Posts Tagged With: Feast of Trumpets

A Taste of Rosh Hashanah

This year, I developed a “newsletter” to hand out to those gathering with us for Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets/Yom Teruah). My aim was to appeal to both seasoned and new Torah keepers by giving them just enough to spark more study and discussion. Its contents are just a taste of the holiday, ending with some blessings for the feast and the seder elements.

Our evening meeting will be lightly structured around fellowship, feasting, shofar blowing, and a Rosh Hashanah Seder. (For an example of the seder, click here.)

Here is the file of the “newsletter” for reading or printing: Rosh Hashanah 2017

L’Shanah Tovah!

*Update with pics from our gathering Rosh Hashanah (Yom Teruah/Trumpets) 5778:

 

 

Categories: Moedim, News Flash | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Unity of the Scroll

close-up-of-torah-scrollJust before Rosh HaShanah, I had the pleasure of being up close and personal with a Torah scroll. My mentor, Dr. Hollisa Alewine, author of the Creation Gospel, was preparing to sing the Akedia (Binding of Isaac) for their Rosh Hashanah service. I was like a fly on the wall watching her careful handling of the leaves (pages of the scroll) and the Words. The Scroll was rolled out to reveal Bereshit (Genesis) 22 in the Torah.

Although I’ve seen Torah scrolls open before, this time was different. As a matter of fact, many things really resonated down to my bones at this particular season of teshuvah. I gazed upon the leaf with its beautifully penned black letters. The deer skin hide upon which they were written 300 or so years ago had turned into a rich amber patina. What struck me so hard was the flow of the Hebrew letters. I was instantly reminded of the River of Life.

I knew that the vowel points would be absent, but the lack of spacing between the words caused my eyes to see (in the spirit) the unity and oneness of the Word of God. Each section of the Torah appears as one ginormous vowel-less Word! To put it another way, each letter is one building block in a stream of continuous Truth. There is no separation. No division. Nothing is disjointed. Everything is connected and cohesive. Removing even a single letter would diminish the beauty, oneness, and unity of YHWH’s Word.

However, to make these consonant letters come to life requires breath or Spirit. One must open their mouth and like a shofar become the vowels that ignite the fiery Words of our Elohim. The ebb and flow of the cantillation flows like rushing waters from the flesh of the Living. The scroll is made from the flesh of a beast created on day six, but it is the spirit of a man/woman made in the image of Elohim that gives it life. Are we a vessel that gives the letter life? Or is our focus only on the dead things of the flesh?

Though touching the letters can harm the scroll’s integrity, I was able to touch the baby soft under side of the scroll. A beast only shows or gives access to its most vulnerable parts when it is submissive to a Higher Power, the Alpha. When we submit our lower or beastly nature (flesh) to the Word of the Almighty God, we become like the deerskin scroll. Through the death of our flesh, we become a living testimony to the Life and Light and Power of a Greater Resurrected Life.

The Words of Life are inscribed on the flesh (of a beast). You are either a man (woman) created in the image of Adonai or you are ruled by the lower nature, the image of a beast. This is true in the beginning in Genesis 1 on day 6 and at the end in the Book of Revelation. Abba desires that His Word be upon a heart of clean flesh. Long after these flesh and blood bodies have worn out and passed away, the Word written on hearts of flesh LIVES.

When Abba teaches a lesson, He usually gives more than one example. When the Hidden Day (Feast of Trumpets) finally arrived, I witnessed this same message through the Living Stones of the people at the Olive Branch. During the service this same scroll was carried around the assembly in a processional and then lifted up high before the people. The Body was One with her King. The King was the focus and the unity was profound. We were of one accord, all connected like the letters on the scroll. All flesh was submissive showing its soft under belly to the Master of the Universe.[1] Words of Life were being etched upon clean flesh.

abrahamWhen Dr. Alewine began to sing the Akeida, the Shekinah (Divine Presence) was heavy and awe inspiring. I could barely stand on my feet. Abraham was willing to take the thing He loved most in this world and give it to Adonai. We also must be willing to submit ourselves to one another and to our King. Flesh must be sacrificed before one can enter the Presence. This is how unity is accomplished and where the glory of Adonai dwells. (Ps. 84)

During these Days of Awe, my prayer is that we learn to walk out the unity of the scroll. We are the Living Letters of Life that flow out from the throne of the King of the Universe. When we open our mouths of flesh, may they be filled with truth, mercy, and righteousness. May we be vessels of reconciliation, love, and light.

L’Shanah Tovah!

  As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. (Ps. 42:1)


[1] The unified Word written on flesh is not just about submitting to the King. It also requires submitting to and loving one another. These are the two great commandments. We will continue to see divisions and separations when the beast (person ruled by the flesh) reigns in our hearts and in our midst. May Abba send us a minister like Nathan to tell us that, “we are that man/woman.” If we have given ourselves over to the beast/flesh, may we repent.

 

Categories: Creation Gospel, Moedim | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Voice of the Shofar

Shofar of Flesh

Shofar… So Good.

The feast of Yom Teruah (Rosh HaShanah/Feast of Trumpets) is nearly upon us. And with it, there is much speculation as to what the upcoming holy month holds for Israel and the world at large. Some folks are excited, but even more fear what may come to pass. There are so many voices speaking and prophesying at this season. Who is right? Who do we need to listen to?

According to the Torah, there is only one voice that we are commanded to hear at this season. (Lev. 23:23-25) It is the shrill voice of the humble shofar. Do you find it odd that out of all the feast days, Yom Teruah has the least requirements mentioned in the Torah? There is so much mystery associated with this day. Since it occurs on the New Moon, there is literally and figuratively less light. No wonder there is so much confusion surrounding this moed.

May I make a suggestion? Let’s have another look at what has been clearly revealed. What exactly is a shofar and why is it so important as to have an entire moed (feast) associated with it? At first glance, a shofar seems to be no more than a primitive trumpet made from the horns of a ram. But YHWH isn’t random or arbitrary. This Elul, all the mayhem, trials, testing, and just plain pressing has caused me to really cry out to YHWH.

And then something dawned on me. This simple instrument is made from a nephesh, a living creature. In order for us to enjoy its beautiful and unique sound, a ram (or least this part of the ram) must first die. [1] If you’ve ever heard the voice of a shofar, it sounds very much like a loud, piercing cry.

A cry. Isn’t that what we are doing in this season? Are we not crying out to our Elohim and King? We desire heartfelt repentance, forgiveness, restoration, healing, and reconciliation. We throw ourselves at the feet of our Redeemer and rest in His unfathomable mercy, grace, compassion, and sovereignty. There is no instrument on the planet that can encompass our inward groans and wordless pleas better than the shofar.

The flesh/nephesh has to die in order for these cries to become a reality. This places us in a very intimate and childlike state. Little babies and young children cannot use words to describe what is in their innermost being. They often can’t express their discomfort with words. So, what do they do? They wail and cry out to their mother or father. Their shrieks are a loud alarm. It’s a siren call for mom or dad to come to the rescue. A loud cry will wake a parent from their slumber.

And, so it is with the shofar. Its voice is the cry of a child to its parent. It is a tongue of wordless words. It reminds YHWH that He is our Father. It is a desperate plea for Abba to act on our behalf. It is a voice crying out from a vessel of flesh submitted to its Maker.

Ruach

All of the inside soft flesh or cartilage of the ram’s horn must be removed before it can be used as an instrument of prayer, worship, and war. [1] Once it is thoroughly cleaned out, one can then begin to fill it with something else: breath (life). The first cries from the shofar are born from pressed lips and a strong exhale of the blower’s breath. It is very much like a deep wail. The lips do not form words, but wordless music powered by the ruach.

Can you see the picture? This vessel must have all of its fleshly tissues removed in order for the breath/wind or Ruach to flow freely through it from tip to tip. When the shofar is filled with ruach, it cries out in repentance, praise, worship, and gathering. It speaks a message that is beyond words. 

What was once a nephesh has been transformed into a vessel for the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh). The voice of the shofar is very much akin to the niggunim and the tongues of fire acquired at the previous feast of Shavuot (Pentecost). We learn to move and speak not from the flesh, but with the infilling of the Spirit. And like sweet music, our (redeemed) voices learn to whisper the everlasting Good News which is carried to the far reaches of the earth by the wind (ruach).

YHWH gave His followers the shofar for a reason. We are called to hear its voice because we are to be like the shofar. We are to be willing vessels, submitted to Adonai. We shout and cry out in jubilation for our King is Coming!

I pray your High Holy Days are blessed!

Below is a Blessing and Psalm for the Season. Shalom!

Blessing for the Shofar

Baruch ata Adonai Eh-lo-hei-nu meh-lekh ha-o-lam ah-share kid-e-sha-nu b-mits-vo-tav ve-tzi-va-nu leash-moe-ah kol shofar.

 Blessed are you, Adonai our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with commandments and who has commanded us to hear the voice of the shofar.

Psalm to Praise our King at this Season

Psalm 47

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

 For the leader. A psalm of the descendants of Korach:

2 (1) Clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with cries of joy!

3 (2) For Adonai ‘Elyon is awesome, a great king over all the earth.

4 (3) He makes peoples subject to us, puts nations under our feet.

5 (4) He chooses our heritage for us, the pride of Ya‘akov, whom he loves. (Selah)

6 (5) God goes up to shouts of acclaim, Adonai to a blast on the shofar.

7 (6) Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our king, sing praises!

8 (7) For God is king of all the earth; sing praises in a maskil.

9 (8) God rules the nations; God sits on his holy throne.

10 (9) The leaders of the people gather together, the people of the God of Avraham; for the rulers of the earth belong to God, who is exalted on high.

 


[1] An animal’s horn is made of an outer layer of hard keratin that is filled with soft bone tissue. Human bones and hair are made from this same material, keratin. In order to make a horn into a Shofar, the soft bone tissue must be removed from inside the horn.  This process takes a YEAR. The horn must sit for at least this long for the tissue to dry up, shrivel, and decompose. After this has happened, the tissue can usually be removed in one solid piece.

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Moedim | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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