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Jacob Ben Avraham

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  1. PARASHAH: “Chayei Sarah” (Sarah lives) GENESIS 23:1-25:18..................1 KINGS 1:1-31...................MATT 8:1-9:38 The title of the Parashah is “Sarah lives” or “Sarah lived”. Yet Sarah is dead, so, how does she live? She lives on in the memory of Abraham, her legacy lives on, her influence lives on, and this is what the patriarch wants for Isaac. I remember some of the words of Marine Gunnery sergeant Hartman to his trainees in the movie “Full Metal Jacket” “Most of you will go to Viet Nam, some of you will not return alive, but even dead, you will still live, you will live on in the spirit of the corps.” So even dead, Sarah continued to live on as a godly wife and mother, no doubt that Abraham wanted to bless Isaac with a similar wife. Torah says that Sarah lived 127 years. It is not often that the Torah records the age of women, but Sarah is the exception. We can see some symbolism in that number. I guess there are several ways we can look at it, one way is to see the Hebrew letters associated with numbers, 100 is Qoph (Q) 20 is Kaph (K) and 7 is Zayin (Z) Seven is the number of YHVH, the perfect number. According to some rabbis, “120” years are a “full life”. So, Sarah lived a “full life” plus 7 more. Another way we can look at this is, from the Hebrew text; “One-hundred years, and seven years, and twenty years. Why is this worded this way? The rabbis say that when Sarah was one-hundred years old, she was as beautiful as when she was twenty, and when she was twenty, she was as innocent and holy as when she was seven. Moshe lived a “full life” and maybe would have lived longer had he not “struck the rock” Sarah lived a “Kadosh” life (Holy life, separated to serve God, her husband Abraham and raise her son Isaac. One could say she was “anointed to serve” (Kaph) is a letter the symbolizes “anointing”. Zayin (z) is the letter that symbolizes “weapon” anointing and holiness is a “weapon” one can use against “HaSatan” our spiritual enemy can be defeated by the fruit of the Spirit, through the Ruach Ha Kodesh. 127 can also symbolize “echad” (unit of oneness) (1), “covenant blessing” (2) “godliness” (7) Sarah received the blessing of being a godly woman, who joined in the “covenant blessing” of Abraham with YHVH, and together became “Echad Am” (One people) the Hebrew people who later became the Nation of Israel. When we add 1+2+7 we get 10, which is the number of “Torah” (some say “law” personally, I don't like using that word, it is misunderstood) but “Torah” means “instruction” Sarah honored Abraham, and YHVH by submitting to their instruction, she was submissive, in the right way. Yet Sarah had her times of happiness and sorrow, like All marriages go through. Abraham and Sarah loved each other, and in death, Abraham showed his love towards Sarah by purchasing an overpriced piece of real estate. 400 silver shekels was a lot for a cave on a piece of property in Hebron, but He didn't mind paying for it, (guess it is like buying a hamburger for $25) It had to be “written down, and documented” legally, not just “words”, we see that today, words are nothing, but if it is signed, sealed, written down, you can take it to court! The true meaning of the word “love” is NOT feelings. What is “Love at first sight?” (Hey, I like your moves, I like your legs, your hair, your eyes, your build, etc.). yet feelings, emotions can lead two people to enter into a covenant of “love”, “love” is the action of “giving” the Hebrew word is “Ahavah” it has the verb “hav” which is “to give” and the word “av” is in there, being “Our Heavenly father gives” He proved his love toward us that He GAVE His Only Son, Yeshua, as a sacrifice for our sin. When a couple chose to marry, share life together, provide one for another, in health and in sickness, and not “cop out” on each other, THAT is TRUE LOVE. The words, “I feel I don't love you anymore” are silly, worthless words. Imagine if Sarah had told that to Abram. Or if Abram would have said that to Sarah, “I don't love you anymore, because you can't give me children” and the two separated, where would the Nation of Israel be today? It would be nonexistent. Yet they kept by each other’s side in good times and in the bad times, the times of drought, the “Egypt” times, the “Ishmael” times, and the long waited “Isaac” times. Abraham sent his servant Elazar to look for a wife for Isaac. (I wish that custom was still here with us, parents getting their children husbands and wives, those were the 'good ol days') (my opinion). He carried 10 camels with gifts, the “bride price” for the “bride to be”. He had to go to Mesopotamia, to Abraham's family, He did NOT want a Canaanite woman for the bride of Isaac, a pagan Canaanite woman would have been an “unequal yoke” that is wisdom for us today, a “born again believer” should only marry another “born again believer” where the two worship and serve the “same God YHVH/Yeshua” Elazar observed “Rebecca's actions” Rivka watered the thirsty camels, sought not her own comfort, but had a servant's heart. This is what Elazar was looking for, Abraham would be happy, and so would Isaac. The “engagement jewelry” was a nose ring and gold bracelets” today in our society we give an engagement ring. Yet “Rivka” had to be “willing to go with Elazar to be Isaac's wife”. We can see this is our relationship with Yeshua. Yeshua/Jesus is the “bridegroom” and we, the “Kehilah” (Congregation of “called out ones”) are the bride. We have to be a “willing bride” to go with our “heavenly bridegroom”. Just as Elazar brought gifts to the bride-to-be, Yeshua has given “gifts” to us as HIS Bride; Salvation (Yeshuah) an eternal home/mansion in Heaven, spiritual gifts to do service and minister with. Healthy bodies (for the most part) in which to inhabit, spouses and children, jobs to earn a living, if we think about the list could go on, as to the “Blessings” we have through Yeshua. 1 KINGS 1:1-31 This tells the sad story of a father who failed to discipline his sons, and old king David reaped the whirlwind, Adonijah (which means YHVH is my master) if it were so, He would have been in subjection to his father David, had the nerve to proclaim himself king, even before David dies. Yet David corrects the situation and names Solomon as future king. This part of the Parashah teaches us to be under authority, willingly, the bridegroom has his bride under His authority and subjection, BUT NOT in a tyrannical way, not like a “dictatorship” but under a “love “relationship. A wife can be under subjection to the husband, and feel used, like an object, or feel loved and protected, all depends on the husband, if He is under the subjection to the LORD, he will treat his wife with love and respect. MATT 8:1-9:18 We see here that Yeshua shows love through action, in healing the leper, it is an act of “giving” He gave back health to an unclean man, yet Yeshua also respected and honored the Torah, in telling the man to go to the priest and offer the proper sacrifice for his healing, Yeshua, who is our Messiah, Savior and LORD had ALL RESPECT for the Torah and its commandments. Another thing we must note is that there are two types of “Tza-arat” (Leprosy) physical and spiritual. One thing is being healed physically, on the outside, another is being healed on the inside. We can be healthy outside, but corrupt on the inside, or, unhealthy physically, yet Holiness resides inwardly. We need that balance, of being “tahor” (clean) both inwardly and outwardly
  2. PARASHAH: “VaYERA” (and he appeared) GENESIS 18:1-22:24………………2 KINGS 4:1-37……………. MATT 8:1-9:38 YHVH appears to Abraham at his tent, yet it also says that “three” men appeared to him. He addresses them as LORD (YHVH), how is that? One can only wonder. Could one of them be YHVH incarnate and the other two ministering angels? Could all three be a representation of ELOHIM? “Av” (father) “Ben” (son) and “Ruach HaKodesh” (Holy Spirit)? This could open up into a lengthy discussion. All we know is that Abraham receives them with great hospitality. They eat and then they bless. This is pretty much how it works even today. We receive blessings from HaShem, but many times, we bless others, help others, and blessings follow. Can we bless “Adonai?” We know that He blesses us in many ways and forms, but how do we “Bless” YHVH? “Baruch” (bless) comes from the word “berek” which means “knee”. When we “bow” the knee in praise and worship, we are, in fact, “blessing” Adonai. We come to pray asking for “this and that” but do we just come and thank HIM for just who He is? He announces the birth of “Yitzchak” yet Sarah laughs in disbelief “within herself” not even out loud, or, just barely audible, yet YHVH hears her and asks “why did Sarah laugh? Yeah, but thou didst laugh” Can anything be hidden from the LORD? Even inside us, HE KNOWS what is going on inside us, within the heart, within our minds, HE KNOWS ALL THINGS, even the “not so kosher” things. Something to think about the next time we think we are alone. We really are NOT alone. Abraham intercedes for Sodom and Gomorra, yet there were not even ten righteous residents of Sodom. Had Abraham asked; “Will you not spare Sodom for only ONE righteous person?” what do you think that the LORD would have answered? Maybe YES? If that had been so, then, perhaps Lot and his family might have never left the city! Lot was still considered a “Tzadik” a righteous person, yet he was living in a sinful and totally corrupt city. That is a dangerous position to be in, to be comfortable in a place where you have no business to be in! or participate in activities that the lost world does. “by the skin of their teeth” one might say, the angel drags Lot, his wife, and two daughters out of there before the judgment of destruction begins. One thing we remember from Parashah “Noach” The Torah says that “Noah was righteous in HIS generation” Does that mean that if he were living in the time of Abraham, be might not have been considered so righteous? If yes, why? Did Noah plead for the lost world before the flood? Did he ask YHVH to save the world IF there could be found a handful of righteous people? We don’t know why transpired during the 120 years that it took Noach to build the ark. Did he preach to the people? Did he warn them of the coming judgment? In the book of Enoch, we know that Enoch warned the giants of impending judgment. In Noah’s case, the Torah is silent. We do see that Abraham pleads for the innocent people in Sodom. We know that there were probably infants, and very young kids that were innocent. Sad to say that they too were destroyed, however, they are in heaven today because they died as innocent creations. The command of the angel to Lot and his family was “don’t look back” yet Lot’s wife DID look back and was turned into a pillar of salt. Does it really matter what YHVH turned her into? Might as well have been a loaf of bread, a donut, a fudge brownie, a…that fact of the matter is that she DID turn and looked back. This is meaningful, indicating that she “longed” for that life of Sodom. She might have thought, “I’ll take one last look and…ZAP…instant saltine cracker. Perhaps she gazed on the very “essence” of YHVH in destruction mode. If one goes to the ruins of Sodom today, one can still find little Sulphur balls embedded in the ruins. When lighted, they emit a bluish flame. Imagine that after all these years, remnants of God’s judgment are still there. We also read about the birth of “Yitzchak” and later the separation of “Ishmael” and “Yitzchak”. We see a separation between the “chosen” and the “world”, but also, we see today the “wheat” and the “tares” growing together, not to say that all the Arabs are evil, there are many born-again Arabs who are the descendants of Ishmael, those who love the LORD. But for the most part, the Arab world and Israel are enemies. We come to the last part, the final test, “Take your son, your ONLY son who you love, and offer him as a sacrifice” Now God didn’t say “Sacrifice him” only “offer him as a sacrifice” Today, we offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” before YHVH to do his perfect will, and to serve him. Abraham was willing to bring the knife down on his only son Isaac, yet the LORD did not allow him to do so, as it was a test to see his obedience, and to see if he was willing to follow through with “sacrificing and spilling Isaac’s blood”. Yeshua, however, was willing to go to the cross, because it was his father’s will. We can see the symbolism here. The altar that Abraham made was of stone, and he placed wood upon it, and upon that he laid his son. Yeshua was led up a stony hill, and was placed and nailed to a wooden cross. Isaac symbolizes ALL of us. Yet when Abraham was ordered to take him off the altar, so we were “replaced” by Yeshua. Isaac was replaced by the ram which was caught in the thicket. The “ram” is “Yeshua” the ram’s horns were caught in the thicket, and around the head of our Mashiach was a crown of thorns. God was not willing that anyone should perish, but for ALL to have eternal life. He was not willing that Abraham should give up his only son, but God was willing to give HIS unique SON, Yeshua for the payment of our sin, one time and forever. Yeshua was willing and did undergo the “fires” of our sins, up there on that cross for a few hours, and thus made the “new covenant” that through his death and sacrifice, we might be saved. One might say symbolically a “covenant of fire” (brit esh) When we read the word “B’reisheet” (in the beginning) we can see those words, “brit esh” in the middle, just rearrange the letters around. Since “the beginning” YHVH had this in mind, to pay for our sin debt, with HIS blood. 2 KINGS 4:1-37 Here, Elisha Ha Navi (the Prophet) ministers to a Shunamite woman, as some prophets had a public ministry, Elisha had more of a private ministry, ministering to individuals more than to the general public as a whole. Yeshua did both, he ministered to the sick, the hurting, the poor, and also preached to the public in synagogues. In this case, the Shunamite woman needed a miracle, yet she “blessed Elisha first” by preparing him a meal, the same way that Abraham blessed the three angels that came. He blessed them with a meal, and afterwards, they announced the blessing of the coming of Isaac. Elisha responds with “multiplying the oil”. The woman asked pots from her neighbors, then, received the oil, in abundance. Many times, when we look for miracles, we extend a blessing to another, and then, we receive from God, it just works that way at times. MATT 6:1-7:29 Here we have the LORD’s prayer. It is not meant to be something we just memorize and repeat like we do many times with prayers. This prayer is something to meditate on, and let the meaning penetrate our souls. “Aveinu BaShamayim” “Our father who is in the heavens” Who has the right to call God, “Our Father” but only those who are members of his family. All of humanity is God’s “creation” and he is humanity’s “creator” but only to born-again believers, he is “Father” “Kadosh Shmo” (sanctified be his name) HIS name is YHVH (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) which comes from HAVAYA (to exist) he is “Haya” (past) “Hoveh” (present) and “Yiyah” (future). And his name is indeed “Kadosh” (Holy). Contrary to popular belief, the Torah does not prohibit one from using it, on the contrary, the Word of God says “Call upon the NAME of the LORD!” “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” The “kingdom of Heaven” is HIS activity on earth, so, it is already here. It has been here since Genesis 1:1. It is here and manifests itself in the midst of his believers, churches, synagogues, congregations, bible study groups, etc. There is a “coming” political kingdom and a literal “New Jerusalem” which will appear on earth some day in the future, and what a time that will be. “Give our bread continually”. Our “daily bread” does not consist only of literal food, but ALL of our basic needs. YHVH is a loving God and many times, gives us even our “wants”. He will do this “continually”, I have seen this many time in my life, when I just “think” of things I need, all of a sudden, I get them, many times for free. “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” Many times, we commit sins against God, and yes, we want Him to forgive us, but what about people who have committed offenses against us? Are we holding grudges against them? If so, how then can we expect forgiveness for our sins? Our sins against our Holy God are greater. We must learn to forgive those around us. At times, it is hard, but it is a “command!” when it can’t come from the flesh, it must come from the spirit. “Do not lead us into the power of temptation, but keep us from all evil…amen” What is the “power” of temptation? It is succumbing to the power of HaSatan. Remember that just because we are “b’nei Melech” (children of the King) does not mean that we are free from being tempted. Everyone on this earth has been tempted, even our LORD and Messiah. This is part of testing, we can be tempted, but that does not mean that we will give in to the temptation and commit sin. It is OUR choice, the very last word is “Amen” which comes from “amun” which is “to say something that is true” so, when we say “amen” it is “so be it, as it is truth from God” (this was taken from a Primitive Hebrew text, as the first “LORD’s prayer was written in Hebrew) there is also an Aramaic rendition of the LORD’s prayer, look it up on “YouTube” Jacob Ben Avraham
  3. Write the happiest story in only 4 words

    Lost, Saved, maturing, forever
  4. PARASHAH: “Lech Lecha” (go forth yourself) GENESIS 12:1-17:27……………………...ISAIAH 40:27-41:16……………MATTHEW 5:1-48 “Now YHVH said unto Abram: Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee” these are the opening words that YHVH speaks unto Abram. Now we might ask, “why did YHVH choose Abram to begin his chosen people?” No one really knows the “why?” only that he DID choose him. Perhaps he had a curious and searching mind, searching for the real and true God. We must remember that there was no such person as a “Jew” back then. Abram was a Mesopotamian, from the Chaldean city of “Ur” similar to the Hebrew “Ir” which means “city”. He was raised as an idol worshipper, and his family’s business, according to the rabbis, was making and selling idols. We only know that YHVH chose Abram, and he accepted and obeyed the voice of YHVH. Here is a commandment and the blessings of obeying the commandment. “Leave your father’s house and go to land which I will show you.” We see that G-d wanted Abram to distance himself from idol worshipping and everything connected with the such. Once he obeyed the voice of HaShem, THEN… the blessings would come; “I will make of thee a great nation” , “I will bless thee and make thy name great (shem gadol) and be thou a blessing” , “I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee” , “In thee shall all the families of the world be blessed” we later see that under “being a great nation” we could add the promise; “Your seed will be like the dust of the earth” and also “like the stars of heaven” What do these promises involve? Once that Abram obey the voice of YHVH, and he arrived in the land of C’anaan, then came the testings. We see that Adonai wanted to test his faith, like he tests us all in many different ways. Yes, we all want blessings, but at times, blessings come with a price. “Am gadol” a great nation, or a great people. It started with Yitzchak, the first and only son of Abram and Sarah. From him we know the story; Yitzchak > Ya’akov > 12 tribes > multitudes! As a sign, YHVH changed the name of Abram to Abraham. If we look at the paleo Hebrew symbolism in the name “Abram” we see “Alef” “beit” “resh” “mem”. 4 letters, “4” symbolized the 4 corners of the earth. The descendants of Abraham are in all 4 corners of the earth. But we can see these letters meaning or symbolizing “the father who is the head of a multitude”. Also, we can read this as; God blesses the first house with a multitude”. Later, YHVH changes his name by adding the letter “hey” (h). Now it is “abraHam”. What is the significance of the “H”? Well, one way we can look at it is that the “hey” (h) is the only letter in the Hebrew Alef-bet that is pronounced with one “breathing out air”. When you pronounce “h” we send out a puff of air from our mouth. We can also say “wind” in Hebrew; “Ruach” it also means “spirit”. SO…we can say that “YHVH sent out the “spirit of life” into the womb of Sarah through the seed of Abraham. Also, the ancient meaning of the letter “hey” is “Behold!” so, we can say “Behold, a multitude is coming from Abraham and Sarah!” starting with Yitzchak. Yet we cannot forget about Ishmael, who was the son of Abraham and Hagar, the Egyptian. The promise extended to him too, although this was not part of God’s “perfect” will. He “permitted” the union between Abraham and Hagar, yet with consequences; the Arab nations who are the enemies of Israel. “Ishmael” means “God listens (to man)” “Ish+shema+El. (reading right to left) HOWEVER if we read from left to right we get “Man listens to God” and every man that listens to God, in obedience, whether Arab or any other ethnic identity, that man will be blessed also. Adonai stated also that “in thee, all of the families of the world would be blessed”. The greatest blessing is in Yeshua HaMashiach. From the seed of Abraham, came the nation of Israel, and we know that Mary and Joseph, the guardians of Yeshua were of the seed of Abraham, and more closely, the seed of David. We need to look not so much at physical blessings, nor biological/genealogical blessings. We might be of Jewish ancestry, but that does not secure for us salvation, we need to look at Yeshua our Messiah, who is our “Yeshuateinu” (our salvation) Now we look at Lot, Abraham’s nephew, if only Abraham had left him behind! But he didn’t. Didn’t YHVH state specifically, “Leave your father’s house and your KINDRED!” isn’t Lot kin folk? Lot started arguing over land for cattle. So, Abraham says for him to select one area and he would go in the other direction. So, Lot chose “Sodom!” the land around it looked very fertile. That is the way the land of sin appears to people. It looks attractive. So, Lot pitched his tent TOWARDS Sodom…then…he actually enters and LIVES in Sodom. And so, it is with sin. We might get attracted to it, get closer to it, and finally, indulge in it! So, be careful! There were three promises made to Abraham. His seed would be like the dust of the earth. His seed would be like the stars of heaven, his seed would be like the sands of the sea. Can you count the stars? Can you count the grains of sand on the beach? Can you count dust? Here is something to think about. We walk on dust, we trample it under foot. Israel has been trampled underfoot and has been looked down upon by many nations, yet, the dust still lasts, it will always be. Leave a car out in the desert for 50 years, and the dust will wear it away into rusted metal, yet the “dust” will always be, and so will Israel. Circumcision! This is an important area, but some make it TOO important. YHVH instructed Abraham to be circumcised and that every male should also be circumcised. This was and is a mark of the covenant. But what about today? Is it still important? Yes, it is, but in the physical aspect of the same. For male health and cleanliness, it is good for every baby boy be circumcised. YHVH is more concerned in our heart condition. Moshe stated that the “foreskin of our hearts should be circumcised”. Spiritually speaking, the “foreskin” of our hearts is the carnal ways that we all have, being that we are a fallen race and have the inbred original sin. “So circumcise your heart and stiffen your neck no longer” (Deut 10:16) ISAIAH 40:27-41:16 The prophet is encouraging Israel saying that YHVH will support them, will protect them. Israel has been through a lot, they are weary of being persecuted, well, they went away from the LORD, and went after false gods, yet, when the repent, YHVH will be there. They are weary, weak, tired. Yes, when we do it in our own strength, yet when we go in the strength of YHVH, HE is our strength. We are not talking about physical strength, but spiritual strength. The physical is and always be physical. We can be strong physically by eat right, exercise, etc.…but we can be spiritually strong through prayer, reading God’s word, and just trusting in HIM for our needs. “Thou art my servant, I have chosen thee and not cast thee away, fear not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed for I am thy God, I strengthen thee, help thee, uphold thee… (41:10) What better promise from God do we have? He has chosen us as HIS people, through Yeshua, we become an active part of the commonwealth of Israel, and, as our LORD, and Master, He will provide. MATT 5:1-48 There is a lot of meat in this chapter, besides the Beatitudes, which are “blessed are the…” poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek (or humble) etc.… these we can understand, Yeshua is explaining this quite clearly. But there is another part which needs explanation. 5:17-18 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto thee, till heaven and earth pass, not one yod or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled” This has been a misunderstood verse in many if not all Bible churches today. What is “Law?” in the Latin we have the word “legis” which when translated into English, we get “law”. The problem is when we go into the original Hebrew the word in “Torah” which means “instruction, teaching". When translated correctly into Latin, it would have been; “disciplinam” , “educatio” “instructio” “mandatum” Any of these words would have been better than “legis” In the ancient Hebrew, when worded “destroy” and “fulfill” meant that “destroying” is “erroneous interpretation” and “fulfilling” meant “correctly interpreting”. Yeshua did indeed “fulfill” the Torah, the biggest and most important fulfillment was dying for our sins. He fulfilled the Old Testament sacrificial system of animal blood, using his own blood. The Torah consists of commandments, 613 to be exact. If we say, “we no longer have to live by those old-fashioned laws, the “law” is over, finished, ended, then…why don’t we go out to rob a house, to take your neighbor’s wife, to murder someone you don’t like? Those commandments are part of the “law”, aren’t they? So, if it is over with, well, why not? Because Yeshua himself said so! That he didn’t come to “end “or “get rid of, or “abrogate” as some translations have. Of course, many of the 613 commandments are not for today, since there is no more animal sacrifice nor Levitical priesthood, but many are STILL for today. That is the reason for Bible study, which ones are or not. As our rabbi (now in heaven) once said; “Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater” Now, someone is going to write a comment saying; “But doesn’t the Word say if we break one commandment it is like breaking them all?” we are guilty then of breaking the entire “law” The answer is that if one is trusting in obedience to the commandments as our method of gaining eternal life and acceptance by God, then, YES, we are guilty, since YHVH demands PERFECT holiness, Yet, our salvation does NOT depend on our obedience to the commandments, but in accepting Yeshua’s sacrifice, and trusting HIM as LORD and Savior. Our obedience to the commandments comes AS A RESULT OF our renewed relationship with YHVH through Yeshua Are the heavens passed away yet? NO! is the earth still here? YES, is the WORD of God still here in our midst? YES, is the LIVING WORD in our hearts? YES! Have a blessed Sabbath.
  5. “THE STAIN” (A tale from New York City’s “Little Italy”) by J. Ben Avraham Hey, my name is Francesco Petronelli, I’m an Italian-American, and everyone calls me “Frankie”. Yeah, even Mamma and Pappa. I live in a nice, quiet place called “Little Italy”, or at least what’s left of it, here in New York City. We live a couple of blocks from Mulberry Street, pretty close to Columbus Park. Little Italy used to be a lot bigger in the days of grandma and grandpa, at least when they were younger. Today, there are a lot of oriental businesses here and the Italian families have moved away. But hey, we’re still here! Yeah, buddy! And we aren’t going anywhere. We just like it here, and we don’t mind the culture mix. I am beginning to like the Chinese food as much as the Italian food. For Mamma and Pappa, they were born here too, but the grandparents, well, they’re from a place called “Calabria” which is about a hop, skip, and a jump from Sicily. I mean, get in a motor boat and start up the engine, point it Westward and in about a half-hour, you’re in Sicily. Now I’m pretty cool with mom and pop. They both helped me with my homework when I was in high-school. They even put up with three of my friends; “Big Al”, “Lou”, and “Tony Rizzo”. They used to come over to our place a lot, just to hang out. Sometimes they would get a bit loud and mom would make some delicious spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. With that and a deck of cards, they’d quiet down. I was pretty serious in high-school and I kept my nose in the books, but Big Al, Lou, and Tony Rizzo, well, they almost lived in detention, I mean skipping class, mouthing off to teachers and stuff like that. Now I’m almost six feet tall, a little dark with black, curly hair. Sometimes people mistake me for Sicilian. One day I was walking down Mulberry Street and a couple stopped me and asked me something in Sicilian. “No parlo Sciliano” I responded “No Sciliano?” they asked. “No, I’m Calabrese, I mean Calabrese from here” So, when I got home, I decided to have some fun. When I walked through the door, I saw that the grandparents were relaxing in the living room and I said; “Hey, Sciliano!” pointing to myself, grinning from ear to ear. I thought I was pretty funny saying that, at least that’s what I thought. “NO, NO, Calabresi, Calabresi!!” they shouted, jumping up from the sofa. Then they started speaking Italian a mile a minute. Momma came in from the kitchen saying; “Mama, Papa, qual e la cosa? Calmatevi!” In other words, she was asking them what was the matter and for them to calm down a bit. “Thanks a lot Frankie” mama told me crossly, “you got em wound up again!” Then she took them into their bedroom and sat them down on their bed to relax. After a while, they slowed down their Italian and started talking about times in the “Old Country.” Well, that was the last time I did that. Now pop was cool and thought it was kinda funny. He was in the easy chair smoking a Toscani cigar and he said; “So? Frankie looks Sicilian, so what? Maybe we do have some Sicilian blood after all.” I remember that story pop told me once about a great ancestor of ours who used to live Sicily. Well, as the story goes, he fell in love with the servant girl of a mafia chief’s aunt. The aunt didn’t think much of him hanging around the house and hiding out in the olive groves with her servant. Long story short, she told her nephew, Don Antolini…so…the two had to high-tail it out of there right-quick. They headed East, took a boat ride to Calabria, and, well, they lived there, hopefully ever after, at least that was pop’s version of the story. When I graduated high-school, I got a job at “Sal’s Italian Deli.” Now, the origin of the name “Sal” is kinda interesting. It wasn’t always “Sal’s”, it used to be called “Salerno Deli.” Back during WWII, a guy named Giuseppe Castagnoli owned it. Now Giuseppe was from Salerno, about 200 miles North of Calabria the way the crow flies. Well, anyway, one day during a fierce wind storm, half the sign fell down leaving only the letters S-A-L, and D-E-L-I. Giuseppe never fixed the sign. Then he sold the place to his nephew Angelo. Well, customers started calling Angelo, “Sal”. He tried to tell them that he wasn’t “Sal” that there wasn’t any “Sal”, and that his named was “Angelo” For a while, they called him “Angelo” but then, those customers moved away, and new ones came in and called him “Sal”, and referred to his place as “Sal’s Deli”. After a while, he just threw up his arms and said; “I give up, guess my name is Sal now, as long as it brings in the customers, I guess it’s a good name too.” Now people ask me if I want to work at Sal’s forever. Well, not forever, maybe for a few more years. I was kinda thinking of joining the Army and go to OCS (Officer’s Candidate School) after a few years, but for now, Sal’s is OK. I just walk about five blocks from our place to Sal’s. I always pass a pool room where Big Al, Lou, and Tony Rizzo hang out who work some odd jobs here and there. I really hope that they make something out of their lives, but at least we all graduated high school together. Now at Sal’s, I do a little bit of everything, like unpack boxes, put stuff on the shelves, make some salads, slice meats and cheese for customers. I like Sal and Sal likes me, (or rather Angelo). I would say that he and me, well, we get along just fine. I do my job and help him out anyway I can. That is what life is all about, doing your job and helping others too. Now I work together with a young Puerto Rican girl named Ana Ramos. She’s about five inches shorter than me, but let me tell you something, she can do any job a guy can do as far as work is concerned. She’ll open boxes with a swift pass of a box-cutter knife, stock the shelves with cans and bags of this and thats, empty the trash cans into the dumpsters, cut meats and cheeses just like me. She’s calm, but don’t cross her mind you, or else, she’ll speak her mind a bit loudly. Now you ask me, would I want to marry her? Well, maybe not, but who knows the future. Mom and pop I think have their minds set on some nice Italian girl where ever and who ever she might be. Ana Ramos and me are just good friends and we work well together. I already told you that she can be a little fire-cracker if you cross her or say something ugly. I remember the time we left Sal’s together after work and as we were on our way home, a young blonde chick came up behind me with an un-lit cigarette in her hand and said; “hey…you there…Papa Cheppetto…Mr. Spaghetti man…meatball guy…hey…Italiannnnooooo maaaan…got a light?” Now I am not the kind of person that is going to start stuff over name calling, I mean, I’ve heard Italians called worse names, and well…this girl was just being a “wise-gal” making fun of us using Italian related names. Now, she could have just said, “sir, excuse me, can you give me a light?” But no, she had to go the extreme, but not to the max if you know what I mean. Well, I just turned around and said to her; “I don’t smoke” and kept on going. But Ana Ramos, she didn’t take too kindly to those words, even if they weren’t directed against her, they were directed towards me, her good friend and work companion. She stopped me and grabbed me by that arm saying; “Hey Frankie, are you going to take that from that chic? Stand up for your people!” And with that, she turned to that blonde chic and said; “Hey blondie, I’ll light you up!” then she threw her fist like a hammer, right across that blonde girl’s chin. Knocked that blonde chic out, knocked her right into the middle of next week! Now there was another girl standing by, maybe she was a friend of Ms. Blondie. She just stood there with her mouth wide open. Ana turned to her and said; “You better shut your mouth or a fly will get in!” Then Ana grabbed me by the arm and said, “let’s go”. We continued walking and after a few minutes she turned to me and said; “Ya know Frankie, ya gotta stand up for your people! Your people are my people too ya know, we’re all “Latinos” even though we speak different languages!” The very next day everyone was talking about how a Puerto Rican chic knocked out blondie right in the middle of Little Italy! When we got to work the next day, Sal pulled Ana over to the side to have a stern lecture about violence in the “barrio” but when he found out the details of “why the knock-out?” he congratulated her. “Hey Frankie” Sal started, “Ana stood up for our people, did you see that?” “Yes Sal” I answered, “I was right there, I saw the whole thing.” “Oh yea, right, you were there, well…nice going Ana” Sal replied, patting her on the back. With that, we went to work stocking some shelves with some canned pesto. Now one thing about Sal, at the end of each day, he gives me any left-over pizza that doesn’t sell. It’s pretty good, good ol New York style pizza made fresh in the morning by Sal himself. If you’ve ever seen those pizza guys that stand in the windows of pizzerias that throw pizza dough up in the air, and then it comes down and it gets even bigger and flatter, then you’d know what Sal does every morning. Yes, he makes them with double mozzarella cheese and pepperoni, some he makes with sausage and anchovies. He pops those pizzas in the oven and out they come, ready to eat. By the end of the day, there are usually 4 or 5 slices of pizza left. Well, he gives them to me wrapped up in plastic and puts them in a paper bag. I usually share one or two slices with Ana. She likes Italian food just as much as I do, but I’ll have to say that pizza with Spaghetti and meatballs are my favorites, and of course, a glass of Chianti to wash it all down with. Well, one day at the end of the day as Ana and I were leaving to go home, Sal called me over and sadly told me that he had sold all the pizza he had made, but not to worry, he’d “fix me up”. Then he wrapped up in paper wrapping some sausage and ground beef, and along with some Italian spices saying; “Go home and make some spaghetti and meatballs, my treat!” That was very nice of Sal. I didn’t get any pizza, but both mom and Sal taught me some trade secrets on making Italian meat balls. The recipes vary a bit from Sicily, Calabria, and Salerno, but they all taste great. Well, Ana went home and I went home. When I got to our apartment building, I found a note on the kitchen table from mom. They had gone walking in Columbus Park, her, pop, and the grandparents, and that they’d be home later. Well, now it would be up to me to make dinner. OK, that I’d do. I decided to make some Sicilian style meat balls with “salsa d’tomate Calabrese” the best of both worlds. I began to prepare the stuff, chopping up the garlic and onions, then adding the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs with the Italian spices. When I threw in the ground beef mixed with an egg to the whole mixture, the phone rang. That phone call, you could say, changed my whole life. I wiped my hands off on a kitchen towel and answered the phone. “Hello?’ “Hello, is this Frankie Petronelli?” came a voice on the other end. “Yes, this is Frankie, who is this?” “This is Mr. “G”. Now I just stood there with the phone to my ear. Did I hear correctly? I mean really, I thought? “Mr. G?’ “Yes Frankie, Mr. “G”. I know you heard correctly, there isn’t any static on the line. We’re coming through clear as crystal!” “The real Mr. “G”? I asked, still dumbfounded. “Yes Frankie” continued the voice, “I’m the real “G”. I mean, there are a lot of phonies out there that claim to be me, and people follow them, but I am the real “G”, I AM WHO I AM (1) Look, I go by a lot of names like Mr. “E”, Mr. “A”, Mr. “Y”, Mr. “J”, the list could go on and on, but in time, you’ll learn all of my names, that is if you accept my invitation since that is why I am calling you Frankie. Are you interested?” Now, I still didn’t know how to respond. I mean, Mr. “G” makes the Pope look like a little kid. Mr. “G” well, he’s the max, when he calls you, he means business! He never fools around, no joke. I just stood there with the receiver stuck to my ear. “Heeeelllooo? Frankieeee? Are you still there?” came the voice. “Yes Mr. “G”, I’m still here” I said hurriedly, “but why would you want to call me?” I asked, a little confused and at the same time, surprised. “Why not Frankie?” “Well”, I responded, “I’m not really important, I’m just a simple Italian-American guy who works at a Deli.” “You’re important to me Frankie” replied Mr. “G”, “I mean, I made you in my image, I have plans for you, big plans that is if you’re interested. However, if not, I’ll call someone else and let you go.” “YES”, I shouted, “I’M INTERESTED!” “Great Frankie”, but I’m not deaf, no need to shout.” “OK”, I replied, calming down a bit, “So what can I do for you Mr. “G”, I asked. “Well Frankie, there’s nothing you can do for me, it’s what I can do for you. The truth is, it’s been done already. It was done a long, long, time ago. All you have to do is accept what I did for you. What I am trying to say is that I am giving a family membership party at my mansion and I want to invite you to join my family. So, what do you say to that?” I stood there amazed, flabbergasted, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Mr. “G” wanted ME as a family member, really? I thought. “Heeeelllooo? Fraaankkiee?” “Me, a member of your family, for real?” I asked. “Yes Frankie, for real, no joke, I never joke around that. I do have a sense of humor though, I made a donkey talk once.” “really? What did it say?” “Let’s just say that it complained to its master about some ill-treatment… now… your answer?” “Yes, Mr. “G”, I finally said, “It would be a real honor to become a member of your family.” “Great Frankie, glad to hear that, then you’ll be able to call me “Abba”. For now, listen carefully to what I am about to say, OK?” “OK, Mr. “G”, go ahead, I’m listening.” “All right, first of all, put away the meat ball mix and the spaghetti sauce. Stick them in the frig because I have some prepared at my place, especially for you Frankie. In my opinion, what’s cooking at my place is “out of this world”. I know you’ll love it!” “How did you know I was preparing Spaghetti and meat balls Mr. “G?” “Frankie, I know everything, I know what everyone is doing all the time, everywhere, now can I continue please?” “Sure, I’m listening.” “OK, now you need to come to my celebration dressed for the occasion. You need to be all in white, no stains, all white, from head to toe, all white, got it?” “Sure Mr. “G”, I responded a bit surprised, “but I don’t have any white suits here in my closet.” “Sure, you do Frankie, just look way in the back of your closet.” “But Mr. “G”, I know what’s in my closet, and I don’t have any white suits.” “You see Frankie,” sighed Mr. “G”, “that’s the problem with people, no one believes what I say. There is such a lack of faith these days, even before these days. I remember a son of mine named Thomas…well…that’s another story. Frankie, trust me, I just put a white suit in the back of your closet right now, go check for yourself and I’ll hang on.” “OK, Mr. “G”, I’ll be right back.” So, I rushed to my bedroom and opened the door of my clothing closet which had a poster of Calabria on it. I pushed aside my clothing and lo and behold, right in the back was a pure-white suit of clothes covered by a plastic bag on a wooden hanger. I took it out of the closet and lay it down on my bed. I took the plastic bag off and saw that it consisted of a white suit-jacket, a pair of white pants, a white shirt with a white-silk tie. On the tie was a gold tie-clasp. I thought I saw some white shoes and I rushed back inside the closet, Yes, there were also a pair of white shoes with white socks. I rushed back to the phone and continued my conversation. “Mr. “G”, there’s a white suit in my closet! I can hardly believe it!” “Just like I said Frankie. You see, most people believe when they see, but blessed are those who believe without seeing. I even had that written down in a book. OK, now listen, put the suit on and remember, do NOT let it get STAINED! Go to the nearest subway entrance, the one three blocks from Mulberry Street in front of the small oriental supermarket. You know where that is right?” “Right, I know where it is.” “OK, go down and get a token and take the “A” train going South to Main Street Park. Get off there and go up and look for the bus that says “Flatbush”. Get on and be prepared for a long ride all the way to Rockaway Point Blvd. Get off there and change buses and get on the one that says “222nd Street “Beach”. Get off and you’ll see “Epstein’s Bait and Tackle” on the right. Go in and ask for Abraham Epstein, he’s one of my sons. He’ll point out my place which is right on the beach. Follow his directions and stay on the beach path. Now, pay attention because this is very important, there’s a creepy looking guy named Mr. “S” dressed all in black, He hangs out along the beach path and stops people before they get to my place. He’s caused a lot of trouble ever since…well…since a long time ago. Don’t pay any attention to him. You’ll see my place, you can’t miss it, follow the path marked “to Judah Gate” and I’ll see you there.” “OK, Mr. “G”, I’ve written everything down.” I was lucky that there was a pad of paper and pencil by the phone. “One more thing Frankie” continued Mr. “G”, people will look at you kinda funny like, I mean, all dressed in white. Some will make fun of you. The world pokes fun of my family members. It’s always been like that, since we’re not very popular. We are like a few fish swimming against a huge school of fish going the opposite way. Quite a few of my children here were fishermen back then, that’s why I relate to the ocean and fish a lot.” “OK, Mr. “G”, I understand and I’ll be there as soon as I can, bye.” “Bye Frankie, I’ll see you soon.” As soon as I hung up the phone, I went to the kitchen and put the meatballs and sauce in the frig. Then I went to my bedroom and put on that sparkling white suit. I looked at myself in the mirror. I was almost blinded by the white glare. I checked the suit pocket and I found some money with a note on the bills that read; “bus fare”. The suit fit perfectly, even the shoes were a perfect size 10 W. I guess Mr. “G” knew what he was doing, he even knew my clothing size, well, like he said, he knows everything about everybody. END OF PART 1 PART 2 I left a note for Mom and Pop, “going to a celebration” then left for the subway entrance a few blocks from Mulberry Street. Now, as soon as I hit the street, people were giving me that “look”. I got on the subway and sat down. Some passengers started making comments. One old lady looked at me smiling and said; “Hey, where are YOU going SUGAR?” A blonde girl who looked like the one Ana Ramos knocked out sat down next to me and said; “Hey SNOWBALL, you’re BLINDING ME!” looking me up and down. I just ignored them both. I didn’t want to start anything over words. Mr. “G” told me that would happen on the way. But then, a young couple who were sitting across from me said; “Looks like you’re going to “Abba’s” party. We went there quite a few years ago.” “Yes”, I answered, “I’m on my way right now.” “Well”, they replied, “just be careful of Mr. “S”, He can’t be trusted and everything he says is a lie, don’t believe anything he says.” “Thanks for warning me”, I said, “I’ll keep my wits about me.” I finally got to Main Street Park. I paid my fare and boarded the “Flatbush” bus and sat down, people were looking at me and laughing a bit. Even the bus driver looked at me and shook his head smiling. “A “G” man, eh?” “Yes sir” I replied quietly. This was getting a bit on my nerves now, but I was almost there. The trip was long, some passengers exchanged a few comments about my suit, but I pretended not to hear them. The bus finally got to Rockaway Point Blvd. I got off and waited for the “222nd Street” bus. It came within a few minutes. I got on and paid the fare and when I got to 222nd Street, I saw “Epstein’s Bait and Tackle” right where Mr. “G” told me it would be. I went in and there was Abraham Epstein, behind the counter. “Shalom my friend”, he said with a broad smile, “On your way to Abba’s place, right?” “Yes”, I answered with a smile, “He invited me.” “He invited me more than 20 years ago,” continued Mr. Epstein, “and I’ve been directing people to his place ever since. So then, he took me outside and we headed on a path towards the beach. Then he pointed to a long, long path that seemed to have no end, but, I could just make out an image of a huge mansion in the distance, it had a golden glow to it. “That’s Abba’s mansion” he pointed, “just stay on the path, and don’t get distracted by “S”. and with that, he turned and went back to his bait and tackle shop, leaving me on the beach path. So, I walked along the beach path. I hadn’t visited many beaches in my life, only Coney Island a few times. This beach seemed so serene, so peaceful with the waves splashing against the beach with a rhythmic sound of peace and tranquility. As I got nearer to Abba’s mansion, I saw just to the left of me and small table with a tarp over it. Under the tarp was a figure dressed entirely in black. I couldn’t make out his face because he had a hoody partially covering it. The thought then hit me, this must be Mr. “S”, the guy that “G” warned me about. As I passed by, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that this guy had his eyes glued on me. He reminded me a little of Dracula, you know, from the movies. I was just passing him when he called out to me, not shouting but with a normal voice. “Hey, Frankie, come over here for a sec!” I stopped momentarily to respond to him; “Don’t have time, I have a meeting with Mr. “G” at his mansion. I’ve been invited…” “Yeah, yeah, I know, I know” he interrupted, sounding a bit annoyed. “but I know you’re a bit hungry, right?” Now how did he know that I thought? and I was looking forward to those Sicilian meat balls with Calabrese sauce and some spaghetti. “I’m hungry but Mr. “G” has something already prepared at his place.” I answered, trying to get on my way again. “Yes, yes, I know that Mr. “G” is always entertaining guests, new family members and such, but I just wanted you to try some one of my specialties, Italian meat balls with some spicy Calabrese sauce.” Then he reached under the table and brought out a silver platter with a dish of meatballs. In the middle of the dish was a small bowl with some spicy tomato sauce. On the side of the platter there was a napkin with a pile of plastic swords. “I know you’re going to “G” s party, but just try one of these delicious meatballs, you won’t regret it, I promise” he said, placing the silver platter on top of the table. I knew I shouldn’t have stopped, but my hunger got the best of me, and those meatballs and sauce were really tempting. I mean, I could smell the garlic and the parmesan cheese together with the other Italian spices. “OK”, I said, “I’ll try just one.” So I went to the table and that creepy guy pushed the silver platter towards me. I took one of the plastic swords and speared one of the meatballs, then dipping it in the sauce. But just when I brought it to my mouth, the meatball slipped off the plastic sword and hit my sparkling white shirt. I watched in horror as the meatball slid down the front of my shirt and hit the sandy ground, leaving a horrible tomato sauce stain on my shirt. Then, Mr. “S” just burst out laughing. He laughed so hard that he had to hold his sides. “Look what you made me do, just look!” I shouted, pointing to my now stained shirt and tie. “What I MADE YOU do Frankie?” sneered Mr. “S”. Why Frankie, I didn’t MAKE you DO anything. You didn’t HAVE TO take the meatball. You could have said NO, but…you didn’t. Let’s admit it, you couldn’t resist my offer.” Sorry to say but Mr. “S” was right, it was my fault. I could have said NO, but I didn’t. I should have listened to Mr. “G”. I noticed that “S” was still laughing and shaking his head, then he turned to me again and said, “Here Frankie”, handing me a napkin, “Wipe your shirt with this, it’ll come off, I promise!” then he shoved a little dish with water in my direction. Well, I thought, maybe it would come off, so I dipped the napkin in the water and started rubbing the stain on my shirt, but it just got worse, in fact, it spread even more. “Oh no Frankie”, laughed “S”, “Seems like that didn’t work either…in fact…it’s worse”, and he just continued to laugh, pointing his finger at my shirt. I didn’t know quite what to say, or do. I just looked at my shirt with horror. Mr. “G” told me specifically not to stop and talk with “S”, but that’s exactly what I did, all because of something to eat. “OK Frankie” continued Mr. “S”, “here’s another white napkin, just tuck it under your chin and let it cover your shirt. That way, the stain’s covered. That’ll be OK with “G”. With that, he handed me a large white napkin and I tucked it under my chin and spread it across the front of my shirt. Then I took off running the rest of the distance to Mr. “G” s mansion. I heard “S” shouting to me his last words; “Have a nice time at “G” s place Frankie” and I heard him still laughing. I finally got away from the sound of his hideous laughter and I saw up ahead a sign that pointed to the right; “Judah Gate” I really felt bad, but maybe, he’d understand. I mean, it wasn’t ALL my shirt, just in front, and I did have this covering. Well, I followed the sign and found myself walking on a long road that seemed to glow with the color gold. Ahead, I saw a huge gate made of what seemed to be Mother-of-Pearl. When I got to the gate, I saw two giant beings standing guard at the gate, they were also wearing apparel of pure, dazzling white. Their eyes bore down upon me, they were looking at my shirt as if they already knew that it was stained. They looked at each other and just shook their heads. They moved aside and pointed to a long corridor that ended at a pair of double-doors. As soon as I approached the doors, they automatically opened. I stepped into another long corridor. I saw another set of double doors at the end of this corridor. I heard a lot of laughter and conversation coming from whatever was beyond those set of doors. I also noticed that to the side of me there was a winding staircase going up, and just in front, there was a closet, kind of wide if you ask me. To the side of the closet was an ornate arm-chair. All of a sudden, the double-doors opened and I finally saw, well, who else could it be but; “Mr. G”. He was glowing with a brilliant white haze, his hair was white like wool, and he had on an all-white linen garment, tied with a belt of gold. The glow around him was so bright that I could not look directly at him. Then he called my name from the doors; “Frankie, you made it, welcome to my home!” Then he made his way to where I was standing. I was a little nervous, yet my eyes adjusted to his figure as he approached me. I saw that his feet were like burnished bronze, and his face reflected love and compassion. He stopped a few feet from me and opened his arms. “Frankie, I love you, I have been expecting you!” But just then, he noticed my shirt and the white napkin that covered the nasty stain. The expression on his face suddenly changed from gladness to sadness with a touch of bitter disappointment. Then he went up to me and pulled away the napkin that covered the stain, revealing the ugly spot of disobedience “Frankie, what happened?”, he started, “didn’t I tell you that to become a member of my family you’d have to come without a stain?” “Yes Mr. “G”, I answered with big time nervousness, “But you see, I ran into Mr. “S” on the way here, and, well, he stopped me and…well…offered me a snack…and…well…I was a bit hungry…” “and you couldn’t resist the temptation, right?” interrupted Mr. “G”. “Didn’t I tell you that I had everything here prepared for you Frankie? yet you disobeyed my voice and fell into the enemy’s trap!” Mr. “G” s voice rang out with all sternness and authority. “I’m sorry Frankie, I can’t let you in, you’re stained!” And at those words, Mr. “G” just turned and walked away, just like that. He was headed back to the double-doors. This couldn’t be the end, could it? I thought. I had to do something, something quick. “It was an accident Mr. “G”, I really didn’t mean it” I said in a loud voice. “It wasn’t an accident Frankie, you chose to disobey!” he answered without turning around, but he did stop walking away. “Isn’t there anything I can do about it?” I asked pleadingly. “No Frankie” he answered quietly, “there is nothing YOU can do about it.” “Please Mr. “G” I cried, and I really don’t cry that much, but this was really a dire crisis, “Isn’t there anything YOU can do to help me out?” When I said those words, Mr. “G” turned around and looked at me with eyes so filled with love and compassion. He turned around and came back to me. He embraced me with his two loving arms saying; “I was hoping that you’d say that Frankie. Yes, there is something I can do for you. Actually, I already did it many, many years ago. I gave up my own life to pay for your disobedience, for you and for the whole world. The problem is Frankie, that not everyone accepts what I did for them, only those who ask for forgiveness will receive it. Now, give me your stained shirt.” I took off the stained shirt and I handed it to Mr. “G”. Then he went to the closet that was next to the easy-chair. He opened the closet and threw the shirt into a pile that consisted of other stained shirts. I took a quick look, and I saw what looked like thousands upon thousands of shirts, skirts, and dresses that were all stained with different food stains. As far as my eyes could see, there were stained clothing, yet the closet looked so small from the outside. Mr. “G” then shut the door. “It’s the same story over and over again Frankie, if it’s not spaghetti sauce, it’s taco sauce, if not that, it’s soy sauce. In the end, disobedience is disobedience, sin is sin, no matter what. Now, you sit and wait here until I return.” Then Mr. “G” went up the staircase and in a few minutes, he returned with another white shirt in his hands. He handed it to me saying; “Here, put this one on, it’s my own brand, it even has my initials on the upper-right side, just above your heart Frankie.” I took a look at the shirt. It was like the one that was stained, but this one had the initials Y-A-H on it, embroidered with scarlet thread just to the right of my heart. I quickly put the shirt on. It was a perfect fit. “Frankie” continued Mr. “G” now you can call me “Abba” because you accepted my shirt, you accepted what I did for you so long ago to pay for your sins. The initials YAH have a special meaning. They mean; “Behold the hand”. I held out my hands and I received the nails to pay for your sins, past, present, and future. The scarlet initials symbolize the blood that I shed for you. They also mean “Yeshuah” which means “Salvation is from YAH. Now that you are one of my sons, come with me to the party.” With that, I followed Abba to the double-doors. He opened them and everyone in there looked in our direction. Then he announced; “Sons and daughters, meet your new brother, brother Frankie” I saw that the room was a great banquet hall, with rows and rows of tables with all kinds of food on them. There were people from all over New York City. Some were oriental, some were Hispanics, and others probably Italians like me. There were African-Americans, and well, people of every nationality. All the men were wearing shirts like the one Abba gave me, and the women wore blouses with ankle length dresses. They ALL had the same initials “Y-A-H” embroidered on the upper right -hand side. There was also a stage to one side of the room with a large, ornate throne with a small table in front of it. On the other side of the room were shining beings all dressed in white. They were all playing different musical instruments like harps, lyres, flutes, some had cymbals, and others had long, silver trumpets. All were playing soft and soothing melodies for us guests. Everyone clapped and smiled and welcomed me. They embraced me with hugs and hand-shakes. Then one of the tall beings invited me over to a table. There I saw all sorts of Italian foods; spaghetti and meatballs with sauce, lasagna, salad with olive oil, stuffed Sicilian olives with spices, and there was cannoli, lots of cannoli. The tall being took a plate and served me up some spaghetti and meatballs and topped it off with a lot of parmesan cheese and two slices of toasted garlic bread. This guy seemed to know exactly what I wanted, I didn’t even have to tell him. I ate some of that spaghetti and meat balls and let me tell you, that meal was ‘out-of-this-world’ good. I would say, it was ‘heaven sent’. Well, I sat down at one of the tables, all decorated with gold and silver ornaments on top of a white linen tablecloth. In the middle of each table was a seven-branched candlestick made of pure gold. A few more of my new “brothers” sat down with me. Some were Italians, others were Puerto Ricans, and there was even an elderly “sister” whose named was “Ms. Wong” she was from Taiwan as she told me. Now, we were all brothers and sisters in Abba’s family, what could be better. As I was eating and enjoying the company of my newly found brothers and sisters, I heard someone tapping a crystal wine glass. I looked up and saw that Abba was sitting on the throne and in his hand, he had the crystal glass and a spoon. He was calling us all to attention. The musicians stopped playing and all awaited his speech. Then the discourse began. “My dearest sons and daughters of light” began Abba. His whole demeanor reflected love and compassion, his countenance shone like the stars of heaven. “I would like to welcome all of you to my extended family. All of you were stained, stained with disobedience. But I paid the price for your disobedience, the price of sin cost me my life, but I gave it up willingly. I paid the price of sin with my own blood. I called all of you and you answered my call and came here to me, to accept my invitation to be part of my family. You wear my name on your bodies which is YeshuAH, which means “salvation”. Now you are all my precious sons and daughters. My kingdom is your kingdom. It shall be your inheritance throughout eternity.” I looked around, and there was a feeling of awe, many had tears in their eyes. All of a sudden, the whole banquet hall burst out with praises to the LORD with uplifted hands. My hands went up too, I also started praising Him who sat of the throne of grace. The one who took a common, ordinary Italian-American and brought me into His family. Then Abba lifted up his hands for silence, and I noticed two marks on his wrists, the mark of nails that at one time in the past, held him fast to an old, rugged cross on a hill that stood so far, far, away from New York City. I suppose it is still there. Then Abba continued his oracle; “My dearest family members, I am sending you back into the world again to be my witnesses, to proclaim this generation of faith and salvation. One day I will call you back here again and you will go beyond these doors behind me.” With those words he turned around and pointed to still another pair of double-doors, made of mother-of-pearl and decorated with all sorts of precious stones. “Many of my children have gone past these doors and are enjoying the perfect peace of eternity even now. For the time being, each and every one of you has a job to do, I will equip you with spiritual gifts. Share this experience with your friends, neighbors, and work companions starting right here in New York City, going to the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and to all the places beyond. I will give to each and every one of you my book. Read it, study it, it has my words all written down. The words written down in this book are the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. It will be your guide for the rest of your life.” When he finished his discourse, he lifted a medium sized black book with the words “Holy Bible” engraved on the cover. I remember Mom and Pop had one of those years ago. I remember seeing it once tucked away on a bookshelf, yet they hardly ever took it down to read, I mean, it was just “there” wedged between “History of Calabria” and “Mama Rosa’s Italian Cuisine”. We all lined up and he passed out a copy of His book to everyone. When it was my turn, I still had more questions, so I asked. “Hey Abba?” “Yes Frankie?” “I was just thinking, what if you called someone in Italy, I mean, does that person have to come over here to become a member of your family? That’s quite a distance to travel, some people don’t have the funds to… “Frankie” interrupted Abba, with a broad smile, “This place is one of those mysteries which are hard to explain. This place where you are now, is everywhere, the Kingdom of God is everywhere, it is available to those who answer the call, like you did. To those who reject my calling, they can’t find this place…but… if they have a change of heart, then…it will be within sight.” “Do you think that Big Al, Lou, and Tony Rizzo will be able to find this place Abba?” I asked. “Well Frankie” began Abba a bit sadly, “Right now if Big Al, Lou, and Tony Rizzo would walk down the beach, all they would see would be sand, shells, driftwood and a few beach houses here and there. But…if they would open their minds and hearts and accept my calling, then, they would walk along the same road you came on and would see this place. That’s why you need to tell them about me Frankie.” “But Abba” I asked, “How do I get in touch with you if they change their minds? I mean, I don’t have your phone number.” “You don’t need to call me by phone Frankie, just talk to me, just like you would talk to your mom and pop, to Ana Ramos, to “Sal” and to your other friends. I’ll hear you. That’s the problem with many of my children, they leave here and then never talk to me, or when they do, they only talk to me when they need something or when they are in trouble. Please don’t do that, OK Frankie?” And I saw a few tears in Abba’s eyes. Yes, I could understand that. Just talking to someone when you needed something would be kind of rude. “OK Abba” I responded, “I’ll talk to you every day. If I have questions about this book, I’ll ask you for understanding, OK?” “That’s great” said Abba, embracing me, “You now have my spirit inside you, my spirit will help you understand my words.” So I said goodbye to Abba and left his mansion with the others, those “others” who were now by brothers and sisters in the faith. I felt very honored to be part of Abba’s family. As I was leaving, Abba called after me one more time. “Hey Frankie, son, don’t forget to call me, remember, you don’t need a phone, only call out to me, “Abba”, and I’ll hear, OK?” “OK”, I answered, “I’ll call on you, and talk with you…and you’ll answer, right?” “Yes”, replied Abba, “I’ll always answer, my answers are already written down in my book, just read and study it. Don’t forget to tell others about me, and what I have to offer. One day I’ll call you back home, but for now, just do your job as a faithful son!” With those words, Abba turned and went back inside his mansion again. I thought about his words. Yes, I’ll tell my three friends; “Big Al”, “Lou”, and “Tony Rizzo” all about Abba. I’ll tell Ana Ramos, Mama, and Papa too. Well, who knows, maybe they’ll get a call from Abba someday. Well, what else can I say, only that this was the first day of the rest of my life. The end Author’s end comments: I lived in Queens until I was five years old. One of our neighbors in Elmhurst was the “Petronelli” family. As my memory serves me, I called Mrs. Petronelli “Aunt Gelsie” and she had a daughter named “Gina” who was about 2 years older than me. I remember sharing my little inflatable swimming pool with her. Once we went to Coney Island where Gina and I went on some of the rides together. This was, well, way back in 1959. I named the main character “Frankie Petronelli” to honor this family. My adoptive grandparents on my adoptive mother’s side of the family came from Italy, from Napoli. They were Giuseppe and Giuseppina Nappi. I also have both mainland Italian and Sicilian ancestry from my biological parents according to the genealogical DNA investigation through Family Tree DNA, although the major part of my family is East European Ashkenazi and Turkish Armenian. It is nice to know that I share a bit of Identity with Italy.
  6. Parasha "Noach" GEN 6:9-11:32

    PARASHAT; “Noach” GENESIS 6:9-11:32………………….ISAIAH 54:1-55:5………………..MATT 3:1-4:25 The Torah says; “Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with Elohim” Noah was a “tzadik” a righteous man. This is a powerful statement since in his days, the whole populated earth was corrupt, yet he and his family decided against “going with the flow” and decided to follow YHVH in His ways. We know the story, it is one of the most popular stories from the Bible. Elohim decides to destroy the world with a flood of waters, saving only Noah and his family, and representatives of the animal kinds. He is commanded to build an ark, a “floating barge” a rectangular box-car type of vessel. In feet it measured 450 feet long, by 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. It had rooms or animal stalls, three floors, a door in the side, and ventilation all around. Using biblical measurements, it was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. A cubit is about 18 inches, in would be from a man’s elbow to the tip of his middle finger (more or less). The total was 380 cubits, length + width + height = 380. In Hebrew letters, this sum would equal “Sheen + Pey” with the symbolism of “The all-consuming fire speaks” Elohim is about to judge and tear up the world with a watery judgment, and he speaks to Noah, who is the only one faithful to HIM. He also says to seal it within and without with “pitch” or “tar” which would make it water-proof. It is interesting that the Hebrew word is “K’fer” very similar to “Kafar” which is “covering” this word is used during “Yom Kippur”. During Yom Kippur, the blood of the animals “covered” the sins of the people for one year. This “covering” on the ark would also “seal” Noah and his family inside the ark for the same amount of time, for a year. The world would perish under the water judgment, yet YHVH would make a “brit” (covenant) with Noach and his family. They would be safe and sound, and of course dry inside the ark for a year. The word for “ark” in Hebrew is “Teivah” it has three Hebrew letters; “Tav” “Beit” and “Hey”. The ancient Hebrew meaning of these letters together would be “behold the house of the covenant” The ark would be their house for one year a temporary house that was under God’s “covenant”. Inside the ark, the DNA for all humankind would be safe. Had not YHVH chosen to save Noah and his family, and instead, destroy all of humankind, today, we would probably be plants, trees, or flowers. Also remember that in the days before the flood, it never rained from the sky, but from under the ground. When the rains finally came, the people outside the ark probably freaked out big time! We read that animal representatives of each animal kind entered the ark. Two of each “unclean” kind came into the ark, and fourteen of the “clean” animals, such as sheep, goats, cows, bulls, buffalo, deer, moose, elk, etc. or seven pairs of each. Later on, we find out why? They would be used for eating purposes and for sacrifices, so, there would have to be a lot of them on the earth. Dinosaurs? Yes, they came on board, probably the young ones that were still babies. The word “dinosaur” is a modern word, back then the word “dragon” was used for dinos. We read that when Noah finished building the ark, which took 120 years, he took enough food to last a year, and when the animals got on board they settled down. Some might have gone into hibernation status. Then, after a period of seven days of waiting, 7:16 says “and YHVH shut him in” This means that “God himself shut the outside door”. The period of grace was over, death and judgment would begin. Every human being on this earth is under a period of grace when we can come into the presence of Adonai and enter into the “ark of salvation” which is Yeshua. After our physical death, our fate is sealed, judgment will fall. Eternal condemnation in the lake of fire for the lost, and for believers, our “works” will be judged where we will either receive or lose rewards, yet we ourselves will inherit eternal life with the King of Kings, and LORD of Lords. The WORD says that it rained for 40 days and nights. “40” is the number of “judgment and testing” it says that the waters rose above the highest mountains 22 feet. This proves that it was a “universal flood” not a local flood. During this time, there was a lot of seismic activity, shifting of the earths continents, creating new mountain chains and ridges. We have no idea how the pre-diluvian earth looked like, but after the flood, Noach and his family stepped out into a strange and different world. The flood waters were upon the earth for a year, and the Word says that in the seventh month and on the seventeenth day of that month (Tishrei) the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. Isn’t it surprising that the ark came to rest on dry land during the third day of Sukkot! Noah’s “Sukkah” received “shalom” and on the first day of the first month “Nissan” “New Year’s Day” the waters had completely dried up on the earth. This is very significant because the whole earth is starting anew, a new year for a renewed earth. So, Noah and his family leave the ark and start life anew. About 4000 years later, a Turkish countryman and his son, and later the Tzar’s army soldiers found the ark halfway sticking out of an ice glacier on Mt. Ararat. They took measurements and explored it, so, Yes, it was found. Noah and his family left the ark, and the first thing Noah did was to build an altar and sacrifice clean animals. Here again is the burnt offering to remind us of our sin nature. After the flood was when God gave permission to eat the flesh of clean animals, before, mankind was vegetarian. Yes, Noah was a Tzadik, a righteous man yet he still had his sin nature. He planted a vineyard and got drunk from the wine he made. Ham, one of the sons of Noah saw his father naked inside his tent. We do not know what happened, if he just saw him naked, or…perhaps…committed some kind of perverse sexual thing on Noah, we only know that the Torah says that when Noah awakened from his drunkenness he discovered what his son had “done unto him”(9:24) implying that something was “done” Ham did not just “see” his father naked. Result is that Noah was angry and cursed “Canaan” Ham’s son. Now, we don’t understand why the grandson had to suffer for what his father had done. Doesn’t seem fair, well, life ISN’T fair, never has been. We’re living in a lost and dying world, a world that is going down the tubes. One thing is that Noah had already blessed his sons, and being blessed, you cannot take the blessing from them. Are there any Canaanites alive today? I would say not. They ended up being a perverse, vial people. Now the world becomes populated again. People start moving around from the three sons of Noah; Shem, Ham, and Japheth. From these three sons, we get the three main people groups of the world. “Shem” the Semites, “Ham” the Hamites which went down toward Africa, and “Japheth” who brought about the European peoples. One of the popular names from Japheth is “Ashkenaz” who was the father, one could say, of the Ashkenazim East European Jews later on. “Tubal” = Tobolsk (in Russia) “Meshek” = Moscow (Russia) Another name is “Nimrod” who came from “Ham” and also “Mizraim” (Egypt) and “Cush” (Ethiopia, Sudan) Nimrod founded Babylon. From here we get the division of the world languages. At that time, the descendants of Noah spoke only one language, probably Hebrew, The people under Nimrod contracted a bad disease, namely “US-itess” “Let US build US a city let US make US a name least WE be scattered abroad the earth” (11:4) the direct opposite of what YHVH ordered them to do, to “multiply and fill the earth again with people! The flood taught them nothing! They continued to rebel. The Torah says that YHVH gave them new languages. According to scholars, from one language came 70 languages then, and 70 people groups. So, they left Babel and went off into different directions to repopulate the earth, so that is how languages started. They were complete with grammar, syntax, many even with written words. Today, there are lot more than 70 languages, but no matter what language a person speaks, YHVH knows his name in ALL languages, and ALL who call upon the NAME of the LORD will be saved! When a person prays to receive Yeshua as LORD and Savior, no matter what the language is, HE will HEAR and come into that person’s life! Remember, HE is the author of ALL languages of the world. ISAIAH 54:1-55:5 Am Yisrael is compared to the “sands of the sea” and the “dust of the earth” and the “Stars of heaven” The prophet Yeshayahu in these verses are comforting Israel that they will be blessed, with descendants, even though at the time they might be going through some rough times, always, when people go away from the LORD, and follow other gods, then judgment will follow, and suffering will follow, however, YHVH will never reject his people…and…He will increase their numbers. In spite of HaSatan trying to wipe the Jewish people from existence through the holocaust, pogroms, etc. The people will continue to exist. Why is Israel compared to the “sands of the sea?” because, who can count each and every grain of sand? Why is Israel compared to the “dust of the earth?” One walks on the dust, and Israel has been trampled on, like dust, but dust is enduring. Leave a car outside in the desert, in the dust, for perhaps one-hundred years. At the end, the car will no longer exist, it will have been wasted away, yet the dust will continue to exist, forever. Why “the stars of heaven?” because Israel will “shine” like the stars, because, the Mashiach came from Israel, and He shines, as everlasting light. Israel will be a light to the nations, and will teach the nations of ONE GOD “Echad” MATTHEW 3:1-4:25 Yochanan the Baptizer is in the Jordan, baptizing the people, getting them ready to meet their Mashiach, his cousin, his LORD. We need to get our hearts and minds right, a need to change is necessary, to leave the lost world behind and embrace the things of the LORD. Yeshua is baptized, goes into the wilderness, fasts for 40 days, getting ready for his ministry and teaching, healing, and finally, dying for our sins. 40 is the number for testing and judgment. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but from every word that proceeds from the mouth of Adonai”. Yes, physical food is necessary, and it feeds the physical body, yet the WORD of God feeds our spirit man/woman. There needs to be a balance of the two. Good, healthy, kosher food which Adonai gave us, and HIS WORD, which is the living manna. Yeshua settles in Capernaum, or in Hebrew “K’far Naum” the “Covering of Naum”. I have been there, to Capernaum, and the synagogue that Yeshua visited is still there, although it was torn down a rebuilt a few times, the floor is the same. It was an honor to physically “walk” where Yeshua walked and taught Torah. The remains of Peter’s house is also there. Let’s walk the way Yeshua walked, let’s keep on preparing our hearts, and minds, and our lives. The Kingdom of Heaven IS here, it IS at hand. The “Kingdom of God” is HIS activity here on earth. Shabbat Shalom…………. Rabbi Ben Avraham
  7. SIMCHAT TORAH V’B’REISHEET “The Joy of the Torah and Genesis” (starting from the beginning) The Feast of Tabernacles is the last of the “High Holy Days” which ends on the 8th day, on the 22nd of Tishrei. It is a special day which is called “Simchat Torah” or “Joy of the Torah”. We rejoice because we have the WORD of God in our midst. It is His complete word, complete revelation comprised of 66 books, divided up in three parts; The Torah, “Genesis through Deuteronomy” the Prophets and Hebrew poetry, and the Brit HaDashah, “New Testament” or “Covenant” Some would like to challenge the word “New” or “Renewed”, since we are not governed by the Old Covenant. True, we are not under the Old Covenant, based on animal sacrifices, yet the covenant basically is the same; it is a “Blood Covenant”. The way that it is “new” is that it is based on the blood of “Yeshua” our Messiah and LORD, and NOT on the blood of animals. Scripture tells us that the blood of animals had no power to atone for sins by getting rid of them, or abolishing them, or erasing them. The blood of animals only “covered” sins for one year during the time of Yom Kippur, yet through the sacrificial death of Yeshua, our sins were “atoned for” once and for ever, for all time. Let’s just talk about the word “Torah” for a moment. It has been mistranslated in Bibles as the word “law” which comes from the Latin “Legis” Something legalistic. Yet the word in the original Hebrew “Torah” means “instruction”, so, everyplace in the Bible where the word “law” is found should really be translated as “instruction” (from our LORD and God YHVH). Once we get this word in right perspective, then, a lot of misunderstandings can be corrected. So, how many “Torahs” are there? One? Two? Three? If we investigate way back going about six-thousand years. We come to the creation of this world. Up to the time of Moshe (Moses), YHVH spoke verbally to the patriarchs, starting from Adam and Chavah (Eve). They passed on the words of Elohim to their children, and their children to their children and so-forth. One could say that this was the first “Oral Torah”. Finally, we come to Moshe and YHVH speaks to him in person. Moshe writes down everything the Adonai tells him and thus, we have the first five books of the Bible. The prophets follow writing down the words of God, continued by a few kings, namely David and Solomon. Then we come to the New Covenant letters, and books comprised by Yeshua’s talmidim (disciples) and followers. They were all inspired by the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit) as to what to write. They wrote down Adonai’s words in Hebrew and in Greek, since the world was dominated by the Greeks. The best way to reach the nations was to write in Greek. From Greek the Bible was translated into Latin and then to all the languages of the world. The WORD of God is correct is every detail, there are NO contradictions in it. If there were, that would mean that YHVH is a God of error, and this is not so. Those who say that there are contradictions, do not understand the original words and their meanings, therefore, it is a good thing to have a basic knowledge of Hebrew and Greek. Why did YHVH give us HIS complete and Holy WORD? First, He is a perfect and Holy God, whose most holy name is Yod Hey Vav Hey (YHVH). Written with the ancient paleo-Hebrew letters, the letters symbolize “Behold the hand, behold the nail”. A perfect revelation of Messiah Yeshua on Calvary’s cross, receiving in his hands, the nails that held him fast to the crucifixion stake. There he paid for all of our sins, past, present, and future. Second, the Bible was written to humanity because in the fallen state caused by sin, man had to be re-directed back to YHVH, through Yeshua. In this way, mankind could have a renewed covenant relationship with his creator. Yeshua described it as the “New Birth” in John 3:3. Once man has a renewed relationship with YHVH, he is directed towards a holy, sanctified living through following the commandments which were written down by Moshe. Yeshua also fulfilled the commandments by giving a correct interpretation of them and how they applied to our lives. Even though there are 613 commandments (mitzvoth) in all. Not all apply to us today, since we are not under the Levitical priesthood, nor are we under the animal sacrificial system. Still, many DO apply to us, and that is the reason for Bible/Torah study. Today, we have “commentaries” on God’s word, or, “Midrashim”. About 400 years after Yeshua, the rabbis and sages compiled the “Talmud” which are commentaries over the Torah, written by the rabbis of old. These are books, articles, writings, that rabbis have written, giving THEIR interpretation of what the Torah means, but, it is only “commentary”. Is it good to read and study the Talmud? I would say it is good to read ALL things related to God’s Word, BUT, we should always compare commentary to the written WORD of God. If it lines up with what the Bible teaches, it is a good thing, if not, as I said, it is just, “commentary” the opinion of someone who is not God. As one rabbi said, “Reading commentary is like eating a bony fish. Throw away the bones and digest the meat!” The following are “Torah Parashot” or “Portions from the Torah” which are read and studied every week for one year. A “Torah portion” is a “Parashah” and it consists of readings from the five books that Moshe penned down, readings from the Prophets, and readings from the Brit HaDashah, “The New Covenant”. The readings start on the Day of Simchat Torah. On this day, we start from the “beginning” which is a perfect place to start any reading……SO…...let’s start from…. PARASHAH: “B’reisheet” (In the Beginning) GENESIS 1:1-6:8…………………ISAIAH 42:5-43:10……………MATTHEW 1:1-2:23 The very first line in Genesis, the very first line in the Torah has so much meaning; “B’reisheet bara Elohim ET haShamayim v’et haAretz” (In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth). One thing to point out, in many English Bibles, the word “heaven” is singular and should be “heavens” (plural), because in Hebrew, “HaShamayim” is “heavens”. If we count the Hebrew words, we have “7” words in the first verse. “7” is the perfect number of YHVH. If we take the seven words, and take the middle word “ET” and take this word “ET” and draw a vertical line from it, we can make a “Menorah” three lines from the middle line connected to “ET” to the other words in this first verse. The word “ET” has not literal translation, yet it points to a specific object which is very important. “ET” in the ancient Hebrew letters are the “Alef and the Tav” or in Greek, the “Alpha and Omega” Or…. the “God of the Covenant”. So, every time we see “ET” in the original Hebrew, we are reminded of “YHVH, the God of the Covenant” Why does the Bible start with the letter “Beit” or “B”? why not with “Alef” or “A”. Isn’t the “Alef” the symbol for “God”? There is a story about the letters “Alef” and “Beit” who are having an argument as to who would be first. They both came to Elohim and presented their case. Elohim-YHVH said, “Alef”, you are very important as you represent who I AM. You will be the third letter in the Bible, because “3” symbolizes “Elohim” because we are united as Father, Son, and Spirit, three entities in one “Echad” being. “As for you, letter “Beit” you will be first because you symbolize the “house” which I will make for mankind, for the plants, trees, and flowers, and for all the beasts which I will create. This house will be called “earth”. This perfect planet will be a “B’rakhah” a “Blessing” to my creation, therefore, the Torah must start with “B” Also, the letter “Beit” is closed on three sides, yet open on one, the left side. This means that before the “beginning” there was nothing, only Elohim, and revelation starts with “B” going towards the “left” as the Hebrew is written.” So therefore, the Alef and the Beit left, both satisfied with the verdict from Elohim-YHVH. We also see in the first line, the creation of the three basic elements of the universe; “space” (the heavens) “time” (in the beginning) and “matter” (the earth). We have an infinite God that comes out of infinity past and speaks and creates a finite earth. Creates matter. The first law of Thermodynamics states that; “All matter has been created and that there is no more matter being created” what we do see is that “matter changes states” (from liquid to solid, = water to ice) or from liquid to gas = water vapor. We can also see today the effects of the “2nd law of thermodynamics, that shows that everything in the material world is on a downward spiral, from order to disorder, from composition to decomposition, from perfection to imperfection, why? Because of sin! The wages of sin is death, and therefore, not only in the world of the living, but also, in the material world, everything is “dying” Elohim looked upon the earth he was forming, which was then, a lot of water and earth-elements, and then spoke in verse 3 saying; “Haya haOr” (let there be light) “V’yahi or” (and there was light). And Elohim saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness” (vs 4) There are 4 levels of Torah understanding which are “Peshat” (literal), “Derash” (moral and spiritual), “Remez” (Symbolic), and “Sod” (hidden), (this is when we use gematria, or numbers with math to come to different revelations, mind you this is NOT numerology!) There was the physical light, the light we can see, and also, the WORD of God which is looked upon as “light” YESHUA also is referred to the “Light of the World” light is also “sinless perfection” and the “darkness” is also the physical darkness, which is needed, for us to rest at night, so that the flowers can close up and sleep. I can also refer to the “spiritual darkness” which is “evil” or “sin”. SO… there is a separation between what is holy and what is not holy, between sin and perfection, between evil and good. Between our “daylight” and our “night time” (taking it literally). Now, if I were going to study every verse, this first parashah would be perhaps ten pages long, so, we are going to jump a bit. Elohim created all that this earth contains in 6 literal days, of 24-hour periods. Now, there are some SSs (silly scientists) that say, “the six days are considered a period of four-billion years!” really? Really? Well, if we look at verse 12 it says that Elohim created the plants, trees, grass, etc, then in verse 14 it says that Elohim created the lights in the heavens, which include the sun, moon, and the stars. Well, if each “day” consisted of, let’s say 600,000,000 years, then, how would the plants and trees, and life itself survive without sunlight for this amount of time? Many times, we just have to take God’s word literally. “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness…and Elohim created the man and the woman in His own image” (vs 26-27). What does this mean, in HIS own image? What is the IMAGE of ELOHIM? One could say that the image of Elohim is complete holiness and perfection! Sinlessness! That was how the first couple were made. The earth was “created” without any previous existing matter, yet man and woman were “created” using “already existing matter” namely,” the dust of the earth (adamah). The name “Elohim” shows the “plural unity (Echad)” of God, and just as Elohim consists of the Father, the Son, and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) so man and woman were also joined “Echad” with Elohim in mind, soul, and spirit. What is man? What is woman? But a soul and spirit inhabiting a flesh and bone body. Bodies that will one day (because of sin) deteriorate and cease to function and return to the earth. Elohim loved his creation of man and woman. He placed them in a perfect paradise home, a garden full of trees that produced fruit, nuts, flowers, clean water, animals that were friendly. The only prohibition was the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil. But…as we know the story, HaSatan, tricked them into eating the forbidden fruit. As soon as Adam and Eve ate the fruit (and nowhere does it say that it was an apple) the Word says that they “realized that they were naked” (3:7) but weren’t they already naked? I mean, they weren’t created wearing Levis! however...remember the word “light” the words “light” and “skin” are written almost the same way in Hebrew, the only difference is the first letter, “skin” is “OR” written with the letter “ayin” which symbolizes “eye” and OR (light) is written with an “aleph” It is possible, and probable that Adam and Eve were created with a covering of “light” When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai after being with God for 40 days, he was “glowing” with light, the Shekinah light, and Moses was a sinner, imagine Adam and Eve who were sinless, their light covering would have been permanent had they not sinned (and would still be alive today). When they disobeyed and ate the forbidden fruit, the light covering must of vanished, THEN…they saw that they were NAKED, without the light, which served, one could say as, “a skin of light over the skin of flesh” The sin of eating the forbidden fruit shows the following; the LUST OF THE FLESH, THE LUST OF THE EYES, AND THE PRIDE OF LIFE. Eve was hungry, she “saw” that it looked really delicious, and, she “thought” it would make her “wise” as the serpent lied to her saying the same. Sin today is the same, it is a mix of all three things, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life “and YHVH Elohim made coats of skins for the man and for the woman and dressed them” (3:21) This is the very first blood sacrifice in the Bible. YHVH had to sacrifice one or two innocent animals, perhaps two lambs or goats, to “cover” Adam and Eve. This is a reminder of Yom Kippur, where the blood of animals covered the sins of Israel for one year. This would be a reminder to Adam and Eve of their sin. Their sin caused an innocent, blameless animal to lose its life. The Word of God does not say, but we can imagine that YHVH told Adam and Eve that they would have to sacrifice a lamb, or a goat, or another kosher animal every day, to remind them of their sin. We look towards the cross of Calvary and we see YESHUA the LAMB of God who offered himself up as a blood sacrifice for our sins, once and forever, not just to cover, but to erase. In chapter 4 we see the birth of Kayin and Hevel (Cain and Abel) They were born with the sin nature, and we see in both boys, the direction of the world that would follow; some would choose holiness and all that is good and others would choose the unholy and all that is evil. There came a time when they both had to offer sacrifices (that is why I said that Adam and Eve must have taught them to do the same). Hebel chose to obey and Kayin chose to disobey. Kayin offered a sacrifice, but it was not a blood sacrifice, rather it was a “grain offering” nothing wrong with a grain offering, but a blood sacrifice was needed. Therefore, it was rejected. Hebel however, offered the correct sacrifice, a blood sacrifice, and it was accepted. This caused anger and jealously in Kayin and we know the story, Kayin rose up and murdered his brother Hebel. Yet YHVH Elohim still offers him an opportunity to repent and confess his sin, but Kayin does not. Then YHVH Elohim says; “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground” (4:10) the Hebrew word is “damei” or “bloods” it is written in the plural. But why is this. This is eluded to the idea (which is written in the Talmud) that “he who saves the life of one person is as if he has saved a whole nation, and he who takes a life of another, is as if he has murdered a whole nation.” It is as if the souls of all the “would have been” descendants of Hebel were crying out for vengeance because they would not be permitted to be born. “the voice of thy brother’s bloods cries out…” the many “bloods” cry out in “one voice” so it seems. Hebel is slain, his blood is sacrificed, and Kayin goes away, runs away to the land of wandering (Nod) and becomes a vagabond, just wandering, living off the fruit of trees and whatever grows of its self, since now, his farming days are over, YHVH curses the land he farmed as punishment. We can see here again a shadow of Yom Kippur. In Yom Kippur, two goats were selected, one was sacrificed and the other was “sent away” Here, Innocent and righteous Hebel is sacrificed, and Kayin “goes away” yet this “going away” is in the negative light, he “goes away” from the presence of Adonai, while Hebel goes “into the presence of Adonai” There is a saying that goes like this; “you can mix good apples with bad apples, and the good will never correct the bad, rather the bad-rotten apples will corrupt the good ones. Well, that is the way the “world turned” way back then, as the years pass, the descendants of Kayin mixed with the descendants of Seth, (who was born after the death of Hebel. “and it came to be that when men began to increase on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of Elohim saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And YHVH said ‘My Ruach will not strive with mankind forever in his going astray. He is flesh, and his days shall be 120. The Nephilim (in some translations, the giants) were on the earth in those days and when the sons of Elohim came in to the daughters of men, they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men of old, men of name(fame). 6:1-4 There are two schools of thought when the issue of “B’nei Elohim” comes up. Some believe that it refers to the godly line of Seth mixing with the ungodly line of Kayin. The other school of thought which is more probable is that the “sons of God” refer to the fallen angels that were kicked out of heaven together with HaSatan. These “b’nei Elohim” somehow and someway transformed themselves into flesh and blood, and the offspring of those “demon-human” relationships were born “giants”. The word “Nephilim” means “fallen ones”. It does not mean “giants” …however…those “mighty men of old” many were “giants” we have examples; Goliath of Gath, Og, king of Bashan. There is archeological and paleontological evidence of a race of giants in the pre-diluvial world. Many fossil skeletons have been found some 20 some 30 feet tall. The Indians of the South-West claim that there was a race of red-haired giants who were cannibals, they could run after a herd of buffalo, catch one and bite off a leg and eat it on the run. These giants were destroyed during the flood, however, their DNA still survived. “His days shall be 120” What is it saying here? YHVH has decided to destroy and cleanse the earth by a universal flood, and Noah and his family were found to be the only righteous people around. Noah will receive instructions to build an ark, and it will take him 120 years, so, the people will have 120 years to repent, which they did not. This was a very short time being that thousands of years ago, people lived 800 or 900 years. 120 years would be like a week in our times. Noah was a “Tzadik” a “righteous person”. He went “against the flow”. Imagine a school of fish going in one direction, and you are going in the opposite direction. How about you? If the world is going down the tubes, headed for destruction, will you follow the world? Or will you remain with Yeshua and go HIS way? The choice is yours. The only way we can be a true “Tzadik Ben Elohim” (a righteous child of God) is through faith in Yeshua HaMashiach/ Jesus the Christ, through faith in HIM trusting in HIS one-time atonement for sin. ISAIAH 42:5-43:10 The prophet speaks through the Spirit of YHVH saying: “I, YHVH, have called you in righteousness, and I take hold of your hand and guard you, and give you for a Brit (covenant) to a people, for a Light to the gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house” 42:6,7 Some say that this is referring to the prophet himself? Really? Was Yeshayahu called to be a “covenant?” to open blind eyes? To set the prisoners free? Yet re-arrange the letters in the name “Yeshayahu” and we get Y-E-S-H-U-A-H! it was HE who the prophet was talking about. His name means “Salvation” and He came as a ‘blood-covenant” that would not simply cover for a year, but to get rid of, wipe out, the sin we inherited. He came not only to his own Jewish people, but also for the peoples of the nations outside of Israel. He not only opened the eyes of the physically blind, but also for those who were spiritually blind. Once we did not understand the Bible, or we could have cared less for the Bible, but since we have accepted Yeshua as Messiah and LORD, now we have the Holy Spirit to help us understand the Torah. Once we lived in spiritual darkness, in the prison of HaSatan, called the “lost world” but we have been freed to follow HIM who set us free. “And I shall lead the blind by a way they have not known, in paths they have not known. I lead them. I make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight” (42:16) The new paths are the Torah paths, David wrote; “thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” By allowing God’s Word to take root in our lives, our paths are made straight, we know now how to tell the difference between the Holy and unholy, between the clean and the unclean. The WORD which is taught to us through the Ruach HaKodesh, using God’s chosen teachers is His gift to us, as born-again believers, it is our duty to stay on the right path. There are “blind people” who have eyes, yet do not see, they may see physically, but they do not see spiritually, God’s Word can change all that (43:8) MATT 3:1-4:25; JOHN 1:1 We read the ancestry of Messiah Yeshua, his birth during one of the evenings of Sukkot, and his escape with his parents to Egypt when Herod sought to kill him. Later, YHVH “brought up HIS SON out of Egypt” Adonai saw his children go into Egypt through Jacob, and they also came out of Egypt through Moshe, Adonai led HIS SON down to Egypt with Miriam and Yosef, and Yosef and Miriam led him BACK to Israel. Now, Yeshua, HIS Son leads us ALL out of the Egypt of this world through a relationship with HIM, In John 1:1 it says; “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with YHVH, and YHVH was the WORD” In this we see that Yeshua took part in the creation of this world, as “The WORD” this is the essence of the name “Elohim” the plural G-d who is “Three” yet “One” like; 1 x 1 x 1 = 1 Hag Sameach Simchat Torah! Rabbi Ben Avraham
  8. A MESSAGE FOR SUKKOT Scripture portions to read and meditate on: TORAH: Lev 22:6 – 23:44; Num 29:12-16; Exodus 33:12 – 34:26; 1 Chronicles 24:10 PROPHETS: Zech 14:1-21; Ecclesiastes; Ezekiel 38:18-39:16; 1 Kings 8:2; Jeremiah 10:2-4 BRIT HaDASHAH: Rev 22:104; 1 Thes. 5:1-11; Luke 1:1-80 This is the most joyous of all the High Holy Days. While Yom Terah and Yom Kippur remind us of repentance, and judgment, Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles reminds us of YHVH’s provision for His people in the desert for 40 years. All their needs were provided for, their clothing did not wear out, they had food every day, even though many complained of this “same Manna day after day”, well, it is better than starving. Adonai provided water from the ROCK, not only for the people but for their cattle, sheep, and goats as well. It also reminds us of YHVH coming to dwell among his people in a tent, (Ohel) also called the “Mishkan” or “Tabernacle”. A “sukkah” is a temporary dwelling. Adonai described in detail the plans for the tabernacle to Moshe while he was on Sinai. The whole Tabernacle reminds us and points us to Yeshua. When it was finished, the “Shekinah” came down to dwell there in the HOLY of Holies. In the day, the presence of Adonai took form as a cloud, and at night, as a column of fire. Today, the presence of the Holy Spirit is within each and every born-again believer. Our own bodies are the “sukkot” of the Spirit of God. The presence of Elohim is also in every congregation of believers that get together on the sabbath and on Sundays to celebrate and study his WORD, and worship, praise, and glorify the LIVING WORD. In Biblical times, many animals were sacrificed during the seven days of celebration. The sacrifices offered during this time amounted to 189 animals. Even here, we see the symbolism of “Yeshua HaEmet” (Yeshua the Truth). The word EMET, (truth) in Hebrew gematria totals 1+40+400 = 441, then, 4+4+1 = 9, When we add the numbers 189, we get 1+8+9 = 18, then, 1+8 = 9. One part of the sacrifice was to offer, during these days, a total of 70 bulls. The 70 bulls symbolize the 70 original nations that came forth from the three sons of Noah. Yeshua gave his life not only for His Jewish people, but also for the other nations of the world. He told his own talmidim (disciples) “I have other sheep that are not of this fold” (John 10:16) meaning that his plan was to send his followers to minister to those nations, as we remember, Rav Shaul was a missionary to those “sheep of another fold” and also, the “displaced sheep” that left Israel and went to other nations to live. During the seven days of Sukkot, there is one extra day, “Hoshanah Raba” and we celebrate it as “Simchat Torah” (The Joy of the Torah). During this day, there was a great ceremony of waving the “Lulav” consisting of 4 species of plants. Each one has a spiritual meaning; The ETROG which is similar to a lemon, and it symbolizes the heart of man, and our “faith” (Emunah) “repentance” (T’shuvah) “Healing” (r’fuah) and “redemption” (g’ulah) The LULAV (Palm fronds) the word is similar to “Lo Lev” (to him, heart) to HIM we give our HEART. The lulav symbolizes our “backbone” or “spiritual strength” The HADAS (myrtle branches) these are similar to “eyes” which symbolize “spiritual insight” The ARAVAH (willow branches) which grow near water. These symbolize the humbleness of the believer and victory over our enemies. These 4 species are beaten on the ground in the Sukkot ceremony and also waved towards the North, South, East, and West, up and down. Some synagogues do this ceremony during the week of Sukkot, and some on the last day, the 8th day. YHVH, so far, as come and has revealed himself three times! He has “dwelt” among men these “three times”. When were these three times you might ask? The first time He came down to dwell with His people was when the Mishkan was finished as we know. The second time was when He came down in the person of Yeshua. God-Man, and lived among his people for 30 some years, teaching the Torah, healing the sick, raising the dead, and to die for our sins. The third time He came down was on the day of Shavuot, or “Pentecost”. God came down as the Ruach HaKodesh on that day, and the Holy Spirit is HIS presence today in ALL believers. Yes, God has revealed himself many more times to different individuals, but I am speaking as a “whole people at once” Yeshua will come a fourth time in the future, when he returns to “tabernacle” among us on this planet called earth. He will touch down on the Mt. of Olives, and reign for one thousand years, in peace and Holy Rulership, Baruch HaShem! We will be part of that rule. In the prayer book, there is a prayer that says; “In the end, He will reign alone!” Oh, how wrong that statement is. Can you imagine reigning alone? Imagine yourself assigned to rule an island in the ocean, and when you get there, there is no one there. You are there by yourself. Yeshua will reign, and we will reign with him, and his holy angels will also be present. But now, I’d like to touch on the first physical appearance of Yeshua, and this is where a few might get offended because I am attacking Christmas. Sometimes, the truth hurts and interferes with tradition and custom. It is believed and it can be proven by mathematics that Yeshua was born around the time of Sukkot, not in December on Christmas day. In Christendom, we hear it said; “But no one knows when Jesus was born, that’s why, by tradition, we take the day, the 25th of December to celebrate his birth. It is the event and not the date that matters.”Well, I can understand that…yet…Adonai HAS revealed the time of his birth, in a round-about way. It’s like this, If someone wanted to celebrate my birthday and didn’t know that I was born on February the 9th, and decided to celebrate it on, let’s say, May 1st, to remember the “event of my birth” would I be offended? I would say No, I wouldn’t be, I’d understand, however, if I sent a message revealing when I was born, and people continued to celebrate my birthday on May 1st, well, then perhaps I’d be a bit sad. They know the truth yet they still want to keep “tradition”. Let’s take December 25th. It is the date of the Winter Solstes that the Romans celebrated. They celebrated the birth of all of their pagan gods on that date. They celebrated getting drunk and had sexual orgies. They hung “mistletoe” on the ceiling as decoration for their “sex” capades. Constantine, in his effort to “Christianize” Rome, decided to put “Yeshua’s” birthday with the other “gods”. He thought it would be easier for Rome to accept Christianity if he would mix it with a little bit of paganism. So, if not the 25th of December, then when? We have to go back and look at John the Baptist. John was Yeshua’s cousin, and he was six months older than Yeshua, so if we know when John was born, we can figure out when Yeshua was born. We need to understand that the Jewish calendar was divided into 12 lunar months. King David had divided the priesthood into 24 service periods. We can figure that each priest, according to his period of service, served a two-week period in the temple, either offering incense or sacrifices. Now Zachariah was John’s father. He was a priest, and his turn of service came under the order of “Abias” “Abias” family would serve a two-week period in the 8th order. (1 Chronicles 24:10) Remember that the Jewish year begins in the month of Nissan, which is equivalent to our March-April calendar month. The 8th turn came between the months of June/July After performing the service of priest for his two-week period, Zachariah went home, between July and August, Elizabeth became pregnant with John. In the 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, which would have been between December and January, The Angel Gabriel announces to Miriam (Mary) that she would become pregnant by the Spirit of Elohim at that time, which would have been probably in January, so from January to February, one can count the first month of pregnancy, February to March: second month, March to April: third month, from April to May; fourth month, from May to June; fifth month; from June to July; sixth month, from July to August; seventh month, from August to September; eighth month; from September to October; ninth month! Yeshua then would have been born sometime in October, what a better time to be born than during this last High Holy Day, the time of “Sukkot” meaning; “God comes to live among men” and walk with men and women in human form, fulfilling all the prophecies, being born in “Beit-Lechem” (The House of Bread) It is only fitting that the “Bread of Life” would be born in the “House of Bread”. So, we can say with fair certainty that we know the time of the birth of Yeshua, during the month of October, although we don’t know the exact day nor time, but we can assume that because the Feast of Sukkot symbolizes, “God coming to dwell among men” what better time would be possible for Mashiach to be born? There are also customs and traditions related to Christmas, that for centuries, have existed. Not to get into every one of them, because that would take many pages, I’d like to consider one aspect, the “Christmas Tree!” Is it really good to put one up? We can say, “Doesn’t it look beautiful, with all the decorations? With the ornaments and the gold and silver tinsel hanging? It looks so “Christmassy!” now all we need to do is to put the gifts under the tree and tell the kids that Santa C came down the chimney and… (need I say more?) well…it’s all “Mashugganah! (a Yiddish expression for “nonsense”) but we need to go to God’s Word for the answer. Where did this custom come from? Let’s look at Jeremiah 10:2 -4; “Learn not the way of the goyim (the pagan nations) and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed by them (talking about astrology and the zodiac signs), For the customs of the people are vain; for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it moves not…” Even though the Christmas trees look nice, even the fake ones, with all the décor and lights, etc.…it comes from paganism, and as born-again believers, we should NOT practice these customs. So, you might say, what do we say to the kids? Do we cancel Christmas? NO, tell the kids the truth, get rid of the “santa claus” garbage and explain the meaning of Sukkot, one can move the celebration back two months. Get the kids gifts and give them the gifts during the 8 days of Sukkot. We need to remember finally that these High Holy Days are not “Jewish High Holy days” they are “GODish High Holy Days! Given to ALL believers to celebrate. It just so happened that the People of Israel received them first, and as the “Commonwealth of Israel” grew, and many more peoples or “sheep of other flocks” were grafted in, the blessing of the Torah was passed on to them. Including the High Holy days. So, now the decision is yours, what to do with the tree, the ornaments, the whole “Christmas in December” deal. That has to be your decision. What does your heart tell you? What does scripture say? What does Jeremiah the Prophet say being directed through the Holy Spirit? “Learn not the way of the pagans!” enough said. I am sending off this Parashah a little early, since this year, the first day of Sukkot is on Thursday, I will try and send this Wednesday evening during “Erev Sukkot” that way, you have a whole week to plan and celebrate the true “Christmas” time. Hag Sameach Sukkot Rabbi Ben Avraham
  9. "The meaning of Yom Kippur"

    A MESSAGE FOR YOM KIPPUR: Scripture portions to read and meditate on; TORAH: Lev 16:1-34 ; Lev 18:1-30 ; Num 29:7-11 PROPHETS: Isa 57:14-58:14 ; Jonah ; Micah 7:18-20 ; Joel 2:12-14 BRIT HaDASHAH: Rom 3:21-26 ; Heb 10:1-14 “Stop, Think, and Turn” are three good words to use for this year’s “Yom Kippur”. It is a day for “afflicting one’s soul”. A time to “stop” and search one’s self and ask the question; “Where Am I in my relation to God” Adam was asked the same question when he and Eve were in the garden of Eden, hiding after they had sinned. God asked him; “Adam, where are you?” Was it that He didn’t know where he was? Of course, He did, He knows ALL THINGS, so, perhaps the question is a little deeper than meets the eye. We could add to the question asking; “Where are you in your relationship with me?” We all enter this world as sinners, born with the sin nature. Now here are some interesting ways to remember the three classes of “disobedience” “SIN” = missing the mark, disconnected, doing your own “thing” and not God’s “thing”. “INIQUITY” = perversion, twisting something the wrong way, cutting off the flow, taking God’s Word and making it what you want it to mean, and not what God means it to mean. “TRANSGRESSION” = open opposition, rebellion, “I don’t care what the Torah says, I’m doing it anyway, just because I want to!” There comes a time when each and every person will be accountable for his or her sin nature. In the Old Testament times, the animal sacrificial system was instituted to “cover” sin. The word “cover” is “Kafar” from this we get, “Kippur” so the words, “Yom Kippur” mean, “Day of Covering”. We also have “Yom HaKipurim” of “day of Coverings” This was because during this time when the Cohen HaGadol went into the “Holy of Holies”, he had to sprinkle the blood of a bull, a ram, 7 lambs, and a goat on the “Kaporet” (the covering of the Ark of the Covenant). Yet these “coverings” did not really “atone” sin forever, it was something temporary, only for a year until the next “Yom Kippur”. Would there be anything better? YES, our heavenly father looked into the future since the time of creation, and planned something special. HE, HIMSELF would come to earth in human form and HE would be the atoning sacrifice that would “forgive” and “atone for sin completely, forever” When we read Hebrews 10:4-12, we learn that the “blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin” but that through the body of Mashiach Yeshua, we are made “Kadosh” (Holy) once, and for all time! (vs 10) That is why YHVH “took away the first to establish the second” (vs 9) The old covenant sacrificial system was done away with, in order to establish the New Covenant blood sacrifice of Yeshua HaMashiach, ONCE and only ONCE, good for ALL TIME. No wonder the “New” is better than the “Old” All the animal sacrifices in the Old Covenant pointed to Yeshua’s sacrifice (that would come, if we are looking from the past towards the future). People were still saved by faith even before Yeshua’s time. They illustrated their faith by presenting the animal sacrifices which pointed to HIM! We must remember that the animals did not nor did ever save them, it was always their FAITH which saved them. During the Yom Kippur ceremony in ancient times, two goats were used. One was selected for the sacrifice, the other, titled AZAZEL, was led off into the wilderness and, according to tradition, pushed off a cliff. “Azazel” is made up of two words; “az” = goat, and “azel” = go away, so, we can say that the word is the “goat which goes away”. The high priest used to tie a crimson cloth on one of the horns of the goat, and a similar cloth was tied on the door of the Holy Temple in Yerushalayim, the day after Yom Kippur, the cloth changed color to “white” this symbolized that YHVH had accepted the sacrifice, and that the sins of Israel were covered for another year When Yeshua paid the price for our sins, all changed. The cloth no longer turned white, it remained crimson color, indicating that YHVH no longer accepted the sacrifice of the goat. Why not? Because YESHUA had made the ultimate sacrifice, and that NOW, all of our sins are completely atoned for. While one goat was sacrificed and the other was sent away, we have two examples in scripture that illustrate the concept of “sacrifice and sent away”. Yosef Ben Ya’akov, (Joseph, the son of Jacob) was sold by his brothers for 20 pieces of silver. Yosef was “sent away” to Egypt, and in his place, a goat was killed by his brothers and the blood sprinkled upon Yosef’s garments. The blood symbolized the blood of Yosef to deceive his father Jacob. Another example is during the trial of Yeshua by Pontius Pilatus. Yeshua was sacrificed on the Cross of Calvary, while Bar-Abbas was sent away free! This time, Yeshua’s blood atoned not only for the sins of Bar-Abbas, but for ALL sins! We ask, where does the word “Atonement” come from. We know from the Hebrew text, the word is “Kaphar” which means “to cover, to purge, to make reconciliation, to cover with pitch” It is interesting that the word “pitch” is the word “Kaphar”. We remember that Noah covered the ark with pitch, to make it waterproof. Noah’s ark was seen as protection against the waters of judgment which destroyed the world. The “pitch” made the ark waterproof and kept everyone inside the ark safe and dry while going through the judgment. The ark is seen as salvation “Yeshuah” from judgment. The blood atonement of Yeshua brought to us “salvation” from the judgment of sin. The word “Atonement” at one time, meant: “At-One-Ment” which was first used in the English Bible in the 1500s. The word means to be “at-one” with God, through the substitutionary death of Mashiach Yeshua on our behalf. So, in conclusion, we need to “Stop and think” where are we in our relationship with God? We are all guilty of sin, sins that we commit in ignorance and knowingly. We need to “return” to HIM through confession and repentance, with a change of mind. We can do this 24-7, 365 days in the year, but this time of year is when we should be more conscience of our sin, let’s get back to Adonai. If we cry out, and turn from our sins, then, HE who is on high will listen, and forgive our iniquities. “Even now, declares YHVH, turn to me with all your heart And with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning, And tear your heart and not your garments, and turn back To YHVH your Elohim, for He shows favor and is full of Compassion, patient, and of great kindness, and he shall Relent concerning evil. Who knows, he might turn and Relent, and leave a blessing behind Him…” Joel 2:12-14 Rabbi Ben Avraham
  10. EMET (Truth) = 9

    I was just listing 10 major events in the life of every believer on earth, the first event being "birth" so that is why I posted "birth" as "1" and if you see, when you add together the final sum of each addition, it always equals "9" like "90' 9+0=9 do you see it now?
  11. PARASHAH: “HaAzinu” (Give ear) Torah: DEUT 32:1-52… Prophets: 2 SAM 22:1-51… HOSEA 14:2-10… MICAH 7:18-20… JOEL 2:15-27… New Covenant: JOHN 20:26-21:25… “Give ear!” I am sure that we don’t hear that expression very often today, but in the times of Yeshua, it was like saying today; “Yo, listen up dudes!” “Will ya listen t’me already?” or “Hey, listen, I have something important to say!” This is Moshe’s last speech, and he wants all of Israel to pay attention, He is looking into the future, and sadly, he sees the nation of Israel in apostasy, going against the commandments of YHVH, going after strange gods and heading to corruption. He calls all of Heaven and earth as witnesses. We can be assured that the angels of heaven heard this speech, and “His” people who were on earth also heard, they were right there. “I will proclaim the name YHVH, and the greatness of Eloheinu” Here Moshe mentions two of the many names of God, the most holy, “Yod Hey Vav Hey” When we look at these letters from the ancient Hebraic aspect we get “behold the hand, behold the nail” this takes us direct to Calvary and imagine Mashiach hanging there by the nails in his hands (wrists). The name “Eloheinu” is the “behold the God who leads (us) and connects (us) to life through his hands” when we go to the ancient Hebraic symbolism of the letters. “The ROCK, His work is perfect! Here is another name of God, “The ROCK” (HaTzur) from the letter “Tz” which symbolizes “Tzadik” (one who is righteous) and the word “Perfect” (Tamim) from “Tamei” which is “clean and pure” we have heard of God being called the “Rock of Ages” the “Solid Rock” Moshe is saying all of this through the Holy Spirit so that the people can understand that THEY are the problem, not God. In all this song (Shir) he lets Israel know that they will be “doing wrong” and “have been wrong” Moshe is like a father speaking to his children to change their ways, or curses will follow. All this time, YHVH has provided for their needs, giving them water from the ROCK, and when Israel goes into the promised land, they will “wax fat” they will receive blessings from their cattle and crops, YHVH refers to Israel as “Yeshurun” which is the ancient name for “Yerushalayim” it was the ROCK (YHVH) who begot thee! Says Moshe, referring to Elohim as their “father” so why go against Him? It also says that he will “rouse them to jealousy with a no-people and a vile nation” because they provoked YHVH with a “no-god” the “no-people” and “vile nation” could be the pagan nations outside of Israel. At that time, all the nations outside of Israel were pagan, idolatrous nations, worshiping false gods. Adonai has “called” those nations to worship and recognize HIM as God, in a way, He is saying; “OK, you want to go after false gods, OK, I will look for worshipers in other places, I will accept other “peoples” to become part of my “called out ones”. Not that HE rejected Israel as his people, NEVER! He just “added” more people, (the gentile nations) to become part of his “called out family”. We must remember that Abraham was from Mesopotamia! A pagan nation, and he responded to the “call”. “For YHVH will judge his people” (vs 36) and Yes, he DID, and still does. The word “judge” has two meanings, one is “taking counsel to take certain kind of action either for or against” and the other meaning is “condemn, or sentence” Israel sowed corruption and chased after false gods, and reaped the whirlwind! YET, YHVH is a God of forgiveness and love. (vs 43) “Sing aloud all ye nations of His People” (Goyim Amo!) This verse sees the nations as part of HIS PEOPLE, being grafted into the olive tree, peoples outside of Israel, who have accepted the atonement of Yeshua for their sins, become part of “Am Yisrael” and YHVH will avenge the “blood of his servants” We are all part of HIS PEOPLE, He loves us and has blessings instore for us, whether we were born in Israel or not, it doesn’t matter. His people started with 12 tribes, and has extended to the whole world. 2 SAM 22:1-51; HOSEA 14:2-10; MICAH 7:18-20; JOEL 2:15-27 YHVH is my ROCK (Tzuri) and my fortress, and my deliverer; “Elohei Tzuri” (My God) in who I will take refuge. My shield and horn of YESHUATI. (2 Sam) The Spirit of God is speaking, again, using the name ROCK and ELOHEI TZURI , (the God who leads who is my righteousness) We see the name YESHUA,…my “Hightower”(hey, the name of my high school!) and my refuge. We take refuge in HIM because he has provided us with salvation, eternal life, a “hightower” is a look-out tower in a fortress where the guards can see the enemy coming. Through Yeshua, the enemy has been beaten. Vs 32; “Who is God save YHVH and who is a ROCK save our God?” again, the names TZUR-ELOHEINU Also, in Hosea 14, the prophet tells Israel “Return to YHVH your Elohim, for you have stumbled by your wickedness… for the ways of YHVH are straight and the righteous walk in them! (vs 9). The Prophet Micah also says; “He shall turn back, and have compassion on us, He shall trample upon our wickedness. And you shall throw all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19) It is not surprising that this verse is read just a week before Yom Kippur. A Yom Kippur tradition is taking bread crumbs and going to a flowing body of water, throwing the bread crumbs into it. This tradition is known as “tashlich” the bread crumbs symbolize our sins, and the body of flowing water, the sea! Joel says; “And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I AM YHVH your Elohim, and there is no one else” (Joel 2:27) JOHN 20:26-21:25 A very interesting reading, as Yeshua appears to his talmidim after his resurrection, and meets them by the Sea of Galilee, or Tiberias, as it is sometimes called. Since he knew that they were fishermen, he decided to help them out again, since they caught no fish during the night. “Throw you net over the right side of the boat” and they caught 153 fish. Yes, then they realized, “it is Mashiach Yeshua!’ it is also interesting that the number 153 is symbolic as well. The words, “Ani Elohim” (I am God) sums up in Hebrew gematria to “153” (Ani = 61) (Elohim = 92) 61+92=153 Yeshua also has a talk with Kefa, “Do you love me?” then…feed my lambs, shepherd my sheep, feed my sheep” three times he asked, “do you love me?” the answer came back, feed and shepherd the lambs and the sheep. What is the difference between a lamb and a sheep? A lamb is a very young sheep, up to one-year old. So, what is Yeshua telling us here? If we love the LORD, then, as believers and followers, we are to teach, and guide both young and old believers, believers who are at different stages in their spiritual walk. Just ask the LORD of opportunities, there are a lot out there, believers who are willing to learn and be guided. Shabbat Shalom…..rabbi Ben Avraham PIC: "OK, just don't take my pic, give me some food!"
  12. Deuteronomy 29:10-31:10

    PARASHIOT: “Nitsavim” (you are standing) and “VaYelech” (And he went) DEUT 29:10 – 31:30………………ISAIAH 61:10-63:9……………………. JOHN 16:1-17:26 We are coming up to the end of Moshe’s earthly ministry. He is stating his final words, He has walked with God’s people for 40 years, and has gone through a lot with them. He received the commandments from Elohim, and taught the people the Word of Adonai. As we remember, YHVH gave the people the Ten Commandments directly, and the rest of the 603 commandments were given to the people through Moshe, yet ALL the Torah comes from Adonai. Moshe has intervened quite a few times to rescue Israel from destruction, as we remember, YHVH wanted on a few occasions destroy the whole people because of their disobedience and unbelief, yet Moshe intervened on their behalf. The same thing happens today, we have an advocate in Heaven who pleads our case before our Heavenly Father. Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Christ is our “mediator” and his blood pleads our case, and atones for our sins. As long as we have the sin nature in our bodies, we need a redeemer, a Messiah who will stand before a Holy God, and HE sees us as “righteous”, because we have accepted HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, by faith. Moshe starts out saying…” You stand, all of you, before YHVH your God, your chiefs, tribes, elders, officers, men, women, children, etc.…” he goes on to say “that you may enter into the covenant with YHVH your God is making with you today, in order that HE may establish you as HIS PEOPLE! What is this covenant which Moshe talks about? It is the first covenant established by blood, the blood of rams, bulls, goats, and sheep, the establishment of the sacrificial system which lasted many, many years. Yet about 1400 years later, Rav Shaul (Paul) writes that this covenant was changed to a “better covenant”, the “better covenant was NOT based on the blood of rams, bulls, sheep, and goats, rather based on the blood of YESHUA! The difference was that the sacrificial system continued for years, every day, day after day, and the blood of the animals only “Covered” sin for one year, and the covenant was renewed every “Yom Kippur”. The covenant of YESHUA, however, was a “one- time deal”. His death on the cross was enough for ALL TIME. His covenant wiped away the stain of sin, it “atoned” “got rid of” the curse of sin. So, one might ask, what was the reason for the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament? They were to “point” to Yeshua’s future sacrifice for sin. The animal sacrifices “symbolized” what Yeshua would do in the future. People were still saved by faith, the only difference was that before Calvary, people looked “forward” to the cross, and after Calvary, we look “back” towards the cross. One thing both covenants have in common; “The Blood!” Moshe announces that “everyone” is involved and included, from the tribal chiefs to the simple water fetchers, everyone was included, and NO ONE was excluded. He goes on to say; “I am making this covenant and this oath with those who are here today and with those who are NOT here today….” Who are the ones that were NOT here! Why you and me of course! We weren’t around back then. Who knows, perhaps we were just souls in heaven awaiting future bodies to inhabit. Moshe had US in mind, YHVH knew that one day, we would be here and this covenant was for us too, the “covenant renewed” is our covenant, a covenant of faith which unites us with YHVH through Yeshua, which brings us YESHUAH (salvation) Now, does this do away with the Torah (instruction) of Adonai? Never! In Yeshua’s own words; “I come not to abolish the Torah, but to Fulfill the Torah” (or render a perfect interpretation of it) He fulfilled it with his own blood. The commandments are for our edification and our blessings, the blood of Yeshua is for our “Salvation!” Moshe goes on to say that no one should ever think that one can live anyway one pleases, sinning here and there, living like the devil himself and still say, “I have peace, everything is OK!” That is NEVER the case, that person will be reaping curses and destruction. 29:30 says; “The secret things belong to YHVH Eloheinu (Our God) but the things revealed belong to us and our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this Torah!” So, what are the “secret things?” perhaps things in scripture that we haven’t figured out yet, things like, what were the “Urim and Thumim” really? One can suggest, but no one really knows for sure. There are many more things that, to us, are “secret” (known only to God) like things in the universe, far away galaxies, life out there in those galaxies that might have planets with life, where every single diamond, emerald, and ruby is located, where all the “buried treasure” is located, perhaps even the secret of “time travel” which, in theory exists, but not possible by modern technology. God only knows the disaster that would follow “time-travelers” if they could go back and “change history” so these things “remain secret” or at least, for the time being. Yet things that were considered “secret” hundreds of years ago, are now “known” But let us concern ourselves with the things that YHVH has revealed to us through HIS Word, and let us occupy ourselves in following HIS Word and living a “kadosh” life style. Moshe also establishes “Yehoshuah” as his successor, He knows his death is near, and he knows that Israel will fall away from God, it has been revealed to him by God himself, there is no other explanation. HOWEVER, he also says that “when they repent, YHVH will bring them back to the land” this is happening already, Israel was re-established as a nation in 1948, and His people are coming back! “Yehoshuah” is another way of spelling “Yeshua” It is fitting that “Yehoshuah” leads the people to the “promised land” just as our LORD and Savior “Yeshua HaMashiach” has lead us to the “salvation” experience, and is awaiting us in “His Promised Land” (The New Jerusalem) our Heavenly home! ISAIAH 61:10-63:9 The prophet Yeshayahu sees the future glory of Israel, “He has clothed me in garments of YESHUAH (salvation) and has wrapped me with a robe of “righteousness” (Tzedek). It is fitting that the two go together, when we accept Yeshua as our LORD and Savior, we receive “righteousness” through our faith in HIM. We come under a “right-relationship” with him now, where before we were “unrighteous” living in sin, now, we are in right-standing with Him, and therefore, we are “Tzadikim” (righteous ones). Even though we still have our sin nature, God still looks on us as “righteous”. “Say to the daughter of Zion, “Lo, your YESHUAH comes” (62:11) Yeshua came to Zion, but many in Zion did not receive him, yet He will return in the future, and then, ALL Zion will receive him. The future is bright for Israel, and we will be a part of that future, keep praying for the peace of Yerushalayim, but real, permanent peace will only come when Yeshua returns. He will return to his people to conquer his enemies, rescue his bride, and reign for one-thousand years, and then more. Seems like a very good future. JOHN 16:1-17:26 Yeshua promised his “Ruach HaKodesh” (his holy Spirit) He was the “sent one” by the Father, yet he also promised another “sent one”. The difference between Yeshua and the Ruach HaKodesh is that when Yeshua was on earth, he could only be in one place at one time, while the Ruach HaKodesh, is EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME. This is the “comforter” that was promised. Yes, his followers would be persecuted, cast out of churches and synagogues, and this continues today. To be a believer, is to be “persona non-grata” in some places. Can we endure this? Another title for the Holy Spirit is “Ruach HaEmet” (The Spirit of Truth) since it was also one of the titles of Yeshua, the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE, (HaDerech, HaEmet, HaChai) Are we following the Spirit of Truth as he leads us through the Written Truth? He is here to guide us through . Rabbi Ben Avraham** PIC: "Here's looking at ya!"
  13. Parasha "Ki Tavo" (when you enter in) DEUT 26:1-29:9…………………………ISAIAH 60:1-22…………………….JOHN 13:1-15:27 We are coming to the end of Moshe’s earthly ministry, and he reiterates again, the importance of following and obeying the Torah of Elohim. Am Israel is still in the desert wilderness, but it isn’t like the desert that we find today in the middle east. Remember that the people had much cattle to tend and care for, there had to be grass and water to eat and drink, otherwise, the cattle would have died out. Moshe starts off with; “when you enter the land that YHVH gives you as an inheritance…” they will be planting and harvesting crops like wheat, barley, corn, etc. In the third year of harvest, the people must give tithes and offerings of whatever they harvest. Tithes to the priests, where? “to the place where YHVH your God chooses to have his name dwell! They must also care for the widows, orphans, foreigners, etc, giving them also from the tithe and offerings of the crops. This is so that everyone is taken care of. Back in the Bible days, there was no such thing as the welfare office and food stamps. God’s people were responsible for caring for each other. The same thing should exist today, if there are brothers and sisters in the faith that are suffering, God’s people should take care of them until they can get back on their feet. Today we can not only give monetary tithes and offerings to our congregations, since this is where YHVH has chosen to place his name, we can also give of our time, and talent. Whatever spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us, we can give back and minister to others. Moshe continues to say to his people; “Today you have affirmed that YHVH is your God and that you will walk in his ways, keep his statutes, commandments, and ordinances, and obey him. And today, YHVH has affirmed that you are His special people as He promised you……….You will be a AM KADOSH (Holy People) to YHVH your God as He promised. Every born-again believer today is part of His “AM KADOSH” even though we were born and raised in Israel, and perhaps our parents weren’t either. The Commonwealth of Israel has extended from that specific group of Israelites that were ready to cross the Jordan River, to ALL people who embrace the God of All creation and accept the blood atonement of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Christ), and so become part of HIS family, we have been all called out and separated from the rest of the world, a world that rejects God and all that is holy. We are the “odd-balls” of the world. But it is good being that kind of an odd-ball. There is, however, belief in Christendom that the “law” has been done away with, abolished, and in its place, “grace”. All the commandments that God gave are no more. It may be that many are not for today, because there is no more Levitical priesthood, no more animal sacrifices. Yet we know that Yeshua FULFILLED all the Torah in its entirety. “Fulfilling” is not “abolishing” Yeshua said so himself “I have not come to abolish the Torah and the Prophets, but to fulfill” in other words, to give a precise interpretation of the same. The Torah (God’s instructions to his people) has always existed, it just was not written down until the time of Moshe, and “Grace” has always existed as well. Adam was saved by grace, so was Eve, so was Noach, so was Abraham. But let us also remember that “Salvation” is a separate issue, “salvation” is a done deal when we accept Yeshua as Messiah and LORD in our lives. Through our salvation experience, we should be led by the Holy Spirit to love and obey the teaching that is within God’s Holy Writ, and not that we can choose only what is convenient to us, like, “guess it is OK now to have a ham sandwich, or order shrimp scampi at a restaurant, “wrong” Elohim already made up man’s menu, it is up to us to follow it, or reap a physical curse of high cholesterol and high blood pressure. \ Speaking about curses, there are “covenant curses” that we should all be aware of, starting in chapter 27:15 “Cursed is the person who: makes carved idol images, who dishonors parents, who moves boundary markers, Who leads a blind person astray, who denies justice to foreigners, who does illicit sexual practices, who commits murder, who accepts bribes to kill an innocent person, and all those who does not put the Torah into practice. Let’s look at some of these, “no images” yet most religions today have them, many of them, have they not read about this curse? It is always best never to condemn religious denominations that have images, because God’s Word already does it, our job is to lead a person to study God’s word and see it for themselves. “removing boundary markers!” the Word of God makes boundaries for us NOT to cross over. God’s Word is like a fence, it keeps us in and keeps evil out, cross the boundary marker, or “take away” boundary markers, then, we are “taking away” from God’s WORD, we are headed for trouble. “Leading a blind person astray” who would intentionally do that one may ask? But when one brings erroneous or bad teaching of God’s Word to people, we are “leading astray” those who do not know God’s Word, many being “blind” to the truth, one might be leading them “away” from the truth. “Those who deny justice to foreigners” are under a curse, is the USA government under a curse? For deporting so many innocent immigrants who just want to come to America for a better life? Did “Harvey” just happen? Did Irma just happen? Or are these weather conditions part of divine judgment? Something to think about! “Illicit sexual practices” goes without saying, yet many call these practices, “alternate life-styles” Why not just call it what it is; SIN and REBELLION to God’s WORD! and be honest? Murder and bribes to murder, this goes without saying, we all can understand that. The last is a hard statement, “cursed is anyone who does not put the words of this Torah into practice!” Yet Yeshua, took the curse of sin from us, and nailed all of our disobedience to the cross of Calvary, so even when we do sin, and fail to put the “words of the Torah” into practice, there is forgiveness when there is sincere repentance, As Yeshua told the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, “I condemn thee not, go and sin no more” If the one who could have condemned her, did not, but forgave her, we also can receive forgiveness when we fail to keep the Words of the Torah. Remember, first comes a personal salvation experience with Yeshua, which leads us to follow the Word of God, in that order, never the other way around. (we are saved unto good works, not to do good works to be saved) But on a better note, there are blessings for obedience! IF…. we obey, blessings and curses are always and have always been conditional. It is up to us, to follow in the master’s footsteps, following the master’s words. There are earthly blessings, and eternal blessings, the best of both worlds. ISAIAH 60:1-22 Israel can rejoice, for the OR ISRAEL has come, the LIGHT of ISRAEL, will attract all the nations. Isaiah gets a glimpse of the future of Israel, perhaps the millennium Israel, when YESHUA is on the throne, what a time that will be. Jerusalem will be the capital of the world, and best of all, we will be serving the LORD during that time too. Did the prophet Isaiah see airplanes; “Who are these who fly like a cloud, like doves in their windows?” sounds like an airplane to me. JOHN 13:1-15:27 In this chapter, we see Yeshua washing his disciples’ feet, this was after the last supper. Many might wonder what was this all about. We must understand the custom of that time. Today, when visitors come to our house, we might show them to some easy chairs, get them a drink of water or juice. In winter, we might take their coat and hang it in a clothing closet which might be near the front door. In my aunt and uncle’s house, it was by the front door. In ancient times, the host would have the guest sit down and the host, or the host’s servant or slave would take the guest’s sandals off and wash the guest’s feet. There were no paved roads back then, the roads were dry and dusty, and when it rained, the roads became muddy. A guest might come with either dusty or muddy sandals and feet. When Yeshua washed the disciples’ feet, he was giving the example of “servanthood” the “master” becomes the “servant” to “lead” one must first learn to “serve” washing of the feet also symbolizes “fellowship among believers” An important part of ministry, is serving others, when we serve others, we are doing it unto God. Rabbi Ben Avraham
  14. THE FALL (the story of Adam and Eve)

    THE FALL by J. Ben Avraham The man opened his eyes and looked up at the deep blue sky that his creator had made. It was blue like a sparkling sapphire that reflected the bright, warm rays of the sun which the creator had put there in the midst. The bright sunlight warmed the skin of the man. It felt good, but so good. It was all part of the creation that the God of all beings had put into place. The man sat up. He looked upon his arms, legs, and torso which were coated with a reddish-brown dust, the dust of the earth from which he was made. Then the man stood up upon his feet and looked around at his surroundings. He looked towards the North, the South, towards the East, and the West. All around him was a vast, green forest-garden with all kinds of fruit bearing trees, bushes of berries, and fields of all sorts of grains. There were also trees and shrubs with no fruit, but instead, had multi-colored flowers which emitted a variety of different, sweet fragrances which perfumed the air around the man. The cool, green grass under his feet felt refreshing, as there was the presence of a cool mist which came up from the earth to water the whole garden-forest (1). The man observed a high hill which was near the center of the garden. Alongside the hill he saw a crystal-clear river that watered the garden. At a little distance away, it parted into four separate rivers that flowed away from the garden forest. The man approached the river in the midst of the garden and found a small, quiet pool. When he looked down into the pool he saw a man looking up at him. The man that looked up at him glowed with a soft, glowing light. The man looked at himself carefully. He looked at his arms, legs, and torso and indeed, he did shine with his creator’s shekinah glory. The very essence of Elohim was upon his body. The man marveled at the garden-forest which Elohim had created. He desired all the goodly fruit which hung from the branches of the diverse fruit-trees. Then Elohim spoke to the man out of the heavens and said; “Of every tree of the garden ye may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.” (2) So the man went in among the trees of the garden and partook of all the goodly fruit that the trees produced. He ate from the trees that produced pears, apples, oranges, kiwi, mangos, bananas, and cherries. He also took from the vines that produced both green and purple grapes. He ate of the trees until his hunger was satisfied. As he wandered throughout his paradise home, he came to a clearing in the midst of the garden. There in the clearing grew the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree was a bit taller than the other trees of the garden-forest. It was lovely to look upon and it emitted a fragrance that perfumed the whole area around it. Its fruit was like tiny clusters of grapes hanging from its many branches. But the man heeded the warning of his creator and continued to explore the rest of the garden, leaving behind the forbidden tree. Now the man was not alone in the garden, for he saw many varieties and kinds of beasts, beasts that walked on all four legs, some that walked on two legs with long tails behind them. He also observed the beasts that flew through the air, both great and small. He bent down to observe the tiny insects that scurried along the ground from which he was made. He saw that some beasts were of one color, others, such as the flying beasts, were of many colors. Then the man decided to follow one of the rivers that flowed from the garden. As he gazed into the crystal clarity of the waters he noticed all kinds of fish, some of one only color, others of many colors. There were both large and small fish, all swimming up and down the rivers. He went to observe the other three rivers and saw also, many fish that swam up and down the flowing waters. So God brought all the beasts of the field, and fowls of the air to the man to see what he would call them. (3) As the man observed each and every beast, he gave them names according to their size and characteristics. To all he gave names, according to their kinds and species, from the tiny field mouse that ran in the fields, to the giant Behemoth, whose legs were like iron and whose tail was like a cedar and with its long neck, would drink up the waters of the rivers. He named also the fowls of the air, from the tiny Titmouse that could fit in the palm of a hand, to the giant Pterosaurs, whose wing span was three times the height of a man, and whose flapping of wings would stir up whirlwinds. The man also gave names to the fish of the rivers, according to their species and kinds. The man continued to explore, even beyond the boundaries of his garden home. He traveled westward even unto the great Sea. There he called forth the great beasts of the sea and they came forth, even unto the shore where the man stood. To them he also gave names. He gave names to the great whales, sharks, and to the swarming creatures, even the great Leviathan, whose massive size towered above the mightiest of the whales. Now the man noticed that in naming and observing all the beasts of the earth, the fowls of the air, and the fish of the waters, every beast was either male or female, and that every beast had its mate. The man was saddened that there was no mate for him, a counterpart liked unto himself. So, the man returned to his garden paradise with a fallen countenance. Then Elohim looked down upon the man and said; “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (4) So, the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept. Then he took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which he had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. (5) Then the man awoke from his sleep and looked up into the face of the woman. She was beautiful to look upon, the perfect help-meet for the man. He stood up and embraced the woman, kissing her tenderly saying: “This is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.” (6) Adam and Eve gazed into each other’s eyes and knew they had been made one for the other. Adam also noticed that Eve’s body also had a soft covering of light that came from the presence of the LORD God of all creation. It was like a skin of light, that covered their flesh. So, Adam showed Eve the garden-forest that the LORD God had given them. He showed her all the vast array of fruit and nut trees, the flowering bushes and shrubs. He also took her to the midst of the garden and showed her the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He also explained to her the warning that the LORD God of creation had given him concerning the tree. He took her to see the beasts of the earth and pointed to the fowls of the air. Eve learned their names and they called them by their names and by their kinds. When they called to the animals, they came to the man and the woman as there was no fear in their hearts. Adam then took his to see the rivers that flowed from their garden paradise. Adam showed Eve the different fish that swam in the flowing waters and told her their names. Adam and Eve then traveled together westward toward the great sea. On their way, they saw the immense variety of animals, both great and small. Adam also called them by their names and Eve learned their names. When they arrived at the great sea, Adam called out to the marine beasts, both great and small. They all came to the water’s edge when he called the names. Eve stood in awe at the size of some of the beasts, the great whales, the long-necked beasts with long tails and flippers. She marveled at the schools of flying fish that glided over the waves of the waters. The great Leviathan also came at the bidding of the man and woman. Adam and Eve finally made their way back to their garden home. They lay down together in the soft green grass under one of the many fruit trees of their paradise dwelling. Exhausted from their trip, they soon fell fast asleep. The woman awoke at first light, and seeing that her husband was still asleep, went off to explore the garden paradise alone. When she reached the center of the garden she saw the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She gazed with desire at its lovely fruit which hung from the branches. The sweet fragrance of the tree brought her even closer, but she remembered the warning of her husband concerning the tree. As she came even closer, even to stand under the tree she noticed some movement among the many flowering branches. Then the serpent that rested among the leaves spoke to the woman saying; “Eve, hath Elohim indeed said ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” and Eve said unto the serpent; “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, Elohim hath said ‘You shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it lest you die!” “Ye shall not surely die” replied the serpent with utmost deceit, “for Elohim knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like Elohim, knowing both good and evil!” (7) So Eve confided in the words of the lying serpent and seeing that the tree was good for food and pleasant to the eyes, and that it would increase her wisdom in all things, she reached up and picked some of its fruit and ate of it. Adam, in the meantime, had awaken from his deep sleep and seeing that Eve was not by his side, got up and called out to her. “Here am I husband” cried out Eve from the midst of the garden, “I am by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” So Adam went to the midst of the garden and found his wife under the forbidden tree with some of its fruit in her hand. When he saw his wife with the fruit, his countenance fell, and was greatly dismayed thinking that indeed, she had partaken of the fruit. “Wife” began the man, “Did ye not remember the words which I spoke unto thee? That the LORD God of all creation gave us free choice of all the trees of the garden, save this one which is here in the midst of the garden. Only this tree was prohibited to us so why did ye disobey? Why did ye eat of it so foolishly?” Adam dropped to his knees, covering his face with his hands. He cried tears of sadness and anguish concerning his wife. “Be ye comforted husband” replied Eve, trying to reassure her husband. “As you can see, I am not dead, but quite alive and well. The serpent said it would be good to eat of the fruit of this tree and become just as our creator is, knowing both good and evil.” But the voice of Eve trembled as she spoke, and the look of fear and guilt overcame her being. Even the aura of light which covered her body had begun to fade. “My dear wife” began Adam as he went near Eve, “did not Elohim create us both in His perfect image? Did he not create us both to know what He wanted us to know? Then why didst thou wish to know more” can anyone be exactly like Elohim?” Adam looked into the eyes of his wife with love and tenderness. He could not bear the thought of living without her. Alas, he would indeed share in her suffering and guilt. Adam then extended his hand and took some of the fruit from the hand of Eve and he did eat of it as well. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and saw to their distress that the soft covering of light which glowed upon their bodies was fading away, finally, disappearing completely. It was then that they realized that they were naked. The couple ran as fast as they could from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and hid themselves elsewhere in the vast forest garden called Eden. They found a fig tree and with its leaves, made two aprons to cover their nakedness. Yet the aprons could not hide their shame, they lay down and wept in each other’s arms. Perhaps, just perhaps, they could hide themselves from the presence of the LORD. Then they heard the sound of the LORD God as he passed through the garden. They remained hidden, fearing the wrath of their creator for their disobedience, yet the creator called out to them in a still, soft voice, a voice of love yet tinted with sadness and disappointment. “Adam, where art thou?” said the LORD God of all creation. “I heard your voice in the garden and was afraid. I was naked and therefore, hid myself”. Adam tried to speak boldly, yet his voice reflected fear and shame. “Who told thee that thou wast naked?” responded the creator, “Didst thou eat of the tree which I commanded thee not to eat?” Yet the voice of God was still soft, like a father reaching out to his disobedient children, searching for an admission of guilt and repentance. (8) Then Adam and Eve stood up and walked towards the voice of their God and creator. They told Elohim what had happened, of the serpent’s deceitful advice, of their eating of the forbidden fruit. When they had finished their confession, they awaited the verdict from God. There was a short pause, then the voice of God rang out like thunder with the words like bolts of lightning; “Serpent, because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field. Upon thy belly, thou shalt go, and dust thou shalt eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel.” To the woman God said; “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In pain thou shalt bring forth children. Thy desire shalt be for thy husband and he shalt rule over thee.” A loud clap of thunder and a bolt of lightning followed each sentence that came forth from the mouth of God. Then the LORD God of all creation said unto the man; “Because thou hast listened to the voice of thy wife and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee saying, ‘thou shalt not eat of it’ cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread til thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (9) Adam and Eve were greatly saddened at the fact that because of their disobedience to the command of their creator, they had brought forth the curse of sin into the world. No longer could they live in their garden paradise, but were cast out of the garden. Cherubs, with a flaming sword, were stationed at the east of the garden to guard the way to the Tree of Life. Now, the couple had to seek out another place to live, outside of the garden. Once outside the garden, the LORD God Elohim brought Adam and Eve to a high hill and showed them two lumps of bloodied flesh. The flesh stank and flies were all around it. Adam and Eve were deeply saddened at seeing the two lifeless corpses. “Why, Oh LORD, have you brought us here, and what is the meaning behind these two lifeless beasts of the field?” asked Adam, distraught over the sight of death. “The LORD spoke out of a cloud which pulsated with a glowing light saying; “I want thee and thy wife to see the cost of sin. Because of thy disobedience to my commandment that prohibited thee from eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, these two perfect lambs had to die. Their blood will cover and atone for your sin. Now, look behind where thou art standing!” The man and his wife then looked and behold, there were two aprons made of the skins of the lambs that were slain. “Put them on” said the LORD God of all creation, “and be ye both reminded forever of the cost of sin. Now harken ye unto the voice of thy God. At dusk, at the beginning of each new day, take ye two goodly and perfect lambs, one for each of thee and sacrifice them upon an altar made of unhewn stones. Ye shalt put wood there upon, and when ye call upon my name, I will hear thy voice from my glory cloud, and will send forth fire to consume the sacrifices, thus ye shalt do all the days of your life. Be ye comforted, for one day, a lamb will come who will take away the sin of the world forever.” Thus, the LORD finished speaking. Both Adam and Eve wondered at the words of Elohim as they dressed themselves in the skins of the lambs. When they descended the hill, they saw that one of the rivers that flowed from the garden was near. They followed the river for a short distance, and found a small cave that was at the base of another hill. They made that cave their new home. But the LORD God of all creation did not forget Adam and Eve, for he sent an angel to teach them many things. The angel taught them how to make fire from rocks of flint and iron, how to mix clay and water and shape them into vessels for cooking. He also taught them to sow seed and reap in due time, how to care for the animals, milk the cows, and goats, and how to make cheese from the milk. The angel taught them to sheer the sheep and make clothing for their bodies. So, Adam and Eve learned much from the angel, and soon learned how to make bread from crushing the grains of wheat and barley, adding water and cooking them in the fire. All these things the angel taught them and much more. The angel spoke kindly to them and reminded them of the promise of Elohim, that the head of the serpent would someday be crushed by the future seed of the woman. Adam and Eve were thus comforted by the words of the angel. Yet Eve was still distraught with the fact that she had brought the curse of sin into the world. Yes, she knew that through her seed the curse of sin would come to end, but when? Who would it be? So, Adam comforted her and reassured her that it would be soon. Now Adam loved his wife dearly, with all of his heart, and he knew her and she conceived and bore a man-child. Adam and Eve named their son Cain. She conceived again and they named their second son Abel. Adam and Eve loved their two sons, and they taught them all that the angel had taught them. They taught them how to make fire with stones of flint and iron, how to form vessels from clay, they showed them the fields of grain and the pastures where the sheep and goats grazed. Cain was fascinated by the fields of wheat, barley, and corn. He became a farmer and cared for the fields of grain, sowing and reaping in due season. Elohim blessed the ground for his sake. He learned how to reap the fields of wheat and barley, fanning them to extract the grains, then crushing the grains to make bread. The bread he brought to their cave home. Abel loved the sheep and the goats, and he became a shepherd and cared for them all. He learned how to milk the goats and make cheese. He brought the milk and the cheese to the cave for his father, mother, and his brother Cain. Now the LORD God of creation was gracious to Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel. There was an abundance of fruit and nut trees, bushes of berries, and vines of grapes that were outside of the forbidden garden of Eden. So every morning, the family would go gather the fruits of the earth and bring them back to their cave. Cain would bring the bread and Abel would bring milk and cheese. Together as a family, they would eat their meals on the luscious green grass in front of their cave home The years passed, and the children grew in the knowledge of good and evil. Abel’s eyes always reflected the love and passion towards his parents and towards the animals of field, but Cain, as he grew, his eyes reflected pride and arrogance. And it came to pass that the day came that the sons of Adam and Eve arrived at the age of accountability, understanding, and wisdom. Then their father called them to his side and lifted up his voice saying; “Harken now my sons unto my voice, and take heed to the counsel of thy mother, for today, ye have both arrived at the age of accountability. Ye have both observed since the time and thy births, how thy father and thy mother have sacrificed four lambs at dusk, one for each of us. The LORD God Elohim of creation commanded us to do so as a reminder of our sin. The blood of the lambs is a covering and atonement for the same. This we have done since the time of our expulsion from our garden home. Now my sons, go ye both into thy fields and build ye each an altar of stone and put wood thereon. Abel, take ye of the flocks of sheep two goodly lambs, one for thyself, and the other for thy brother. Take ye the lamb and sacrifice it on the altar in thy pastures, and Cain, take ye the other lamb and sacrifice it on the altar in thy fields of grain. The LORD God of all creation will then look down upon thy sacrifices and will send fire from heaven to consume the sacrificial lambs. This thy sins will be covered and atoned for. Thus, thee shalt do every day at dusk, for all the days of thy lives.” When Adam had finished talking with his two sons, he sent them out to their fields. Abel went to his pastures where the sheep and goats grazed, and Cain went to his fields of wheat, barley, and corn. Both brothers went to work building their altars of stone. Abel then selected a goodly lamb from the flocks, tied its legs together and placed it on the altar that he had built. He then took a knife of flint, and looking towards heaven lifted up his voice saying; “Oh LORD God of all creation, look now upon thy servant and upon this sacrifice. Accept it now as a reminder of my sin. May its blood cover and atone for my sin which was inherited through my father and mother.” As he finished speaking these words, Abel slew the lamb and awaited the response of God. Then the LORD God appeared in a cloud of glory which hovered above the stone of altar. There was a sharp clap of thunder and fire came forth from the cloud and consumed the sacrifice. Then Abel went to his flocks and selected another goodly lamb, young, and without blemish. He then carried it in his arms to his brother Cain who was in his fields of grain. Cain had also built an altar of stone and had put wood thereon. “Brother” cried out Abel from a short distance, “behold the lamb which I carry to thee, for thy sacrifice to the LORD.” But Cain did not respond to his brother. He paused for a moment and looked towards his brother, but spoke not a word in response. Abel then walked over to where his brother was and just observed him. Cain was carrying bundles of wheat and barley and was placing them on the altar of stone. Abel was a bit puzzled by the action of his brother and said to him; “Brother, what meanest thou by placing wheat and barley on thy altar?” Cain paused and turned to Abel saying; “Seeth thou all this good wheat and barley which I have grown in my fields? Sown and cared for with my own hands and with the sweat of my brow? For certain, the LORD God of heaven will be pleased with this sacrifice of grain which I will now offer up to Him.” But Abel was saddened by the words of his brother, as there was also a tone of pride and arrogance in his voice. So Abel responded to the words of his brother saying; “Brother, thou knowest well that it is the LORD God of creation who givest thee the goodly produce from the earth. It is He that maketh rise the dew from the earth to water and nourish the crops. It is He who maketh the sun to shine down on thy fields to make grow all that thou hast sown. It is by His mighty hand that thou hast all that is in thy fields of grain. Yea, all that thou hast in thy fields is good, yet the LORD God requireth of thee a sacrifice of blood to cover and atone for thy sin. Do not, I beg thee, do so foolishly. Bringeth thou thy goodly grain to our cave for bread, and taketh from my hands this goodly and perfect lamb. This the LORD God will accept from thee as a sacrifice!” “Nay brother” replied Cain with a voice filled with arrogance, “keepeth for thyself the lamb, for the LORD will indeed accept my sacrifice. Behold my altar and the grain thereupon, it is for the LORD!” After placing the grains of wheat and barley upon the altar, Cain lifted up his hands toward heaven and cried out with a loud voice; “Oh LORD God of all creation, accept now this sacrifice of grains which I have grown in my fields, by the labor of my hands and by the sweat of my brow I have produced all that thou seeth. Accept it now from me!” But the voice of Cain was not a voice of humbleness, rather it reflected a sense of self-pride and arrogance. Then the glory cloud of Elohim moved from the pastures of Abel to the fields of Cain, it hovered above the altar which Cain had built, yet no thunder nor fire came forth. Then Cain lifted up his voice a second time saying; “Didst thou not hear me LORD? Accept now this, my sacrifice, like thou didst unto my brother Abel. My sacrifice is just as good as his! Accept it now Oh LORD!” The voice of Cain was now tinted with anger. He dropped his hands to his side and just glared up at the glory cloud of his creator. Abel stood by in silence, and still holding the lamb in his arms he spoke yet again to his brother. “Did I not say unto thee that the LORD God would not accept thy sacrifice, seeing that it is not a sacrifice of blood? So accept this lamb from my hands and the LORD God will indeed honor it, and will send his fire to consume it.” Cain did not reply to the words of Abel. He just stood there and glared at his brother with eyes of hatred, contempt and jealousy. Just then, a whirlwind came forth from the glory cloud and blew away the grain that was upon the altar of Cain. Shaking his fists in the air towards the cloud of glory, Cain was filled with rage. He turned on his heels and headed toward the standing wheat in his fields. Then the voice of the LORD God came forth from the glory cloud saying; “Cain, why art thou angry? And why hast thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, will not thy countenance be lifted up? And if thou doest not well, sin is at the door, and its desire is for thee, but thou must master it!” (10) But Cain responded not to the voice of God, but instead, went to his brother Abel deceitfully saying; “Abel my brother, sayeth thou that God desireth a sacrifice of blood? And yea, a sacrifice of blood will he thus receive.” Abel, confident that Cain had a change of mind and would accept the lamb, extended forth the lamb towards his brother. Cain received the lamb from the hands of his brother. He held it in his arms for a few seconds, then, throwing it to the ground he said; “Indeed, the LORD will receive a sacrifice of blood, thine own blood will be required of thee, my good and righteous brother!” And with those words of jealousy and spite, Cain took Abel by the throat and with his other hand, slew him with his knife. Abel fell down and died by the feet of Cain, his blood, soaking into the ground. Now Cain, realizing what he had just done, was filled with fear. He hurriedly threw sheaves of wheat on top of his brother’s body and quickly walked away. Then the LORD said unto Cain; “Cain, where art thy brother Abel?” to which Cain responded; “I know not, am I my brother’s keeper?” Then God said; “Cain, what hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth out to me from the ground. Now, art thou cursed from the ground which hath opened its mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand. Now, when thou goest forth to cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield to thee its strength. Thou shalt be a vagabond, a wanderer on the earth!” (11) At the cave, Adam and Eve wondered about their sons, since they tarried too long in their sacrifices. “Wife” began Adam, “Our sons should have returned to us by now, perhaps some mischief hath befallen them. Come, let us go forth into their fields to see what hast become of them!” With those words, Adam and Eve left their cave home and went towards the fields of their two sons. “Go ye now wife, unto the fields of Cain, and I will go unto the pastures of Abel” said Adam as they arrived to their sons’ fields. When Adam arrived at the pastures of Abel, he noticed the sheep and the goats wandering to and fro, bleating without ceasing. It seemed that the flocks sensed that their shepherd had been slain. All of a sudden, he heard the voice of his beloved Eve, a cry of anguish rang through the air. Adam left the sheep, and ran to his wife. She was standing, weeping bitterly next to some sheaves of wheat in the fields of Cain. He joined her at her side, and both looked down at the bloodied corpse of their son Abel. He lay there, still, a slain shepherd, a righteous son, murdered by the hands of his brother. Adam and Eve knelt down and touched his face, it seemed as though he was just asleep. A trickle of blood still ran from his throat into the ground where he lay. Adam could no longer contain himself and cried out with all the power of his soul; “CAIN, CAIN, what hath thou done CAIN? Where art thou my son? Where art thou CAIN?” But Cain was on the run. He heard not the voice of his father, nor the anguish of his mother, for he had left the presence of his creator, running, with fear in his heart. Thus, Cain became a vagabond in the land of Nod, a land of wandering, living off the fruit and nuts of the trees which grew in the wild. He could no longer be a farmer since Elohim had cursed the land because of his great sin. He had murdered his only brother, out of anger, jealousy, and pride. Had he only accepted the lamb from his brother’s hands, the outcome might have been different. Adam and Eve wept in each other’s arms over their son Abel. They wept for their son Cain, who they would never see again. “Oh Adam” sobbed Eve, “Is this the price of sin? Is this the cost of disobedience? Is this the fate of those who will come after us? Murder? Rebellion?” “Yes wife” sobbed Adam, looking into his beloved’s eyes, “The wages of sin is indeed death” (12). “Yet be ye comforted wife, that the LORD God of all creation has promised to crush the head of the serpent so as to put an end to the curse of sin.” “Oh Adam” cried Eve, “May that day come soon, Oh so very soon.” (1) Gen 2:6 (2) Gen 2:16,17 (3) Gen 2:19 (4) Gen 2:18 (5) Gen 2:21,22 (6) Gen 3:1-5 (7) Gen 3:7-11 (8) Gen 3:14-19 (9) Gen 4:6 (10) Gen 4:9-12 (11) Rom 6:23
  15. Parashah: Ki Tetse (when you go out) DEUT: 21:10-25:19……………….ISAIAH 54:1-10………………….JOHN 12:1-50 In this parashah we see a lot of “common sense” mitzvoth that are for today, and we can also see some mitzvoth that we need to take a good look at to see how we can apply them, perhaps not so much literally, but spiritually and morally. In some cases, both. Verse 10 talks about taking a captive woman from the enemy and making her your wife. Well, I wouldn’t recommend that very much, you might end up with your throat cut when you are sleeping. But back in the old days, an Israeli soldier had the right to take a woman who was from an enemy city, once captive, and make her his wife. We might ask ourselves, why? Well, if a person falls in love with someone, well, as the saying goes, “love is blind” many times, the man (or woman) can’t see reason, just the flesh. But in the case of a captive woman from an enemy city, what is the “bigger picture?” An Israeli soldier shows her compassion, she has lost her family, her city in ruins, her “gods” have abandoned her. All she has now is this “soldier” who has brought her to his camp, and to his “One God”. Soon she will see the difference between the false gods she left behind, and the one and Only God, Adonai-Elohim, perhaps she was ill-treated in her city, and here, she is showed compassion, she is allowed to mourn her loss, and in time, she will learn about Adonai, and perhaps, even to love her new husband. At first, it seems a bad thing, but in time, it turns into a good thing. Many US soldiers have returned home with foreign wives, perhaps, some pagan who worshipped idols, perhaps some even gave up their pagan worship to embrace the worship of Adonai. We would like to hope so. Looking at this from another standpoint. We were at one time, in the enemy’s camp, we were in the camp of HaSatan, and our “bridegroom’ (Yeshua) paid the price of ransom, and bought our freedom with his own blood, now, He has taken us (his bride) to his encampment, and we, all believers, will be HIS future bride. Baruch HaShem! (Praise God) Vs 18 talks about the “wayward son” in that if he is rebellious and defiant and refuses correction, that the parents would have to take him to the “shoftim” (judges) and they would stone him with stones. Rebellion had a death sentence connected to it. Now, we never read of that actually happening in God’s Word, yet it was a commandment back then. Try that today and you will definitely be “standing tall before the man!” (off to prison you will go) HOWEVER…if we train up a youth in God’s Word, and teach him to worship, and he sees (or she sees) the parents as models, then…it is likely that rebellion will not be part of his or her life. Today, we know that “rocks” are not the answer, only the “ROCK of ages is!” Vs 22: those that have received the death penalty, could not be left “hanging” either from a rope, or from a cross or stake. They had to be taken down and buried. That is why our Messiah was taken down and buried in the tomb. Today, we see many crucifixes with Yeshua still on them. The fact is that He did NOT remain on the cross, but was buried, and arose the third day. We worship a risen Savior, not one who is still on the cross. Chap 22; 1-4. To help someone find a lost item is a big mitzvah, be the item an animal, such as a lost pet, or a wallet, important papers, etc. Unfortunately, we live in an age of worldly materialism, the ideology is “Finders Keepers, Losers weepers” that is the philosophy of the lost world, not of born-again believers. If one finds a wallet with money inside (that has happened to me a few times, finding peoples’ wallets) and there is an ID, we must return it to that person, money intact! Not minus the cash, that will only make you a thief. If a person’s mule (or car) is on the side of the road, go render assistance if you can (sometimes, a bit dangerous today) or at least, call the police for assistance if the emergency looks bad. Vs 5; “A woman must not put on a man’s apparel, nor a man wear a woman’s clothing” Back thousands of years ago, the clothing was generally the same, long, flowing tunics tied with a cloth or leather belt or sash and sandals. The difference between men and women’s tunics was the type of material used and the design. Today we live in a unisex clothing world. Many women wear blue-jeans or pants to work, just like men, yet a man better not put on a dress (unless you are a Scotsman with a kilt and bagpipes). But even today, there are pants and jeans that are “made for women” let us all abide by this commandment. Personally, a woman looks better in a dress than in pants. Vs 8: Common sense to build a fence on your roof, or around a swimming pool, property, etc, so that there will not be accidents, (nor alligators coming in to swim in your pool) Vs 9: prohibition of mixing seed, wool and linen, mixing work animals. These can be considered being “unequally yoked” an ox is stronger than an ass, and the ass will suffer in the long-run. Mixed seeds will take out more chemicals from the soil. Wool will shrink, and linen will not, this goes for a marriage relationship as well, mixing a non-believer with a believer. You will have an unequally yoked household, different goals, ideas, philosophies, mannerisms, etc. One will serve God the other, HaSatan! That is why there is a separation of things that are Holy and things that are unholy, the things of God and the things of the lost world. Vs 12: “You shall make Tzitziot (tassels) on the four corners of your garments” This is still for today and speaks about our relationship with our Messiah Yeshua, it also connects us with our Jewish culture, it reminds us of the Torah, and the number of windings of the blue thread 7,8,11,13 are significant. (7+8=15, Yod + Hey) and (11 = Vav (6) + Hey (5)) Y H V H and ECHAD (one in unity) = 13 (Alef + Chet + dalet) YHVH is ONE Chap 24 addresses divorce, if a woman is found in “uncleanness” as some texts state, the man can divorce her. This word is connected to “nudity” and could even go as far as saying, the husband finds the wife nude with another man, (adultery) the word in Hebrew is “Ervat” (uncleanness) yet Yeshua teaches that forgiveness is more important than “putting away the wife” but…the exception remains “adultery” yet even this can be forgiven, a marriage is important, and Satan will do everything in his power to destroy marriages. 24:14 “You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer, whether a fellow countryman or a STRANGER (foreigner) in one of the communities of your land” Very important to know, that ALL workers, including immigrants, with or without work visas, should be respected, helped, and not HARRASSED! Hello!! The USA was founded by immigrants, let’s do our best to pray for them and respect them, and help them, vs 17 says “You shall NOT subvert the RIGHTS of the stranger…” Every immigrant has the right to the “pursuit of happiness and well-being in this country called the US of A. If the immigrant is an unrepentant criminal, that is a different story. The chapter also talks about the farmer and his crops, he should let the needy take what they need, it is not considered stealing. We should not look at everything with $ in mind, we should share with the needy. 25:4 “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is threshing.” In other words, every employee has the right to his or her lunch break! 25:5-10 talks about the “Levirate marriage” when a man dies and leaves no sons, the man’s brother (if single) must marry the man’s widow so as to raise up children. Well, would this be a good thing today? There are some who would say yes, and others would say no. I’ll let you decide, If I were single and in that situation, if I wasn’t going with anyone, well…. maybe I’d go for it, why not? (especially if she was pretty). I guess it would be good because the marriage is kept within the family. 25:13 talks about “diverse weights” very important to conduct “honest business transactions” not crooked and unfair, unfortunately, we live in a world of greed, and there are people out there, scammers, that want to get your goods, be careful! Especially on the internet. ISAIAH 54:1-10 “Shout O Barren one, you who bore no child, shout aloud for joy…” We ask when does a barren woman shout for joy because she cannot have children. I would guess that it depends of the circumstances. This reminds us of Sarah, who was barren, yet she did not give up hope, in spite of her error, in giving to Abraham her servant Hagar, YHVH still blessed her, and her child “Yitzchak” was the blessing she hoped for, her “offspring will dispossess nations” from Yitzchak to Ya’akov, from Ya’akov to the 12 sons, and from the 12 sons, we are all here Today, many of us, mixed in with the nations, yet we are still here. The LORD has called us back! There was a time when we didn’t give spiritual things a second thought, the bible was just another book on the book shelf. I for sure didn’t have any interest in it growing up as a teenager. Yet the LORD called me through another teen, and from there, Bible study groups in the Army, and from there, Yeshiva school. We are chastised yet we are forgiven, the LORD chastens all whom he receives, I think that the worse type of chastening is having an indifferent spirit, neither hot nor cold, The LORD has taken us back in love, His love is seen in YESHUA HaMASHIACH, who gave his all for us all! JOHN 12:1-50 Nearing the time of Pesach, when Yeshua entered Yerushalayim, people welcomed him. We know the story, with palm branches. It reminds us of the first Passover, when a lamb was to be taken on the tenth day of Nissan And then, sacrificed on the 14th. The Lamb of YHVH entered on the tenth day, and gave up his life on the 14th Yet before Calvary, he made a statement; “Unless a grain of wheat that falls to the ground dies, it stays just a grain, but if it dies, it produces a big harvest” What is he saying here? HE is the grain of wheat that died, yet arose again with life. WE are the big harvest of believers that have come from his death and resurrection, and when we “sow the seed” (God’s Word) we are helping to create big harvests, Yet we need to understand that some seed will land on stony ground, not all seed that ends up in the ground, sprouts, if it responds to the water and sunlight, it will come up. We came up! Because we responded to the “Living Water” and the SON light! Shabbat Shalom......Rabbi Ben Avraham