The real issue, as my Rabbi pointed out, is this. How are we going to keep our light burning? How are we going to make sure that we have enough oil to keep shining, keep burning, and keep doing what we need to do to shed a little bit of light in our corner of the world?
Perhaps you are cold too. Perhaps you feel as though you always will be. Allow me to remind you that as surely as the seasons change, so will your life circumstances. You will be not cold, in pain, lonely, and in this situation forever. Life is dynamic, change is to be expected.
They were literally not allowed to say one negative thing to each other for the entire next week. They were to only say positive things. If they had nothing positive to say, they were to remain silent. This meant no nagging, and no complaining.
If we entertain negative and angry thoughts, feeding them and reinforcing them, they will loom larger and larger, drowning out the peace that is ours to remain within. We may find ourselves in the wrong place, hiding under a bed, or struggling against the very arms that are trying to carry us to safety.
Without directly referencing God, Yeshua, the Bible, Judaism, or Elul, Don Henley’s song gets to the heart of some matters that are very important for us to consider as we approach the high holidays.
When we enter the World to Come we will be like the angels who behold the infinite light of God. We will be like the Messiah who beholds the glory of the Father. That’s why repentance and choosing to do right is something that only has real meaning now.
In Middle Eastern culture it is customary to use the right hand for most activities. Striking a person on the right cheek with the right hand would require using a backhanded motion. A backhanded slap is considered twice as offensive as an openhanded slap and thus subject to double the fine.
Here in Israel, everyone is a Jewish mother or father to the soldiers who serve in the IDF. It is not uncommon for a stranger to go out of his or her way to help a soldier in any way they can. The soldiers are like our own children.
This is, by and large, an ahistorical generation. What has gone before is ignored and of little interest. During the Three Weeks—and any time of reflection and remembrance—we do well to consider why history is, in fact, important and what is lost when we do not deem it so.
On the ninth day of the month of Av (Tisha B’Av), 70 CE, the world lost the Holy Temple, which was meant to be the house of prayer for all nations. Now not one stone of it rests upon another, as our Master predicted. What destroyed it? It wasn’t Rome.
Last year I began to find myself less enthusiastic than I had been at the school for Palestinian kids. I wondered at the reasons. Yes, we have been through terror attacks and operations by the IDF. I have mourned with those on both sides who have lost people and rejoiced at celebrations for weddings and graduations. What was wrong?
I have heard that this is a narcissistic generation, and that it is a generation in which people care only about money. I have heard all these things stated as though they are true. My experience, however, proves that this is not always the case! I am grateful and fortunate to know many heroes.
I’d like to encourage you to think about boundaries in your life. Think about your boundaries and maybe where you’ve crossed them with God. If you have crossed the line, turn around before it hurts you any worse. Boundaries are his kind way of marking out “safe places” for us to stay within.
Yesterday, I heard a short comment from Dennis Prager, a prominent US talk show host. He speaks on topics that range from ethics, politics, marriage, and everything in between. He was expressing his concerns about several of the current GOP presidential candidates, about the baseless hatred that is now taking place in the political arena.
Every experience life has to offer, from the mundane to the extraordinary, is ensconced in specific and verbally spoken blessings by the traditional Jew. There is even a blessing for when one hears exceptionally bad news, such as the death of a close friend or family member. But why?
When terror arises it is easy to entertain the sentiment, “If only Abraham had been obedient and not jumped the gun, we wouldn’t be in this mess today!” Nevertheless, we must remember Ishmael’s blessing and pray for his redemption.
At first I heard what I thought were fireworks. A rapid series of low concussions were immediately followed by the sound of shattering glass. In one split second, it was pandemonium. I saw two young men rush out of the restaurant and throw themselves into a car that sped away as quickly as it had magically appeared.
It's tense in the Holy Land. There have been fatal attacks on young Jewish families, mothers, children, soldiers, and fathers. There have been demonstrations and Palestinian kids and youth have been killed. Our soldiers are kids, often confronting angry mobs. Their demonstrators are also kids, who feel as if they have very little to lose.
As a revolutionary movement, we must continue to work for the reconciliation of Israel and the Messiah. We must reconstruct these destroyed ramparts and take our place as leaders in all of Israel and amongst the nations, and it would appear that the catalyst that launches us to this foretold headship correlates to our relationship with the Sabbath.
To cope with the recent attacks Israelis are taking self-defense classes and buying personal weapons such as pepper spray. Most of us have had to change something about our daily routines. I’ve had to change my running route to run at a later hour when I’m not so vulnerable by being alone.
We joined together to bless, to encourage, and to rejoice with the couple. For a brief instant, our grievances melted away in the mutually satisfying revelry and camaraderie in our approval of the union. We forget ourselves in service to someone else. This is how it should be.
Let’s not fall behind in doing the kind of work the Master spent so much time exhorting us to do—the Sermon-on-the-Mount kind of work, the work of learning to be good, the work of consistently making ethically sound choices. In doing so, we will grow to become more like Jesus.
What does Judaism look like outside of our Messianic circles? One Messianic Jew has many anecdotes from her personal tour of New York City’s greatest synagogues, everywhere from ultra-Orthodox to Reform. Never is there a dull moment in Manhattan’s Jewish community.
All of us can experience seasons in life where we are in a deep pit. And it may seem so ominous, and so devastating, and so dark, that there seems to be no way out. But the truth is, with God, there is always a path toward the light. Even at the last minute, God welcomes our return.
Waking up to devastating news is sometimes not so uncommon in Israel, unfortunately. But do we really stop to think about the wellspring of the evil that is done? We all would do well to take inventory of our own thoughts. We are in more danger from within than we will ever be from without.
Every year in Israel ceremonies are held throughout the country to commence Yom HaShoah, a day of remembrance for those who perished in the Holocaust. This day should also be remembered by Christians throughout the world. It was the Christian silence that also contributed to the tragic loss of so many lives.