“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears (2 Tim 4:1-3)
Greetings with grace and mercy in The Blessed Name of our Lord, Yeshua h’meshiach, Who has come and is coming again. May He be blessed and glorified and may we be made fit for His use. May you be blessed and encouraged.
Today is the Hoshana Raba – many praises – the LAST day of the Feast of Sukkot. The last day of the three fall feasts as prescribed in Torah. BUT DON’T LET THAT DECEIVE YOU!
Tomorrow is Simchat Torah, The Joy of Torah, a most wonderful day marking the end of the cycle of reading the first 5 books of the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) for the year and the beginning again of the cycle. The end of the book of Deuteronomy is completed and the prescribed reading will begin again with Genesis 1.
The prescribed readings are called the parashat h’shavouah or the weekly portion, and they are on each calendar, newspapers, just about everywhere that a date is printed.
Simchat Torah is that wonderful day when the Torah scrolls are brought out of the synagogues and into the streets with singing and dancing. Each congregation brings out their own scrolls and parade them through the streets with blessing and joy. The Torah – The Word of God – held high and danced around with reverence and joy. One day The Living Word will be recognized in our midst.
It has been an intense time, this season of seasons. It always is. The city is filled to overflowing with visitors from over 100 nations to take part in the many Christian conferences, meetings, convocations and celebrations connected with the Feast of Tabernacles. Others come on their own just to see.
Jews from around the world come to take part. Schools and many work places are closed. Sukkas are built in apartments, courtyards and on the sidewalks. The streets are packed and at the same time so are the nature reserves, the parks and beaches. The country becomes a big belegan – a pot of spaghetti – thrown up in the air and having as much fun as possible. Some of you have been a prat of the Jerusalem March, a huge colorful and joyful parade through the center of Jerusalem that greatly encourages the citizens who always leave with a wonder that in the midst of it all there really are supporters who love us. I have in the past watched the encouragement rise of the faces of spectators whom I stood by. It is tangible.
I recently remembered writing from my sukka one year. It was the year that I was so deeply impacted by the gift that God had given us in these appointed feasts. It was during the very height of the last intifada and we were weary from terror and blood running in the streets, funerals and grief. NEVERTHELESS, WE HAD TO STOP AND CELEBRATE! I remember sitting in my flimsy sukka with material walls and branches for a roof looking at the stars so high above and suddenly realizing this gift. NO MATTER WHAT, WE WERE TO STOP AND REMEMBER GOD. We are so small and HE IS SO BIG! War? Yes, BUT GOD IS BIGGER! Death? Yes, but HE HAS CONQUORED THE GRAVE!
I recall being in the sukka of a family of dear friends when the first Autumn storm came up. Remember, we live in a desert and the seasons are distinct. No rain and only rain. Sukkot marks the beginning of the rainy season, so we greet the rain with joy, even when it blows your sukka away, which it did that night! We ran down the street chasing ours while perhaps 50 other families did the same, chasing theirs as the dramatically strong wind brought in the rain. What laughter and joy in spite of a soggy dinner.
But The Lord DOES speak to us through nature, and although the storms are a blessing, several incidents have me pondering. There were a number of drownings, terrible deadly car accidents and the powerful storm took even the weathermen by surprise. The lightning and thunder dramatically preceded short but intense downpours. But it was a grief to read of the death of a lovely doe eyed 14- year old boy after he and 4 other family members were struck by lightning as they made their way off the beach where they had been.
“Asher’s mother told reporters earlier that as religious people she and her family understand things like that can happen and the weather can become lethal.”
There just seemed to be an unusual number of deadly accidents during Sukkot and the other fall feasts this year and of course, our own precious 4 from our kehila such a short time ago.
‘What are You saying, Lord?’
Maybe I’m crazy, but I firmly believe that The Lord is speaking in and through everything.
A dear brother once told me that someone said to him, “Everything isn’t answer to prayer. Some things are coincidences.”
He laughed and said, “Well, when I pray I have a lot of coincidences…when I don’t pray, hum…not so many.”
So, yes, I do see God’s Hand everywhere and His fingerprints comfort me even in the midst of our trials..
People have been asking for my take on the situation between the Kurds, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Russia, the US. I could give you my opinion but there are so many opinions and teachings jumping in to fill that void. Many are interesting, many are very informed, many add into the mix the fact that we still don’t have a government in Israel. And what does THAT mean? What if we go to A THIRD ELECTION? AND SO ON. I don’t have the answers, but I DO pray. I DO see and I DO watch and I pray.
Speaking of prayer, it just occurred to me: why have I never sent out an invitation to the yearly IFI (intercessors for Israel) prayer conference? I don’t know, but I would like to now. Will you pray about coming if The Lord is calling you to? If you are under 30 and feel that He is calling you to intercession on behalf of Israel, there are scholarships available to help with expenses. Here is the link:
This is a short note summing up an intense and wonderful season. We are off to dinner at our daughter’s house shortly. I am bringing two types of kubba with soup, falafel balls, pita, challa, halvah, and a wide variety of middle eastern fair. Wish you could all join and taste! Tomorrow (the last day that everything including public transportation is closed) is my husband’s 74th birthday. We will celebrate AGAIN with friends and family. On Wednesday as a gift, we are sending him to London for a week to visit our older daughter and Grandchildren for Noah’s 16th birthday. WHEW! If this were the only letter of mine you ever read you might think that we did nothing but celebrate.
And that brings me back to the 2 Tim 4 scripture.
When things are this intense with no let up, we also cannot let up our stance of being ready for the battle. NEVER! We cannot be unprepared to answer everyman what is the reason for our hope. We cannot be unprepared to hear our minute by minute marching orders. We cannot slack in prayer. It is life and death!
I watch the young (oh so young!) soldiers and security making their ways through the unbelievable crowds at the shukand I pray for them to be alert, not to be distracted by their cell phones or by conversation or by “selfies.” BE ALERT! LISTEN! WATCH!
So it is with us. We have an unrelenting enemy who is watching for us to be distracted. This enemy is real and deadly. Our God is BIGGER! MAY WE BE FOUND WITH OUR EYES FIXED ON HIS…OUR EARS TUNED TO HEAR HIS VOICE ALONE.
BLESSINGS to you all and chag sameach. (Joyful Holyday) May we glorify Him and finish the work.
Sister J in Jerusalem