Posts Tagged With: Rosh HaShanah

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

Tu B’Shevat

tree15th of Shevat (eleventh month)

February 11th, 2017 (begins at sundown on the 10th)

Rosh HaShannah La’ilanot

As of late, I’ve been reading a very interesting book called, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. While this isn’t a spiritual book, I cannot help but notice once again how the natural things teach spiritual truths. In the book, Mr. Wohlleben explains the marvelous activities of trees in life, death, and regeneration. Trees (in forests) live, communicate, support, and tend to one another. They detect and warn others of parasites and insects that cause harm, and can even release toxins to kill such threats. Deep in the soil, their roots work with fungi, creating a biological internet to communicate and share vital nutrients with sick trees and even the stumps of fallen family members, keeping them alive. However, trees can also shun other trees, robbing them of nutrients and sunlight. They tend to share only with those that are direct family members.

Interestingly, humans could not survive on earth without trees. They produce most of the oxygen that people and animals breathe. There would be no rain without trees, since trees absorb water from the soil and release it through evapotranspiration back into the air in the form of clouds. Forests are earth’s air filters, without which, we’d all die from pollutants. Trees prevent topsoil erosion, break the force of wind and rain, and their decaying leaves enrich the soil for other trees and plants.

In the Bible, trees (etz) were created on the third day, linking them with the Spirit of Counsel (Etzah), the Feast of early Firstfruits, and resurrection. The Biblical imagery of trees and their direct comparison to people is astounding. In fact, the only person that required a second touch from Yeshua for healing exclaimed, I see men like trees, walking.” (Mark 8:24 NKJV) Yeshua actually spit in this blind man’s eyes. I am of the opinion that Yeshua’s saliva “over-healed” this man, if you will, and he saw too well (spiritual), requiring an additional touch (a tamping down) to see as a man.

People have trunks and limbs. They grow roots, have seeds, and produce fruit. Trees and people feel pain and bleed when wounded. Both breathe and sway (move) when the wind (ruach) blows upon them. The growth of trees and people are deeply affected by the type of soil, the volume of water, and the amount of sunlight that they receive. Even the House (Temple) of YHWH is built with both trees and people. (2 Chron. 2, 1 Cor. 6:19) Thus, it is no wonder that the Scriptures abound with analogies, metaphors, similes, and puns that compare mankind to the majestic trees of the field.

In this post, I hope to illuminate the surprising connections between the month of Shevat, trees (seed to fruit), Messiah, resurrection, water, and Torah. My hope is that you will be inspired to explore Judaism’s traditional New Year for Trees with fresh eyes, like the healed blind man. Tu B’Shevat or Shevat 15th is not mentioned in the Torah. However, it is mentioned in the Mishnah, where it is called the New Year for Trees.[1] Why in the world do trees need a new year and what benefit is this for a follower of Messiah?

First, it is helpful to understand the four different Rosh Hashanim[2] or New Years celebrated in Judaism. They are the following:

  • Nisan 1st is Rosh Hashanah for the festival or feast day calendar. (Ex. 12:2) It is also Rosh Hashanah for calculating the years of the reign of the Kings of Israel. No matter when a king was crowned, his first year ended and his second year began on that day. Thus, if a king was anointed in the month of Adar, the following month of Nissan would be the beginning of the second year of his reign.
  • Elul 1st is Rosh Hashanah for the tithing of animals. A farmer is obligated to tithe his livestock, consecrating every tenth animal. But all ten animals counted must be born in the same year. The 1st of Elul became the mark to separate the year for tithing cattle.
  • Tishrei 1st is Rosh Hashanah for years, for Sabbatical years and Jubilees, and for the judgment of mankind. It is also Rosh Hashanah for the calculation of orlah (the first three years of a fruit tree when its produce may not be eaten[3]), and for the tithes separated from grains and vegetables.
  • Shevat 15th or Tu b’Shevat is Rosh Hashanah for trees. The sages designated the fifteenth of Shevat as the boundary between one year and another regarding fruit trees for tithing fruit. All fruits which blossom before Shevat 15 are a product of the rains of the previous year, and are tithed together with the crops of the previous year. Fruits that grow after this date are produce of the new year. Like Elul 1st and the new year for cattle, this demarcation was instituted so one could tithe without confusion.

dsc_0687Below, we will briefly examine the following relationships:

  • The Early and Latter Rains (Water and Torah)
  • Pesach and Sukkot (Trees, People, and Torah)
  • Celebrating Tu B’Shevat (Seder: Wine, Seeds, & Fruit)

 

Early and Latter Rains

The roots for Tu B’Shevat are found four months prior when Sukkot is celebrated. One of the major themes for the Feast of Tabernacles is water, especially in the form of rain. Prayers are offered up for rains in their season, which is a direct reference to the early rains in Israel.

“It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, that He will give the rain (matar) for your land in its season, the early (yoreh) and late rain (malqosh), that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. (Dt. 11:13-14)

Rain in season is essential for trees that will bloom in spring. Thus, the prayers and water ceremonies from Sukkot look forward to the future feast and harvest cycles of the coming festival New Year of Nisan. The timing of the early and latter rains in Israel can be confusing to a westerner. We tend to associate the early part of the year with January or spring, but in Hebraic thought the civil year begins in the fall with the 1st of Tishrei. Thus, when the Bible speaks of the early rains, it is implying the time just after Sukkot in the fall. The latter rains fall near Pesach (Passover).

So rejoice, O sons of Zion, And be glad in the LORD your God; For He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, The early and latter rain as before. (Joel 2:23 NASB) 

In Hebrew, the word for “early rain” in the underlined phrase above is moreh (H4175). This is also the word for TEACHER. The actual word for early rain is yoreh as used in Deuteronomy above. However, Joel chose to use one of its cognates, moreh, to ensure that we didn’t miss his connection between rain and teaching. They both share the Hebrew root yarah, meaning to cast or throw (like an arrow). This is also the root word for Torah!

The Torah of Adonai is like an arrow being shot to its target. It delivers precise information from teacher to student. It is also like the gentle rains that fall from heaven to soften up the soil (hearts) to receive His Seed.

“Let my teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew, As the droplets on the fresh grass And as the showers on the herb. (Dt. 32:2)

The NASB of Joel 2:23 states that YHWH gives the Teacher or early rains for our vindication, but the Hebrew texts actually says it is for our tzedakah or righteousness. Perhaps Young’s Literal Translation of this verse will put this into perspective:

And ye sons of Zion, joy and rejoice, In Jehovah your God, For He hath given to you the Teacher for righteousness, And causeth to come down to you a shower, Sprinkling and gathered—in the beginning. (Joel 2:23 YLT)

Very simply, the early rains are associated with the Teacher of Righteousness and His Word, the Torah. Why? Because the Word is a Seed and seeds require rain or water to sprout and grow and eventually produce fruit that has more of the same seed within it. The early rains (Torah) also soften the hard earth after a long, hot summer, allowing seeds to be planted in favorable soil.

Tu B’Shevat occurs between the early and latter rains. At this point, sap begins to rise through the veins of trees, pricking them to awaken from their winter sleep. This mirrors resurrection, new life, and renewal. Dormant seeds know that the time to spring from their earthly graves is near. Thus, the month of Shevat, the time between Sukkot and Pesach, is pregnant with the energy of new life. In fact, the sages teach that on the 15th of Shevat, a unique wave of Divine energy flows through all of creation as a forerunner to restoration and rebirth (in spring).

dsc_0773It was on the first day of the Hebrew month of Shevat that Moses recited the book of Deuteronomy to the people of Israel. Once again, this links Shevat with receiving the Seed and the Rain, YHWH’s divine instructions:

These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Dizahab. It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea. In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that the LORD had commanded him to give to them. (Dt. 1”1-3)

Sukkot and Pesach

The Teacher of Righteousness (Messiah) was given to Israel in the season of the early rains, as He was born during Sukkot. He was also the Living Waters and the Lamb needed at Passover in the spring when the latter rains saturate Israel. If this still seems a little backwards to you, consider that time is a cycle or circle in Hebraic thought and that Passover and Sukkot mirror one another.

For example, Pesach and Sukkot are exactly six months apart and like Tu B’Shevat they always occur on the 15th of their respective month. This means that all three dates occur on the full moon when there is the most physical and spiritual light in the darkness. Both Passover and Sukkot commemorate the exodus from Egypt, slavery, and bondage. Moreover, they are the only two festivals that the Torah specifically calls a chag rather than a moed in Leviticus 23. The Hebrew word chag means to make a cycle or circle with your feet.[4]

lulavOne of the most astounding links between Tu B’Shevat and Sukkot are the commanded four species that are waved during the festival.

On the first day you are to take choice fruit of trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and rejoice before Adonai your God for seven days. (Lev. 23:40 TLV) 

Have you ever wondered why trees are used to commemorate the Israelite’s trek through the desert? We know that their diet consisted of manna from Heaven and water from a Rock. Could it be that the trees (Lulav and Etrog) that are waved at Sukkot represent the people? The Torah asks us a rather odd question in Deuteronomy 20:19, “Is the tree of the field a man?” While the context deals with war and is meant to define which trees can be cut down as tools to besiege a city, the association with men and trees are found elsewhere. Consider these verses:

But I—I am like an olive tree flourishing in the House of God. I trust in God’s lovingkindness forever and ever. (Ps. 52:10 TLV) 

 The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the LORD, They will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green. (Ps. 92:12-14 NASB)

“They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. (Is. 65:22)

Does Sukkot’s mirror, Passover, have any associations with trees? Yes! The people were to take hyssop branches to apply the blood of the lamb upon their doorposts and lintels. (Ex.12:22) Many centuries later, on another Passover, Yeshua was crucified on a tree. When death was nearly upon him, he said, “I thirst.” They took a hyssop branch with a sponge on the end of it and soaked it in vinegar and myrrh. They lifted it up to his mouth, but Yeshua refused it. (Mt. 27:34, Mark 15:23, John 19:29) The hyssop tree is also mentioned along with the Torah, water, people and the blood of the covenant:

For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU.” (Heb. 9:19-20)

Trees are intrinsic to both the beginning and the end. In Genesis, we see both the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In Revelation, Trees of Life line the banks of the River of Life. In Proverbs 3, the Spirit of Wisdom is a Tree of Life to those that cling to her. In Jewish tradition, the large spindles that carry Torah scrolls are called Trees of Life and the many sections of parchment are called its leaves.

The holy seven-branched menorah is also a Tree of Life, and is modeled after the almond tree. Interestingly, almond trees are the first trees to “wake-up” and bloom in Israel. The imagery of light, oil, buds, blossoms, and, eyes all add to the heavenly pattern of the menorah/tree being a symbol of resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the Hebrew word for tree, etz, is the same word for counsel, etzah. Thus, we find wise counselors like Abraham and Deborah near trees.

dsc_0701Messiah compares our ability to understand and discern His truth with four different types of soil receiving Seed[5], which are amazingly similar to the four-species waved at Sukkot. According to Yeshua, it is entirely possible to hear and see and not understand. Understanding is another Spirit of G-d, Binah.

Our good works and outward treatment of others is likened to fruit. Since we cannot possibly know the heart of another person, Yeshua reminds us that a tree is known by its fruit, for it reveals the seed from which it sprouted. (Mt. 12:33-37) YHWH even gave specific instructions for fruit trees in the Torah:

‘When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten. But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, a praise to the LORD. And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, that it may yield to you its increase: I am the LORD your God. (Lev. 19:23-25 NKJV)

Thus, discernment is key. For even if the fruit we see and taste came from good seed, it can still be uncircumcised and unfit for consumption in its sour immaturity. People are inherently connected with seeds, trees, and fruit. Hopefully, the tree we choose to partake of is the Tree of Life and not the one that simply makes one wise with the knowledge of good and evil. We must choose life.

The counterfeit tree is deceitful and its fruit enticing. Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of himself and his kingdom that YHWH equated to a mighty tree. (Dan. 4:10-16) Moreover, the wicked are planted in the earth like tree:

I have seen a wicked, violent man Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. (Ps. 37:35)

Israel is to be like the precious fruit trees that grow from the Seed of the Torah (Messiah) into a flourishing plant that gives sustenance and shade to others. Birds, like the sweet dove of the Holy Spirit, will nest in such branches. (Mt. 13:31-32) Notice the imagery and links between counsel, Torah, water, trees, leaves, and fruit that the psalmist uses in Psalm 1:

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1)

In Romans 11, the Jewish people are called the holy, natural branches of an olive tree. Those of the nations are grafted into this tree and receive the same rich sap from its Root. Paul warns the grafted-in wild branches to not become arrogant against the natural branches, but rather to FEAR. Judah indeed holds a scepter of authority over the House of YHWH.[6] Not coincidently, the Hebrew word for scepter is shevet, the very name of this month (Shevat)![7] It also means a scion (graft), branch, rod, shepherd’s staff, and even a tribe.

In modern times, Jews have been planting trees in the land of Israel to honor righteous Gentiles such as Oscar Schindler and Corrie ten Boom, who helped save Jewish lives during the Holocaust.[8] These trees are planted in Jerusalem at the Holocaust museum in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem.

As you can see, the connections with people and trees are many. I have only briefly explored this concept. If nothing else, I hope you are inspired to research trees in Scripture during this season of transition. I pray that you bloom in the rich soil in which Adonai has planted you and that you continue to draw life giving nutrients from our Root, Yeshua.

Trees

By Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see 
 A poem lovely as a tree. 
 A tree whose hungry mouth is prest 
 Against the earth's sweet flowing breast; 
 A tree that looks at God all day, 
 And lifts her leafy arms to pray; 
 A tree that may in summer wear 
 A nest of robins in her hair; 
 Upon whose bosom snow has lain; 
 Who intimately lives with rain. 
 Poems are made by fools like me, 
 But only God can make a tree.

 

Celebrating Tu B’Shevat

4-speciesHow can we make Tu B’Shevat meaningful? Consider some of the following activities:

  • Plant a tree! Or start some seeds for the spring.
  • Give the gift of fruit (or money) to the needy. Or volunteer to help feed or nurture them.
  • Study trees, tithing and/or the seven species of Israel in the Bible (Dt. 8:8)
  • Prepare a meal that includes various seeds, leaves, and fruit. Discuss with your family.
  • Take a walk or hike through forested land and thank the Creator for the mighty trees.
  • Recite Psalm 104.[9] Or the Psalms of Accent (120-134).
  • Host a Tu B’Shevat Seder. (Explained below.)

Intriguingly, the rabbis have developed a seder, complete with haggadah, to lead the family through the new year for trees, further linking Tu B’Shevat to Passover. Like the Passover haggadah, there many versions to choose from. A basic outline is as follows:

The service often begins by singing Psalm 133 or the “Hinei Ma Tov”. This song recalls our familial connections to Israel’s family TREE. During the ceremony, each participant will drink 4 cups of wine (or juice), starting with white wine, mixing increasing amounts of red wine with white, ending with a glass of red wine. YHWH is blessed before each cup by reciting Kiddush. These four cups symbolize the cycle of life in four seasons:

  • Pure White —represents the winter and the (seeming) void of life. It also symbolizes Day One of creation when divine light is separated from darkness.
  • Pale Pink (white with a few drops of red) —represents the approach of spring, and the splash of red signifies the emergence of color. It also symbolizes Day Two of creation when the earthly (red) and heavenly (white/fire) waters are separated from one another.
  • Dark Pink (a mixture of white and red) —represents the progression of spring. The ground has warmed to allow the seeds to take root, and the plants have started to grow. It also symbolizes Day Three when the waters (white) are gathered and dry land (red) appears with the life of seeds, trees, and fruit.
  • Pure Red —represents the arrival of summer. The trees are in full bloom and filled with fruit, ready for harvest. It also symbolizes Day Four when the sun, moon, and stars were given to govern our clocks and calendars to worship the King in proper seasons (moedim).

In between the cups of wine, participants eat a total of fifteen (or seven) types of nuts and fruits from three categories: fruits/nuts with shells, fruits with pits, and fruits edible inside and out. (Recall the Lulav and Etrog and the Parable of the Sower.) Each type of fruit represents a type of person and is intended to stimulate discussion around the table. The fourth element or fruit is spiritual and is not eaten. To represent the spiritual fourth fruit (Holy Spirit), the fragrance from cloves, cinnamon, rosemary or any other pleasant spice is inhaled by the participants. The entire seder is meant to increase awareness of Tu B’Shevat through nature, prayer, song, story, and dialogue.

The following links may be helpful in creating a meaningful Tu B’Shevat Seder.[10]

My jewish Learning

The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL)

“My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along. ‘For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. ‘The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. ‘The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!'” (SOS 2:10-13 NASB)


[1] Rosh HaShana 2a: Chapter I, Mishnah. “There are four new years. On the first of Nissan is new year for kings and for festivals. On the first of Elul is new year for the tithe of cattle. R. Eleazar and R. Simeon, however, place this on the first of Tishri. On the first of Tishri is new year for years, for release and Jubilee years, for plantation and for [tithe of] vegetables. On the first of Shevat is new year for trees, according to the ruling of Beth Shammai; Beth Hillel, however, place it on the fifteenth of that month.”

[2] Shanah, the Hebrew word for year, is a feminine noun. It is one of the “rule breakers” in Hebrew grammar. In the plural, shanah takes the masculine ‘im ending rather than the usual feminine ‘ot.

[3] Lev. 19:23-25

[4] We use our feet to make cyclical pilgrimages to the mountain of YHWH in Jerusalem, hence they are called “foot-festivals.” Chag is also related to the circle dancing or whirling of worship.

[5] And He *said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables? (Mark 4:13 NASB)

[6] Gen 49:10  “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

[7] H7626 שֵׁבֶט  shêveṭ  From an unused root probably meaning to branch off; a scion, that is, (literally) a stick (for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.) or (figuratively) a clan: –  X correction, dart, rod, sceptre, staff, tribe.

[8] Moody, Valerie. The Feasts of Adonai: Why Christians Should Look at the Biblical Feasts. Lubbock, TX: Gibbora Productions, 2009. Print. p.143

[9] Psalm 104 is traditionally read on Rosh Chodesh (the new moon), but it’s filled with all the rich imagery we just explored.

[10] Linking to these sites does not suggest that I agree with all their content.

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Moedim | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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

Blog at WordPress.com.

The Bee Hive

Pouring out His Divine Honey of Wisdom & Revelation

redshoooz

Living the Abundant Life

In the Galute

B'ney Yosef

His Perfect Timing

My Incredible Journey with God

searchingfornorway

ancestry, geneology, knitting, history

praythroughhistory

Heal the past. Free the present. Bless the future.

Heaven and Earth

Bringing pieces of heaven to earth

Ladder of Jacob

ascend higher.

Operation Jeremiah 6:16

Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

Neviim Tovim/TheHaftarah Circle Gillian Gould Lazarus

Hebrew prophets and other themes from Tanakh

radicalrighteousroots

Biblical foundation resources for the family

Torah Rocker

Writings and studies of Torah

Hardcore Mesorah

Torah and Tefillah for those who aren't faint of heart

BE COURAGEOUS BLOG

NEVER LET GO OF GOD'S HAND

Ancient Footsteps

The end is known from the beginning...

modern day samaritan woman

welcome to all sojourners

Chalom Shalom

Unveiling the Voice of Creation...

ReDo~ReNew

Enjoying New Life in myself, others, and the things I find along the way...

Obadiah's Cave

A place of safety

Blue Jeans and Chocolate

~ My So-Called Glamorous Life

Awakened 2 Torah

It's time to leave Egypt and follow Yahweh!

The Well Trodden Road

Following the Way back home

Move Your "..BUT God .."

CLIMBING TO THE HEIGHTS OF GOD'S LOVE

Ohana Home Education

"Ohana means family. Family means no-one gets left behind, or forgotten."

Sewn olivette

Elevating Daily Life

Helena

The Protocol of Truth

Missing Pieces

Discover the missing pieces in your walk with Yeshua / Jesus

Wilderness Report

by Cathy Helms

Wholeness 4 Love

Life is for Living & LOVE is a choice!

natsab

Here I stand.

Rus Alan

Kingdom Minded living with issues related to discipleship, the Holy Spirit, and power.

Tannachton Farm

Faith, Family, Farm

GRACE in TORAH

Leaving Egypt is only the beginning of our journey...

The Lamb's Servant

Discerning Truth from Tradition | Our Hebrew Roots | Getting Back to Torah

Sharing God's Love

My passion is writing to share God's love with everyone who believes in HIm.

Daughters of Torah

Revealing our identity to the nations

SnarkyCrunch

Tree-hugging, Hippy-go-lucky, Dread-head, Jewish Mamma

Sanctuary Gardener

A Yankee grows in the South ~ Homesteading, gardening, & harvest recipes

little tent on the prairie

Restoring life through simple living

Coffee Shop Rabbi

Basic Judaism spoken here.

madebymamaleh

Creating a modern Jewish home one project at a time

%d bloggers like this: