loved ones in the house?

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
**************************************

Our Bridegroom and Jewish Wedding Customs – Part III

The Covenant:
As stated earlier, when all the arrangements are made, i.e. the bride price, the ketubah, the gifts discussed, the bride and groom then drink a cup of wine together. This would seal the marriage covenant.

Wine symbolized joy and what a great joy it is when a man and a woman who are suited to each other agree to live together as ‘one flesh’. Wine is drunk after a blessing is said over it. One doesn’t ’bless’ the wine, one thanks and blesses the G-d who created it, caused it to grow and permitted it to be made into wine. This is the same blessing used for thousands of years and still used today.

Baruch atta Adonai, Elohainu Melech haolam, boray pree hagafen. Omain
Blessed art Thou, O lord, our G-d, King of the universe, who created the fruit of the vine. Amen

As well as joy, wine symbolizes blood. Whenever a covenant is made, it is sealed by the shedding of blood or the drinking of wine. In the Garden, after man sinned and G-d made a covenant with Adam, blood was shed. G-d, Himself, killed an animal to make a covering for Adam and his wife. With every covenant, there is the shedding of blood – even in the marriage covenant.

With the drinking of the marriage covenant cup, the couple is saying, “the life is in the blood and as we drink this wine together, our lives are becoming as one. We are being knit together as one life and one flesh.

In I Corinthians 11, Y’shua states, “…He took the cup, when He had supped, said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood… This do ye as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He comes.”

After the betrothal, there was a time of separation, often a year or longer, before the actual marriage ceremony and consummation took place. His job was to prepare a place for her in his father’s house. Her job was to get ready for his coming; to prepare herself for the wedding feast. She didn’t know when he was coming – she just knew she had to be ready. It was up to the groom’s father when that time would be. He watched over the preparations of his son and when he saw that everything was in order, he would give him the signal to go get his bride. If it was up to the eager bridegroom, he would go get her as soon as possible – never mind the preparations! Even though they were both very busy doing what needed to be done, it was very hard to wait.

After we have given our hearts to Y’shua, there is a time of preparation. He said He was preparing a place for us in His Father’s house and our job is to prepare ourselves to meet Him. There are souls to win and others to witness to that someone else will eventually lead into the Kingdom. One sows the seed, another waters, etc, etc. It’s not our problem if people receive the Lord or not – out job is to be a living witness and to leave a word for the Lord wherever we go and let the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) bring conviction on them so that they are willing to surrender to Him. The Scripture says, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.” But another way to look at it, is to think, “As I am going around in the world, I will preach the gospel.” One doesn’t have to go overseas to be a missionary – your neighborhood is a good place to start. Sometimes it’s harder to live for G-d in your own house and community…..

Let’s ask G-d to help us keep our own lives in order and to be ready for when He comes for us! No one knows the day or the hour!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
*************************************

Hebrew History – Part II

Here’s another taste of Hebrew History! Watch for more every Shabbat.

Abram appeared
about the time of the Middle Bronze Age about the 18th century BCE. Early civilization was characterized by the metals they used at the time. We know that human history – civilization – began in the Middle East. The Garden of Eden (Gan Edan) was most likely in Kuwait, just outside modern day Iraq. Noah lived there – Abraham, lived there. It has always fascinated me that Noah and his family –after the ark landed on Mt. Ararat in Turkey – came right back to where they started from. How did they know how to do that? What guided them? How is it that the animals came with them? Or did they all? I guess the answers are not for us to know – at least at this time.

Civilization then was not what we know today. About 5,500 years ago, the people were hunter/gatherers who spent their whole day looking for food. About this time they began to learn how to domesticate livestock for their use. Food (meat was not eaten until after the flood) milk, eggs and hides and to use for plowing up the land. After these practices were well established, there came a surplus of food and other items, giving people time to branch out into different kinds of labor. Craftsmen, scholars, priests and warriors began to develop.

Our Bridegroom and Jewish Wedding Customs – Part III

The Covenant:
As stated earlier, when all the arrangements are made, i.e. the bride price, the ketubah, the gifts discussed, the bride and groom then drink a cup of wine together. This would seal the marriage covenant.

Wine symbolized joy and what a great joy it is when a man and a woman who are suited to each other and agreed to live together as ‘one flesh’. Wine is drunk after a blessing is said over it. One doesn’t ’bless’ the wine, one thanks and blesses the G-d who created it, caused it to grow and permitted it to be made into wine. This is the same blessing used for thousands of years and still used today.

Baruch atta Adonai, Elohainu Melech haolam, boray pree hagafen. Omain
Blessed art Thou, O lord, our G-d, King of the universe, who created the fruit of the vine. Amen

As well as joy, wine symbolizes blood. Whenever a covenant is made, it is sealed by the shedding of blood or the drinking of wine. In the Garden, after man sinned and G-d made a covenant with Adam, blood was shed. G-d, Himself, killed an animal to make a covering for Adam and his wife. With every covenant, there is the shedding of blood – even in the marriage covenant.

With the drinking of the marriage covenant cup, the couple is saying, “the life is in the blood and as we drink this wine together, our lives are becoming as one. We are being knit together as one life and one flesh.

In I Corinthians 11, Y’shua states, “…He took the cup, when He had supped, said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood… This do ye as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He comes.”

To be continued…
Shalom, Sharaka
********************************************

Our Bridegroom and Jewish Wedding Customs – Part II

Selection:
The bride of Christ has been chosen by Him. “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you….” John 15:16. “Herein His love, not that we love G-d, but that He loved us and sent His Son that He should be the propitiation for our sins.” I John 4:10

The Holy Spirit is the One sent by G-d to guide and direct the bride and to teach her all things. The Holy Spirit is even now searching for a bride for the Messiah. Rebekah gave her consent to go to marry Isaac, and we must consent to leave our old life, and choose to begin a new life with Y’shua. G-d does not force His will on others, He has given us free choice. If you hear the Spirit calling you in your heart – don’t harden it – say “Yes” and follow Him with all your heart, soul and mind.

The Betrothal:
The first step in a Jewish marriage was the formal betrothal. This took place a long while before the actual wedding. It was usually at least a year, if not longer. It was a ceremony as binding as the marriage ceremony and the only way out of it was to get a divorce. The hopeful groom-to-be would go to the home of the bride with his father, and maybe his mother or the family representative. The groom would bring a bottle of wine and everyone present would have a cup of it. The two would discuss the arrangements and the groom-to-be would tell what he was willing to do for the bride. If all went well, and the father agreed, the daughter was called and asked if she was willing to accept the groom. Then they would settle on the dowry, the bride-price. It was not a purchase of the bride, but a compensate for the loss of her services to the family unit. This sum of money was like insurance in case the wife was widowed. It was actually her money. Interest could be used by the father but the principal was for the bride. If poverty prevented a dowry, the groom would provide her with enough money to buy her bridal clothing and other necessities.
It was expected that the groom and/or his family would give additional gifts to the bride and her family. Another cup of wine was drunk by the bride and groom to ’seal the deal’ and the betrothal was complete.

The Jewish bridegroom paid a price for his bride. Y’shua also paid a price for His bride! His own blood!
“Do you not know that you are not your own, that you have been bought with a price. Therefore glorify G-d in your own body.” I Corinthians 6:19&20. Y’shua left His home in glory to come down and pay the price for His bride and enter into the covenant of marriage. Humans must be redeemed from their sinful nature before they can be made one with a Holy G-d. This is the only way to reach G-d – through the shed blood of His Son, Y’shua HaMashiach. (Jesus, the Christ)

We also receive gifts. Our clothing is the robe of righteousness which He gives us. We are given the gift of eternal life, the Holy Spirit, and other spiritual gifts. Read I Corinthians 12:8-11 which speaks of other gifts.

Ketubah:
Means “written” in Hebrew and is the official marriage certificate. The bridegrooms in ancient days as well as those of today, would have a Ketubah drawn up. The document becomes the property of the bride at the time of the wedding. It was a legal document revealing the groom’s obligations and intent toward the bride concerning financial and other affairs. It would provide for her in case of widowhood or divorce. The ketubah provided by Y’shua in the New Covenant (New Testament) also is full of promises and provisions. He has made a great covenant for us. Let’s be sure to accept all He has for us!

To be continued…..
Shalom, Sharaka
***********************************************

Our Bridegroom and Jewish Wedding Customs

The first commandment given by G-d was to marry and have children. (Bresheet [Genesis] 1:28) Most Jews believe that is is very important to marry and raise a family and that this is the way to true happiness.

The Hebrew term for marriage is “kiddushin”, denoting sanctification the process of being ‘set apart’ for G-d’s purpose. The marriage made under the chuppah (the Jewish wedding canopy) is not made by two – but by three. Man, woman and G-d! This is to be a lasting, sacred and holy covenant. This was G-d’s plan from the beginning. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

There was a high standard set for marriage. The Talmud says: “Who loves his wife as himself honors her more than himself, leads his sons and daughters in the right path, and arranges for their marriages soon after puberty.” Rabbi Shaul (Paul) said to the Ephesians (5:26-28) Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it…”

Notice how many Scriptures speak about a man loving his wife. How many can you find requiring a woman to love her husband? They just aren’t there! A man is required to love his wife and to a woman that means treating her like she is the most important thing on earth to him. It means he loves her with words. A woman wants to HEAR how she is loved. It means he loves her and cares so much for her that he would give his life for her. A woman is required to reverence (respect) her husband. A man needs to be respected. He needs to have his ego lifted by his wife. If more people would do this – there would be no need for divorce!

A typical Israeli marriage took considerable time and energy to bring to fulfillment. In ancient days, an unmarried woman was under her father’s authority and protection. When she married – that changed to her husband. Parents or a matchmaker (SHADCHAN) selected a bride. A shadchan was considered a very important person in the community. This person traveled from town to town making his selections. A young man was usually married by the time he was 16 or 17 and if he was not married by the age of 20, there was a problem! Only study of Torah was considered an excuse for not marrying. A young girl was considered marriageable by the age of 12 or after the onset of puberty. A young man could marry after the age of 13.

When a woman married, she left her home and family to go live with her husband’s family and become a part of their household. If the distance was great – it was possible she would never see her parents again.

It was so important (and still is) to marry the right man. She is giving up her life for his. This is exactly what G-d requires of us… we are to give up our old lives for a new life in Him. That is not too great a price to pay. Have you given up your old life to be with the One who loves you and gave His life for you?

to be continued tomorrow…
Shalom, Sharaka
*******************************************

Hebrew History

REVISED

Hebrew History information will appear on this site every Shabbat, beginning April 10, 2005.

It is gleaned from a course taught by Rabbi Ken Spiro. For a much more in depth study – go to his site where you will find an abundance of exciting information – more than you’ll ever want to know! I have enjoyed it immensely.
Caution: It is taught from a Jewish perspective and therefore does not support Messianic beliefs. I will be adding my own commentary as well.

Rabbi Ken Spiro, of Jerusalem teaches this course on line at http://www.aish.com/literacy/ He has a Master’s Degree in History and is a licensed Tour Guide in Israel. He is a senior lecturer and researcher on Aish HaTorah outreach programs. “Remember the days of old; understand the years of generation after generation. Ask your father and he will relate to you, your elders and they will tell you.” (Deut 32:7)

This study will cover all 4000 years of Hebrew History. Don’t let the word, “history” get to you, and don’t think about Junior High history lessons – reluctantly studied and soon forgotten! History shows us where we have been and where we are going. There is much to learn from it. Technology changes, politics change but people remain mostly the same – making the same stupid mistakes over and over again! We must learn from our past and strive to improve.

G-d is our Creator, Sustainer, Supervisor and Friend who is constantly active in the affairs of man. Everything in the universe in under His control. That means He is leading us to a certain destination. There is an end to it. A goal. A finish line. Let’s do our best to make the right decisions after looking at our history and seeing His plan. It’s not about power – it’s about ideas and values. So here goes!

Time begins with the creation of Adam (the blood of G-d) who was created on the sixth day. One cannot say that is Jewish or Hebrew history because Adam and Chava (Eve) were simply G-d’s people. The separation came with the killing of Abel by his brother, Cain. Then there were two kinds of people – G-d’s people and hasatan’s people. This continued until the time of Abram.

See you next time…
Shabbat Shalom, Sharaka
**********************************

SHABBAT SHALOM!

SHABBAT SHALOM!

KOL YISRAEL

SHABBAT SHALOM

SH’MA YISRAEL YHVH ELOHAYNU YHVH ECHAD

HEAR, O YISRAEL, YHVH IS OUR MIGHTY ONE

YHVH IS ONE

BARUCH HABA B’SHEM

B’SHEM MASHIACH

In the Name of Messiah Y’shua
The Prince of Peace

Shemot (Exodus) 20:8-11, 31-33

ZACHOR V’SHAMOR YOM HASHABBAT L’KADSHO REMEMBER & GUARD TO OBSERVE THE SHABBAT AS SET APART (HOLY)

Remember the Shabbat, to keep it Set Apart. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work.

But the seventh day is the Shabbat of YHVH , Your Elohim,
in it you shall not do your work.

For in six days YHVH made the heaven and the earth, the sea , and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day, therefore YHVH blessed the seventh day and hallowed it.

Speak also unto the children of Yisrael saying, Truly My Shabbats you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and You throughout your generations, that you may know that I am YHVH who sanctifies you.

WALK THE TORAHWALK tm http://torahwalk.net

V’SHAMROO (AND YOU SHALL KEEP IN OBSERVANCE)

The children of Yisrael shall keep the Shabbat , observing it
throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant.

It is a sign between Me and the children of Yisrael forever,
for in six daysYHVH made the heavens and the earth, and
on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.

And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another
and from one Shabbat to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me, says YHVH.

“Shalom alaichem!”

Then said Y’shua to them….Shalom Alaichem: As My Abba has sent me, even I send you. Yochanan 20:21

SEEM SHALOM (ESTABLISH PEACE)

Establish Peace, Goodness, and Blessings, Life, Graciousness, and Compassion upon us and upon all Yisrael, Your people.

Bless us, our Abba as one with the light of Your countenance,
for with the light of Your countenance You gave us, YHVH our Elohim, the Torah of life and a love of kindness, righteousness, blessing, compassion, life and peace.

And may it be good in Your eyes to bless Your people Yisrael, in every season and in every hour with Your peace.
Blessed are You YHVH, who blesses His people Yisrael with peace.

B’shem Moshiach Y’Shua Sar Shalom.
In the Name of Moshiach Y’Shua, Prince of Peace.

Seem Shalom, tovah u’vracha, chayym , chayn, va chesed v’rachameem! Seem Shalom, tovah u’vracha, chayym, chayn, va chesed v’rachameem!

Alaynoo, alaynoo v’al kal Yisrael, v’al Kal Yisrael amecha.
Alaynoo, alaynoo v’al kal yisrael, v’al Kal Yisrael Amecha!

Bar’chaynoo aveenoo, koolanoo k’echad b’or pah ne’cha. ke’b'or panecha na tata lanoo, YHVH Elohaynoo.
Torat chayym v’ahavat, v’ahavat chesed, ootz’daka oov’racha, v’rachameem, v’chayyeem v’rachameem, v’chayeem v’shalom.

V’tov yeeh’yeh b’ay necha l’varchaynoo ool’va raych ET kal am’cha
et kal amcha Yisrael, b’chal ayt oov’chal sha ah beesh lomecha,
b’rov oz b’shalom. b’rov oz v’shalom

Baruch Atah YHVH, ham’varaych ET amo ham’varach et amo Yisrael b’ shalom b’shem Y’shua HaMoshiach Sar Shalom, HalleluYah

HAVE A BLESSED SHABBAT! SHABBAT SHALOM!

AM YISRAEL CHAI ! THE PEOPLE OF YISRAEL LIVE !

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
****************************************

Biblical Life in Y’shua’s Day = part II

More about life during the time of Y’shua.

Clothing: The second commandment forbade the painting or sculpture of the human figure, so we cannot be sure about Jewish clothing. However many fragments of second century clothing have been found at En Gedi and Masada. The hot dry climate preserved them well. It seems most Jewish people dressed like the Greco-Roman world and only the very religious adhered to the old traditional costumes. Most men shaved and wore the ‘modern’ dress of the day – the knee-length tunic of the Greeks and Romans. Beards, head-dresses and hair styles appeared optional. And so it is with us! You can’t tell the worldly people from the Believers by their appearance and only the most pious wear modest clothing. Goes to show – some things never change! A wise man once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Maybe this would be a good time to check our own closets and mirrors to see how we stand. No need to look like the walking dead …. but a little modesty never hurt anyone.

Men’s clothes: Tunics were made with two stripes down the front and back. It was tied, according to the Talmud*, with a linen “girdle” or a money belt. A rectangular cloak with tassels (tallit) was worn over the tunic. The Talmud lists other garments like under clothing and felt caps (kippot).

*Talmud = a collection of Jewish law and tradition and explanations of Scripture according to the rabbis. There are two Talmudim, a smaller work done in Jerusalem and the larger, more popular one done in Babylon during the captivity. I believe it is good to read this, but unless it conforms to the Bible, I don’t accept it. I do not believe the writings are the inspired word of G-d.

Women’s clothes: Most Jewish women also appear to have worn the current fashions consisting of a long tunic tied beneath the bosom and hitched up at the waist with a “girdle” or belt. It would have been sleeveless. Sleeves didn’t really ’come in’ until the 3rd century. A rectangular cloak with patterns was worn over this. The hair was covered with a veil. Jewish women were noted for their love of jewelry and they also wore cosmetics and perfumes.

Religious life:
The Sabbath: After sunset on Friday evening, a shofar (trumpet) was sounded and all regular work ceased. The Sabbath (seventh day/Saturday) meals were all prepared on Friday and no chores were done on the Sabbath. The synagogue (meeting place) had no priests and no sacrifices. Traveling rabbis would come in and teach and they received no salary. An offering was taken to cover their expenses. Each synagogue was run by an elected committee. (Board of Directors?) The service began with prayers lead by a man standing in front of the Torah Ark, a cupboard containing the sacred scrolls of Torah (G-d’s holy word). The Congregation joined in. During prayers, the men would wrap themselves in a prayer shawl (tallit). Women had their hair already covered. After the prayers, a scroll would be brought to the first of seven readers. Torah (first five books) was read in a set pattern so that the whole of it would be finished in a set time. Either one year or three years. Anyone could do this. After the first reader stood to read the text in Hebrew, he sat down and expounded on it in Aramaic, the common language of the day. Alms (money) were collected at the door as the people left the synagogue and after the first three stars appeared – Havdalah was observed. This was a ceremony to end the Sabbath.

Messianic Believers try to follow this pattern today and each Congregation decides how best to do that.

Bibliography:
“Living in the Time of Jesus of Nazareth” by Peter Connoly, 1983, Tel Aviv, Israel
“The Jewish Wedding”, by Polly Perkins, Jewish Christian Ministries, Mill Creek, WA
“Manners and Customs of the Bible” by James M. Freeman, 1996, USA

Biblical Life in Y’shua’s Day = part I

Have you ever wondered what life was like when Y’shua (Jesus) was a little boy? This may give you a little insight into that period. Wouldn’t it have been great to be a mouse in the corner and watch Him grow up? Hear the sounds, smell the smells and see the action? I’m glad I live in the here-and-now, but it would have been so interesting to watch history (HIS story) unfold!

Home Life:
The basis for Israeli society was the family unit. The father was, no questions asked, the head of the home. The Hebrew word for “father” is “ab”. To say it in a more familiar way would be “abba” which would correspond to “daddy”. (Side note: Hebrew is truly G-d’s language. The original letters were pictures or pictograms. Each letter was a picture that described it. The Hebrew letter “A” is aleph, which in the original was a picture of the head of an ox, means “strong (as in ox) leader, ruler of. The Hebrew letter “B” is bet (say bait) and looked like a triangle, standing for a tent, and meant house, or center of. So what do you get when you put the two together? AB (father) = Strong leader of the home. Isn’t G-d amazing? Oh, that it were true today! Our nation would once again be strong!)

Families were much larger than they are today and several generations lived together. There was always someone to help with the work, babysit and just be there to share problems. Someone always had an answer for everything. Women gathered together to wash clothes and share the news. When a woman married, she left her home and moved in with her husband’s family. The husband would have spent the betrothal time (engagement) building a room onto his father’s house. The dowry brought in by the bride would help pay for it and supply the new couple with what they needed to get started. The husband did NOT buy the wife, he paid her father for the services he was losing when he gave up his daughter.

Young people were expected to marry when they reached puberty. About 12 and a half for a girl and 14 for a boy! In those days there was no such thing as a “teenager”. You were a child and treated as such, or you were a man or a woman and accepted the responsibilities that went along with it. There was little problem with drugs, promiscuity or bad behavior. There wasn’t time to get in trouble – you worked and took your responsibilities seriously. The formal betrothal was not like our engagements today. The couple was already married in the eyes of the law, except that they did not live together and to get out of the arrangement, you had to seek a divorce. The time period was about a year long. A widow need only wait one month before she could remarry. This was necessary for her economic situation. No welfare payments or Social Security then! The groom prepared a house for her and the bride prepared her trousseau and gathered things she would need in her new home. When the groom’s father, and only he, decided it was time – the young man could go and get his bride. Does that have a familiar ring to it? One day G-d the Father will send Y’shua for his bride. He has all this time been “preparing a place” for her.

Women worked very hard (as did the men) in that society and the father was losing a lot when she left the home. Marriages were generally arranged, sometimes from a very young age. The wife had a choice – she could accept or not when time came for the betrothal. She was expected to look after the home. In rich homes, there were servants to do the work, but the wife was still expected to spin and weave the clothing.

Food: Bread was the basic food. The more well-to-do ate wheat bread and the common people ate bread made from barley. It was baked every morning. Vegetables, such as onions, leeks, garlic, peppers were ever present and melons, figs, dates and citrus fruits were grown. Stews, (mutton or lentil) bread and fish made up the day’s menu. Red meats were usually only eaten on Feast Days or special occasions when a lamb, kid or calf would be killed. Pigeons were cheap and locusts were considered a great delicacy! Cheese and butter were also available. Salt from the Dead Sea and honey for sweetening finished off the meal.

Bibliography:
“Living in the Time of Jesus of Nazareth” by Peter Connoly, 1983, Tel Aviv, Israel

Continued tomorrow,
Shabbat Shalom, Sharaka
***************************************

WordPress Themes