Inside Israel – 8th Day of Chanuka


Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today. I didn’t receive a letter from our Sis in Jerusalem this week, but had an older one that hadn’t been shared yet, from back in December.  Thank you and God bless you for reading and praying. Now, here she is . . .

“The entrance of Your Words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.”  Psalm 119:130
We have just lit the final candles on our Chanukiah…all eight lights are gleaming, lighting up the room so brightly.  It is beautiful and peaceful and ushers in the final day of Chanuka. We went to a wonderful Chanuka shabat meal last night at my pastor’s home with most of our congregation and we sang about The Light of The world.  When we came home we heard about the tragic shooting in Connecticut USA where so many little ones were killed.  How distinct Light is from darkness, and how grievously evident its fruits!
I want to share with you that I got to share about HIM and His Light and peace this Chanuka, and I would like to tell you a bit about the young woman with whom I shared, hoping that you will pray for her.  Her name is Molly and she is a new secretary who works along side of me several days a week.  When I met her it was a little bit of a shock.  She is big and tough looking, (not what you generally expect a dr. secretary to look like) and in her early twenties. She was a police woman and I found out that she is now studying criminology.  Wow!  That is quite a subject.  As I thought about it, I wondered what it is like to stare at criminal minds and study them.  I spend my life studying the mind of Yeshua… staring at Him, knowing that as I fix my eyes on Him I am changed more and more into His likeness.  I remember having a good friend in California years ago who was a police man.  He had told us that he and his wife went on required ‘psychiatric retreats’ periodically through his work to ‘debrief’ them.  He said that after awhile you see so much evil that it affects you and you must be brought back into balance and reminded that all people are not like that.  I found myself thinking quite a bit about Molly’s line of study, so I brought it up again several days later.  ‘Molly, I was thinking about your studies in criminology and thought how you must have to guard your heart as you study.’ (The word that I used was not ‘heart’ but ‘nefesh’… a Hebrew word that is more like a combination of your heart, soul and spirit) She was interested; ‘Well, I know and I try to.  I actually study it because most criminals are depressed and I have been very depressed and there is much depression in my family.  As a matter of fact, we have learned that depression is a severe problem in Israel.’  This had really opened a door!  ‘I have noticed that Jewish depression seems to be an ancient problem’ I said. I wondered if this would lead to speaking about how turning from God to sin and darkness brings such depression.  I told her that I get up every morning at 4:30 to ‘Study God’…to read His Word and to stare at Him.  She was interested and it opened a door.  ‘My father died very suddenly 5 months ago and I could not get out of bed I was so sad.  I quit my job and would have killed myself but I couldn’t do that to my family.  I am the oldest of 4 sisters and our father had a heart attack and went into a deep coma.  For one week we all sat by his bed and our Mother cried.  It was awful.  We were so sad.  I prayed and said ‘God…if you are real…please either heal my father or take him home but don’t let him live this way.  Then, right away, he died.’  Suddenly I knew with a deep ‘knowing’ that I had to tell her about The Lord.  Thankfully, the office was miraculously quiet. ‘Molly…I want to tell you something about myself that I don’t usually share here at work.  I am a messianic Jew.’ She said ‘What is that?’ I was hoping that she would know.  ‘I believe that Yeshua is our Messiah.’ I said. ‘Oh! yeshu!’ This is a bad word for HIS Holy Name.  ‘No.’ I said…’His Name is YESHUA.’ Thankfully she did not seem shocked or upset. She asked ‘Are you still Jewish then or are you now a Christian (Notzrei) and not Jewish?’ I told her that I am still Jewish and am a disciple of Yeshua.  All of my parents and Grandparents all the way back were Jewish and so I a, as well…but I follow Yeshua.’ I began to share my full testimony with her…including how I was hospitalized having been (among other things) suicidally depressed and how He came to me Face to face when I had never heard about Him and how He changed my life and flooded me with joy and peace.  She looked at me deeply.  ‘The way you believe in Yeshua is how I believe in God.’ She said.  ‘When my father died and I prayed, when God answered my prayer, He did that to me.  I suddenly was flooded with peace that I knew was Him.’
At this point the office suddenly got busy again, effectively ending our conversation, but – again – I was flooded with peace and His Light seemed to fill the room.  Later that day Molly said to me ‘I am so happy to be working with you.  I have never been this happy to work with anyone.’  I do not know how this will continue, but I pray for her salvation.  Although my words were awkward, His ways are perfect and I know that His Word will accomplish what it is sent to do.  Should The Lord press Molly into your heart, please lift her in prayer, that she would be set free to turn her studies to The One Who is Light?
Having much to share and knowing that you are all so busy during this season of LIGHT, I pray for each of you to be blessed by His Presence. How precious is His Light in this darkening world.  May His priorities be yours daily.  I miss you.  Lovingly, your sis

Inside Israel – The first light of Chanuka / 8 Dec. 2012


Hi and welcome to a look Inside Israel during this time of Light.  Our sis in Jerusalem gives us some background about Chanuka and how it blesses her .. .and hopefully us too.  God bless you as you read and pray for Israel and J!  Now, here she is . . .

LIGHT!  HE rescued us from darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His wonderful LIGHT.  His very Name is The Light (“I Am the Way, the Truth and The Light”…”I Am the Light of the world…”). I love meditating on LIGHT and it seems to me that I can never exhaust the paths of its delights! 
Tonight at sundown the first light of Chanuka will be lit across this nation and in Jewish homes (and many of those attached to us) through out the world.  Chanuka is NOT a scripturally commanded holiday, but it, like Purim (the Esther holiday) is basically celebrated by all Jews because the miracle that it commemorates so points to God’s
deliverance.  I am sure that you all know the story by now…how the temple was desecrated by the Greek invasion and how Judah Macabee and his brothers led the demoralized, rag tag Jews to victory against the Greeks and reclaimed the Temple.  They found that all of the ‘holy oil’ had been desecrated as well and there was no oil with which to light the menorah, the lamp in the temple that was to never go out.  It took 8 days to prepare the oil…and only one vessel was found unbroken.  Chanuka celebrates the mighty way in which God multiplied the Light…the oil…for eight days, until the people could provide their own. What an example of Who HE is and His ways in provision! 
Jesus walked in the Temple during Chanuka…the feast of the dedication in winter.  THE LIGHT walked in the temple and celebrated the miracle of Light!  And we continue to celebrate that today, although as a nation and a people we don’t yet understand WHO we are celebrating!
The chanukiah (special Chanuka menorah) is lit each night at sundown (we also have huge community ones lit on many street corners) – another light added each night from right to left until all 8 are lit on the last night.  A prayer is recited and most of them include that we are COMMANDED to light these lights, but since we aren’t, most believers don’t say this.  This is a lovely prayer that many use:
We kindle these lights [to commemorate] the saving acts, miracles and wonders which You have performed for our forefathers, in those days at this time, through Your holy priests. Throughout the eight days of Chanukah, these lights are sacred, and we are not permitted to make use of them, but only to look at them, in order to offer thanks and praise to Your great Name for Your miracles, for Your wonders and for Your salvations.
Chanuka is considered mainly a holiday for children and gifts are given to them as well as candies…there are special games played (spinning the deride being the most popular) and songs sung.  Ofcourse, being a ‘Jewish’ holiday, there are tons of special foods…and being a people who love symbolism, most of the food is o-i-l-y! ‘Sofganioat’, the most popular Israeli treat, is like a filled donut without a hole. Ashkenazi Jews  (eastern European in origin)eat ‘latkes’ – a deep friend potato pancake, often topped with applesauce.  Everyone has their own ‘tradition’.  It is a joyous holiday and everyone is happy (although SOME of us, whose children and grandchildren aren’t here might struggle… L a bit) and taking children here and there for special doings for all 8 days. 
Shortly I will be leaving for our fellowship where we will light the first candle together and sing some of the traditional songs along with our own worship. 
To me, this is an extraordinary season in which to be celebrating HIS miracle of multiplied Light, as darkness seems to be multiplying all around us, HIS Light still prevails, and WILL prevail!  Soon, against much opposition, we who believe will ALSO, in various ways, celebrate THE LIGHT THAT CAME INTO THE WORLD…silently, so silently. 
This ISN’T a very ‘anointed’ letter, but it IS The totally anointed GOD Whom I can’t but point to as we prepare to light these small lights here shortly.
I wish you…us…all…LIGHT, and the blessing of seeing Light in His Light. Happy Chanuka!   Lovingly from Jerusalem, your sis   
ani b’derek


Published in: on December 16, 2012 at 9:18 am  Comments (16)  
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Inside Israel – The Last Night of Chanuka

So glad that you’ve stopped by as we take another look inside Israel though the eyes of a dear friend living in Jerusalem. Here’s what J has to share with us today!

The sun has gone down and the lights of our Chanuka candles have gone out for the last time this year. The last day of Chanuka has begun, and soon the children will be back at school…except for many in the North. I was unable to write when our massive fires were finally extinguished, and a welcome rain sealed the effort of many. A surprising and heart warming number of nations sent planes and manpower. Israel finally rented the American ‘super plane’ for two days and that was a huge help, albeit expensive. But it was the loss of 42 lives that brought such grief into the midst Chanuka this year. It is a sobering reminder that He IS The Light of the world…a world that still reels with grief and death and the ravages of the wages of sin…and yet we are told…even COMMANDED…to give Him an offering of Thanks IN THE MIDST. In ALL things give thanks!

So winter rain finally came. It has been scant; a light rain, but we are thankful for ALL water that comes during this very long drought. All creation seems to look up with thanksgiving to The Giver of the life giving moisture, and we can only follow suit. There is promise of more rain ahead. It is all in His Hands, the One who sends rain on the just AND the unjust. Truly it is His mercy!

Even though Chanuka is basically celebrated as a children’s holiday, for believers it brings the joy of celebrating The Light of the world and meditating about the symbols…the multiplied oil and light…the ‘shamus’ or ‘servant candle’ that stands above the others and is the one that lights them all…and of the miracle that took place amidst the rubble of what seemed tragedy. Isn’t it wonderful how being a believer adds an endless dimension to … well… I was about to say ‘holidays’, but actually to EVERYTHING. He has been so very good to us!

Tomorrow is a week since my husband came home from hospital and he is making steady progress. It has been, of course, an adjustment for all of us. My husband is used to being a strong, ‘in charge’ man all of his life, and this has him struggling with depression, but I trust that The Lord is STILL working His good work toward an ‘end of the story’ that will bring Him glory. We are hoping that my husband can be able to go back to work sometime after Christmas. Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement! I have found that I have great peace as long as I only ‘cross a bridge when I come to it’ and don’t look too far ahead. He is faithful for NOW…and so He will be in all of our tomorrows as He has been in our yesterdays. What a TRIP!

That is what excites me about entering into the time of turning our eyes toward the birth of Yeshua, Jesus. How so many promises that seemed perhaps impossible WERE accomplished at His birth…through His life…and in His death and resurrection: what assurance that the prophecies yet remaining will be answered in like faithfulness!

And with the peace of THAT thought…I will go to bed.

May you all find His peace this month as you seek to do His will in the midst of such a special season. God BLESS you! Your sis

ani b’derek

Inside Israel – The First Chanuka Light

So glad you could stop by today and get a glimpse inside Israel, as J of Jerusalem shares about the first Chanuka light. Enjoy and God bless you and your families!

Chanuka 2010 1 Dec 2010

As our younger daughter and I lit our first (of 8) Chanuka candle tonight, we thanked God for His Light…Yeshua, Jesus, The Light of the world…the light that shines in darkness and pierces it…for whosoever will. Thank You, Lord for lighting my darkness and joining me to Your family of those lit by Your Light!

I traveled home from visiting my husband in the hospital today hoping for a fast trip…perhaps 20 minutes. But as the rest of my day went, so did my ride; I arrived home almost 2 hours after I went to the bus stop! The sky was dark by the time I alighted from the bus and many of the public Chanukah’s were already lit. I had a long time to think about something The Lord impressed upon my heart earlier today after running my third failed errand this morning. Dropped into my heart, as I was fretting over wasted, precious time were the words ‘There is no such thing as ‘wasted time’. It is all victory if you walk it patiently and graciously. Remember…it is how you walk the path’. ‘But Lord, I am so very tired, and I have more to do then I CAN do.’ No. I dare not protest! Do I know more then HIM?? Does the pot say to the potter…why?? ‘Yes, Lord. Teach me.’ So, on this final bus ride home He continued to point out much to me. This bus runs through a very religious neighborhood and there was not one complaint voiced on the bus although we stood in gridlock traffic for so very long. That alone was a wonderful and unique experience…no complaining!

The hospital that my husband has been in for the past 3 weeks is an interesting one…different from the one that he was in for the first 2 weeks. This hospital, besides being a rehabilitation center, is also a geriatric and psychiatric hospital. It is one run on mercy. It sits adjacent to the Jerusalem cemetery (har h’minukhah), Mountain of Rest. Years ago my husband and I were horrified to pass an old age home named ‘Fare well rest haven’. It was right next to a cemetery and we thought that was incredibly cynical. But we found this hospital, with it’s placing, very peaceful.

Growing up, the food that I identified with Chanuka was ‘latkes’…a deep fried potato pancake which we topped with applesauce, but the Chanuka food here is ‘sovganioat’…a deep fried jelly donut (over the past few years, chocolate, halva, caramel and icing have also appeared). Foods identified with Chanuka ARE ‘deep fried’ because ‘Light’ and ‘oil’ are synonymous in the middle east, where oil lamps still burn. I had stopped at the shuk on the way to the hospital and purchased 12 sovganioat, an inexpensive chanukiah (candelabra for Chanuka) and candles to bring to the hospital to share with the staff … because… you see…besides tonight being the first light of Chanuka, it is also another special day: it is the last day for my husband to be in hospital. He is to be released tomorrow morning!

And THAT is why I was scurrying around today, like a chicken without a head, attempting to jump through all of the bureaucratic hoops necessary for his release.

Chanuka, I know that you remember, is the celebration for LIGHT…for it commemorates the multiplication of the oil for the menorah in the temple after it had been defiled by the Greeks. The Macabbis found only enough pure oil to keep the lamps burning for 1 day, and it required a week to produce the pure oil. God miraculously kept the Light burning…as He still does! Thus the holiday is kept some 2,000 years later with the lighting of special candlestick (Chanukiah)…8 lights and one ‘servant light’, the ‘shamus’ to light the rest – first night we light one candle, the next night 2, and so forth. I have shared the story and traditions many times. This year Chanuka is VERY early, and no one seems quite ‘ready’. It is celebrated on the 25th of the month of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, which is lunar.

As with all of our various hospital stays, the roommates make such a strong impact, and this last stay was no different. My husband, being the youngest resident, (and since he is 65 that is saying something!) was placed with another ‘young man’ (56) who had suffered a stroke. He is a Moslem, and his name is Ruef. When we entered the room his family eyed us suspiciously, so I reached out warmly to them and his wife was the first to respond. She spoke some English, and he speaks Hebrew so we were soon fast friends. It was interesting to see his 3 grown sons enter the room daily, each one approaching him individually and bowing on their knee, kissing his hand and then pressing it to their forehead (as in blessing) 3 times. Today I asked him about it: ‘It has been interesting to me watching your sons greet you’ I began. ‘It seems to me that you are an important man…perhaps you are the village chief?’ I asked. He warmed to my sincerity and smiled; ‘Yes I am.’ he answered. ‘Such power must be used with great wisdom and compassion’ I commented. Again he smiled; ‘This is right and this I have also received. I became chief through my mother and I received her compassion and wisdom. All of the village comes to me to settle problems. There is one thing I do not tolerate; no man may speak badly of his wife. I have never lifted my voice to my wife. I have shown her respect and so she has always respected me. Our children must do the same.’ His words reminded me of an article my I had just read to my husband about the Druze. They follow the laws of Noah and are extremely moral people. I also thought back to the book of Judges and realized that that is what Ruef does… he ‘judges’ his people and he does it wisely.

I brought Ruef a sovganioat just as his family brought us some of their sweets for a recent feast that they had. Hertzog hospital is a religious hospital, but once again, there is no prejudice, and great mercy is shown to everyone. Although I left before the candle lighting tonight, my husband called and told me how several older men came and lead in the blessings of the lighting of the candles and songs. Soon after a group of young people came and danced and handed out more sovganioat. Another group of children came and sang songs. He was very touched by the warmth, as was Ruef. Peace, His peace, is the only thing that can bring peace into the hearts of those caught up in strife. I am thankful to be an instrument of His Peace in small ways. It is a blessing to see that His Light still lights up small corners.

I know that this is an inadequate letter, but I wanted to share the love of His Light…and ALSO…

TWO ANSWERS TO PRAYER: The first you have heard already; my husband is to come home tomorrow! The second is like the first…our older daughter called with the wonderful news that they signed a rental contract today on the top floor of a house in a moshav much nearer to us (although still a bit of a trek). It is on a very pretty, rural moshav that has horses. Thank you SO much for holding our ‘crisis to crisis’ family on prayer. He is SO faithful!

May The faithful Light of the world, Light our hearts and paths…for His glory alone! Lovingly, your very tired sis

ani b’derek

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