Welcome to the Fall 2007 issue of Sarah's Tent. The time will soon be upon us to ready our hearts and minds to celebrate the fall feasts of YHWH; specifically, Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). As Yeshua fulfilled the Spring feasts at His first coming, He will return and we shall see fulfillment of the Fall appointed times when He reigns over us as king.
This issue will concentrate on the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. Tabernacles is a joyful time when the Master has come and dwells with us on the earth. However, before we can get to the rejoicing we must enter into the season of repentance. In Hebrew to repent is an action signified by two words. Nicham which means to feel sorrow and shuv - to return. Scripture tells us all have sinned and fallen short. Because we have been called out of the world and led into Torah obedience, we see even more how we fall short of the mark. We are now well into the sixth Hebrew month, known as Elul. Elul 1 marks the beginning of Teshuvah - the season of return. As we prepare ourselves to hear the call of the shofar, let us pray that YHWH opens our eyes to reveal to us where we have fallen short that we may properly return to Him through the blood of Yeshua our Messiah.
To read more about the Fall Feasts, including how to keep the Feasts, the dates, and guide on fasting for Yom Kippur, please visit our Feast page.
The Feast of Sukkot
The Feast of Sukkot, (also known as Tabernacles, Ingathering, and Booths) is a 7 day feast commanded by Yahweh to be kept yearly, (Leviticus 23:34-36). Its also one of the three pilgrimage feasts (Deuteronomy 16:16). This Feast will be the first one celebrated in the kingdom to come, with serious consequences for those who do not go up to celebrate it each year. (Zechariah 14:16-19). Agriculturally this was also a very important time because it signals the completion of the harvest. Sukkot is also known as the Feast of Ingathering. The instructions for Sukkot can be found in Leviticus 23:34-36;39-43
Speak to the children of Israel, and say, 'On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of tents for seven days to Yahweh. On the first day shall be a holy convocation: you shall do no regular work. Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh. On the eighth day shall be a holy convocation to you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh. It is a solemn assembly; you shall do no regular work. So on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruits of the land, you shall keep the feast of Yahweh seven days: on the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. You shall take on the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your God seven days. You shall keep it a feast to Yahweh seven days in the year: it is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall keep it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths seven days. All who are born of Israel shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh your God.'"
After the end of Yom Kippur, we have five days in which to prepare our temporary dwelling and make ready to rejoice before Yahweh. We obtain palm branches, fruit, (the etrog which resembles a lemon), a myrtle branch, and the branch from the willow. The branches are bound together, and this is called a lulav. The etrog is held separately. We wave the lulav as we worship and rejoice before Yahweh.
In keeping this feast we remember the mercy of Yahweh, how He led our ancestors out of Egypt, and sustained them throughout the wilderness. The eighth day, (the day after the last day of Sukkot) is called Shemini Atzeret and it is also a Sabbath. One explanation that I heard regarding the eight day was that Yahweh was saying, "Don't go! Tarry a little longer with Me." On the Eighth Day we are commanded to rest from our labors and to assemble together to worship.
Yeshua tabernacled with us at his first coming and will again. Yeshua was born during this feast. (See http://www.messianic.com/articles/dates.htm) Succoth was the first place the children of Israel camped after leaving Egypt. A foreshadow of the wedding supper of the Lamb. The cloud that covered Israel by day can also be seen as the wedding chuppah, the canopy under which the Hebrew wedding ceremony takes place. The Tabernacle of David is regarded as the Kingdom of David. Yeshua is the Tabernacle of Yahweh. (Hebrews 9:11) The remnant of Israel will be gathered in, and our exile will be over. Our King, Yeshua will reign over us.
We are like our ancestors who were redeemed from slavery in Egypt, (redeemed from sin and death through the blood of the Lamb). Like them, we are in the wilderness (exile). However we are not alone here. He is with us, in the pillar of fire and in the cloud. (the Ruach HaKodesh ~ the Holy Spirit). He guides our steps, and protects us, and supplies our needs. While we journey through the wilderness, we yearn to be in the Land of Promise. Until that time we must go through difficulties and hardships. The wilderness is not supposed to be easy. However, while we are on this journey He is increasing and instructing us. We must be careful with all that we are taught, veering off neither to the left or to the right. Remember the judgments in the wilderness on those who were disobedient and rebellious.
When we enter in to that land of promise one of the first things we will do is celebrate. While historically we celebrate Sukkot to remember that Yahweh caused our ancestors to live in tents, prophetically we are rehearsing to enter into the Kingdom and be with our Messiah.
Setting up your Tabernacle usually begins after Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is a day of fasting and we are commanded to rest. Absolutely no work is to be done. Your sukkah can be a dwelling that you construct yourself, or it can be a tent or camper. For instructions on building your own sukkah, please see How to Build a Sukkah at MyJewishLearning.com.
The following is this writer's opinion only. If you have the ability to truly dwell in your sukkah (eat and sleep), then you should do so. Since we are scattered to the four corners of the earth, the weather for some during Sukkot is not conducive for sleeping overnight. You are the best judge of what is possible in your area, and depending on the type of sukkah you have. Fall weather can be unpredictable in some areas. Our family has had to cancel our plans to sleep out a few times, but we still did as much as we could. Prayers, meals, Bible study certain things can still be done. Remember you are the best judge for your area.
Sukkot is also time of gathering with others to celebrate. Many Messianic congregations get together at someone's property or camp ground. Fellowship is an important part of this feast, and it is tradition to invite guests to share your sukkah. In fact, this is an excellent feast to share with others about your Torah walk. While Passover is meant to be more exclusive and a celebration with one or two families, (Exodus 12:3-4), Sukkot is just the opposite.
This is a time of rejoicing before Yahweh, and anticipation of the Kingdom to come. Let us rehearse it with diligence!
To learn more about the fall feasts, please visit our Feast page.
Like flipping pages through a wedding album, the imagery used in Holy Scriptures reveals a vivid portrait of who the Beloved Bride truly is and Yeshua Ha Mashiach (Jesus), as the awaiting Bridegroom. A believer's life is a celebration of promise and hope, soon to be fulfilled at the coming of the Messiah. Our Heavenly Father graciously requests the honor of your presence today. Come away now, and discover what it means to walk in the beauty of holiness and prepare for His Majesty's Royal Marriage to the Lamb of God.
The Huppah Wedding Canopy
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Song of Songs 2:4 KJV
Beneath the diamond-studded heavens, the princely groom takes his place under the Huppah, ready to receive his bride. He anxiously awaits to catch a glimpse of her approaching shadow in the glowing trail of moonlight.
During the ancient times of Israel, the Huppah was the special room built onto the bridegroom’s father’s house, where the bride was brought at the end of the betrothal period. This second part of the marriage is called, Nesuin in Hebrew and is where the bride and groom begin their new life together as husband and wife. This set-apart time is what is celebrated as the Feast of Tabernacles.
The original Hebrew meaning for Huppah is “room” or “to cover with garlands,” symbolic of the laurel wreath worn by the bride and groom during the marriage ceremony. Over the centuries, the Huppah has taken on many forms including, a tallith or prayer shawl draped over the couple’s heads, to a Chupah made entirely of flowers.
When Moses received the Torah as a Ketubah for the marriage between Yahweh and Israel at Mount Sinai, we are given the biblical account of the Huppah. An enveloping cloud hovered over the people as they stood beneath the mountain, just like a bride stands beneath the Huppah on her wedding day. Today, the Huppah is a wedding canopy made from ornamented silk or satin, supported by four firm poles made from four trees planted when the groom was born and is held up by men. It’s structure being temporary and removable serves as a reminder that our permanent wedding chamber is in the New Jerusalem with our Messiah.
The new couple spends seven days together in this wedding room and starts their honeymoon cycle by the groom covering his bride with himself. Jewish bridegrooms do this today as part of the wedding ceremony by placing their prayer Tallit over their bride, so all can witness it.
In ancient times, as a witness to the couple becoming one flesh, the best man stood near the tent and would wait to hear the voice of the bridegroom tell him that the “Yihud” which means to know, such as in the sexual act of intimacy, had taken place. This is what John was referring in John 3:28 - 29 when he said, “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” The bed sheets with her blood on them were presented as proof to everyone that she was a true virgin, then given to the Bride’s family. This act signified the beginning of the week long celebration.
At the end of the Messianic age, the New Jerusalem will come down as a Huppah or bridal chamber from Heaven, just like the first wedding recorded in Genesis 2:22, where God took Eve, “and brought her to Adam.” Our Huppah is the room that Yeshua referred to in John 14:2-3. He has prepared a special place for us.
Spread . . . thy cloak over thy handmaid, for thou art a near kinsman.” Ruth 3:9 KJV
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com
Happy Summer, ladies! I do hope that you are enjoying the warmth and being outside in God's creation! Our family has really enjoyed His beautiful masterpiece, and we've tried to take it all in... In this issue, I would like to give you a few recipes for Feast of Tabernacles! I hope that they satisfy both the tummy, and the palate!
Remember Yeshua, and what He represents during this wonderful time of year. Our Master, who came to DWELL with us!
Until next time! Vered firstname.lastname@example.org ***********************
Child-Pleasing Chicken Schnitzel
INGREDIENTS: boneless chicken breasts eggs bread crumbs seasoned with paprika, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley
PREPARATION: 1. Beat chicken to flatten. 2. Dip in eggs, and then dip in seasoned crumbs. 3. Heat oil in a frying pan. 4. Fry chicken in hot oil on both sides.
Easy Kosher Chicken Pot Pie
INGREDIENTS: 2 Tbsp. margarine (pareve) 1 onion chopped 2 Tbsp. flour 1 tsp. salt pepper to taste 1 1/2 cup chicken broth 1/2 cup non-dairy creamer 2-2 1/2 cups cooked chicken cubed 10 oz. bag of frozen peas and carrots filo dough, defrosted according to package directions
PREPARATION: 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 2. Melt margarine, and saute onion until golden. 3. Blend in flour, salt, pepper. Cook over low heat for one minute. 4. Stir in chicken broth and creamer. Stir until thickened and bubbling. 5. Stir in chicken and vegetables. 6. Pour mixture into casserole dish. 7. Roll out enough defrosted filo dough to cover the top of the dish. Place dough over the mixture and adhere to the sides of the dish. Brush dough with beaten egg. Puncture the dough with a fork in several places so steam can escape. 8. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
INGREDIENTS: 3 cups flour 1 Tbsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt 2 cups sugar 1 cup cooking oil 4 eggs 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla 1/4 cup orange juice 2-3 apples, sliced 1 tsp. cinnamon 3/4 cup granulated sugar
PREPARATION: 1. Place all ingredients (except apples, cinnamon and 3/4 cup sugar) in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. 2. Pour half the batter into a greased tube pan with a removable bottom. 3. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. 4. Arrange half the apples, then sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar. 5. Repeat layer. 6. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 75-90 minutes.
VARIATION: Put half of the apples, sugar and cinnamon in the middle of the cake and the other half on top of the cake.
Ginger Almond Shortbread
Yield: makes two dozen 1 cup butter, at room temperature 2/3 cup sifted confectioner's sugar 1 teaspoon almond extract 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 2 teaspoons ground ginger 1/4 cup finely ground almond 24 whole almonds Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with confectioner's sugar and almond extract until smooth. Add flour, ginger, and ground almonds and beat mixture until well combined. On a floured surface, roll dough out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into two-inch round and place one inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press a whole almond into the center of each cookie and bake about 20 minutes or until very lightly colored. Remove to rack and cool.
Chicken Pot Pie
Under His Chuppah ~ Laurie West
"Under His Chuppah" is aimed towards women who are unequally yoked in marriage. To give support, encouragement, and wisdom as they establish the Instructions of YHVH in their homes; training their children and balancing mercy with truth as they love their husbands into the Kingdom.
Song of Songs 1:1-2
In verse 1, "The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s", tell us that this is the beloved treasure of King Solomon’s wisdom. Some say that this Song was written at the beginning of his life, when he was full of passion and love for YHVH. I believe King Solomon could have written this book at the end of his life, when he was restored in his relationship with YHVH. The depth of the refining fire in this book, in my opinion, could not have been written by anyone who has not undergone the purifying flame of refinement. In any event, this book is written by a passionate King who is translating to his readers, the very distinct possibility of that fiery romance that our hearts and spirits long to have with our invisible, yet ever-present Lover of our souls. Not as mere babes, but as mature believers who have the heart of a Bride. And what is the heart of a Bride? Simply put, it is the consuming desire to please her Husband.
It is interesting that in Exodus 21:24, YHVH says, "In every place where I cause My name to be remembered I will come to you, and I will bless you." In these last days, it may very well be that "in every place", could be the hearts of men and women, whom He is calling into intimate fellowship with Himself. This intimate fellowship is different from that of human intimacy, because human intimacy is always self-centred. We love back when we are loved first. We may even think our love is centred upon the other person’s well-being, however, when we hold up human love and intimacy with that of the unconditional love of YHVH, we will see that human love is always conditional. Some may take their love and create it into an obsessive form of love, but it is still self-gratifying. The intimate and deep love affair in which YHVH is seeking to fulfil in our lives is a love that is unconditional, but will also inure by burning up the flesh with all its lusts, cravings, and appetites. YHVH’s love is both life and death to our beings. Human love rides upon the mountains of ecstasy, while the passionate love of YHVH dwells in the valleys of humility. Human love longs for the next climax of pleasure, while the passionate love of YHVH manifests that unexplainable joy which takes us from peak to peak and through valley to valley. Through trial and tribulation we can find peace and tranquillity and manifest a joyful spirit in our worship of YHVH.
And so here we are, in our journey onto maturity – stretching out our hands upward, and inclining our hearts and minds to pursue after our Beloved. We will do anything He asks, we will go anywhere He tells us, as we will learn to obey His voice. We will relinquish anything that deafens our hearing or hinders our bodies from performing those righteous acts, which define and prove our faith. Even at this point, we will realize that our yearning is not from ourselves, but has been the drawing power of our Bridegroom. We will have nothing of ourselves by which to puff ourselves up.
As we are led up to the Bridal Chamber, we will all have areas in our lives that the Father will use to burn up the chaff of our flesh. We may even have a few different areas at once. Our main area, for the focus of this column will be our unequally yoked marriage, specifically the anti-Messiah spirit of our spouses. Is this a harsh term to use? By no means, for the sake of brevity, I encourage you to read the entire book of 1 Yochanan (1st John), so that if there is any doubt with whom you are dealing with, your doubts will be at once relieved. I have often been led around by the confusion of my mind and emotions as I have dealt with the bizarre behaviour of my husband. I realize, as you will also, that this long-term trial of your unequal yoke will be more about you than it will be about your marriage partner. YHVH is perfecting you, and for His purposes He has allowed the temple of your body to be used as that vessel to minister to your spouse. I have stopped asking myself why I couldn’t be the wife of a Torah honouring, Y’shua loving husband. It just does not matter. Why should the clay question the Potter?
The only question we must ask ourselves is: Are we ready to allow our will to bend? This path is not for babes, as babes will be unable to see the way, nor forsake any other counterfeit path. This path is for the spiritually mature who long to go on to perfection. The mature understand that perfection is not a state of being, but a path of learning and growing. One of the definitions of "law" (torah in Hebrew) is to "mark". The mature will have markings in their lives where they have both failed and succeeded in their walks with YHVH, and will be able to not only benefit from these markers in future trials and situations, but will be able to come along side the babes in Messiah and be skilful in righteousness in order to counsel these precious and hurting lambs. Also, as we find fellow maturing veterans, we will be consoled, comforted, and exhorted by gaining insight from the situations that have marked their lives. One positive, tongue in cheek remark I give as I encounter very difficult and intimidating people is that my husband is meaner and nastier than you, so bring it on! Really though, it is true. I am not the pushover doormat I once was.
The mature understand that they will stumble and fall along the way, and that they can rest, assured that forgiveness is only a whisper away, and that YHVH is our ever-present help when we need strength to press on. Our eyes can only be opened by YHVH’s mercy, but we have the responsibility to open our minds in order to challenge how we have viewed life and perceptions, so that we can retrain our minds to think along different lines of thought. We can no longer afford to create excuses to cover our ignorance, or to substitute naiveté for innocence. The most difficult aspect in changing the direction of our thinking is that coward ness and shrinking back from standing for truth really is not a measure of submission or righteous behaviour.
1:2 "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine"
Can you sense the dramatic passion from the Shulamite maiden? It appears that she is seeking to kiss Him, however, she is requesting that He kiss her with His mouth. As you seek out the root meanings of these words, a powerful and dramatic picture of the entire process of intimacy with YHVH unfolds.
Watchman Nee says that when you have an allegory, which speaks through a woman that it is indicative of submitting to authority. Mothers who pull their children out of public school in order to home educate find that for the first year, it is a struggle to realign the proper authoritative structure in their homes. For how ever many years their children have been under the authority of a teacher, they find that authority figure in their children’s lives to be quite strong. It is a stronghold that must be patiently overcome through love and compassion, but balanced with discipline. It is the same with us. We may have many strongholds of authority over us that are out of balance and position. It could be our husband, our fathers, our family, strong personalities such as friends or charismatic Christian leaders, a shepherding congregation, etc. These things are idols, or "ba’als", who have supplanted themselves on the throne of our heart, in the midst of our temple.
This is why YHVH will take us out into the Wilderness for a time, to set the order straight, and to place Himself as the rightful owner and occupier of the throne of our hearts. At this present time, YHVH is seeking those whose hearts are completely His, to draw us to Himself, with the same spirit as the maiden in the Song of Solomon. As we delve into the Song of Solomon, we will see that this maiden has left what was comfortable to pursue her Beloved. He was drawing her to Himself, and she was so lovesick for Him that she could do nothing but let go of her life and all that was familiar to her. In order to pursue our Beloved, we must understand that there is a path to Him and begin to walk. It is not necessary to understand everything at once, but to be as simple as the Israelites, who said, "All that YHVH has spoken, we will do." And this they said, before they had heard what the Covenant entailed. Now that is trust!
The word kiss : Strongs 5401 – the idea of fastening up; to kiss; to equip with weapons; rule.
Ancient Hebrew Lexicon 2445 (V) – Touch: Weapon; A touching in love with the lips or in battle with weapons.
This word is not only insightful, but also extremely provocative. We nearly have to think in reverse. It appears that the maiden is initially aggressive towards her Beloved. But really, it is only the initial act of submission. The Bridegroom has sought her out, and brought her near. Remember? She was either brought from Persia as one of Solomon’s foreign wives, or, she was an ordinary Hebrew maiden working in the fields. (As you will see later, her being "black" for working in the sun to the chagrin of her companions.)
The phrase, "Let him kiss" comes from the meaning of the word kiss. According to Strongs’, there are three actions or requests being made by the maiden. She is asking him to touch her gently, which denotes her vulnerability to him as the lesser sex; she is submitting to his rule over her, and within this union of love she will be equipped with weapons as those used for war – specifically - fire. And you will learn about this fire as the internal weapon of YHVH to cleanse His Bride.
The word mouth: Strongs 6310 –the means of blowing (whether literally or figuratively –speech), specifically edge, portion, or side. Command, commandment, appointment.
The word "mouth" is interesting as the meaning implies "blowing". This causes us to think back to the Garden of Eden when at the creation of man, YHVH blew into his nostrils the breath of life. And so it is, this request from the maiden is to be touched intimately so that she will come to life and be renewed. This longing should be common amongst believers in Y’shua today, but it is sadly lacking in genuineness. When we become parched of spirit by our circumstances that seek to drain us of spiritual life, it is then that our spirits will cry out for this same passionate encounter. I have read in other commentaries that another meaning for kiss is to ignite with fire as a weapon. Our cry should be, "O YHVH, my spirit is Yours to rule over me. Ignite the fire of my spirit and stir passion within me that I may love you with fervour. Fasten yourself to me, blow upon me that I would be renewed and rekindle the fire to burn bright and strong within me."
The "mouth" also denotes speech, primarily speaking commandments, appointments, and can also mean two-edged. As we are coming into maturity in our faith, our spirits are governed by what is spoken out of YHVH’s mouth. Again, we are brought into submission as we relinquish the slavery of our religious traditions, and take upon us the freedom of what YHVH speaks to us in such an intimate and tender way. No more are the harsh and demeaning words of men who speak strange fire from pulpits, but now, we are spoken to tenderly as a lover, a friend, and one who is betrothed.
For our own application, we can have confidence to have been drawn by our Beloved into our circumstance. In no way, have we thwarted YHVH’s plans over our lives. We can rest, and have complete assurance that we are in the centre of His will for our lives. It is for the cause or sake of our husbands, that we are being used as vessels of dishonour. You are a Light, a Testimony, and a Witness of YHVH.
I’ll tell you something interesting about my own life. I ended up in Britain through the consequences of my sin. I could give you a list of excuses and reasons why I did what I did, but in the end I was disobedient and now I am paying that price. And I spent years beating myself up over it. One Shabbat a couple of years ago, my mum and father in law (whom I adore) came for a visit. My husband’s family are traditional Christians, in name only. They have no special love for YHVH or for the Jewish people. My mum in law just happened to look on my table and see my Bible. She said to me, "Laurie, I’ve just remembered something! Don and I travelled to Israel one year (my father in law travelled a lot as an electrical engineer) and stopped over in Jerusalem. I went to the wall and saw all the people putting slips of paper in the wall with their prayers, so I decided to put one in too. Do you know what I wrote in it? I asked God to bring my son Stephen a wife! But I didn’t think He would be literal and bring me a Jewish one!!" I was absolutely gob smacked. (I am not Jewish by the way)
To me, YHVH was assuring me that even though I had not responded as I should have in a very stressful situation when leaving California to move 7000 miles to live in England, that there was a higher purpose involved that He would use to perfect me and have mercy on my husband Steve. Really, how much does YHVH love my husband? I believe there will be a limit, and at some point the Father will say ENOUGH! because He really does not desire me to be destroyed in the process, however, during this time my body is being buffeted by the work of YHVH toward my husband. The fruit in my life is humility.
So, I cry out to YHVH and say, "Kiss me with the kisses of Your Mouth, for Your love is better than wine". He has drawn me, He has called me, and He kisses me. It is Him who ignites my fiery passion to desire to please Him in every way, and in my response of submission, the weapons of His fire are released to cleanse and purify me. He removed the Ba’al off the throne of my heart, which was my husband. This removal has wrought havoc in my marriage. My Beloved’s mouth blows over me with His breath and my ears are no longer dull of hearing. My heart is enlarged and I am willing to do whatever He says. His breath speaks of His commands, and I am eager to fulfil them because I desire so much to please my Beloved. His mouth is like a two-edged sword dividing between joint and marrow, and causes great agony to my flesh. As my Beloved uses my husband to buffet me, I have cried out in agony, and I am not being dramatic here, because he has caused me great pain. (I must state as well, that my husband has not abused me physically).
All of this only makes my longing for my Beloved stronger, and I offer willingly my body, my mind, and my spirit to Him as my temple. My heart is His dwelling place, where no other can reside, even for the sake of my husband’s salvation.
My Beloved’s love is better than wine, because even in my deepest darkest despair, when my future looks futile, I can still lift my voice to my Beloved and say,
"I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine."
Laurie can be reached at email@example.com
Tohorat HaMishpahah ~ The Laws of Family Purity by Nava Michaels
Adhering to the Mishpatim, Edot, and Chukim in Our Exile
19‘And when a woman has a discharge, and the discharge from her flesh is blood, she has to be in her separation for seven days. And whoever touches her is unclean until evening. 20‘And whatever she lies on during her separation is unclean. And whatever she sits on is unclean. 21‘And anyone who touches her bed has to wash his garments, and shall bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 22‘And whoever touches any object that she sat on has to wash his garments, and shall bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 23‘And if it is on the bed or on any object on which she sits, when he touches it, he is unclean until evening. 24‘And if any man lies with her at all, and her monthly flow is on him, he shall be unclean seven days. And any bed he lies on is unclean. 25‘And when a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, other than at the time of her monthly separation, or when she discharges beyond her usual time of monthly separation, all the days of her unclean discharge shall be as the days of her monthly separation. She is unclean. 26‘Any bed on which she lies all the days of her discharge is to her as the bed of her monthly separation. And whatever she sits on is unclean, as the uncleanness of her monthly separation. 27‘And anyone who touches them is unclean, and shall wash his garments, and shall bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 28‘But if she is cleansed of her discharge, then she shall count for herself seven days, and after that she is clean.. Leviticus 15:19-28
YHWH’s instructions are for our good. When we abide in the living Torah – Y’shua H’Moshiach - we’re kept from the enemy. When we disobediently walk outside of the Living Torah, not allowing His words to dwell in us richly, h’shatan is allowed free access into our lives.
As a Yisraelite woman, and as the one who is tazria she who bears seed, h shatan wants our blood. Why? The life of the body is in the blood. If he can gain control of our blood through disobedience (unintentional or intentional sin) toward the instructions given to us by our loving Heavenly Abba specifically as women, then he has our bodies. But YHWH would have us to know the Truth as found in Messiah, and the truth will set us free as we trust and submit ourselves to the ever-increasing light of His Torah.
It has been scientifically proven amongst Orthodox Jewish women that cases of cervical cancer is very low and fertility rates high. Contrarily, the Western ‘modern woman’ who trudges ahead, not cooperating with her body’s natural need to purify itself has higher rates of ‘the career woman’s disease’ i.e. reproductive cancers and ovarian cysts as not adhering to the laws of women, including the laws of niddah, she throws her body out of rhythm and thus experiences the curses upon her womanhood. Uncleanness will contaminate our bodies and pollute the dwelling place of YHWH. It is a heart issue; our understanding and application of the niddah laws both reflects and affects our spiritual condition and our physical health. Uncleanness comes from within. If our hearts are unclean we need to make things right before YHWH. Otherwise the condition of our spiritual walk and relationship with YHWH will remain unchanged and become stagnant. Sin separates us from YHWH. If we continue to disobey Him, then we walk in deception and self-righteousness and will incur the “fruit” of our uncleanness.
Dealing specifically with the women’s mitzvot, Yisraelite women have many questions pertaining to the laws of niddah. Such questions as: 1. During the days of a woman's monthly separation, how is she to be separated? from her husband - sexual relations - that is very clear. Should they have a bed of separation? 2. All forms of physical contact? Like shaking hands? 3. How does one travel then, since we often take public transportation? 4. Should she attend congregational worship during that time? 5. If yes but she cannot have any physical contact with people, then how is she to be separate? 6. What about household tasks if she's married? Should she be completely tumah (off limits) to the needs of her family?
There are many schools of thought on this topic and depending on which house one receives her learning will be the path that will be followed. Yet, still there is one truth, one Ruach H’Chodesh who is the Author of truth, and Who will not allow Abba’s people to walk in continual darkness as we diligently seek Him. Let’s take a look at the different aspects from a physical as well as spiritual perspective:
From A Natural Health Perspective
Bacteria can multiply as much as 281,500,000,000 times in 24 hours, so there's much wisdom in the command to wash in running water instead of stagnant, to destroy vessels prone to harbor contamination, to quarantine persons with symptoms of contagious diseases until a proper diagnosis could be made, things touched by the unclean and to require cleansing physically and ceremonially before the unclean could be restored to society. Moshe was thousands of years ahead of his time in bacteriological science,treatment of disease, sanitation and health laws. Our people had the benefit of physical fitness which no other nation had.
From A Tamei Perspective/Ritually Impure
By the end of the Rabbinic period, a text called Baraita de Niddah, which scholars posit comes from sixth or seventh century Palestine, sought to revive the purity and impurity system by extending it to all areas of religious life in the home and synagogue. The text places restrictions on ejaculants and prohibits menstruants from preparing food for their families as well as from reciting prayers, touching a prayer book or Torah Scroll, or entering a synagogue, and cast from their homes to live in menstrual huts for seven days. The Biblical archaeologist and scholar Carol Meyers suggests that the women sought to free themselves from being dependent upon the male rabbis for an interpretation of a woman’s monthly cycle. (Carol Meyers, Discovering Eve: Ancient Israelite Women in Context (NY: Oxford U. Press, 1988), 36-37 so they adhered to these codes, and over the centuries created addendums (i.e. the additional “white” days). These halachic rulings do not find their place in Torah, but are simply traditions of men. Their decision to extend the days of sexual abstention may also have been an effort to affect a form of birth control. Ancient medical knowledge assumed a woman was most fertile immediately after menstruation. According to the historian Keith Hopkins, this knowledge was widely known and used as a form of birth control (as an ancient rhythm method) by women of many social stations in the Roman world. Cf.. Keith Hopkins, “Contraception in the Roman Empire,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 8 (1965-66), 124-151, esp. 140 and n. 47. In Ethiopia, Yisraelite menstruants and parturients were also segregated in a menstrual hut, during which time all their household duties are taken care of by other women in their family. Ethiopian immigrants to Israel complain of how difficult it is, for example, to have a new child on one’s own and not have the community support to allow the mother to rest and recover during her period of isolation. Cf. Emanuela Trevisan Semi, “The Beta Israel (Falashas): From Purity to Impurity.” Journal of Jewish Sociology 27 (1985), 103-114.
Touching the Hem of His Garment – Messianic Perspective
From scriptural study we find that Woman represents creation (I Corinthians 11) and in many references, the Bride of Messiah (Ephesians 5) and has been given the joy of representing mankind and His relationship to Isheyenu (Our Husband) by constantly showing the dependency that we have on His mercy and love, being drawn near by His blood and by maintaining our portion of the covenant by keeping ourselves pure: spirit, soul and body. Since there is no temple, the shadow of fulfilling the mitzwah (commandment) by offering doves and lambs for our constant state of tamei (for he who says he has no sin is a liar) has been removed, and has given way to the permanency of Messiah's sacrifice, Whose blood alone purifies us, making us able to stand before YHWH as His redeemed children. (Please read Ibrim/Hebrews 9:11-26)
When we take a look at Wayyikra 15:31 which says,
"Thus shall you separate the bnei (children) Yisrael from their tamei (ritual impurity), that they not die in their tamei, when they defile My tent that is in the midst of them 32 This is the Torah of him who has an issue, and of him whose seed of copulation goes from him, so that he is tamei thereby; 33 and of her who is sick with her impurity, and of him who has an issue, of the ish (man), and of the ishah (woman), and of him who lies with her who is tamei.
This Maftir portion explains how a tamei Yisraelite can enter into YHWH's presence seeing that Elohym is completely tahor. According to the belief of one of my sources (Rabbi Jack Farber/Congregation Melech Yisrael)"these laws, although they are relevant, that is we still become tamei by the means expressed in these laws, they cannot be applied today. This is made clear from the Maftir portion: "that they not die in their tamei (uncleanness) when they defile My tent that is in the midst of them." Not one jot or tittle will depart from Torah until all is completed (Matt. 5:18), and seeing that there will once again be a Temple during the millennial reign of Moshiach Y’shua (Yech./Eze. 40), there will be a time when these laws will once again have application." He also states, "In a Tabernacle/Temple oriented society, as existed during biblical times, men and women would have taken the necessary social precautions to keep themselves tahor (ritually clean) so as to be eligible to participate in the Tabernacle/Temple services. However, today without the presence of a physical Tabernacle/Temple, in which YHWH dwells, such precautions are not necessary. Some might say that we are the Temple of YHWH and that YHWH dwells in us, quoting Korintim Alef/I Cor. 6:19:
'What? Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Ruach h’Kodesh which is in you, which you have of Elohym, and you are not your own?'
It was not a manifestation of YHWH dwelling in the Tabernacle/Temple, it was the Kavod (Glory/full weight) of Yah Himself. However strange and unusual that may seem; that the omnipresent YHWH can limit Himself to a finite space, the fact is He did. The Ruach h’Kodesh, which dwells in us, was sent by Yah for the purpose of convicting us of sin and guiding us to all truth. There is a difference!
YHWH wants to draw near to the tamei and make them tahor. Let’s take a look at Mark 1:40:
"And a leper came to Him, calling upon Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, 'If You desire, You are able to make me clean (tahor). 41 And Yeshua, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I desire it. Be cleansed.' And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.'
We also read Mark 5:24-34 about the woman with the flow of blood for twelve years. Because we live in these ‘jars of clay’ and are in the process of working out our salvation, we are physically in a perpetual state of tamei. Yet spiritually we have been cleansed by the blood of Y’shua, and are commanded to come before a Tahor Elohym boldly in whatever state we are in because He has made the way for us through our Messiah.
Being a niddah holds great responsibility as the woman maintains the standards of set-apartness. Though loving and diligent attention should be given to maintaining distance from one’s spouse on a physical level, these restrictions are employed only to guard oneself and one’s spouse from temptation to engage in relations during menses. A couple should, however, draw near to one another in other non-physical ways which as a matter of course cause them to draw from the deep well of their union nurturing and sustaining the marriage.
As the womb finds healing during this special time, Abba has provided for Yisraelite women one week out of each month to rest. This being true, and though she should utilize theYHWH-given wisdom that her body communicates by limiting her activities (depending on her unique physical needs), she can still find comfort and refreshment in assembling with the brethren, even from serving as shlihat tzibor (prayer leader) or as baalat korei (Torah reader) in the qehila under proper male leadership. The cleansing power of our Messiah reaches into our homes as well to allow us the freedom to be an extension of YHWH's arm to the needs of her family, or carry out limited tasks in the marketplace.
As a priestly nation, YHWH has granted us the dawning ability via the rent veil of our Messiah’s flesh, to view with unveiled eyes the distinction between that which is tamei and that which is tahor. We are free in Him, but in that freedom He, as our loving Abba, has yoked Himself and the Messiah with us to be our wisdom, understanding, and knowledge as we learn to appropriately learn to discern and then to implement His magnificent reign over all the earth.
Arts & Leisure ~ Sara Veirs
Looking at Messiah's birth Biblically you may come to the conclusion that Yeshua was actually born during the Feast of Sukkot. (see http://www.messianic.com/articles/dates.htm). In light of this we have included the movie, The Nativity Story in our review for this Fall issue.
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The Nativity Story
I give this movie 5 stars, and recommend that you rent or purchase it. It is Biblically accurate and the detail, including a different twist on things is very nice and extremely rare. I was very happy to see that the cast looked as if they were from the Middle East. The costumes were also very authentic as well. I especially liked the costume that Zacharias wore when he went into the temple for the first time.
The special effects in this movie were very good. This is something you would expect to see in a Bible movie. In The Nativity Story we were not subject to voices out of no where but something that we could see. It was very impressive and not over dramatized. The cast was excellent. It ranged from Shohreh Aghdashloo from House of Sand and Fog who played Elizabeth, to Keisha Castle-Hughes who starred in Whale Rider as Mary. The resemblance between the actors who played King Herod and his son, Antipas was amazing. They truly looked like true father and son.
Something else that sets this take on the birth of Yeshua apart from others is how the people felt. It revealed to us how Joseph might have felt when he saw that Mary was pregnant. That he was apprehensive about taking a long journey, and the nervous bridegroom while waiting for Mary's decision on their betrothal. It showed us that he is a real person who can be insecure from time to time. It also revealed what Mary might have been thinking when she was told she would have a baby, and knowing that she could die for being pregnant.
The Wise Men in this movie were an added delight. They brought a bit of humor to the film and we were given some insight on what they might have been doing while Mary and Joseph were traveling.
Overall it was a very good movie, and the extra touches added to the accuracy.
This is a delightful movie about a childless orthodox couple in Israel who can't afford their sukkah - the temporary dwelling for Sukkot. Suddenly they are miraculously provided not only with a sukkah, but money as well - enough to help them celebrate the Feast in comfort. However, their faith is soon tested as two convicts from the husband's old life show up in time to celebrate.
Both of these fims can be purchased from Amazon.com. To go directly there click on the movie cover image.
Check out these sites with activiities for your children over the Sukkot holiday.
We invite all of you to join us here in Las Cruces to celebrate the Festival of Sukkot with a Hebrew Roots conference. We will have activities of all kinds, music, classes, services and free time to explore Las Cruces, New Mexico and the surrounding area of Old Mesilla (where Billy the Kid once walked), White Sands National Monument, and much, much more.
So if you are looking for a place to go for the Feast of Tabernacles then join Etz Chayim-Tree of Life Messianic Congregation and let’s celebrate this Moed (Appointed Time) together!
For more Information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Shalom to you all. We are pleased to announce, that coming soon, there will be a new magazine for the edification, education, and support for the Body of Messiah. Messianic Life will be an ezine or electronic magazine delivered via the Internet as an Adobe Acrobat pdf file. There is no charge to subscribe to Messianic Life and you can forward the file on to anyone you would like to share it with or print it out for your own use or to give to someone else.
The magazine’s content will be as diverse as its contributing writers. Our intention is to be an aid to the Body of Messiah by sharing Messiah and Torah in our lives. Those who have signed up so far to help in this new outreach are:
Jeanette Mercedes Cabrera
Ian Christopher Asuncion
Rabbi Daniel Klutstein
Gilbert and Sabrina Suard and Mordecai Silver
Our desire is to edify the Body of Messiah and to show that Brethren can work together in unity. To that end one of our contributing Writers is Art Lee, a physician, who is going to share with you on health issues from a Torah-Biblical perspective. Dr. Lee would like to have some feedback on any areas that you would like to discuss. He has asked me to ask you all the following question:
What would be some of the health issues that would be of interest to our constituency? There has been SO much health info exploding onto the scene through every conceivable media, some good and some not so good. I believe that Messianic believers, having a unique view of Truth, may have some questions asked in different ways than those familiar with other religious traditions may have. I would love to have this info to frame some of my contributions?
Mama’s Torah by Batya Wootten where she will expand on areas from her book of the same name.
Practical Torah by Hank Ramirez: Everyday living according to God’s teachings.
Fisherman’s U by Sandy Bloomfield
Following the Living Torah-Yeshua by Rabbi Daniel Klutstein
Common Sense by Ran Ricard: A down to earth approach to a Torah lifestyle
Lev HaTorah by Terry Hayes: Teaching the simplicity of the Torah and the Cross
Prophetic Pearls of the Parashat HaShavua (linked to the political situation in Israel) by Gilbert and Sabrina Suard
Mirror Images by David Pennington
Women of the Book by Hadassah Veirs
More to come…
As for myself, Mordecai Silver, I will be juggling Senior Editor’s responsibilities, along with my opening section called Upfront. I will also write articles on subjects of interest to our readers. We welcome your suggestions for articles and we want to hear from you with your questions on issues facing the Body of Messiah, those new to the Hebrew Roots, those who have been in the walk for awhile and those who are still trying to figure things out.
Messianic Life will be published every other month and we are looking towards October to have our first issue out. We will accept ads from congregations, fellowships, and ministries, that have a Hebraic basis. We have the final responsibility as to what ads are suitable for Messianic Life. If you are interested in placing an ad contact Mordecai Silver at email@example.com for more details and cost.
Messianic Life magazine is an independent periodical that is not affiliated with any one organization. Our desire is to serve the Body of Messiah and to help it as it matures. Messianic Life magazine is published by Tree of Life Messianic Ministries, the ministry outreach of Mordecai Silver.
We look forward to hearing from you and please get back to us regarding Dr. Art Lee’s question.
In Messiah Yeshua,
Is your congregation hosting an event such as a conference, concert, special speaker? Email us at the address below and we will post your event in the upcoming issue of Sarah's Tent FREE! Our next issue will be published December 15, 2007. Please have your event information to us by December 1, 2007.
We hope that this issue of Sarah's Tent has been a blessing to you and your family. May you be inscribed in the Lamb's Book of Life!
Listen to me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek Yahweh: look to the rock whence you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him, and made him many.