Hebrew History – Part 4

The Promised Land

G-d gave to Abram and his descendants the Land of Israel – the place where He put His name. See Bresheet (Genesis) 12. At this point, Abram’s may be called “the Family of Israel”. He moved, interestingly enough, with his father, Terah, the idol-maker, to the northern part of Syria. Didn’t G-d tell him to leave his father’s house? They stayed in Padan-Haran until the death of Terah.

G-d says over and over in His Word for Abram to go “to the land that I will show you.” and “I will give you this land and to your descendents after you.” There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that G-d intended Israel to belong to His chosen people. And He gave them MUCH MORE than they are claiming today! How can anyone say that they should give up more land to their enemies? That old saying still counts: “G-d said it, I believe it, and that settles it!”

Israel is the center of the world. It is the capitol of the planet. It’s the “place where G-d has put His name”. It sits at the crossroads of three continents, Europe, Africa and Asia. The Hebrews were given this land because of their mission which was to guard and keep Torah, bring forth the Messiah and be a light to the nations. Every other nation in the world bases it’s claim on conquest. “Might makes right” seems to be the order of the day. Come in, take over the land, change it’s name and start a new country. Not so Israel. G-d created the planet, therefore He owns it. He GAVE the Land of Israel to the ones He wanted to have it.

True, the modern State of Israel is non-religious. I understand 80% of the population states that claim. I found that to be shocking and unthinkable! I just assumed all Israel would at least believe in G-d! Not so. But they do realize even the secular State should follow Jewish tradition. Last time I was in Israel. Our little group was kicked out of a restaurant in Jerusalem! It was a “meat” restaurant and someone had brought in a cheese sandwich and began to eat it at our table. The proprietors could lose their license if they allowed such eating in their establishment! The Orthodox Jews say meat and dairy cannot be eaten at the same meal. This is an error based on one Scripture. “Do not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk.” That was a Canaanite custom of sacrifice to one of their gods and we are not to do as the heathen do. I promise I will never eat any meat cooked in it’s mother’s milk. My question is – if this applies to chicken as well, and it does. Why? Know any chickens that nurse their young?

We need to continue to pray for Israel – and for peace to prevail there. To pray like that is to pray for the Messiah’s return!
And may that be soon and in our time.

See you next time!
Shabbat Shalom, Sharaka
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April Index – 2005

1 – Biblical Life in Y’shua’s Day – part I – how He lived, clothes, food, etc
2 – Biblical Life in Y’shua’s Day – part II – how He lived, education, family life, etc
3 – IRAQ – DID YOU KNOW? – Interesting facts about Iraq
4 = The Apocrypha – the “extra” 14 books not included in the Bible

6 = Aromatherapy, Does it smell good? Does it help you? It’s aromatherapy!
7 = $$ Getting it Right! $$ – what should we give G-d?
8 = Shabbat Shalom – a nice greeting from a friend
9 = Hebrew History – Part I

12 = Wedding Customs

14 = Wedding Customs – part II

16 = Hebrew History – Part 2
17 = Wedding Customs – Part III
18 = Wedding Customs – Part IV
19 = Wedding Customs – Part V

21 = Havdalah – how to end the Sabbath rest
23 = Hebrew History – Part 3

26 = Making Life Easier, 42 ways to make it easier for the homemaker

29 =
30 = Hebrew History – Part 4

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
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Making Life Easier

This post is not Messianic! Neither is it “Christian”. It is something that can make your life a little easier and therefore I deem it worthwhile. Run down through it and see if there is anything you can use or want to try….. No guarantees!

THINGS TO KNOW

1. Beer – (not light) conditions the hair and is a perfect styling lotion

2. Pam cooking spray will dry finger nail polish

3. Cool whip will condition your hair in 15 minutes

4. Mayonnaise will KILL LICE, it will also condition your hair

5. Elmer’s Glue – paint on your face, allow it to dry, peel off and see the dead skin and blackheads if any

6. Shiny Hair – use brewed Lipton Tea

7. Sunburn – empty a large jar of Nestea into your bath water

8. Minor burn – Colgate or Crest toothpaste

9. Burn your tongue? Put sugar on it!

10. Arthritis? WD-40 Spray and rub in, kill insect stings too

11. Bee stings – meat tenderizer

12. Chigger bite – Preparation H

13. Puffy eyes – Preparation H

14. Paper cut – crazy glue or chap stick (glue is used instead of sutures at most hospitals)

15. Stinky feet – Jello!

16. Athletes feet – cornstarch

17. Fungus on toenails or fingernails – Vicks vapor rub

18. Kool aid to clean dishwasher pipes. Just put in the detergent section and run a cycle, it will also clean a toilet. (Wow, and we drink this stuff)

19. Kool Aid can be used as a dye in paint also Kool Aid in Dannon plain yogurt as a finger paint, your kids will love it and it won’t hurt them if they eat it!

20. Peanut butter – will get scratches out of CD’s! Wipe off with a coffee filter paper

21. Sticking bicycle chain – Pam no-stick cooking spray

22. Pam will also remove paint, and grease from your hands! Keep a can in your garage for your hubby

23. Peanut butter will remove ink from the face of dolls
24. When the doll clothes are hard to put on, sprinkle with corn starch and watch them slide on.

25. Heavy dandruff – pour on the vinegar!

26. Body paint – Crisco mixed with food coloring. Heat the Crisco in the microwave, pour in to an empty film container and mix with the food color of your choice!

27. Tie Dye T-shirt – mix a solution of Kool Aid in a container, tie a rubber band around a section of the T-shirt and soak

28. Preserving a newspaper clipping – large bottle of club soda and cup of milk of magnesia, soak for 20 min. and let dry, will last for many years!

29. A Slinky will hold toast and CD’s!

30. To keep goggles and glasses from fogging, coat with Colgate toothpaste

31. Wine stains, pour on the Morton salt and watch it absorb into the salt.

32. To remove wax – Take a paper towel and iron it over the wax stain, it will absorb into the towel.

33. Remove labels off glassware etc. rub with Peanut butter!

34. Baked on food – fill container with water, get a Bounce paper softener and the static from the Bounce towel will cause the baked on food to adhere to it. Soak overnight. Also; you can use 2 Efferdent tablets, soak overnight!

35. Crayon on the wall – Colgate toothpaste and brush it!

36. Dirty grout – Listerine

37. Stains on clothes – Colgate

38. Grass stains – Karo Syrup

39. Grease Stains – Coca Cola, it will also remove grease stains from the driveway overnight. We know it will take corrosion from car batteries!

40. Fleas in your carpet? 20 Mule Team Borax- sprinkle and let stand for 24 hours. Maybe this will work if you get them back again.

41. To keep FRESH FLOWERS longer Add a little Clorox, or 2 Bayer aspirin, or just use 7-up in stead of water.

42. When you go to buy bread in the grocery store, have you ever wondered
which is the freshest, so you “squeeze” for freshness or softness? Did you know that bread is deliv- ered fresh to the stores five days a week? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day has a different color twist tie.

They are:
Monday = Blue,
Tuesday = Green,
Thursday = Red,
Friday = White and
Saturday = Yellow.

The colors go alphabetically by color Blue- Green – Red – White – Yellow, Monday through Saturday. Very easy to remember. So if today was Thursday, you would want red twist tie; not white which is Friday’s (almost a week old)!

I thought this was interesting. I looked in the grocery store and the bread wrappers DO have different twist ties, and even the ones with the plastic clips have different colors. You learn something new everyday! Enjoy fresh bread when you buy bread with the right color on the day you are shopping.

Pass this information on to friends so they can be informed also…

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
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Hebrew History – Part 3

Civilization began at the bottom of the Tigris & Euphrates Rivers. This is where we think Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden) was located, approximately at the northwestern tip of Kuwait. Abram was born in Mesopotamia, Ur of the Chaldees, to be exact. It was a busy bustling cosmopolitan center. A place of many idols and idol-worshippers. Abram was born into such a family. His father, Terah, was an idol maker.

When we first meet Abram, he is already 75 years old, married – no children. We know nothing of his early life, his hopes, his dreams. We know only that he was different. Abram chose to worship the one and only true G-d. G-d, Himself, spoke to Abram and called him out. He was an idealist, an optimist, an uncompromiser! He probably saw things as black or white with little gray in between. He had a drive to change to world – for the better. This is a typical Jewish characteristic. Notice how many Jews are doctors, teachers and leaders. They have been awarded a disproportionate number of Nobel prizes for their intellectual contributions. This is the Jew I see – one who strives to make things better.

G-d said to Abram, “Go from your land, from your birthplace and from your father’s house to the land I will show you.” Brisheet (Genesis) 12:1. Your home is where your heart is. As you grow older, you have a tendency to have many dreams about your childhood home – the place of safety and good times. There is no place like the old “hometown”…. And Abram was asked – ordered – to leave and begin a very strange and different life than he had ever known. He was to leave the comforts of home, the family money, the prestige and social standing of his family. G-d said again, to Abram, “I will make you a great nation, I will bless you and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. “ Bresheet 12:2

G-d did not leave him with nothing – he gave him a hope and a future. All he had to do was believe.

17th Century Blaise Pascal, the great French philosopher was once asked by King Louis, IV, for proof of the supernatural. He replied, “The Jewish people, your majesty.” This is true. They have been a nation with a unique mission and ministry. They have a unique history as well. Things happen to the Jews that don’t happen to other peoples. They are unique and special. G-d’s chosen. G-d also told Abram, “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you, and through you all the nations of the earth will be blessed.” Bresheet 12:3.

This is one of the great patterns of history. The nations that have blessed the Jews, have prospered, those who have dealt cruelly with them have suffered and most have disappeared. Great Britain was once an unstoppable world power. When I was a child, they bragged, “The sun never sets on the Union Jack.” their flag. During the difficult days in the 30s and 40s, they prevented the return of many Jews to Israel, their true homeland, and caused the deaths of many. England has never recovered! They lost all of their colonies, much of their income and have little to say in the affairs of running the world.

The Jewish people have had an incredibly positive impact on the world, contributing values that are now linked with democracy – respect for life, justice, equality, peace, love, education and social responsibility. Although that appears to be changing! Abram’s journey through life is a microcosm of what Jewish history is all about.

Next Shabbat – The Promised Land

See you next time!
Shabbat Shalom
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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$$ Getting it Right! $$

Concerning our finances:

Lying in bed this morning trying to decide whether I should get up or try to finish my dream…I heard this story from my radio. A preacher was telling us that he was having a hard time figuring out the best way to illustrate his sermon one morning. After a time of prayer he entered the Sanctuary and asked one of his deacons to do him a favor. The pastor handed him a hundred dollar bill and said, “Now when I ask you for this during the service, don’t say anything, just get up and bring it to me.” He strode to the pulpit and began to preach. Soon he said, “Sue and I are expecting company tomorrow and we would like to take them to a nice restaurant for dinner. Would anybody want to give us a hundred dollars? The fellow already spoken to, jumped up and handed the pastor the money. He thanked him and continued his sermon. Naturally, everyone was amazed and wondering what in the world was going on!

After a few minutes, the pastor said, with a twinkle in his eye, “Well, I see you are all wondering what is happening here!” He told them they had surely noticed how quickly the deacon had responded to his plea and how easily he had handed over the money. Then he told them what he had transpired. The deacon had no problem giving up the money – it was, after all, the pastor’s anyway!

The sermon was on tithing and the pastor was trying to help his Congregation understand that ALL they have belongs to G-d anyway. It’s not a question of giving up money – it’s a question of Lordship. To whom do you belong? Whose money is it? It could be a question of “Why do I get to keep any of it at all?” If everything belongs to G-d – what’s the problem? It’s not a question of 10% – it’s a question of 100%!

When we realize who we are and who we belong to, it makes it very easy to give. In Bible days the people gave more like 23%. Ten percent is not even a good tip at a restaurant anymore. Surely G-d is more important than a tip!!?

Let’s begin to consider these things and make our decision of who we want to be Lord of our life – us or Him. I believe what you give back to G-d is your own personal choice. And I believe it is far more than money that is involved here. We owe G-d our time and our talents as well as our money. As you begin to pray about these things, please ask the Lord to really let you know what He expects of you and tell Him you will be willing to live and give in obedience to His will and His Word. That makes it easier to “give it up”. It’s His anyway!

What about kids? Should they tithe? When should they start? I always told mine, “If you receive a gift of money, it’s ALL yours. You wouldn’t receive a shirt and cut off a sleeve to give to G-d. A gift is a gift. BUT if you WORK and EARN some money – 10 percent or more, if you wish, goes back to G-d. It should also go to the place where you do! Other ministries should receive over and above the amount you give to your own fellowship. That radio preacher said this morning, that only 5% of church members tithe! No wonder we have financial difficulties from time to time. What if only 5% of employers paid their employees? Wouldn’t THAT be a fright?! I understand American people spend more on dog food than they do on Missions. What do you think of that?

Our Scriptures tell us to give with a cheerful heart and to take care of the poor and needy. I hope we continue to be such people that we become known for our generosity. We can’t out-give G-d and He has blessed us over and over. Remember – make it cheerful giving!

Maybe I’ll finish that dream after all!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
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Aromatherapy

Does it smell good? Will it help you? That’s aromatherapy! The Bible says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Aromatherapy “doeth good”, too!

Aromatherapy is a term coined by French chemist René Maurice Gattefossé in the 1920′s to describe the practice of using essential oils taken from plants, flowers, roots, seeds, etc., in healing. The term is a little misleading, since the aromas of oils, whether natural or synthetic, are generally not themselves therapeutic. Aromas are used to identify the oils, to determine adulteration, and to stir the memory, but not to directly bring about a cure or healing. It is the “essence” of the oil– its chemical properties- that gives it whatever therapeutic value the oil might have. Furthermore, vapors are used in some but not all cases of aromatherapy. In most cases, the oil is rubbed onto the skin or ingested in a tea or other liquid. Some aromatherapists even consider cooking with herbs a type of aromatherapy.

Lavendar and its Amazing Uses

Many of us have tried Lavender. It is one of the few oils that can be used full strength on the skin without harmful effects, and is a virtual ‘first aid’ cabinet in and of itself. A touch of lavender essential oil on the temples and back of the neck can ease a headache. A drop of full strength lavender can soothe and help heal a minor burn. It is a potent antiseptic, and a antibacterial, antifungal and anti-viral agent. It’s also one of the less expensive oils.

If you have a local source for true essential oils, use it. You can order it online or find it in certain stores. Check the Latin name. You want either LAVENDER VERA or LAVENDER AUGUSTIFOLIUM, or OFFICINALIS. There are other varieties of oils, similar to true lavender, that are sometimes sold as Lavender. They have different effects and won’t be as effective. (It’s a good idea to always check the Latin name of any oil you buy.)

Now that you have your lavender, what to do with it, other than for the ” first aid ” purposes listed above:

Lavender is lovely in the bath. As with most essentials, 6 to 10 drops is enough. Rather than adding the oil directly to the bathwater (because essentials don’t blend with water) try diluting the lavender in a tablespoon or so of honey, a teaspoon of unscented bath oil, or for a Cleopatra luxury bath, some cream.

Or you can make your own bath salts by mixing epsom salts, sea salt or table salt, and/or powdered milk, and adding a lavish amount of lavender. Bottle these and let them stand for a week or ten days. A lavender bath will relax tired muscles and a tired mind. It’s a wonderful way to relax before bedtime.
Ten to fifteen drops of lavender mixed into a tablespoon of your favorite carrier oil makes a wonderfully relaxing massage oil.

To induce restful sleep, put a drop or two of lavender on a cotton ball and tuck it into the corner of your pillow case. Or perfume a room by adding a few drops of lavender to either a lamp-ring or aromatherapy lamp. You can even add a few drops of essential oils to the melted wax in a burning candle. (Be very careful doing this, the oils are extremely flammable.)

If you are pleased with the results of the lavender, then experiment with some other oils, either alone, or in combination. Other good beginner oils are Orange or Mandarine, Geranium, Sandalwood, Rosemary, Cypress and Eucalyptus. None are extremely expensive, and all are very useful. Your nose is really your best guide to which oils will work best for you. I’m firmly convinced that we are drawn to the oils that our bodies need, either mentally/emotionally or physically. Trust your nose, but educate yourself on the safe and effective uses of the oils you select. Furthermore, You can grow your own lavender plants and enjoy their scent anytime!

Try lavender, it might give you a whole new prospective on life!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
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The Apocrypha

Most people have heard of the Apocrypha, but few understand what it really is. Webster says, “A group of 14 books, …… included in the Septuagint (Jewish) and Vulgate (Catholic) in the Old Testament, but not by most Protestants.” Apocrypha literally means of doubtful authorship and/or authenticity.

These are small books and well worth reading but not to be equated with Scripture.

They are:

I Esdras = corresponding to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah

II Esdras = see above

Tobit = the story of a devout Jew (Tobias)

Judith = A pious Jewess who cut off the head of the enemy army as he slept, to save her town.

The rest of Esther = More about the story of Esther

The Wisdom of Solomon = more from Solomon

Ecclesiasticus = Also called Wisdom of Jesus

Baruch, with the Epistle of Jeremiah = written by a friend of Jeremiah

The Song of the Three Holy Children = included as part of Daniel 3 in the Catholic Bible

The History of Susanna = During the time of Daniel

Bel and the Dragon – included as chapter 14 of Daniel in the Catholic Bible

The Prayer of Manasses = when King Manasses (of Judah) while being held captive in Babylon

I Maccabees = history of Chanukah
II Maccabees = see above

The two books of Maccabees are the most well read and contain the history of Chanukah during the 400 year period between the Old and New Testaments.

So now you know the rest of the story!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
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IRAQ – DID YOU KNOW?

Many of our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, grandsons and granddaughters are now fighting in Iraq. I have a Navy grandson in the Gulf on the USS Carl Vinson and another grandson, an Army Ranger, who is being deployed to the Middle East this week. We gathered together today as a family, anointed him with oil and prayed for his safety. He is a strong Believer and is anxious to go to serve his country. May G-d, in His mercy, see fit to bring them both safely home. Let’s keep praying for those young people who are putting their lives on the line for us. Let us pray for peace in Jerusalem, which is really a prayer asking for Messiah to come, as there will be no peace until the Prince of Peace returns!
May He return in our lifetime and bring Peace for all mankind.

1. The garden of Eden was in Iraq.

2. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization!

3. Noah built the ark in Iraq.

4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq.

5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq!

6. Isaac’s wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq.

7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq.

8. Jonah preached in Nineveh – which is in Iraq.

9. Assyria, which is in Iraq, conquered the ten tribes of Israel.

10. Amos cried out in Iraq!

11. Babylon, which is in Iraq, destroyed Jerusalem.

12. Daniel was in the lion’s den in Iraq!

13. The three Hebrew children were in the fire in Iraq (Jesus had been in Iraq also as the fourth person in the fiery furnace!)

14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the “writing on the wall” in Iraq.

15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq.

16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq.

17. The wise men were from Iraq.

18. Peter preached in Iraq.

19. The “Empire of Man” described in Revelation is called Babylon, which was a city in Iraq!

Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second? It is Iraq! However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia. The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The name Iraq, means country with deep roots.

Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible. No other nation, except Israel, has more history and prophecy associated it than Iraq.

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
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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
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