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 …
I greet you dear sisters and brothers, with the humbling knowledge that you and I have been freed from sin and forgiven by the kapara (atonement.) The Precious Blood of The Perfect Lamb has set us free from the Law. We are unworthy, and yet ever thankful to be one in Him for His glory. How beyond wonderful is that?
I told you in my last letter that I would try to describe the tashlikh practice, but we are also in the time of the kapara and so much is passing before my eyes and ears that beg to be described.
I told you that it was when I was meditating in Micah 7:18-20 that I realized the source of tashlikh, and that is indeed where it comes from. l simply copy it here and encourage you to research it further as it is very interesting:
Tashlikh (Hebrew: תשליךmeaning casting off) is a long-standing Jewish practice usually performed on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, although it can be said up until Hoshana Rabbah. The previous year’s sins are symbolically cast off by reciting a section from Micah that makes allusions to the symbolic casting off of sins, into a large, natural body of flowing water (such as a river, lake, sea or ocean). The name Tashlikh and the practice itself are derived from the Biblical passage (Micah 7:18-20) recited at the ceremony: “You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”
If you continue searching the word tashlikh in Google or another search engine you will find some beautiful prayers and deeper understanding of how many Jews become aware and burdened by the weight of their sins and truly seek forgiveness in so many ways. Yes, for many it is ritual and tradition without true soul searching, but for many others these traditions are doors through which they seek God’s provision for cleansing. I trust that He Who is Faithful can use these doors to lead many and finally all to Himself and His provision: Yeshua or Jesus.
Yeshua or Jesus is THE Kapara…THE Atonement…THE One provided by God The Father. It’s not the chicken or the money used in the rather strange kapara ceremony that took place all through the city today.
Kapparot (Hebrew: כפרות, Ashkenazi pronunciation, Kapporois, Kappores) is a Jewish ritual practiced by some Jews on the eve of Yom Kippur. The person swings a live chicken or a bundle of coins over one’s head three times, symbolically transferring one’s sins to the chicken or coins. The chicken is then slaughtered and donated to the poor for consumption at the pre-fast meal.
I recall seeing both of these rituals in NYC when I was a child. My Grandparents were Orthadox and although they died when I was small, I remember going with my father and grandfather to the synagogue. I must have accompanied them also both to the river for tashlikh and to kapara at one time. Of course, we now live in a modern world and these practices take place amidst more and more controversy every year, even in Jerusalem.
In past years I witnessed tremendous tenderness among the general population – an unusual kindness as they were actively seeking repentance. This year seemed different. People seemed edgy and hostile, quick-tempered with one another. I wondered what had changed. Maybe a certain fatigue had settled in with a frazzled hopelessness. It made my heart sad.
Today at the shuk (marketplace) I witnessed a scene that personified the situation.
A young Haradi man and an old religious man were entering the shuk area where the kapara is performed. A youngish women’s libber sort of lady with a sign on her back and another in her hand that she attempted to post at the entrance, approached them and said that the slaughter of ritual chickens was cruelty to animals, even though they are slaughtered by a butcher and the meat is given to the needy. For a short while they discussed the ritual versus animal rights, but it wasn’t too long before angry shouts replaced discussion.
As I continued along my way, my heart ached and I prayed for my people who were swallowing a camel and straining at a gnat again. While seeking forgiveness they were engaged in angry debate.
My mind flashed back to the night when they came for Yeshua. It was a similar night and a time of preparing the heart to worship and give thanks for the deliverance from Egypt and from the death angel through the obedience to the sprinkling of the blood of the lamb on Passover. While sacrificing the lamb and seeking to please God, they took HIM to HIS cross.
How often do I miss HIM while I strain at a gnat?
How often do I slaughter my sister or brother or my husband because I am right?
But I think back to the one ray of hope that I witnessed today. It was at work in the busy waiting room. There was an emergency among emergencies, and people who had already been waiting had to wait longer. Having worked there for 17 years now, there are many people whom I know very well and dearly love. One lady began to flatter me with much praise for my goodness and patience which I SO know are HIS and NOT mine.
I told her, “No no Na’ama! EVERYTHING good that I have and do comes from Elohim.”
She smiled as if to say, “Oh…and so you are humble too…”
So I went on and a boldness took over: “You know, I get up very early in the morning and I read the Tenach and the Neve’eem (Old Testament and Prophets). (No, I did not mention the New Testament as it would have been inappropriate just then to what was being said). I read them day after day in my mother tongue so that I can understand. Do you know that they are easy to understand? You can read them without a Rabbi.”
At this point several other patients began listening.
“You really can not read them day after day after day without a real fear of The Lord coming into you. The prophets teach us and warn us and tell us the way that we must walk before Him and when you look at that with your heart every day, and ask HIM to come into your bad heart and change it, He does share Himself with us.”
Suddenly something happened. I didn’t mention forgiveness but the answers shocked me.
Na’ama sighed and looked at both Mali and me. “Ah! But I find it so hard to forgive! I KNOW that I HAVE to forgive everybody everything but that is so hard. How can I forgive?”
Mali immediately agreed and said that she also needed to forgive and she KNEW that He required us to forgive. “But how can I forgive? It is just so hard!” Mali said.
Into my mind flashed that I can forgive others because I know the awful things that I have been forgiven, but these sheep don’t know that. No! They DON’T know the forgiveness yet of God, but they know that He requires them to forgive. Wow…they know that instinctively.
As I did the dishes just now and listened to the last news broadcast, they ended with slichoot (forgiveness) prayers sung. The announcer said, “And as we close for the last evening broadcast before the closing for Yom Kippur, we will leave you with the Slichoot prayer sung by − get ready…I kid you not − The Gospel Choir.”
I suspect that we are yet to hear the end of that one.
God bless and keep you. Perhaps you will join in prayer for Israel at this most special time when the people believe that the books of life and death are open and our names are written in one or the other. The traditional greeting − “G’mar hatima tova” (may you finish the fast with a good signature”) − takes on new meaning for us who know our names are inscribed in The Lamb’s book of Life. We are praying this inscription becomes reality for the still lost sheep of Israel. May this year ALL OF ISRAEL FINISH WITH A SIGNATURE UNTO LIFE.
your sis J