Pesach Preparations Over – The Day Is Here

JerAtNight1

Happy Resurrection Day!  🙂   And welcome to another look inside Israel and our sis in Jerusalem shares about her Passover this year.  Praying you are blessed by her letter and by your Lord!  Thank you for praying and reading. Now, here’s our sis . . .

Beloved sisters and brothers,
Blessings and loving greetings to you all as we all stand in the midst of a week that represents God’s great faithfulness. What a joy that we can step aside and worship The Lamb in so many forms, glorifying Him and remembering all that He has done, is doing and WILL do.  As is written in Psalm 126:3 “The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad” for sure!
I had fully intended to write yet one more ‘Pesach preparation’ letter (I did it in my head)…but I’m afraid that the ‘preparations’ gathered speed and took up ALL of the time and energy until the sun went down and the siren sounded throughout the city ushering in the feast of the Passover.  That ‘holy hush’ fell only briefly as soon the streets filled with people making their way to synagogue or to the house of another…and the festive joy in the streets was tangible as strangers greeted one another with big smiles ‘Ha’ag  sam’eh’ach’ (Joyful holiday). Our new neighbor’s children brought flowers to us which comforted us as our own children are not with us.
This year’s celebration was to be different for us and we discussed it excitedly on the way to the lovely home where we were being hosted.  It would actually be our FIRST time at a “Gentile Christian Seder” (as was written on the haggada…the little book of ‘liturgy’ that is used to guide the order of the evening.)  We were being hosted by dear friends who came as a tour group from Alaska and were staying at one of the local ‘Houses of Prayer’.  We were very excited to see our friends whom we had not seen in 19 years, since leaving Alaska.  When we made aliyah (immigrated to my ancestral home land of Israel) back in 1994, Israel was a very far away place to most of the Christians of our area, and except for a rare few, there was very little revelation, if any, concerning Israel’s place in God’s heart and God’s plan for the present and the future.  Indeed, the purpose of Israel, past and current, seemed a vague, at best, history lesson.  One dear elderly worker for The Lord approached me gently one day just before we left and said ‘Dear…don’t you realize that you are a Christian now and you are not a Jew anymore?’  I must admit, that took me aback as it revealed a foundational misunderstanding of ‘who’ the Jews are.  Yes, there is the Jewish religion…but not everyone born a Jew… born to the nation of the Jewish people, follows the religion.  Sadly, there are Jewish Buddhists, Hindus, secular, witches and even moslems …but they are all still considered Jewish.  A common question asked at the time was “WHY is it again that you are going to ‘Palestine’?  Are you going to be m….s? (a word describing people who ‘share’ that I can not put in a letter…a word that we don’t use here…nor by the way…is if found in scripture, believe it or not!  AND…Neither is ‘Palestine’ … except in the maps at the back of the Bible! J) At any rate…there were not as yet teachings in the Churches concerning the holidays.  At our home, we yearly had our own form of seder with our children in which we would read about 10 chapters in the book of Exodus as well as others concerning the fulfillment in Yeshua and ending with the ‘last Passover seder’ … the marriage supper of The Lamb.  Occasionally my mother couldn’t get matzo to us on time by mail and so we would use tortillas as our unleavened bread…asking for grace.  Aside from a couple of seders with my parents, that was our general ‘tradition’. It all changed when we made aliyah and neighbors and friends began to invite us to their seder.  Some were orthodox, some had ‘child friendly’ seders, some were believers …all were Jewish, but each one was different from the last.  Some lasted until midnight (I understand some go all night!!) and some were so full of singing laughing teenagers that our stomachs hurt when we got home from the laughter!  And that is right, because although the SUBJECT of the seder is The Lord and HIS great Faithfulness…the OBJECT is stated again and again in scripture: TO TEACH THE NEXT GENERATION WHOSE EYES HAVE NOT SEEN FOR THEMSELVES. 
My husband and I discussed all of this on the way to our friend’s.  What would a ‘gentile Christian seder’ be like?  (I know from my emails that a number of you are going to one, and others are hosting them…some very big!) Well… I can tell you right now, IT WAS A BLESSING!  It WAS learning.  It WAS a testimony to the faithfulness of God!  It WAS the gathering of a deeper understanding of The Blood applied to the doorposts as a type of our hearts… and we could only stand back in wonder when it was over, my husband and I: “Great things The Lord hath done for us, whereof we are glad.”  Here we were in Jerusalem, being hosted at a seder by old friends from Alaska…wow!
Ofcourse, ‘the last supper’ before the crucifixion, was a Passover seder, so we know that when Jesus, Yeshua, walked the earth, Jews were still fulfilling this commandment.  It has never stopped.  It has continued through out the centuries, through out the persecutions and dispersions, through out the wanderings and the return.  In concentration camps it continued to the best of their abilities.  It remains a testimony to God’s faithfulness…and I can only wonder!
I have a dilemma. The longer that I am here…the more that I see and experience and begin to understand…the more difficult it becomes to write about and explain.  It seems to me that the less I knew…well…it was just less complicated and simple to talk to you about.  Now…having ‘dug down’ layer past layer past layer…the intricacies of the work of His Hands and Heart defy description!  Thank you for the grace to be blessed by my inadequate offerings. 
So today we awoke – tired – to a hot spring day, beautiful and quiet.  No one works on this day as it is a ‘high holyday’.  The house is so clean (the kitchen anyway!) that I just want to stare at it and not use it…and…OFCOURSE I spilled the juice (yes, fresh squeezed orange juice!) spilled all over the table and floor first thing this morning.  DAVKA! (remember?  That word means ‘Murphy’s law’, or ‘wouldn’t you know it!’) But I didn’t get upset … His Presence was still too close.  We ate our matzo (which we will have for 8 days) and went out for a walk in the country.  It was there that we were reminded of the ominous realities of the day in which we live as we ran into some locusts.  Yes, it was a very small swarm, but if they have made it this far north, it is NOT good.  They are laying their eggs in the ground right now…not good at all!  The south of the country is experiencing huge swarms. Not good at all.  We also understood from the news that the Syrian rebels have taken over the area north of our Golan border.  This is also sobering news as they are making a great deal of noise in Arabic about how Assad has been so bad by “not liberating the Golan from the Zionist regime”.  We had 2 cross border fire incidents this past week.  The US pressure following the Obama visit upon our government to ‘make painful concessions’ also became ominously evident this week as we ‘eased the Gaza blockade’, released money to the Palestinian Authority and ‘apologized’ to Turkey for the death of those on their ship who were trying to breach our naval blockade on Gaza.  Lord knows what else is coming. 
BUT GOD…WHO IS FAITHFUL, AND WHO HAS BEEN FAITHFUL, WILL BE FAITHFUL TO GLORIFY HIS NAME!  You know, the longer I live here, the less I know about WHAT He is going to do (and I hear many who claim that they do know!) except for that one thing: HE WILL GLORIFY HIS NAME!  His purposes are about ours and His thoughts and ways are above ours, and to stand in the center of His will is the ONLY safe place!  I think of the Israelites standing between the sea and the Egyptian…how HOPELESS it looked; BUT GOD was planning to glorify His Name.  I also think of Miriam (Mary) and the other disciples at the foot of the cross…and at the tomb…thinking all was hopeless…BUT GOD had plans to glorify HIS Name!  The older I get, the more I simply want to draw near to Him and trust Him. 
Ok…my husband is ready to eat; more matzo! When we lived in California many years ago, we had to be creative with zucchini that was incredibly abundant…In Alaska it was salmon (I know…most of you can’t IMAGINE getting tired of salmon…but after 3 times a day, YES!  You CAN!)…and here we go to the matzo. WE WILL GIVE THANKS AND EAT WITH JOY!  I send much love, May His Presence rejoice your hearts and change you (and me) to the reflection of HIM! 
Lovingly, your sis here.
OOOOPPPSS….Personal p.s.: 
Our younger daughter and new husband apparently arrived at our older daughters’ family last night for 8 days of Pesach together.  I would appreciate prayer for them all. 
It has come to my attention lately a couple of you have sent us things and you did not receive a response from me.  IF THIS HAPPENS PLEASE CONTACT ME!  With VERY rare unavoidable exceptions I ALWAYS respond as I am SO THANKFUL for anyone who thinks of us.  I am seeing that neither snail mail nor email is always getting through – especially from here to you. 
And finally:  I know that it is annoying, but I still need to ask you to PLEASE make sure to keep MY NAME or the names of any member of my family off of email completely.  That means even in your address book (as it shows up on your email).  (Just list me as ‘friend’ or whatever you would like)  This is because my emails are very explicit and could jeopardize us.  Thank you!!!   
ani b’derek
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Published in: on March 31, 2013 at 7:42 am  Comments (28)  
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Pesach Preparations 3 – Speeding Up

JerAtNight1

Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel during the Passover preparations.  I know it’s already past, but our sis in Jerusalem sent all these lovely letters prior to Passover and I wanted to share them with you!   Thank you and God bless you and yours!  Now, here’s our sis . . .

Beloved sisters and brothers in Yeshua,
Blessings and greetings in Him Who is our Peace…the only sacrifice that can wash us from sin and set us free to have real PEACE within.  May all of His blessings be found abundant in you through His promises so freely given.  Wow!  We are so incredibly blessed!
Preparations for Pesach are gathering speed and it is in times like these that the fact that the blinders that have been ripped off of my spiritual eyes becomes even more wondrously precious to me then ever. Because of His great mercy I have access to Him Who is all in all and I don’t NEED to walk in the shadows.  Do I have all light?  Ofcourse not!  But I DO have access to the One Who does!  Halleluyah!
So…I couldn’t sleep. L  It was two a.m. and I was suddenly wide awake.  I was NOT happy about this.  Four thirty (when I USUALLY get up) comes soon enough on a work day, but on Fridays I leave even earlier then my regular 6:30.  I leave at 5:50 so that I can be at prayer meeting by 6:30 for a half hour before running to work at 7 for a very intense day.  I tried to fall back to sleep but could not get the thought of “the death of the firstborn” – the final plague upon Egypt preceding Pesach – out of my head.  It was a loosing battle.  I got out of bed, resigned myself to a strong cup of coffee, and went to my Bible. 
Preparing the heart is definitely the most important part of Pesach preparations. I have been reading in Prophets, Psalms and the Epistles so had not been reading about Pesach. Since I had this extra time, I turned to Exodus 11 on, and looked for last plague; the death of the first born.  I was immediately enraptured, caught up by His Word into His ways.  “Then Moses said, ‘Thus says the Lord: “About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt’ and the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all of the animals. Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.  But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.’” Wow!  NOT very politically correct, is it!  But this is The Lord God Almighty speaking.  It brought me back to something that I have seen along this path of His.  His Word DIVIDES.  We seem to have a choice all along the way…either it is ‘Yes Lord…let it be done to me according to Your Word’…or to squirm under the ‘unfairness’, the ‘inhumanity’ of His judgments.  ‘Humanism’ becomes more ‘just’ then God…more ‘merciful’…I mean…how can He command the death of the first born of innocent animals?  Why would He make a distinction between the Hebrews and the Egyptians?  Over and over, with increasing frequency, I hear these arguments and my heart shivers. I thought of the disciples turning away when He spoke of eating His body and drinking His blood…they could not understand…so they walked away.  I am so thankful that somehow by His mercy I have sought for and been given (in not great enough measure yet) a fear of God.  I truly believe that His ways and thoughts are higher then ours.  I have come to understand that sin is costly and painful in ways far beyond my pea-brain understanding, but that a truly righteous, just and merciful God DOES in fact, need to judge these things.  As I read on through chapters 12 and 13, scripture after scripture jumped into my mind, flooding me again with the intricacy of His Truth and Way.  “…and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your house to strike you.” (12:23)  I flipped to 1 Corin. 10:1-13, on through Hebrews, scripture after scripture and back to Exodus; “So this day shall be to you a memorial, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generation.  You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.” Again and again He clearly lays out the directions.  They are simple really.  “For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land…”  The blood of the lamb saved them…The Blood of The Lamb still saves…for HE IS THE PASSOVER LAMB WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD! 
Five fifty came too soon.  I didn’t want to leave the wonderful Light of The Word and His Spirit to plunge again into the swirling drama of daily life here, but I had no choice.  The day was oppressively hot…our first sha’arav heat wave of the year arrived as the Tel Aviv marathon took place inspite of strong health ministry warnings against it: sport must go on, right?  The runners began at 6am but by 9:30 one was dead and about 30 hospitalized as a result of the extreme heat.  The locusts continue to invade from the south.  The war in Syria on our northern border continues to press southward.  Iran runs toward nuclear weapons and US President Obama is scheduled to arrive here on Wed, paralyzing the city until he leaves on Friday.  He plans to ‘meet the people, rather then address our government.’  Hum.  As of last night we finally have a government …or at least, we will have once it is sworn in tomorrow (Monday). 
And in the midst Pesach draws near. 
People scurry around purchasing gifts, food, cleaning products.  We have one more week.  Next Monday night at sundown the order of the table will be set and a last breath will be drawn in as the subtle change takes place and the drama unfolds … again.  According to scripture on the 10th of the month of Nissan (which this year falls on Thursday the 21st) the lamb was to be taken into the home – a lamb for a household – and kept for four days until it was sacrificed at the Passover.  We are preparing. 
Perhaps you would like to take a fresh look at the first 13 chapters of Exodus. It truly never gets ‘old’! 
Having so little time to write and then finally writing when I am tired is very sad to me, but it is what I have and I offer it to Him – the Lord, the Lamb, Yeshua, with love…and to each of you, dear brothers and sisters.  I am so thankful that we are one in Him!  Blessings to you, your sis in Jerusalem
ani b’derek
Published in: on March 30, 2013 at 7:28 am  Comments (15)  
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Inside Israel – Passover Preparations / Part 3

JerAtNight1

Hi and thank you so much for stopping by for another look inside Israel.  Today our sis in Jerusalem continues to share about this special time, when people prepare their homes and their hearts. God bless you as you read and pray!  Now, here she is . ..

Shalom, dear body of Messiah.  May you be blessed and may HE be blessed and glorified!
It’s beginning to look A LOT like Pesach (Passover)!  As our stores suddenly become sparkling (well…almost) clean, we find that items that we forgot to get have already disappeared off of the shelves, ie; my husband’s breakfast cereal!  With nearly two weeks still left BEFORE Pesach, my poor husband (who usually goes through withdrawals during just the eight days of Pesach) will have to start early…or…discover a less popular cereal that is still on the shelf.  (as fewer and fewer shelves display foods that have leaven…or don’t have the ‘right’ rabbi’s stamp…when an item is ‘out’ it is not restocked.) 
Are there other signs?  Oh yes, many!  The strong but delightful aroma of fresh GARLIC hangs over the shuk and wafts through the air on the trains and buses.  The garlic harvest happens just before Pesach, and because of that many of us give gifts of the beautifully braided bulbs to hang in the kitchen allowing the recipient of such a gift to use a fresh bulb as they cook…whole barbequed and grilled bulbs of garlic are very popular here and garlic is used in many dishes.  Is that a reminder that our ancestors murmured in the desert because the missed the leeks and the garlic?  We have leeks and garlic in abundance here now…we simply needed patience.  Not just the garlic signals the season in the shuk, but the bright red, sweet and fragrant strawberries deck every fruit stand, the colors are dazzling – like a feast of wild flowers to the eyes – the deep greens, oranges, reds, purples, yellows, whites, of the fruits and vegetables so fresh and abundant – all very present and real evidence of God’s great faithfulness…the wonder of it! 
Other things pop up suddenly; ‘ahat pa’ami’ (literally ‘one use’) shops for a start.  These are shops full of every size and shape of disposable item …plates, baking pans, every kitchen item that you can imagine (almost) made in a disposable manner so that you can use it during this ‘inbetween’ stage when your regular dishes and pans are gone and your ‘kosher for Passover’ ones are not to be used yet.  And, yes, there are ‘ecologically friendly ones’ (although I don’t see how).  Plastics shops do a booming business as people replace everything from dish drains to garbage pails.  There is even a ‘sink insert’ the size of a kitchen sink that you can place in your sink with a drain hole in the center and … voila!  A kosher for Pesach sink is installed. 
“Where are you going for seder?” is the sentence I am now hearing through out the day.  It is such a blessing that people care for one another!  It is commanded that the seder be a big and full meal with your table full and ‘none of the  lamb remaining until morning’.  Although the lamb is now symbolic (yes, many do eat lamb, but it is awfully expensive as is most meat, so often fish and poultry sit on the table), it is considered sad indeed for ANYONE to be alone for this meal and great effort is made to make sure that everyone is cared for.  As you can imagine, it is a very costly meal to prepare, as often the table hosts between 10-100 people.  AND I NEGLECTED TO MENTION THE MATZO!  How could I have done that!  The war of the matzo sales has begun!  Who can lure you into their store with the promise of ‘the best price for matzo’ – this is now the battle!  Bitter roots are appearing to deck the seder plate, and there are gifts to buy as this is the time for giving of gifts…oh the ACTIVITY! 
I have had some wonderful opportunities to open discussions with women of late.  On Tuesday (when I began this letter) I had my regular blood test.  The technician who took my blood was a ‘dati’ (religious) woman and when I said that I was tired she said ‘Oh!  From all of the cleaning and preparations!’  This was a wonderful door.  ‘No, actually I have barely begun, but I find it not so hard to prepare for Pesach as I follow the scriptural command to simply have no leaven in my home.’ She smiled and told me that she has also remembered that this was the command.  ‘One year while I was scrubbing the floor on my knees’ I told her, ‘I felt as if God said to me ‘This is where I want you…on your knees letting me shine My light on leaven in your heart so that your heart can be clean of leaven!’  I told her how liberating that had been to me and she breathed in every word.  I am finding people so very receptive this year as I have shared this with a number of other women. It feels as if I am sowing living seed into prepared soil. 
But all is not ‘roses’ as we prepare together for the feast of remembrance.  We are experiencing our first ‘sha’arav’ (desert heat wave – hot winds blowing off the desert that literally suck the water out of you) of the year and this is early.  An international marathon scheduled to be held in Tel Aviv tomorrow has been cancelled by the health ministry as several years ago a runner died from dehydration during a sha’arav.  The locusts that came up from the Sudan, through Egypt continue to multiply and plague our south and threaten our crops inspite of heavy spraying and our still unsure government has been snagged again as they were to sign the coalition agreement tonight…it is again on ‘hold’.  My heart was deeply grieved to tears as our Prime Minister gave in to the very liberal, humanistic party demanding the education portfolio.  This party has the strong backing of the homosexuals.  Thus far our children have been spared these teachings that are rampant in western countries.  My heart was rent to wake up this morning to see that this ministry was now in their hands.  On top of these ominous events…American President Obama is scheduled to arrive on the 20th…this coming Tues., for a 3 day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  He will not address our Knesset (parliament or congress) but plans to address ‘the people’.  This is what he has done in places like Egypt before their turmoil…and we are wary.  VERY wary…
There is never a dull moment here.  ‘Boredom’ does not exist. 
So we prepare.  We prepare our homes and our hearts…our families.    
When I came to Him some 37+ years ago, He began to open to me (sovereignly as I read and prayed- not through any teaching) the beauty of all of His patterns and paths.  I saw in the holidays, not a ‘law’ and a ‘restraint’ or ‘religious form’, but a tangible and visible expression of His character and nature…a picture of Who He is…and a loving ‘command’ to ‘keep these ways’.  Somehow it did not occur to me that if HE said somewhere in His Word that something was an “abomination” to Him, that because of The Blood of Yeshua I was now suddenly ‘free’ to ‘enjoy’ it.  It didn’t make sense to me.  Why would I WANT to ‘enjoy’ what my Lord called an “abomination”?  Did His opinion of it suddenly change?  In the same vain, if He told us to ‘keep this remembrance’ of a miracle that He performed ‘forever’, why would I NOT want to keep it.  NO, I DON’T keep if for my salvation, or to fulfill the law…He IS the fulfillment of the law.  I keep it for LOVE’S sake…for the love of beauty of His plan and purpose…from a desire to learn to obey His voice…from a desire to love what He loves and to identify with His people who yet have blinders on their eyes.  Paul (Shaul) said  in1 Corin 9:20“ To the Jews I have become like a Jew in order to win Jews; to men under the Law as if I were under the Law–although I am not–in order to win those who are …” 
I will go to sleep now as tomorrow begins early.  On a personal note, I am so blessed that our younger daughter and her new husband will be traveling on very inexpensive tickets, from Minnesota to California on the 25th to be with her older sister and family for the 8 days of Pesach!  It brings us much joy to know that they have chosen to be together, even if we can not be with them.  How wonderful that He truly has all things set in His order for His purposes and His glory.  May we choose His ways.  May we walk together in peace, demonstrating who HE is to a lost and dying world.  May each of you be encouraged in Him, His Word and His Spirit.  May we love what He loves.  ALL glory to The Lamb that was slain and Whose precious Blood is on the doorposts of our hearts. 
Lovingly, your sis in Jerusalem
 
Published in: on March 24, 2013 at 8:33 am  Comments (25)  
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Inside Israel – First installment – Passover

 

JerAtNight1

Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today, as our sis in Jerusalem shares about the Passover preparations!  Thank you and God bless you as you read and pray! Now, here she is . . .

Beloved sisters and brothers,
 
 I look forward to sitting down to write to you because I picture you – and over the years I have grown to stand in love with the body, His body, more and more in wonder.  May each of you be blessed and encouraged in Him.  May we all draw nearer to Him in spirit and in truth.  May His Word be our delight and daily food and may we walk in it for His glory alone, particularly as the time grows short. 
 
I’ve had a repetitive ‘message’ in my heart lately, actually growing in intensity, ‘to be ready’- ‘prepare’.  That is the wonderful thing about The Lord; I don’t need to know ‘WHAT’ exactly it is that I must be ready for, but He leads in the preparations of heart and path ANYWAY.  That gives me such peace!  I have ‘suggestions’ in my heart, and some understanding, but most real to me in this time is:
 “Trust in The Lord with all of your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.  In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He WILL direct your path”. Proverbs 3:3-5.
 
These ‘instructions’ that I have felt so deeply in my heart of late are reflected in the natural as well, as it is time to prepare for Passover – Pesach in Hebrew. 
 
Pesach begins a month after Purim.  If you have been reading these letters over the past 18 years, you know that the preparations for Pesach are INTENSE!  Several years ago the rabbis grew alarmed that so many women were having nervous breakdowns and even committing suicide during this preparation season of cleaning and ‘koshering’ the home, and they realized that many women became deeply burdened trying to remove every possible crumb of leaven from their homes.  When I say ‘intense’ I mean that people on the third floor were removing screens from windows and boiling them, least there have been a ‘dust of leaven’ caught in the screen.  Scrubbing every crack in the home with toothbrushes when you have 8 or 10 children can be quite a challenge.  Many people felt compelled to REPLACE sofas, refrigerators, stoves…and for some…ALL furniture, because there MIGHT be some leaven stuck somewhere.  The ‘joke’ was; ‘And we thought we were slaves in EGYPT!’, but there was much more truth to that then ‘joke’. Then there is the replacing of all of the food and the cooking for 20 or more people…the list drove many women to true madness.  THANKFULLY, the rabbis began to speak with one mouth the message that God was more interested in the leaven in the heart then a possible crumb in an undiscovered corner…AND…encouraging women to remember that dust is not leaven.  In other words, preparing the house for Pesach does not necessarily mean that it needs to be immaculately clean.  The commandment is simply that there is to be no leaven seen in our homes for 8 days. It has not done away with all striving, particularly in the most religious communities, but it has seemed to lessen the panic as Pesach rapidly approaches.   
 
Pesach is perhaps the most significant of all of the prescribed holy days in Judaism for many reasons.  What a beautiful and deep study the study of Pesach is, and it is surprisingly marvelous to many at just how much the observance of Pesach has remained the same since it was commanded by God to the Jewish people some 5,000 years ago. 
I myself look with wonder as the preparations begin yearly…seemingly planted into our very genetic material…similar to the migration of animals; they lift their noses to the wind and ‘know’…it is time to move.  So it seems with us.  ‘Prepare for Pesach!’
 
All of the foundational meaning and directions for the observance of the holyday are found in the book of Exodus, clearly laid out.  During the years that we raised our children in the ‘diaspora’ or ‘exile’ (how BLESSED I was to be ‘exiled’ in such a wonderful land!) we used the book of Exodus as our ‘haggada’ during our Pesach ‘seder’.  A haggada is a small book read through the ‘seder’ meal – which literally means ‘order’ (as there is a prescribed ‘order’ to the meal and ceremony).  The content of the haggada has changed over the years and each community has their own style and content, although they all contain the basic story of Passover.  History and traditions of each community is added to their haggada over the years (sometimes they don’t change their haggada for 100 years or more and continue the reading of the teachings of the old sages as they wrote many years before) but the little beautifully illustrated ancient books are used in each home during the seder meal.  As I said…we used the book of Exodus and we added in the fulfillment scriptures proclaiming The Lamb of God Who came to take away the sin of the world.  We wondered at the Precious Blood that spoke of better things then the blood of Abel and washed our sins away as the blood of lambs and goats couldn’t do…The Blood that, applied to the doorposts of our hearts, prevails even today…and we worshipped The Risen Lord even as we ate the unleavened bread and recounted the extraordinarily intricate perfect plan of God from its inception!  It is quite a vivid revelation to understand that sin costs dearly…that God gave us a perfect picture of just how awful sin is in His sight- and how loudly blood speaks!…that the death of a pure innocent lamb was needed to cover the awfulness of sin…and it still is…but has been paid once and for all at the cost of even greater pain.  What a mystery, so full of love and pain and exquisite wisdom that His children would follow Him in His way!  And yet we haven’t.  How can this be? 
 
Oh, but I am WAY ahead of myself!  Forgive me for getting caught up in the meaning of Pesach.  It is part of the preparation of my heart personally. 
 

(Stay tuned for part 2!)

ani b’derek

Inside Israel – Passover is Near

“Hi” and welcome to a look inside Israel as passover nears. J of Jerusalem shares about passover from her perspective and also a letter from her pastor. Thank you so much for standing with Israel at this time and praying for J too! Now, here’s J . . .

Passover Preparations…2011 –

I GREET YOU IN YESHUA’S NAME! MAY HE BE BLESSED AND GLORIFIED…AND MAY YOU BE BLESSED!

*YOFI! (That means ‘wonderful!’ or ‘beautiful!’ or ‘great!’) Once again I waited long enough before finishing this to include an excellent prayer letter by my pastor. Much took place since I began writing yesterday and he covers it better then I would, but it is just what I would have written if I could have. Please take time to read his, even if you don’t read mine. I will close with it.*

PASSOVER…everyone is cleaning, most are almost done…all except for me. I haven’t even begun and I am despairing of the fact that it WON’T be done this year…only – hopefully – in my heart. With The Blood of The Lamb over the doorposts of my heart, I will do what I can do and know that I am safe within. Oh, I WILL get rid of all of the leaven on my shelves, according to the scriptures, but the traditionally toothbrush-clean-house will, alas not be ours this year as the situations of ‘life’ have really been crashing in on me for a good steady while and I am exhausted. I’m not even home long enough to clean, it seems…only to make meals and eat.

Passover…Pesach in Hebrew…the first of the Spring Feasts…one of the three High Holidays commanded in scripture to be ‘observed perpetually’ – a time when all of the men were commanded to ‘come up to Jerusalem’ and worship in the temple.

Chapter 12 of Exodus is the clearest exhortation and description of the holiday, but it is mentioned over and over in scripture…and its fulfillment is the central theme of the Gospels…The Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world, the pure sacrificial Lamb, Who’s most precious Blood is still, today, put over the doorposts (of our hearts) to keep us marked ‘do not touch’ from the death angel. To me there is a sense of awe and a hunger to see clearly the beautiful plan.

The sedar meal itself (which will be the night of Monday the 18th this year) is, to me, so well described in Psalm 78

.”…That which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told…We will not hide from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of The Lord and His strength, and His wondrous works that He hath done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, even the children that should be born; who should arise and tell them to their children, That they might put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God but keep His commandments;…”

The Psalm goes on to re-tell the Exodus and other parts of our history. This is what we attempt to do at the sedar. It is really geared to the children crowded around the table (and it is rare to find a table without many children! Sedars are BIG meals and people gather together house to house, so rarely is there a very small group. I will prepare most of the food for our sedar meal but for the first time we will be bringing it to our older daughter’s house, which has a larger table then ours) Most of you probably know all of this, but for those who don’t, ‘sedar’ means ‘order’ in Hebrew and there is a ‘specified order’ to the sedar, varied according to traditions passed through the generations, but generally there is a ‘haggada’ used…a small book that everyone has, and we read together. It is more then just reading…it is a discussion handbook…it has songs…it has directions (for example: now eat some matzo with bitter herbs and remember the bitterness of slavery)…it has lessons. Many people write their own or adapt them, and we, as disciples of Yeshua, have done the same. I wrote ours a few years ago and adapt it yearly. But the basic Truth does not change. The Lamb, the pure Lamb, was sacrificed for sin…for Life…to keep us from perishing. It is only GOD Who can deliver us from bondage…and to Him we give thanks!

I didn’t intend to write this much about Pesach in this letter, but, well…here it is. Yesterday my husband and I had to leave work early and travel down to Be’er Sheva where our landlord has lived for years…but it was not to see him. It was to see his two children as they were ‘sitting shiva’. This is the week of mourning when one sits in the home and everyone comes to comfort. Our landlady died last year during Pesach year…and now our landlord 2 weeks before Pesach. (yes…this may alter our housing situation, and it is a care I am casting on Him) While we were down there, just a bit further south, a school bus was attacked by antiaircraft fire from Gaza. Miraculously nearly 50 children had gotten off the bus at the previous stop, but one 16 year old remains in critical condition, fighting for his life. The fighting has been escalating rapidly all day. At this writing it is being reported that 16 mortars have landed in the western Negev today and a school was evacuated. (I wrote that yesterday and there were over 50 rockets reported. The young man is still in critical, fighting for his life)

I have grown used to an unusual amount of dramatic events taking place during the holidays, particularly Pesach. You may remember that the last intifada began during a Pesach with a horrific bombing of a sedar up north.

In the midst, we sit down to ‘remember’ Him and His mighty deeds. May the eyes of our people be open THIS YEAR to the Pascal Lamb of God…Who has come to take away the sins of the world…AND those of His natural birth nation as well.

(Several have asked for a personal update. Thank you. I request prayer for the whole family. Like with our nation, major battles appear on every front. Thank you for praying and caring!)

Prayer Priority Update
“I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also”
1Corintians 4:15

*

Hatred Unleashed

Yesterday, in a vicious attack, Hamas launched an anti-tank missile from the Gaza Strip, at a clearly marked school bus. Thankfully, most of the children had just been dropped off. However, the one remaining child was critically injured. (The bus driver was injured lightly.)

Immediately afterward, Hamas launched close to 50 mortar shells and rockets. Thankfully, a grad missile was destroyed in mid-flight by the new Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

These are clearly acts of war and crimes against humanity, but don’t expect the NGOs, or the nations, or the UNHRC to make resolutions against Hamas, or call for an investigation. Hatred of Israel and the despising of the Jewish people have become the norm.

Today the attacks continue; about 16 mortar shells were fired from Gaza at the Negev (southern part of Israel) this morning, and five more this afternoon. The shelling continues as I write. For all practical purposes, Israel’s south is in the midst of a war.

This comes on the heels of a deadly terror attack in Itamar in which two parents and three young children were brutally murdered, and a bombing in Jerusalem which killed an English missionary to Togo who was in Israel to study Hebrew.

A Perpetual Hatred

“Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end:” Ezekiel 35:5

“Edom has acted against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has incurred grievous guilt, and avenged themselves upon them,” Ezekiel 25:12

“…in your anger and according to the envy which you showed in your hatred against them….” Ezekiel 35:11

“They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, And consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” For they have consulted together with one consent; They form a confederacy against You:” Psalm 83:3-5

While the Palestinians and the Arab nations are not the direct descendants of Edom, surely the same spirit has overcome them, fanning within their hearts the flame of that same ancient hatred and desire to destroy the Jewish nation. But God thinks differently!

An Everlasting Love

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.’” Jeremiah 31:3-4

Contrary to the thinking of the Arab nations who see it as the U.N.’s “fault” that the Jews were allowed to come to Palestine, it is God who has drawn the Jews back to the Land of their forefathers. It is God who is building the nation again. And it will be God who will save us from our enemies, and from our sins, by doing an amazing goodness, never before seen on such a scale.

Unleashed Love and Grace

“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name— after they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, when they dwelt safely in their own land and no one made them afraid. When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 39:25-29

“And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.” Jeremiah 33:8-9

A Goodness to tremble at

Although rockets are raining upon us and the situation may get much worse in the near future, God has promised that it would be the nations who tremble and shake for fear, as they see the power of God’s goodness when it is unleashed from heaven upon Israel.

Another Passover

What a shock was Israel’s exodus from Egypt! No power, human or otherwise, could stop it. The more Egypt resisted, the worse their own situation became. Unfortunately, it ended with their destruction at the Red Sea, as they continued to pursue Israel in order to enslave them again.

There is no power in hell, on the earth, or in the heavens that can stop God from fulfilling His plan and purpose for Israel and for the nations. Yeshua has gained mastery over every principality and power at the cross.

We can stand there, in that very “spot”, and pray and believe for God’s counsel to be fulfilled in our days.

The first exodus, the Passover, will be celebrated on April 18th, this year. Let us stand before God during this Passover season, in a renewed faith in our mighty God, to again, by the blood of the Lamb, rescue His people from their enemies and from their sins. The first Passover was exactly that: a deliverance from bondage and a deliverance from the enemy.

Praying for Israel at this time

– Stand by faith on the finished work of Messiah on the cross. Take time to thank Him for the blood of the Lamb; take time to renew your own faith in what has been accomplished at Calvary.

– Give thanks for the mighty, delivering power of God in the Messiah, from anything and everything.

– Stand by faith before the Lord for His Goodness to be unleashed upon Israel, as He has promised.

– Pray for God’s protection and for His own involvement in the warfare over Israel just as He undertook to fight the pursuing Egyptians then. “The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14

– Pray for a mighty revelation of Messiah to His people. Pray for God to open the spiritually blind eyes, and remove the veil cast over this people.

– Pray for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon Israel, and the Body of Messiah in the Land.

– Pray for the Presence of God and His Glory to fill the Land again.

– Pray that God will give much Glory to His own name through the restoration of Israel.

Ezekiel 38:23, “Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.”

May we see the power and wonder of God this Passover season!

Shabbat shalom,

Ofer Amitai

Israel Prayer Center, Jerusalem

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