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 …
Greetings and blessings with love dear sisters and brothers in Yeshua, Jesus, The risen King of kings and Lord of lords. May He be blessed and glorified, and may you be blessed and edified.
In this city, the place recorded over and over in scriptures as the place that God chose to put His Name, people are scrubbing.
For those of you new to this letter, the quickest way to understand the reason for the intense cleaning is to read Exodus 12. The very fact that Yeshua is referred to as “our Passover” and is The Lamb that takes away the sins of the world, having been pierced and broken and His precious Blood applied to our hearts, says to me that an intimate understanding of this holiday, the commands attached to it, and the thread that it represents throughout the Bible holds a key to wonderful promises, as well as a clearer picture of Him for each of us.
The Jewish people who don’t yet know Him, even walking in just the shadow of the promises, have great joy in walking this out before Him. We as believers, knowing Him who has fulfilled the full picture, can worship Him Who does ALL things well. I DO get caught up in the glory of it all.
Cleaning, scrubbing and replacing: When God told the children of Israel that NO LEAVEN SHOULD BE SEEN IN THEIR HOMES AT ALL during this feast…well…He opened the can of a million questions. What is leaven? This year, I will not go into this question, but I am certain that removing leaven from a tent thousands of years ago was probably easier then hanging out of the window of a third floor apartment to scrape out the cracker crumbs that your children dropped into the window casing, not to mention crumbs in the couch, every chair, the baby carriage, the plastic bags, the cracks in the floor, etc. Can you picture the panic?
Then there are LABELS to read – each and every one! What appears on the Rabbis list of leavened food this year that was not there last year? It is a particular challenge to the scrupulous. Those who are fearful and weigh their spirituality by a measurement of being the most clean. Many rabbis take to the airwaves admonishing young mothers to maintain an honest balance and to remember that dust is not leaven (in other words…calm down a bit) and to keep in the forefront that the cleansing of the heart before God is the most important thing.
Other ultra orthodox communities literally empty their homes of every item, putting it on the street, and teams of young and older men hose out the entire home. (Our younger daughter’s in-laws do this.)
The shuk is crowded with people purchasing new plates and cutlery, dish drains and garbage pails, pots and towels. They are not high quality and they will be replaced next year. Meanwhile, the pickings on the street are excellent. Some get a new ironing board or couch that someone else felt they couldn’t adequately clean; they will clean it and a need is met. People who need a new refrigerator or stove usually wait until Passover to get it so that they have a clean one ready.
Other people simply leave their homes and go to a hotel for the entire weeklong holiday, trusting the hotel’s cleaning staff (certified by a rabbi of course), thus sealing off their own homes. The rabbis also certify the food stores after each has done a thorough cleaning, sealing off with shrink wrap or another form of plastic seal, rows of items that are considered not kosher for Passover.
Last year I was at the market across the road from our apartment when the rabbi blew the shofar and certified the store as kosher for Passover. There was a joy present as the people smiled.
The Lord JUDGED THE GODS OF EGYPT (EXODUS 12:12 “For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.”) and in this manner, Israel remembers The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…WHO CALLED FOR THE PASSOVER LAMB.
Those who come to visit the land get to see MUCH more then I ever have, perhaps I should say different things. Maybe someday I will go on a tour and see and learn, too. I think it is wonderful that God has experiences for all who open their hearts to see that The Lord has done great things for us and displays His glory in so many ways.
A friend from Alaska is visiting here right now. She brought two others who have not been here before and we joined them for dinner this past Shabat (Friday night). The Friday-Saturday before a high holiday is called a Shabat h’gadol or a HIGH Shabat. It is celebrated with much seriousness and preparation of heart, and much joy. Our friends went to the Western Wall – considered the holiest place in Judaism (the only part of the original Temple still standing, where many go to pray and to place little papers with their prayers into the cracks in the wall. Many ceremonies are blessed there: bar mitzvahs, weddings, new babies, all sorts of events and consecrations.
They came back with this glowing report and although I wasn’t there to see it, I would like to share as accurately as I can recall. At the wall, they joined in the reading of the sidur (means “order of the service”) – a small book that is available in many languages and is an edifying compilation of Psalms and prayers to help the worshipper set their heart in order before The Lord on Shabat and before a holiday…or at the start or end of a day or whenever) on the “women’s side” of the wall.
My friend said that as they were praying these Psalms speaking of “you will rejoice and sing and shout for joy before me,” large groups of men, spontaneously broke out in song and joyful dance on the “men’s side” of the wall. (This would be the circle dancing typical of the religious.) They shouted praises to God as the sun went down and Shabat was coming on. Her description alone brought my heart to weeping.
It is happening. Hearts are hungry for Him. Oh may He come and reveal Himself NOW! At the Passover Seder that almost all will sit down to next Friday night…voices will rise and the ancient story will be told again around every table. This year may He come and reveal Himself. Will you pray with and for us? As believers celebrate the Risen Lamb, we have the great gift of prayer that avails much.
May His Presence be with each of you all in a new and deeper way as we all look to The Lamb and celebrate His miraculous deliverances, both personally and corporately AND look with anticipation toward those to come. May each of us encounter Him as He is and nothing less. I do so much appreciate each of you. Blessings to each of you.
your sis J