12.30.2011

On Evil

There is a truth evident in scripture that many are reluctant to accept - one that most believers would rather not even contemplate. It has the power to turn a friendly discussion into a fierce debate. Because of this, I warn you - if you would prefer to remain calm, if you would rather not read something absolutely infuriating, make haste and click your way right out of here. For those intrepid souls who remain, however, read on. Do remember, though - you've been warned.

“I form light and create darkness, I make well-being [good] and create calamity [evil], I Am the L-RD, who does all these things.” ~ Isaiah 45:7

12.29.2011

Yes, that's my father.

Sol Finkelstein had no idea what happened to his father.

In 1945, just days before liberation at Mauthausen concentration camp, Sol and his father were separated, and Sol never saw him again.

Sol's family contacted The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in hopes of finding more information about his father. What happened next was one of those extraordinary series of events that will remain with his family forever—and Sol graciously allowed the Museum to capture it on film.

12.28.2011

Q&A

Q: Are you here, G-d?

A: I AM.

Q: Where?! I can't see You...

A: Where I told you I would be. Look directly in front of you.

Q: But I still don’t see You!

A: You’re looking right at Me.

12.19.2011

Why Hanukkah?

The Feast of the Dedication, the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah starts tomorrow night! With a number of friends who don't observe things quite like we do, and with some family, co-workers, and neighbors who remain rather unconvinced, the Hanukkah question is on many lips each year. I never tire of answering it, however, as my love and appreciation for this joyous holiday deepens as time goes on. I have many reasons for this sentiment, too - some of them spiritual, others personal. It's usually the spiritual ones that I end up sharing with my believing (or unbelieving) loved ones, though.

It often disturbs others to learn that Yeshua, too, must have loved Hanukkah. In John 10:22, we find Him in the Temple for the Feast of the Dedication - which is interesting as Hanukkah is not one of the biblical holy days Israel was commanded to observe. Yeshua's presence there indicates that He adhered to the cultural traditions of Judaism, as well as the biblical ones. Still, this lone, New Covenant passage is not convincing enough for most, no matter how enthusiastically I expound on it, and that's when a deeper perspective is offered - one of dedication, transformation and grace.

12.16.2011

Christopher, meet G-d.

Christopher Hitchens, devout atheist (or "antitheist", as it were), journalist, literary critic, editor, and author of numerous titles, including God Is Not Great, was forcibly summoned into the presence of the Great and Eternal One yesterday afternoon. He was 62. Hitchens said that one, "could be an atheist and wish that belief in god were correct," but that "an antitheist, a term I'm trying to get into circulation, is someone who is relieved that there's no evidence for such an assertion." Yes, this man, known for his vast intellect, was "relieved" that there was "no evidence" for the existence of G-d. I imagine he found himself a bit more anxious Thursday evening. Hitchens also said, before he passed, "redemption and supernatural deliverance appears even more hollow and artificial to me than it did before." It has been reported that Hitchens was working on a book on the Ten Commandments - this from the man who, in God Is Not Great, wrote, "Very importantly, the divorce between the sexual life and fear, and the sexual life and disease, and the sexual life and tyranny, can now at last be attempted, on the sole condition that we banish all religions from the discourse. And all this and more is, for the first time in our history, within the reach if not the grasp of everyone." It's too bad we lost this charming fellow.

As if being an ardent "antitheist" weren't enough, Hitchens, who was Jewish (matrilineally), fancied himself a fervid Anti-Zionist, as well - a terrific example of how one mode of ignorance informs the next. He once said, "I am an Anti-Zionist. I'm one of those people of Jewish descent who believes that Zionism would be a mistake even if there were no Palestinians." While he maintained that the Israel-Palestine conflict was nothing more than a "trivial squabble" that has become "so dangerous to all of us" because of  its "faith-based element.", he viewed Zionism "as an injustice against the Palestinians" and once said, "I have never been able to banish the queasy inner suspicion that Israel just did not look, or feel, either permanent or sustainable." How gravely mistaken and misguided this man was - about a great many things.

12.15.2011

He sees


It would be an understatement to say that this world, the Creation of the Eternal One, is indescribably, and inconceivably complex. From the trillions of atoms that comprise the billions of cells that form the incalculably elaborate structures of your eyes - the very organs you're using to read these words - to the vast oceans, the unexplored forests, and the inhospitable deserts - paved with more than a decillion microscopic jewels, we can see the incredibly creative hand of Adonai. And we see His creativity, sometimes even His humor, everywhere we look. He has hand-signed every piece He's ever designed. If we seek Him - truly, G-d is not difficult to find.

But what does He see? How does He perceive His own Creation?

12.14.2011

Tikkun

KOEOY Media - Tikkun Poster

UPDATE: Tikkun prints are now available in 16x20 format.
They're full color on matte paper and turned out beautifully.
Mail me (koeoy.blog[at]gmail[dt]com) for details if you'd like to purchase one.

12.12.2011

Digging Discipleship

I can't think of anything better for you to read today than this excellent series from Darren Huckey on discipleship - Becoming a Disciple of Yeshua , Retaining the Message of Yeshua and Are We Misunderstanding the Message of Yeshua. In this series, Darren is unearthing so many essential principles that I'd have to consider it mandatory reading for all those who desire to progress from a believer in Yeshua to His disciple. While they're each essential reading, if you only have a minute, start with this one - awesome stuff, to be sure.

Darren, if you're reading this, thanks so much for putting the time into sharing your perspective and ideas on this with us all. Yasher koach, brother!

12.09.2011

On that Day

"Behold, I am about to make Yerushalayim a cup of stumbling to all the surrounding people. The siege of Yerushalayim will also be against Yehudah. On that day, I will make Yerushalayim a heavy stone for all the nations. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves - though, all the nations of the earth will gather against it... On that day, the L-RD will protect the inhabitants of Yerushalayim, so that the feeblest among them, on that day, shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like G-d, like the angel of the L-RD, going before them. And on that day, I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Yerushalayim.

12.05.2011

Sulam

"Jacob's Ladder" Albert Houthuesen 1966 
What might it have sounded like?

11.28.2011

Pure

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called sons of G-d! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are sons of G-d; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. ~ 1 John 3:1-3

11.22.2011

Dwell

"And for the house of Israel there shall be no more a briar to prick or a thorn to hurt them among all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the L-rd G-D. Thus says the L-rd G-D: When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and manifest My holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they shall dwell in their own land that I gave to my servant Yakov. And they shall dwell securely in it, and they shall build houses and plant vineyards. They shall dwell securely, when I execute judgments upon all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I Am the L-RD their G-d." ~ Yehezkel 28:24-26

11.17.2011

Will vs. Way

I’ve had a few discussions recently with a Christian friend that have really caused me to boil things down a bit - bringing those ethereal and spiritual ideas we accept without hesitation into the lens of someone who is unable to accept them, or perhaps, has never heard such things. It seems that there are a great many out there who desire to know G-d, His "will for their life", and to walk in what He has planned for them - some even hoping to find a believing spouse, but they reject the concept of the Word of G-d being directly applicable to their lives in any real, tangible way. To them, it's like the U.S. Constitution. They know it's out there, and they're vaguely familiar with what it says, but they're certain it doesn't say anything that directly pertains to their life today. This perspective troubles me greatly. If you don't feel that becoming one with HaShem, subsequently purging the influence of this darkened world from your heart and mind is G-d's "will for your life" and that He has provided us with instructions on how to do just that, I don't know what else there is to say.

I've found, in these recent conversations, that it's beneficial to completely re-approach the idea of who Yeshua is, what He has shown us, what He accomplished, what He has enabled us to accomplish through Him. While, depending on your audience, this can be painstaking, it is completely necessary. Because so many Christians have been programmed to shut down at the mention of anything they perceive to be "legalistic", I have to explain that I'm not advocating adding “works” or any similar notions to the salvation that has been freely provided us through Yeshua - but then ask, what has He saved us to do? Equally, I’m not a proponent of putting on a show to persuade someone into adopting my belief system – as some try to suggest Shaul was doing - but then ask, how do we do our "works before men so that they might glorify our Father in heaven", as we are instructed by our Master?

11.10.2011

Hold fast.

Thus says the L-RD: "Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon My salvation will come, and My deliverance be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil." Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the L-RD say, "The L-RD will surely separate me from His people"; and let not the eunuch say, "Behold, I am a dry tree." For thus says the L-RD: "To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, who choose the things that please Me and hold fast My covenant, I will give in My house and within My walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. "And the foreigners who join themselves to the L-RD, to minister to Him, to love the Name of the L-RD, and to be His servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast My covenant, these I will bring to My Holy Mountain, and make them joyful in My House of Prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a House of Prayer for All Peoples." The L-rd G-D, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, "I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered." ~ Yeshayahu 56:1-8

11.07.2011

His Face

"For just a moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing anger for a moment I hid My Face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you," says the L-RD, your Redeemer. "This is like the days of Noach to Me: as I swore that the waters of Noach should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but My steadfast love shall not depart from you, and My covenant of peace shall not be removed," says the L-RD, having compassion on you. ~ Yeshayahu 54:7-10

In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. If anyone gathers against you, it is not from Me; whoever stirs up strife and attacks you shall fall because of you. ~ Yeshayahu 54:14,15

10.31.2011

One Dark Step

Palestine becomes member of UN cultural body



PARIS (AP) — Palestine became a full member of the U.N. cultural and educational agency Monday, in a highly divisive move that the United States and other opponents say could harm renewed Mideast peace efforts. U.S. lawmakers had threatened to withhold roughly $80 million in annual funding to UNESCO if it approved Palestinian membership. The United States provides about 22 percent of UNESCO's funding.

Huge cheers went up in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization after delegates approved the membership in a vote of 107-14 with 52 abstentions. Eighty-one votes were needed for approval in a hall with 173 UNESCO member delegations present. "Long Live Palestine!" shouted one delegate, in French, at the unusually tense and dramatic meeting of UNESCO's General Conference.

While the vote has large symbolic meaning, the issue of borders of an eventual Palestinian state, security troubles and other disputes that have thwarted Middle East peace for decades remain unresolved. Palestinian officials are seeking full membership in the United Nations, but that effort is still under examination and the U.S. has said it will veto it unless there is a peace deal with Israel. Given that, the Palestinians separately sought membership at Paris-based UNESCO and other U.N. bodies. Monday's vote is definitive. The membership formally takes effect when Palestine signs UNESCO's founding charter. The U.S. ambassador to UNESCO, David Killion, said Monday's vote will "complicate" U.S. efforts to support the agency. The United States voted against the measure.

Israel's ambassador to UNESCO, Nimrod Barkan, called the vote a tragedy. "UNESCO deals in science, not science fiction," he said. "They forced on UNESCO a political subject out of its competence. They've forced a drastic cut in contributions to the organization," he said. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton last week called UNESCO's deliberation "inexplicable," saying discussion of Palestinian membership in international organizations couldn't replace negotiations with Israel as a fast-track toward Palestinian independence.
____
Associated Press writer Angela Charlton contributed.

10.27.2011

Sorrow & Simplicity

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” ~ Albert Einstein

There really are so many things in life about which to be concerned. Our personal lives and walks with G-d, the ever-growing complexities of current events and global turmoil, the pain and suffering we see every day and the limitless depravity of mankind - all these things, and so many more, constantly compete for our concern. Even the believer that has built their house on the truth of G-d's Word can sometimes encounter seemingly insurmountable obstacles or experience paralyzing despair in the face of life's many challenges.

When we allow encroaching shadows to envelop the light, we can forget where we are and eventually lose our way. In life's darkest times, it helps tremendously to focus our cares on the simple truths that HaShem has placed in our hearts. Our various aspirations and goals, while often rooted in healthy ambition, can overwhelm us in seasons of adversity. Meditating on the simplicity of G-d's love for us has the power to restore hope and peace to our beleaguered souls. When we seek the calibration only G-d provides, His priorities become our own. His peace becomes our strength. In this spiritual winnowing, the Ruach HaKodesh breathes a calm focus into our now quieted and attentive hearts.

If there is one thing we know about Rav Shaul, it's that he had a great many things to deal with in life. Harsh persecution nearly everywhere he went, feelings of alienation from many leaders in the Jewish establishment, and the burden of being responsible to grow Messianic Judaism and shepherd congregations throughout the known world, surely weighed heavily on his shoulders. In Romans 9, he spoke of a wish he had. The word "wish" seems somewhat lighthearted to us today, though. It was more of a incredibly deep, heartfelt plea - one borne out of terrific stress, unyielding anguish, and an indescribable love. He appears to have felt somewhat powerless to change this situation - and his mind began to entertain the unthinkable. Somehow, in Shaul's despair, he actually wished that he could be cut off from Yeshua in order to bestow salvation to Israel. He wished that he could, literally, be damned so that they might be saved.

"I am speaking the truth in Mashiach. I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Ruach HaKodesh - that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Mashiach for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of Torah, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is Mashiach Yeshua who is G-d over all, blessed forever. Amen." ~ Romans  9:1-5

10.24.2011

The Walk

Romans 8 is one of the most beautifully informative and tragically misunderstood passages in the writings of Rav Shaul. Too often, it seems, many believers tend to equate its idiom of “walking after the Spirit” to be living a self-determined, boundary-less adventure. They're comfortable handling the things of G-d however they like – nestled in some nebulous state of "freedom" – while they often view those “walking after the flesh” as living according to regulations, legalism, and the commandments of G-d. In this errant rendering, Yeshua died to end the standard, rather than lived to provide us one. This misunderstanding can largely be traced to the text of Romans 8, where many have mistaken an exposition on how we cannot, in our flesh, measure up to the holiness of G-d's instruction - or obtain salvation based on our own merit - to mean that we are not to, in the Spirit, pursue the holiness of G-d's instruction - walking righteously before HaShem.

The spiritual life of "make it up as you go along" and "do what (spiritually) feels right" is somehow made superior to the legalistic life of simply adhering to the commandments of G-d – even though, our Master, Maran Yeshua, lived in complete obedience to the instruction of G-d, and further, instructed us numerous times to do the same (Matt 5:19, 19:17 & 23:3, John 14:15, 21 & 15:10). This "no rules" misreading, I believe, is nothing more that a vestigial perspective from the era when gentiles usurped the fledgling Messianic faith, and eventually, seeking to distance it from Judaism, severed theological ties with its basic tenets and Torah appearances. Bolstering the distorted framework that enables this chasm between what we clearly read in the text and what many have been taught, is a time-honored tradition - and one that has been so tenaciously maintained, and for so long, that many are completely unable to perceive its existence, much less, error.

Having come to understand Romans 8 differently, it is apparent to me that the “walking”, the halacha, is non-negotiable. You either walk after the flesh or after the Spirit, but still, you must walk. You must adhere to the commandments of HaShem. The question is, how do we “walk”? How do we keep G-d’s teaching? Do we keep it according to His will, through His Spirit – allowing Him to live out His holy life through us? Or do we tend to walk things out in our own flesh – picking and choosing what we will obey, deem necessary, important, “outdated”, “legalistic” or “done away with”, in direct contrast and disobedience to His Spirit? Further, do we keep Torah to somehow obtain our own salvation or standing before G-d - or do we keep it because our Master did and commanded us to be a light to this darkened world? Yes, everyone walks - some with HaShem, some in the wrong direction, and some in the right direction, but without ever reaching the destination that their loving Father has prepared and intended for them.

"If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love." ~ John 15:10

10.23.2011

I never knew you!

Maran Yeshua said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'L-RD, L-RD,' will enter Ha Olam Haba, but those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that Day, many will say to me,`L-RD, L-RD! Didn't we prophesy in your name? Didn't we expel demons in your name? Didn't we perform many miracles in your name?' Then I will tell them to their faces,`I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!' ~ Matityahu 7:21-23

The Greek word that is translated in verse 23 as "lawlessness" is anomia - which is basically, "no law", but not simply. This word, like many Greek words, has an unspoken depth. It is sometimes translated as "iniquity" or "unrighteousness", but is best defined as: the condition of being without law - either because one is ignorant of the law, is guilty of violating the law, or possibly, even holds contempt for the law.

This passage has always astounded me, but not nearly as much as peoples' reaction to it. The tendency of many to overlook what is being said can be likened to attempting to gaze past an enormous mountain while standing at its base. Yeshua speaks an extremely challenging message here. He speaks of someone who is actively pursuing the things of G-d. This person cries out, "L-RD, L-RD!" - the repetition implies emphasis and is used by Yeshua to illustrate sincerity on the part of this person - one who also prophesies, casts out demons, and performs other miraculous works in His name. This is not a casual believer being described, and notice that Yeshua doesn't take issue with their statement. He doesn't deny that this person has accomplished many miraculous works. He simply says, very boldly and to this person's face, that He never knew them and that they must get away from Him. He says that they have worked as if He never gave them any law. Apparently, "lawlessness" is the only blemish on this believer's accomplished record. This is, perhaps, one of the most sobering passages in all of scripture, in my opinion. We would do (more than) well to pour over it, (really) pray about it, and examine our hearts (and actions) concerning it.

Where do we stand? What do we do with the Torah of Yeshua - the commandments of HaShem? Do we make the will of HaShem our highest priority? Does He know you?

10.18.2011

1 = 1,000

Gilad Shalit is finally free! 
Baruch HaShem!!!

"Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, 
I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life."  
Yeshayahu 43:4

10.17.2011

The Secret Jews


While Jews being forced into hiding during the reign of totalitarian regimes is nothing new, who would've imagined that many Arabs today are concealing their Jewish ancestry - practicing the faith of their fathers in secret - away from the watchful eyes of Islamic leadership and PA factions? Still more fascinating is that this has been going on for quite some time, apparently.

10.13.2011

Chag Sukkot Samech!


In lieu of any information on SukkahCity 2011, please enjoy revisiting SukkahCity 2010 - especially if you're unfamiliar with last year's incredible exhibit - where the sukkah was "reimagined and renewed". I was a bit surprised and disappointed to not find a continuation of this innovative project this year, especially with all of the entrants and awesome concepts introduced last year. If anyone knows anything about this year's exhibit, please let me know.

At any rate, I wish you and yours a very blessed Sukkot - as you gaze at the stars from beneath the branches.

10.11.2011

5772

It would be an understatement to say that beginnings are important. Looking back at my past successes and failures, it is evident that the systems or plans in place at the beginning of an undertaking usually foretold the outcome. The likelihood that I would miss the mark and fail in an endeavor or achieve my goal was often spelled out at the onset. If only I had paused to perceive the signs and taken the necessary steps, I would've been much more fruitful in times past.

5771 was a tremendous and eye-opening year. I was blessed with a new job, started this blog (which has already seen over 3,000 visitors in just a few months) and I've made some great connections with others in our community. I have been blessed to learn much from so many in a brief amount of time. I've gained many new understandings concerning the things of G-d, as well as been made aware of myriad areas in which I need to improve personally and gain further understanding still. When I consider the things I failed to accomplish this past year, the foundational issues are obvious. Beginnings are so very important. G-d is merciful, though, and I thank Him for continuing to work on, in and through me. What an exciting time!

5772 has had a great beginning so far. I've experienced an enormous benefit from introspection during the Yamim Noraim - unlike any year prior, in fact. G-d has shed His light on the depths within me and the parts I've long concealed. He has made me more conscious of my sin and even dissolved relationships with others that were apparent impediments to my growing closer to Him. While I didn't understand this at first, and endured some degree of pain in resisting the process, I'm now so very thankful for His impartation of vision and nurturing hand in my life. As is readily seen in the entirety of scripture, HaShem creates by division. Time from eternity. Light from darkness. Land from water. Woman from man. His people from all the earth. He separates to accomplish His more glorious end - and it's to our utmost benefit to perceive His methodology and embrace His direction.

The supernatural - that which is above the physical realm - permeates all and absolutely. The natural is contained within the supernatural - not the other way around. In other words, the supernatural is not only above the physical, natural realm, but below it, around it - enveloping it completely. We perceive only what we're able to see, hear, touch, smell and taste - failing to realize that physicality is actually contained within, suspended, and affected by that which we are unable to perceive - the metaphysical. As a fish that is completely surrounded by water, and guided by its various currents, is able to find sustenance, opportunity, benefit and community - while remaining very much oblivious to the water itself - so are we surrounded, suspended even, in the supernatural realm - so much so that we are unable to see it. We may swim - and swim well, but who can truly say which outcomes are derived of our own efforts and which of the current that sweeps us all along? The supernatural permeates, supports, and manifests all reality. It is the flow, the tempest, and the tide. Let us, this year, move that much closer to true perception of the realm in which all others are contained - that in which we live, and move, and have our being.

9.28.2011

L'Shana Tovah!

L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu!
A blessed Yom HaZikkaron, Yom Teruah, and Rosh HaShanah to you all. 
May HaShem inscribe you and seal you for a tremendously blessed and sweet new year.

9.20.2011

Face to face

The Malakh of HaShem found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And He said, "Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai." The Malakh of HaShem said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit to her." The Malakh of HaShem also said to her, "I will so greatly multiply your descendants that they cannot be numbered for multitude." And the Malakh of HaShem said to her, "Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ishmael; because HaShem has given heed to your affliction. He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen." So she called the name of HaShem who spoke to her, "You are El who sees me"; for she said, "Have I really seen G-d and remained alive after seeing Him?" – Genesis 16:7-13

Then Yakov was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when he saw that he did not prevail against Him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Yakov's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, "Let me go, for the day breaks." But he said, "I will not let you go unless You bless me!" So He said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Yakov." And He said, "your name will no longer be called Yakov, but Yisrael; for you struggled with G-d  and with men, and have prevailed." Then Yakov asked Him, saying, "Tell me Your name, I pray." And He said, "Why is it that you ask about My name?" And He blessed him there. And Yacov called the name of the place Peniel (Face of G-d): "For I have seen G-d face to face, and my life is preserved."  - Genesis 32:24-30

9.08.2011

The Sages on The Servant

Moses ben-Maimon, Maimonides (1135-1204) wrote to Rabbi Jacob Alfajumi: Likewise said Isaiah that He (Messiah) would appear without acknowledging a father or mother: “He grew up before Him as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground” etc. (Isaiah 53:2).

Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b: Rav said: The world was created only on David’s account. Samuel said: On Moses account; R. Johanan said: For the sake of the Messiah. What is His [the Messiah’s] name? - The Rabbis said: His name is “the leper scholar,” as it is written, Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him a leper, smitten of G-d, and afflicted. 

Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b: Messiah... what is His name? The Rabbis say, “the leprous one”; those of the house of the Rabbi say: “Cholaja” (the sickly), for it says, “Surely He has borne our sicknesses” etc. (Isaiah 53:4).

Targum Jonathan (4th Century) gives the introduction on Isaiah 52:13: “Behold, My servant the Messiah...” 

9.05.2011

The Forest Lion

"But you, Beit-Lechem near Efrat, so small among the clans of Y'hudah, out of you will come forth to me the future ruler of Isra'el, whose origins are far in the past, back in ancient times.  Therefore he will give up Isra'el only until she who is in labor gives birth. Then the rest of his kinsmen will return to the people of Isra'el.  He will stand and feed his flock in the strength of ADONAI, in the majesty of the name of ADONAI his G-d; and they will stay put, as he grows great to the very ends of the earth; ... Then the remnant of Ya'akov, surrounded by many peoples, will be like dew from ADONAI, like showers on the grass, which doesn't wait for a man or expect anything from mortals.  The remnant of Ya'akov among the nations, surrounded by many peoples, will be like a lion among forest animals, like a young lion among flocks of sheep - if it passes through, tramples and tears to pieces, there is no one to rescue them.  Your hand will be raised over your enemies; all your adversaries will be destroyed."

Many refer to this passage from Micah 5 for it's indication of the birthplace of Mashiach, Bethlehem, and rightly so, but there is so much more contained within it. 

8.31.2011

Now!

"Yonah the Prophet had to suffer a tempest at sea and three subsequent days in the belly of a whale before he woke up and returned to Hashem with all his heart. Must we also, Heaven forbid?

As I'm writing this article, flood waters are rising in New York City despite the fact that Hurricane Irene has been degraded to a tropical storm. And, on the other side of the Atlantic, rockets fired from Gaza are still falling in the South of Israel, despite the fact that there's supposed to be a ceasefire.


Despite the fact... Are we starting to understand that we don't run the show? Is anyone foolish enough to see that our fate is not in our own hands?"

8.21.2011

Raise Your Hand.

This is what the L-RD G-D said, "Look, I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles and raise my sign to all the people. They will bring your sons, carrying them close and they will lift up your daughters upon their shoulders and carry them. Kings will be your caring fathers and queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down their faces at the sight of you and lick the dust from your feet. Then you will all know that I AM the L-RD. Those who wait for Me will not be ashamed." ~ Isaiah 49:22-23

Yeshayahu 49:22,23 graphically illustrates how the nations will, because of a miracle (nes) that is raised before them by the hand of G-d, carry Israel back to her land – and humbly nurture the People of G-d in that place. Then, and this is important, "you will all know that I Am the L-RD”. Who is “you”? “You” refers to Israel, of course. When will Israel know who the L-rd is? We can see from the sequence - only after this event takes place is His identity revealed. After G-d raises a miracle in the sight of the nations, they will be motivated to care for the Jewish People, carrying them back to their land. After which, they, Israel, will know who the L-rd truly is. Since the nations have, in effect, been carrying Israel back to her land for decades, are we to believe that the sign raised by the hand of G-d to the nations is Messiah Yeshua? I certainly believe so. But is there more to this prophecy? The humility described here on the part of the nations is rarely seen today. Is there yet another miracle G-d will work before gentile eyes? One that will humble them even more? One that will make the truth of G-d's plan for world redemption an inescapable reality for all? Or have the nations simply missed what was already shown to them? I believe that there may be more shown to the nations. With the current state of world markets and global turmoil, it would be absolutely nothing for G-d to raise His hand and unleash a series of eye-opening events. Perhaps this "hand raising" is a multi-faceted revelation spanning an unknown number of years. At any rate, there are already gentiles who would love nothing more than to humble themselves and assist Am Yisrael any way that they could. Many have been for decades.

8.15.2011

Five

"Five things brought about the redemption of the Israelites from Egypt: 
(1) The sufferings of the people 
(2) their repentance; 
(3) the merits of their ancestors 
(4) the expiration of the time fixed for their captivity 
(5) the mercy of their G-d. 
These same causes will operate towards the realization of Israel's Messianic hopes and lead to the last redemption through Messiah." ~ Deuteronomy Rabba 2

8.09.2011

Three

"Here is the secret of two names combined which are completed by a third and become one again. 'And G-d said Let us make Man.' It is written, 'The secret of the L-rd is to them that fear him.' (Psalm 25:34). That most reverend Elder opened an exposition of this verse by saying '"Simeon Simeon, who is it that said: 'Let us make man?' Who is this Elohim?"' With these words the most reverend Elder vanished before anyone saw him... Truly, now is the time to expound this mystery, because certainly there is here a mystery which hitherto it was not permitted to divulge, but now we perceive that permission is given."

8.04.2011

One

"Hear, O Israel: The L-RD our G-d is one L-RD." Deuteronomy 6:4

Rabbi Menachem of Recanati (1250-1310), in writing his commentary on the Shema, describes, in a similar fashion to some of the other writings we've looked at recently, the mysterious Unity of the G-dhead. In writing about this mystery, he concludes, "These are secrets which are revealed only to those who are reaping upon the holy field, as it is written 'The secret of the L-rd is with them that fear Him.'" (Psalms 25:14).

Rabbi Menachem then wrote:
"Hear, O Israel, the L-RD our G-d is one L-RD." This verse is the root of our faith, therefore Moses records it after the ten commandments. The reason (that there is said YHWH, Lord, Elohim, our God, and YHWH, Lord) is, because the word Shema does not here signify "Hear;" but "to gather together, to unite," as in 1 Samuel 15:4, "Saul gathered together the people." The meaning implied is; The Inherent-Ones are so united together, one in the other without end, they being the exalted G-d. He mentions the three names mystically to indicate the three exalted original Ones."

8.02.2011

One, Three, Five

When they encountered the textual oddity of the plural word Elohim, which is used thousands of times in Tanakh to refer to HaShem, the Sages seemed well aware of the divine revelation of the unified G-d. This mysterious moniker has long been understood by the Sages, as evidenced particularly in the Zohar, to express the various faces of G-d.

The Zohar utilizes five different expressions to refer to the principle of the Unified G-d, or Adonai Echad. They are the tlat rishin or three heads, the tlat ruhin or three spirits, the tlat havayot or three forms of revelation, the tlat shmehin or three names and the talta gvanin, or three shades of interpretation. These Aramaic terms are understood as G-d’s “being”, just as some might use the terms g-dhead, Unity or Trinity in English.

The Zohar (pt.II) asks: “How can these three be One? Are they One only because we call them One? How they are One we can know only by the urging of the Ruach Ha Kodesh and then even with closed eyes.”
The humility expressed here in approaching this mystery “with closed eyes”, or in humble faith, is beautiful, and something of which we would do well to take note.

7.28.2011

PS2

"The wicked try to improve on one another in their acts of wickedness. Cain killed Abel. Esau sought to improve on Cain, who killed his brother whilst Adam was yet alive to beget another son instead of Abel; he would wait till his father died, then he would kill his brother, so that he alone might inherit everything. Pharaoh thought Esau's scheme did not go far enough, because whilst Esau was waiting he allowed Jacob to raise up a family of his own; therefore his design was an improvement on Esau's: better kill the Israelites' males at their very birth; the women would then be intermixed with the Egyptians, and thus Israel would be entirely obliterated. Haman criticized Pharaoh's wisdom, and decided upon the policy of making a clean sweep of all the Jews without distinction of sex. Gog and Magog ridiculed all their predecessors in iniquity, and taking into account that the Jews had a Protector in their Heavenly Father, thought of attacking G-d Himself." ~ Midrash, Psalms 2

7.26.2011

Cold Feet

In Matityahu 14:23-33, we read that Yeshua walked on water. Water. The stuff of oceans, lakes and wave pools. A thirty-something carpenter, presumably no light weight, accomplished the absolutely unthinkable. Surely, His body still possessed all the mass it had when He walked on land. Yet, somehow, He was able to suspend the known effects the human body has on water (namely, to displace it) and kept it solid, so to speak, beneath His feet. That is absolutely amazing to me. Admittedly, I've taken the details of that event for granted most of my adult life. Assuming that I would never possess the ability to walk on water myself, and believing there probably wasn't much of a lesson here, I've tended to relegate this event to the category of "stuff Yeshua did just to be amazing".

Perhaps, even more amazing than that, though, is the fact that Kefa did it too. Kefa wanted so intensely to be just like His Master. We can safely assume that Kefa had never before walked on water. Chances are he hadn't discovered the secret to this astonishing feat in his free time. I don't think he could have even imagined being able to suspend the known effects the human body has on water - but his Master was doing it, and He was calling him out to do it, too. In this moment, Kefa realized that Yeshua chose him because He believed that he, as His talmid, could be just like Him. While we don't see any hesitation on Kefa's part to step out of the boat, I'm certain that he, for a split second, thought back to all the things he witnessed his Master doing over the last year or so. With all this in mind, and fueled by faith, Kefa stepped out believing that Yeshua could hold him up. He'd keep him afloat no matter what.

7.18.2011

..and their lies.

Darkness now descends on your internet experience, intrepid reader. The following are a few excerpts from Martin Luther's "The Jews and Their Lies", which I prefer to think of as "The Jews" and "their Lies", as in the Jewish People and the lies that rush forth so effortlessly from the mouths of their many enemies. What you will read is the script directly from ha satan, but it must be beheld, and its many historical effects comprehended, in order to even begin to understand Jewish/Christian relations today. Church, behold the words of one of your most beloved "fathers".

7.15.2011

The Irrelevant Drunkard

In speaking with James, of Morning Meditations, I said, "James, you’ve asked an excellent question: “If Jesus was/is Jewish and he lived and taught in a manner completely consistent with the Judaism of his day (which would include Rabbinic rulings and halachah), how can you be a disciple of “the ultimate Rebbe”, and yet disdain people who are Jews?” And it should be a rhetorical one, but sadly, there are many out there who would try to answer it. From my experience, it seems that many Christians, and even some Messianic Gentiles, so to speak, “love” Israel because “Jesus” was born there. It’s like they’re sticking up for His “hometown”, in a sense. They really don’t (and probably can’t) have a handle on how Mashiach relates to and fits into Rabbinic Judaism – and aren’t even conscious that anything is missing in their perspective. For the average Christian, if I may say, Israel is precious to the extent that it serves as a harbinger of the return of “Jesus”. Its existence and people are a timepiece pointing to heaven, rapture, etc and little more. They “love” the concept Israel much like they “love” the concept “Jesus” – which, while it surely sounds harsh, is probably more about a “what’s in it for me?” attitude than a grasp of the “big picture” purpose of Israel in the earth – understood as G-d’s magnificent plan for redeeming humanity through the Jewish People, their faith, and ultimate blessing, the Mashiach Nagid."

7.14.2011

Durban III



I just had to share this tremendously important, and very well done, video rather than what I had planned for tonight. The information it contains is absolutely astonishing - and it's something of which we all need to be aware. It's basically a call to arms from the Israel Now campaign, which is spear-headed by the awesome Calev Myers, of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, who I had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago when he spoke at our synagogue. The campaign seeks to raise awareness concerning the upcoming Durban III conference in New York. I needn't say much besides please watch the video - twice. The information moves so fast, you might miss just how serious all of this really is if you only watch it once. Whether you're planning to attend or not, please forward this video on to others. It just really needs to be seen.
Thanks guys. Leilah tov.

7.13.2011

Israel Forever

In my previous post, I announced the launch, so to speak, of KOEOY Media. This is something borne of my strong desire to see more creative presentations in Messianic Judaism. I'm very passionate about equipping others to be more effective in reaching the world with the truth of Yeshua Ha Mashiach, as well as the unrivaled importance of Israel and the Jewish People in the purposes of G-d. In order to communicate this message well, I believe we need two things; one is accurate, life-changing teaching and two, the most creative means to present it. Now, tonight will see the first installment of KM - the Israel Forever design packs. If you're just joining us, you can read a bit more about what all this means, or could mean for you, in my previous post fittingly titled: KOEOY Media. For those of you who already know what's going on, or enough to get started, let's do just that!

I'd like to first explain the concept behind the Israel Forever design packs:

7.12.2011

KOEOY Media

Some of you may have noticed that I've been a little preoccupied recently. My posts have been a bit brief, but I've done my best to keep the conversation going. Behind the scenes, though, I've been wrestling with a few secret projects, so to speak. The first of which will see the light of day tomorrow evening, actually.

7.11.2011

Reappearing Light

"The perpetual light in the Mishkan was typical of the light of King Messiah." ~ Leviticus Rabba 31

"As you brought Me the perpetual light in the Temple, says G-d unto Israel, so will I bring unto you Him, Messiah, who is the personification of light, 'the sun of righteousness' promised through Malachi."
~ Midrash Tanhuma Tetzava

"The great gifts of G-d, of which Adam was deprived by reason of his sin and fall, light being one of them, will all be restored through Messiah, who will appear from the North and rebuild the Temple in the South." ~ Numbers Rabba 13

7.08.2011

Food for Thought

Rabbi Simeon said, "If three have eaten at one table and have not spoken words of Torah there, it is as if they had eaten sacrifices offered to the dead, for of such persons it is said, for all tables are full of filthy vomit, they are without the All-Present. But, if three have eaten at one table, and have spoken words of Torah there, it is as if they had eaten at the table of the All-Present, blessed be He, as it is said, this is the table before the L-RD." - Mishnah: Avoth 3:3

7.06.2011

No Secret

It's no secret that there are those who would prefer the pasukim that comprise Yeshayahu 53 to be solely concerning Yisrael. While this chapter does concern Israel, it's not in the manner that these folks are comfortable with. They would prefer Yeshayahu 53 to feature Yisrael as the subject, but it is clearly speaking prophetically of the suffering Servant, the Mashiach of Yisrael. Now, there are no shortage of arguments against this very plain interpretation of the text, but they can all be laid to rest in the face of some old fashioned common sense. Let's take a quick look. I promise not to keep you too long.

7.04.2011

Reappearing Love

"When King Solomon speaks of his 'beloved,' he usually means Israel the nation. In one instance, he compares his beloved to a roe, and therein he refers to a feature which marks alike Moses and the Messiah, the two redeemers of Israel. Just as a roe comes within the range of man's vision only to disappear from sight and then appear again, so it is with these redeemers. Moses appeared to the Israelites, then disappeared, and eventually appeared once more, and the same peculiarity we have in connexion with Messiah; He will appear, disappear, and appear again." ~ Numbers Rabba 11

7.03.2011

Of minim and men


I understand this video is somewhat older as far as internet videos go, but it's so eye-opening and I haven't seen it featured in too many places. I'm sure there are still quite a few people that haven't yet seen it. It saddens me greatly to think of how Israelis who accept the Messiah of Israel are treated in the Land of Israel. I don't post a video like this one to add fuel, but simply to make those aware that may not be. If it isn't something you pray about regularly already, it's helpful to be reminded of this very important issue.

6.27.2011

Akoloutheo moi.

Still moving slowly from waking so early, you fasten your tattered awning and struggle to prepare your display. The newly risen sun rouses the color from the stone walls as you admire all the fresh produce you have to offer. The quiet streets soon spring to life as morning shoppers venture out for the freshest ingredients. While a few new faces are sometimes seen, it's usually the same local patrons day in and day out. This day seemed a bit different, though. It was only a moment ago that you noticed a curious young man as he made his way down the center row of the bustling marketplace. His manner of dress indicated that he was a Jewish teacher and he had a few young men walking beside him, seemingly asking questions. A slightly larger group of people followed close behind and a few more trailed at a short distance. The teacher raised his hand, as if motioning for the men to pause for a moment. He then crouched down to speak to an elderly beggar. He gently lifted the man up off the pavement. The way they embraced, you assumed they knew one another. Moments later, as the teacher winds through the narrowing rows, you see that a considerable number of people have begun to surround him. Three of them are singing. The young men accompanying Him are able to navigate the small crowd, but the teacher has chosen to stop and speak to a middle-aged woman who is crying. Soon after, he is moving closer to your stand. This is your chance. You hastily organize your fruit and vegetables. Surely someone from the approaching throng will make a purchase - your first of the morning. As the teacher, the young men accompanying him, and the crowd nears, you're discouraged to see that none of them are carrying produce, meat or textiles of any kind. Apparently, they're not in the marketplace to shop. What are they doing here? Causing a commotion and blocking your stand from potential customers, that's what! If you don't make enough sales today, you and your daughter won't be eating tonight. By now, the teacher is only a few stands away and the clamor has grown into a dull roar. About ten people are now singing - loudly. Some other men stand off to the side, shouting what sound like curses at him, but he pays them no mind. Within the writhing mass of followers, a few men start pushing each other in order to get closer to the young teacher. One man holds an infant over another man's head, trying to get the teacher to notice. Just then, as the colorful mass of people and sound parades past your stand, the teacher glances over and locks eyes with you. He instantly changes direction, He's coming closer. Swiftly. You immediately reach down, grabbing some pomegranates to offer him as his shadow falls across your hands. You lift your head and there he is, standing directly in front of you. He's gently clutching your arm. His face is so close that you can hear his breathing. Someone is blowing a shofar, but the cacophony of the crowd is completely inaudible for this split second. Every sound around you is eclipsed by the pounding of your own heart. As you stare right into his face, he says just two words, "Follow me." A wave of warmth thunders through your entire body, though you're enable to move a muscle. It's as if a blazing torch is suddenly thrust into the face of a statue. You're absolutely speechless, even as a swarm of thoughts races within your head. "Follow him where? I don't know him! Is he crazy? I'm holding my breath - Breathe! What about my daughter? Who are these men with him? Where will I sleep? I haven't any money!"

6.24.2011

Mishkan Among Us

"Seeing in his spirit of prophecy that the time would come when the משכן, 'Mishkan' (the Sanctuary) would cease to exist and the Shekinah would dwell no more in Israel's midst, Moses was anxious to know by what means the sins of his people would then be expiated. The Almighty vouchsafed the information that He would choose a righteous man from their midst, and make him a משכן (pledge) for them, and through him their sins would be forgiven." - Exodus Rabba 35

6.23.2011

Revealed in Ruth

"The fourteenth verse in the second chapter of Ruth is thus explained. 'Come thou hither' is the prediction of Messiah's kingdom. 'Dip the morsel in the vinegar,' foretells the agony through which Messiah will pass, as it is written in Isaiah (cap. 51), 'He was wounded for our sins, He was bruised for our transgressions.' 'And she set herself beside the reapers' predicts the temporary departure of Messiah's kingdom. 'And he reached her a parched corn' means the restoration of His kingdom." - Midrash Ruth 5

6.22.2011

Good Fruit

"There is a different proceeding in picking out the bad from the good or vice versâ. If one wishes to remove the bad from the good, one usually does it in just one attempt; while if the good are picked out from the bad, one is, as a rule, not satisfied with just one attempt, for one is eager to find more and more of the good, so he reverts to seeking out more, in the hope of finding more good worth selecting. Thus the Holy One, blessed be He! in selecting Israel from the heathen, is continually looking forward for more of other nations to be brought under the wings of the Shekinah." - Numbers Rabba 10

6.19.2011

40 years

I never knew, for 40 years, that Jesus was not His real name. I did not know, for 40 years, that His real name is Yeshua. I did not know, for 40 years, that Yeshua is the "Word of God made flesh". Ten years ago, I learned my Savior is Jewish, He lived Jewish ways, kept His own holy festivals, walked and talked in His Father's commandments and commanded us to imitate Him. The traditions of the christian world is not the traditions that Yeshua kept. Even if they are blown out of proportion, the man made holidays that the world keeps do not belong to our LORD, and He never kept them. So if we want to be like Him, let us keep our Father's traditions that He gave us. They tell us of who Yeshua is, and what He has done, and what He is going to do in the future. I would rather spend one day in the courts of HaShem than a million in the palace of those who do away with all His traditions and keep those of any other god. Annette

Just like you, I lurk. And while lurking around some Messianic site (I believe it was an FFOZ page), I came across this comment left by "Annette", who I assume to be a woman with a typical Christian background - someone who learned about the Messiah completely in a "sanitized" Gentile bubble. Apparently, this bubble, void of a holistic, Hebraic understanding, enveloped her view of Messiah for the majority of her life. It saddens me that this seems to be the case for so many. So many years of scripture not quite making sense. So many years of missing out on all the beauty and meaning of the heritage Yeshua loved. So many years of not knowing His name. I know a lot of people were up in arms when The Passion of the Christ came out and I can understand why, but I was so excited about the world hearing the Messiah being referred to by His actual name, Yeshua. I mean, millions of people all over the world heard His name for the very first time when they saw that film. It makes me wonder how many studies commenced after the credits. How many people, in countries all over the world, went home and were unable to look at scripture the way they had before?

6.17.2011

New Moon

"And it will come to pass, 
that from one new moon to another, 
and from one Shabbat to another, 
all flesh will come to worship before Me, 
says the L-RD."

~ Yeshayahu 66:23

6.16.2011

A Prophet like Moshe

"The L-RD your G-d will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you,
from your brothers – it is to him you shall listen."
~ Deuteronomy 18:15

The only verse in Torah where Moshe refers to himself as a prophet has long intrigued many. It's an interesting verse, to be sure. Islam, for example, claims it as a prophecy of their "prophet", Muhammad - though it clearly says that this coming prophet will be from Yisrael. We're only able to glean a few things from this passage. This coming prophet will be Hebrew, he'll be "like" Moshe, and we should listen to him, apparently. That doesn't tell us very much. Or does it? Let's take a look at a few of the characteristics that set the life of Moshe apart.

A quick overview of Moshe's life reveals that he was, in fact, a Hebrew (Exodus 2:1) and was sent by G-d to redeem Yisrael (Exodus 3:10). That, already, is a pretty tough act to follow. He was born to faithful Jewish parents while they were under foreign rule (Exodus 1:8). While he was an infant, his life was threatened by an evil king (Exodus 1:16) and, because of this, he was supernaturally protected by G-d in Mitzrayim (Exodus 2:10). Later, as an adult, Moshe turned down power and the opportunity to rule an earthly kingdom (Exodus 2:15). Instead, he chose to remain a humble servant of G-d (Numbers 12:3) and became a shepherd (Exodus 3:1). He was rejected (at first) by his own people (Exodus 2:14 & 32:1), but later accepted by Gentiles (Exodus 2:21). He was a teacher (Deuteronomy 4:1) who revealed the name of G-d, but was criticized by his own family (Numbers 12:1). Moshe performed miracles and gave people bread from Heaven (Exodus 16:12), but at one point, he, himself fasted forty days in the wilderness (Exodus 34:28). He bravely offered his own life to G-d for the remission of the sins of Yisrael (Exodus 32:32) and he was a mediator between man and G-d in a covenant of blood (Exodus 24:8). His face shone with the glory of Heaven (Exodus 34:35) and He saw G-d face to face, unlike the other prophets (Numbers 12:8). Moshe sent 12 spies into the land (Numbers 13:3) and later appointed 70 elders (Numbers 11:16). Moshe lifted a serpent in the wilderness to bring G-d's healing to the people (Numbers 21:9). Because of his obedience, the Torah was given 50 days after Pesach. Strangely, there were 400 years of silence before G-d sent Moshe to redeem his people. Moshe conquered the Amalekites, the greatest enemy of Yisrael, by raising his arms, which held a piece of wood, over his head (Exodus 17:11).

Even for an overview, that's quite a list of unusual and incredible attributes for one man's life. How could anyone possibly be like Moshe? I mean, one could try to be like him, but how could they control what happened to them as an infant, or arrange such amazing interactions with G-d Almighty? Most of us would be doing something spectacular if we could achieve any of these things, besides being "criticized by our family". Was there ever a person with a life even close to that of Moshe?

6.15.2011

Wait

Zion says, "The L-RD has forsaken me. My L-RD has forgotten all about me. But G-d says, "Can a woman forget the child that she nursed, would she show no compassion to her own son? Even if she could forget, I could never and will never forget you. Look, I have carved you into the palms of my hands. The walls of your city are always in front of me." ~ Isaiah 49:15-16

6.14.2011

The Immortal Jew

Concerning the Jews
(an excerpt from the article published in Harper's Magazine, 1898)

"If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race*. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in the world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?"

6.13.2011

Emblem of Eternity

"The Jew is that sacred being who has brought down from heaven the everlasting fire, and has illumined with it the entire world. He is the religious source, spring, and fountain out of which all the rest of the peoples have drawn their beliefs and their religions. The Jew is the pioneer of liberty. The Jew is the pioneer of civilization. The Jew is the emblem of eternity." ~ Leo Tolstoy

6.10.2011

Baggage Claim

Understanding of the notion I've posted about today varies greatly among believers. This could only be the case within an enormous, international group of people with such diverse backgrounds, experiences, worldviews, and beliefs. The degree to which it would be accepted would vary much less, however. I understand this completely - and at the risk of offending most that identify with the term “Christian”, I'd like to present an idea that many would surely consider abhorrent, possibly even satanic, but definitely, completely un-American. Sound interesting?

6.09.2011

Agree to disagree

How is a Haredi Jew who insists that a Jew who believes in Yeshua is no longer a Jew, but rather a Christian, any different from a Christian who insists the very same thing? Both of these people are in complete agreement about little else besides this - that a Jew who believes in Yeshua as the Messiah of Israel, the One promised for centuries through myriad prophecies, prophecies given to the prophets of Israel, prophecies fulfilled to exacting precision by Yeshua, in the land of Israel - a Jewish person who believes in Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah (who came to redeem Israel) can no longer be Jewish. By and large, both of these parties agree on this. I find that terribly interesting and I'll explain.

6.07.2011

Tikkun leil Shavuot


 “Torah can truly be experienced only when studied with all of one’s soul.
For Torah to truly be studied, it must be studied at night.
Therefore, someone who wants to merit the crown of Divine Wisdom should be conscience every night
of their life to immerse themselves in the study of Torah and higher consciousness.”

- Rambam, Maimonides
The Path to Study Torah, 3:12,13

..................................

He came to the disciples and found them sleeping,
and He said to Kefa, "So, could you not watch with me one hour?
Watch and pray so that you do not enter into temptation. 
The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

- Yeshua Ha Mashiach, Creator of Rambam (and everything else)
Matthew 26:40,41

6.06.2011

The Approach



We have traveled so very far in darkness, but now we discern Your dwelling place before us. We humbly approach Your glorious mountain, as You lovingly approach our ravished hearts. We have come from the cold and barren lands to the green of Har Sinai and the warmth of Your living fire. Our legs thrashed, our feet broken, but hope in You fills our minds, our hearts, our eyes. As You extend Your Arm to give, we extend ours to receive. Through valley and over precipice, the journey has rendered us breathless - fill us with your Ruach. Your breath. Your Spirit, L-RD. Renew us in Your Light.

6.05.2011

Bible Quiz

I'm so proud of my 8 year old daughter, Shalom. She's really taken to the scriptures in recent months - and it's been her idea! We've read to her since birth, but lately I've been finding her somewhere reading scripture alone or she'll ask me a random question about something she's recently read. So awesome! It's a very important (and happy) time for me as her dad and I really couldn't be more proud of my little cupcake... er, future scholar.

Today I thought to quiz her. It was the first one so nothing too tricky - just a little messianic prophecy from Dani'el with a dash of the presence of HaShem. Y'know, kids stuff. Thing is, my 8 year old daughter figured out something in about 15 minutes that most Jewish scholars haven't in a lifetime. Did I go too easy? Better ramp it up - Bat Mitzvah is only 5 years away.

6.03.2011

The Rosh Pina Project

I want to pass along an amazing online resource I'm very excited about. I've looked for something like this for years and it wasn't until, the always informative, Judah, of Kineti L'Tziyon, posted about it that I realized my search was over. The Rosh Pina Project, "an alternative look at Messianic Jews", describes itself as "an online meeting place for Messianic Jews and all those who believe that Messianic Jews deserve fair treatment in Israel and the Diaspora, and protection as a religious minority in Israel." As noble a mission statement as that is, RPP is so much more. Joseph and Gev will keep you up to date on all the issues that matter most. They feature thought-provoking articles (on everything from apologetics to current events), video interviews, book reviews, plenty of wit and very lively discussions - even the occasional KOEOY post may appear. But I want to reiterate - the discussions can, and often do, get very lively. Nearly everyone that visits RPP has their stuff together and a slightly different view on the topic being discussed, but that's what makes it so great. That, and the fact that it is frequented by many detractors of the Messianic Movement. Because of this, you will learn a lot very quickly and find yourself engaging in real life, high-stakes conversations with Haredim, Chabadniks and other like-minded folk. It's challenging, edifying and just a wealth of knowledge thanks to the many educated people that comprise the community. I've already found quite a few people that I thoroughly enjoy reading.

I think its importance to our community cannot be overstated, but I highly recommend you go see for yourself.

6.02.2011

White Mirror

In my recent post, Black Mirror, I spoke about our reluctance to look within ourselves - to avoid examining our heart and motivations, and how they contrast with the Word of G-d. I'd like to continue by discussing the possibilities of transformation in our decision to not only look upon what G-d lovingly reveals to us about ourselves, but also the benefit in committing those things to memory in the event we find ourselves walking away.

"Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in that they do."
James 1:23-25

Notice that the very first principle to grasp is that of listening leading to actually doing something. We listen to the Word and it causes (or should cause) us to then do, to react in some way. Those that hear and do nothing are compared to someone who sees himself in a mirror and immediately forgets what he looks like. Which, if you experienced such a thing, it would the sign of a serious problem. The idea here is that the truth of Torah will convey a message of refinement. It will speak to something that needs to be purified or repaired. To walk away from that and forget about what was revealed, what needs to be improved, would be the sign of a serious problem, as well.

6.01.2011

Yom Yerushalayim

URGENT
From: Air Force Commander 050800
To: All Units

The Egyptian enemy has risen to exterminate us. The IAF, the clenched fist of the IDF, received the order to lead the battle. And so begins the third leg in the battle for our survival.

As in 1948 and 1956 the enemy is coming from all directions.
The spirit of past heroes goes with you into battle. Let the memory of Joshua, King David's warriors, the Maccabees, and the soldiers of the 1956 Sinai war, be the source of your inspiration. They will give you the strength to crush the Egyptian enemy who threatens our nation. With a decisive victory we will secure peace for ourselves, our children and future generations.

Soar and swoop down on the enemy, bomb them to rubble, remove their fangs, and scatter them in the desert so that the People of Israel may live eternally secure in their homeland.

General Mordecai Hod


!!!הר הבית בידינו

5.31.2011

Black Mirror

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; Then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known." I Corinthians 13:12

In this life, the most difficult thing to face is not G-d, but ourselves. We will look in any other direction, for any amount of time, rather than spend one minute looking within. It's nearly impossible to look upon ourselves, illuminated by G-d, who reveals the things about us that we would never be able, or choose, to see on our own. He is able to show us more about ourselves than we could ever want to know because, having created every single one of us, He knows us completely. Not in the way we know ourselves, which is in part. He fully knows us.

5.30.2011

Impaired

Father, blind me. Take my sight. Remove these scales I've called eyes. Cause me to see Your creation as You see it. Make me to stare, focus and wince at the things You do. Let the only light that enters my eyes be Your own. Let it fall on my face like rain. Let it illuminate going in and reflect going out. And let me see the world to be.

Father, deafen me. Fill my ears with the sound of the shofar, the voice of many waters, rocks crying out, and Your call, with which You wake the dead. Withhold from me frequencies that interfere with Your own and render me deaf to the gentle beckoning of those outside Your path. Let me hear Your cry for Your sons and daughters in a way that I will not forget.

5.27.2011

Hurry, my Redeemer!

Hasten, O Friend divine, to Your House serene. We may have strayed from the right path, but we have paid the price in every type of pain. You L-rd are our defense and hope. Each day we wait for Your grace to redeem us and make us a watered garden.

Hasten, O Friend, to our sacred temple. Our sins have mounted high, but see us bound in chains. You are our Holy Redeemer. To You we bring our earnest plea to turn to us in favor and make us free.

5.26.2011

Hurry, my Love!

Hasten, O Friend divine, to the city of Your presence. Though we have broken Your covenant, return in mercy to the temple of Your love. Fulfill the promise of deliverance. Renew Your city in joy. Make her an object of rejoicing once again.

Hasten, O Friend, to Your temple of peace. Though we have strayed from Your path, look upon us with favor and help a people afflicted and harassed. Make an end to anger. Shelter them beneath the wings of Your love.

5.25.2011

Hurry, Friend!

Hasten, O Friend divine, the time of our love's renewal. Return to us in mercy. The wicked kings of the heathen lands have all but consumed us. Uproot and destroy them from our midst. Restore Your city and make us a people of song again. May the hour of our Redeemer draw near.

Hasten, O Friend, the time of redemption promised by the prophets. Lift from us the darkening shadows. Raise up and exalt a people that have long known insult and bestow on them wisdom, to teach and to cleanse the many nations. Reveal Your saving might. Proclaim the hour of redemption.

5.24.2011

Ha Achor

In the previous post, Ha Ayin ("the eye"), we looked at a few of the amazing events in the lives of Avraham and Yakov. These were life-changing (and name changing) encounters with G-d. As we've seen, the text is clear that these instances are not like Enoch "walking" with G-d, Adam hearing the "voice of G-d walking", or G-d appearing as a pillar of cloud. Rather these are physical, tangible manifestations of Adonai where He ate, spoke plainly, and even wrestled - all without smoke, fire, lightning, sounds of rushing water, or wheels within wheels - as everyday as hanging out with the Creator of time-space can be. We, therefore, have every reason to believe that G-d is able to manifest Himself any way that he likes and, in times past, on multiple occasions, He chose to appear in bodily form. But don't take my word for it.

In today's post, Ha Achor ("the back"), we'll explore a few passages from the incredible life of Moshe. G-d seems to have genuinely enjoyed astounding Moshe with His amazing power. The miracles G-d wrought before Moshe's eyes are well-worn territory and fairly common knowledge, even among non-believers. But, with all that is commonly known and has been discussed for centuries concerning Moshe's life, it's surprising to still hear claims that G-d is completely incorporeal. As we'll see, this couldn't be further from the truth.

5.23.2011

Ha Ayin

As I offered in yesterday's post, Ha Yamin ("the right hand"), G-d longs to be with us. He chose to fulfill that desire (and His plan for our redemption) by manifesting Himself physically, in our dimension and in our form. Today, I'd like to expand on that idea and show that His appearing in the form of a man in the Brit Chadasha, was not an isolated instance. There are a great many who are unable to accept the idea of G-d taking the form of a man, namely Yeshua of Nazareth, because of their understanding that G-d is simply unable to do so. Can you blame them? G-d has no body, right?  Even if He did, in Exodus 33:20, G-d tells Moshe that he couldn't see Him and live. What's going on here exactly? Let's look at some occurrences of G-d revealing Himself to men in the Tanakh and see what we find. I don't intend this to be exhaustive, but there are just a few passages I'd like to point out. We'll start with Avraham, as his seems a fitting beginning, only here, he is still Avram for a moment.

5.22.2011

Ha Yamin

Of G-d's many unfathomable attributes, there is one which we can surely comprehend. His desire to walk among us is unwavering. He longs to be with us every moment of our lives - to lovingly guide us in His paths - not to restrict us, as we've come to understand restriction, but to protect and provide for us. This desire consumes Him and it always has - so much so, that He gave up absolutely everything that He is, as incalculable as that may be, to take on our form, our frailty, and fellowship with us face to face. He chose to reduce and restrict Himself so that we might be increased and given liberty. Liberty from slavery (physically and spiritually), liberty from not knowing the One who created us, liberty from a future void of mercy, from a destiny without promises, and from a life without hope.

5.20.2011

Dear Church

This is a call to the Church, those that would call themselves disciples of The Master, those who do not want to be ashamed at His appearing.

5.19.2011

Pure Golda

In light of today's troubling events, I'd like to turn the blog over to Golda Meir - one of Israel's founders, its fourth Prime Minister, and an absolutely amazing woman.

"How can we return the held territories? There is nobody to return them to." - news reports, 3.8.69

"There were no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist." - Sunday Times 6.15.69 & The Washington Post 6.16.69 

"Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us." - to the Washington Press Club, Washington DC, 1959

"We don’t thrive on military acts. We do them because we have to, and thank G-d we are efficient." - Vogue Magazine, 1969 

"This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by G-d Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy." - Le Monde, 10.15.71

5.18.2011

Today's Special

We are commanded to be salt and light. We are told that if we have become ineffectual, like salt that has lost it's savor, we're good for little more than to be trampled underfoot. We are commanded to reveal our light before men - not conceal it - and to be cities atop hills, illuminating the shadowy valleys below. I want to do that - and I want to learn from others that are doing it - it's why I'm here. Unfortunately, many don't share this sentiment (and a few of them have internet access) so I took my e-mail off my profile. As much as I'd prefer that folks post in the comment section (so that we all might learn something from it), some insist on "questioning" me privately. Few of these things are in the form of questions, though. Still others post comments only to delete them a few hours later. Why would you do that? Thing is, I would still relish it if they were actually seeking a discussion, but it's less enjoyable if they just envision themselves as part (or head) of some theological task force. For the sake of the light, I'd like to take just a minute to address a common misconception that stems from that centuries-long slow drift that needs to be cleared up. I'll make it brief.

5.17.2011

Repeat after Ruth

"Do not urge me to leave you or to turn back from following you. For wherever you go, I will go. And wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people and your G-d will be my G-d. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the L-rd do this to me, and even more, if anything but death should ever separate you and me."

~ Ruth, the Moabitess to Naomi, her Jewish mother-in-law (Ruth 1:16-17)