Posts Tagged ‘Purim’

Sarit to Tel Aviv – February 18

Living without internet for one week is not as difficult as we thought, but it was not conducive to writing a blog.  Whenever we had a free moment, we skipped from internet cafes to hotel lobbies with free WiFi.  Even though Chaya tried to be as helpful as possible, she could not get any internet set up.  This created major charges on our phones because of the time difference in the U.S. when we needed to communicate with family.  Though the view of the Sea of Galilee from the apartment was beautiful, and we made the apartment home for nearly a week, there were some problems that need to be fixed.  Hopefully, for the next guests, Chaya will work on giving more information about the apartment’s nuances and supply the kitchen with some necessities like dish drying cloths, rack, spatulas for cooking and maybe even a microwave.  

We said goodbye to Tiberias and headed toward Migdal HaEmek … again.  Migdal HaEmek was where we went round and round and saw the infamous bunny suits.  Armed with a step-by-step Google map and using WAZE for short journeys only, we began our second adventure to meet another Israeli.

When I was planning this trip, I went on a Messianic group and asked for a little help with our itinerary planning.  A very kind woman responded and we chatted back and forth while she helped me with driving questions.  We decided we should meet while on our way to Megiddo, but that day was definitely not in the Lord’s plans.  So, we re-scheduled it on our way to Tel Aviv.

Of course, as we entered the town and followed her very specific directions, we passed the rabbit suits and laughed at how really close we had been to her house a week before.  The directions were perfect and we arrived at Sarit’s house only one hour after we left Tiberias.  The ‘appointed time’ to meet had arrived.

Sarit.  I hope if you read this and I mess anything up, you will correct me.  Sarit is a sabra or native Israeli Jew.  As she showed us her yard, a very beautiful yard with a nature expanse behind her house, she told us how her grandfather had planted all the fruit trees.  The lemon was full of fruit and she gave us a bag of oranges for the road (which are absolutely delicious).   We sat on her patio and drank tea.  Where ‘two or three are gathered in Yeshua’s name,’ he is there.  And, he was.

Sarit, being a Messianic Jew, has such an incredible understanding of the Scriptures and how Yeshua taught the Torah.  It was so refreshing to hear the Word spoken about in its original context with its fulfillment being realized in the Words of Messiah.

Sarit explained why there is a Shin ש on the mezzuah that is placed on the door posts of a house.  It represents “El Shaddai”.  I had always heard that meant “God Almighty”, but she explained that Shaddai means ‘my bosom’.  The Hebrew letters for Shaddai are Shin, Dalet, Yod.  Shin stands for ‘shomer’ or watchman.  Dalet stands for ‘door’.  Yod stans for “Yisrael”.  Thus, the mezzuah represents the “Watchman of the Door of Yisrael.”  Suddenly, the mezzuah with the Shema inside means more than just some tradition to touch when one enters or exits a home.  It is a reminder the Word of God watches and keeps Israel as Israel guards Torah creating a closeness to the bosom of Elohim.  

Revelation 4:4-5 “Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and on the thrones sat twenty-four elders dressed in white clothing and wearing gold crowns on their heads. From the throne came forth lightnings, voices and thunderings; and before the throne were seven flaming torches, which are the sevenfold Spirit of God.”

Revelation 5:8-9 “When he (Yeshua) took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down in front of the Lamb. Each one held a harp and gold bowls filled with pieces of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people; and they sang a new song, “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals; because you were slaughtered; at the cost of blood you ransomed for God persons from every tribe, language, people and nation.”

Another topic of conversation included the 24 elders in Revelation and how they are representative of the 24 families of Aaron that grew into the Levitical High Priesthood.  It is important to remember two truths.   The Levitical priesthood will be reinstated when the Third Temple is built.  The covenant made with Aaron and the priesthood was eternal.   The representatives of  the family heads of this priesthood will be the 24 elders in Revelation that are around the Throne of God.  When you read the Scriptures in Revelation, you will see that the 24 elders are dressed as priests and are doing the work of a priesthood.  As Sarit pointed out so profoundly, the work of the priesthood was long days with hard work with morning sacrifices, washings, cleanings, taking care of the menorah which burnt 24 hours a day, offering prayers on another altar, evening sacrifices and being the representatives of the people.

We also talked about the neshema or the ‘inner breath of God’ that lives inside of man.  It is this spirit that the enemy tries to steal for his own purposes while God desires that our neshema be reconciled to Him.   We touched on how everything in this world is spiritual and that heaven is not someplace we will go, but just above our feet.  With a little more explanation, we are all spiritual people and the only part of us that touches the dust of the earth is our feet.    This is why we ‘wipe the dust off our feet’ when the message of Yeshua is rejected, and why Yeshua ‘washed his disciples’ feet’.  It was symbolic of leaving this world and entering into the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now.

Matthew 4:17 “From that time on, Yeshua began proclaiming, “Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!”

Washing of feet was what the priests had to do after a sacrifice before entering the Holy Place.  It was the reason for the bronze laver.  Sarit pointed out that the priests only washed their hands and feet.    How did their priestly garments stay white?  Why weren’t they stained with the blood of the sacrifices?  Selah

Luke 10:11 “Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off as a sign against you! But understand this: the Kingdom of God is near!’”

John 13:12-15  “After he had washed their feet, taken back his clothes and returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me ‘Rabbi’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because I am. Now if I, the Lord and Rabbi, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet. For I have set you an example, so that you may do as I have done to you.” 

I actually don’t have time to write everything that Sarit shared with our family and vice versa, but it was definitely meat for our spiritual bones and a time of great fellowship.  We all needed the refreshment in this desert world especially from a sister of Yeshua who understands the fullness of the Scriptures through faith in Yeshua.

I asked Sarit how she came to know Yeshua.  Simply, she was invited three times to a house of a co-worker and finally, the third time, she relented and went.  She had no idea why they were inviting her, but the second she stepped into the door and looked at the husband sitting on the couch reading his Bible, she heard the Spirit speak to her in her ears.  She looked at the husband, and before he could even say a word, she said, “You want to talk to me about Yeshua.”  From that moment on she craved the Word – all of it.

She struggles with those who take Yeshua out of his Jewish life and lifestyle.  For her growing up, Jesus was an abomination to the God of Israel.  She explained that in many ways he still is because those who follow him celebrate Christmas, Easter and go to church on Sunday.  They eat things that are an abomination to him like pork.  Jesus would not have been the Messiah she was looking for and she still would not want him.  She loves the Messiah of Israel who loved Torah and explained the prophets  and the instructions found in the New Testament.   I shared with her that we have actually met people who believe that the Jews don’t need Yeshua because they have Torah. She responded that it’s the enemy who uses the traditions of Jews and the false doctrines of Christianity to keep Yeshua from his people, the lost sheep of the House of Israel.

After an incredible two hours of non-stop fellowship about Yeshua and the Scriptures, we went to lunch.  The little place we went to didn’t have any menus in English so Sarit translated everything and we ordered.  We’re not very creative sometimes and we all ordered schwarma over rice that was absolutely delicious.  My wonderful husband surprised us all with a deep-fried chocolate stick.

Sarit had to go to work so our time was cut short.  We drove her to her job and said our ‘shaloms’.  We were incredibly blessed by our time with Sarit and new personal relationships were formed – all from social media!   The next time we come to Israel, we want to celebrate Shabbat with our new sister in Yeshua.

From Sarit’s house we drove to Tel Aviv.  Strangely enough, we traveled the same route as we took to Tel Megiddo.  It was beginning to seem as if we were having constant deja vu’s.  The countryside was beautiful.  We passed vineyards and fields with with workers either picking or pruning something that formed long rows of green.

Tel Aviv is a huge city, a metropolitan area.   The traffic into it was like traveling to any big city with numerous lanes of traffic and jams caused by fender benders.   WAZE directed our path,  winding and weaving our way toward the Mediterranean Sea.  When we finally turned onto the last street before the Sea, The beach scene and the sea was breathtaking.  It felt  like we were back in Rio de Janeiro. There were lanes of traffic flowing along the beach with bike and walking lanes.  Wind surfers and regular board surfers were floating on the waves.  People were walking dogs or riding bicycles.   I almost expected to hear people speaking Portuguese.

We turned down our little street and drove one block from the beach.  I texted the host for this apartment and he arrived within two minutes.  He took us inside to a very classy apartment decorated in red and black with a huge fish tank.  He explained the locks and keys, the amenities in the apartment, AND THE INTERNET!    He even told us that he owned a restaurant on the beach and if we ate there, we would receive a discount as his guests.

Since the beach was so close, we went there to watch the sun set.  It was breezy and the waves were breaking high.  One wind surfer stayed on the waves until the final rays of the sun settled on the horizon.  Feeling a little hungry, we went to our host’s restaurant and had pizza, pita and humus and shakshuka.  Yeah, I really love that egg dish that reminds me of Huevos Rancheros.

Just in case you’re wondering about the rabbit suits.  They are costumes for the upcoming holiday of Purim.  Purim is the celebration of the Jews’ victory over Haman found in the book of Esther.  The holiday is celebrated with melodrama plays and costumes making it one of the most joyous and fun holidays of the year.  This year Purim begins on Saturday, March 15.  Make a costume, give to the poor, and remember Queen Esther who was used by God to save the Jewish people from destruction.

©2014 Tentstake Ministries

The Cast of Purim

JacobJemimaPurim

The Cast of Purim

“Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, instructing them to observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and the fifteenth day, every year, [to commemorate] the days on which the Jews obtained rest from their enemies and the month which for them was turned from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; they were to make them days of celebrating and rejoicing, sending portions [of food] to each other and giving gifts to the poor” (Esther 9:20-22).

Purim is a memorial to the deliverance of the Jewish people from near  destruction while they were in exile in Persia (modern-day Iran).  During the reign of Ahasuerus (aka King Xerxes), a wicked anti-semitic man named Haman came to power.  He wanted all Jews in the kingdom destroyed because they had customs that wouldn’t allow them to obey the king’s laws.  Purim or ‘lots’ were cast to choose the day of their annihilation.  A Jew named Mordecai along with his niece who had become Queen interceded for the Jewish people and their destruction was averted. 

Purim celebrations are joyous and center around audience-participation melodramas.  There are groggers or noisemakers used to either cheer for the heroes or drown out the name of the villain, Haman.  Cookies, called Hamantashen, are made to look like Haman’s tricorn hat.  Children dress in the costumes of their favorite Purim character.  Food is collected and put in baskets to give to the poor, the widow and the fatherless.

Within the account of Purim there are an array of characters.  As you read one or two specific verses from the megillah or scroll of Esther about each of them,  watch how power corrupts, faith overcomes and truth is revealed.  More importantly, watch God work His hand of protection for the Jewish people, for without it, they would have been destroyed.  As some have said, without Purim, there would have been no Jewish people.  If there had been no Jewish people, there would have been no salvation named Yeshua from the Tribe of Judah.

In these last days, the Jewish people and the nation of Israel are under great attack from the nations around the world.  As global events continue to unfold, everyone will have to  choose a side:  Israel and God’s people or the international community.  As you read the account of Esther, check your own heart regarding the Jewish people.  Are you rebellious Queen Vashti,  transformed King Ahasuerus, faithful Queen Esther, discerning Mordecai, vindictive Zeresh, or anti-semitic Haman? 

Vashti

The queen to Ahasuerus disobeyed the king’s command and lost her position in the kingdom.

“Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she” (Esther 1:19).

Hadassah (Esther)

Hadassah in Hebrew means ‘myrtle’ while her Persian name means ‘hidden.’  She was ‘hidden’ in the king’s palace and became an intercessor for the lives of the Jewish people.

“Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai … who had a cousin named Hadassah. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died” (Esther 2:4-5).

Ahasuerus

The king of Persia also known as King Xerxes.

Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on Esther’s head and made her queen instead of Vashti”

(Esther 2:17).

Mordecai

Hadassah’s uncle from the Tribe of Benjamin who remained faithful to the King and Queen of Persia.  His name means ‘warrior.’

“During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai” (Esther 2:21-22).

Haman

The king’s right-hand man who descended from Amalek, who was to be destroyed by King Saul.   Haman had an anti-semitic heart.

“Then Haman said to King Ahusuerus, “There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will put ten thousand talents of silver into the royal treasury for the men who carry out this business” (Esther 3:8-9).

Haman’s Wife

A jealous woman who wanted her husband to rise to power in the kingdom.

“His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a gallows built, seventy-five feet high, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai hanged on it. Then go with the king to the dinner and be happy” (Esther 5:14).

The Decree of Destruction

“Letters were sent by courier to all the royal provinces “to destroy, kill and exterminate all Jews, from young to old, including small children and women, on a specific day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to seize their goods as plunder” (Esther 3:13).

For Such a Time as This

“When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.  For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”  (Esther 4:12-14).

The King

“Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended” (Esther 6:10).

The Queen

“Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king” (Esther 7:3-4).

The Jews

“The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate any armed force of any nationality or province that might attack them and their women and children; and to plunder the property of their enemies” (Esther 8:11).

Purim

Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor” (Esther 9:20-22).

©2012 Tentstake Ministries, chapter from Journey with Jeremiah on amazon.com

Hamantaschen

Hamantashen

Hamantaschen are special cookies made for Purim.  They are filled with jam and the edges are pinched together to look like Haman’s tri-corn hat.

Ingredients:  1 ½ cups butter, softened;  2 ¼ cups sugar, 3 large eggs, ¾ tsp. baking soda, 6 ½ cups unbleached flour, and your favorite jam or date paste.

⅓ cup cold water for pinching sides together

Mix the ingredients together until it forms a soft ball that is easily rolled.  With a rolling pin, roll out dough until it’s between ⅛ and ¼ inch thick.  Using the top of a glass or jar, cut out circles. 

Place a teaspoon of jam or date paste in the center of the circle.

Wetting your fingers with the water, pinch the sides together to form a triangle or tri-corn hat making them stick together. 

Bake at  350º for 8-10 minutes or until fully cooked and light brown in color.