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 —
Very warm greetings with love, in the name of Yeshua. All honor and glory to Him, but oh how He loves His own and it is an honor to write to you and to ask that He would bless and encourage each one of you. May He Alone be glorified and blessed.
Shalom! He really paused me and had me think of each one of you, not of what I am writing, but of you who are being written to. And yes, it stopped me in my tracks to worship Him. Truly may He be glorified.
It is the month of Elul and in the morning I hear the shofarim(rams horn) being blown both is synagogues and homes. The call to heshbone nefeshor taking an account of one’s soul, the month of searching. We as believers, are blessed to pray daily with The Lord: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:22-24)
But my people do things according to set times and cycles, and this month of Elul is a month for laying the soul bare before The Lord. On the train and on the bus each morning I watch many praying through Psalms or a sidur(prayer book for the season) with the intensity that says Elul is here.
Along the street that leads to my work, the pomegranates (rimonim), grapes (anavim), and figs (tenimim) are ripening quickly. It dazzles my eyes so I begin to count for you: bay leaves, olive trees, rosemary, almond trees, mulberry trees, banana and date, olive and lemon trees, flowering trees all around, wild parrots flying above. I can barely take it in on this one street. The streets of Jerusalem, my home, am I dreaming? Morning by morning I re-read the prophecies and see them fulfilled with my eyes and understand that it is a deposit and that ALL of The Word will indeed be fulfilled because He IS Faithful.
The shuk is loaded with colorful fruits, spices, vegetables and nuts. Holiday wares are making their way onto tables. New table cloths, all sorts of special gifts. The aroma is sweet and spicy and the colors are beyond description. In my own preparations I am trying to carefully pace myself and plan ahead and pray. There will be many festive meals, guests, gifts to give, all while working, and my energy levels are older. It is a wonderful, hectic time. It is an ancient time. I am enclosing a partial list of scriptures that both command and speak about these 3 fall feasts: rosh h’shanna(trumpets), yom kippur (atonement) and sukkot (tabernacles) at the end of the letter. It is worth reading through, pondering and praying and wondering how a people, EVEN AFTER A 2,000 YEAR DISPERSION, can yet keep these. Surely The Lord is displaying part of His secret things.
He is faithful even when we stand before impossible elections again. This coming Tuesday, the 17th, Israel votes again. I don’t need to tell you how upside down the world is. It is evident. I have NO idea what will be EXCEPT GOD WILL HAVE HIS WAY. And in THAT fact we must find Him and His rest as you in the midst of your respective country’s crisis.
When the store across the street from us went bankrupt, no one knew what would happen. Thankfully a chain from the Be’er Shevaregion in the south of the country, took it over and we have been enjoying the change, watching carefully. We are here now 25 years and this is the FIRST TIME that I have met an English-speaking cashier and she is a curiosity to the industry and a delight to me.
“We have just started amazing one day discounts if you join the new store club,” Yehudit announced last week.
When we first came and I understood NOTHING, I lost out on a lot of sales by NOT joining (free by the way) the last store. You just wrote your name down and got a card and wham bang – discounts were yours. I lost out on that one.
“GREAT,”I told Yehudit. “I won’t miss out this time, sign me up.”
She turned to the cash register and said, “Give me your phone number.” Which I did and which she inserted. With the press of a button she sent me a registered message and then said, “Now follow the link and insert the free app.”
UH, that’s where I looked at her. No paper in the mail and no card. I held up my old, simple, Nokia phone for her to see. “No smart phone,”I sighed.
She literally looked astonished. “Well you need to get one.”
She joined the choir of voices informing me that I was NOT being plugged in.
“SOON YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO BUY GROCERIES HERE WITHOUT ONE,” she informed me. “Soon it will all be automatic check out only with a smart phone.”
Silently I thought, “Only until the system collapses and the mark comes in the midst of the anarchy, chaos and confusion.”
I’ve asked myself if I’m getting too weird, a bit extreme, paranoid. You know roll your eyes.
No, I don’t have a smart phone that can leave the house. I have one for photos and yes I have what’s up and instagram because I get photos but only in the house. It doesn’t have an internal internet hook up and to be totally honest. I could EASILY love it and maybe I do.
And no, I don’t have a credit card either, other than a gift card that was given to me which I buy groceries with and am forever grateful for. I am a nut. But I know me. I’m easily deceived. I have an addictive personality. I WANT The Holy Spirit to give me all of the discipline and leading that I need to be master over these things, but part of that has been His wisdom over my VERY WEAK AND FOOLISH FLESH to help me out by just abstaining.
I know I’m weird. I don’t deny it and it is CERTAINALLY NOT for EVERYONE and I am NOT saying “don’t have a smart phone or credit card.” I even occasionally borrow use of one from those whom I love.
And that is what they said at the bank AGAIN this week. “You NEED a smart phone.”
Here, by law, our pay checks MUST be deposited in the bank and then we can withdraw them. It really used to be easy. My pay check, which I earned, recorded in the bank for tax purposes, but none the less, mine to take out (plus a few fees). You would go to a teller with your bank card and receive your cash. Simple!
Then the machines came in. Recently the tellers were gone, no more tellers. A technical bank support person roams the area to see which inept person can’t maneuver the machine. The Lord has apparently volunteered me for that role (the inept person).
Once again, I typed in the amount that I needed to take out to pay the rent and the machine informed me that less than half of that amount was available for me to take out. Up came the “technical assistant.”
She asked me for my smart phone so she could make an appointment to enter the bank. I handed her my trusty Nokia. Many maneuvers later she returned with a number and told me that I would have to wait for about an hour (penalty for not making appointment via the app.)
I had a book. When my turn finally came the nice lady told me that I only had a small amount in the bank and that the automatic withdrawal had taken place this morning.
“Hold it! I don’t HAVE any automatic withdrawals!”
She rolled her eyes. It took me awhile to figure out that she (with all of this technology) had opened my husband’s work account by mistake. She couldn’t tell me WHY I couldn’t have my money, but she would issue me a specialishure (certificate of approval) and the technical assistant would put it into the machine for me.
MEANWHILE, I got the talk that soon there would be no money and if I did not have a smart phone I couldn’t pay bills, buy food etc etc etc. I got the message, thank you.
I got it again at the post office today while I watched all of the smart phone people swipe their phones to record the appointment that they had made on line while I waited with my embarrassing paper number. Plus my paper book.
I don’t know about your country.
Our country is high tech, intense and tiny, so that with a very small population policies can be very quickly be enforced. I KNOW that smart phones are incredibly helpful. I am not sure WHY I have resisted this so firmly, but the fact that I DON’T have one to use means that I can see daily and up close what I can no longer do. To park a car here, you must use one of the “smart park” methods. To buy tickets, make appointments at post office or hospital or phone company or doctor, you name it, smart phone app.
I honestly think that I have inadvertently taken a position that I didn’t anticipate: I am a person without a smart phone in a perhaps – experimental country. Are we here part of an experiment?
I don’t expect that a country as large as the US could as quickly bring the entire population in line with such massive changes. Our country is used to suddenlies. When there is a crisis, there is no TIME to sit down and discuss all of the innuendoes of what a change will mean, you just do it. We have become used to living that way.
I had the privilege of living in a microcosm society before and it impacted me then. In our tiny remote Alaskan village where we raised our family, there were only about 50 year-round families. From that small population group we had a school with teachers, a government, a policeman, a court etc. Every able minded adult had to take on some real responsibility that had repercussions. I had been born and raised in NYC and it is NOT like that in a large population area. The effects of policies made took far longer to have any real impact, and the ability to avoid the impact was always an option.
A dear sister approached me at kehila(our fellowship) on Shabbat and said with a sigh, “Well, it doesn’t feel as if things are ‘back to normal’ yet.”
What came out of my mouth surprised me when I said, “It WON’T get back to normal and it isn’t supposed to! The Lord spilt His very precious seeds into the ground for a dear purpose and He does not want us to continue just as we were. We MUST be changed. The cost has been too great.”
THANKFULLY she is a mature sister and wasn’t offended by my too-passionate outburst. She said, “Wow! You are right.I didn’t think of it that way.”
As I continue to pray and wonder at the taking of these 3 truly golden vessels for The Lord, and a tiny new one, it was my lot this week to offer translation equipment to those who need translation from Hebrew. A couple whom I hadn’t seen before needed translation and as I spoke with them I explained to them that our fellowship had been through the traumatic loss of 4 of our members very recently and that our pastor was away as well, sort of apologizing that “things were a bit ‘different.”
The man said, “We have lost two children…”
I was stunned. “Was it recent?” I asked as I reached for the woman, who began to weep.
“One was 12 years ago…” he hesitated, “and one just now. They were both accidents.”
It knocked the breath out of me. “I see He has brought you.”And indeed He had.
They had been just walking around as tourists in Jerusalem and so lonely for believes. They sat over coffee to pray and a dear sister from the congregation approached them and began to chat (you can almost always tell a tourist, but she was led of The Spirit). She was an answer to their prayer and directed them to the fellowship where God is teaching us something of grieving that we don’t yet fully know.
I am so impressed that God is Able, Willing and Faithful
He has been always over all of these centuries through it all.
It is time to go and begin dinner, but I send you my love and pray that God will be glorified in you and in me… and that all of Israel will indeed soon be saved.
your sis J
I hope that some of the verses below might inspire some of you and maybe be a refreshing to those of you who are well versed in the holidays (hagim) that The Lord has given.
(trumpets not rosh h’shana)
bear with us as I KNOW that Passover SHOULD
BE the ‘beginning of the year’ (or ‘rosh h shana).
But as it stands today, Trumpets is… He can and will set it right)
1 Kings 8:2
2 Chron 5:3