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Category Archives: Torah

Hezbollah To Open ‘New Front’ In Golan Heights

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Beloved Prayer Warriors ,

we are sending this prayer alert due to the fact that things are becoming increasingly hot on the northern border of Israel and the Golan could become engulfed in the war ! Read the articles and pray accordingly for the Head nation Israel! Pray also for the believers in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Syria 

111228_invadegazaIran has convinced Syria to allow Hezbollah to open a “new front” against Israel in the Golan Heights, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported Wednesday.

Tehran, seeking to prevent the fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, asked Damascus if Hezbollah could set up a new military front against Israel in the Golan.

“All Arabs and Muslims” are requested to join the fight against Israel, Tehran said, according to Israel Radio.

The report comes a week after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed to respond to Jerusalem’s ostensible aggression against Syria with the help of Syria’s advanced “game-changing” weapons. The next stage, he warned during a speech, would be opening up a front on the Golan Heights.

The Palestinian newspaper al-Quds also reported Wednesday that Tehran had persuaded Damascus “to open the door to jihad” in the Golan Heights in an effort enable Arab and Muslim fighters to unite and confront Israel, so that they’re “ready” if Israel strikes Syria again.

According to unnamed Israeli and American sources, Israeli planes struck sites outside Damascus twice during the first weekend in May, targeting weapons transfers from Iran to Hezbollah. The Syrian regime warned a few days later that it would retaliate immediately to future Israeli attacks on its soil.

The al-Quds website wrote that Iran also discussed the issue with other Arab leaders, namely Jordan’s King Abdullah, who expressed his own “concerns” about the surge of radical Islamist groups, such as the Jabhat al-Nusra, in Syria.

The Lebanese daily al-Akhbar suggested last week that Iran had “reached a final decision” to respond to Israel’s reported strike on Syria by “turning the Golan into a new Fatah-land. The front has become open to Syrians and Palestinians and anyone who wants to fight Israel.”
Earlier this week, the Syrian government announced that it reserves the right to invade the Israeli-held Golan Heights at any time, and accused Jerusalem of violating the terms of the 1974 ceasefire that ended the Yom Kippur War.

During a speech in Damascus, Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi accused Israel of attacking sites near the Syrian capital, allowing rebel groups to operate in the demilitarized zone separating Israeli and Syrian forces on the Golan Heights, and letting those groups kidnap UN observers on multiple occasions.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow Tuesday in what was described as a bid to prevent Moscow from selling the cutting-edge missile defense system, the S-300, to Damascus. Jerusalem fears that the advanced weaponry could fall into the hands of Hezbollah, Syria’s key ally in neighboring Lebanon.

Prayer Points : HE who watches over Israel does not slumber nor sleep ! Ps.121:4:

Ps.83: Isa.49:1-3: Isa.41:8-13

Prophetic Declaration Over Israel

He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings:6:16

Pray in the Spirit and with understanding

 

We thank you very much for praying, may you and your families be blessed as you bless us by your prayers

“For Sion sake, I will not keep silent “

Kad Esh Map Team. 

 

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HAVE BLESSED WEEK-END

shabbat shalombanner1Torah reading

Torah Portion TETSAVEH – Shemot (Exodus) 27:20-30:10

 
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Posted by on 22. February 2013 in Shabbat, Torah

 

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New Knesset Bible study group off to strong start

More than 30 Knesset members show up for inaugural weekly Bible study session initiated by new centrist party Yesh Atid, which has called for all Israelis to both learn the Bible and serve the nation

Friday, February 22, 2013  Israel Today Staff

tremble1We have already reported several times on Benjamin Netanyahu’s revival of the Prime Minister’s Bible Study group in Israel. Now the Knesset is getting in on the trend with the establishment of its own weekly sessions of scriptural enlightenment.

The initiative came from one of the new Knesset parties, the centrist Yesh Atid, which fields both secular and religious lawmakers.

Despite running an election campaign that emphasized an end to army exemptions for and exaggerated welfare payouts to the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sector, and subsequently being labeled anti-religious by ultra-Orthodox leaders, Yesh Atid has since the election been the most outspoken party about getting more Israelis to study the Bible.

Tuesday’s Knesset Bible study was led by Yesh Atid lawmakers Rabbi Shai Piron, Rabbi Dov Lipman and Torah scholar Dr. Ruth Calderon. More than 30 Knesset members attended the inaugural session.

“Seeing MKs and staff members from ultra-Orthodox through secular studying Torah together showed the beauty of the environment we are creating in this new Knesset,” Lipman told the Times of Israel.

There is a growing sense in Israel that the Bible needs to form the basis of the state’s culture and policies, but that the ultra-Orthodox must not have a monopoly on the biblical interpretation of what it means to be Jewish.

 
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Posted by on 22. February 2013 in Bible, Israel, Jerusalem, Knesset, Middleeast, Netanyahu, Tanakh, Torah

 

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Intimacy with Yeshua is death to “SELF”

Shabbat Letter from

kad-esh

I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Shabbat shalom dearly beloved:
I did not plan to write on this topic but the Holy Spirit commanded me to do so. When I say “commanded”, I mean He “nudged me” but for me every prompting of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is a command. Most people relate to the Spirit’s promptings and light whispers so lightly that they can never develop true intimacy with Yeshua. Then they wonder what He is saying to them and why is it that they do not know what their purpose is in the Kingdom! Every time the Holy Spirit prompts me, impresses upon my heart or whispers into my being something to say or do for Him, it encroaches upon my plans, my timings and my ideas or opinions! In other words listening to the Holy Spirit demands self-denial and surrender.

Intimacy with Yeshua is only developed by carefully listening and obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit and they are very surprising and challenging.

When I say “surprising and challenging” I do not mean that they always cause one to suffer (though often it does as death to “self” can come through suffering. Yeshua learnt obedience by the things that He suffered!) Sometimes the Spirit prompts us to do enjoyable things for ourselves like shopping or going to the spa and sometimes it leads us to do wonderful things for others, nevertheless it is always something we did not think about!

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27

I remember when I was freshly married and ordained to the Ministry, the Ruach (Spirit) gave me a dream and in that dream I had another haircut (my hair was long and quite old fashioned at that time) and a much more modern frame in my eye glasses. I was very surprised when I woke up to the clear realization that my Abba was “styling me” Himself! I promptly went to the hair dresser that cut my hair in the exact shape I saw in that dream, the exact same style that I have until this day! I know that “hair” doesn’t seem to be such an important thing but when you lose it or when it does not look nice you realize that YHVH gave us hair for a purpose! And what a blessing this has been! The Holy Spirit style of hairdo that He gave me is so easy to keep looking good that in spite of my many ministry trips I did not have the need to visit the hair salon too frequently! He really thinks about everything!

Intimacy with Yeshua means that He has access to every area of my life! Hair included

You are My friends if you do what I command you. John 15:14

Every time that I ignored a “prompting” or disregarded it because of insecurity, fear or laziness I ended in the “ditch” or in distress, missing something or making mistakes! I always regret it terribly when I was dull to Yah’s promptings!

I noticed that people ignore His whispers when it is “importune” (would “mess” our plans altogether) or when it seemed like a trifle or non-important. But when the Holy Spirit impresses us to do or say something it is never “trivial”. It is always IMPORTANT and it always makes a huge difference!

. John 16:13  But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come

I remember many years ago I was leading a meeting in our home in the Mountains of Jerusalem. This was a prophetic meeting and I was training this particular group of believers to move in the Prophetic Gifts as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. Everyone was encouraged to stir up their spirits by praying in the Spirit (in tongues see Jude 20) to build up their faith and to listen from the Holy Spirit. Then each one had to bless their appointed partner-brother or sister with a Prophetic Word. Everyone seemed to be flowing wonderfully! But then I saw a lady that was doing nothing. I asked her about this and she said to me: “I get nothing from the Lord to say!” I told her that I don’t believe it! For from my experience YHVH always is ready to speak something to His Creation! In fact He starts the whole Bible with “Elohim said….”

Then Elohim said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Genesis 1:3

And ever since, He is saying. He is always looking for a channel through whom He can speak. In fact one time there were no people and He had to use a donkey!

And YHVH opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” Numbers 22:28

I told the sister, you surely have one word in your spirit? She said: “But it is nothing it does not mean anything!” I said: “GO ahead and give it!” she looked at her partner in this Prophetic Exercise and said “POPCORN!” Well the moment her partner heard the word “popcorn” she broke out weeping! You see the Holy Spirit immediately gave her revelation that her gifts and dreams had been dry like popcorn but soon with hot oil (anointing!) of the Holy Spirit – they will break open and will come to fruition! The word “popcorn” triggered in her this powerful and encouraging revelation! In fact this sister is now with Yeshua in Heaven and she is probably smiling from the Cloud of Witnesses for this one, seemingly insignificant word “popcorn” in a seemingly non important meeting in the Mountains of Jerusalem accompanied for many years to come and encouraged her in her earthly walk!

Never, never disregard ANY word, small or big that the Holy Spirit impresses upon you.
But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. Isaiah 66:2b

Of course there are other times when the words spoken by the Spirit may make tremendous demands on your life! Such was the instruction that I received from the Holy Spirit at the start of my walk with Him. I was a few months old in the faith and the Ruach sent me to the UK. When I was there and staying with some precious pastors YHVH visited me and changed the course of my life and the life of many thousands forever! I was still very wounded from the ravages of sin and personal family tragedy! My two beautiful children of the tender age of 18 months and 5 were not in my custody after a painful divorce. My heart was broken for my children and yet I could not have them. While in the UK I worked as a nanny and was great at it as I gave to the other people’s children what I would have given to mine that were far away from me in Israel! The time in the UK was a time of deep discipleship and personal restoration. Our wise Elohim knew exactly what I needed! Then one day He surprised me with a most uncommon demand.

I was listening to a tape by a very well- known Bible Teacher and lover of Israel by the name of Derek Prince. He was preaching about Apostolic Ministry and being “sent out”. Then He gave an altar call asking who was willing to be “Sent Out” and to “Go” for the Kingdom. My heart was making flip-flops! I had been thinking lately that I would like to go to Bible School and to serve Yeshua full time but it did not look possible! It was a dream that I forced myself to die to. Then when this preacher gave the altar call I wanted to jump and say: HINENI! (Here I am) like Isaiah. I felt the Spirit pressing me to stand, but my thoughts were arguing “How can I answer such a Call, and what does it all mean? Will I ever be able to see my children if I am “sent out”? So for the sake of some sort of motherhood (even if a visiting mother at this point), I decided to deny the promptings of the Spirit and not to stand up before the Tape Recorder and the teaching tape! I stayed seated! However I felt like I was going to die! I was grief stricken! I had grieved the Holy Spirit!

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30

I realized that I had sinned and begged Him to forgive me for putting motherhood and my children above Him and His High Calling! I begged Him to give me a second chance! I rewound the tape and listened to the altar call again! This time I jumped promptly to my feet and said “HINENI”, I will GO, I will be sent out! Indeed Apostolic Ministry has demanded everything from me and very often I could not see my children for long periods of time. One time for over three years! The price was high and it still is but Yeshua is really all that matters! At the end of the day it is only that obedience born of intimacy with Him that really bears fruit! Many thousands have been and are being touched daily all over the world since I said YES to the Spirit concerning Apostolic Ministry! Many have been saved, healed, delivered and discipled and they in turn are blessing others!

Whenever the Holy Spirit tells us to do something for the King against all odds it will bear Eternal Fruit! Sometimes you will only know much later or in Heaven how effective your service to Yeshua was but never doubt its effectiveness and importance!

What originates with Him, always succeeds if we are faithful to keep walking in intimacy and obeying His promptings for a lifetime!

He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over thenations. Revelation 2:26

About a month earlier than my UK experience, on the other side of the globe, in Israel, the conference took place in Jerusalem where Derek Prince preached this message that was challenging me! A handsome man by the name of Baruch Bierman in attendance prompted by the same Holy Spirit answered the Call to be sent out to the nations! About a year later Rabbi Baruch and I were married having answered the exact same Call with the exact same message and preacher without knowing about each other! Yah does all things PERFECTLY!

For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

It is never too late to start! Even the “smallest” of Calls makes a GREAT difference! Not everyone is called as an Apostle or to be a leader in a ministry. Some are called to SUPORT a Ministry or a Minister. But every gift and call that originates from YHVH is urgently needed to advance His Kingdom! He gave me a second chance to answer His Call! Maybe you need one too? If so go before Him today and ask Him to forgive you for considering your plans, circumstances, needs or loved ones above His Call and for giving Him excuses. Then go ahead and present yourself before Him.

Answer the Call and keep on answering as you obey even the lightest promptings of the Holy Spirit! Your life and the world will never be the same after you DO!

Do not quench the Spirit’s Fire” 1 Thessalonians 5:19

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Your Friends and Mentors in Israel,
Bishop Dominiquae and Rabbi Baruch Bierman
“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent” Isaiah 62:1

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Winning the Battle of the Ages

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For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time. Revelation 12:12

Shabbat shalom dearly beloved!

What is really happening in this world? Where are we going? What does the future hold? Some think that the development of High Tech and Nano-Technology plus Genetic Engineering shows that things in the world are getting better and better since humans seem to be brighter and brighter. While I am quite excited about some High Tech and other developments, the fact that we can now clone animals and even humans makes me feel jittery and for some reason it reminds me of the Tower of Babel. Can you imagine the euphoria they felt when they were about to cross the Atmosphere layer over the earth into the Stratosphere in their building before Elohim stopped them? After all, all they wanted with their own efforts was to reach the Throne of Elohim!

They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4

Just like a friend of theirs in the Angelic Force of Heaven, a guy by the name of Lucifer decided to lift himself up above the Stars of God and make himself equal to the Most High!

But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ Isaiah 14:13,14

Humans have always wanted to remove the Curse and all limitations by their own efforts! But the Word of Yah (God) tells us that there is only one way to remove the curse and its limitations of disease, poverty and the like. That one way has a name and His name is Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah! He said about Himself “I am the Light of the World”, He went on to say that whoever would walk with Him will never be in darkness!

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3:19-21

The Battle of the Ages is between Light and darkness, Truth and lies, the Rule of Messiah or of anti-Messiah (antichrist). It is about removing hell from earth and bringing Heaven down to earth.

Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10

This particular battle is already won but needs to be implemented seriously by those that have found the Light!

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. Matthew 11:12

Broken Foundations-Desensitized to Sin

If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3

The challenge that we face in the 21st Century is the broken foundations in nearly every area of life – In marriage, in relationships between parents and children, in the use of money, in education, in the media, in manners and of course in beliefs.

Foundations are so destroyed that we call what is good, bad and what is bad, good. We have been desensitized to sin and to ungodliness. Our senses have been bombarded with filth coming from media, newspapers, radio, TV, internet, cell phones, billboards etc. There is so much of it that we have accommodated filthy language, dirty thinking, dirty joking, rebellion against authorities, disobedience to parents, fornication, incest, immorality, greed, homosexuality, abortions, corruption in politics, divorces and so much more. This is happening not only in what we call “the world” but inside of our ranks as well, right here in what is supposed to be the holiest, purest and most powerful group of people on earth- The believers in the Messiah!

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, aholy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

The battle is so “Titanic” that one must be a hero not to succumb to it. One must be 100% committed to the Messiah and disciplined in prayer, the Word, fellowship, praying in tongues, spiritual warfare, worship and declaration of the Word instead of circumstances.

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8: 6-8

Yes one has to be wholly devoted and surrender to the Holy Spirit 24/7 by talking to Yeshua continually, practicing His Presence, in order to maintain the anointing that destroys all yokes. We must learn to walk in the Spirit at all times, for if not darkness can easily engulf us! It is a huge battle but we are on the winning side!  We must be aware though that the enemy knows that he has a short time and therefore he has come to attack the foundations of this generation more ferociously than ever. We cannot be oblivious to it or passive! We must learn to walk in the spirit and in obedience! He promised Israel that at times of great darkness Israel would shine with great Glory! In the same way everyone that is grafted into the Olive Tree with Israel! It is at the time of the greatest darkness that we will be covered in the greatest Glory!

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of YHVH has risen upon you. “For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness is over the peoples; but YHVH will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Isaiah 60:1,2

FAITH IS THE KEY!

There is one powerful promise that can help us to arise above the darkness that is covering the earth,

When a man’s ways are pleasing to YHVH , He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7

How can we walk in such a way that pleases YHVH? We have to walk like our Father Abraham by Faith and not by sight!

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. Hebrews 11:1,2

Just like those saints of old we also gain approval and have the God of the Universe on our side when we choose to believe His Word and Goodness above all!

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

In spite of all the High Technological advances of humans and the quantities of impressive  achievements, the Almighty is not moved by any one of them as much as He is moved by the Faith of those who love Him, obey Him and put their trust in Him alone. When He sees such faith He comes in with His Power and brings untold victories!

For the eyes of YHVH move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. 2 Chronicles 16:9a

When we walk by faith we do not depend on circumstances and we are not led by the media or our own needs. The only thing that is in front of us is the Word of Promise and the Word of Instruction of the Almighty! Yes! El Shadai has given us amazing promises and also powerful instructions in His Word. He also keeps on giving us promises and instructions as we fellowship with the Holy Spirit who interprets Yah’s Word to us. So in order to please the Father and have all our enemies at peace with us, in order to defeat the enemy at the gate (of our eyes, ears, mouth and heart!) we must walk by Faith believing His Word and Good Character against all odds! Believing only the Truth of His Word as reality and relating to the passing circumstances of life as temporary. When we spend all our day seeking Him (as we walk, as we drive, as we work etc.) and meditating on His Word and Goodness our gates will be open to the Kingdom of Heaven and closed to the hell that is flooding this world daily from all sides!

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:19

We must use the Keys of the Kingdom and BIND the enemy! But what does “bind” mean? It means to FORBID. That is right, we have to forbid the influx of filth from touching our soul and mind and the only way to do it besides saying “I bind you satan” is actually putting on the LIGHT inside of you as you spend 24/7 with your mind on things above!

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2

Once the light inside of us is bright and clear, all darkness (and it does not matter how thick) must flee! Light is stronger than darkness and truth is stronger than lies! There is no comparison between Yeshua and satan. We must know this, because the biggest, fattest and most common lie is that satan is too strong for us; that disease, poverty, immorality, the media and whatever, is too strong for a “normal” believer! Beloved “normal” believers and even the smallest one among us is greater than Yochanan,  John the Baptizer!

Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Matthew 11:11

The Word of our Abba tells us that those that are redeemed by Him have a supernatural ability to be strong though they are naturally weak and to multiply though there are many obstructions!

The smallest one will become a thousand, and the least one a mighty nation.
I, YHVH, will hasten it in its time
. Isaiah 60:22

 

SPEECH ACTIVATED FAITH-WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?

I loved at the start of my walk with Yeshua, the song that says “let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich, let the blind say I can see,  because of what the Lord has done for me”. The key for this victorious walk is in the SAY. We can have whatever we SAY.

22 And Yeshua answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Mark 11:22, 23

So what are we saying? And when we pray, are we praying in faith?

Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Mark 11:24

Before anything manifests in the natural we know that we have already received it! That is faith!

Before we bought the Eilat Prayer Tower, in fact before I signed the contract I had already written a flyer saying “we have signed the contract” and I did not have any money for it in my hands yet! Kingdom reality manifests when People of Faith bring the Kingdom down from the Heavenly realm to the earthly realm by their prayers of faith and words of faith!

Then Elohim said, “light be”; and light was. Genesis 1:3 from Hebrew

Remember that the thickest darkness was pierced right at Creation when Elohim SAID “Light BE!” and Light was! Yeshua is the Word made flesh and He only SAID what He heard His Father speak. If it was good for Him, it is good for me! I am sure that He spoke not one word of unbelief though He was pure and truthful all the time. The Truth that He lived in, is the Truth of the Heavenly Kingdom and not the reality of hell on earth due to the Adamic induced curse. He knew that this “hellish reality” can be changed to Heaven on Earth by the Power of His walk and talk. That is why He preached, healed and cast out devils all the time. So can we, because believe me we are equipped with all that we need to win the Battle of the Ages and present our Father with a multitude of newly born children!

If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. Matthew 17:20

Walk in the Light, Talk in the Light, Stay in the Light and spread the Light!

We are the winners in the Battle of the Ages!

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. John 14:12

Your Friends and Mentors in Israel

Bishop Dominiquae and Rabbi Baruch Bierman

www.kad-esh.org

 

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Why the Focused Rest of Shabbat is Important

Technology was supposed to lead to less work, but instead we are busier than ever. Only the Bible’s recipe of rest will benefit us

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 |  Michael Berg – israeltoday.co.il

121212_shabbatRest and action are two poles of existence. Whatever one is doing, one is either resting or exerting oneself. Exertion complements rest and rest complements exertion as day complements night and night complements day. The reader knows from universal experience, that exercise leads to a deeper sleep and that without resting, one cannot have the energy to act. Therefore, the question of primary importance, as with all pairs of opposites, is the question of balance.

The issue of balance between work and rest is epitomized in the difference between the Hebrew and the Greek approaches to time and place.

In Homer’s epics, the heroes fight battles and travel on voyages. The direction of activity starts from home and extends outward to the farthest reaches of the Earth.

In the case of the ancient Hebrews, their texts describe the conquest of a homeland and its settlement. The direction of activity is inwards. The goal is to return to the pre-fallen state of man wherein man lived in a garden and the point of life was to “settle it and guard it.” The ultimate messianic vision is that “every man would sit under his vine and under his fig tree.” The ultimate goal is to arrive at a state of tranquility wherein movement is unnecessary and time is of no consequence.

The goal of technology is to quicken movement, to go faster and farther, in less time and with less effort. Let us take a step back and look at the expectations for modern technology and how it would help us. Calculators were meant to replace slower and more tedious forms of computation. Cars and planes were invented to save the time and effort of lugging baggage and one’s self to various locations. In these respects, technology has succeeded.

However, everyone expected that technology would lead to shorter workweeks, but it has not. Ever since Henry Ford came up with the forty-hour work-week, nothing in North America has changed. Instead, technology has become invasive, eliminating the boundaries between work and the rest of one’s life, thereby increasing the length of the work-week to allow it to reach to within one’s private life.

Home is no longer a refuge from work and the time in our private lives has decreased.

The reason for this failure of technology to save time is that focusing on action will not increase rest. No matter how much one focuses on getting things done, there will always be more to do. In fact, the more one focuses on getting things done, the more things one finds to do!

The only solution is to focus on rest. A focused rest is different than a rest that is merely a gap between two activities. Just as it takes focus to be active, it takes focus to properly rest. It also takes an appreciation for rest. We must set aside time to rest, to just be and to not achieve. The key is in setting aside time both for rest and activity; and in this, the Hebrew approach is worthy of emulation.

As opposed to the Ancient Greeks, who had no day of rest, the Hebrews set aside a day for focused rest, the Sabbath. This day is not considered a break from the week, but the purpose of the week! On this day one does not merely take time off, but instead actively focuses on creating an atmosphere of rest. Electronic devices are completely forbidden by Orthodox Judaism to be used on the Sabbath.

The Sabbath also exists in Christianity, the premier child of both Greek and Hebrew civilization that has inherited practice and ideology from both. In abandoning religion, western society has abandoned its Hebrew heritage to exclusively focus on continuing the Hellenic pursuit of perpetual advancement.

Ancient Greece tired itself out and vanished. The Hebrews are still here. Was tranquility the secret for their longevity? Perhaps it was. Perhaps the wise reader would like to entertain the thought of a day without technology once a week — a day of tranquility.

 
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Posted by on 14. December 2012 in Faith, Feast of the Lord, Shabbat, Tanakh, Torah, YHVH

 

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Yom Kippur Synagogue Companion

Your friendly guide to the Yom Kippur services.

By Menachem Posner  – Chabad.org

Welcome

Welcome to the Yom Kippur services. If this is your first time, or if you have not been to synagogue too often, no need to worry; many other people in the room are in the same boat.1 Plus, most of the natives are friendly and will be more than happy to help you out.

As you enter, make sure that you are appropriately dressed. For women, this means wearing a longish skirt and a conservative top. If you are married, you will want to cover your hair as well.

For men, make sure that you have your head covered. Most synagogues have a basket with kippahs at the door. As you look around the room, you will notice that most of the men are wearing a prayer shawl called a tallit (or tallis) draped over their shoulders. In most Ashkenazic communities, we start wearing them only after marriage. On Yom Kippur we wear our tallit for the entire duration of the services, so now is the right time to put yours on. In all likelihood, the synagogue has a rack with some spares that you can use.

You may also notice that many people are wearing white clothing, and some are even wearing a white robe called a kittel. This is because on Yom Kippur we are likened to angels. The angels do not eat, and neither do we. The angels devote themselves to praising G‑d, and so do we. The shroud-like kittel also reminds us that all life on earth comes to an end. If you do not have a kittel, don’t worry.

Now that you are all dressed up, you need a book. The Yom Kippur prayerbook—called a machzor—contains all the prayers and Torah readings for the entire day. If you are attending services at Chabad, chances are that the congregation will be using the red-bound machzor published by Kehot Publication Society. It has Hebrew and English texts, Hebrew on the right and the English translation on the left. Pick one up and make your way to your seat. Remember, in traditional Jewish services men and women sit separately.

Now that we are sitting, let me tell you what you can expect tonight. For your convenience, I will be pointing out the prayers as they appear in the Chabadmachzor. If you are using another edition, don’t worry; the pages may be different, but most of the prayers are the same.

In the front of the sanctuary, you will notice a large cabinet with a curtain draped over the front. Called an ark (or aron hakodesh), it contains the Torah scrolls, which are read during the services. We will be opening and closing it quite a lot during the next 25 hours. It is customary for people to stand whenever the ark is open. However, if you are not feeling up to it, you may sit as long as the Torahs have not been removed.

The prayers will be led by the cantor, also known as the chazzan. He will begin and end each paragraph in Hebrew out loud. There will be some parts of the services that only he will say, with everyone else responding as indicated in themachzor. The rabbi will also be speaking from time to time (exactly how much varies). In some congregations, the rabbi will announce the pages. In others, there will be a board with page numbers that will be updated as we go along.

If you are more comfortable in English, do say the prayers in that language. After all, prayer is a conversation between you and G‑d, and you need to know what you are saying.

Yom Kippur Eve

The evening service on Yom Kippur is divided into three parts:

Kol Nidrei

Maariv

Selichot

Kol Nidrei (page 35): “Kol Nidrei” means “all vows,” and is a formal declaration stating that any vows that we make unintentionally during the coming year should be considered null and void. The ark in the front of the synagogue is opened, and three Torahs are removed. Three men hold the Torahs near thechazzan, while he repeats the Kol Nidrei prayer three times.

In addition to its technical function of ensuring that we do not accidentally break our word, this sacred declaration is also our way of saying that we are coming to Yom Kippur with no strings attached. As we approach this special day, we tell ourselves and G‑d that we regret and distance ourselves from the wrong decisions that we humans inevitably make. The ancient, haunting melody of Kol Nidrei is one of the most memorable parts of the Yom Kippur service.

Maariv (page 43): Maariv is the evening prayer, which we recite on a daily basis. However, in honor of Yom Kippur there are several important additions and modifications (and on Friday night we start with special hymns to usher in the Sabbath, page 37).

Shema (page 44): As usual, the Maariv service begins with theShema and its accompanying blessings. The Shema, in which we declare G‑d’s unity and our fidelity to Him, is perhaps the most central of all Jewish prayers. The next line, “Baruch shem . . .”(“Blessed be the name . . .”), is normally whispered, because it is a pronouncement so holy that it really belongs to angels. But since today we are like angels, we make a point of saying it out loud for all to hear.

Amidah (page 47): The Shema is followed by the silent standing prayer, known as the Amidah. We stand facing the front of the synagogue with our feet together, and say the words quietly, in a whisper that only we can hear.

We’ll say the Amidah a record five times over the next 25 hours. Every time we say the Amidah on Yom Kippur, we conclude with an extensive confession. The confession lists the sins that we (may) have done this year, starting with each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. As a tangible expression of regret, we strike our heart with our right fist for each sin. More important, however, is the personal, unscripted confession that we each say at this time, listing and regretting any misdeeds during the past year. (Remember: if we actually harmed someone, confession alone is not enough; we need to actually make amends by righting the wrong and asking the offended party for forgiveness.)

Selichot (page 57): Literally, “forgivenesses,” Selichot is a collection of poetically written prayers asking G‑d to forgive us on this day. The central theme of Selichot is the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy (p. 62), which G‑d shared with Moses at Mount Sinai. We will repeat these attributes dozens of times during the Yom Kippur service. Many of the Selichot are very intricate poetry, with quotations from many parts of the Bible woven together with Midrashic motifs in rhyming verses, often arranged according to the Hebrew alphabet. The Selichot conclude with another round of confessions, but this time we read them together, with the chazzan leading the way.

One last highlight is the Avinu Malkeinu (page 80), in which we address G‑d in a series of verses, each one beginning with “Our Father our King.” (This is omitted on Shabbat.)

Morning Services

Good morning and welcome back. The morning service (called Shacharit) starts off pretty much the way it does every Sabbath, and can be divided as follows:

Introductory Hymns

The Shema and Its Blessings

Amidah and Repetition

Torah Reading and Haftorah

Yizkor

Introductory Hymns (page 115): A selection of Psalms and other praises to G‑d, you can think of these as a “warmup” for the long run ahead. Look out for the words “Hamelech yoshev” (“The King sits,” page 135). The chazzanintroduces these words with an ancient melody, and chants them loudly with a touch of trepidation.

Shema (page 141): Like last night, we say the angelic proclamation of “Baruch shem” out loud.

Amidah and Chazzan’s Repetition (page 145): Unlike last night, after we say the silent prayer during the daytime, the chazzan will repeat it out loud. Thechazzan’s repetition is peppered with many additions. You will notice that for certain selections, those deemed especially powerful, we open the ark. Many of the additions are meant to be said responsively, as a joint effort between thechazzan and the congregation.

Last night, following the prayers, we said Selichot. During the day, the Selichot are incorporated into the chazzan’s repetition of the Amidah. Thus, our ten-page Amidah triples in size, and lasts from page 156 to page 190. And again, like last night, the Selichot are followed by the Avinu Malkeinu on page 190.

Torah Reading (page 198): All stand as two Torah scrolls are removed from the ark and brought to the bimah (raised table) in the middle of the sanctuary to be read. The bulk of the reading (page 202) tells of G‑d’s instructions to Israelon how to conduct the Yom Kippur service in the Holy Temple, where animal sacrifices were the focus of the day’s devotion. During the reading, a series of men are called up to say blessings over the Torah. This honor is known as having an aliyah. When the reading is over, the Torah is hoisted high in the air for all to see. We then take out a second scroll and read another small section of the Torah, where the day’s sacrificial order is mandated.

Haftorah (page 207): The Torah reading is followed by the haftorah, a selection from the Prophets. This morning it is a portion of the book of Isaiahwhich discusses returning to G‑d sincerely.

Yizkor (page 210): People are exiting the sanctuary, but it is not over yet. Rather, they are leaving because Yizkor is about to begin. Four times a year, a special memorial prayer is recited by those who have lost one or both of their parents. It is customary for all those whose parents are alive to leave the synagogue for the duration of this service. Many congregations also add memorials for the victims of the Holocaust. If you are fortunate enough to be among those who do not stay in for this prayer, do not wander too far, because it lasts only a few minutes.

Musaf (Page 215)

We are now about to start the second silent prayer of the day. By now, you know the drill. We face the front with our feet together, and read from pages 215–226. The prayer is again followed by the alphabetical confession known as the Al Cheit. (By now your stomach is probably starting to rumble. The best way to stave off hunger is by focusing on the prayers and their meaning. After Musaf, most synagogues break for a few hours, so hang in there . . .)

Again, the reader will repeat the silent prayer with significant additions. Here are three major landmarks that you will notice:

  • Unetaneh Tokef (page 283) is one of the best-known prayers of the day. It contains the chilling description of G‑d’s decrees for those who will not survive the year: who will perish by “water, who by fire, who by sword, who by hunger . . .” After those sobering pronouncements, we declare loudly (and, as you can imagine, with great sincerity) that teshuvah,tefillah and tzedakah (commonly translated as “repentance,” “prayer” and “charity”) avert the worst decree.
  • Bowing: You will notice that people are getting down on their hands and knees and prostrating themselves on the ground. No, they did not lose anything, and sorry, there are no snacks stashed down there. Rather, we bow down when we read the words “We bend the knee, bow down and offer praise before the Supreme King . . .” on page 245, and a few more during the Avodah.

    What is the Avodah? Starting from page 246, we begin a blow-by-blow account of what actually took place in the Holy Temple on this day. The central figure in this narrative is the kohen gadol, the high priest, who performs much of the day’s service. This included bringing incense into the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctum, which even he would dare enter but one day a year. Another highlight was the two goats upon which he would draw lots. One goat would be sacrificed on the altar, and the other was sent out to the desert. Where does the bowing come into the picture? Well, in addition to slaughtering and burning the animals, the high priest would also say a confession upon each one. And when he would make that confession he would do so addressing G‑d with His sacred name, the one that no one else ever said. And when people would hear that, they would bow down in deference. When we read about that, we bow as well.

  • The Ten Martyrs (page 266): We just read all about the sacrifices, which have been defunct for the past 2,000 years. But are there truly no more sacrifices? How about the millions of Jews who have been killed throughout the ages simply because they were Jews? Are they not sacrifices? Indeed they are. The description of the Ten Martyrsgraphically depicts the horrific death of ten sages at the hand of an evil king 2,000 years ago.

Once again, the repetition of the Amidah is followed by the Al Cheit alphabetical confession, page 275.

Priestly Blessing (page 284): Congratulations! You’ve made it through the morning service. As a reward for your endurance, you will now receive a very special blessing. Known as Birkat Kohanim, this blessing can be given only by descendants of Aaron, the high priest. They bless the congregation with prosperity, divine favor and peace, using an ancient formula written in the Torah. You will notice the kohanim exit the synagogue to wash their hands before performing the blessing. During the actual blessing, they cover their upper bodies with their prayer shawls. It’s customary for men to cover their heads with their prayer shawls, and for small children to stand underneath their father’s tallit during the blessing.

Nap Time! Now is the time when most synagogues have a break. Get some fresh air and stretch your legs. If you can, take a little nap and build up some energy for the final stretch.

Minchah—Afternoon Service (page 299)

The afternoon service can be broken up into two parts:

Torah Reading and Haftorah

Amidah

Torah Reading (page 304): This reading includes some of the most fundamental laws of the Torah: whom we are allowed to marry according to Jewish law. Judaism is all about action. And even on this most sacred day, when we feel and act like angels, we cannot forget the nuts and bolts of Torah life.

Haftorah (page 306): After the Torah is lifted high and set aside, we read thehaftorah: the Book of Jonah. One of the smallest but best-known books of the Bible, the story of Jonah is a great read, complete with a swashbuckling hero who gets swallowed by a fish. Don’t miss it. While it will be chanted in Hebrew, feel free to read it in English.

Amidah (page 310): This one follows the same pattern of those before it, as does the (somewhat shorter) repetition (pages 320–342) and the confessions that follow them both. Again, if it is not Shabbat, we say the Avinu Malkeinu.

Neilah—Final Prayer (page 347)

Neilah, literally “closing,” was thus named as it is said in the closing moments of the holy day, as the sun is setting and the gates of heaven are clanging shut. The Rebbe was wont to say that while the gates of heaven are closing, we are on the inside. Right now, each and every one of us is as close to G‑d as we get during our lifetime. Savor the moment, and think deeply into what you have done this past year, and what you want the coming year to look like.

This fifth and final Amidah of Yom Kippur (pages 350–357) is smaller than the others, with a truncated confession. The repetition, which begins on page 358, is unique in that the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy are repeated time and time again, as we cling to the last moments of the day when the windows of heaven are open.

By now, if you take a peek out the window, you will notice that the sun has set and the stars are peeking through the clouds. At this moment, the apex of our devotion, we all cry out together, “Shema Yisrael . . .”: “Hear O Israel, the L‑rd is our G‑d, the L‑rd is One.” We recite “Baruch Shem . . .” three times, and“Hashem Hu HaElokim” (“The L‑rd is G‑d”) seven times. As you say the words that thousand of Jewish martyrs have uttered before being killed for their steadfast devotion to G‑d and the Torah, imagine yourself literally giving your life for G‑d. Afterward, one long triumphant blast is sounded on the shofar, announcing the end of Yom Kippur.

It’s Not Over Yet

People may be making a mass exit toward the door to hit the break-fast, and if you’re feeling weak, feel free to join them. You’ll probably notice that some will remain in the synagogue to pray the evening service (Maariv), which consists of the Shema and its accompanying blessings, and the silent prayer. Afterwards, you will see people going outside to recite Kiddush Levanah, a blessing we say during the first half of each month recognizing the new moon.

You did it! You just spent the past 25 hours in total oneness with G‑d. Enjoy your break-fast, and savor this feeling of accomplishment.

Many have the custom to start working on their sukkah tonight, in order to go “from one mitzvah to the next.” Whatever you do, don’t let the inspiration of Yom Kippur go to waste. Resolve to do another mitzvah: perhaps you can start putting on tefillin every day, lighting Shabbat candles on Friday night, or attending synagogue services more regularly. Take Yom Kippur and bring it into the rest of your life.

FOOTNOTES
1. Maybe you should worry. But now is not the time. You will have a whole day to feel bad about your misdeeds. For now, just settle into your seat and get into your Yom Kippur groove.
 
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Posted by on 21. September 2012 in Feast of the Lord, Synagogue, Torah, YHVH, Yom Kippur

 

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