House cleaning for Passover?

Where to Start?

House in trouble? Don’t know where to start? Take a tip from everybody’s friend, the FlyLady! (and she’s a Believer!) If you are like most of us housewives …. Guys, you can benefit from this, too! … you want everything to look nice but the housework just seems to get away from you. So much to do – so little time!!!

I’ve created a new habit for myself – just for starters. If you do this consistently, you will be on your way to a cleaner house.

Don’t you hate to be at a nice restaurant, go into the Ladies’ Room or Men’s Room, as the case may be, and find a sink all spotted with water and soap scum here and there? Well, you really don’t want to face the same condition at home, do you?

Here’s whatcha do – every time you use a sink in your house, finish up with a paper towel or whatever you use, and wipe up your sink. Get rid of water spots, soap scum and polish the Faucet! Make your sink look like new. Soon, with a little encouragement, your family will begin to do the same. When you have a beautiful shiny sink, the counters will look so much better if you remove all the unnecessary clutter and wipe them down, too. Before you know it your whole kitchen and bathroom will be a thing of beauty! At the very least, your sinks will sparkle and you will feel a whole lot better about yourself! Just try it for a week and see. Would ya? Passover’s coming!!!!

See you next time!

Shalom, Sharaka

My favorite Purim recipe


1 3/4 cups (250 g) flour
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 or 3 drops vanilla flavoring
1 egg yolk
2 – 3 teaspoons of milk if needed

1 egg, beaten, for glazing
(Let dough cool while you make filling)
For Mohn filling (poppy seed)

1 cup (150 g) poppy seeds
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons raisins
Grated zest of 1 lemon (peeling)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Simmer (cook) the seeds and milk 15 minutes or until thick. Add raisins, honey, sugar and butter. Cook 5 more minutes. Add lemon zest and juice.
Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and sugar.
Add butter in small pieces (I grate hard butter) and mix together until it looks like cornmeal. It is much like making pie crust.
Add Egg yolk and vanilla and lightly stir into a ball. Don’t mix it too much.
Add milk if needed to make it stick together.
Don’t handle too much or the dough will be tough.

Cover with plastic and cool in refrigerator.

Make filling. Can use apricot jam or prune filling.

Roll dough fairly thin. Cut with 3 inch cookie cutter. Place on greased cookie sheet.
Put small amount of filling in the center of each cookie and fold up 3 edges, leaving the filling showing in the center. Make sure edges stick together.

Brush beaten egg on tops and sides of each cookie.

Cook in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until light golden brown.

This recipe comes from “The Book of Jewish Food”, by Claudia Rodin

Copyright 1996, published by Universities International Press, Inc

See you next time! – Purim sameach!
Shalom, Sharaka

Where are you on the “River of Life?”

The River of Life

When my husband and I visited Minnesota many years ago, we went to see the beginning of the Mississippi River. I remember jumping across it. I wanted to be able to say, “I crossed the mighty Mississippi with a single bound!” It was just a tiny little trickle of water – who would ever guess that the Mighty Mississippi, which begins as a tiny brook and 2350 miles later and empties into the Gulf of Mexico, would be 5 inches wide at it’s beginning?

“Along the way it acts as a watershed for over 1.2 million square miles and includes tributary rivers from 32 states and two Canadian provinces. The Ojibway Indians of northern Minnesota called it “Messipi” or “Big River,” and it was also known as the “Mee-zee-see-bee” or the “Father of Waters.”

Another great river – the Columbia, drains a 259,000-square-mile basin that includes territory in seven states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah) and one Canadian province.

It flows for 1,243 miles, from two lakes that lie near the Canadian Continental Divide, to the Pacific Ocean between Washington and Oregon.

You must know that there are miles and miles of tiny streams, brooks and tributaries all flowing in to one great body of water.

Believers are like that!  We are all in the water, but we are NOT all at the same place at the same time.  A new Believer starts like a tiny stream and the further and faster it goes, the bigger it gets! A person who has been a Believer for many, many years is way further “down river”.

You can’t expect someone only a year old in the Lord to have the knowledge and understanding that a 30 year Believer has.  We must learn to be patient with those we minister to and try not to push them or make them uncomfortable with the way their “walk” is going. We need to pray for them and be a gentle guide, not a “stern taskmaster”. After all, look what G-d has had to put up with in the way we are growing! Sometimes it seems like one step forward and two steps back. But with His love and our love and knowing that “love covers a multitude of sins” we (Believers) will all end up in G-d’s great ocean called the Olam Haba – the World to come!
See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka

About Purim …

When the Jews were in captivity in Persia, about 500 BC, (says Ussher) the story of the Book of Esther takes place. Esther is a Persian or Babylonian name – Hadasseh was her Jewish real name! She was beautiful in spirit as well as body – truly a Proverbs 31 woman. The celebration of deliverance told here has become known as the Biblical holiday of Purim. Pur means die/lot as in lottery. Purim or dice is the plural. It was decided by the wicked Hamen to kill all the Jews. Lots were cast to see when that should happen. The Book of Esther, all ten chapters, are read by the Jewish people on the anniversary of the first celebration, Adar 14, which comes in early spring. It’s a very important day for Christians, also, because if the wicked Haman had carried out his threat to annihilate all Jews, the Messiah would have never been born. The kingdom of Ahashvarosh covered over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia, which was the known world at that time. No Jew is all the world was to be spared! Haman, the Agagite, was decended from the Edomite (Esau) people who have always been enemies of the Jews. King Saul was ordered to wipe them out and he failed. King Herod, in the time of Christ, was from this line. Mordecai and Hadasseh, who were from the Benjamites – same tribe as Saul, finally did it generations later. The history of the Bible is also unfulfilled prophesy. Haman is a picture of the False Messiah and he and his ten sons were destroyed just as Christians believe the anti-Christ or False Messiah and his ten heads (governments) will be destroyed someday.

Moral: Don’t mess with God’s people!

Why not get the family together and take turns reading the Book of Esther? Have a party! Dress up like the characters! Make it fun – whistle and cheer when you read Esther’s name.

Boo and hiss, make lots of noise and stamp your feet when you read the name of Haman.

Cheer for the name of Mordechai. You learn a lot more when you read the whole book at once. It’s the only Book that does not mention the name of God and was almost not included in the Bible for this reason.

A pastry treat called “Hamantashen” – a filled cookie – is served and it’s a fun time for everyone. At our house we have a life-sized cardboard box made to sorta look like “Wicked Haman” with an open mouth. We play a game throwing bagels in his mouth to see who can get the most points. Purim is about friends, kinship and community, strong bonds that last a lifetime, about remembering, and about our salvation. It’s a great time for remembering the provision God has made for us through His grace and faithfulness; a time Jews and Christians alike can celebrate the goodness of our God.

Baruch hashem Adonai – Blessed be the name of the Lord! Chag Sameach! – Have a happy Purim! – March 14, 2006

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka

Purim II

Hadasseh, the Beautiful

Esther, named after Ashterah, a goddess of that country, was the Persian or Babylonian name of the Jewish captive. Hadasseh was her Hebrew name. She was a beautiful young girl with a character, I imagine, to be somewhat like that of Miryam, the mother of Y’shua. God had chosen them both for a very special purpose in life and they both met the challenge. We would do well to imitate these attributes. Esther was an orphan raised by her cousin, Mordecai. She was his uncle’s daughter but the Bible calls him her uncle (?). He must have cared for her very much as no mention is made of any other family members and he seemed devoted to her.
This book was written about events which take place over a 10 year period. 483 – 473 BC. It is the only record we have of Jewish life in Babylon/Persia/now Iran. The events occur between the 6th and 7th chapters of Ezra – which is between the two ‘returns’ to Israel. The first being led by Zerubbabel and the second by Ezra. Some scholars believe Ezra wrote the book, others opt for Mordecai himself, but most now believe it was by one of his younger contemporaries.
Ahasuerus is a Hebrew name; Xerxes – the Greek name of Khshayarsh, the Persian king. He has also been referred to as Ahashverosh – whoever he was, he was certainly a man of emotional extremes, whose actions were often strange and contradictory. These Jewish people he ruled over were not even supposed to be in Persia. They should have gone home to Israel with Zerubbabel. It was a case of comfort and ease. They made good livings in this civilized place – why go back to rocks and ruin? The meat of the story is in Chapters 9 and 10 and we will read that next. Here is a little of the history and customs of the Jews concerning Purim. Two things we can learn today for sure! The name of the wicked Amalakite is pronounced “HAH-man” and we eat the filled cookie “Hamantashchen” which means Haman’s hats. It is not Hay-man. The other is the name of the festival itself. “Poo-REEM”, which rhymes with “who cream” and not Pure-rim or even poo-rim. Having become so educated – let’s see how this thing is celebrated.

Purim, an extra-Mosaic Festival
This festival was not ordered by God but by Mordecai and there are Four Main ways to celebrate:

(1) The reading of the Megillah, (the whole Book of Esther) the Hallel (song of praise) of the day. Singing and dancing and praising the Lord are the order of the day. Once again God has given Y’shua (salvation) to the Jews. Once again God acted at just the right time!
(2) Festivity and Rejoicing: partaking of scrumptious foods and extending “Yom Tov” (good day greetings to one another. We have reason to celebrate, so let’s do it with gusto!
(3) Giving of gifts to one another. This is called “Mishloach Manot”. It must consist of sweets or other ready-to-eat-edibles and a drink and it is given to display your love and good-will. Gifts of clothing or money are NOT acceptable. Little baskets or attractive packages – even paper plates, can be fixed up to give.
(4) Sending of Gifts to the Poor. It is a custom to send two portions for the poor. In ancient days, a portion meant three halves of the basis of the currency. In our day, that would mean $1.50. Our basic currency is $1.00 so this is three halves. Two portions would be $3.00. That amount could be given for the poor. Together, that could add up! But the main thing is – we are to give to the poor. This contribution is made in remembrance of the 1/2 shekel given by the Israelites when the Temple still stood. The half-shekel is now being made in Israel again as we get closer to a new Temple.

This festival is a time of National pride – pride in Israel and pride in our true home – the Kingdom of God! We are only visitors here – this is not our home! Praise God! We can resist conforming to thi

A word about disguises:

It is customary to wear disguises on Purim. Esther was disguised. Her true identity was not revealed until it was necessary. Please consider at least a mask and/or a hat!

Yom Tov! See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka

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