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"It is better to take refuge in Adonai than to trust in human beings; better to take refuge in Adonai than to put one's trust in princes." -Tehilah 118:8-9

The American Gov't Turns Her Back on Israel

I am stricken by the irony of so many Christians discovering their Jewish identity in Messiah right as the American government does all but officially cut ties with the State of Israel. This is an irony all believers should keep in mind at this critical hour.

Nobody likes bad news during the holidays, but, better to rip the band-aid off in one swift pull than keep tugging at it until we're all left sore and bleeding.

Israpundit reports, U.S. blocks arms, technology to Israel. Apparently, in order to send a message of enticement to Saudi Arabia, the State and Defense Departments have put into place a policy of "examination" when it comes to approving any Israeli requests for armaments and military technology. This "unofficial suspension of U.S. arms deliveries began in late September" with no real explanation. The Israeli requests "were meant to replenish munitions and other stocks in preparation for a larger war that would include Syria in mid-2007."

The refusals to share weapons have resulted in a chill in military cooperation between the United States and Israel. "In November, the Israel Air Force canceled plans to send delegations to the United States to examine air systems and munitions." While this may not sound like much to Americans, they should know that the Israeli military is one of the most technologically adept fighting forces in the world; they possess the technology and the guts to use it. After 9/11, many city, state, and federal law enforcement agents were trained in anti-terror tactics by Israeli soldiers; whose to say how much our military has learned and could learn from this amazing fighting force?

The vague excuse the American government has for not sharing weapons, technology, or defense intelligence with Israel is this: that the Israeli government and military disappointed the US with their recent "loss" against Hizbullah. This reasoning doesn't hold water when one recalls the Bush Administration calling for an immediate "truce" just days after two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by the Muslim animals, and the fact that the Administration not only proceeded to pump money into Lebanon under the guise of "rebuilding and recovery efforts" but paved the way for a negotiation that clearly benefitted Hizbullah at the expense of Israel's security and survival. Moreover, given the fact that "...sources said the State Department has prevented the transfer of data and technology, even from projects that included Israeli participation," it is clear that a lack of confidence in Israel is not the cause for Israel's change in favor among U.S. officials.

This is more than a public relations move meant to "assuage" Saudi Arabia. This is clear-cut anti-Israelism at the highest and most dangerous levels. The corroborating evidence is brought to light in the next article in the Israpundit lineup, America, the Treachorous?, an extensive yet informative read that is well-worth the time. In essence, the author argues that America will exit Iraq at the expense of Israel; while bowing in fear to Islam, America will use its power to force Israel into giving away more land (namely, Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem) in order to appease the Arab powers in the region. The evidence is clear:
Immediately following the publishing of the [Iraq Study Group - Baker Hamilton] report, several disturbing events occurred:

-James Baker proposed a US-organized conference dubbed Madrid-2, promoted as a forum to discuss Iraq but will actually focus on Islamic demands for a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Judea, Jerusalem, Samaria and the Golan. Iran and Syria will be invited to the conference. Israel will not.

-Newly appointed US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates characterized Iran's nuclear weapons program as motivated by deterrence against a nuclear armed Israel. Never mind that Ahmadinejad and Iran's rulers have stated their intent to "wipe Israel off the map" in the very near future.

-Without consulting the Israeli government, Washington officially disclosed Israel's possession of nuclear weapons. [And Olmert complied with the revelation by performing one of his own on German television only days later. -Ed. Note]

- Newly empowered Congressional Democrats are secretly meeting with Hamas.

The sheer brazenness of the American treachery is staggering.
The author's concluding reasoning is this: HaShem gave America a stern warning against forcing the Jews out of their land when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast days after the pullout from Gaza in 2005. Therefore, America should heed this warning and start loving Israel before it is too late. Theological/Revelatory/End Times arguements aside, the author's point screams validity. The American Government has clearly decided not only to turn her back on Israel, but to use her as the sacrifical lamb on the altar of global Islam.

Are you, as an American, willing to let that happen? Are you, as a citizen of a representative democracy, willing to sign your name and your vote to this choice? We have been willed by the powers that be in the government, in academia, and in the media, to believe that we hold no sway over these situations. But we do; we live in the most freedom-filled country in the world, and yet, as a people, we are the most willing to give our freedom away. Were it solely up to Americans, this country and the nation of Israel would be lost.

But, it isn't up to Americans; it is up to HaShem. And, as His servants, His light unto the world, it is also up to us. No one understands that more clearly than the Jews:
In other words, thank God for Christian Zionists. Like it or not, the future of the relationship between Israel and the US might very well hinge far less on America’s Jews than on its Christians. --Right On!: In praise of Christian Zionists Michael Freund, JPost
Do you understand the magnitude of this? Do you understand that, although Mr. Freund does not proclaim faith in Yeshua, he is still performing his role as a light, a leader to the nations, by showing believers in America what an important role we have to play in this critical hour? We Messianics MUST be determined to look past the semantics of the situation and get to the point, but quick: As believers in Yeshua, we are subject to the same rules and regulations as non-believing Jews who live in the land of Israel proper. This means that we are called not only to lead a Torah lifestyle in faith, but in word and deed as well. Nowhere is this made more clear than in our Adonai-defined relationship with the land and the people of Israel. We are not slaves of the nation, yet we are slaves of Moshiach, the shamas of Israel. We must labor in love, as He did, over our people and our land.

Now is where the covenant of Ruth will truly be put to the test. Will we, as Messianics, be willing to step out of our comfort zones in support of our people and our nation at this hour? Will we be willing to take the bold step of identifying with Israel in the first person, not as casual observers related by the loose ties of religious history, but as fellow sharers in the covenant of Sinai? Will we be willing to see our relationship to our land and people as HaShem defines it, not as others define it, whether they are preists or pastors, Rabbis, or non-believing Jews? Will we be willing to live by Adonai's will and not our own or that of third parties-- governments, religions, denominations? In other words, are we going to stop staring at G-d's perspective and start living it, before it is too late?

We have a responsibility to Adonai and to each other to stand up and speak out for what is right at this critical hour. We cannot shut our eyes to the truth of what is happening in the world around us, and we cannot submit ourselves to what we know to be wrong. We must be strong and we must unite together for Israel and as Israel. We must set aside the semantics of our faith and trust that our works, our deeds, will be the ultimate definition of who we are, and the true witness to the truth of who Messiah is.

We must support Israel because we are Israel. Until we understand this in its totality, we have lost the fight.

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posted by Shoshana @ 9:15 AM

Happy Day Off!

Growing up and into Messianic Judaism meant experiencing a transition from Christian to Jewish holiday celebrations. As with most believers who come to understand that their faith is a Jewish faith, the transition was a gradual one. It wasn't until I was eleven that we stopped putting a Christmas tree in our home. Of course, this was the ultimate holiday gift to my father, who had inherited a great dislike of the sap-leaking pines from his father (who just so happened to be a closet-Jew, go figure). We didn't really stop exchanging gifts on Christmas day until I was in college. Up until a few years ago, we still celebrated Christmas day with our extended family who do not practice Messianic Judaism. This celebration, of course, entailed gathering together for a meal and to exchange gifts, secular rituals no more related to the celebration of Messiah than the actual holiday of Christmas itself. Finally, now, we stay at home on Christmas day and enjoy the quiet; no gifts, no family, nothing truly special to make us feel as if its a holiday, unless, of course, we turn the television on and happen to catch the Christmas Story marathon on TBS. We'll still wind up getting together with extended family sometime during the holiday week to exchange gifts and catch up, but that's about it. The last of our presents were given to each other on the 8th night of Chanukah, and our menorah, with candles nearly burnt out, sits proudly at the center of our mantle through the gentile New Year, a reminder of how nice it is to be different from everyone else.

I recall one kehilat leader's sermon regarding Christmas day a few years ago. They had spent their day online, popping into different chat rooms set up by users with names like "LOnly Jew on Xmas." The leader would go into the chat room and present themself as yet another Jew who felt left out on the gentile holiday. Then, they would carefully lead the conversation into a discussion about Yeshua and use the opportunity to witness to these Jews about Messiah on Christmas. Somehow, the whole scenario struck me as ironic, to say the least. To a Christian, taking the opportunity to tell a Jewish person about Messiah on Christmas Day is the equivalent of scoring extra points in Heaven. To a Jewish person, though, it just sounds kind of...fake. Rav Shaul instructs Timothy to be ready with the Word on hand, whether the time seems right or not, but is Christmas day really the right time to initiate a conversation about Messiah with a non-believing Jew? Aren't we as Messianics already stereotyped enough as "fraudulent Christians" by our non-believing mishpocha? To start telling them about Messiah on the day where they feel left out and alone by those that believe in Him-- would that be an inclusive or exclusive measure? I suppose it all depends on the mood in the room and the direction of the Ruach.

I also suppose that my point is not whether or not we should share the truth of Messiah, but how we should approach the subject. Are we looking to share with mishpocha as fellow Jews, or are we looking to share with "lost sheep" on the day we celebrate "Messiah's arrival" even though we aren't technically celebrating anything because "we're Jews now" and we understand the truth about the pagan roots of Christmas? We all reach a stage in our transition into Messianic Judaism where we simultaneously feel like insiders looking out, and outsiders looking in. But, before we can relate to the groups on either side of the divide, we've got to pick a clear perspective and make it our own.

That's my question to you, dear reader, on this average day in the life of any Jew: Are you looking at your G-d through the eyes of a Christian, or the eyes of a Jew? How you see Him determines how you see the world, and how you see the world determines how you relate to the world. Even more importantly, how you see Him determines how you see yourself. Are you still looking through a glass darkly during this holiday season, sure of some things and not so sure of others? Are you lonely, but not quite sure if you're a Jew this Christmas? Or, are you ditching the ashera poles in the hopes of telling some Jews about "the true reason for the season"?

Or, do you know who you are, because G-d has made Himself known to you?

No matter where you're at right now, know that there's one fellow Jew out there who has a spring roll with your name on it, and a Chanukkia that desperately needs to be de-waxed. Baruch haShem for a Happy Day Off!

posted by Shoshana @ 10:41 AM

Chanukah, O Chanukah

Chappy 6th Day of Chanukah!

I am SWAMPED. It's the holiday season, which means chaos abounds with these crazy goys in my midst. Oy, I can't wait until I can sit down to a nice Chinese food dinner on the 25th and make it a Blockbuster night.

I wanted to leave a quick post to tip off my beloved readers to a GREAT Jewish band, Blue Fringe. Billed as "America's favorite Jewish rock band," Blue Fringe "mixes rock, pop, funk, and R&B with contemporary Jewish themes." I received their album 70 Faces a few nights ago and have been soaking it in. I can't express to you how great it is to listen to a song about a shidduch instead of all that "courting" and "staying pure til marriage" bilge coming from the Christian world. Blue Fringe also provides the added bonus of singing in Hebrew as well as English. I knew I was sold after listening to the first track, Lo Irah, with its line:
V'haikar lo L'fached klal. Hashem li v'lo irah
[The main point is not to fear. G-d is with me, I will not fear.]

Seriously, how awesome is that? And how great is it to just rock out to your Jewishness? The Blue Fringe site provides audio clips as well as full lyrics for all their albums. Check it out and rock with your Jewish self.

Chanukah Gifts!!!

Israel National Radio is currently in the midst of their 16-hour fundraising telethon. Check out the live broadcast and considering sharing some of your gelt with the "only major media network with headquarters in the disputed Israeli territories." Arutz7 provides valuable insights from a G-dly perspective to a world full of listeners hungry for the truth behind the major media spin. Over the past year, I've learned about the disasterous North American Union from Dr. Jerome Corsi via the Tamar Yonah Show. I've also been fortunate enough to tap into the brilliant insights of Dr. Eugene Narrett via Tovia Singer, and Ari Abramowitz and Jeremy Gimpel have focused their efforts on building Jewish-Christian relations on A Light Unto the Nations. These are only a few of the shows that come to mind when I think of how much I've learned from these Israelis, many of whom are recent olim from America! Israel National Radio also broadcasts the annual Israel Day Parade and Concert in New York LIVE every year. Israel National Radio is not only a great radio station, it's an immensely powerful resource for anyone seeking to learn the truth of what's going on in the world, how it correlates to prophecy, and how we as good, Torah believing Jews should respond. Definitely check them out.

Baruch haShem for Chanukah!
Baruch haShem for Yisrael!
Baruch haShem for Yeshua, the Living Torah, and His love that endures forever!

Chag Sameach Mishpocha! Rejoice in your Jewishness during this season of rededication!

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posted by Shoshana @ 9:03 AM

Chanukah Sameach!

Chanukah Sameach mishpocha!

I'm psyched. I got the greatest Chanukah gift last night:

From the Source for Everything Jewish Catalog description:
Genuine Military Issue Star of David. This Star was made for Jewish members of the Armed Forces of the United States. Wear it to show your support for the troops. Stainless steel tag and beaded stainless chain (24"). Made in USA. Shown actual size.
I'm a huge MilFan and an even bigger Jewish Fanatic, so this is like, the uber-ultimate gift to me. If you're a soldier in the U.S. Military or the Tzahal (Israel Defence Forces/IDF) thank you so much for your service, and please feel free to drop a line anytime!

I was also fortunate enough to hit one of my favorite Israeli shops this weekend, where I managed to pick up ALL FOUR Ahron Razel albums. I'm currently listening to The Burning Bush which is nearly all Tanak verses set to music. FYI: Listening to Hebrew music is a great way to learn the language, and listening to Israeli music is a great way to pick up a lot about Israeli culture. Too often, we believers tend to cordon ourselves away from the rest of the Jewish world, which causes us to miss out on a lot of our cultural heritage. We have to remember that being Jewish isn't just about what happens in Shul, but how we look at and relate to the outside world as well. How can we learn about our cultural perspective if we never engage with it?

Here's my Chanukah gift to you, dear readers:

Rabbi Tovia Singer instructs believers on how to and how not to celebrate this holiday season on Israel National Radio. (And he's RIGHT!) Rabbi Tovia Singer, of the infamous anti-missionary group Outreach Judaism, discusses why Christians should prefer menorahs over those un-Biblical Christmas trees in yet another segment that proves that even un-believing Jews know how to worship Messiah more correctly than most believers. (Fast forward to the second half of the show to hear the clip.) Baruch haShem for the wisdom HaShem imparts through His people Israel!

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posted by Shoshana @ 1:38 PM

Chanukah Sameach!

Shalom, Shabbat Shalom, and Chanukah Sameach (a Joyful Hanukkah) to you, my dear mishpocha. I pray blessings upon you all and upon all Israel during this festival of rededication. Very often, Orthodox Jews will punctuate their prayers with requests to see the Temple rebuilt in their time, and so I will as well- in a twofold sense. I pray not only for the physical Temple to be rebuilt in my days, as it is a sign of Messiah's immient return, but I also pray for the spiritual Temple of Adonai to be rebuilt and restored to its First Century fullness; in other words, I pray during this season that we, as believers, would rededicate ourselves to each other in the same love that Yeshua commanded of us in Yochanan 15. In doing so, we would be bringing glory to Yeshua and edification to the body and to all Yisrael. May the spiritual Temple be rebuilt quickly, in our days, that we would be prepared to see the physical Temple in our midst!

As you may already be aware, the new edition of The Messianic Times is out. I received my copy via mail only yesterday and, ironically enough, was reading Rabbi Jonathan Bernis's commentary on Christian Zionism right when CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 decided to devote an entire hour to the growing movement of believers supporting Israel.

I have mixed feelings about Christian Zionism. Bernis does well to highlight my concerns regarding the Fallwellian concept of Dual Covenant Theology (that is, the Torah is the way to salvation for the Jews, while Jesus is the way to salvation for the gentiles-- a blatantly unBiblical theory) and the Christian Zionist caveat of not telling the Jewish people about Messiah in their relations with them (salvation belongs "to the Jew first"). However, I would like to set these two salvation-related issues aside for a moment and discuss what I like about Christian Zionism, which can be boiled down to one visual used in Cooper's report last night.

As thousands of Christians in some mega-church in the heartland praised G-d in front of an Israeli flag, I noticed that the crowning decoration on their stage was a Menorah. FYI: A Menorah is a 7-branched candelabra used in daily Temple services, while a Hanukkiah is a 9-branched candelabra used during Hanukkah. Along with a difference in the number of branches, a Hanukkiah also has one other distinguishing feature: a shamas or sevant candle that sits higher than the rest, and is used to light the rest of the candles in the Hanukkiah during the festival. (A servant who sits higher than the rest-- Yeshua is in all Biblically Jewis things!) Now, the Menorah the Christians were using was a sort of hybrid of the two types of candelabras: It had only 7 branches, but the center branch stood higher than the rest. I've only seen such an image once before, in an episode of Family Guy, oddly enough. When the writers commented on the scene depicting the hybrid menorah, they remarked that the series is animated in Korea, so the screw-up was essentially due to the fact that these Korean gentiles probably never saw a real menorah in their life, so they were working off of pop culture knowledge. The same could be said for a lot of these Christian Zionists; most have probably never met a Jewish person, let alone been exposed to Judaica to any great extend. So, how would they know the difference?

This is why G-d's thought process always focuses on the heart, not the head. Those Christians, dancing and singing in cowboy hats about going to Jerusalem, waving Israeli flags as they praised Jesus and looked at a hybrid menorah, were some of the most well-intentioned Christians I've ever seen. As a Jewish believer, you can't help but be charmed by gentiles who want to know so much and be such a part of your faith and your people. Many of these congregants filmed were wearing kippot and tallitot (head coverings and prayer shawls), evidencing (to me, at least) not only great support for, but an even greater desire to be a part of Israel. It is this kind of Christian Zionism that excites me; the kind that takes hold of the covenant of Ruth and seeks to live it out, not just pay Israel lip service in the name of receiving heavenly blessings for themselves.

Rav Shaul writes in I Corinthians 14:26, that whenever we come together, we are to "let everything be for edification." Bernis's article serves to highlight the deficiencies in the Christian Zionist philosophy, and rightly so. We cannot just gloss over evil in the name of good intentions- and truly, denying the message of salvation to the Jews is evil in its most wicked sense. However, we also need to compound our criticisms with solutions that bring about edification of the body. Bernis punctuates his article by arguing that if Christian Zionists took a stand for Messianic Jews, the Jewish people would have no choice but to accept Messianic Jews, too. This, after questioning, "After all, are we seeking to please men, or G-d," not two paragraphs prior!

The incessant whining of the Messianic Jewish population to be accepted and loved by their non-believing Jewish mishpocha is not only frustrating, it is appallingly ironic. It is frustrating because whining is an action that produces no fruit. It is ironic because, a mere 8 pages later, we're given to read that Chanukah should be celebrated because it paved the way for the first Christmas! What hypocrisy! You want to be accepted by the Jewish people, but you want to be accepted by the pagan world as well? The Christian Zionists, with their tallitot and their Israeli flags are more Jewish than you!

In truth, the Messianic community has been in contact with the Christian world since 1967. Many Messianic Jews were saved in churches and continue to attend churches to this day. Read any newsletter that comes from a so-called "Messianic Ministry" (i.e. Jews for Jesus, MAOZ Israel to name two off the top of my head) and you will read continual justifications for the pagan Christian practices (Christmas, Easter, even communion) Christian Zionists are now trying so hard to distance themselves from! The Messianic Community has spent a great deal of time, effort, and money not only distinguishing between Jews and gentiles within the body, but justifying the blatantly pagan practices within Christianity. Now, they're saying that it's the Christians' turn to defend them to their Jewish mishpocha? I think not.

Instead of seeing the opportunity Messianics have to go into these Christian Zionist congregations and teach willing pupils the importance of Chanukah and the irrelevance of Christmas and the difference between a Hanukkiah and a menorah, the Messianics are whining and stomping their feet like children on the playground who want to be part of the popular club. Mainstream Messianic Judaism, the kind portrayed in the Messianic Times and through a variety of alliances and unions, is a Messianic Judaism of compromise between G-d and humanity in the pursuit of acceptance on human terms. It is vague. It is not of G-d, therefore, it is irrelevant, and it will not last. The institutions of men rise and fall, but the Truth of G-d remains forever. If the Messianics truly want to find acceptance, they'll stop making so many compromises and blaming others in the body for their feelings of failure and unworthiness. Our G-d is not a G-d of "Issues," He is a G-d of results; Christians who've never met a Jew in their lives, yet don talit to pray to Adonai-- that's a result. If you want to achieve results along with Him, criticize to edify, not to promote your own selfish agenda.

Judah Maccabee was blessed with victory because he and his army refused to compromise. They knew the command of Antiochus, to desecrate the Temple and sacrifice pigs on the altar to a false god, was wrong and they would not waver. In the end, HaShem blessed them with results in the form of a victorious battle and a miraculous rededication. Don't forget these truths in your pursuit of happiness, believers of Israel! When Yeshua walked the earth, He was a minority of One who could not even count on His own followers to remain loyal to Him. Did He whine and moan about being the outcast, or did He cry to HaShem in pain for the salvation of His people? Did He run to the Samaritan and say, "Tell them you think I'm cool, so they'll think I'm cool, too," or did He tell her, "salvation is of the Jews"?

When Yeshua encountered the Judeans that Chanukah, He told them, "The works I do in my Father's name testify on my behalf." Does your "Chanukah Bush" testify to your Jewishness on your behalf? Yeshua instructed His people, "If I am not doing deeds that reflect my Father's power, don't trust me. But if I am, then, even if you don't trust Me, trust the deeds; so that you may understand once and for all that the Father is united with Me, and I am united with the Father." Who is the Messianic Community united with? According to their deeds, I believe it is very clear that they occupy a middle-ground, a purgatory of their own making.

At the end of his second letter to the Corinthian believers, Rav Shaul writes, "I am afraid that when I come again, my G-d may humiliate me in your presence, and that I will be grieved over many of those who sinned in the past and have not repented of the impurity, fornication, and debauchery they have engaged in." Yeshua, although sinless, was given to die a humiliating death because of our sins. The sins of the body are the humiliation of its members. When we allow sin to go unchecked we are humiliated in the eyes of G-d. Moreover, when we allow sin to go unchecked, we do a disservice in our testimony to the truth of G-d, and He is humiliated in the face of the world.

We must hold each other accountable; for when one part of the body is ill, all the other parts are adversely effected. I believe that we are being given a great opportunity to glorify Yeshua at this hour by uniting with one another through worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth. Believers are finally finding common ground, because they are escaping the denominational tenents of men and embracing the halachaic teachings of Yeshua. Yes, we must condemn the false teaching of dual covenant theology, and we must be bold in proclaiming the Truth of Messiah to the Jew first, as well as to the gentile. But, to accomplish both of these things successfully, we must seek to encourage one another, "through psalms, teachings, and revelations," in all our encounters with each other. We must use the positive to outweigh the negative; we must take the meat and leave the bones.

I submitted an article for publication in the current edition of the Times. However, my submission was rejected. Therefore, I give my words to you, dear readers, for your edification and the edification of the body of believers: an article on Jewish Identity and its implications for unification, in Adobe PDF format. (If you need Adobe Acrobat reader, you can download it for free here.) May the Spiritual Temple of the Almighty be blessed with many Ezras and Nehemiahs in her midst during this festival of rededication. May we all follow Yeshua's example and seek to be servants bringing His light to the Jew first, as well as to the gentile.

Chanukah Sameach!

posted by Shoshana @ 8:40 AM

Urgent Prayer Request!

Dear Mishpocha in Messiah,

Michael Freund, a very wise Israeli columnist whose work has appeared in Israel National News and the Jerusalem Post, forwarded his most recent column to me in a plea for prayer from the believing community here in America. Please, read his message and his column, and forward it on to your believing friends. We have an Orthodox Jewish Israeli reaching out to us for prayer support-- Yeshua Himself is building bridges to breach the divide. Therefore, I would pray that you would please treat this with extreme, prayerful care, rejoicing in the opportunity HaShem has given us to serve our fellow Jews through Him.

I pray for your health, safety, and shalom this Chanukah season, and for the strengthening and quick victory of the modern day Maccabees in Eretz Yisrael.



From Michael Freund:

Three months. That's all we've got. That's all that stands right now between the world as we know it, and one in which the Iranian President will be able to put his finger on the nuclear button.

In my column below from the Jerusalem Post, I appeal as an Orthodox Jew to US Christians to storm the heavens with their prayers and the White House with their pleas, and to call for military action against Iran in order to save Israel and the West.

Time is of the essence - so please feel free to distribute this article as widely as possible.


Michael Freund

The Jerusalem Post, December 13, 2006
A Plea to American Christians
By Michael Freund

The clock is ticking, yet no one wishes to hear it. The countdown to a nuclear Iran has begun, and with each passing day the nightmare scenario draws ever closer to becoming a reality.

In just a few months' time, if all goes according to plan, the tyrant of Teheran will preside over a celebration of terrifying, and history-altering, significance.

His goal, as he has stated repeatedly in recent weeks, is to complete the installation of thousands of centrifuges, the devices used to enrich uranium, by the end of March 2007.

This will give the ayatollahs the ability to start producing nuclear weapons, and to spread nuclear terror far and wide, threatening the existence not only of Israel , but of Western civilization itself.

The would-be Hitler of Persia has already made it abundantly clear that he plans to wipe Israel and its millions of Jews off the map. And last week he told Western leaders that their turn would soon be next: "If you do not respond to the divine call," he warned, "you will die soon and vanish from the face of the earth."

Three months. That's all we've got. That's all that stands right now between the world as we know it, and one in which the Persian executioner will be able to put his finger on the nuclear button.

This can not be allowed to happen. The danger is too great, the peril is too real.

Now is the time for all those who love Israel to stand up and be counted. Now is the time for pro-Israel Christians everywhere, and especially in the US, to rise up and cry out on behalf of God's people.

Storm the heavens with your prayers, and the White House with your pleas. Speak out now and urge US President George W. Bush to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat once and for all.

BY NOW it should be clear: Nothing less than US military action is going to deter Teheran from pursuing its nuclear goals. Threats of sanctions and finger-wagging have failed to do the job.

Europe is hopelessly weak and conciliatory, and the United Nations is completely inept. There is one man, and one man alone, whom God has put in a position to stop Iran, and that man's name is George W. Bush.

But the president is under attack, as the media and his critics do their utmost to tear him down. They hate him and everything he stands for, and will stop at nothing to spoil his remaining time in office.

The president is a good man, and a man of faith. He knows what needs to be done; but like any leader, he also needs to hear from those who put him in office.

And that, dear Christians, is where you come in to play.

With your size and your influence, and yes, with your faith, it is you who can make a difference at this critical juncture for Israel and the West.

Many of my fellow Jews in the US are largely silent, afraid to be seen as leading the charge. It is as if they learned nothing from the Jewish people's horrific experience in Europe over six decades ago, when silence in America made possible extermination across the sea.

But you know better than that, and you are not afraid.

On issues that you care about, you have demonstrated an impressive ability to affect US policy, mustering the passion and power necessary to shape debate. Now, more than ever, is the time to do so again, for the threat to us all is very, very real.

Flood the White House and Congress with your concerns. Let them know that you fear for Israel and its safety. Urge your elected officials to hit Iran hard, and soon. Not merely with criticism, but with bombs as well.

Because unless the US Air Force goes into action, the mullahs of Teheran will jeopardize everything we hold dear.

ISRAEL, AS you know, is the "apple of His eye" (see Deut. 32:10 and Zech. 2:12). And God has made clear in His Scripture what He expects from people of faith at times such as these, when Israel is in danger.

"You who make mention of the Lord," says the prophet Isaiah (Chap. 62: 6-7), "do not keep silent, and give Him no rest until He establishes and until He makes Jerusalem unto a praise in the earth."

"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem," says the Psalmist, in Psalm 122. "They that love thee shall prosper."

These aren't just guidelines or recommendations from books of old. They are a command to each and every one of us, Jew and Christian alike, to stand up and speak out when Israel is under threat.

I have no doubt, not one iota of disbelief, that God will save His people Israel. Deliverance comes from Him, and Him alone. But each of us must do our part to help bring it about. [emphasis mine -S.]

And you, dear Christians, now have the power, and the opportunity, to do so. To move the president's heart, and to save Israel and the West from a truly diabolical fate.

So please, don't tarry - we dare not delay. The clock is winding down, the alarm bells are ringing. Raise your voices in prayer and supplication. The time to do something is now, and there is not a moment to waste.


The writer served as Deputy Director of Communications in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office under former premier Binyamin Netanyahu.

***End of Forwarded Message***

How humbled should we be, as believers, to receive such a call to prayer and action! Do not delay and do not keep silent! Remember and take heed that our faith in the instructions and sacrifice of a Jew from Galilee has resulted in our salvation. Now we are receiving an instructive plea for prayer from a representative of the Jewish people who is expressing faith in our faith-- proving that, even now, in the most literal sense, the salvation of all Israel is of the Jews!

Pray, pray and petition day and night that His victory may be won soon and in our days!

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posted by Shoshana @ 9:22 AM

Breaking News

U.S. Doubling America's Emergency Stockpile in Israel [Israel National News]
The U.S. Congress gave its approval this week to double the amount of American emergency equipment stockpiled in Israel. As part of the agreement, Israel is allowed to use the equipment in case of its own emergency, as happened this summer in the second Lebanon War.

The House of Representatives also passed a bill to allow Israel to use up the remainder of the $9 billion guarantees previously approved for a three year period, which was extended by one year.

In addition, the Americans approved a motion to allow Israel to add up to $4.5 billion by 2011, thereby increasing special aid to Israel to help with war damages without having to approve additional funds.
DEBKAfile: Olmert breaks Israel's nuclear silence in response to US defense secretary's nuclear stance and Iran's Holocaust denial conference
The Israeli prime minister made his surprising disclosure Monday, Dec. 11: "Israel doesn't threaten any country," he said. "Iran openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you see this on the same level when you are aspiring to have a nuclear weapon like the US, France, Israel and Russia?" the Israeli PM asked in an interview with the German TV station N24 Sat.

This was the first Israeli official admission of the possession of nuclear weapons.

DEBKAfile's military sources report that Olmert decided on this step in response to US defense secretary Robert Gates' listing of Israel as among the nuclear states surrounding Iran to explain Tehran's search for a nuclear deterrent of its own. He was the first American official to confirm Israel had a nuclear weapon and did so without consulting Jerusalem.

Olmert chose his journey to Germany, which coincided with the opening in Tehran of a conference negating the Holocaust, for his shock disclosure. This conference is taken in Israel as a vehicle for attacking Zionist legitimacy and so justifying Iran's ambition to destroy the Jewish state. Olmert used the opportunity to remind Iran's rulers that Israel possesses a large stock of nuclear weapons capable of not only smashing Iran's nuclear facilities but also disabling its infrastructure. ...
Israel Prepares to Fight Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran [China Confidential via Israpundit]
Early Warning: Israel is preparing for war against its implacable, Iranian-backed, Islamist foes, Hamas and Hezbollah, and their secular ally, Syria.

Preparations are also underway for possible preemptive strikes against Iran itself in order to end its nuclear weapons program.

Israeli military commanders and intelligence analysts are increasingly convinced that Iran is masterminding a plan for a multifront assault on the Jewish state, which could commence early next year. ...
Wake up, Messianic Community, and realize where we are at on G-d's timeclock!

Oh, wait, I forgot; you're too busy deciding between Christmas and Hanukkah [*Ahem* PATHETIC *Ahem*] while the modern-day Maccabees are out there fighting to save your ambivalent tuchuses.

posted by Shoshana @ 9:10 AM

Jews Wake Up!

Caroline Glick has done it again.

[Former US Secretary of State James] Baker believes that Iran will agree to temporarily hold its fire in Iraq in exchange for US acceptance of Iran as a nuclear power and an American pledge not to topple the regime. Syria will assist the US in exchange for US pressure on Israel to hand over the Golan Heights to Syria and Judea and Samaria to Hamas.

It's time to prove that the lessons of Chanukah evidence themselves in more than lit menorahs and spinning dreidels.

America just abdicated its responsibility to defend itself against Iran and so left Israel high and dry. Nevertheless, the Jewish people is far from powerless. And the State of Israel also is capable of defending itself. But we must act and act immediately.

"Salvation is of the Jews." - Yeshua haMashiach

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posted by Shoshana @ 12:47 PM

For the Love of G-d

My heart aches.

I can remember a community prayer time taking place one Shabbat at a congregation I used to attend. As we prayed for Israel, the Ruach impressed in me the pain HaShem felt at the loss of His people, His bride Israel. It was as if my heart had been ripped in half and the sorrow was so all-consuming that it manifested itself in deep physical pain. Take the worst stomach ache you've ever had and multiply that pain a million times and you still wouldn't get close. I don't care if you've ever had your heart broken by another human being; it didn't hurt half as badly as this pain did. It was as if someone had reached their hand into the Almighty and ripped His heart out, then began stomping on it right in front of Him. The extreme renderings of sorrow popular among our prophets--the renting of clothes, the wearing of yokes--no human being could physically, mentally, or emotionally put themselves into that much anguish, no matter how hard they tried.

When the prayer time was over, the congregational leader initiated a discussion regarding the matters upon which we had prayed. I shared what HaShem had given me during that brief time. Their reaction was essentially this: "Yes, but the faithful remnant is turing back to Torah and working to please G-d." That was it. The issue was closed.

We don't often view G-d as someone with feelings. We don't often think of Him, the Supreme Being, as someone who actually cares, really cares about us the way we can care about each other. Sure, we believe that G-d loves us, in a third-person, autocratic kind of way, as if He were nothing more than a benevolent monarch waving a hankie at us as He parades by on official holidays. The passionate metaphors of Shir haShirim (Song of Solomon) are lost to many in the believing community who have been raised in that Puritanical/Protestant tradition that instills blushed faces and humiliated reactions every time the idea of intimacy is so much as whispered about where three or more are gathered. Orthodox Judaism, with its Rabbinical halacha that commands women to dress in kosher burqas lest they seduce men with a glimpse of ankle or wrist, that tells married women they must shave their hair in order to appear clean before G-d, that even, in some extreme circles, instructs married couples to copulate without so much as a glance in each other's direction, has done to the physical state of marriage what they have done to their spiritual relationship with Adonai: drained the passion and intimacy in the name of fear.

Truly, as Messianics, these are the two groups we call on the most for their knowledge and understanding of the texts we handle on a daily basis. But, as educated as they may be on the text, how well do they know, how well can they know Adonai? How well can a bride know her husband if she cooks and cleans for him, but never asks him how his day went? The eyeshet chayil (woman of valor) spoken of in Proverbs 31 does plenty of cooking and cleaning, but she also "opens her arms" and "extends her hands". Her "fine linen and purple" clothing is "strength and dignity." It is fine to know the words on the page, but if they are not written on your heart, what good are they?

When G-d refers to Israel as His bride, He is not using a metaphor for your ease in understanding. He is telling us how He looks at us-- with love, passion, admiration, interest, respect, and a desire to know us intimately. A husband's love is not one-sided; no love ever is. For love to truly succeed and grow, it must receive as much as it gives, or it will be left worn out, frustrated, and grieving. Yeshua instructed his talmidim to give up everything they had and follow Him; yet, today's believing community is content to pay
G-d in tenths of cash, and the non-believing Jews will fork over the price of a ticket for a Kol Nidre service, and both believe that they have worked to redeem themselves before G-d. (Since when did we begin paying the price for our own salvation?) Ephesians 5 instructs us to imitate G-d. Verses 25-32 state:
As for husbands, love your wives, just as the Messiah loved the Messianic Community, indeed, gave himself up on its behalf, in order to set it apart for God, making it clean through immersion in the mikveh, so to speak, in order to present the Messianic Community to himself as a bride to be proud of, without a spot, wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and without defect. This is how husbands ought to love their wives-like their own bodies; for the man who loves his wife is loving himself. Why, no one ever hated his own flesh! On the contrary, he feeds it well and takes care of it, just as the Messiah does the Messianic Community, because we are parts of his Body. "Therefore a man will leave his father and mother and remain with his wife, and the two will become one." There is profound truth hidden here, which I say concerns the Messiah and the Messianic Community.
Think about that. Really think about that for a minute. Yeshua loved us so much that He died for us, so His Father would see us as spotless and perfect as Yeshua Himself did. Yeshua loved us so much that He considers us a part of Him; in Him and through Him we are one with Him. What monarch ever did that for his or her people?

Henry VIII of England, Louis "The Sun King" XIV of France, Emperor Hirohito of Japan, these are but a few of the autocrats who operated on the basis of Divine Right. Henry's Divine Right led him to divorce two of his wives via murderous execution. Louie's Divine Right led him to create the absolutist state that would pave the way for not one, but three French Revolutions. Hirohito's Divine Right demanded the self-slaughter of thousands of kamikazi pilots, a unification with Hitler, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the atomic bomb to be dropped on his own people. Yeshua is our Kingly Moshiach, but He does not love us like a monarch or any kind of archetypal autocrat. So, why do we personify Him in such an earthly fashion?

Maybe we do because it's just easier that way. It's easier to think that Adonai doesn't care for us the way a husband cares for his wife, so passionately and with so much ardor that He died for us, because then we would feel guilty. We would feel guilty for disobeying the rules, for not "submitting to our husband" the Messiah and, in effect, abandoning the covenant He made with us when He made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. It is easy to disobey the wishes and rulings of an autocrat who separates themselves through claims of divinity, and uses those same claims to justify actions resulting in your persecution and death. On the contrary, it is quite difficult to disobey the desires and laws of someone who uses their divine right to die a gruling death on your behalf.

It is so easy to justify our actions and our failings when we look at G-d through the lens of humanity. You can deny that you're a deist, but as long as you view HaShem through that third-person lens, as an omnipotent being who cares, but doesn't care, as a harsh autocratic G-d far removed from you by His own choice (instead of yours), as a being who cares about Himself and not about you, you are defining your relationship to Him and with Him according to the standards of men. The standards of men allow us to fail; in fact, they encourage us to fail, because our failure often allows for someone else's success. When we fall lower, someone else rises higher in order to claim power over us. Yeshua, our Savior and King, sacrificed Himself so that we might become one with Him. Human beings demand our submission because they believe that the more souls they can claim to themselves, the more god-like they become. Yeshua desires our submission because He knows the more we submit to Him as a wife submits to her husband, the more godly we become.

Only in seeking to view HaShem through the lens He has given us (that is, His own Words, illuminated through His Ruach, which we are given through trust in Messiah) can we ever hope to understand His love for us. In turn, it is only in viewing ourselves through this same lens, and informed by this truth, that we can hope to understand how grossly we have failed Him and continue to fail Him as His bride. I am confronted with current events and all I can think is, "Adonai, what can Israel do to please you, in order that our cries for your mercy will be heard?" Obviously, we are in such a place as a nation and a people because we have failed to live up to our covenant with Him. But what can we do to repair the breach?

Whether it is from the Orthodox Jewish or the Evangelical Christian world, we hear cries for teshuva (repentance) and Moshiach (to the former, His coming; to the latter, His return). Yet, neither camp, on the whole, is truly seeking to perform the actions necessary to facilitate Messiah's salvation of Israel.

During the Lebanon war there were many calls to recite Tehillim (Psalms) issued by various Orthodox sages and Rebbes. How many loyal Jews recited these Psalms by rote, allowing the words to totally bypass their hearts? Psalm 118 states:

Give thanks to the L-RD, for He is good;
His love endures forever.
Let Israel say:
"His love endures forever."
Let the house of Aaron say:
"His love endures forever."
Let those who fear the L-RD say:
"His love endures forever."

We repeat this phrase, "His love endures forever," multiple times each Pesach (Passover) but do we understand it? King David sings of G-d's salvation in this Psalm, writing:

Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the L-RD.
This is the gate of the L-RD
through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
the L-RD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the L-RD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
O L-RD, save us;
O L-RD, grant us success.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the L-RD.
From the house of the L-RD we bless you.
The L-RD is G-d,
and He has made his light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar.
You are my G-d, and I will give you thanks;
you are my G-d, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the L-RD, for He is good;
His love endures forever.

We read this prayer of praise every Pesach, just as our ancestors did when Yeshua, "the stone the builders rejected," arrived through the "gates" of Yerushalayim on the back of a donkey, in fulfillment of the words of the prophet Zechariah. Our ancestors joined in the "festal procession" with "boughs in hand" as Yeshua rode to "the altar" of sacrifice. Our ancestors shouted as David did, "Baruch haba B'Shem Adonai!" ("Blessed is He who comes in the name of the L-rd!") Every Nisan we are confronted with the truth and yet, so many of us choose to view it through the lens of humanity, not the lens of Adonai. So, every Pesach we repeat by rote that "His love endures forever," but because of our own pride, so many of us continue to see as others would wish us to see, looking through a lens darkly. We repeat the fact, but we do not act on it; for, if we did, we would be crying out the rest of David haMelekh's words, just as Yeshua commanded us to do:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the L-RD!'" (Luke 13:34-35)
We have been taken out of the nations and brought back to our own land, just as Adonai promised through the prophet Ezekiel (ch. 36). Yet, we are still an unclean people. Even those among us who seek righteousness with the seemingly purest of hearts do so by rote, often placing the teachings of men above the teachings of Adonai. In doing so, they cannot understand G-d's love for us, His bride, therefore, they cannot understand the veracity of Yeshua's sacrifice; if they cannot understand Him as husband, they cannot possibly understand or fulfill our role as the bride. If even the most righteous among us fail in this capacity, what hope do we have for our nation? How can any act of teshuva be good enough if it is not informed by what Adonai tells us to be true?

And, yet, there are those among us who know and trust in Messiah. These among us have, through this trust, been given the ability to look at Adonai and each other through a G-dly lens. These people claim an affinity for Israel, but do not identify with our nation, despite their claims to be the bride of Messiah. (Tell me, is Yeshua a polygamist?) So, what scriptures support their passions? Genesis 12:3 and Psalm 122:6 Their heavy citation of these two verses raises the question, do these believers pray for Israel to be blessed, or do they pray so that they will be blessed? Moreover, this group claims a desire to form a partnership with the Jewish people out of their G-d given love for Israel. How did they receive such a love for a people so foreign to them? Through HaShem, who they know through their trust in Yeshua. These believers proclaim that, were it not for the Jewish people, they would not have been saved by Yeshua. Yet, they also proclaim a unity with the Jewish people where no mention of Yeshua is allowed. Their affinity for Israel stems from the fact that "salvation is of the Jews," however, their relationship with the Jewish people contradicts the fact that salvation belongs "to the Jew first." If we deny His Ruach in our midst, how can we ever expect His flesh to dwell among us again?

Still, there are those among us who claim a passion for the Jewish Messiah, who study His Word night and day, who proclaim His truth as the talmidim did, some who even work and live in the land of Israel. What are they doing to beg for Adonai's intervention at this critical hour? Most say nothing beyond extending uninformed prayers of sympathy and support, as if one were extending condolences to an acquaintance that lost a distant relative. Some do nothing out of anger against a government that denies their identity as Jews, while others lack an understanding of their Jewish identity. Some who sit in established seats of ministry leadership choose to view the situation "through a glass darkly", in other words, the same way the secular Israeli government is looking at things on a daily basis. These believers, who proudly pour money and time into proclaiming the Good News, an increasing number of whom are growing in their faith through an immersion in Torah, still have yet to connect the dots between the people of ancient Israel and the people of Israel today. No matter how well-intentioned, as long as their thinking is from a "human point of view, not from G-d's," they will never be able to feel or exhibit the love a wife should have for her husband, because they do not adequately comprehend the fullness of G-d's promises to His bride, Israel. What good does it do to brag about your husband's riches at the office where you work overtime?

What are we, the Bride of Messiah, doing to entreat Him to have mercy on our people and our land at this critical hour? Are we trusting in the promises of Adonai? Are we shouting from the rooftops, "Baruch haba B'Shem Adonai!"? Are we proclaiming Yeshua's salvation to all those who have ears to hear, first to the Jew and then to the gentile? Are we viewing the world today through the lens of scripture, the way the first century believers did, trusting in the impending return of Messiah and the salvation of all Israel?

Are we living as a proud and faithful bride, basking in the love and trusting the in the power of our husband, our Messiah? Are we rising in the dark to work while there is yet time? Are we planting vineyards that will produce good fruit? Are we keeping our lamps lit?

Don't look for the answers to these questions in the texts of sages or Rabbis, the sermons of pastors or priests, or the platitudes of religious role models. Instead, submit yourself to your Messiah who is the Truth. How does your husband, your partner in life see the world? If we are to be one with Him, shouldn't we strive to see the world the way He does? Jewish people instruct their children not to marry gentiles; believers often warn their children not to become "unevenly yoked" with non-believers (II Cor. 6:14) in marriage. Have we ever stopped to consider what it means to be unevenly yoked with Messiah?

In Biblical times, "yoke" was a term often used to refer to your halacha, your walk with HaShem through the laws and principles He set out for us to live by (Torah) on a daily basis. Yes, a faithful remnant is turning back to Torah and working to please G-d. But our nation (Israel) and our people (Israel) are still in chaos. We are a bride unevenly yoked with her Master, and it is our own fault. Whether we have faith in Messiah or not, whether we identify as Jews or Christians, we are still looking at G-d through human eyes. Instead of fearing Him, we fear each other, and we fear that what others say about Him is true without turning to the Source and checking the facts for ourselves.

Worst of all, we fear submitting ourselves to His yoke because love, true love that manifests itself in a willingness to sacrifice life and limb for another (in this case, Messiah), ultimately translates into a complete loss of self. When we enter into this relationship with Yeshua according to His terms, not ours, there is no more "me," there is "we," and there is no more "I," there exists only "us." How much easier it is to view Adonai as a despot instead of desperately in love. A despot demands loyalty, not love; body, not soul.

Until we submit ourselves as a bride to her husband we will languish, because we are not fulfilling our part of the ketubah, the part that states, "Love the L-RD your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Until we love Him the way He loves us, we will remain unevenly yoked, and we will pay the price.

...and when you and your children return to the L-RD your G-d and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the L-RD your G-d will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. ...The L-RD your G-d will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. ...The L-RD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, if you obey the L-RD your G-d and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the L-RD your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 30)

posted by Shoshana @ 8:40 AM

Shabbat Thoughts....

Wow, am I glad it is Shabbat. It has been one rollercoaster of a week in my life. I continue to be consumed by the events of the real world and, as a result, have grown increasingly frustrated at times that I do not have as much time as I'd like to devote to this blog. I've managed other blogs before, but this one is different in nature, requiring more time for research, study, prayer and preparation for nearly every post. Due to the sensitivity of the subject matter and the critical nature of the L-rd and Master of this blog, I want to make sure that I am being clear and I am staying on the mark with what I write. In other words, I am beginning to believe that this blog is being penned much more on G-d's timeclock than my own. It is a frustration, but it is also a joy to be functioning according to His clock, because I know the resulting words will be a blessing to all who read them.

The Believing Blogosphere

One of the thoughts that sparked my intellect this week came during my daily check-in with the believing blogosphere. I continue to be filled with joy when I read the musings of those dedicated to seeking out Yeshua in Torah and developing a Torah-filled halacha in their walk with Him. Yet, I have to question the stream of thought that seeks to "Orthodoxy-ize" our faith. I began noticing this a while back, when I clicked into a post over at Literary Joe titled Who Was Yeshua, in which author Nate writes, It brought up a couple questions for me. First of all, it has been quite a theme over at Brian’s blog that we ought to be following Yeshua as our Rebbe. I absolutely agree. However, who exactly was Yeshua? Was he a Pharisee? Was he an Essene? Was he something else all together?

My question is this: Why are we trying to define Yeshua in our own human terms? Torah never speaks of denominations. Torah doesn't preach Orthodox halacha. In human terms, when we think of religious Judaism, we think of the Orthodox, the P'rushim of our day. Yet, Yeshua instructed, "Don't do as they do," when it came to the P'rushim. So, why should our attitudes be any different? Why should we be trying so hard to understand Yeshua in a Pharasaic context when He clearly wasn't a Pharisee?

The human mind struggles to understand things and, in doing so, likes to categorize people, ideas, and concepts into groupings. Yet, how can we as mere humans and slaves of Yeshua, attempt to place our Master in a box of our own making? How can we define Adonai Echad in human terms? "A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master" (Matthew 10:24). Pharisee, Essene, Orthodox... these are all human categories based on human interpretations of the Word. But we do not need a human to interpret Torah for us! For Torah became flesh and dwelt among us! He IS the halacha and He is in a self-defined category. But He is not in that category all by Himself; through His sacrifice, we have been invited in to join Him in His halacha. Why should we aspire to the traditions of men when we have been invited to live the halacha of HaShem?

We do not define Adonai Echad; He defines us. He will never fit into one of our little boxes, but we have been welcomed to come into His dwelling place, for He has made it our home and we have fit into it through our trust.

Current Events

Major things have been happening in the world this week! Nasrallah, the evil henchman of hizbullah, is gathering millions of Lebanese (Christians among them) to bring down the US-backed Siniora government. Should the government fall, this would only speed-up hizbullah's "Destroy Israel" timeclock.

If you've been following the news this week, you've been hearing a lot about Iraq. If you've been listening keenly enough, you've also been hearing blurbs about "peace in the Middle East" (read: Israel) being directly related to the Iraq issue. This should send up flares in the minds of believers. The world body, including the United States government, is impressing the minds of Americans that peace in Iraq (read: our troops coming home) will only happen when the Israelis and palestinians put down their weapons. Of course, the concurrent thought-process is that Israel must lay down their weapons and cede more territory for there to be peace. In other words, the United States government is insinuating that Israel must concede to the demands of terrorists if the United States is to claim victory over terrorism in Iraq. Orwell would even appreciate this level of Marxist doublespeak.

Israel's cessession began earlier this week with an agreed-upon ceasefire in the Gaza Strip (formerly known as Gush Katif). Despite the Israeli government's eviction of over 9,000 Jews from the tiny strip of land in 2005, the palestinians have yet to cease firing rockets (1200 so far) over the border into towns in Israel proper, most notably Sderot and Ashkelon. Finally listening to the cries of their people, the Israeli government sent troops into the Strip last week to weed out the terror cells. However, the operation didn't last long; thanks to the eagle-eyes at Israpundit, we now know that the U.S. Pressured Israel To Halt Missile Strikes On Palestinians. Shortly after the cease-fire was declared, the palestinians began firing Kassam rockets over the border into Israel again, and have continued to do so throughout the week. U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice is pleased to know that Israel has done nothing to respond to the attacks, and continues to encourage them to do nothing.

According to a confidential memo obtained by The New York Sun, Israel will continue to play the role of America's bargaining chip when it comes to Middle East "stability". Pray for modern-day Maccabees this Hanukkah season.

Mearsheimer and Walt's anti-Jewish broadside "The Israel Lobby" is gaining ground in international Christian circles. This week, Baroness Jenny Tonge stepped down as a trustee of the UK charity "Christian Aid" after making negative remarks about "the Israel Lobby" this past September. According to the JPost, Speaking last week at Edinburgh University, as reported in The Jerusalem Post, Tonge stood by her earlier comments, saying there had been "extensive" research in the US supporting her argument that the Israeli lobby has a disproportionate voice in Anglo-American foreign policy. Although Tonge submitted her resignation independently, the organization will not state whether or not any pressure was put on her to leave. The Post article continues, Following her comments, John Davison, a spokesman for Christian Aid, told the Jewish Chronicle, "Baroness Tonge was not speaking on behalf of Christian Aid nor had she consulted with the organization before making these comments. The areas on which she was speaking are outside the remit of a development organization which deals with issues of poverty and humanitarian relief." In other words, while her comments had nothing to do with Christian Aid, they did apparently have some relevance to arenas outside the sphere of the organization...? What a wonderful way to deny any involvement without decrying the attack itself.

These are only a few of the issues facing our people as we go into the Hanukkah season. I encourage all of you to keep abreast of current events and look upward with petitions as well as praise, trusting in His reputation and promises, which are forever.

Links of Interest

Dr. Joseph Shulam, a Messianic Rabbi from Israel who heads the Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry in Jerusalem, is publishing prayer letters in English on the Netivyah USA website. Dr. Shulam travels around the world, from Asia to South America and all points in-between, preaching the Jewish message of Yeshua to Christian congregations. This is a wonderful way to keep up on the travels of an interesting and intelligent member of the body, who is doing much to bless the believing community world-wide. Please, remember him in your prayers!

The Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies in Jerusalem publishes a Media Review on their website: The Media Review is an English-language synopsis of articles that were originally published in the Israeli press. The articles, most of which were written in Hebrew, focus on Messianic Jews and Christianity. This synoptic translation is a Caspari Center exclusive. They publish weekly, and it's a great way to keep tabs on how Messianics are viewed in the land. Were it not for this resource, I never would have known that the Mayor of Arad stood by the Messianics in their struggles against Chasidic attacks, nor would I have understood the grave seriousness with which the ultra-Orthodox approach the name of "Yeshua" (a name which they consider forbidden).

In the words of my zayde, keep your eyes and ears open! Be aware of the world around you, but more importantly, be aware of what G-d thinks of this olam hazeh in order that you may be prepared for what He has called you to do for such a time as this.

Baruch haShem for His many blessings & Shabbat Shalom to you all,


posted by Shoshana @ 9:03 AM