Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …
Blessings, dear sisters and brothers. May you be blessed and may The Lord Yeshua h’Meshiach be glorified and blessed.
Would you believe…PASSOVER ALREADY?
It happens very suddenly every year. One morning everyone is cleaning. The stores are getting a good scrubbing down. Buckets and a huge assortment of cleaning items take front and center stage in the shops on the sale aisles. Lines are longer and everyone’s shopping basket seems full of soaps and scrubbing items in all shapes and sizes.
I look at my calendar, still more then 2 and a half weeks away. None the less, as I look for my husband’s cereal, I see that it has already been quarantined and assigned to the “hometz zone” (leaven, not kosher for Pesach – Passover). It sits forlorn in a back aisle, joined by all sorts of other items that you might suspect had leprosy. They are not freshly dusted like every other item in the store. Taking their places, all shiny and dusted are rows of matzo, matzo meal, “kosher for Passover” cookies, cakes, candies, gefilte fish, horse radish, and on and on the rows spread.
The price wars begin. Chicken on sale for 4.90 shekels a kilo (usually 30), but tomatoes (a local staple) jump from shekel and a half a kilo to 9.80. I keep walking. The aisle is full of men and women like me who are wondering, “So what is kosher for Passover THIS year?” Yes, it does change from year to year according to what the rabbis decide.
And little wonder.
When I arrived at work on Thursday, I asked my boss how the lecture that he attended the previous night at the synagogue went. “Oh, it was VERY interesting,” he told me enthusiastically. “We discussed the nature of hometz.”
Now, according to MY (perhaps unlearned) reading of the Bible, “hometz” is leaven…period. Being a simple housewife, it seems to me that leaven is something that you ADD to a food to MAKE IT RISE. That is not the definition according to different streams of Judaism. Many people define ANYTHING that can be MADE to rise as “hometz,” which then includes rice, corn, flour, beans, etc. The list grows l-o-n-g and gives way to much philosophical discussion.
My boss continued, “So, if water added to flour causes it to rise, WHAT IF someone drops some flour into the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee – our main drinking water reservoir in the country), does the Kinneret become “hometz” and we can not drink the water?”
I stared at him. Not biting my tongue soon enough I said, “When a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise? This kind of philosophical questions drove me crazy when I was a kid!” NOT a constructive thing to say to a man who considered this a serious question of religion.
I thought of Yeshua’s statement that “they strain at a gnat and swallow a camel,” remembering that these same wise men have deemed baking soda as kosher for Passover. How THAT works I will never understand! I am NOT saying that I know more then the rabbis. Many pearls of wisdom have been shared by these often very learned men. But standing with Yeshua we ask to see through HIS Eyes and to let this mind be in us which is in Him. I often grieve at how the traditions of men and the reasoning of men can divert from the beauty of His Way.
AT ANY RATE, tradition aside for a moment, Passover IS the most important date on our calendar. The more that I read through the Bible, the more I am struck with the fact that the Passover appears to be the pivotal event from Genesis through Revelation. I say Genesis because the SEED of the Exodus was already planted in the days of Joseph or even Abraham. I say Revelation because it IS the full revelation of Yeshua and His ultimate reign in all of the heavens and earth, that is the goal. Christ, our Passover, Messiah, The Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. The Blood of the spotless Lamb that liberates ALL slaves and sets the captives free and delivers us from the angel of death himself.
And from Genesis to Revelation we are commanded to REMEMBER.
It has really taken me all of these years to begin to see the beautiful golden thread that weaves together command after command to REMEMBER The Hand that brought us OUT to bring us IN. I am just beginning to see it and yet even in this small beginning, it has become too BIG to describe and I find myself wordless.
If you have never done a word study of Passover, I encourage you to grab a concordance or a computer concordance and simply read ALL of the verses, praying first for The Holy Spirit to begin to open to you the magnitude of what The Lord did, is doing and will do. He uses this one event as a lesson and an example of Who He is and His plan for each of us on both the personal level and all the way to His world plan.
I have been asking Him to open my understanding so that when I sit down at the seder table, some of the awe of what He is telling us to re-tell and re-member will overwhelm me and help me be re-newed in my first love.
One of the things that I have been thinking about this week is how Passover is replete with separation. Separation by Blood, by Cloud and Pillar of Fire, by leaven, and by law. Separated “from” and separated “to.”
Ok. This is “portion 1” and may it make you hungry to dig. I am hoping to share more of the traditions as they are carried out here in Jerusalem: what I observe; see with my eyes and hear with my ears and WISH you could smell with your noses, but I must stop for now.
In the midst of all of this, have you heard what is going on with the peace process here? It is for me a crucial area of prayer: Lord help us! May He overrule the plans of men. May He LAUGH at them.
Thank you for letting me share a glimpse into a way of life that has remained much unchanged for 3,000 years or more. I must go, but send you MUCH love,
Your sis, J