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Jacob Ben Avraham

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About Jacob Ben Avraham

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  1. PARASHAH: “B'shalach” (when he let go) EXODUS 13:17-17:16.......JUDGES 4:4-5: 31.....MATT 26:1-75 We are coming down to the “showdown” where Pharaoh gets his just desserts and gets what he deserves for defying the God of Israel, going back on his word to “let Israel go”, you cannot pursue Israel without getting hurt, and Pharaoh and his army got to drink bitter waters, went off the “deep end” received a very fatal “water baptism”. Yet before all this happens, there are some interesting verses to look at. Exodus 17: 18 states that; “The children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt” yet it also states that Elohim did not lead them through the land of the F’lishtim: (The Philistines) because an encounter with them might bring for war, frighten them and cause them to go back to Egypt. But if they had weapons, why would they fear a battle? One can assume that even though they had weapons if they didn’t know how to use them, they would be no good. We can say the same thing about a Bible, it is useless in the hands of one who does not know how to use it, or uses it in wrongful ways, inventing “strange” doctrines, or taking verses out of context. The Israelites were ex-slaves, not men of war. Another question, where did they get the weapons? Were the weapons among the spoils of Egypt? They might have been. But here is another view from a derashic perspective (Moral and spiritual) The word for “armed” in Hebrew which is used is “chamushim” the wise rabbis of old state that this word has roots in the words “chamesh” (the number 5) and “chamishim” (50). So how does this a part in this verse? It is said that it was the 5th generation after Yosef that left Egypt, if a generation is 80 years, it would add up to 400 years. Also, the number 5 symbolizes “grace”. So, the Israelites not only left Egypt with some spears and swords, but they were also armed with the “grace” that Elohim bestowed on them. More important, they were armed with the protection, and the blessings, and the leadership of Elohim who lead them out of Egypt. The number “50” also reminds us of the “50 gates of understanding” which the ancient rabbis say that these are 50 questions that Elohim asked Job at the end of “Sefer Job.” Another Midrash is that only 1 out of 5 Israelites left Egypt. Now I ask you if all of Israel was witness to the destruction of Egypt by Elohim, why would they want to stay behind? Other sages say that only 1 out of 5 households put blood on their doorposts. Remember that these are ideas presented by unsaved rabbis. However, I ask you again, if Israel is witness to all the miracles and judgments, why would they NOT want to put lamb’s blood on their doorposts? I would like to answer the question using a question. If we can have eternal life through the blood and sacrifice of Yeshua for our sins, past, present, and future, why do so many people still REJECT Him? The scripture states that ‘Wide is the way that leads to destruction, but narrow is the way that leads to eternal life.’ Another word for “armed” is “equipped”. One can also say that “B’nei Yisrael” went out of Egypt “equipped” with the “5” promises that Adonai gave to His people; 1) Elohim will deliver Israel out from under the burden of Egyptian Slavery; 2) Israel will be REDEEMED by the ARM of Elohim-YHVH; 3) Elohim-YHVH will take Israel as HIS people and will be their GOD; 4) Israel will be brought into the chosen land of promise; 5) The promised land will be an INHERITANCE. There are also 50 words that are part of our Judeo-Christian faith, there is wisdom and understanding each and every one of them. It took Israel also 50 days from leaving Egypt to receiving the Torah in the land of Midian. But let’s look at the Peshat, the literal meaning of the word; “armed” it could also come from the Egyptian word “chams” which is “lance” but I ask you to ponder on this. The Israelites were ex-slaves, not warriors. If they came out of Egypt with lances, swords, etc.… How would they know how to use them? Without training, it would be very difficult to be victorious in a battle. As believers, we have the Word of God, but if we are unskilled in using His WORD, or if we do not know how to interpret it correctly, we could actually do much harm to others, just like a sword in the hands of a child, the child could cut himself, or hurt one of his friends Another thing to ponder upon is that when the word “Egyptians” is used, the word “Mitzraim” is used, which also means “Egypt” (the nation of). Why “Mitzraim” and not “Mitzrim?” One can say that even though “b’nei Yisrael” left Egypt, Egypt still followed them out! They left with the Egyptian culture, ways, language, and all that was part of them in those 400 years as slaves. It took Elohim one day to take Israel out of Egypt, but it took 40 years to take Egypt out of Israel! We are the same way, even though we are born-again believers, we still carry around the garbage related to our “Yetzer-Hara” (sin nature) but little by little, the Ruach HaKodesh takes that from us as we mature in the faith. We might wonder how many Israelites left Egypt, probably about 2 million, plus those Egyptians that “saw the light” plus the sheep and cattle, it was a huge people group that headed eastward across the Sinai Peninsula and then headed south after reaching “Midol” (an Egyptian army base, where weapons were stored). We are told...” and it was told the King of Egypt that the people were fled” ...14:5. What? Didn't he already know that? Of course, he did, he let them go! It was probably a team of scouts that were sent out to track down the Israelites to see where they were going, and they gave their report back to Pharaoh. Now, this took place a few days later, now Pharaoh is sorry he let them go. What? Didn't he remember the plagues? Some people never learn, they love misery. Now Pharaoh musters together his entire army! Another mistake, never send out your entire armed forces, always leave behind reserve units. But Pharaoh was not a wise general. This probably took another few days, thus giving Israel about a week's head start, it would take quite a few days for about 2 million people to cross the Sinai Peninsula. The name “Elohim” and “YHVH” are both used in this Parashah, “Elohim” is used in the beginning of this parashah, in Chap 13:17 meaning the “Strong, powerful God” yet the name YHVH later on, shows the personal name, (coming from “Havayah” meaning “to exist”) shows the personal relationship as “Adonai” which we also say when reading YHVH, anytime the word LORD is used in scripture, it is the name YHVH. YHVH takes them across the Sinai Peninsula to thus entice the Egyptians, to utterly finish destroying them thus ends the powerful rule of Egypt, Egypt never recovered from that defeat, it formed another army years later, but it never had the power it once had with Rameses, Thutmose, Narmer, and other pharaohs of the past dynasties. When the Israelites get to the beach, they get ready to cross, in Hebrew, it is known as “Yam Suf” in English, it is known as “Nuweba Beach” it is a tourist resort today in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. We see that YHVH goes behind the Israelites to protect them, in the form of darkness to the Egyptians, yet light to the Israelites. To us as believers, Yeshua is our light, for us to follow, but to Satan, Yeshua is the conquering king, without the light of Yeshua, without the light of the Torah, we live in darkness, spiritual darkness. Now YHVH tells Moshe to “lift up your rod and your hand” and cause the sea to part, and it did, divide in two, we read that Israel crossed on “dry land” what with a strong wind to dry up the sea bottom, today this area is known as the “Gulf of Aqaba” they crossed a small stretch of sea bottom, about 10 miles across, to get to the land of Midian, now known as Saudi Arabia, if you go to Google earth, and look up “Nuweba Beach” you can see the area where the Israelites crossed over. Then, YHVH gives the order to Moshe to raise his hand over the water again, and the waters closed up again and drowned the Egyptian army, the army was half-way across, we see something in the words, “hand” (Yad) and “rod” (Mateh) that make us think. The “rod” is a symbol of authority, of rulership. The “hand” is a symbol of “power and strength” the Torah speaks of YHVH reveling his “Holy Arm” the “arm is connected to the hand” the ancient Hebrew symbol of the “Yod” is the extended “arm and hand” so we can see the message here, “Moshe” is the authority as he shows his leadership by raising his rod, and his hand opens and closes the sea, thus demonstrating his strength and power, but of course, it is not HIS, it is GOD's leadership and strength, being revealed THROUGH Moshe. When the people follow Moshe, it is as if they are following GOD, trusting in his leadership and strength. When we receive Yeshua as Messiah, we trust in HIM as our leader and our strength, and we follow HIM through his WORD, yet many hope that Yeshua will follow THEM! (not going to happen) . Today, you can see on YouTube what is left of the Egyptian chariots at the bottom of the Gulf of Aqaba, they are coral formations that look like mushrooms, probably the axle and wheels of the chariots, look up, “The real Exodus Crossing” When we look at all this from a moral and spiritual insight (Derash) We have been rescued from HaSatan, by our Leader, who is strong, whose “hand” struck the death blow to Satan, whose “hands” bore the nails of Calvary's cross, and who leads us to a new life, we have been “kadoshed” (set apart) to follow HIM for all of our days, (Should we choose to) of course it is a choice, but the “good Shepherd always “looks back” for his lost or misguided sheep, to lead them back to the fold. We see other events that show God's protection and provision for his people, in verses 22-27 we see the “bitter waters made sweet” Moshe threw into the water “a tree” probably cut it down and threw it in, the waters were made sweet, the Torah is also called, “The TREE of LIFE” (Etz Chaim) that changes our bitterness to sweetness, from sorrow to happiness, from lost to saved. In chapter 16, the provision of “Manna” in the desert “Bread from Heaven” (Lechem b'Shemayim) another provision from YHVH, it symbolizes “Yeshua the Bread of Life” and in chap 17, “Water from the Rock” this rock is there today in the Saudi Arabian desert very close to Mt. Sinai, it seems to be about 50 feet tall and has a crack down the middle. Go to “google images” and click on “The water rock at Horeb” Moshe was told to “strike the rock” and he did with his staff/rod” and out flowed water so that the congregation and the livestock could drink. This symbolizes “Yeshua the Solid Rock” (Yeshua HaTzur) and Yeshua who is the Living Water. (Yeshua Mayim Chayim). It also symbolizes that Yeshua was “struck ONLY ONCE for our sins at Calvary, ONLY ONCE meaning “nailed to the cross and died one time” and when Moshe got mad later on and struck the rock again, he was punished by God and couldn't enter the promised land, since he “misrepresented” who God is, JUDGES 4:4-5:31 In this reading, we read about Devorah and Jael, two women of God who played an important role in Israel's history. We read about many “men of God” but very few “women of God” but they are out there, and today, we have many women who are used mightily by God in ministry. Through Deborah and Jael, Sisera and his army was vanquished, just as Moshe was an example as a leader, Deborah was also a leader, and Jael, whose name in Hebrew “Yah-El” means “El (God) is YHVH (Yah) “his Holy Arm revealed” If you are a woman and reading this Parashah, never say “because I am a woman, God cannot use me” Yes, he can, there are ministries for women, mostly, women ministering to other women, reaching out to those who have been abused in marriages, victims of rape, assault, homeless women, etc. YOU, my sister, have a place in ministry. Venture out and discover what it is, just be available. MATTHEW 26:1-75 This chapter deals with Yeshua's final days with his talmidim on earth, His anointing by the generous woman who poured the “nard” perfume on him, the betrayal by “Y'hudah Ish Kariot” (Judas, the man from the region of Kariot) in every group of disciples, there are always a few who are “fakers” We have the final “Pesach” dinner with his disciples and Kefa's denial, But there is a lot we can learn from this, Peter denied knowing Yeshua, out of fear, but Judas openly rejected him by identifying him by a kiss on the cheek. Both sins forgivable, the only difference is that Peter confessed and received forgiveness, while Judas felt remorse, but did not cry out for forgiveness, but went out and committed suicide. There is sin that leads to remorse and a “feeling sorry for oneself” and sin that leads to remorse, and from remorse to confession, and from confession to forgiveness, and from forgiveness to restored fellowship. How many readers out there have chosen the later? We are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God, but a confession of sins, and receiving forgiveness is something only you can do, I cannot do it for you. Yeshua receives ALL who come to him, no matter how bad or evil you have been, nor what you have done, no sin is beyond forgiveness. Just ask, and turn from your sin, and forgiveness and restoration are yours. Shabbat Shalom Rabbi Ben Avraham
  2. PARASHA: “BO” (enter) EXODUS 10:1-13:16....................JEREMIAH 46:13-28.................MATT 25:1-46 The plagues against the Egyptian gods continue, it is our “Creator God YHVH” against Pharaoh and his false deities. Guess who is winning, yes, you know it. However, I need to point out that many of us peg Pharaoh and the Egyptians as the “bad guys” and the Israelites as the “good guys”. But we need to take note of something that many believers have in common with Pharaoh, After the plague of locusts, Pharaoh said; “I have sinned against the LORD your God, (notice that he said “YOUR” ) and against you, Now therefore forgive I pray thee my sin only this once and entreat the LORD your God that he may take away this death only”(Ex 10:17) and even before that, Pharaoh spoke saying; “I have sinned this time, the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked, entreat the LORD that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail, and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer (EX 9:27,28) Pharaoh seems to be repentant yet it is just “lip service” in Spanish it would be “de diente a labio” or from “tooth to lip” he continues to rebel against YHVH, and refuses to let Israel go. How many believers claim to love God and admit that they are sinners and wicked, and we all are because of our “Yetzer Hara” (evil inclination) or in simple words, “sin nature” yet we ignore the Torah, we disobey HIS commandments…or…we promise that we will obey, yet we go back on our promise. I think this is true for ALL of us from time to time, for some more often than others. Even the Israelites, once they got out of Egypt, began to complain, and gripe, grumble and groan, and break G-d’s commandment making an idol calf of gold. Are we any better? Do we not grumble and complain too? For this and for that? We break YHVH’s commandments, and we say, “sorry” and seem repentant, but continue in the same sins, I think we are like Pharaoh as much as like the Israelites. Sometimes, we want to compromise, not follow ALL of Adonai’s instructions, perhaps not follow the whole Torah. Adonai’s instructions to Moshe, as he revealed to Pharaoh, were to leave Egypt, the whole people, with all their properties (herds and flocks), go to the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD, yet Pharaoh said he would comply…but…not all the way; “go sacrifice to your God in the land” (just stay in Egypt) “go to the wilderness, but not so far away” (yes, so we can keep an eye on you that you don’t run away!) “Go serve the LORD, the men only” (yet Adonai wants “all the people”) “go serve the LORD, but your herds and flocks stay here” (so, how are they going to sacrifice without the flocks and the herds?) Do we follow wholeheartedly? Or do we pick and choose? Do we follow the Torah only when convenient? Or parts that won’t interrupt our lifestyles? Do we follow some commandments and not follow others saying “these aren’t for us, only for Israel” if we are picking and choosing, then we are like Pharaoh, trying to “bargain” or make “Compromise” with the LORD through his chosen servant? I would like to add this detail also. It is about “HaMateh” (The Staff) this is the staff or the rod of Moshe and Aaron, the one that was used to bring about the plagues. It is very interesting and how it relates to the power of Elohim through Moshe. The word “Mateh” in Hebrew has two meanings. One is “Rod” or “Staff” and it represents power and authority of the holder of the same. It also means “Tribe” and in the plural; “Matot” (Tribes). When Moshe was still before YHVH at Har Sinai, He told Moshe to use the “Mateh” to show the people HIS power. The power of Elohim-YHVH through Moshe. Moshe would be as “Elohim” before Pharaoh. The rod would be the symbol of authority, as it also represents the “Tribe” of “Kol Israel” of “All Israel” united as One Tribe. “Mateh Echad”. If we look at the staff of Moshe through spiritual eyes, just imagine the name YHVH carved into this staff or rod of judgment. We look at the value of the letters Y H V H. The first two letters “Yod and Hey” 10 and 5. Those two letters form the shorter form of the name of God; “YaH”. The letter “Yod” = 10. It can symbolize the “10” plagues that were to befall Egypt, by the “Arm” (Yod) of Elohim. The hand is part of the arm, remember that. Then we see the letter “Hey” that has the value of “5”. We can sum up the promises of YHVH as the following; 1) Elohim will deliver Israel out from under the burden of Egyptian Slavery; 2) Israel will be REDEEMED by the ARM of Elohim-YHVH; 3) Elohim-YHVH will Israel as HIS people and will be their GOD; 4) Israel will be brought into the chosen land of promise; 5) The promised land will be an INHERITANCE. After the 10 plagues, the 5 basic promises were fulfilled. The redemption was fulfilled when the lambs and goats were slaughtered and sacrificed in the Israelite homes during the Eve of Pesach. So that gives us Y and H in the infallible name of God. But we still have Vav (V) and Hey (H). We know that the “Hey” covers the promises, but the “Vav” is the key letter that points us to Calvary’s Cross! The “Vav” is the nail, that was driven into the hands of Mashiach, this would “really” fulfill the promise of redemption. The redemption was symbolized by the animal sacrifices until Yeshua came and fulfilled it in “Full”. The “Vav” has the value of “6” which is the number of “Man”. So, Elohim became a man to receive the nail in his hands to make full the promise of redemption, which was part of the promises. The first story of Israel’s redemption by blood is in chapter 12. This can be the most important chapter of Shemot because it is “Pesach Time” ” This month shall be your beginning of months for you, it shall be the first month of the year for you” This can't be any clearer in my observation, it isn't January 1st, it is the first of Nissan, and since the lunar calendar changes from year to year, our “New Year's Day” (the real one) comes on March 27th (New Year's Eve). ” On the tenth of this month, everyone shall take a lamb.... a lamb for each household” ...... This lamb was to be a young, healthy lamb, and it would be kept for 5 days, on the 14th day, it would be slaughtered, and as we know, the blood would be placed on the two side posts of the door of the house entrance and along the top frame. As the story goes on, the death angel would come and see the blood and thus “pass-over” that house that had the blood on the doorposts. If you imagine that, the blood on the doorposts...forms sort of a “cross” you can imagine Yeshua with his arms and hands extended, each one touch one of the “doorposts” and his head against the “top part” where the blood from his head would be (where the Roman soldiers pushed in the crown of thorns) and where the nails were hammered (in the wrists) between the two small bones that form the arm (remember that not one bone was broken), so it had to between the bones, through the muscle. The lamb or goat was to be eaten roasted, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. The other elements were added later, and were present when Yeshua celebrated the Pesach Supper with his talmidim. The roasted lamb or goat symbolizes “Yeshua being “roasted” in the “fires of judgment for our sins. He took upon himself ALL of our sins, past, present, and future. They were all “nailed” to the cross and judged by the Father. The “bitter herbs” symbolize the bitterness of slavery, slavery to sin, and having a master “HaSatan” as our taskmaster. The unleavened bread symbolizes “Yeshua The Bread of Life” bread without leaven can be considered “perfect, sinless bread, therefore calling Yeshua who is without sin, “The Bread of Life”, and when we eat the “bread without leaven” (Matzah) we are symbolizing “taking into us Yeshua” and when we eat only unleavened bread for 7 days afterward, we are being conscious of “sin in our lives” (avoiding it) being reminded by the matzah. At the first Passover, the wine wasn't mentioned nor does it mention “Charoseth” (sweet mixture of nuts, apples, honey, cinnamon, etc.). They may have had wine, or water, or another drink, but no one knows for sure, nor do we know what kind of “bitter herbs” were used, today we use horseradish. Back then, it had to be something common in Egypt. The death angel visited the houses where no blood was found, so probably all the houses of the Egyptians lacked the blood, but perhaps there were a few houses that had members that paid attention to Moshe, and they might have gone to the Israelites and put blood on their doors. We are talking about a “substitution sacrifice” the “lambs and goats” were substituted for the Israelites' first-born. And any Egyptian household that also placed the blood on their doors (those who believed). We can see in scripture where a “substitute” was used. When Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac, God provided a “ram” as a substitute for Isaac, On Yom Kippur, two goats are used as “substitutes” for all of the people of Israel, and finally, “Yeshua Ha Mashiach” (Jesus the Messiah/Christ) was “OUR” substitute on the cross, HE exchanged his “Righteousness for our sinfulness” instead of us being punished for our sins, Yeshua accepted the punishment in our place. All that remains for us is to accept his “one time only” sacrifice and receive and accept HIM as our LORD and SAVIOR, and thus being “born again” according to John 3:3. Have you done this? If you were to die today, are you sure that Yeshua is your LORD and Savior? Will HE let you into his Kingdom? Only you can answer that question. ANCIENT EGYPTIAN WORDS/VOCABULARY (just for the fun of knowing them) “Aw Ibek” = May your heart rejoice, “Em Hotep” = shalom, peace, “Kemet” = Egypt “Qed” = architect (masculine) “Qedet” = architect (feminine) “baket” = female servant “Em heset net Ra” = be in favor with (the god) Ra, “Em heset net Yah” = be in favor with Yah (YHVH) “Retehtey” = baker “Retehtet” = baker (female) , “Neter” = god “Sen” = brother, “Sat” = sister “Dua netjer en ek” = thank you. Moshe spoke all of these fluently. Try some of them on your neighbor, “Em Hotep” (good bumper sticker?) ya never know what will fly these days. (kinda like the pet rock?) JER 46:13-28 600 years later, after the fall of Egypt at Passover, disaster strikes against, this time, YHVH uses Nebuchadnezzar , king of Babylon as instrument of destruction against Egypt, seems like Egypt was not humbled after the Passover experience. You would think that the pharaohs that rose to power after the time of Passover would have realized the author of Egypt's destruction, but seems like they did not, a hard heart is hard to break at times. There are people today that have hardened hearts, that still resist the will of YHVH, to become sons of God, servants of Yeshua, talmidim, at times, God will humble us through accidents, illnesses, etc.. don't wait for that to happen, HUMBLE THY SELF IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD! He loves you and wants you as his own! MAT 25:1-46 ”The Ten Talents” A “talent” was a “weight” of money thousands of years ago. It was a lot, one could have a “talent” of gold, or silver, or copper, brass, bronze, etc. And like money today, it could be invested, or wisely spent, We also use the word “talent” as something that we have, like an “ability” to do good. As believers, we all have “talents” or “abilities” given to us through the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit), with which to serve our LORD and Savior on earth. But, like the evil servant in the parable, who did nothing with his talent, only buried it, there are believers today who are doing the same. Many have more than one talent, or “spiritual gift” and they are not using it (or them). They are going to waste, or are squandering them in “things of the world. Can you sing? Yes, are you singing for God? Can you write? Are you writing for God? Can you teach? Are you teaching God's word to others? Can you play an instrument? Are you playing for the LORD? Think about the talents you have. How are you using them?
  3. Jacob Ben Avraham

    What is in the name I AM ?

    What is in the name I AM? When Moshe (Moses) left Egypt and headed for the land of Madian, his new life started. I guess we can separate the life of Moses into three parts. The first 40 years, the second 40 years, and the third 40 years. The first 40 he spent as a prince in Egypt. The second 40 he spent in Jethro’s “D.S.I.” (Desert Shepherd Institute) The last 40 he spent as leader and shepherd over Israel. He started the final 40 years when he was 80 years old. He was sent back to Egypt by Elohim. We all know the story, to set free God’s people. The order took place on Har Sinai, (Mt. Sinai). God appeared to Moshe in a burning bush. He received the orders, now, the question is asked; “Who do I say is sending me?’ I mean, it makes sense to want to know the name of the god who is sending the said redeemer, right? But the answer was not what Moshe was asking. Instead, he got; “I AM that I AM, thus you shall say to B’nei Yisrael, I AM has sent me to you!” (Exodus 3:14) So, what is in that name one may ask if we can call it a name? Well, the Creator of all things is beyond naming, He is WHO HE IS, which goes beyond human understanding. In the Hebrew, the verse says; “EHYEH asher EHYEH” it is just translated into English as I AM. Perhaps that is the closest one can get to understanding it. “Ehyeh” comes from the Hebrew word “Havayah” which means “The essence of existence.” From this word “Havayah” we get three other words; “Hayah” (the past) “Hoveh” the present, and “Yiyah” (the future). All three words are a mixture of just three Hebrews letters, Yod (Y) Hey (H) and Vav (V). from these letters, the most infallible name, the holiest name of God is derived; YHVH. No one knows for sure how that name was originally pronounced, but out of respect, we say “Adonai” or “HaShem” (The Name). Yet it was altered in the English, to make the “Y” into a “J” and then add vowels, to get the present name Jehovah, which is used today in modern Bibles. In the Paleo-Hebrew, the name YHVH symbolized “Behold the hand, Behold the nail” which is a perfect illustration of Calvary, and what Yeshua did to pay for our sins. He received the nails in his hands to pay for our sins, from the past, present, and future. Just like He is “the essence of existence from the past, present, and future” He bore our sins in his body, for our sins from the past, present, and future. In Hebrew gematria, the name YHVH equals “26”. He bore our sins in the form of a man (Yeshua) which is symbolized by “6” and thus, an eternal covenant was made “2” with His “House” The God-man covenanted with humankind with his own blood so that we could all have a “new beginning” which is symbolized by the number “8”. Do you see the connection? “26’ 2+6=8, and “dam” (blood) is “dalet and Mem” 4 +40 = 44. 4+4=8. So, the next time you read the name I AM, in Exodus, think of the Creator who is beyond naming, who took human form and received the nails to pay our sin debt to give us all a “new beginning” through the “New-birth’ (John 3:3)
  4. PARASHA: “Va’era” (and I appeared) EXODUS 6:2-9:35........ EZEKIEL 28:25-29: 21.......... MATT 24:1-51 YHVH speaks to Moshe saying that when he appeared to Abraham, he revealed himself as “El Shaddai” which means “God Almighty” or “God all-powerful, yet he did not reveal himself as he did to Moshe, with Moshe he revealed himself with the more personal name; YHVH (Yod Hey Vav Hey) These letters stem from the word; “HaVaYaH” which means “To exist” (we just re-arrange the letters) one could say that the name YHVH means “the God who exists from time past, present, and future) “Haya=the past” “Hoveh=the present “Yiyah”=future” As one can see, these words are a mixture of the letters YHVH. YHVH plans to take his people out of Egypt and return them to Canaan, the promised land, and at the same time, “judge the Egyptians” using a series of judgments leading up to the slaughter of the “Passover lambs” a very important “Moed” which we know so well. This year, Passover starts April 10th. We can look forward to this time as we do every year. The judgments are directed against the false deities of Egypt and against Pharaoh himself. Egypt is pretty well destroyed and left in ruin afterward and never did regain the power and military might it once boasted of. From verses 6 to 9, YHVH makes 8 “I will” promises to his people and I want to look at these promises in light of how they affect us as believers in Messiah Yeshua today; 1. I WILL bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 2. I WILL rescue you from their bondage. 3. I WILL redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 4. I WILL take you as my people. 5. I WILL be your God. 6. I WILL make myself known to you as your GOD who brings you out from under the burdens of Egypt. 7. I WILL bring you to the land I promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 8. I WILL give it to you as an inheritance. How do these promises affect us as believers? 1. I WILL bring you out from under the burden of SIN (already done!) 2. I WILL rescue you from the bondage of SIN (through Yeshua) (already done!) 3. I WILL redeem you with “Two outstretched arms, which received two nails” and “judged” HaSatan (done!) 4. I WILL take you as part of my people, now, through Yeshua. You are part of the Commonwealth of Israel, you have been “grafted in” 5. I WILL be your God; Adonai-Elohim-Yeshua YHVH 6. I MADE myself known to you through my Torah! And through YESHUA 7. I WILL bring you to my land, in the near future (and now if you feel you are called to come over here to Israel, even if it is to serve for a while, check out the IDF! ) 8. I WILL give you as an inheritance ETERNAL LIFE, and you will be part of MY KINGDOM. If you have already come to Yeshua, you already have it! No problemo! A quick look at the plagues that Adonai brought down upon the Egyptians. All were directed against the pagan Egyptian gods. The staff of Moshe, which was thrown down and it became a serpent, the serpent (Cobra) was the emblem of power in Egypt, the emblem of Pharaoh, in this case, the staff of Moshe, (the staff representing the power and authority of Adonai, through Moshe and Aaron) turned into a serpent, and quickly devoured the serpent-staffs of the magicians of Pharaoh. Result? The power (serpent) of Adonai overpowers the authority (serpents) of Pharaoh, case closed! The Nile was worshipped as a god who gave life. The Torah teaches that the life of the flesh is in the blood, yet in this case, the “bloody Nile” symbolized death. Again, Adonai triumphs over the god or goddess of the Nile. Only in Goshen was there fresh water, Yeshua, who is the “Living Water” gives life to those who seek Him and are on “His side”. Frogs are cute yet kinda slimy, a few are OK, but too many are bad, especially when they all start to sing and croak together. The Egyptians could not kill them since they considered them gods. The goddess “Heket” was the goddess of fertility and had the head of a frog! And boy did they ever reproduce! Too many frogs! Too many “Heketim!” yet Adonai got rid of them, and the land “stank!” The plague of lice and boils made the Egyptian priests “unclean” to serve. Again, two strikes against Egypt’s religious order. The plague of the death of the cattle, a strike against the Egyptian god “Apis” (the bull). The hail from the sky, a strike against Hathor, the goddess of the heavenlies. Darkness, a strike against Ra, the sun-god. The list goes on. It is a war against the gods of Egypt against the ONE true God, Adonai-Elohim. We know who’s winning, and who won. Yeshua gave HaSatan the death blow at Calvary. The death blow of the first-born in Egypt was the blow against Osiris, the god of death and of the underworld. In Yeshua, life triumphs over death. That is why it is important to be “born again” then we go from death to life; …..Before being “born again”, accepting Yeshua/Jesus as our LORD and Savior, Messiah, we are under the burden and bondage of “HaSatan” the deceiver, father of Lies, and we do “his bidding” whether we know it or not, maybe a lot of us were not involved in crime, drugs, murder, etc., but we were hell bound and just did not give God a second thought, If Yeshua/YHVH is not our Father, LORD, redeemer, than, we are of our father, “the devil”, there is no other choice, we are either on one side of the fence or on the other side, there is no “in between” fences. We are under the bondage of sin, and under its burden until we are redeemed. Yet Yeshua DID rescue us from the bondage and burden of sin with “HIS OUTSTRETCHED ARMS” He stretched out his arms and hands to receive the nails of Calvary. He allowed the Roman soldiers to nail him to that rugged cross that Passover day, so as to pay the price of sin for us all. That day, he “judged” sin and death with his blood. From the moment we accept HIM as LORD and Savior, we are taken by him as HIS PEOPLE, we join the great Commonwealth of Israel, being grafted in to the Olive Tree. We are now HIS PEOPLE and part of HIS FAMILY of redeemed. He is OUR GOD, and he made himself known to us through his WORD. His WORD, has been taught to us through his faithful ministers, preachers, rabbis, teachers, etc. We are now living in different lands, in the USA and in other countries, yet someday, we will go to live in HIS glorious city “The New Jerusalem” which is now in the Heavenlies, yet will one day come to rest on earth. This is our inheritance as believers in Messiah Yeshua, Eternal life in his glorious kingdom. We can rest assured that we all have a glorious future to look forward to. EZEKIEL 28:25-29:21 The prophet speaks through the Holy Spirit and affirms that even though Israel has been scattered throughout the countries of the world, they will be returned to their land in the future, it is already happening, Israel was recognized as a nation in 1948, and since then, the people have been returning. One positive thing to dwell upon, the Jewish people made known to the nations of the ONE GOD, Adonai-Elohim-YHVH” and through the migration of the Jewish peoples to different parts of the world, we now have the Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Falashim, people groups which make up most to the Jewish peoples today. These people groups have introduced many varieties of foods, customs, and ways of worship in today's Judaism, many are also Messianic believers. Bad news for Egypt, just as the Israelites were scattered among the nations, the Egyptians will also be scattered among the nations for 40 years, Egypt will be desolate and people-less, for this period of time, this will probably happen during the millennium. The Egyptian people will come back after that time, but Egypt will never be a prosperous country. Since the fall of Egypt after the time of Passover, Egypt was conquered by the Babylonians, the Greeks, and Romans. Even today, there are Egyptians living in many countries in the world, but Egypt has never been left completely without people and animals, at least not yet. Yet a good note to ponder on, Egypt opened its doors to receive young Yeshua with Mary, and Joseph when they were fleeing from Herod. There are quite a few believers in Egypt today, making up the “Coptic Church” My wife and I visited Egypt in 1999 and it is indeed an interesting (yet poor) country. The food is fantastic! MATT 24:1-51 Yeshua tells his talmidim about the “end times” and we all know and have read this chapter, of “wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, etc. As we look around today, we can be certain that we are living in these “end times” for sure, yet the end is not yet...we still have a way to go. We have heard of many “false-Messiahs” leaders claiming to be “Jesus” yet we know better than believing on them. When Yeshua returns, the “Whole World” will see him returning, what will modern satellite cameras, etc. The gospel will be preached to the whole world, which is happening now, we need to be ready for his return, those of us that are alive, we will be gathered together as well as those who have gone on before us and who are now in heaven, we will be ONE FAMILY and share life together in the Millennial Kingdom of Yeshua and for all eternity. Ben Avraham
  5. Jacob Ben Avraham

    Parasha: "Shemot" (Exodus)

    PARASHA: “Shemot” (Names) EXODUS 1:1-6:1.......................ISAIAH 27:6-28: 13...................MATT 22:1-23:39 We enter into a new era, Jacob/Israel and Joseph are now in the past, yet their legacy continues, in “Am Yisrael” (The People of Israel). ”70 souls” entered Mitzraim (Egypt). It is interesting that the Hebrew word “Nefesh” is used for “souls” yet the word is in the singular, but why? Is there a symbolism here? If we are to read this in English, we would read; “70 soul entered Egypt”. One could say that the word “Nefesh” (Soul) could refer to the whole “Family” of Israel as ONE (Echad) family unit, as we are ONE with Elohim, then all of Israel was ONE as well. hundreds of years later, we have a few million Hebrews. There is a list at the beginning of Exodus of the “b'nei Israel” (the sons of Israel) and they had their children, and their children had children, etc. They remained in the area of “Goshen” along the Nile Delta, farming, raising cattle, probably a few became merchants, they adapted to the life in Egypt, got used to seeing Egyptian deities, probably understood spoken Egyptian. Who knows if many became “Egyptianized” did they bow down to the deities? Let's hope not. How much did they retain about Adonai? El Shaddai? We don't know, but I am sure that the story of Joseph and how he brought his family to Egypt from Canaan was passed down from family to family. The story of the famine, and how Yosef preserved life in midst of the famine. So “b'nei Israel” multiplied, and the land was filled with the “b'nei Israel”, and now the Egyptians start to get nervous. In verse 8, problems start; ” And there arose a new king over Egypt who knew not Joseph” there are a few ideas of who it might have been. Some believe it might have been “Pharaoh Ahmose” the title “Pharaoh” is not the name, it is only a title which means “ruler”. It might have been “Ahmose” or even “Rameses II”. A little on Egyptian words and etymology, the Egyptian word “meses” or “mose” means “born of” so the name “Moshe” or “Moses” is similar to “meses” (born of) or (Taken from). There were many “Rameses” it means “Born of the god RA” “Ahmose” probably (born of “Ah”) “Thutmose” (born of the god Thut) and so on. So many pharaohs took on those names. The pharaoh of verse 8 is paranoid and thinks that the Israelites will join, perhaps with the Hittites, to overthrow Egypt. It is said that “Senoset” the pharaoh that gave rise to power to Joseph was a foreign king, a “Semite” known as a “Hyksos king”, perhaps that was why he felt some kinship with Joseph. Now the slavery starts and the Hebrews (Egyptian word is “Hapiru”) are made slaves, and the good times are over. Yet Elohim hears the cries of his people, and has selected the tribe of Levi, through a couple; Amran and Jochebed, to bring into the world, “Moshe” who would be a sort of “Mashiach” (like Yosef) to lead Israel OUT of Egypt, in God's appointed time. YHVH has time for ALL THINGS, we cannot rush God's clock, it ticks slowly for us, yet it ticks out second by second and includes us all in the plan of things. the throne of Egyptian probably changes, and the pharaohs continue to be paranoid, one develops a plan to “curb” the birth rate by killing the baby boys, according to the historian 'Ted Stewart' in his book “solving the Exodus Mystery” the pharaoh who ordered the death of the male infants was “Sesostris III” we see that Moshe is adopted by the daughter of this pharaoh. At the time when Moshe grows up and is in the palace, being raised as a “Prince of Egypt” and at the time, “retaining (inside) his Hebrew identity”. We remember that his kills an Egyptian in defending one of his own, the Pharaoh that sought his death was “Amenemhet III”. When Moshe fled and spent 40 years in Madian, upon returning, he faced the Pharaoh “Amenemhet IV” who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus, who pursued the Israelites through the Red Sea, (and didn't quite make it, receiving a very fatal water baptism). (T. Stewart, Solving the Exodus Mystery, www.biblediscoveries.com) This Parashah has so much that I wish to concentrate on the “Calling of Moshe” in chapter three of Shemot God calls to Moshe while he is taking care of Yitro's sheep near Mt. Sinai. A note to mention is that God prepares his servants beforehand, before sending them out on the mission fields, “Midian and the flocks of sheep” were the training grounds and subjects of his training, before leading out “Human sheep” to the land of Midian that “he now knew and was familiar with” God calls him saying; “Anochi Elohei Aviyha” (I am the God of your father) so the name “Elohei” is used, then he uses a more personal name in verse 14; “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” if you can really call it a name, it is translated as I AM that or who I AM, which is really not a name at all. So, what is God trying to convey to Moshe? In a way, he is saying, “Is a proper name so important Moe? Just understand that I EXIST! I have existed in the past, the present, and will exist in the future” from the word “Ehyeh” is a form of “Haya” or “Havayah” meaning “to exist” or “the essence of being” from this we get the most sacred name of God: YHVH HaVaYaH (re-arrange the letters we get YHVH) modern translators put in vowels to get YeHoVaH and have changed the Y to J to become JEHOVAH, but that is not the original name, there exists no “J” in Hebrew. The other name used in chapter 3 is “Elohim” “Elohim” said to Moshe...Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh...” “Elohim” is the “all-powerful God of Creation, the Triune God (im) who we know, as Messianic believers, as being EL (father) BEN-YESHUA, (Yeshua the Son) RUACH-HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit). Elohim has revealed himself to us in human form through YESHUA, and as Moshe lead his people out of the slavery of physical bondage, YESHUA lead us out of the bondage of spiritual slavery of sin, leading us to a new life, in a personal relationship with HIM, as the Israelites entered into a renewed relationship with Elohei starting at Sinai, our relationship starts at Calvary. We are now joined to “His chosen people” through adoption, both native-born in Israel, and those who are from the diaspora, we are all ONE (ECHAD) in Messiah Yeshua Ben David, Ben Adam, Ben YHVH. We continue to read and we find in chapter 4 that YHVH sends Moshe back to Egypt to lead his people out. We find that God works through people, some very special, others very ordinary. Yet before sending back Moshe, He prepares him in the desert as a shepherd. One can divide the life of Moshe into three parts, the first 40 years as prince and general in Egypt, the second 40 years as an outcast, yet an instrument in the hands of YHVH, and the last 40 years as leader of Israel. Before sending him back, there are three signs that YHVH gives Moshe, as “authority”. When we look at these three signs of authority, we see “Yeshua” in these signs. The first was the “Mateh” (The staff). It was common for every household leader to carry a staff, a little more than just a “walking stick”. The “Mateh” was the sign of leadership and authority. But this one would be changed into a serpent when Moshe threw it down before Pharaoh. The serpent was the sign of “kingly authority” in Egypt, as it was a part of the royal headdress that the pharaohs wore. Shepherds carried a “rod” and a “staff” when leading sheep. The “rod” being a short, heavy club that was used as a weapon, and the “staff” to lead. Yeshua is the “good shepherd” who leads us, who, “crushed the head of the serpent” at Calvary. The second sign was the sign of “disease and healing of said disease” namely “Tza-arat” (leprosy). We see in the Prophets that Elisha healed Naaman the Syrian of leprosy, Yeshua also healed the sick, including lepers. Even in the desert, those who were bitten by “serpents” were healed by a “bronze serpent on a staff” (again, returning to the staff and serpent). Yeshua is our healer and heals us of the curse of sin and death. The third sign was the “water turned to blood” on dry land (4:9). This reminds us of our Messiah Yeshua, who when on the cross, was pierced by a Roman spear, and out of his side came “blood and water” and this mixture of “blood and water” fell from the cross on dry land. By his shed blood, we are saved, by Yeshua who is the “Living Water”. So, we also see in these three signs, the “Torah” the “Prophets” and the “Brit HaDashah” ISAIAH 27:6-28:13 ” In the days to come, shall Jacob take root, Israel shall blossom and bud....” We see a fulfilling of this prophecy in that once taken from Egypt, and united and solidified as a “People” a “Nation”, this people/nation has grown and has spread out throughout the world Though many nations have tried to “snuff out” Am Yisrael, they, in turn (those nations) have suffered punishment and defeat in trying to do just that. Can a mouse “snuff-out” an elephant? Israel, upon being scattered throughout the nations, brought the belief in “ONE GOD” when the nations believed in “Multi-gods” Through the Tribe of Y’hudah, came forth YHVH in the flesh, “Yeshua” who is “Yeshuah” (Salvation) to all those who believe on him who died to set men free from sin. MATT 22:1-23:39 Yeshua tells a parable about the “Kingdom of Heaven” being likened to a “marriage/wedding feast, and the king invites many to come, but they refuse, and even kill the servants, then he sends an army to destroy those who rejected him and killed his servants, and sent others to invite others to come, and many came, and the feast was given. Both good and bad came, When we look at this in plain light, Yeshua is now preparing a “wedding feast” to those who have accepted his “invitation”. Many accept, even those who walk in evil ways, want to change their lives, so they come to the wedding feast, yet also, many reject. The offer still stands, Yeshua died on the cross to offer mankind “salvation” (Yeshuah) through his blood and full atonement of sins. Yet many still make fun of that and refuse the free gift of salvation, to prefer the ways of the world. Those who refuse, and die in their sins, will suffer eternal punishment in the Lake of fire, While the offer was made, they refused, while others accepted. What will you do with the free gift of Salvation? Accept or reject?
  6. PARASHA: “VaYechi” (and he lived) GEN 47:28-50:26........1 KINGS 2:1-12........MATT 20:1-21:46 In this we see Jacob (Israel) in his last days, he prepares to “go the way of all men” (As king David put it), Jacob is getting ready to die. He prepares himself and makes sure that his sons and grandsons are blessed and they know what is ahead of them. A father's blessing to his children is very important. We see that he lives 17 years in Egypt, and strangely enough, Yosef comes to Egypt at age 17! When we add up the two “17s” we get “34”, then adding 3+4 = 7, we are back to the number “7” which is God's number, Both Jacob and Joseph were in God's perfect will and HE fulfilled HIS perfect purpose through those men. Jacob lives 147 years. Those numbers and significant also. Jacob has “12” sons altogether, the “founding fathers” of what and who are the Israelis, Israelites, Jewish people today. When we add up the numbers 1 +4+7 in the number 147, we get 1+4+7= “12”. To write the number 147 using Hebrew letters we would use a “Qoph” (Q or K) “mem” (M) and a “Zayin” (z) Qoph = 100, Mem = 40, Zayin = 7, how do these numbers tell us about Jacob/Israel? Jacob/Israel was set side “Kadosh” for YHVH's special purpose, to bring forth a “multitude of people “mem” and this people, the Jewish people would have to “fight” (Zayin) for survival, “zayin = weapon”,” mem” = “multitude, water, or chaos” Before he dies, Jacob blesses his 12 children (B'rakhah b'nei Israel) and his 2 grandkids and tells them about their futures, some are bleak, not so nice (one reaps what one sows). Each name of “b'nei Israel” (children of Israel) has a symbolic meaning, what do these names mean to us as “born again believers in Yeshua HaMashiach?” well, let's see; RUEBEN (Re'eh) “to see”, SIMEON (Sh'ma) “to hear”, LEVI (lev=heart) “united, joined together” Y'HUDAH (contains the most sacred name of God, YHVH) “praise” , DAN “judge” , NAPHTALI “wrestling” GAD “a troop comes”, ASHER “blessed” , ISSACHAR “wages”, ZEBULUN “dwelling with husband”, YOSEF “YHVH will add a son”, BENJAMIN “son of the right hand” MANASSEH “forget my toil and my father's house” (pray 4 Zion, the significance of the twelve tribes of Israel). There is one interesting thing about “Yosef” it is the blessing that Israel pronounces on his favorite son. It is found in Gen 49:22; “Yosef is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall” We wonder what could this mean? If we take some of these words in the original Hebrew, we see the words; “porat” which is a boy’s name in Israel, it means; “fruitful” from the verb “Parah” which means “to bear fruit” then we have the combined words “Alei-Ayin” which, when searched in the dictionary is very hard to find an exact meaning. But in Hebrew letters, it would be spelled out; “Ayin, Lamed, Yod (then a line connecting) Ayin, Yod, Nun. In the basic Hebrew dictionary, I found two meanings for the word; Ayin, Lamed, Yod (Alei) one is “On” the other “Pestle” which is part of the flower. The word “Ayin” is “eye” what could we understand with this phrase? Perhaps something like “a bough that bears fruit on the eye, that goes “on” the wall, and then “over the wall” being watered by a spring. Here is one idea, we have to say; “an idea” because one can never be 100% certain of some meanings. What does the “eye” have to do with a plant? a bough? Tree? A pestle which is part of a flower which is part of a tree? Yosef will be “porat” fruitful, because of him bringing his family to Egypt, they “multiplied” in population in four-hundred years. The family began with 70 some persons, and left Egypt four-hundred and some years later with perhaps two-million! Now THAT is what I call being FRUITFUL (porat) The verse also says; “Ben Porat” or “son of fruitfulness” this is mentioned TWICE, before and after the name YOSEF. Could this mean a “double portion of fruitfulness?” again, we see 70 persons become two-million. Take even the sons of Yosef; Manasseh and Efraim, they became many and it is believed that the descendants of Efraim spread out to many nations, yet Israel claims his grandsons as “his own” meaning they are part of the 12 tribes, which is “Adat Yisrael” (Community of Israel). But what is a possible meaning of “Alei-Ayin?” perhaps we could say that the flowers that bloom on many trees have pestles, and the leaves, well, many are shaped like “eyes” and if the tree is connected to a spring/well of water, it will flourish. The letter “Ayin” in Hebrew symbolizes “sight” or “insight” if we take the two words “Alei-Ayin” and look at the meaning of the words from an ancient Hebrew perspective, we could see the following; “insight through instruction/direction is a done thing! (Alei) and “insight accomplished leads to life” (ayin). What were the names of the two trees in the Garden of Eden? The Tree of Knowledge, and the Tree of Life! Is there a connection? If we, as descendants of perhaps Efraim, who descends from Yosef, if we adhere to the instruction of the Torah, we will be blessed with life and life in abundance and we will be fruitful, not so much biologically, but in bringing “spiritual fruit” bringing others close to Messiah, through witness and teaching others HIS Word. We are then “B’nei Porat” (sons of fruitfulness) This is just an idea. We can think about this. What do we see when we apply these meanings to our lives as “born again believers?” We can all SEE the changed lives, the miracles that have been done in believers' lives, and we HEAR of the faith of others who have been challenged by oppressive governments, we HEAR God's Word through SEEING the words in the Torah, and take them into our HEART, so that the words of Torah are JOINED TOGETHER to our lives, so that we may PRAISE the name of YHVH. We must all look at our lives and JUDGE ourselves in light of the scriptures, are we living the way YHVH wants us to live? We must judge ourselves, lest we are judged, yet we will ALL incur JUDGEMENT at the “Judgment seat of Messiah. Every day is a kind of “WRESTLING” match between our old nature and our renewed nature, the sinful flesh against our new “born again” selves. We are Adonai's TROOPS, we are at war against HaSatan, and his unholy fallen angels, it is spiritual warfare, and our weapons are the WORD of God, His Holy Spirit, and HIS holy angels, and our prayers, we have been BLESSED with a new relationship with our creator and redeemer, and we will receive WAGES for our good works, (mitzvoth) in form of rewards in heaven, as “gold, silver, precious stones” Our future hope is one day, to DWELL WITH OUR HUSBAND, who is Messiah Yeshua, who loves us as his “bride”. Every time a lost person is “born again” a SON IS ADDED, to God's redeemed family of believers. We are sons of Adonai's RIGHT HAND, who is Messiah Yeshua, who stretched out his HANDS to receive the nails. We can forget our TOILS, rest from them on the Sabbath, Every Sabbath day is our time to rest from our TOILS and to be in OUR FATHER'S HOUSE. Someday, we will have our permanent “Sabbath rest”. We must not forget that one of the blessings of Judah is the coming forth of SHILOH, who is Yeshua, who will have the ruler's scepter, who will be “king over all the earth” to him will gather ALL nations. We have come to the end of the Book of Genesis. The book ends with the word "Egypt" and the first word in Genesis is "B'reisheet" (In the Beginning) Can we see something here? a hidden message perhaps? Perhaps we can see it as "Israel received it's "beginning" as a multitude during the sojourn in "Egypt" for 400 years" something to think about. 1 KINGS 2:1-12 King David is on his deathbed and calls his son Solomon, and tells him “what it is to be a MAN!” so here's the truth to all “macho guys out there who just THINK they know what it is to be a real man. Melech David tells the truth through the Holy Spirit who guides his words; ” Keep charge of YHVH thy God, Walk in HIS ways, Keep HIS commandments as they are written in the Torah, SO THAT, you may prosper in ALL you do. So, there you have it, what it is to be a man, (or a woman) of God, Trust in Yeshua as LORD and Savior, Depend of HIS righteousness through his blood and sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, which will lead us to a right relation with HIM and with his written word, to put into practice as our way of life. But always remember that salvation is through FAITH, and by FAITH only, and never depending on works! (mitzvoth) the “works” are an “aftermath” of our faith experience. MATT 22:1-23:39 Yeshua tells the story of a man who pays the same wage to various workers who went to work for him at different times during the day. The guy who worked 10 hours, gets, let's say, $100.00 and the guy who just worked 2 hours, also gets $100.00. The guy who worked 10 hours gets upset, “Hey, that's not fair!” but why should he worry, if the man wants to be generous, that's on him, right? Which proves that YHVH shows mercy on whom he pleases, no matter where he or she is, and blesses in abundance with some, and not so much abundance with others, the thing to remember is that HE supplies our NEEDS, one way or another, whether or not we work a lot to get blessed, the blessings will ALWAYS come from ABOVE. Shabbat Shalom PIC: "Bob the frog" Bob the frog sat in the bog thinking about God. Bob said to God, "Why Am I a frog?" So God told Bob the frog, "I made you a frog to keep the mosquito population at bay and to make tadpoles with Mrs. Bob. So Bob answered God, "Sounds like a plan to me" God answered Bob the frog; "Any more questions?" and Bob said to God, "Now, All I have to do is find Mrs. Bob, but I am sure that she's somewhere in this bog!"
  7. PARASHA: “VaYIGASH” (and he drew near) GENESIS 44:18-47:27...........EZEKIEL 37:15-28...............MATT 18:1-19:30 In this Parashah, we read that “he (Y'hudah) drew near” to Yosef, and shows himself as truly repentant for his past actions against Yosef, for selling him for the price of a common slave. And we see the reaction of Yosef once he hears Y'hudah, he then reveals himself as his TRUE self, their BROTHER. Before, Yosef stood in front of his brothers as “judge” now he stands before them with “open arms” as “Family” “Savior” “Provider” Mashiach. But it took a repentant and contrite heart to bring about the “revelation”. It is interesting that “Y’hudah” offers to exchange places with Benjamin. He would stay and be a slave to Yosef, and Benjamin would be set free. We can see the symbolism in our relationship with Messiah Yeshua. The name “Y’hudah” bears the most Holy name of Adonai, the letters YHVH. We see the complete spelling in Hebrew; Yod, Hey, Vav, Dalet, Hey. Y’HUDH. The letter “D’ (dalet) symbolizes a “door” and it is one of Yeshua’s titles; “I AM the Door” (John 10:9). Our relationship with our Heavenly Father must come through Yeshua, who is the “door”. As Y’hudah was willing to change places with Benjamin, Yeshua DID change places with us, He took our sins and gave us His righteousness, our sinfulness for His Holiness. Before we come to Yeshua as a repentant sinner, He is our JUDGE, and as a Holy God, and Judge, he has the right to judge us guilty as lost sinners, yet all this change when we come and accept him as Savior and LORD, THEN, our position changes, we become members of “Mishpochah Adonai” (Family of God) and Yeshua is our mediator to our Heavenly Father. Yeshua is no longer our “judge” but our Savior, Redeemer, Messiah, (Yeshuah, Goel, Mashiach) We see something similar. Pharaoh (who some believe bore the name “Senoset”) was ruler of Egypt, and Yosef was his “right-hand man” or Viceroy” Prime Minister, if you could call him that. Yosef had to get Pharaoh's permission for his family to go down to Egypt, and of course, permission was granted. For us to get right-standing before our Holy God, we go through Yeshua, who is GOD, in the flesh, as Yosef was “Pharaoh” in a sense, when Pharaoh could not leave the palace. Yosef spoke in “Name of” Pharaoh, as Yeshua represents the Father who is in Heaven.…..We see the words of Yosef in 45:3 “Ani Yosef!” powerful words, what do they symbolize in the ancient Hebrew letters, “Ani” (I) “Alef” (strong leader, God) “Nun” (who gives life) “Yod” (does mighty works) and the name “Yosef” : “Yod” (who does works) “Vav” (connects) “Samekh” (to lean on, to support, to uphold) “Pey” (mouth, to speak) so, the name “YOSEF” in certain words can mean “He who does might works, speaks to (us) (to his brothers) and connects them to him through support. The words; “Ani Yosef” if spoken to others that were not his kin, would not have caused a reaction, the same way if we would say to someone who does not know us; “I am _______” (and you say your name), the other person would probably say; “so what?’ or “OK, I am ______” But these words, spoken to his brothers caused a sort of “mixed-emotion” reaction, troubled at these words, they could hardly believe their hears, and seeing their brother dressed as an Egyptian, but now, the family is reunited again. As family members, we often offend others and even God through our negative actions, yet once sins are confessed, and the wrong-doing understood and dealt with, the hurts are mended, and there is forgiveness, in this case, Yosef forgiving his brethren. He spoke words of comfort to his brothers, promising them “support” throughout the years of famine, they could “lean on him” and thus have that “connection” so we see that “Yosef” (I know, everyone is used to spelling it “Joseph” (the regular English spelling) but the Hebrew does not have a “J” so “Yosef” is the correct and original spelling. “Yosef” is related to our “Messiah Yeshua” in that “Both have spoken words of comfort to us, through His WORD, and we are connected to him through his blood and being “born again” and we can “Lean on Him” who has set captives free. Yosef, who once was a captive slave, went down to Egypt, sold for 20 pieces of silver, (the price of a slave back then) and became the “Savior” of many lives through the distribution of food in that time of famine. Yeshua, who went “down to Egypt” as a baby. Came “up out of Egypt” and was sold for “30 pieces of silver” (the price of a slave then in his times) and became the “Savior” of the world, and saved the world of “Spiritual death and spiritual famine” We see in Chapter 47 that “Jacob” (who is ISRAEL now) goes down to Egypt, with his family of 70 (includes children, grandkids, servants, etc.) “Israel” and “Yosef” meet. Yosef's legal name is “Yosef Ben Israel” or “Ben Jacob” the name ISRAEL comes from “Yasher El” (straight to GOD) Yosef is happy to see “Abba” again and goes “straight to God” as we believers should be happy to go “straight to God” through Yeshua. Jacob at the beginning does not believe his sons when they told him that Yosef was alive, it took the evidence of the cartloads of food and goods from Egypt to convince him. He had to see in order to believe. The same thing was with Thomas, the talmidim of Yeshua told him that Yeshua was there, that he was alive, be he didn’t believe them until Yeshua appeared to Thomas. He told him to put his hand on the nail wounds, and on the spear wound, and “believe” and not to “disbelieve”. Anyone can believe when confronted with the physical evidence, but “Blessed are those that believe and do not see” (the physical evidence). That is what faith is all about. This is the beginning of Israel's “sojourn” in the land of Egypt, interesting fact, “Yosef” in a way “Enslaved the Egyptians” by taking from them their land, cattle, money, in exchange for food. Later on, the “worm turned” and the Egyptians, under the power of a different Pharaoh (who some think was “Ahmose”) enslaved ISRAEL, until the time of Moshe. Israel is still enslaved to tradition, religiosity, blind eyes that refuse to recognize Messiah Yeshua, as the promised “Mashiach” that the Torah speaks of. Yet many are coming to Mashiach, but there are still many more that need “Yeshuah” (Salvation) EZEKIEL 37:15-28 Here, “Yeches’kel Ha Navi” (Ezekiel the Prophet) sees the joining of Judah and the children of Israel, and Yosef, with his son Efrain” and they are joined together as ONE (Echad) “One in Unity” Once they were separated, Yosef and his sons in Egypt, and Israel, Judah, and his brothers, in Canaan, but NOW, together as ONE FAMILY. As we are also ONE (echad) in Messiah Yeshua's love. We are “Kehilah Echad” (One congregation united in Yeshua) even though there are thousands of “Kehilot” all over the world, our relationship in Yeshua makes us ONE. MATT 18:1-19:30 Yeshua says that “unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven”. A child is “innocent” and has an eager mind to learn. When we are “born again” we start anew, like “little children” and slowly “grow into maturity” yes, we will stumble and fall, get into trouble, and get “spanked” by the Father, but HE will still love us as HIS CHILDREN.
  8. Parashah: “Miketz” (at the end of) GENESIS 41:1-44:17.........................1 KINGS 3:15-4:1....................MATT 16:1-17:27 When we look into this parashah study, we see Yosef, who was, in a way of speaking, in the “pit” He was cast into the prison for something he did not do, yet he continued to trust YHVH for his needs. This reminds us of Melech David's words “You will not leave my soul in Sheol” This was a time of testing for Yosef. It was out of his hands. He came to Egypt as a slave, got a good position in Potiphar’s house, went from a common slave to comfort of a house, from house to the prison, and from prison to fame and fortune. All in YHVH's perfect timing and planning. We might ask ourselves if Yosef could have managed an escape from the house of Potiphar, or even from prison, he probably would have headed straight back to his home in Canaan. No one would have been in Egypt to interpret Pharaoh's dreams, and thus, save the world from starvation. Yet we see that Yosef did submit himself to the perfect will of HaShem, and he was finally taken out of prison via the “cupbearer” (Oh yes, now I realize my shortcomings, there IS a guy in prison that can interpret your dreams, your majesty...) Yet Yosef gives all glory to God, “God will give the interpretation” which is a positive witness to YHVH. Pharaoh probably saw the shortcomings and weakness of the Egyptian priests who were “supposed” to get their wisdom from Egyptian gods, yet this foreign “Hebrew” gets his wisdom to interpret dreams from an “invisible” God. Another thing we see is that Yosef not only gives the interpretation but also the “solution”. For what good is an interpretation of a dream that speaks “calamity” if there is no solution to the problem? It is kind of like saying; “Hey king, your country is doomed, 7 years of famine, starvation, death...well OK.... nice meeting you Mr. King.” yet Yosef is faithful and brings a solution, through YHVH's wisdom and perhaps the experience he already had in agriculture and livestock when he was in Canaan as a teen. Now, he is elevated to “assistant in command” to Pharaoh, and goes from “rags to riches” He is now in position to sort of “run the country” and we see that in time, Yosef's brothers come in search of food, of course, they do not recognize him, in Egyptian clothing, some 20 years later, no beard, etc. The brothers have to be tested to see if they are really sorry for what they did to Yosef, Yosef needs to see “true repentance”. Yosef is now in the position as “judge” yet when he tested them, using Benjamin, he sees true repentance through Y'hudah, now that he sees this, he reveals his true self, “Ani Yosef!!” (I AM Yosef) He is no longer in the position of “judge” but “family” When we were lost sinners, Yeshua was in the position as our “judge” As many who will continue to reject the free gift of salvation, they will be “judged” guilty by Messiah Yeshua at the Great White Throne Judgment, yet once we come to Yeshua and accept Him as our Savior and LORD, then, we come “Family” members, and we will be treated as “family”. “Y'hudah” symbolizes “Israel” who, in the future, will recognize “HE who was pierced” and those in Israel will say, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of YHVH” as Yosef then “Talked” with his brothers, so YHVH desires to “talk” with us, through prayer and fellowship. As Yosef invited ALL his family to Egypt, so ALL who come to recognize Yeshua as Mashiach, are invited to join the “Heavenly family” Yosef is a “Messiah type” who saved the local world from physical famine, Yeshua saves the world from “spiritual famine” to all those who come to HIM and accept him as Savior and LORD! 1 KINGS 3:15-4:1 In this scripture portion, we see Solomon lifting up “burnt-offerings” and “peace-offerings” after also having “dreams” In his dream, YHVH asked him what he wished for, “For wisdom, an understanding heart to judge this people” and YHVH thus granted him what he wished for. This should be a guide for us when we wish for things. I think the best wish would be knowledge of the Torah and wisdom to put into action what we learn from God's Holy Writ. As we see. God gave Solomon that and more. ” Burnt-offerings” symbolize our sinful nature, and the “peace-offerings” speak of our happiness and joy because of our salvation experience. Today these offerings are “offered up” in “prayer and thanksgiving” the prayers of confession of sin are always heard, and so are the prayers of praise and thanksgiving, because we know we have been forgiven. MATT 16: 1-17:27 The “leaven” of the Pharisees is non-the less “unbelief” as Yeshua said, this reminds us when He was visiting the temple during this same time of Hanukkah, and the Jews came around him and said; “tell us plainly if you are the Messiah or not!” yet He rebukes them saying “I have already told you and you do not believe!” He had already given signs through his miracles of healing, raising of the dead, how much more proof did they need? What does “leaven” do in bread? It “puffs up the bread” and that is what pride does, it “puffs up” and person, and sometimes, stubborn pride brings on unbelief. Kefa exhibits his faith when he said; “You are Messiah, the Living God” Faith is “believing what we cannot see” yet Kefa sees Yeshua and sees the miracles, and so he believes, yet Yeshua says later on after the resurrection, “You have believed because you see, blessed are those who do not see yet BELIEVE! Shabbat Shalom............ Rabbi Ben Avraham
  9. PARASHA: “VaYeshev” (and he settled) GENESIS 37:1-1-40:23........ AMOS 2:6-3:8........ MATT 14:1-15:39, JOHN 10:22-23 In this study, the focus in on Yosef, who is going to be in the limelight of God. Things seem to be going from bad to worse for this young teenager. it wasn't all his fault we could say. His father Jacob held him high up on a pedestal, “Papa's favorite”. Always when there is family favoritism among sons and daughters, there is bound to be trouble, especially from the other siblings who are the “less preferred” Papa Jacob makes him a “coat of many colors” This coat was a symbol of leadership; The Torah doesn’t specify that it was of “many colors” only that this type of garment was one that had sleeves down to the wrists and that reached the ankles. this is like getting a kid a three-piece suit made of fine silk, and then sending out to the fields where his brothers are wearing overalls and straw hats. This is going to get jealousy aroused. These brothers are boiling mad, and to make matters worse, Yosef is given dreams by YHVH and he doesn't keep them to himself, he shares them. He shares them not to be haughty, but just to let his family know what is happening, or rather, what is “going to happen” in the future. But I don't think that at that time, Yosef understood the meaning of the dreams. We understand that the dreams include sheaves of wheat that bow down before Yosef’s sheaves of wheat. How might one see this? Here’s an idea. Wheat is made into bread, and Yeshua is the “Bread of Life”. Yosef is a “type or symbol of Messiah” He saves the known world of physical starvation, and Yeshua saved the whole world of spiritual starvation. Just like Yosef’s brothers bowed down to him in honor, the whole world will “bow down” to Yeshua, who is the “Bread of Life”. To make a long story short, he gets out to the fields, the brothers strip him of his coat, rip it, dip it in goat's blood, plan to kill him, Judah talks them out of it, and instead, throw him in an empty well, wait until a group of Ishmaelite traders comes by, they sell him to the buyers for 20 pieces of silver, and that is how they are rid of brother Yosef, “daddy's boy” the dreamer, yet unknowingly, they are playing right into the perfect plan of YHVH, they are “investing” in their own future welfare. One interesting fact about these events is what happened before Yosef finds his brothers in Dothan; 37:15 says that a “certain man found him wandering in the field, and the man asked him saying what are you looking for?” Israel sends Yosef to look for his brothers in Shechem, but when he gets there, he doesn’t find them because they went on to Dothan. Josef is now lost, just “wandering” so the man says that they said “let’s go to Dothan” So the man redirects Yosef to find his brothers and continue in Adonai’s perfect plan for his life. Who is this man? No one knows, perhaps he was just a man who happened to be there near Yosef’s brethren and overheard them talking. Some rabbis believe it wasn’t just a man, but an angel who was sent to give the “message” to Yosef that his brothers were in Dothan. Angels (Malachim) are “messengers” to help us in times of need, and Yosef was in need at that time. God, who looks down from beyond the heavens, from a multi-dimensional universe, sees the end before it happens, and this man was essential to fulfill the words of the Torah and the promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Without this man, Yosef would not have found his brothers, and they wouldn’t have sold him into slavery. He never would have made it to Egypt to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and save the world from starvation. The sons of Israel would not have moved to Egypt, and the prophecy of “Israel being in Egypt” might not have come true. Yet it all DID because God had that certain “Man” (or an angel) in place at the right time. Little may we know it but we probably have been in the “right places” at the “right times” to help people achieve their goals because we have a God in the universe that oversees all things and places people in those places to fulfill his will in them and in others. But let's go back to the events. How do these events symbolize, compare with Messiah Yeshua? We do not see any blemish on Yosef, as if he is “perfect and righteous” as Yeshua was/is “Tzadik Kadosh” (Righteous and Holy” Yosef is the “victim” of his own people (his brothers). As Yeshua was given up to the Roman governor, by a group of religious leaders. We know that Adonai is with him, and he is going to be a testimony to those around him, namely the Egyptians. The name “Yosef” is spelled (in Hebrew) “Yod, Vav, Samech, and Pey sofit” When we add up the letter values, we get 156 in gematria. We can look at this is two ways, “1” is Adonai as “echad” (One in unity) “5” is the number of grace, “6” is the number of man. One way to understand these numbers is to say that “Yosef is a man that will have a close relation to Adonai, and show grace to those around him. As we will see in the future, to the Egyptians, and to his brethren during the years of famine. 1+5+6 = 12. Yosef is part of the 12 tribes, the 12 sons of Israel. Here is something interesting, in Psalm 81:5 it reads; “This he ordained in Yosef for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt..” what did He ordain? He ordained his “Torah” So Yosef was a testimony for Adonai before Pharaoh and before the Egyptians. The spelling in verse 5 for the name “Yosef” is “Yod, Hey, Vav, Samech, Pey sofit”. ( Y + H +V + S + F) “YHosef” This is the only place in the Torah where Yosef’s name is written so. We see that Adonai has placed one of his names (YaH) in Yosef’s name. Those two letters are the first two letters in Adonai’s most holy name YHVH. The brothers stripped Yosef of his coat, the coat was dipped in goat's blood. Yeshua was stripped of his clothing, and was beaten, his flesh “ripped” by a Roman whip, until the blood poured out. The “goat's blood” reminds us of “Yom Kippur” where goats were sacrificed and one was “set free” the blood of the goat reminds us of our sins “covered by the blood” (back then) but now, our sins are “erased” by the blood of “God's chosen LAMB” the “Lamb of God” which taketh away the sins of the world. Yosef was thrown into a pit, an empty cistern, void of water. Scripture doesn't say, but I imagine that his brothers tied him up with a rope and lowered him into the pit by the rope. A “water well” symbolizes “Life” but when it is empty, it can symbolize “death”. Just try to climb out a deep pit with dirt sides without anything, you can't, might as well be dead. Yosef being lower into the pit can symbolize Yeshua's death, and his descent into “Sheol” yet when the Midianites came by, the brothers pulled him “out” of the pit, it could symbolize Yeshua's “resurrection unto life”. Before the pit, Yosef was part of his immediate family, after the incident of the pit, he is on his way to a “new life”, with trials, testings, troubles, suffering, and finally, rewards! Doesn't that sound like our life today? The waterless pit can also symbolize the Torah itself. The pit without water is a place without the Torah. This can also point to the time of the evil King Antiochus (since we are approaching Hanukkah) who ruled “No Torah” in Judea until Y’hudah Ben Matityahu (Judah Ben Mattathias, the Maccabee) kicked Antiochus out of Judea and restored the Torah to Judea. Yosef was sold for “20 pieces of silver” by “Y'hudah Ben Ya'akov” (Judah son of Jacob) Yeshua was sold for “30” pieces of silver by “Y'hudah Ish Kariot” (Judah, a man from the region of Kariot). The price of a slave was 20 pieces of silver in the time of Yosef, and through inflation, it rose to 30 pieces in the time of Yeshua. Y'hudah Ben Ya'akov was part of Jacob's family, whose name changed to Israel. Y'hudah Ish Kariot was part of Yeshua's family of talmidim (disciples) by “name only” not spiritually. The name “Israel” comes from “Yasher-El” (straight to God) “Yeshua” relationship is “straight to God”. The difference between 30 pieces of silver and 20 pieces of silver is “10” the number of “Torah”. ALL is recorded and written down in the Torah, and Yeshua is the “Living Torah”. In Chapter 38, the scene switches to “Judah”. We see that Judah is not doing a very wise thing as he goes into a Canaanite woman. He leaves his brethren and has kids with a Canaanite! The first two are evil and Adonai kills them, Shelah is his third son and he hesitates to marry him to “Tamar” yet she poses as a prostitute and deceives Judah into sleeping with her and getting her pregnant. But the question is why was he looking for a prostitute? Believers can wander away from God’s will for their lives in such ways, marrying unbelievers, committing adultery or fornication, the list can go on. Adonai still loves us and will continue to reach down to us and redirect us, even though it hurts at times, at times, the chastisements can come in the form of sadness and depression, a loss of love and excitement for the things of the LORD because we know we are “doing wrong”. The result of Tamar’s pregnancy was that twins were born, the first one pushed his hand through the womb and the midwife tied a “scarlet thread” on it to say, “this is the first-born” yet the baby pulled back inside and his brother came out, then HE came out in second place…yet…he was in “first place” (if you get my drift). There is symbolism in these births. A way we can look at this is that the scarlet thread can symbolize Yeshua the Messiah, and his “first coming” then, his “second coming”. Tamar is part of the lineage of King David, and from King David come Mary and Yosef, who are the legal guardians and adoptive parents of Yeshua! Here is something else. Yosef Ben Israel went DOWN to Egypt, not by his own accord, but as a slave. Yeshua Ben Yosef, Ben David went DOWN to Egypt with his parents, yet returned home later on. Yosef Ben Israel returned to Canaan to be buried, yet BOTH are enjoying fellowship in Heaven today! AMOS 2:6-3:8 The prophet preaches “judgment on Israel” (because they sell the righteous for silver), and for many more evil deeds, they have turned away from God and are behaving like the heathen, that know not the LORD. Yosef was righteous, and he sold for 20 pieces of silver, Yeshua was / is righteous, and was sold for 30 pieces of silver. Israel has traded a “Torah” (30-20=10) walk for an “unrighteous” walk and lifestyle, trouble is ahead, judgment is coming, and it came, God used Babylon, Greece, Antiochus, Rome, as instruments of judgment, yet Israel prevailed, through YHVH's grace, goodness, righteousness, and through a “few gallant men” who fought the fight of freedom. MATT 14:1-15:39 and JOHN 10:22-23 “Yeshua blesses the crowd” we see that Yeshua went to a place alone, perhaps to mourn the death of his cousin, Yochanan the Baptist, yet the crowd found him, he had compassion and healed the sick, he fed them when he multiplied the 5 loaves and 2 fish. Interesting enough, when we add 5 and 2 we get “7” the perfect number, the number of Holiness, we have the “Bread (loaves) of Life” and he who makes “fishers of men” (fish). Also, the symbol of the “fish” was used in early messianic believers. In John, we see that Yeshua attends the Feast of Hanukkah, the “dedication” and takes this opportunity to tell the Jews, “I AM the Messiah....yet you do not believe” the choice to believe, is always OURS. Rabbi Ben Avraham
  10. Parashah: “VaYishlach” (and he sent) GENESIS: 32:3-36:43....................OBADIYAH 1:1-21..............MATT 13:1-58 We see in this week's parashah, that Ya'akov is on his way home to Beth-El, He comes to his “encounter” with his brother Esav. It is a time of tension for him, as we know, he “stole” from him the blessing. Or was it really theft? Remember that Esav “sold” or “traded” his birthright for a “bowl of red lentils” so, was it really theft? Perhaps we can say that Jacob took advantage of his brother's worldliness and carnal nature, some say it was “deceit” but was it really? Jacob and Esau departed as enemies. Time has passed and Jacob has had much to think about. He feels perhaps guilt and remorse for having taken advantage of his brother. YHVH has blessed him with wives and children, the future “Am Yisrael” He now feels a need for “compensation” for wrongdoing. Therefore, to “ease” the angry spirit of Esau, (so Jacob thinks) he sends him gifts of cattle, hoping to “cool him off” But let's think about that, is compensation necessary for wrongdoing? The Torah says YES, it is. If I borrow your camera, and I drop it, break it, I will owe you another camera, if you and I have a wrestling match, and I accidentally break your hand, I would have to pay the doctor's bill, etc. This is the true meaning of “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” Just for precautionary measures, he separates his family, “just in case” Esau is still on the warpath. Can we blame Jacob? Esau is coming to meet his brother with 400 armed men! Oi Vey, why with 400 men? Armed too! Could this be an attack? Or friendship rekindled? Jacob is “Schvitzen” (sweating). But now he is about to encounter “GOD” in the flesh He says “Adonai, help!” hey God, remember your promise? To keep me safe? You aren't going back on your promise, are you? YHVH responds with a personal visit that night. The Torah says that during the night “a man wrestled with him until the break of day” Ya'akov didn't know it then, but he was wrestling with “HaMalach Elohim (The Angel of the LORD). How do we wrestle with God today? Ever think of that? Good question! We all “wrestle” with God in trying to understand his ways in our lives, some of his ways are uncomfortable, his ways might be testings, trials, hardships, and trying to understand how these events will work for “good” in our lives. Trying to find HIS perfect will for our lives is one way, dealing with “flesh vs spirit” issues is another way. Trying to get HIM to follow “us”, instead of “us” following HIM is another way. Just seeing where we fit in with his plan for our lives is a wrestling match, yet “Jacob prevails” he says, “Bless me before you go!” YHVH says to him “Your name will no longer be Ya'akov, but Yisrael” Jacob prevailed, he passed the test, and now, he has a new name. If we look at the letters; Y I S R A E L we see YaSheR – EL “Straight to God”. And the name YISRAEL has the names of the patriarchs (Ya'akov, Sarah, Riv'kah, Avraham, Leah). Israel is now surrendered to the will of YVHV. He meets Esau, the meeting is touching, no hard feelings. And Israel renders homage before his brother, a very penitent attitude. They fall upon each other’s necks and kiss and weep! The “Midrash” has a funny explanation for that. The “Midrash” (a rabbinical commentary) says that the reason Esau wept was that he tried to bite Israel's neck, yet Israel's neck has turned to iron, and Esau broke his teeth, trying to bite him! Kinda funny, but when we look at the symbolism, we see the idea of Israel being a “stiff-necked people” (I would say iron is stiff, just try to bend it) yet many will try to “bite” or destroy Israel, and Israel will prevail! But not before suffering because of having a “stiff neck”. Here’s this to think about. How do you bend an “iron neck?” You HEAT it up in the fire, and then, it will bend. Israel went through a lot of testings and trials, and still is going through times of trouble. Sometimes, God must apply the HEAT in order that we might BEND to His will. Here’s an interesting word. The word is “garti” (in Hebrew) meaning “I stayed with”. Jacob sent “messengers” to seek out Esau to tell him that his brother Jacob wanted to meet with him. These “messengers” were non-other than “Malechim” (Angels). There were there as an “encampment” to watch over and protect Jacob. The message was; “I stayed with Laban and remained until now…” (Gen 32:4) The word “garti” is rather interesting in that the gematria of that word adds up to “613” which is the number of commandments in the Torah. One way to look at that is to say that even though Jacob stayed with Laban, and in spite of Laban’s trickery, and his idolatry (since he had pagan idols in his house, remember that Rachel stole them) Jacob did not become corrupted by him. Jacob kept his eyes on God, He revered teachings of Adonai. This was before the written Torah. The 613 commandments didn’t come until after the 400 years of slavery in Egypt. We could say then that this was about 600 years before the event of Sinai and the written Torah. One can say that Jacob was following the Oral Torah, that which was learned from his father Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham. Who is to say that Adonai didn’t teach Jacob also, perhaps in dreams. One can only imagine. We can also look at “garti” in this manner. It adds up to “613” yet 6+1+3 = 10. “10” is the number of the “whole Torah” The most important commandment of the Torah is “Love thy God with all of thy heart, soul, might, and strength, and love thy neighbor as thyself” These are Yeshua’s words! That is the way he summed up the whole Torah. That is how Jacob lived, he loved God and showed love for his neighbor, “his brother” whom he defrauded and who is now making “restitution” by sending him all the gifts of cattle. Making amends is very important. There is such a thing is “restoration” (of relationships) and “restitution” (for things, perhaps stolen, destroyed, etc.) Israel and his children go to Shechem, where we see that “Dinah is raped” and the brothers take drastic action and retaliate, destroying the city. I would say very “rash” and “violent “action. But why would they want to associate with people who are idol worshipers? Case being, they had no business there in the first place. If you are in the wrong place and at the wrong time, you're bound to get “bit”. However, Jacob (Israel) builds an altar there and called it “El-Elohei-Israel” (God, the God of Israel) He stands firm in his convictions, yet his sons have a lot to learn. There are probably many times when we act rashly, and do not so kosher things, embarrassing our relationship with YHVH. Yes, Israel was very angry with his sons, plus they used “circumcision” as a trick to weaken the men of Shechem, something sacred was used for vengeance. There are quite a few things we can learn NOT to do, by observing the “sons of Jacob”. What we learn from this Torah portion is; from wrongdoing, we offer restitution, and from restitution, we get restored fellowship. But at times, we cannot offer material restitution for wrongdoing, only a sincere “I am very sorry for what I did, please forgive me” and we must leave it at that, now the ball is in the other person's hand, they can either throw it back to us with forgiveness, or “throw it away” with forgiveness. We just have to leave it in God's hands. OBADIYAH 1:1-21 This prophet talks about Esau as “Edom” similar to the name “Adam” yet spelled with a “vav” Edom is condemned, for his attack on Jacob, later on, the Edomites attack the Israelites, (brothers against brothers) Edom will be “brought down from the lofty cliffs” I have been to “Edom” which is in Jordon, the city of “Petra” has many caves in the cliffs, and as tourists go through Petra, the guides tell the visitors that the cliff caves were homes to Edomites, later on they became burial places, and today, they serve as “toilets” for the tourists that have to take care of business, imagine that, how lowly Edom has fallen, from cave homes to “out-houses” We see that the promise of YHVH to Israel prevails, try to destroy, harm, attack Israel, you will be brought down. The prophet goes on to say, “do not gloat over the misfortune of Judah” Even though we know that Israel will go by the wayside, and forsake YHVH, and will receive punishment, Edom has no business being happy for that reason. It is like a brother laughs when his other brother is being punished by dad, that brother has no business to be happy because HIS turn will come sooner or later. Today, do you know of any Edomites? There are none, yet do you know of any Israelites? Yes, there is a nation in the middle east full of Israelites, it is called “Eretz Israel” I have been there, twice! It is an honor to serve Israel as military support personnel. MATT 13:1-58 Yeshua speaks to the people in parables, He tells of the “sower of the seed” he goes on to tell his Talmidim that the people “hear but do not understand” it is because their hearts are dull and that they are not looking for the truth. So there are today, many people who will “hear” the gospel but do not “listen” and if they do not “listen” they will not “understand” just like the sower who sowed the seed on the different soils, some did not take root, some grew but were choked out, some grew into maturity, so is the WORD of God, to some people it has no effect, on others, it is only a “pass time” or a “fad” for a while, but for others, it is the “real thing” and “life-changing” has it changed your life? “The Faces of God” (Panim el Panim) GEN 32:30 (a last-minute thought on Parashah VaYishlach) Jacob finds himself alone, facing, as he thinks, imminent danger from being slaughtered by his brother Esau, He puts his family in hiding, he sends gifts of cattle to Esau to maybe “soften him up” he might think. Now comes a wrestling match. Jacob is at his wits ends, it is only he and Elohim. Elohim comes to visit him in form of the “Angel of YHVH” the Torah says that he “wrestled with a man all night” and Jacob did not relent, he did not give up the wrestling match until the Angel touched his thigh, thus wounding him. Then comes the interesting part, the Angel gives him a blessing, he changes his name from “Jacob” to “Israel” From “trickster, deceiver” to “straight to G-d” When we see the name “Yisrael” it can be divided into two parts; “Yasher- El” (straight to G-d) the name “Yisrael” also contains the acronyms of the patriarchs and matriarchs who played a part in forming the nation of Israel; “YI” Yitzchak “S” Sarah “R” Rachel and Riv’kah “AE” Abraham “L” Leah. The gematria for the word “Yisrael” (Yod, Sheen, resh, Aleph, lamed) adds up to 541, when we add together 5+4+1 = 10. “10” symbolizes the Torah, it was to the nation of Israel that the 10 Commandments were given as a “wedding contract” or “contract of nationhood” Israel now says something interesting; “Vayikra Ya’akov Shem haMakom Peniel Ki ra’iti Elohim Panim Et Panim” (and Jacob called the name of that place “Peniel” (face of God) for I have seen Elohim “faces to faces”. What is interesting is that here, the word “face” is used in the singular and in the plural. Peni-el, (face of God) in the ancient paleo-Hebrew letters, the word is symbolized as “mouth, life, action, God, Leader” in gematria, the word “Peniel” adds up to 171, (the unique, one (echad) G-d is perfect) when we add 1+7+1 = 9. “9” is the number of “emet” (truth) and “Yeshua” also has that title. But “Panim El Panim” (faces to faces) is somewhat strange, or is it? How many faces does God have? Or does he even have a face, since he is “spirit”. In one way, he “has a face” in physical form as the “Angel of YHVH, Jacob saw him, Abraham also saw him. But now “faces?” what could that mean? Here is one idea; I am sure you can remember as a child, making “funny faces” in the mirror. You might have seen in elementary school; school work papers that have different “faces” and you have to guess what they are. A “sad” face, a “happy” face, an “angry” face, etc. do the “faces” describe the person? Or are “faces” an indication of the person’s internal being? I am sure you can remember your mother or father’s face when you disobeyed or goofed up something, you knew you “were in trouble” just by looking at their face. Just as our parents had their “faces” which illustrated what was going on inside their soul and being, so our Heavenly Father has different attributes, personalities, feelings, attitudes, etc. that “could” be compared with “Panim” (faces). He has the “Panim Rachamim” (faces of Mercy) or “mercies” (endless mercy!”) He has the “face of forgiveness” the “face of longsuffering” the “face of patience” yet the faces of “punishment” “chastisement” “judgement and condemnation” for unrepentant sinners, the faces of “joy” and “wrath” of “happiness and sadness” “approval and disappointment” the face of a “God who listens and responds” the list could go on. We can just imagine the “face” of God when he sees us doing certain things, both “kosher” and “un-kosher” If we can imagine his faces, then, we can imagine how he is feeling inside when we are in obedience or disobedience. Another way of seeing “Panim El Panim” is “Faces God Faces” because “El” is one of G-d’s names. (the shortest one) Can we say that during that night of ordeal, when Jacob wrestled with the “Malach Elohim” he saw the different “faces” of G-d? perhaps he saw in the “Panim Elohim” the future of his descendants, his 12 sons! Of course, we know that YHVH is spirit, and in the natural realm, the creator of the universe doesn’t really have a “human-like” face, yet we still use the word “face” and “faces” to try and imagine our heavenly father. Something to think about. Ben Avraham
  11. THANKSGIVING and the Bible, what’s the relation? Today we celebrate the day of Thanksgiving, which had its start in 1621 when the Pilgrims celebrated a year in the new world. However, Thanksgiving has its roots in God’s Word. What does God’s Word say about giving thanks? All we have to do is look up the words “giving thanks” and we would probably discover many scriptures which talk about the action of “thanks-giving”. One of the major “pilgrim” feasts (no pun on the word “pilgrim”) was the “Feast of Tabernacles” or “Sukkot”. This was a harvest feast and celebration when all of Israel came up to Yerushalayim. It was a feast that lasted eight days. During the harvest festival of Thanksgiving in Plymouth, the pilgrims celebrated three days. But let’s go back to the beginning. The Pilgrim’s voyage to the New World was similar to the “Exodus” in the Hebrew Bible called “Shemot” or in English, the same word; “Exodus”. The People of Israel were enslaved by “Pharaoh” and were slaves for four-hundred years. They were surrounded by Egyptian religion. They knew a little about the great “El Shaddai” but they needed to learn more and worship freely. In a similar manner, there was a group of fundamental Bible believers who knew the truth and wanted to worship freely, but the king of England was very strict, and there was persecution against them. They were “spiritual slaves” to the ways of the “Church of England”. The group of fundamentalists got together, got some money together and rented two ships, the Mayflower and the Speedwell. With a few hundred pilgrims that sought a new life, they departed across the Atlantic Ocean to the “promised land”. Moses was sent by Adonai to lead his people out of Egypt, from under the slavery of king “Pharaoh” (which in a way is double-talk. The word “pharaoh” is just another way of saying “king”.) The Israelites, of course, didn’t need a ship. They walked across the section of the Red Sea known as “Yam Suf” or today, the “Gulf of Aqaba”. It is a ten-mile stretch of water, they crossed it during the night. The Israelites arrived at Sinai, to receive the Torah and be united as “One People’ (Am Echad), with Moses as their leader. The pilgrims arrived in the new world and established their colony of Plymouth in 1620. They chose their leader, Governor Bradford and drew up the “Mayflower Compact”. They based their new life according to God’s Holy Writ. Now we will see God’s special intervention. There was something in the making which started in 1609. It would assure the survival of the pilgrims. Just as the Israelites went through trials and tribulations, so did the pilgrims. They lost half of their folk the first winter. That was the reason that the LORD sent “Squanto” to the rescue. Squanto was just a small boy from one of the native American tribes of that area when his life was changed in 1609. A group of Englishmen came in a ship and captured him, took him prisoner and sold him as a slave in Spain, arriving at the port of Malaga in that same year. Adonai, however, was looking after him and was looking up the corridor of time at the year 1621. Squanto would be a kind of missionary to help and save the pilgrims in that year. A group of Spanish monks bought him and took him to their monastery, taught him God’s word, taught him Spanish and five years later, sent him on to England, as Squanto expressed desires to return home. In England, he waited another five years to go home but lived with a kind, Christian family. They were kind to him and there he learned English. He finally found a ship and returned home to what is now Massachusetts. We could assume that he arrived there in 1619, the same year my ancestors, John and Elizabeth Ellis, arrived in the new world in that same area. (They are on my paternal grandmother’s side of the family). Squanto found that his tribe had died from disease, so the Wampanoag tribe adopted him. In 1620, he met the pilgrims through another Indian named Samoset. (This name is similar to the pharaoh of Egypt who made Joseph a ruler, Pharaoh “Senuset”. Now his English would come in handy. As we know from our history books, he taught the Pilgrims how to fish, grow corn, find food, etc. God’s timing was perfect. Just as Squanto taught the pilgrims the necessary things to live, God taught the Israelites the necessary things to live a holy lifestyle through His Torah, and through his chosen prophets. Thanksgiving was celebrated by inviting the Wampanoag tribe. 90 members came beside the 53 Pilgrims present. Squanto stayed with the pilgrims and continued teaching them things. The Wampanoags brought deer, while the pilgrims hunted wild turkey, duck, and geese. The three-day celebration consisted of those items plus corn, pumpkins, and other vegetables grown by the pilgrims (through the guidance of Squanto). They also had fish, clams, and oysters from the bay. (not so kosher items) Yet at least back then, the water was cleaner than it is today. The Apostle Paul was in fact, similar to Squanto. He went to the pagan nations and taught them the Word of God, He taught them and gave them guidance in the knowledge of the One God; Adonai-Elohim. Squanto taught the pilgrims how to survive physically, Paul taught how to survive spiritually. Both men were used mightily by God to serve others. Sukkot is the Biblical thanksgiving time. It is celebrated towards the end of September to middle October in accordance with the lunar Hebrew calendar. As we can see, the American Thanksgiving and the Biblical Thanksgiving are very close together. Sukkot is celebrated for seven days. Seven being the “perfect” number, and a special ceremony on the “eighth day” (Hoshanah Raba) “8” being the number for “new beginning”. The pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving for three days, “3” being the number for “Elohim” who is “Father” “Son” and “Holy Spirit” (Av, Ben, Ruach HaKodesh) Sukkot is also when our Messiah Yeshua came to earth to live among men and teach his Torah to all. (not Dec 25th) When we think about it, we have many things to be thankful for. Let’s tie together Sukkot and Thanksgiving in thanking Adonai for; Our homes, our families, the food on our tables which is usually more than we need, our health, the education we receive through HIS Word, our friends and fellow believers who look after us and check in on us, our teachers who teach us or who have taught us reading and writing, so we can read the Word of God and write articles about it, our congregations and pastors/rabbis who teach us God’s Word, opportunities to serve and minister to others using our spiritual gifts, the birth of our Messiah Yeshua, who clarified and fulfilled the whole Torah, our salvation through Messiah Yeshua’s death, our spiritual growth through HIS word, his mercy and longsuffering, not being punished when we deserve to be whipped within the inch of our lives, the promise of a World to Come where there will be no more suffering, chocolate egg-claires, and cream puffs, and the list can go on. There is a custom of calling Thanksgiving “Turkey Day” yet why the emphasis on the turkey? Why don’t they call it “corn day” or “pumpkin pie day” we eat those things too right? The emphasis should be on the creator of the turkey, and He who makes all things to grow from the ground so that we might harvest and eat them. So, Happy Thanksgiving to all, it is a very Biblical festivity. Ben Avraham
  12. Parashah: “VaYetze” (and he went out) GENESIS 28:10-32:2............... HOSEA 12:13-14:9...........JOHN 1:51 In this parashah study, we see that Jacob is on his way to Haran to find himself a wife (or two). He is tired after a long day's journey, He stops to rest outside of a city called “Luz” (In Spanish “Light”) and scripture says that he settles down for the night and takes “of the stones” (m'avenei) and puts “one” under his head for a pillow. I am sure that he chose a large, flat one, wrapped his tunic around it, and put his head down. Perhaps the stone was still warm from the heat of the day, and he went to sleep and dreamed............................. But before we get to the dream, I'd like to note that in all English translations, the number “one” appears which states that he took “one” stone, yet the Hebrew does not give a certain number, the word “m'avenei” is used meaning “of the stones” It could be that he took one “of the stones” or a few “of the stones”. All we know is that he went to sleep and dreamed a strange dream. We all know the story of “Jacob's Ladder” we have read it in Bible storybooks and from the Torah itself. Yet I think that the title is misleading, it wasn't “Jacob's Ladder” at all, it was “God's ladder” Jacob was just a witness to seeing it, and the activity that surrounded it. The Word says that the ladder was grounded on the earth and the top reached Heaven, and angels went up and down the ladder. Then it says that YHVH stood beside Jacob and spoke saying; “Ani YHVH. Elohei Avraham, Elohei Yitzchak” (I am the LORD, God of Abraham, God of Isaac). The same promise that was given to Abraham and Isaac is now being repeated to Ya'akov. The land where he is at right now will be a possession for him and his seed. The title and deed of the Land of Israel pertain to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. YHVH said it, case closed! The rest of the people who live there are “residents” not owners! YHVH likens the descendants of Jacob to the “dust of the earth” why dust? Dust cannot be counted, ever try to count a “speck of dust?” dust will “last forever” also, lay something out in the desert for 1000 years, a car for example, in 1000 years, the car will be no more, probably not even a trace of it will be left, because the “dust” will have, in a way of speaking, “eaten it”. The dust is also “trodden upon.” “Am Yisrael” (The people of Israel) will be forever, as our faith in our “Mashiach m'Yisrael” (Messiah from Israel) is an everlasting faith, which will endure forever. Israel has also been “trodden on” stepped on, mistreated, taken as worthless by maniac leaders, yet when all is gone and vanished, Israel will be forever. Scripture also says that Israel will be spread abroad to the North, South, East, and West. In other words, “All over the world” and we have seen just that today. We have Jewish people in all nations of the world, integrated among all the nations, taking the Torah with them, and the belief in ONE GOD (Echad). We have three major Jewish peoples, “Sephardim” from Spain, North Africa, and the Middle East. “Ashkenazim” from Germany and East Europe, and “Falashim” from Ethiopia and other African countries. The Torah says, “In thy seed will all the families of the earth be blessed Who is the Seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Yeshua! He was of the seed of these patriarchs! And we are all blessed by HIM, whose one-time sacrifice for sin saved us all, from eternal separation from YHVH. His name “YESHUAH” is “Salvation” from YAH. When Jacob awoke from his dream, he stood the “stone” that he placed as a pillow, “upright” and anointed it with oil, calling that place “Beit-El” (House of God). The rabbis of old give meaning to this, some say that the “stones that were together become ONE” some say that Jacob gathered 12 stones, and these 12 stones became ONE, symbolizing the 12 sons of Israel, that became 12 tribes, were “united” as “AM ECHAD (One People) at Sinai under Moshe after they had left Egypt. The word “stone” in Hebrew is “AVEN” which is a combination of two-word, AV (father) and BEN (Son) Father and Son as ONE (Echad). The anointing of the “Stone” reminds us of the anointing of YESHUA as Messiah, teacher of Torah, healer, and redeemer. He is the SOLID ROCK. The ladder itself is symbolic. The sages and rabbis of old liken the ladder to “Moshe climbing up to the top of Sinai to receive the Commandments carved in STONE, and later, went up again for 40 days and nights to receive the whole Torah which he later wrote down. He went UP and YHVH came DOWN, we liken this unto “Yeshua the Living WORD, the living TORAH”. Other rabbis imagine the ladder as having 22 steps, each step being a letter of the Alef-Bet, the Hebrew Alphabet. Since all letters form words, we look again at Yeshua who is the “living WORD, the living TRUTH. The ladder is the “WAY up, and the WAY down. Yeshua said, “I AM the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, no one comes to the father but by ME” The word “ladder” in Hebrew is “SULAM” in gematria, it equals the sum of 136. the words “Tzom” (fasting) “Kol” (voice) and “Mammon” (money) also sum “136”. So how do these words speak of Yeshua? Yeshua “Fasted” for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert, he “voiced” his prayers to His Father in Heaven, and he taught about money, and “Tzedakah” (deeds of kindness) “it is more blessed to give than receive” he taught that we must put money in its proper perspective, since the “LOVE” of money is the root of all evil, he taught that one should be “content” with the wages received, (when speaking to the Roman soldier). How do these words speak of our relationship with Yeshua? We first come to “Salvation” (Yeshuah) through “Prayer” (voice) of repentance (tefilah/ teshuva) and there are times when we must “fast” to get prayers answered, and we fast on Yom Kippur. We “give money” through tithes and offerings to our local church/synagogue to keep it going. But who or what is the ladder really? Is there a correct answer? It is in the Brit HaDashah. HOSEA 12:13-14:9 The prophet condemns Israel for “forsaking the LORD” Israel was led out of Egypt by a prophet (Moshe) and tended to, provided for by YHVH, yet Israel forsake the LORD chasing after false gods, going into idolatry. Now the LORD will punish, and his wrath will fall upon his people. Yet YHVH still loves his people, yet will exact punishment, judgment, like a father, will punish and judge a disobedient son or daughter. Can we expect anything less from Adonai? If we abandon our LORD, and live like a lost person, loving the desires of the lost world and the flesh, can we expect anything less than judgment from HIM who set us free from sin? JOHN 1:51 Then He said; “I assure you; You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the 'Son of Man' Mystery solved, YESHUA is the ladder!!! Shalom...............Rabbi Ben Avraham
  13. VETERAN’S DAY AND THE BIBLE One might ask; “How does Veteran’s Day relate with the Bible?” I would say, it has a lot to do with God’s Word. It was Adonai himself who formed the tribes of Israel into “armies”. We saw a hodge-podge of Hebrew slaves coming out of Egypt, disorganized ex-slaves of Pharaoh, made into a nation at Sinai. Adonai wanted to see his prophecy to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob come true. The land of Canaan would be the inheritance of Israel, yet the Israelites would have to fight for these lands. Once the 12 tribes were organized and trained into fighting tribes, with the exception of the Tribe of Levi, that tribe would be the “chaplaincy”. Just as the armies today have chaplains, so did the armies of Israel, they had the Levite priests that would go ahead of the troops into battle. Today, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) are not in the “attack mode” but in the “defense mode”. The IDF is in Israel to defend the borders against enemies that want to come in and invade, attack, take over, etc.…We do not see Israel going forth as to conquer other lands. The land has been given to Israel as a promise to Abraham and his descendants. Every country in the world has defense forces, some small, some large. It is said that in it “necessary to show strength in order to maintain peace”. Just picture a poster with a giant, ten-feet tall strong-man in uniform with a pistol belt with ammo pouches, an M-16 on his back and he’s holding an M-60 machine gun. Then there’s the caption that reads; “Let’s have peace neighbor!” At times, it takes strength and intimidation to maintain “peace” especially when one’s “neighbor” is a war-faring country that perhaps has dreams of conquests. One only has to think back to WWII, with Adolf Hitler and Hirohito having dreams of world domination, in the end, they were defeated. November 11th is a day that we remember all veterans who served in the armed forces, both in peacetime and in wartime. This is a special day in the United States, but I think that every country in the world should put aside a special date to remember their “veterans” who fought and served in their nations to protect their nations’ borders. We see throughout the pages of the Bible many, many wars in which Israel was involved. While the curse of sin is in this world, there will always be wars, and there will always be armies to fight against enemies. As born-again believers, we are members of a special, called-out army, the Army of the LORD. Yet we do not fight with M-16s, nor with M-60s, nor with RPGs, landmines, nerve gas, etc. We fight against an invisible enemy, an enemy who has many soldiers in the ranks. This is the army of Satan, and his soldiers are all the fallen angels that are now called “demons”. The battle is in the process as I write this article. If our eyes could be open to the spirit world, we would probably freak out, seeing demonic beings clashing with angelic beings all around us. Our main arms of defense are the Word of God and prayer. We have angels at our disposition, all we need to do is call upon them and they will raise their swords against the soldiers of Satan. God showed strength in order to have peace at Calvary’s Cross. He became a human being, yet still was God, God in human form, to bring “Salvation” (Yeshuah) to this lost and dying world. He conquered the curse of sin and death when He was nailed to the cross and shed his blood for us all. At that point, the war was won! Yet the enemy doesn’t realize it, (or perhaps...yes...he DOES realize it) but doesn’t want to admit it. With His physical death, “Spiritual” peace was brought into being. Here is where “strength brings about peace” World, spiritual, and physical peace will only come about when our Messiah returns to this earth and sets up his kingdom. In the meanwhile, we need to be conformed with spiritual peace. We ought to know that when we breathe our last on this earth, we will continue to breathe in the “World to Come” in the “New Jerusalem”. There should not be any “veterans” in the LORD’s army, only “active service members”. Veteran status comes after death when we have finished fighting the enemy on this side of eternity. So, take time to salute the veterans you know, and continue the fight against the principalities and entities of darkness, but we already know the outcome. Rabbi Ben Avraham US Army Veteran 1972-1984 IDF support volunteer, Summer of 2015
  14. Jacob Ben Avraham

    Parasha "Toldot" (generations)

    PARASHAH: TOLDOT (generations) GEN 25:19-28:9.............MAL 1:1-2:7..................MATT 10:1-11:30 This study starts out with the generations of Abraham and Sarah. After years of waiting and praying they finally had Yitzchak. The legacy continues, the promise of YHVH is revealed once more, but not without testing of faith. Yitzchak and Riv'kah also have to wait, about 20 years, yet they prayed and entreated the LORD to have a child. “The prayer of the righteous prevails” the following is from the Talmud (B. Yevamot 64: a) “Why were our ancestors’ barren? Because the Holy One (blessed be He) longs to bless the prayers of the righteous” Since Yitzchak and Riv’kah were righteous, and part of the covenant promise, YHVH (in HIS timing) answered their prayer. Does that mean that ALL prayer is answered? Yes, it is, but not always the way we want Adonai to answer it. The answer comes in three forms; Yes, No, and “later on” The sick are prayed over, and many are healed, others are prayed for, and YHVH takes them home. It doesn't mean to stop praying or pray once, God likes “continuous prayer” I prayed for 40 years for the LORD to reveal to me my biological family, and finally, about 4 years ago, HE DID! But in HIS timing. The birth of “B'nei Yitzchak Riv’kah” came as a surprise, “twins inside” and the battle ensued. Yet the LORD speaks to Riv'kah saying: “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people will be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” When we look at this today, we see prophecy revealed plainly as day. From “Ya'akov”, we get “Am Yisrael” the (Nation of Israel) and from “Esav” we get the name “Edom” which is almost the same as “Adam” with the exception of the “o” or in Hebrew the letter “Vav” (v) If we look at the paleo-Hebrew, one could get the symbolism of “Esau” who was made of “Blood and spirit” was connected (Vav) to “chaos” Esav was a “man of the earth, disinterested in spiritual things, he was materialistic, he related more to the “red” earth than the things of God. From “Esav/Edom” we get Haman (the Agagite) and from Haman, the nation of “Rome” was formed. Rome was stronger and conquered a good part of the world, and Israel was under the yoke of Rome, YET today, we look at Israel, it has the strongest, and one of the most advanced and modern Militaries in the world. And it was indeed an honor to serve under the IDF two years. When we ask, will the nations bow down to Israel? I would say that during the Millenium when Messiah Yeshua is on the throne will all nations come and worship the Lamb who sits on the throne in Jerusalem. Did the nations bow down to the descendants of Jacob/Israel in the past? We can remember when Joseph was in Egypt, that his brothers came and "bowed down" to him, as well as the nations that came in search of food. Jacob and Esau, twin brothers but two separate nations, two brothers, yet worlds apart, One spiritual, interested in the things of God, then other, interested in the things of the world. Esau and Jacob represent the world of today. We have the “lost” “unrepented man” and we have the “born again believers” which include ALL who have accepted Yeshua the Messiah as LORD and Savior, doesn't matter if we are a Sabbath-observing messianic believer, or a Sunday, church going believer, we are ALL part of God's family. Yet we see that Jacob exhibited “carnal behavior” he wanted things “his way” yet when God sent Jacob to uncle Laban's “school of hard Knocks” he came out different... (but that is in the next parashah). Jacob symbolizes “all believers” both carnal and spirit filled. We ALL have growing up and maturing to go through on this side of heaven. I would like to take a look at three names; Adam, Edom, Esau, Jacob/Israel. How are we like these names? Adam and Edom are spelled almost the same. Adam was the first man made in the “image of Elohim” he was made from the earth, “Edom” means “red” perhaps the earth with which Elohim made Adam was a reddish color. Esau was a carnal man, and gave in to his hunger and ate of Jacob’s “red” lentil stew. Adam was made perfect in all ways, yet sin broke fellowship between him and God, thus, sin was passed down to all generations. Esau and Jacob, one could say were like “twins”. Yet one sought after spiritual things and the other, after carnal things. Jacob and Esau symbolize the spiritual man and carnal man, yet we can decide which “man” we want to follow and emulate Esau despised his birthright for lentil stew, we can see the same today, many people will prefer a life of sin, money, fast cars, drugs, fame, you name it, and reject the gift of God, “Salvation” (YESHUAH) and then “perish” for all eternity. That's kind of like “exchanging” Eternal life with God for a “temporary life” of comfort and ease, riches, etc. Just doesn't make sense, does it? The time of blessing comes, Isaac is old and blind, and there has been a family “division” Esau “Loved” Esau (because of his wild game) yet Rebecca “loved” Jacob. Does that mean that Isaac didn't love Jacob and Rebecca didn't love Esau? No, only means that there were “family favorites” which is a big NO, if we are to live in peace with our children today, even between “students and teachers” no favorites, please! We see in Chap 27, that Jacob passes for Esau, and Esau gets the shorter end of the stick. Taking advantage of poor Isaac's blindness, yet there is a saying “The chickens come home to roost” and “What goes around, comes around” We will see LATER, what happens, Jacob is the younger, and pretends to be the older. When Jacob gets married, he thinks he's getting the younger daughter but gets the older daughter. Jacob deceives Isaac in his “darkness” (blindness) and Jacob gets deceived being in the “darkness” (night time, dark tent) and maybe he had too much to drink to know who got in bed with him. Esau doesn't change, he marries a “Hittite” woman and then gets another wife from his uncle Ishmael, all to “get back” (maybe) at Isaac for giving away his birthright, but didn't he already sell it? Hello? MAL 1:1-2:7 The prophet speaks and writes through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) “Jacob have I loved, but Esau I have hated”. He you ask, “isn't God love?” isn't God all about love? Why does he “hate poor Esau?” The word “hate” has the same meaning as “reject”. YHVH who is “all knowing” knew even before Esau was born that he would reject HIM, so, YHVH rejected Esau! Polluted offerings, corrupt priests. No wonder God is fed up with Israel, they have gone “the way of Esau” offering God the “left-overs” and not offering with “pure hearts”. It is like today, if we serve the LORD with less than our best, or only with “half a heart” or just because we feel we “have to” then, we are offering “polluted offerings” We should serve GOD with all we have, with the best we have, or not at all! MATT 10:1-11:30 Yeshua sends out the twelve talmidim, to teach Torah and to share the word that Yeshua is Mashiach, and has fulfilled all the prophecies of the Torah. First to the “lost sheep of Israel” remember that Israel has been scattered to many different countries, many being absorbed by the nations, yet still remember their identity, but even in Israel, there are those who need to know the truth about Yeshua as Messiah, prophesied by Moshe and the prophets The work and ministry of sharing/teaching the WORD of God is not a lone undertaking, it is to be shared by many, and ALL who have that calling. Even Yeshua, God in human form, could not be in all places at the same time, so he sent out his followers, to fulfill the “Great Commission”. Today, we are equipped with the “gifts of the Spirit” to fulfill this great task, and today we have the internet to help spread the “Good News” whereas hundreds of years ago, only papers and books were available to those who took up that task. We are living in exciting times, let's take advantage of modern technology. Rabbi Ben Avraham
  15. 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 are 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 as 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! So Abraham honored his wife both in life and in death. One of the biggest and drastic changes in one’s life is the “death” of a spouse. We see the words in the Torah which recount the time of Sarah’s death. “and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke unto the sons of Heth saying…” There is a time for mourning and weeping, and a time for joy, a time for continuing with life, as life does go on, with or without a spouse. Abraham had the right to mourn and weep, since Sarah was part of his life for many, many years. We do not know when they got married, but when Abraham was called by Adonai, he was 75 years old, and he was married at that time. We could say that for about 50 years, Abraham had Sarah by his side. The Adonai called her home. There will be a time when Adonai calls home our spouses, how will we respond when that happens? Will we cry out to God; Why? But are our spouses our own? Or do we all belong to Elohim? What are we but souls inhabiting finite bodies which will eventually cease to function and return to the earth. A baby enters the world with clenched fists, yet leaves the world with open hands. We all want to hold on to everything, even spouses, yet we have to let go and let God have his way. A spouse, a wife or husband, is like a library book. We will take the library book and read it cover to cover, do we understand what we read? We have “x” amount of years to do it. But the master Librarian will call for his book to be returned someday, and we will have to deal with that. A spouse is like a jewel to be worn and cared for, for “x” number of years, but the Jeweler will call for his gem someday, and we will have to take “her” or “him” off and return “her” or “him” to Jeweler of all creation. I think that the more we love our spouse, the more difficult it will be for us to let go someday when our spouse is at death’s door. It wasn’t easy for Abraham, and it will not be easy for us. I think that the time for caring, for loving, for giving flowers is now that our spouses are alive, not at the grave site. One wonders what the surviving spouse will say? “May he (or she) rest in peace!” …or…” Now that he (or she) is gone, I can rest in peace!!” Abraham wept and mourned, but then, he got up and “buried his dead out of his sight” He continued with life, searched out a wife for his son Isaac, and eventually Abraham got remarried, to Keturah who bore him six children (Chap 25). There is life after the departing of a loved one. The most difficult part of losing a loved one, especially a spouse, is if the spouse is an unbeliever, lost, without salvation. THEN we shall never see that spouse again, EVER! All the more reason to be “equally yoked” To lose a spouse in death is to be separated for “a season” but be reunited with her (or him) later on in heaven. That is the way we have to look at it, because it is the truth. Some people, like Abraham, will marry again, others will not. That is a decision every widow or widower will have to make. Me? I wouldn’t like living alone without someone by my side, but that’s me. Love is having to “let go” when our Master calls for “going home” it WILL come. 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. Abraham wanted a wife like Sarah for his son Isaac. We might think, what kind of wife (or husband) would one believer look for? Well, there are certain qualities to look for in looking for one’s “life mate”. If a man is looking for a woman to be his wife. I would think that he might want a woman whose first love is for God, for Yeshua, and to obey and follow the Torah. That the woman also be humble, who will run the home with wisdom, and with money in her hands, will be spent wisely? She should be a woman who will raise her children according to the Word of God, and to not waste time with “fairy tale reading” but with “Torah Tale reading” if she is to read “Bed-time stories. I have not mentioned the “physical” characteristics, since “how beautiful or not” is not of prime importance, but yes, is a bit important since men are usually in search of “what attracts the eye” Just as “Riv’kah” was willing to follow Elazar to Isaac’s home, so should the wife be willing to follow her husband. Where he is, she should be as well. UNLESS, there is some sort of danger or unwise decision making on the husband’s part, then, the wife needs to help the husband “re-think” the decision. There is a story about Adam and Eve. Adam was sad because there was no mate for him among all the animals, so Adonai said to Adam; “I will give you a mate, one who will never say no, one who will care for you and for your house, never argue with you nor ever say unkind words to you, one who will raise all your children, one who will cook for you and be your perfect servant and your lover any time you want.” Adam was happy, and he said; “and what will all that cost me?” God said to Adam; “It will cost you an arm and a leg!” So, Adam thought for a moment, then asked; “What can I get for just a rib?” (well, you know the rest of the story, but it works both ways) Now “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 “Kehillah” (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 the 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. We must also remember though, the situation with Lot from last Parashah, how is was, and is considered as “Righteous Lot” yet was affected by living in Sodom, he had to be almost, “dragged out” by the two angels. His inner being was being affected by living around the wicked. His wife was “sold out” to Sodom and became “well salted” in the end, his daughters committed indecency with him and led to the origins of Moab and Ammon. Take care least we be “Tza-arat” inwardly. Rabbi Ben AVraham