Inside Israel – “Comfort Ye, Comfort Ye My People”


Hi and thank you for taking a look inside Israel today, with J of Jerusalem sharing her heart and what is going on around her.  God bless you as you pray for Israel, Jerusalem and J!  Now, here’s J . . .

Talking The Talk
by Debbie
“Surely God will not listen to empty talk,
Nor will the Almighty regard it.”  Job 35:13
If there is empty talk, there must also be full talk.
Lord, may my talk be full of You and all that pleases You.  And here’s a simple poem . .
Pass It On
So many words
that I can chose
ones that are empty
or full of You.
Empty talk is
a waste of time
but full talk passes on
something Divine.
(Deb’s blog
What a perfect way to greet you today!  What a call to walk circumspectly…Lord, may my ‘talk’ in this email be ‘FULL talk’ and NOT empty talk. Help me to be a faithful witness and glorify YOU alone.  Help me to be an encourager of my brothers and sisters knowing nothing but You Alone.  May we be NOTHING but signposts to Yeshua.  No empty words!
Today is Simchat Torah (yesterday now, because I am continuing); the last day of this very long, amazing, cycle of biblically prescribed days set aside to focus on The Lord.  Simchat Torah is such a beautiful day in meaning (although NOT scripturally prescribed): it is the day that the Torah portion read in synagogues and by Jews through out the world moves from the last verse of Deut. to the first verse of Genesis.  The first 5 books of Moses, the Tenach, is read through yearly and the cycle begins again on ‘Simchat Torah’…which means ‘Joy of the Torah’, and a joyful day it is!  The torah scrolls are taken out of the ‘ahron’ (special closet constructed just to hold the scrolls) and literally DANCED around the synagogue 7 times.  Often then it is also taken out into the streets followed by dancing and singing crowds, sometimes carrying ‘flags’ or banners that show people enjoying The Torah, through streets and in parks there are parading dancing people thanking God for the Torah…The revealed Word of The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  We would call this type of rejoicing, worship and praise.  It is full of Joy and love for The Word of The Lord.  How can we, as a people so love The Word, and read it so much, and still miss Him? Jeremiah wept and reported over and over again that the people seemed to love The Word, but just didn’t OBEY it…again and again.  How can this be?  I examine my own life and beg The Lord to help me to NEVER despise His Truth, and embrace deception…it IS sadly possible. How many times do I KNOW The Word and then find some reason NOT to obey it?  How much do I worry?  How much do I USE EMPTY WORDS?  His Word is so very very precious, and is Life!  “In the beginning was The Word…and The Word was with God, and The Word was God.”
But I am here to describe to you what this week has been like.
Well…it has both been wonderful and exhausting!
Our sukka has been FULL this Sukkot, with local believers.  We have been blessed beyond expectation.  On Wed night we hosted 19 at different times.  What fun and joy!  Although we invite local believers to our sukka yearly, people are so busy with visitors and visiting.  This year we have seen the most take us up on it and we have been strengthened by the blessing that we received so many visitors! We have also been blessed by the presence of several Christians from the nations in our sukka.  
While Sukkot was taking place there were also FIVE (that I know of) different ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ conferences simultaneously taking place around the city. That is A LOT of Christians praying, worshipping, rejoicing in this city, and believe me, the presence of all of these sisters and brothers from around the world lightens the entire atmosphere, brings His aroma, and encourages many weary hands! I always stand in wonder of this picture… thinking about the joy that The Lord must receive from seeing this all…His children of faith DOING the scripture; “comfort ye, comfort ye My people.”  For the first time, I was not able to make it to the parade this year, but a dear sister here with a wonderful blog (2 Spies) shared some film clips that I imagine you would enjoy seeing.  Please follow this link and enjoy J With all of the visitors from so many nations, many of them make their way on to our local tv news broadcasts.  We smile with joy to watch interviews with leaders from countries like New Guinea or Fiji or Switzerland, being interviewed by secular Israeli interviewers who ask questions with childlike wonder at these people who selflessly come to bless us.  Over and over the Gospel is explained, touched upon, shared through love during these interviews that are watched all around the country.  They touch more hearts then one would imagine. 
During Sukkot, many shops are closed or open for just half of the day, but I must work regular hours as Doctors never seem to sleep.  My daughter and I made it down to the western wall (the ‘kotel’) on Sunday.  Most of you know that is the remaining wall of Solomon’s temple and Jews have gone there to pray through out history.  Prayers in the form of notes are placed into the cracks in the wall in faith…this being the closest that the people of the first covenant can get to the temple where God commanded His Name.  You know, in 1967, when we again, after 2,000 years, were able to stand within the gates of Jerusalem as her people…we ALSO took the temple mount itself.  It was turned over to the Islamic wakf and to this day I am not sure why.  It seems to me that it was ‘politically’ a very ‘hot potato’.  Here is what Wikipedia says:  “Crusades, the Muslim community of Jerusalem has managed the site as a Waqf, without interruption.[5] As part of the Old City, controlled by Israel since 1967, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim sovereignty over the site, which remains a major focal point of the Arab-Israeli conflict.[6] In an attempt to keep the status quo, the Israeli government enforces a controversial ban on prayer by non-Muslim visitors.”  It also seems that the controversy got bogged down in religious debate: ‘Do we now build the third temple?’ etc.  I will not attempt to try to explain why Temple Mount is such a huge issue…but it is possibly THE most central issue in the entire middle east / spiritual battle…IT REMAINS THE PLACE WHERE GOD PLACED HIS NAME, WHICH NOW HOUSES A MOSQUE READING”ALLA IS ONE AND HE HAS NO SON”…So we KNOW beyond a doubt, that Alla is NOT GOD!   Ok…I am getting side tracked here.  Temple Mount is both a letter that I HAVE written and sent and one that I should address again…but not now.
Last Wed at the western wall was the ‘blessing of the Cohanim’, or the giving of the priestly blessing “The Lord bless you and keep you and make His Face to shine upon you…”  This blessing is given to the people 3 times a year as the descendents of the Cohanim – the tribe of the priests – come forward to bless.  I have never been able to work it into my ‘schedule’, but am looking forward to, SOMEDAY perhaps, giving you a first hand report.  The western wall plaza (the area in front of the wall) is packed each sunrise during Sukkot as men come with the four species as a ‘wave offering’ in front of the wall, which would have been done in the temple had it been there.  Here is a ‘googled’ description for you:
 The Four Species are four different kinds of plants that have symbolic significance during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. In Leviticus 23:40, which comes directly after a discussion of Sukkot, the Torah tells us: “On the first day you shall take the product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before Adonai your God seven days.” From this text emerged the Four Species: a citron, a palm branch, three myrtle twigs and two willow branches.
During Sukkot the four species are brought together in the form of an etrog and the lulav. The etrog is a kind of citron, while the lulav is a composed of three myrtle twigs (hadassim), two willow twigs (aravot) and a palm frond (lulav). Because the palm frond is the largest of these plants, the myrtle and willow are wrapped around it. “
So our Sukkot passed:  busy, joyful, giving and receiving of blessing and the entire country is ready to go back to ‘normal chaotic stress’ for awhile anyway.  J 
And I stand as a witness to the wonder that we serve a GOD Who commands us to come aside and rejoice in Him
to remember Him… to thank Him… to remember that we are vulnerable, temporary and flimsy dust, but HE is ABLE, ETERNAL and ­THE SOLID ROCK!  He tells us that His commands are NOT grievous and that His yoke IS easy and His burden IS Light, but that we must follow HIS way like the words of my favorite old hymn say “…naught be else to me save that Thou art…”, or in modern English ‘be nothing to me except Who You really Are!’
God bless you all and thank you for baring with my sometimes awkward sharing.  May He be glorified, and may we be found faithful.  VERY lovingly, your sis

Inside Israel – Cloud Bursts and Sukkas

Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel, as J of Jerusalem shares about one of her favorite times . . Sukkot! Thank you for coming and praying for Israel and J and her family!  Now, here’s J . . .

Thank You Lord that You reveal Yourself through Sukkot!  My FAVORITE holiday!  Sitting, vulnerable, in a hut with date palms and willows for a see-through roof, walls of material and a woven rug to cover the dirt floor, we are commanded to be able see the stars through the ‘roof’…so that we can REMEMBER Who is to lead and care for us…and to give thanks for all of the abundance that He has given, is giving and will give…and to pray for rain, which comes from Him alone.  On Friday at ifi prayer meeting, Eliyahu reminded us that NOW is the beginning of the prayer for rain, and when I came home from kehila last night, suddenly our daughter ran in ‘Is that RAIN I hear??’  We ran outside barefoot to see the first rain and to thank Him!  It was just a cloud burst lasting less then a minute, but a BIG one, and quite dramatic since we have had no rain since perhaps the end of April.  Everything smelled so good!  Having been deeply moved by the Word shared at kehila last night, I rose very early to seek Him without any distraction or pressure, and suddenly, around 4am, there it was again…the sound of RAIN!  I ran out to praise Him in another cloud burst, returning with my wet bare feet to seek Him some more…and may this be the year of ABUNDANT RAIN OF HIS SPIRIT as well as the natural rain! 
Our sukka is MOSTLY ready for the beginning of Sukkot at sundown tonight, but I still have a great deal of preparation ahead of me in this short day, so this note will also be short, hopefully followed by a fuller one.  I will run to the shuk, where the stalls are full of eye dazzling assortments of the good of the land…the fresh fruits are bursting with color and fragrance: there are stalks of fresh dates and bins of dry ones…there are huge red pomegranates, stalks of home grown bananas, green mandarins, mangos, figs, grapes of all colors, each, the size of plums, and plums and apples of all colors as well.  Nuts and dried fruit, sweet pastries peculiar to the Middle East are there dripping with honey, halvah, breads and oils.  He has been good to us.  I will decorate my sukka with flowers and some of these fruits and put many in bowls on the table in the midst.  I have the commandments from scripture pinned to the ‘walls’ in both Hebrew and English, as we are hoping to have many visitors to our sukka and many who are unsaved…my prayer being that the scripture will draw them into questioning.  Sukkot is the one feast also celebrated by the Christians (who call it the Feast of Tabernacles), so there are MANY international convocations, conferences and meetings going on right now as well as the celebration in the land.  WHEW!  TALK ABOUT ACTIVITY!  Can you imagine Christmas and Chanukah taking place together FOR A WEEK, and EVERYBODY coming from around the world to celebrate both together in YOUR city?? Invitations go out to visiting friends from overseas, the local body, neighbors, people from work, just about anyone you meet “COME AND BLESS US BY COMING TO OUR SUKKA!” as the sukka is OPEN and meant to welcome one and all.  And, by the way, the city is COVERED with sukkas of all shapes and sizes.  They line streets and sidewalks are on balconies, roof tops, in back yards and open squares.  Every restaurant has them. It IS a colorful holiday, if not a nightmare time in traffic…and I for one must work during this holidayL.  Being one of the 3 ‘appointed feasts’ (where all are called to Jerusalem to present themselves with an offering) there will be a day of Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall (a day in which traffic is GRIDLOCKED!) and there is also the Jerusalem March…as the people who made their way to Jerusalem march in a colorful display of…well…thanksgiving.  This march is one of the greatest ways in which we have seen the Christians from the nations touch so deeply the general population as their show of love and faith moves the crowds in an uncanny way. 
AT THIS RATE I WILL NOT HAVE FOOD IN MY SUKKA AT SUNDOWN L  So, inspite of the fact that I so want to stay here and write…I MUST move on.  May The Lord lead and guide and may NOTHING be done out of flesh…ALL for His glory and by His leading for the purpose of revealing HIM and WORSHIPING HIM!  I wish you were here…and for those of you who ARE…GIVE ME A CALL SO WE CAN GET TOGETHER?  Lovingly, your sis
ani b’derek
Published in: on October 28, 2012 at 7:17 am  Comments (2)  
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Inside Israel – Emotional Rollercoaster of Sukkot

Hi! Welcome to a look inside Israel today. I goofed this weekend and accidentally posted an Inside Israel yesterday. oops. But, maybe that is as it should be, so we could finish up J of Jerusalem’s Sukkot sharings. This last one is so powerful. Praying that it stirs your heart for Him and His as well. God bless you as you read and pray. Now, here’s J . . .

I find myself wondering if you already KNOW what an emotional roller coaster this day has been for us here in Israel. I am assuming that most of you were able to watch the dramatic events that unfolded today as the world media covered it so very widely. The sampling of the foreign media coverage that I caught in between work and sukka guests, was compassionate, generally speaking, but it is hard to experience something like this ‘up close’ and not be softened to some extent, and world media was here in force! I am speaking, of course, about the release this morning of our soldier, Gilad Shalit, ending 5 years and four months of captivity in Gaza, apparently in solitary confinement.

As I wrote last, the events surrounding the release were controversial, dramatic and painful…but all of that took a ‘haf-seka’ today, that is…a ‘break’…everything ground to a halt and emotions other then …hum…what emotion is this HUGE ‘feeling’?? It is ‘love’, ‘heartbreak’, ‘joy’, ‘quiet compassion’, ‘pain’, ‘wonder’, ‘thanksgiving’…all rolled into one. Most people had their tv, computer or radio on by 6am this morning. Although it had been announced that the swap would begin at 11, we know our country and that didn’t mean anything. It turns out that they began shuttling prisoners down to the Egyptian boarder by midnight last night. By 6am we realized that ‘things were moving along quickly’ and every eye turned south. We heard at around 10:30 that Hamas had officially turned Gilad over to Egypt, and a short time later we heard that he was in Israeli hands…and 15 minutes later…back on Israeli soil! That meant only one thing; He was ALIVE! And that was the unspoken collective ‘breath holding’ hinge…would he be another cruel joke and be turned over to us in a box, as were the 3 captured by Hizbolla shortly after he was. But no…he really was ALIVE, and that was the word that went out everywhere: “Hoo HI!” (“He is ALIVE!”)

Someday those words will be spoken about Yeshua…Jesus. Someday there will be the same awestruck barely able to believe wonder spoken at the same moment by the whole country…”HE is ALIVE!”…but it wasn’t about Yeshua- not YET…Today it was about Gilad Shalit…every Israeli’s son today.

Do you need me to describe the events? I doubt it. I suspect that every one of you followed it to some extent or other. If I am mistaken, please ask me to send you information. You likely know that the Egyptian tv interview with him was ‘forced’ and had not been expected. You likely saw how he is so pale and thin and yet happy. We were all told to ‘keep back’ and to ‘leave the family alone’ but the streets were lined with flags and people threw flowers at his passing car. There was dancing in the streets.

At the same time…455 terrorists passed into Arab territory or a third country. They were greeted as heroes by huge crowds…many thousands…rejoicing and celebrating. In contrast to Gilad’s emaciated and pale body, they appeared very well fed and sun tanned. They proclaimed this as a great victory…and yet…on England’s BBC (of all places) an interview took place that took a surprising turn and startled even the interviewer. An Israeli woman, who had survived the Park Hotel Passover night bombing, but lost her entire family, was being interviewed. She was asked about ‘her emotions’ since the murderer of her family was being released. She looked very sad, traumatized, yet said that she was so happy for the Shalit family. The interviewer pushed further; ‘But the killer of your family is released. Aren’t you scared?’ she asked. ‘Ofcourse I am scared, we are all scared, but keeping him won’t bring my family back and now the Shalit’s won’t have to feel the pain that I live with.’ The interviewer was surprised ‘Well that is very generous of you but how can you back such a deal? It is not fair. Aren’t you angry at the government?’ She answered ‘Fair? Listen. One of our people IS worth 1000 of them and they know it and I know it and we have our son back. We honor life…they honor death. The government was brave.’ The interviewer was shaken.

And today this was echoed around the world. It is a philosophical argument. In this world where ‘life is cheap’, Israel paid a heavy price for one skinny boy. Our Prime Minister spoke briefly and quoted the prophet Isaiah 9:2 “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” I wondered if The Light to the nations was shining in hearts…if there was a ‘pause’ through out the world just as there was a ‘pause’ here. Would The Lord use this to speak to hearts in the middle of our chaotic world where right and wrong are turned upside down…could this all speak to hearts somehow for His kingdom?

And…did He answer our prayers and manifest Himself to Gilad Shalit during those 5 years and 4 months? He is a prayer answering God…but it remains our part, to simply pray.

I was at work through out the release and could only follow the events of the day on the computer edition of the printed media (we can not access video media at work) but I watched the patients. One called in to order prescriptions and gave me (literally) a ‘blow by blow’ account of what she was seeing and what was being said on tv. Another 80 year old woman came in rejoicing and telling me that it was ‘her day’ to ‘man’ the protest tent that Gilad’s parents had been living in near the Prime Minister’s office for the past year and a half, but instead she would be hosting a lunch party at her home for volunteers. ‘We call our children to protect us and they are willing to die doing it. In turn we promise them that there will not be ‘one left behind’, and today we restored their belief that we mean it. We have strengthened the hands of the army- our children- today.’ Said yet another.

So I went out into the sukka to read my Bible some more when I came home from work. Several couples from our fellowship came over to ‘sukka sit’ with us, and we took time to pray…sitting in a little tent covered with palm branches for a roof so that we can see the sky…can look up and think of Him Who watches over us and CALLS US to ‘WATCH AND PRAY’… in this little tent all decorated with fruit and flowers and the goodness of His abundance – some say it is like sitting inside a Christmas tree! – we worshiped Him in the middle of Jerusalem and wondered and paused and wondered again. And pray we did; for Gilad and his family – for victims of terror – for the terrorists (yes, we did) – for the government – for the body – for Lord to be glorified and for so much more. Kind of makes you wonder what tomorrow will hold! What a Sukkot!

It’s after midnight and I’m off to be. God bless you, dear dear brothers and sisters. Love, your sis in Jerusalem

ani b’derek

Published in: on October 30, 2011 at 8:06 am  Comments (6)  
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Inside Israel – Sukkot part 2

Hello and welcome to a look inside Israel through the eyes of believer, J of Jerusalem. J has blessed us again, sharing as He leads her about what is happening around her. Thank you for coming and praying! Now, here’s J . . .

Sukkot, as I said, is my favorite holiday. OF COURSE…I have to qualify that by the fact that I love most of the others as well…and they are nearly ALL my ‘favorites’ at one time or another. Our sukka has been very busy this year as we have been BLESSED to have guests for almost every meal…and at three of those meals our table in the sukka was filled with old (and new) friends from Alaska (a different group each time)…SO encouraging and edifying! Such a gift to us! Last year I was able to attach photos of our sukka for you. If you are still vague as to what they look like, is a lovely site by an amateur photographer who documents Jerusalem in her photographs weekly. This week will be full of different types of sukkas…and you can also catch a view there of our ‘lite rail’…which is something that none of us could do today!!!

Yep! As our streets are FULL to overflowing with worshippers, and celebrating Israelis from all over the country and tourists from all over the world…our brand new rail drivers went on surprise strike! The resulting traffic nightmare was a real test of the character that The Lord planted in me as it took me over an hour to get home from the shuk (!) with many buses so full that they passed us by.

And speaking of ‘tourists’, that is one of the highlights of sukkot… the filling of Jerusalem with BELIEVERS, CHRISTIANS from all around the world, pouring in to celebrate the ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ at any one of a number of Christian ‘feast conferences’ going on during this time. The city is ‘relieved’ by His Light in them flooding our streets, and our loads ARE lightened and it is a great blessing! On my crowded bus I got to speak to two young Christians from Hong Kong…so sweet and their sweetness overflowed to me. As they got off, two BIG guys got on bedecked with black leather vests and black tee shirts stating; ‘DISCIPLES! JESUS IS LORD! Motorcyclists for Jesus…Norway’. They looked like wrestlers and I had to giggle watching everyone look at them in amazement. Oh Lord, BLESS those who come and those who couldn’t come but pray! Let this city be flooded with Your Light and testimony…and bring forth fruit to Your Glory!’

The Jerusalem March is usually the biggest and most encouraging event where the Christians are able to so encourage the country, but this year’s march will not be what it has been in years past…for it is taking place on Tuesday…and Tuesday is a day that will sum up the mixed emotions that are playing out all around us…for on Tuesday is the scheduled prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit.

Approaching this subject is difficult for me as it is so charged with emotions larger then I feel that I have the ability to express, and those emotions are currently spread out, raw, over the country…pouring out into the streets and burying deeply into each heart. There is not one Israeli who is not happy that Gilad Shalit is coming home…and we are praying that it will not be in a box, (as were our last three, though we expected them to walk out of the waiting car at our Northern border).

I told you that the ‘ransom price’ being paid for Gilad is 1,027 prisoners, including some several hundred with ‘blood on their hands’. As the list of prisoners has been printed, details are coming out…and being relived. I guess that this is the anatomy of ‘trauma’ or ‘post traumatic stress’…and it is very real. Please see,7340,L-3083,00.html to help understand some of the emotions.

Mine broke when I heard that the killers from the lynching in Ramala in 2,000, at the very beginning of the intifada, were being released. I had never seen anything like that…I had never seen such blood thirst. I had never seen a man pulled apart with bare hands, and pieces of him thrown out of a window while crowds cheered…I had never known what that felt like…and I relived that horror as I simply heard the announcement. And as the crimes were spoken of again…each one re-produced that ‘tightness’ in my chest and knot in my stomach. And I remembered the attack that I was at on Jaffa Road.

The first inkling of what the response was going to be came late last week when a 25 year old man went to the Rabin memorial in Tel Aviv and, with onlookers as witnesses, poured white paint on it, wrote ‘price tag’ and ‘free Yigal Amir’ (the assassin of Prime Minister Rabin who was responsible for the ‘Oslo ‘peace’ accords’). When he was taken into custody and asked why he did this he said ‘You are releasing those who murdered my parents’ … and it was obvious that his grief was being relived. He was released. They are reliving their grief…both the mourners and those who were injured…and those who were near…and those who watched on television…the entire nation is reliving the horrors of the murders committed. Please watch the 15 Oct 11 video interview with the woman responsible for the Sbarro Pizza attack that killed 15 mostly young people and children. She is being released.

So…I can not write about why the parade will not be well attended this year. Most people will be glued to their televisions waiting to see if Gilad Shalit is alive…and so many…too many…reliving horrors deeply engraved in their hearts as the families of the killers of children rejoice.

Yet they are not being released ‘just for one soldier’…they are being released for ALL of the soldiers…who count on the government…the country…to do whatever it takes that ‘not one left behind’- the motto of our armed services – will be reality. We count on our soldiers and they must trust us. What a price!

Please hold the nation in prayer at this time. It is terribly emotional. I am not ‘wise’ enough to give you prayer points, but The Holy Spirit IS. He might have you pray for the government to be able to withstand this painful process…or for the children who lost their parents and siblings,…or the parents who lost their children…or for Gilad Shalit’s mind and spirit, or for his family…or for the salvation of our nation…or any manner of way that The Holy Spirit, Who searches the hearts of men, can lead…for He KNOWS the needs far better then I do.

And in the midst…it is Sukkot…and HE COMMANDS US TO REJOICE…and I WILL for I know the end of the story!
God bless you DEAR sisters and brothers. I cherish you. You are HIS! May He be blessed and glorified in each of us.

ani b’derek

Inside Israel – Sukkot in Jerusalem (part 1)

Hi! Welcome to another Sunday look inside Israel, thanks to J of Jerusalem, a Jewish believer. Today is part one, dated from October 12, of her heart stirring letters concerning this year’s Sukkot celebration. Thank you for joining us as we let J take it away . . .

SUKKOT – 12.11.2011
Sukkot…my favorite holiday…is ushered in this year by the dramatic announcement made last night by our Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, that a deal has been struck with Hamas for the release of our captive soldier, Gilad Shalit. The whole nation watched with such a mixture of emotions. He has been captive now for more then 5 years. There are to be more then 1,000 Palestinian security prisoners released for his ransom…including more then 200 serving life sentences with ‘blood on their hands’. The Prime Minister told us that the changes in the Middle East have resulted in a sudden serious concern for Gilad’s life and they were convinced that there would be no better deal in the future. Some of the issues that cloud the joy that would be expected with such an announcement reflect the complexity of the matter. There are thousands of bereaved families that will be having their loved one’s killers released (each of the major prisoners are responsible for hundreds of dead and many more maimed). There is concern for the Gilad who is to return home…after all that he has been through…who will this be and what lies ahead for him…IF he returns home alive at all. There is concern with the compromised position that Israel has put herself in in the eyes of the terrorists, who consider this a ‘win’ for themselves and a sign of weakness on our behalf.

But in the midst of this there in not only REASON to rejoice…a son is to return home…there is also COMMAND to rejoice!

DEUT 19:13-15 “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles (‘booths’, Sukkot) seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless, and the widow who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to The Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you and your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.”

LEVIT 23:40-43 “And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of date palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD.”

Sidewalks, yards, rooftops and balconies are all clothed with a wide assortment of sukkas. They come in all shapes and sizes, and bring with them an inherent sense of joy. Somehow, just looking at them makes me want to smile. Some are like little wooden play houses made of wood with palm branch roofs standing on the side walk.

As I walk by I can hear people setting up house inside. Others, like ours, are more tent like with cloth walls. Our clothes line becomes the ‘foundation’ for our palm branch roof. One year I invested in several yards of material printed with symbols of Sukkot to brighten our sukka. It makes up the back side with several bright table cloths serving for 3 other sides. Under the palm branches (from the clothes line) I have hung fresh dates and pomegranates, grapes, flowers and fragrant leaves, as well as some ‘fruit like’ decorations that we have acquired over the years. Many people put up Christmas lights and all sorts of Christmas like decorations. We have a woven rug for a floor, a table and as many chairs as we can fit in because the sukka is open to all who would like to come in and sit and rejoice with us. It is open to friend and stranger alike and is such a good time to get to know people. I have pinned the scriptures above to the ‘walls’ in English and Hebrew and it does sometimes inspire stirring conversation.

The sukka… this ‘vulnerable’ little dwelling with a ‘roof’ through which you can see the stars and the moon… a commandment to rejoice before The Lord… a time set apart to sit under His ‘hugeness’ and consider our ‘smallness’ and to remember that in HIM…we “live and move and have our being”…WHAT A HOLIDAY!

And, OF COURSE, it rained a slight bit this morning. And OF COURSE the temperature dropped a great deal today. To me these are such ‘symbols’ of His BLESSING after the long hot dry summer.

Our dinner was served as a Thanksgiving feast, and we spent many hours together outside rejoicing.

The kitchen is clean and I will go to bed, but I hope to write to you several times during Sukkot…and share with you heartbeats of this most precious holiday.

I do humbly thank you for your comments over this past ‘emotional roller coaster’ of a week. I am so thankful for His body! Lovingly, your sis.

ani b’derek

Published in: on October 23, 2011 at 6:11 am  Comments (8)  
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Another Red Letter Day

"The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life." Jesus

Easter And Spring Poetry

Ellen Grace Olinger

Heidi Viars

Taking a closer look


Encouraging others in Christ