The Shuk in Jerusalem
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 dear sisters and brothers,
May THE LORD be seen, glorified and blessed, and may you be encouraged and blessed. May all be for His glory alone Who shed His Blood for our atonement.
Well, after my last rant against the expression of Purim seen first and loudest, I am stirred again by the meaningful side of Purim, the rising expression of which grew louder as the days of Purim came and went out last night in Jerusalem.
I am blessed to be in the best fellowship in the whole world. Our meeting last night set my heart on turning from distractions to focus on what was really in front of my eyes.
Because the battles of yesterday remain until they are finally fully played out in the final days. Our Pastor pointed out that the human hero-vessel in the drama of the book of Esther is not really Esther, but Mordechai, and all of the other intercessors who STOOD and cried out with long endurance hidden and buffeted, doing their part. I shifted my eyes to his role and the obedience of all through the ages who have taken their portion and walked faithfully.
Listening to an everyday conversation at the Doctor’s office where I work spoke of the same premise to me: being faithful to the calling in which we are called.
Since Purim isn’t a “commanded holiday, not one that God commanded us to celebrate but one that we took a vow to observe as is noted in Esther chapter 9. It is a half-holiday with schools and public offices closed, but most work places are on what is called a “sabbath footing” or a part day of work.
The other doctor chose to take a full holiday, so we took emergencies only until 1:00 PM. Two older ladies were sitting in my small part of the office, waiting for their turns to see the doctor, and the talk moved to Purim and how it is celebrated today. It touched me as I listened and softened my too-quick-to-judge attitude.
One woman was in her late 80s and the other was 90. Appropriately perhaps, their names were Rachel and Rebecca (Rakel and Rivka in Hebrew). “I love Purim,” Rakel began. “I love seeing everyone having so much fun, being so loose and free and not intense but relaxed.” (Huh! I hadn’t thought of THAT part. We live in such an intense, serious country.)
“I love watching them too,” said 90 year old Rivka, “but they don’t know how to REALLY celebrate it, these young ones.”
I watched as Rakel answered and Rivka shook her head in agreement. “Ah, but we went before them and they watched us and they learn. We teach and they learn and that is what it is all about.”
That is what it is all about, each of these holidays. The passing of the torch, just as Christmas and Resurrection Sunday are used in the Church at large, to turn our eyes toward Him, to remember and worship AND TEACH OUR CHILDREN THAT THIS IS OUR GOD, CLOTHED IN MAJESTY, FAITHFUL, HOLY.
“He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.” (Psalm 103:7)
May we KNOW HIM and HIS WAYS so that we might teach our children more than His ACTS alone. Yet in these holidays we get to share His acts and pray that it stirs them to a wonder about His greatness and omnipotence.
My husband and I sat with a cup of tea in one hand and in the other, a noisemaker called a rash rash in Hebrew, or a gregor in …ah? Whatever form of Jewish mixture language I grew up with in New York. I was reading the book of Esther to him on Sunday night. (My husband is dyslexic and prefers that I do all reading).
Traditionally whenever the name of Haman is read, the irritating noise from the noisemaker is sounded. TRUE, most people read the scroll (migalat Esther) in groups and in Hebrew together, but my husband wanted to stay home and read in English this year. It’s different in the large groups. Talk about making a racket! The children, all sugared up on candy and decked out in costumes are standing on tiptoe listening for every mention of the name Haman. I must admit that it keeps them alert to listening.
On Saturday night at our fellowship we read it aloud, a different brother or sister reading each chapter. There it was read in Hebrew, but my husband and I read it in English. We talked about the time in which it was written, the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem, and the carrying away the people into captivity. Jeremiah’s preaching. The prophets. The kings. This was the time of Daniel, Nehemiah, Ezra. Indeed Ezekiel was among the captives. How important each one who obediently fulfilled his purpose was in the intricate puzzle of it all.
And here we are today. We are again facing enemies who want to destroy us. The eternal question seems to be: “Who among us will look to God and trust and obey Him?” It seems to me that what happens depends much on the answer to this question.
So yesterday, I rode the bus and train to work. There were small Queen Esthers and Mordechais, full of smiles and carrying baskets, rushing through the cold wet streets to bless people with a “Purim Se’may’akh” greeting. At work my desk began to pile up with sweets, fruit and nuts and an occasional tube of hand cream.
Someone even gave me a festive card telling me that a donation in my name had been given. Kindness like this makes us feel like family and enjoying ourselves.
And that was yesterday.
And today: PASSOVER CLEANING BEGINS. AAAARRRRGGGHHH!
I went to the store and could barely get through the aisles as the “not kosher for Passover” food was being hurriedly moved to one aisle while the other aisles were being thoroughly scrubbed.
AND THERE IT WAS – CENTER STAGE RIGHT BY THE DOOR – THE MATZO!
“ALREADY?” was everyone’s response.
Yep, it’s time. Scrub out the leaven, both inside and out. A time to REMEMBER and a time to TEACH and a time to walk and seek Him Who is FAITHFUL through all of these ages, faithful to EVERY promise in His Book. I know that you also have no doubt that HE WILL DO IT. May we fulfill our part, no matter how small or big.
God BLESS you. May He draw each of us nearer to His heartbeat and may He Alone be glorified.
your sister J