Thursday, June 14, 2018

Can't You Hear Me Calling (Crooked Still, Acoustic)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is June 14, 2018 in my corner of blog land. Next Thursday will be the first day of summer officially! My son and his wife will be married one month this Saturday, happy one month you two!

On my blog intro, one of our purposes is to familiarize ourselves with some of the things we inherit from the Jewish people as we consider ourselves believers, Messianic, Hebrew Christians or some such term. Today, the newsletter from My Jewish Learning, featured an article by Rabbi Daniel Kirzane discussing the topic of the ancient sacrifice that Jewish people practiced in Biblical times. They offered animals, grain or money at the tabernacle, which were called korbanot. Rabbi Kirzane shares that the word korbanot means something that draws close. The intention was to draw the one giving closer to God. Do you ever think of your giving in that manner? It's a fresh thought for me to be honest.

The definition at the beginning of this article is of interest: Sacrifice is to give up something for someone else.

- Sports training is so athletes can be ready to give their skill to a team or particular competition.
- In Exodus we read how Moses' mother, Yocheve, sent her baby away, so that he could be protected and was raised in the palace of the Pharaoh and would later lead the exodus from Egypt.
- We sacrifice for others by doing chores.

Rabbi Kirzane ends the article with five questions that we each might ask of ourselves. Since the Temple was destroyed, prayer is one means Jewish people offer to God, as well as doing deeds of mercy and kindness and attending worship. So do other faith practitioners. Consider Rabbi Kirzane's questions below.

1. What kinds of sacrifices are present in this Torah portion? (Sacrifice for yourself, for others, or to come closer to God?)
2. When have I made that kind of sacrifice in my own life? Or when could I make that kind of sacrifice in the future?
3. Sacrifices in the Torah required very specific rituals. What are some rituals that are important to me that help me to feel Jewish or holy?
4. What are some ways I can draw close to God?
5. What might I want to teach my friends and family about sacrifice from a Jewish perspective?
Note: Consider the story of Moses from Exodus chapter 2 to answer the first question.

God bless and keep you. Thanks for stopping by!

Mellow Rock
David Russell

Monday, June 11, 2018

Peaceful Easy Feeling: (Eagles)

Hello Grafted In Reader,

It has been nearly one month since we have had a blog visit. My son and his bride are now members of the family, and the weekend of May 18, 2018 will long be remembered as a very special occasion in my family! Our son was married May 19 at a simple indoor ceremony held at a community center in N. Carolina.

The next day, my wife and I spent with my 93-year-old father, and we returned home on Monday May 20. We like our daughter-in-law's family and found them to be gracious, friendly and hospitable. All in all, they are off to a good start!

Pentecost or Shavuot in Hebrew was also that weekend. See my previous post. God is with us giving us His mercy, ever new, every day and that is quite a gift!

I have been working on a major story to be entered in a contest sponsored by a website and book publisher. My story is currently being edited, and is about 3,300 words long. Unlike any other, the first and last paragraph are provided, and authors write forty-eight other paragraphs in between. My story is about a young professional suffering from a dissociative psychological disorder and how that has both enriched and interfered with his life. I hope it gets selected for possible publication.

Summer is just a few days away officially, although most of us consider summer here already. Or, winter if on the other side of the equator. Whatever season you are in, G-d is with you and may His strength keep you today and tomorrow. I would like to hear from you or about you. Please make that happen some time.
Until next time, enjoy that Peaceful Easy Feeling.

Mellow Rock
David Russell

Friday, April 20, 2018

G-d Has Lifted The Weight

Hello Grafted In Reader,

Today is Friday, April 20 in my corner of blog land.

I want to return to one of the purposes of this blog, and that was to inform us of the Jewish roots of our faith in Adonai. Today, I wish to share a reflection with you from the website
by chaim ben torah and hope it will enrich your understanding. Do share with a friend.

Genesis 3:7,21:  “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. (21)  The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” 
I was reading from the works of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, a 19th century Jewish scholar and discovered something I never even considered.  I have read Genesis 3 countless times in my life, I have heard numerous sermons where these verse are quoted but I never stopped to really meditate on what this actually means that God made clothes for Adam and Eve.  I thought back to my earliest memories as a child and I clearly remember Sunday School and listening to my Sunday School teacher tell us that God made clothes for Adam and Eve.  I remembering feeling quite relieved, I mean I was a little concerned because it didn’t seem like a bunch of leaves sewn together would last very long. At least God made something permanent.
This morning I read where Rabbi Hirsch commenting on this passage of God clothing Adam and Eve declared that is was  God’s  first act of  gamiloth chasad – loving kindness.  Adam and Eve clothed themselves with leaves from a fig tree.  The word for fig tree, te’anah could have two possible roots.  The first root te’an which means a fig tree.  But it also could come from the root word ‘aun  which means an inappropriate means of acquisition, in other words, to steal something.  The word for leaf is ‘alah which means to ascend, to rise up.  To wear fig leaves or te’anah alah had a double meaning. It also meant to steal something that was meant only for an ascension (to heaven).  Because of this disobedience, this act of stealing, Adam and Eve could not enter heaven so God clothed them in garments of skin.
Garments of skin is kathenoth ‘or which has a double meaning in Hebrew, it also means the protection from the weight of the world.  To this day, to this moment God has clothed us with the kathenoth ‘or protection from the weight of the world.  So why does Rabbi Hirsch call this an act of lovingkindness?  Because as we bear the weight of this world God can continually show His  lovingkindness by protection us, caring for us as we face the cares of this world.  Not only that, God has a wonderful way of turning tragic events into something wonderful. For now that sin has entered into the world, according to Rabbi Hirsch, God has given us the opportunity to follow His example and show lovingkindness to those who are suffering from the weight of this world.  We can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick and show compassion to the poor.  God has turned the tables on the old serpent and took the fig leaves of Adam and Eve, the disgrace of their sin and clothed them and us with the garments of skin kathenoth ‘or  the opportunity to share love and loving kindness to those under the weight of this world.
Where did God get these skins?  He sacrificed animals. He made the first sacrifice for man as He eventually gave the final sacrifice for man, His Son.  Thus kathenoth ‘or (‘or with an Ayin) becomes a play on the word kathenoth  ‘or (‘or with an Aleph) to become a garment or protection of Light (Jesus Christ – John 1:1).

May the Lord Bless and keep you always,

Mellow Rock
David Russell