Inside Israel – Shavuot / Pentecost

God bless you and thank you for coming by for a look inside Israel today!  J of Jerusalem shares with us about Shavuot and her very first time being introduced to it.  Praying that you are blessed as you read!  Now here’s J . . .

SHAVUOT 2012 – 26.05.2012   Jerusalem
“And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Shabat…fifty days…they you shall offer a new grain offering to The Lord.  You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves…of fine flour…baked with leaven.  They are the first fruits to The Lord.” Levit 23:15-17
“And it shall be, when you come into the land which The Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it,…and say to Him ‘I declare today to The Lord my God that I have come to the country which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us…’”  Deut 26:1-3
“And when the day of Pentecost (SHAVUOT) had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting…and there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven…we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”  Acts 2:1-12
In all fairness, you really must read these three rich, full chapters in their entirety to enter into the joy that is there.  Oh my, but they are a wealth of promise!  And yet…even still…they are (I believe) but ‘seeds’.  And it is from the seeds of these chapters that I bring an ‘offering’ to share with you today…a memory of what The Lord has done during Shavuot/Pentecost in my life. I shared it once before, a long time ago, but perhaps some of you don’t remember. 
First, how is the high holiday of Shavuot celebrated here? Well, in various ways of course, but I will try to give you an overview from my perspective:
As you know, Shavuot (the feast of weeks…it is to take place the day after the 7th shabat following Passover…hence, 50 days or ‘Pentecost’) is one of the 3 main feasts when all Jewish men are commanded to come up to Jerusalem and present themselves with an offering to The Lord.  (The other two are Passover- corresponding to the Resurrection) and Succot (feast of tabernacles).  Today in Israel the celebration is marked by a number of symbolic things (as well as the men still coming up to Jerusalem for the blessing of the Cohanim (or priests). It is often called the ‘birthday of Judaism’, (interestingly, Pentecost is also known as the birth of the Church to many!) the day when the 10 commandments was received by Moses and presented to the 12 tribes.  To celebrate the written Word, handed down from God, many MANY people will study Torah all night long.  These study groups are spread across the nation and are not limited to the religious but have become quite popular with the secular as well.  After a festive dairy meal at sunset tonight, vast crowds will stream through the city – many by torch light and dressed in white – to the Western Wall (the kotel) of the temple where they will sit on plastic chairs or lie on mats on the ground and study and pray with thanksgiving to God for His Word, through the night.  Others will meet in homes, schools, synagogues, offices and even on the beach and in the forest for the night of study) Meanwhile, ever array of cheese cake, blintz, milk product that you can imagine (or BYOND your imagination) has been prepared and will be eaten as though it were a commandment! No one is QUITE sure how this all began (although there are amazingly creative stories to explain it) but there is generally some rabbi who is able to bring a lovely and thought provoking meaning forward.  Yesterday, on the news, one rabbi explained that The Word is pure and living and should be desired as a baby desires its milk as if knowing that it is receiving the very source of it’s life.  Lovely!  Amen.  I’ll drink (milk) to that!  J As a nice note, our Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu, held a 2 hour long study of the book of Ruth with his cabinet this week and encouraged the nation to make sure to set the scriptures as not only their history book, but their compass.
AT ANY RATE…this holiday, again, is a particular opportunity to pray for those who are really seeking Truth…that they may FIND HIM Who IS THE LIVING TRUTH, YESHUA! 

More then 20 years ago now, I had a wonderful experience around Shavuot which has always colored the day with wonder for me.  After I was saved and began reading the Bible, I wondered before The Lord what Shavuot was really about and how it concerned me.  We had not celebrated it when I was growing up, as we did the other holidays and from the scriptures I couldn’t really put any significance to it.  At the time I didn’t even realize that it was Pentecost.  (After all…my KJB called it ‘Pentecost’, not Shavuot) 
I received a phone call from my sister one day that went something like this:  “___, (my name)…I’M GETTING MARRIED!”  YAY YAY!  My sister was nearly 39 at the time and had recently been up to Alaska to visit us.  I had talked to her about The Lord more forcefully then ever before and she had really begun thinking…however… in response she had gone back to NY, joined the synagogue and was now marrying a rabbi!  This was NOT the response I had hoped and prayed for.  She continued talking.  “We are to be married right after Shavuot, and OF COURSE you are invited, but I KNOW THAT YOU CAN’T COME…AFTER ALL YOU ARE SO FAR AWAY AND YOU HAVE THE CHILDREN…AND IT’S OK THAT YOU DON’T COME…!” (The undertone being ‘please please don’t come!’)  I nearly broke her eardrums “OF COURSE I’M COMING!  Don’t be SILLY!  You are my only sister and I will be there with bells on!!”  Silence!  “No…you don’t have to.  PLEASE don’t go to the expense…” (Could it be that I was an embarrassment to her?  A Jewish believer, a disciple of Yeshua…did not fit in well to the picture.) I let my joy for my sister swallow up the understandable rejection and began to pray-plan my way to her wedding.  During prayer one morning I felt so certain that The Lord wanted me to bring two, homemade, challot (the braided shabat breads also used for celebrations).  OK.  The airlines were USED to people carrying strange things to and from Alaska…I would bring two challot.  To my joy they came out perfectly.
Armed with my Bible, gifts, and two huge challot tucked under my arms I made my way across the country to the wedding.  I arrived on Shavuot eve (I seem to recall) and we made our way to ‘Susie’s house’.  Susie was an 82 year old scholar in Jewish studies who had been mentoring my sister.  Obviously she knew about me.  She greeted me graciously and I put down the challot.  ‘You have brought 2 challot for your sister’s wedding? May I ask why?’  I told her ‘I prayed and felt that this was what I should bring.’  She glowed!  ‘How amazing!  The temple offering for Shavuot!  Very good!’  I was taken by surprise.  Who knew?  Levit 23 was not yet alive to me so God had literally graced me by placing them in my hands. Everyone smiled approvingly at me. 
The next morning we went to my sister’s synagogue for the Shavuot service.  It was the first one that I ever recall being present at and the first time that I had been in a synagogue for many years.  My sister and her fiancé, my mother and I hustled into a row half way back at the center of the synagogue and I followed along in the unfamiliar prayer book…but wait!  It wasn’t unfamiliar!  Now we were reading from Habakkuk “Lord!  In judgment remember mercy!” then from Ruth…all of the scriptures that we read were ones that I had been praying and my heart began crying out for my people and I prayed along, more and more, in tongues (I did not know Hebrew at the time).  After a long time the elders went up front and removed a scroll from the ‘ahron’ or ‘scroll closet’.  My sister whispered to me that it was the book of Ruth which is read at Shavuot and that it would now be carried around the synagogue for everyone to touch and bless.  The elders prayed together and then suddenly one came running down the aisle …TO ME!  He called me out of my row.  My mother held on to me ‘no, no’ she said…’yes, yes’ he said.  My sister said ‘OY!’.  My nearly brother in law held his head in his hands.  I figured that they were going to take me out and stone me.  INSTEAD…they took me up front. “What should I do?”  I questioned.  “…I don’t know…” he said “It is ok.  We will show you what to do.”  They put me behind the scroll, which they carried, and said ‘You follow behind and pray’(!!!)  This was A BIT BIZARRE to me…!  ‘GOD!  ONLY YOU COULD ARRANGE SUCH A THING!’  So there I was…following the scroll around the synagogue as the some 3-400 congregants reached out and touched it, kissing their hands first, and I?  I was weeping and praying at the top of my voice in tongues for the salvation of all of them! 
When I went back to my seat, my sister and my brother in law both had their heads in their hands and my mother explained to me ‘They were honoring your sister,’ Ok.  Whatever it was…I was blown away!
After the service I approached the elder who had chosen me ‘May I ask why you chose me? Thank you for honoring my sister.’  He was searching my face and the rabbi joined us ‘I don’t know who your sister is, but you are a lover of God!  You are a lover of God! Are you from Russia?’  At this point The Lord put His all knowing Hand on my heart and said ‘Shhh!  Not now…you will have another chance to share’ so I said ‘Yes, I am a lover of God, but I am not from Russia.’ He said ‘It doesn’t matter.  You are a lover of God and that is why we chose you.  Thank you!’ 
Oh, I DID get a chance to share with the rabbi (that was at my sister’s wedding the following day…and a totally different story!) but I will never forget my introduction to Shavuot, and this holiday has continued to hold an awe of anticipated unexpected joy for me concerning things yet unknown to me that WILL break forth…in His time!
So now we are preparing to leave for our yearly Shavuot celebration held in a wonderful Bedouin tent on a mountain top in Yad h’Shmonah (a believer’s moshav on the hills that border 3 of the tribes of Israel).  We will share a meal, worship and testimony, and I will bring my two loaves of challa. 
I hope to get back to writing some more ‘everyday’ letters soon.  SO much has happened, as usual in this land of so-much-happening.  Thank you for praying for our family and for our land and people. God bless you with His Presence.  Lovingly, your sis
ani b’derek
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Published in: on May 27, 2012 at 6:43 am  Comments (8)  
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8 Comments

  1. “… ‘GOD! ONLY YOU COULD ARRANGE SUCH A THING!’…”

    And of course, we all say this often. Amen.

  2. God bless you Larry, and all those special arrangements He makes for you!

  3. This reminded me of some things I had forgotten. I am so glad I read it. It excites me that the Lord’s ways are past our finding out!

  4. I liked that part too, wonderful woman of the Word! 🙂 God bless you and yours this Memorial Day! love you!

  5. Fantastic story, I’m so glad God used you here and this may be important in a future time. We also celebrated Shavuot this year but no where as wonderful as your own celebration.

  6. Thank you so much, sweet vessel of His, for letting J know! Forwarded you on to her! God bless you!

  7. A real Holy Spirit experience… and it is so startling to read a Jewish prayer book and find the same things “we” have. LOL
    Soon we shall all be One in Yeshua / Jesus the Messiah of Israel… when the veil is taken off their eyes and their hearts are circumcised.
    Love Psalmist Susan.

  8. I loved hearing about this . . .only He could do such things! God bless you and your prayers for Israel! love you and sending you on to J! God bless!


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