Welcome to the Summer 2007 issue of Sarah's Tent. I hope that you all had a blessed Passover. If you are following the Feasts of YHWH, then you have been counting the omer, which in few days will culminate in the celebration of Shavuot, also known as Pentecost. We are going to focus on this important Feast day in this issue, but first I have some very exciting news. YHWH has been blessing us tremendously and directing the path of Sarah's Tent. We have two new staff members who will be writing their own columns on Sarah's Tent. Rebecca at the Well will be written by Rebecca Totilo, author of His Majesty Requests, and Under the Chuppah will be written by Laurie West.
I pray that these two new additions to Sarah's Tent will bless and support you in your walk with the Messiah.
Shavuot, also known the Feast of Weeks and Pentecost, usually falls during the months of May/June. The name Shavuot (pronounced sha -voo -ote) means weeks and originates from the Feast day occurring seven weeks after the Sabbath during Passover week. The description of Shavuot can be found in the Torah at Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:15-22 and Deuteronomy 16:9-12. During this time we celebrate the good gifts that Yahweh has given to us: the Torah, the harvest, and His Ruach HaKodesh, (Holy Spirit). Shavuot is also one of three pilgrimage feasts, where adult males were required to present themselves before Yahweh. (Shemot -Exodus 23:14-17 and Devarim - Deuteronomy 16:16-17). The other feasts are Passover and Tabernacles (Sukkot). Women were not required to attend, but they very often did, and whole families would make the trip to Jerusalem to worship before Yahweh, and bring their offerings. (Luke 2:41).
During the Temple period farmers would bake two loaves of bread from the first fruits of their wheat harvest, and would collect the first ripened fruits in decorated baskets. Families would gather together in their towns and from there travel to Jerusalem singing and dancing. Arriving in Jerusalem they would be greeted by the Levitical choir who would sing Psalm 30:1, “I will exalt you Yahweh, for you have lifted me out of the depths.” The appropriate sacrifices were made, the loaves were waved before Yahweh, and their baskets of produce were placed near the altar.
Since the destruction of the Temple Shavuot is celebrated in different ways. It has become a tradition to read the entire book of Ruth. (Most of the book takes place during the barley harvest.) It is also traditional to eat sweet dairy products like cheesecake and cheese blintzes, signifying the sweetness of the Torah.
As believers in Yeshua and obedient to the Torah, we commemorate on this day not only the giving of the Torah but also the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh. At the original Shavuot, the Torah was given and Israel became betrothed to Yahweh. This betrothal was a foreshadow of Messiah writing His Word on our hearts, and His promise that He will return for us.
When we receive His Ruach we bring forth the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is the same Ruach who fell upon the believers as they prayed in one accord. As we celebrate this Shavuot, let us seek Him with whole hearts, for as we draw near to Him, He also draws near to us.
Ways to celebrate Shavuot ******* Shavuot is a Sabbath. It begins at sunset when you count the 50th day of the omer and continues for 24 hours until sunset the following day.
Decorate your home with flowers and greenery. Read the Book of Ruth together as a family Other Scripture readings: Levitcus 23: 15-22; Acts 2 Sweet dairy dessert Activity sheets for children are available at the Children's Corner.
Rebecca at the Well ~ Rebecca Totilo
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 Ketubah: The Exchanging Wedding Vows
By Rebecca Park Totilo
(excerpt from her book, "His Majesty Requests: Preparing the Bride for the Messiah’s Return"
Behold, the days come, saith the YHVH, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the YHVH: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people. Jeremiah 31: 31 - 34 SN KJV
Sprawling fields of wild blue lupines and pink cyclamen resurrect among the rocks of the chalky hillsides from a miraculous early rain. Song fills the air with singing birds and humming insects as the young couple joins hands in the courtyard of the bride’s Mushov four-room home.
Standing before them, the Rabbi reads aloud the Ketubah, an Aramaic papyrus document, indicating the bride price, the dowry contributed by both the bride and groom, and the husband’s obligations to his wife. Two witnesses look on, while the Rabbi asks the groom and bride to exchange their vows.
"I faithfully promise," the bridegroom vows in a somber heartfelt tone, "that I will be a true husband unto thee. I will honor and cherish thee. I will work for thee and will provide all that is necessary for thy due sustenance, even as it becomes a husband to do," he pledges to his betrothed.
As the bride listens to her fiancé consecrate himself to her, an inner beauty emerges like a blossoming iris in the Judean desert that has waited years for the right amount of water to show off her glory. Budding with hope, she promises in return, "I plight my troth unto you in affection and sincerity . . . "
After the reading, the Rabbi beckons the bridegroom forward to sign the sacred agreement embellished with lilies and flowering vines. Drawing a deep breath, the lad dips his quivering quill into an inkwell and scrawls his name across the bottom of the page filled with ornate calligraphy.
A slight smile appears through the Rabbi’s furry beard as he rolls up the Ketubah and instructs the bride to cherish her contract. "Keep it in your possession at all times," the Rabbi says placing the richly decorated document in the bridegroom’s hands, who then handed it to his bride. With an aromatic mist of grace, she embraces the lifetime promise of her mate and God, and nods she will commit to making her relationship all God intends it to be.
In a traditional betrothal, the engaged couple enters into a covenant with the signing of the Ketubah. In this marriage contract, the terms of their agreement such as the bride price and provisions the bridegroom agrees to make for her, including food and clothing, and also names the wife as the heir to the estate, should he die.
Rich in commitment, the Ketubah is read aloud for all to hear of their mutual devotion toward one another. It is for this reason they have a wedding ceremony - to sanctify and bless the contract. Properly signed and witnessed, the document is given to the bride and is instructed to keep it with her at all times, since there can be no marital relations if it is lost or destroyed. The custom of reading the Ketubah aloud is rooted in the great wedding between YHVH and Israel, when Moses received the Torah on Shavout. In Exodus 24:7 it says, "Moses took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people."
Just as a bride cherishes her beautiful Ketubah for its rich promises, the bride of Christ cherishes her Ketubah, the Torah and the B’rit Hadashah (Old and New Testaments), which is full of promises from our Bridegroom, Yeshua. The new covenant is a marriage contract specifying all that belongs to us as his bride. Our Heavenly Groom promises to take care of us, not only spiritually, but physically with food, clothing and shelter when we enter into a covenant with him.
After the first covenant, etched on tablets of stone, with Israel was broken, God proposed to "whosoever will." Now, those who are strangers to God’s promises and covenants can enter in and become a part of his bride.
The Renewed Covenant is filled with even better promises and is written on the tablets of every believer’s heart that enters into a love relationship with Jesus.
Accept his Ketubah. Have faith and trust in your Divine husband. He will take care of you!
"So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if YHVH so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" Matthew 6:28 - 30 SN KJV
Now that spring is here, most of us are outside gardening yummy vegetation and beautiful plants bursting with color! There are so many different kinds of things to eat this time of year, so I thought we would focus on some salads. Fruit, pasta, bean, and green salads.
I hope you enjoy them, and have a great summer! :)
Until next time, Vered
Note: Items marked with an * should be purchased at a kosher establishment. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ APPLE ALMOND CRUNCH SALAD
INGREDIENTS 1 (10 ounce) package mixed salad greens 1/2 cup slivered almonds 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 1 cup tart apple, cored and chopped 1/4 cup sliced red onion 1/4 cup golden raisins 1 cup raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing DIRECTIONS In a large salad bowl, combine the salad greens, almonds, feta cheese, apple, red onion and raisins. Toss to blend. Apply salad dressing to individual servings.
FAVA BEAN SALAD
INGREDIENTS 1 (19 ounce) can fava beans, drained 2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped 1 small onion, diced 1 cucumber, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1 lemon, juiced 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon ground cumin salt and black pepper to taste DIRECTIONS Combine fava beans, tomatoes, onion, and cucumber in a salad bowl. Toss with garlic, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
GAZPACHO PASTA SALAD
INGREDIENTS 1/2 pound rotelle pasta 4 green onions, chopped 1 cup chopped green bell pepper 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced 2 tomatoes, chopped 1 cucumber 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 clove garlic, crushed 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 6 fluid ounces tomato juice DIRECTIONS Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. In large bowl combine pasta, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, tomatoes, cucumber, oil, salt, garlic, lime juice, black pepper and tomato juice. Toss well and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours. Toss again before serving.
PISTACHIO FLUFF FRUIT SALAD
INGREDIENTS 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice 1 (3 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed 2 large bananas, sliced 2 cups miniature marshmallows * 1 (15.25 ounce) can fruit cocktail, drained 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained DIRECTIONS Dump instant pudding into a large mixing bowl. Add pineapple, and mix well. Mix in nondairy whipped topping. Stir in bananas, marshmallows, fruit cocktail, and mandarin oranges. Cover, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. TIP: IF YOU DON'T WANT THE BANANAS TO TURN BROWN SOAK THEM IN THE PINEAPPLE JUICE AND ADD A SPLASH OF LEMON JUICE WHILE YOU PREPARE THE DISH.
INGREDIENTS 6 cups torn lettuce leaves 8 ounces hard salami, julienned * 6 ounces provolone cheese, julienned 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 2 medium tomatoes, chopped 1 (6 ounce) can pitted ripe olives , drained, halved 1 tablespoon minced chives 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or cider vinegar 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon pepper DIRECTIONS Place the lettuce on a large serving platter. Arrange the salami, cheeses, tomatoes and olives over top. Sprinkle with chives. In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Drizzle over salad.
** If you have a question or comment on the recipes, or a recipe you'd like to contribute to Sarah's Tent, you may email Vered at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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.
In my journey of desiring to obey my Father’s Instructions and coping with my unbelieving husband, I found that this is a sorely neglected area of instruction. I have sought out counsel from many Torah teachers and Pastors over the years, and while they have tried to be of help and comfort, they did not understand the dynamics of my circumstance. It was only until I sought out the counsel of the Scriptures, from King Solomon in particular, that I had at long last begun to receive answers to my questions. I hope what has encouraged me will encourage you, because as I see it, we are very courageous women with a tough calling.
Not all husbands contend with their wives in regard to Torah Observance. If your husband is a Christian and is happy with his Christian way of life and does not impede your walk, or you have an unbelieving husband who is happy to let you practice what you believe, then you are blessed.
For those women who have spouses that absolutely kick up a fuss, then your walk will be difficult, but not impossible. My husband was like this, (keyword: “was”), and it was through many horrifying trials and tribulations that I had at times to grow a spine, and then back down and be quiet at other times, AND have the wisdom to understand the difference between the two! In the process of learning how to cope with my husband, I received little support from my believing friends. People just do not know what to do with us. We have been so conditioned in Christianity to believe certain things about ourselves as women and the roles we fill, that to go against the grain of popular practice is met with raised eyebrows. I thought that just as we have misunderstood so much of the Scriptures, surely, this was also an area that we have misunderstood.
One of the best study aids that I have found is the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon by Jeff Benner. With this tool, I was able to get to the “mountain top” meaning of words, as has been coined by Brad Scott. When studying passages in the Brit Chadasha, I simply went back to the Tanakh and allowed the Tanakh to define the terms in the Brit Chadasha. I cannot tell you, how shocking and awesome it was to discover what the writers of the Brit Chadasha were really telling us. We’ll dig in to a few verses in the Brit Chadasha, but the main focus of this column will be in the Song of Solomon.
One of the first verses given to me as a struggling wife was 1 Corinthians 7:13-16:
“…and a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But Elohim has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?”
and also, 1 Peter 3:1-2, “Likewise you wives, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”
As I went back to the Tanakh, and found my definitions for the above underlined words, I discovered a very different understanding than what I had been taught in Church, and even by some well meaning Messianic Teachers.
Let’s look at these definitions:
From 1 Corinthians 7:13-16:
Believe- Strongs (571) to support or confirm, be faithful (of what? The Word of YHVH) Ancient Hebrew Lexicon (1290 C (V)) says, “something that grabs hold or supports something else. The Passing of strength or skill to the next generation, to stand firm as a support” Sanctified- Strongs (37) to make holy, to be separated from profane things and dedicated to YHVH, to cleanse externally and purify internally. AHL (2700 v ) Set Apart from the rest for a special function or purpose Unclean- Strongs (169) not cleansed, unclean in a ceremonial sense; that which must be abstained from according to Levitical Law From (2931) to be unclean sexually, religiously, ceremonially, to defile ones’ self sexually or by idolatry; to profane YHVH’s name; to be polluted. AHL (1197 E(N) Unclean – Container of water used to wash dirt off
Holy (same as sanctified above)
Under Bondage – Strongs (1402) to enslave, to cause to serve as subjects (Compared with Tanakh, Exodus 2:23) AHL – 2518 (cl) serve, servant, service, labour, ministering. A work performed or made for another out of Obligation. Saved – Strongs (4982) to deliver or protect. To keep safe and sound. To rescue from danger or destruction. Compare with Genesis 12:12 “save” Strongs (2421) – To live, have life, sustain life, remain alive, live Prosperously, be restored to life or health. AHL – (1171 – H(v) – Stomach/Life – When the stomach is empty one is famished and weak, and when it It is filled it is revived. This organ is seen as life as an empty stomach is like death, but a revived Stomach is life.
With the Scriptural definitions behind these words, if you read 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 again, you will see that the wife of a man who does not obey the Commandments is not to divorce him. By the wife obeying the Commandments of YHVH in the home; those intimate instructions pertaining to her body and life, meeting YHVH at His Appointed Times, and those which she is to pass on to her children bring about a home that is set apart. Interestingly, the AHL definition for mother is that she is the “glue” that holds the family together. It is by her example and steadfastness to be faithful to YHVH that will bring about holiness in the home. In contrast, the verses say, “otherwise her children would be unclean”. The wife and mother set the standard in the home, even in homes where the husband is antagonistic. Something else that I realized recently is that in all of this, it is YHVH who plants His Seed in our loved ones, and not us. We have been taught that it is us who is to “plant or sow seeds”, but this is not our work. We are simply to be obedient and allow YHVH to accomplish His work in our family. The results are His. So many of us feel as if we have failed because our family may not follow us in the time they are in our care. We are in a difficult dilemma and not YHVH’s ideal.
The definition of father, on the other hand, in the AHL is defined as “the support of the tent/house. The father of the family provides the strength, support, and structure of the household. The father fulfilled many functions for the family. He was the commander of the family army, provider of offspring to continue the family line, the priest and teacher.” While our unbelieving husbands may fulfil some of these qualities, it may be up to us to fill the gap where there is lack in order to teach our children. It is in this arena that we will encounter conflict as well. We will have to diligently seek after our Bridegroom in order to stand between the pillars of truth. Mercy is on one side, and severity is on the other. As we faithfully fulfil the Instructions of YHVH, our lives will cease to be our own. And this is so painful! In verse 15, our marriage commitment is spoken of in terms of “bondage”. “Bondage is a work performed or made for another out of obligation”. In YHVH’s mercy, He has given the unbelieving spouse freedom to leave the marriage, should he not be able to cope with his wife’s commitment to her faith. We aren’t talking in terms of the husband being angry because his wife goes to church three times a week, or tithes, or attends too many Ladies’ Fellowship Teas. It is speaking of the wife obeying the commandments of YHVH, with or without the approval of her husband. We are called to stay in our marriages (I make a distinction here between conflict and abuse) so that our husbands may be saved. Our own walk hedges in our husband’s behaviour. There were times when I had to stand up to him, and even though it cost me peace in my home, the outcome now, is that I can truly say, my husband is a totally different man today. He has been freed to be the man YHVH created him to be, even though he has not made the step of faith to take the commandments on for himself…yet.
In my opinion, 1 Peter 3:1-2 confirms 1 Corinthians in the sense that Peter is advocating a quiet obedience to YHVH as she serves and ministers to her husband. This is not to say we should not make stands, but this will depend upon whether our husbands are peaceable or malleable. Saving his life may not necessarily mean “salvation” in the sense that we understood whilst in Christianity. It means more of a restorative work, so that our husbands can live within a holy environment. He will be clean in ways he may not realize, and observe our love and faith in YHVH – from which HE benefits, and thusly, we fulfil the function of priest. Although he may also hold bitterness against YHVH because he is jealous of the relationship his wife has with an “invisible masculine entity”, in the end it will be this fervent jealousy that will reckon himself to a Holy Elohim. Our behaviour and devotion to YHVH will act as that positive catalyst that begins to judge our husbands heart. If we instead cower, our husbands may never be brought to the very throne of YHVH, thusly, we can “save” our husbands. We win them without a word, yes, but our behaviour towards YHVH in FEAR is what speaks for us.
In speaking with many women who are trying desperately to obey YHVH, and hearing about horrible situations that these women are in, it is my prayer that you will understand that if need be, you certainly can stand up to your husband for the sake of obeying YHVH. How you do this, and in what manner, will come through much prayer and study. I have made many mistakes, but even in them, YHVH used them to humble me. I can say with gladness now, that my husband has been YHVH’s buffeting tool in my life. Even though I have made some frightening stands, I must say that it was only through the strength of YHVH. To keep me from arrogance, my self-worth has been shattered so much that there were times I wanted to go Home to be with YHVH. I learned to trust (cling) to YHVH. I learned how sharp the two-edged sword from the mouth of Y’shua could be. I learned that the cost of intimacy with my Bridegroom, my Beloved, was death to my self. But, from the ashes where I have been burned, I could cry out like the Shulamite maiden to her Beloved, “Kiss me with the kisses of your mouth”, and understand what this would mean.
Which brings us to the Shulamite maiden. Who is she? No one knows for sure. The interesting thing about the name Shulam, is that it is could be a Persian name for a city, or it could be that she was indeed Hebrew and her name is a derivative of "shalom" which means, "to be complete". The Shulamite maiden, therefore, could either have been one of the many brides that Solomon took from other lands to bring to himself (Shulam”ite”), which would mean she is much like us in that she was "taken from afar and brought near". Or, she is simply a Hebrew maiden taken from the fields and not of any noble station. In any event, the essence of her name means "to be complete". The maiden was to go through a very intense internal cleansing and a time of being “set apart” from her companions in order to be "completed" and brought into the Bridal Chamber of her Bridegroom. As we delve into the comfort and internal cleansing of our Beloved, being challenged and changed within our unequalled yokes, we will be made complete and WHOLE just as the Shulamite maiden.
There will be no Arts & Entertainment column in this issue. This section will continue again with the fall issue.
Chag Sameach (joyous feast) to you from everyone here at Sarah's Tent!
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.