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 …
As Shabat fades into the first night of the new week, (our days are counted from sundown to sundown) I greet you in The Name of Him Who has already walked this week and knows what lies ahead. May He hold us close to His heart as we walk hand in Hand with Him. What assurance to know that we don’t know what lies ahead, but HE DOES…and He can handle it.
Tu b’shvat (the 15th of the month of Shvat) is upon us now. I sat before Him in His Word and He dealt faithfully with my heart and I thought how well it fit in with this celebration. The what , how, and why Tu b’shvat is celebrated can be checked out here. The “how” is easy on the surface: we eat fruit (for some reason, particularly dried fruit -probably because only winter fruits are readily available right now) and we plant trees, particularly fruit and nut bearing trees.
This morning, while reading in Haggai, I looked at a verse one way and He suddenly riveted my eyes to the opposite direction with His Light exposing an area of my heart. He pressed me to the floor with His Words: “A sanctified (holy) you is not a dead you…it is still flesh and stinks. It is a counterfeit.” In other words: DIE TO SELF is still the name of the game and my eyes were being lulled to sleep. I am SO thankful for the faithfulness of The Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin and for giving us the great gift of REPENTANCE. OH THANK YOU YESHUA. HE is faithful.
And so, what does this have to do with Tu b’shvat?
I thought about dried fruit and dried hearts. And I thought about trees and roots and plantings and wheat and tares and sweet fruit and disappointing fruit and then I suddenly remembered that it was Tu b’shvat. This is a Shmita year (a sabbatical year when we do not plant in the ground: every seventh year) and well, YOU tie it altogether.
And I have stored up some “only in Israel” stories to share when I had a moment. Deep breath!
I had to chuckle and think several times over the past few weeks as I wondered how to graciously share this story with you. In the midst of so many weighty events, this is a lighter one. I think that it falls under the category of “Peace between Jews and Arabs on the kindergarten level.”
I have often told you over the years about “my beggar”…Mohammed by name. He and I go back 17 years already and I have watched his children grow up. I had a hand in turning him from a being full fledged beggar into a salesman of sorts. When I first began to work at the doctor’s office, Mohammed would come around and beg for a hand out. Everyone else would flee the room and I was left holding the bag.
I soon found that the more that I gave him, the more he wanted. He was NEVER thankful. I prayed for him and thought about him a lot. I have shared many stories about him over the years: how I taught him to be thankful…how I encouraged his children to use their education toward a job…how I gave them Bibles in Arabic and prayed that their children might read them etc. Mohammed and I are the same age and after 17 years I look forward to seeing him every Friday. I worry when he doesn’t show up. He brings me vegetables now and although I’m not sure where he gets them, I’m always thankful and he smiles broadly.
So I worried about him and his family when the weather turned cold. I had reason. “Tachtunot…arbeem vay arba…” he said to me. This was an unusual request that took me aback: “Women’s underwear, size 44.”
I WOULD have been indignant, except I felt The Holy Spirit’s nudge and felt He said to me: “His wife is cold and he trusts you with this request.”
I told him that I would do my best. Since our sizes are different (small, med, large, etc), it took me a few tries. “These are too small,” he told me the first time.
He began coming back daily and I found myself seriously shopping for underwear for a lady whom I’d never met.
“These are too large,” he told me with some urgency the second time.
I was running out of funds now, but this lady was cold. I felt like Goldilocks.
The order then changed: “My wife needs 6 pairs.”
Gulp! I prayed some more. “Lord, please help me find the right size.”
Back downtown I went yet once again in search of size 44 and six of them.
Thursday I handed him the latest package. I saw him go outside and check them out. He smiled and took off. Friday he returned with the prettiest radishes I’d ever seen. They fit. Mission accomplished. Bridges between warring peoples were built. One lady was more comfortable in the cold weather, but they are not yet safe in Him.
I’m thankful that God cares about beggars. Perhaps you would want to pray for Mohammed and his family? I wonder if he will retire before me….
Speaking of not yet safe in Him, that is exactly how I felt as my husband and I went to a shiva on Monday night. I’ve explained before that a shiva is the seven day period of sitting in mourning for a loved one. Although the particulars differ between background cultures, the fundamentals are the same. Some sit on the floor, some on hard seats. Food is brought and set around for all who enter and for the mourners to remember to care for themselves. Most cut their shirt with a rip along the neckline. Soft shoes or slippers are worn. The people come and come and you are not left alone except to rest.
David Landau was famous. I knew that of course, but didn’t know the half of it. His family were patients at the doctor’s office where I work and soon my husband became his only barber. He was editor of the Hebrew ultra liberal newspaper, H’Aretz, and later became editor of their English edition. A rare combination of deeply religious, Zionist Jew while being an extreme liberal left wing zealot, he was a fiery intellectual giant bigger then life. He was a lawyer, author of many books including Ariel Sharon’s biography. His beautiful, gentle wife and I often laughed about what an odd couple her husband and mine made, lovingly raging against one another. My husband is a non-verbal man, being dyslexic, and David was a man of words and The Word. David and my husband adored one another.
Then David, a year younger then we are, got brain cancer. A few months back, the Queen of England knighted him for his life’s achievements, such a great honor for him. He came to my husband to have his hair cut before leaving for England.
The Prince asked him, “Who trimmed your massive beard?” He joyfully told him my husband’s story.
As we sat in his impressive apartment with his widow, surrounded by books, paintings, weighty achievements of life, the apartment filled up with important people. The movers and shapers of today’s paths. My heart wept. None of this is eternal. None of it counts for eternity or saves us from eternal darkness. All of that passion against the dying of this life, and yet no real Light from The Way, The Truth and The Light.
What can I do to share Him here in this day and season before another grave opens up? I am not afraid to share, but I AM afraid to share if it will only make me feel better, as if, “well, I did what I could.” And yet it hardens rather then softens a heart. And so I pray for fruit, I pray for harvest, I pray for a zealous heart full of The Holy Spirit that will prevail on high and with man.
I found a pivot point to prayer in an odd place. I was walking to work and saw two elderly women across the street walking in the opposite direction. One was rather bent over and had a tan shawl around her shoulders. I was startled by the odd way my eyes saw it, as if there was a large arm tenderly draped around her. It so startled me that I asked The Lord about it and found myself praying on Tuesday morning in a way that I NEVER have before: for a general group of the elderly lonely and uncomforted.
I don’t generally pray for amorphous groups, but this one took on the face of the woman in the shawl. How He leads us down different paths, but more and more my question before Him is: Where is the FRUIT Lord? Oh, I don’t want to beat the air. TEACH ME TO PRAY, AND PRAYING, TO REALLY PRAY!
Our election campaign gets nastier and nastier. Anti Semitism in Europe in particular is epidemic. Isis groups emerge on all of our borders and within. “Not by might, nor by power, but BY MY SPIRIT SAYS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY”…”shouting grace, grace, unto this mountain” (Zechariah) It will not be by human will that we survive, nor that we bare fruit.
You know, I write this letter boldly and bare-faced because I believe I’m writing to like minded sisters and brothers, also desperate for Him and to behold His glory. May we be made fit for The Master’s use in these days. I send you much love. God bless you and thank you for your prayers…particularly as our guests begin to arrive. May He be glorified and may we finish the work that He has for each of us.
Lovingly, your sis in Jerusalem,