זה יום ההולדת שלי, בסדר, בסדר (in Matthew McConaughey voice)

The day that will live in infamy.

My father was a military man, through and through.  Career Navy he was.  From a long line of American warriors, all the way back to the Revolution.  He married my mother on 9/11.  His first son was born on D-Day, the next on VJ-day, and myself on Pearl Harbor Day.

That’s always been a shadow of a thought on my birthday, especially after realizing my parent’s anniversary related to the little phenomenon.

Anyone who walks in true “Emunah” in Messiah Yeshua knows that His people are a ‘warring’ people, in the realm of His Ru’akh.  Last week, my drash [teaching message] in the Synagogue was about the “Matzliakh”, the ‘prosperous’ man.  One who ‘succeeds’ in this life, spiritually.  If I’m not mistaken, Yosef was the first one in scripture called a matzliakh; and he was a servant, a slave, when he was so called.

But, as Friday was the anniversary of my birth, I prayed that day, as I do each day, for all I know, especially those whom I hold dear, to have ‘shalom’ each day..

My birthday started very, very special.  I woke up, and read a second email concerning someone who had been studying our congregation’s website, http://www.battzion.org , and had come to repentance.  My last post was about the JOY in HEAVEN concerning ONE SOUL doing Teshuvah, so much so that the Malakhim REJOICE in HIGH PRAISES….. FOR ONE SOUL!  So, when I read that second email, and learned that the person who had repented, whose name is in our Torah portion this week!, is going to come to the synagogue this Shabbat, then I ‘heard’ the echo of that rejoicing in Heaven…. it sunk in. [the first email had came in thur night, after my family and I began celebrating my birthday.. with cake…can’t help it, biblical days start at night! and I’d briefly read it, but it didn’t sink in; then another came in through the night].

I cannot express how much joy that brought me, considering all the labor we put into the website, into the congregation, investing in people’s souls, versus the number of times people actually do ‘return to G-d in obedience to His Instructions’ [biblical repentance].  when I wrote that last blog post, I asked G-d for that experience again, that deep joy of knowing His Malkhut is truly advancing because of our efforts.  Et voila.

Friday, I decided to drive to work, versus riding the bus, because I took a half day off.  My jam came on when I got in the car, but it was my whole playlist.  I wanted to focus on worshipping and thanking Him, so I switched it just to play Miqedem’s last album.  I’ve noticed this before, about that album.  But I’ve only shared this with my wifey.  I don’t know if Jamie and the rest of Miqedem intended this, but it has certainly caught my attention, what I am about to try to explain:

Friday morning, when I switched it over, I set it to play the album, Volume II, in order, and not to shuffle, because it’s been a while since I just listened to the album straight through.  I finished listening to it this morning, and remembered this compelling theme I will try to explain here, starting with the first song, to the last, in order.

“Khanun V’Rakhum’ is the first song, “Gracious and Merciful”.  That is the last phrase in the 4th verse of the psalm…. The music starts with a very distinct Hebrew, Middle-Eastern sound, very upbeat, and the first words are “I will thank יהוה “…. [I say/sing His Name… I hope Miqedem can forgive me, as I simply cannot edit His Word when reading/singing it, nor blot out His Name as quoted in scripture with another word].  The first verse of this song is actually the first four verses of Psalm 111.   I have the great pleasure of understanding them in Hebrew…. and this phrase, “Khanun v’Rakhum’, is an echo of Moshe’s encounter with G-d that so few people consider, when He said, יהוה   יהוה  El RAKHUM V’KHANUN…. Merciful and GRACIOUS G-d… this is ‘old testament’, and is describing יהוה  as MERCIFUL and GRACIOUS….  the whole description there flies in the face of the xtian idea that the ‘god of the old testament’ was a ‘hateful, mean/angry god.’  Those first verses of 111 expound on His works of mercy and grace as WONDERFUL.  Then, the second verse of the song, from Ps 112, tells of the works of a Tzadik, a Righteous One.  This is a foreshadowing of Messiah, but also describes one who actually trusts in obedience, delighting in the Mitzvot of G-d.  This echoes the fb post I made yesterday, asserting that we, as believers, should strive to be like G-d!  Khanun V’Rakhum V’Tzadik, echoing Khanun V’Rakhum יהוה !  Ultimately, it is HIM whom we emulate.

I won’t have time to detail each of the psalms on this album.  But, I pray the psalms every Shabbat in the Synagogue during our prayer hour, with a numerical pattern that gets me through all 150 of them about 5 times in a year.  And this pattern is in such a way that I sample each type of Psalm [praise, ascent, imprecatory, etc] each Shabbat.  And each week, I think about how this mimics the life and experience of believers.

The Tehillim [praises/psalms] are Tefilot [prayers] and SONGS.  And they are FULL of EMOTION.  ALL emotions.  Happiness, sadness, sorrow, pain, rejoicing, anger, bitterness, hurt, the list goes on.  They run the whole gambit of the human experience.  And so do my Shabbat morning prayers.  And so does Miqedem Volume II.  They sampled almost every type of Tehillah.  This one starts very upbeat, rejoicing and thanking G-d for His MERCY AND GRACE, the way a believer starts his life of faith, and the way he SHOULD start EVERY DAY!

It is followed with B’tzet Yisra’el, ‘When Yisra’el Went out of Mitzrayim’, which is a mini Pesakh Psalm, a recalling of the MIGHT of Elohim, who delivered Yisra’el and brought them into The Land.  The psalmist almost seems to mock the natural barriers to Yisra’el’s ‘going out,’ reminding us that He Goes BEFORE us, IN MIGHT.  This, too, ought to be a theme of our minds as we begin our days.

The next is Ba’erev Yelin, and has been my favorite for a while, though I think it got edged out of late.  But, the tone changes, becoming very mellow.  This one is a KHANUKAH song!  It is the “Dedication of the House,” or “Khanukat HaBayit.”  Nothing causes a believer in Messiah more sorrow than for the ‘House’ of his heart to be defiled with sin.  “Weeping WILL linger for the night”, as long as the believer walks in self-induced darkness,’ but REJOICING comes ‘la’boker’…. yes, ‘in the morning,’ but, ‘boker’ can imply ‘early,’ and the prefix is ‘for’ in this conjugation…. the earlier ‘light’ comes back to the ‘house,’ the sooner the believer can REJOICE!  This one is Psalm 30:4-6.

Then, we get even more contemplative, meditating on the “Compassions of יהוה  ” .  from 89:2-3, 12.  Here, we confess that His compassions are worthy of our declaring them. So much so that the mountains will cry out rejoicing in Him [if we don’t].  I seem to remember Yeshua alluding to this?  We stay contemplative, and ‘sing,’ “I love that יהוה will hear the voice of my supplications….”  Ps 116:1-2; And then we can say, “Because He has turned His ear toward me, I will call on Him all of my days…. “In the courts of His HOUSE, in the midst of you, O Yerushalayim, HALLELU YAH!”  [v19].  We who are believers in Messiah Yeshua do this in such a literal way, because we have a House that is fashioned by Messiah!  I can’t EVEN get into all the depth of what is revealed here!

And now it’s time again to REJOICE!  The next melody is a complete Tehillah, 117, which is only two verses long.  It has a very middle-eastern flare, and a driving beat.  Hallelu Et יהוה  , kol Goyim, Shabekhuhu kol HaUmim; Ki gamal aleinu khasdo, v’emet יהוה  l’olam.  That’s it!  Praise Him, all nations, Worship Him all peoples!  For His compassion upon us is abundant, and His Truth is FOREVER!

The next melody is again quiet and meditative; its all piano and vocal, and is simply one verse; but, it’s not from the Tehillim.  It is from “Eikha”, or “Lamenations”: “Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of Adonai; lift up your hands toward Him for the life of your young children, that faint for hunger at the head of every street.”  Our life indeed should be about praise, and Abba is certainly deserving of all our praise, but the world is deserving of our supplication, our standing in as the royal Kohanim we are, pleading on behalf of the innocent.  In our day and age, there is probably no better verse to express how desperate children today are for our intercession.   And sometimes, it ‘seems’ as if Abba is not responding to our plea.  “Ad Ana,”  “Until when?” is the next lyric, from chapter 13.  We left our rejoicing, and in the middle of the night got up to pray for the children, and now we ask, “Until when?  How long will our enemy rejoice over me?   But then, in spite of the waiting we must do, we yet say, “But as for me, in Your compassion do I trust; my heart shall rejoice in Your Salvation.  I will sing unto יהוה , because He has dealt bountifully with me.”  And we begin to leave our sorrow behind, returning again to our trust that HE IS going to move, and give justice, and compassion.  And the music picks us back up again at this point.

The next melody seems to us to be a blend of Hebrew with Appalachian Mountain music.  It’s bluesy, “Shir LaMa’alot,” from 121:1-5.  It is a reminder that we have to return ourselves to this world, in our journey of ascent [Shir LaMa’alot means “Song of Ascent”]; along the way, there are many perils, but HE is our help!  The Maker of Heaven and Earth.

The next song is another deviation from the book of psalms, taking us to Yesha-Yahu 40:31, again a single verse.  And the tempo picks back up again, returning to a very authentic, Hebrew sound.  Those who wait/hope in יהוה will renew their strength, they will soar in the air as eagles!  They will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint.  This is like the second wind of life.  It is a reminder, especially for one in my stage of life, that it is WORTH waiting on and hoping in HIM.  And that ONE DAY, He is going to ‘lift us up’.  And HE strengthens us to get through this life.

And having that in mind, knowing that one who ‘waits for’ and ‘hopes in’ Him, we are HAPPY!  And Tehillah 1:1-3 begins with a very upbeat, modern guitar rif, “Happy is the man!  And this one has, at least for a season, become my favorite, as I have come to know that my happiness is completely rooted in HIM, and being OBEDIENT to His Tzedaka.  And it is not a drummed up, temporary happiness.  It is permanent, and completely  independent of my circumstances.  It is typically a more mature person who really discovers this truth.

And the last song, I don’t know if it was intended this way, but it certainly seems well placed, and seems to fit this theme of the album, that of our journey through life, whether that theme was intended or not as well.  Tehillah 23 is read often upon the departure of a loved one; but, it is not written in the voice of the 2nd person, but of the first person:  He leads ME beside still waters; he restores my soul… The melody starts very subdued, in contrast to the previous “Ashrei Ha’Ish, and takes us through the first three verses.  Oddly enough, the tempo picks up when we get to the valley of Tzal Mavet…  EVEN THERE we can PRAISE HIM!  Passing through this life into the next! Though I walk through the valley of Tzal Mavet….  All of us are going to do it.  But, HE sits us down and feeds us, while our enemies watch!  He covers our heads in oil, protecting us.  I will dwell in Beit   יהוה  FOREVER!  What else could be so comforting for one ‘crossing the Yarden,’ going into Paradise?  

Oddly enough, it almost doesn’t seem to matter in what order one listens to these particular scriptures, the message is the same.  And this is true of the book of Tehillim; our ‘worship of David.’  I wish everyone who trusts in Messiah could come to understand the power of restoration and life that is in these songs.  Not Miqedem’s, but David’s.  Miqedem does a phenomenal job of bringing life to the lyrics, and giving us a taste of Yisra’el in our worship, and we at our congregation are very grateful.  But, it is because the words are the very words of His Ru’akh [breath], expressing the very heart of Elohim THROUGH us, if we let them, that we sing them with such passion.  I wish I had more time to elaborate, but I hope the reader has ‘seen’ what I have so many times when listening to this album; and so many times when praying these prayers in silence on Shabbat.

This ‘book of prayer’ is a mechanism that could restore the congregations to UNITY in Messiah.  Singing them is wonderful.  But inwardly meditating on them is even more wonderful, and powerful.  I hope someone in inspired to do just that.


The REAL MIRACLE of khanukha….


Khanukah celebrates DEDICATION.

It is what the word khanukah means.  But, the season of this celebration of the dedication of the house happens to be a celebration of LIGHTS, held at the DARKEST time of the year.

One thing I am ever more certain of, is that we are certainly at the darkest time in history, right before Messiah returns….

And this year, even though our Khanukah celebration at home has been a bit muted [just me and the wife so far], what I have determined to celebrate  is HIS LIGHT.

Yeshua was conceived on the first night of Khanukah, some 2,000 years ago.  This was the beginning of true LIGHT coming to the world, in flesh.

And of course, if Yeshua is that light, and we learn that He tells us to be ‘born anew,’ and then says that those who are born anew are those who ‘come to the light’; then we are recipients of that light.  But, that receipt is predicated upon true “repentance,” which means turning to G-d by turning to His mitzvot.

So, one who repents by turning to His Mitzvot, is then born ‘anew’, and is given light.  And He is told to share that light with everyone.

In the day we live in, there are precious few people who will turn to that light.  The Light is the Torah, which is the purity of G-d that manifested in Yeshua’s obedience, even to the point of death.  All of us are reluctant to die.  But every single one of us are completely resistant to spiritual ‘death’, which is REQUIRED, in order to be truly ‘born anew.’  This is the GREATEST MIRACLE that we can EVER experience or witness.  I have had the joy of witnessing it a few times in my life, and even the great and humbing honor of participating in it, if only by declaring Yeshua’s death to someone who’s never truly ‘heard’ it before.  I remember those occasions with perfect clarity.  There truly is NOTHING more miraculous than for a sinner [everyone sins] to actually be broken and contrite over offending G-d, and TURNING, accepting G-d’s offer of atonement through Yeshua, imparting HIS perfection to us, and then beginning to seek how to OBEY G-d in HIS TRUTH, Yeshua’s way.  That is truly the biggest MIRACLE EVER.  When one considers the miracle of Yeshua’s conception, is that really so ‘spectacular’?  It was unseen for nine months.  When His birth finally occurred, no one really noticed, except some shepherds, who heard Malakhim rejoicing in Heaven.  The same is true of our birth into His family.  Very few ever really notice on earth.  As in Yeshua’s conception, only Miryam, Yosef, Elisheva, Yokhanan HaMatbil [an unborn baby who LEAPED at the sound of Miryam’s words] and perhaps Elisheva’s husband, really ‘rejoiced’ in the conception of our Messiah; so, only those BELIEVERS who really know us and can perceive a change can rejoice in our new birth; and as at Yeshua’s birth, only Miryam and Yosef and a few unnamed shepherds took note.  AND SOME MESSENGERS OF HEAVEN.

But, just as they rejoiced at HIS birth, so do they rejoice about the new birth here on earth:

“I say to you that such will be the joy before the Malakhim of Elohim over one sinner who repents.” ~Yeshua, Luka 15:10

Yeshua was conceived at this time.  As I am likely writing only to believers, I can draw attention to His conception and birth with some meaning.  But for one who does not yet trust in His Word, it is HIS DEATH that must be declared.

“And I, my brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech, nor did I declare to you the Sod [scriptural mystery/counsel] of Elohim in wisdom. For I did not pretend to know anything among you except Yeshua HaMashi’akh, and Him executed on the stake.”  Kor Alef 2:1-2

Death is darkness and LIFE is light.  In order for one to be at Shalom with himself and with Elohim, both here and eternally, one must face his own sin, admit to sinning, confess it, and die, to be reborn into the Ru’akh of Elohim, by confessing the truth of Yeshua the Messiah, and his atonement for us as individuals.  And only then, but then, HE gives us of His Ru’akh, and the Messengers in heaven REJOICE!  Like they did the day Yeshua was born.  Like Miryam did herself at her conception of Yeshua; like Yokhanan did when he sensed Yeshua in Miryam.

Oh, how I LOVE to rejoice with those Messengers in heaven over ONE person coming into light.  How I grieve that so many, who have heard this word, yet walk in darkness, fellowshipping with this world rather than with Him and His people, in truth.  In the same fashion, the FATHER rejoices HIMSELF when a SON comes home.  Oh, how a father who is a Tzadik REJOICES THE MOST over a son who will serve G-d in truth.

So, I hope someone, somewhere, finds the LIGHT of Messiah in this dark world, amidst all those competing for religious attention, whose eyes are off the prize: SALVATION.  We all seem to be to worried about our own comfort, and not the salvation of our own lives, much less those who have not yet heard the TRUTH of Yeshua’s gift.

As one who received that knowledge and that light forty-one years ago, I am truly ‘dedicating’ this ‘house’ of my heart, and rejoicing in the miracle of the OIL of His Ru’akh being given in this DARK TIME.

Ma’oz Tzur, Yeshua-ti ::  What a STRONG ROCK is MY YESHUA!

Khanukah Channukah Chanuka Hanuka Hannukahh Honiekie


Just like there are many variations on how to spell Khanukah, there are a few variations on when to observe it.

We do not start our observance until tonight.  The reason?  Khanukah is a FIXED-DAY feast, and is celebrated on the 25th day of the NINTH Biblical Khodesh.

Many Messianic people, in fact most, do NOT follow the correct calendar.  They think it is their duty to unify with the Jewish Sages, who rejected Messiah.

For some reason, so many people who SAY they follow Torah, actually follow the Rabbinc community that has DENIED that Yeshua is the Son of G-d.  Just ask ANY writer of Talmud, and they will tell you [if they were alive, but they tell you in their writings] that Yeshua is NOT the Son of G-d!  They now even deny that the Messiah would EVER be “Ben HaAdam,” or “Ben HaElohim”; but they certainly deny that Yeshua, HaNatzri, Ben Yosef, is in fact the Son of G-d.  And yet, so many Messianic people follow THEM!

Sha’ul is largely misunderstood today, as he was back then.  As was Yeshua.  The Rabbinic community THOUGHT Yeshua came to do away with Torah.  His repudiation of them made them THINK He meant to overturn ALL Jewish customs.  Yeshua, however, was even a participant in Khanukah!  BUT, what He did NOT do is MOVE THE FEAST DAYS, just because the Pharisees did!  At that time, they had only moved the Pesakh.  They observed it then, as they do now, on the 15th evening of the fisrt Khodesh, whereas Yeshua, who CLEARLY observed it the day BEFORE the P’rushim did, observed it on the 14th evening of the first Khodesh.  As yet they had not moved Khanukah.  That did not occur until nearly the 7th century AD, when Hillel the 2nd created a Babylonian solar/lunar calendar, versus the lunar Biblical calendar, in order to unify the RABBINIC community, which had rejected Yeshua for more than 500 years.  And today, most of the Messianic community follows them.

We know how ‘lonely’ our Messianic walk can be.  And we know how we are looked down upon by the majority of the Messianic Jewish community because we will not unite with Rabbis.

But, it is a form of hypocrisy, ‘you say and DO NOT DO’, to ‘say’ you follow Messiah, and yet adhere to Rabbinic error, IN MANY, MANY WAYS.

Messianic Jews seem to forget that Yeshua was not ‘in favor’ with the Rabbis.  Neither was Kefa, nor Sha’ul, nor Tzefan-Yah [Steven], or any of the TRUE followers of Messiah, who were NOT AFRAID to break ranks with the ‘majority,’ that had REJECTED the Son of G-d.

Being Jewish DOES NOT SAVE YOU.  Being Jewish DOES NOT MAKE A RABBI correct!  Just because he is Jewish and calls himself “Rabbi,” “My Great One,” clearly seeking a title of his own, more than lifting up Messiah Yeshua, our ONLY RABBI [Matti 23], does NOT mean that he is ‘right.’  Yet so many people who SAY they want to follow Messiah and the Torah more closely, simply trade one set of liars [Constantine and the xtian world] for another [Rabbis who reject Yeshua].

It is clear to me that most people who SAY they do things for the sake of unity, do not want to unify with Messiah Yeshua, who would NEVER move the calendar of His Father, not for Pesakh, and not even for Khanukah, but would rather unify with Rabbis who say they have authority over G-d, to move His feast days, to CHANGE HIS mitzvot, and to negate HIS WILL.

Being a TRUE Messianic person is being one who follows the ONLY RABBI who is ‘certified’ by HEAVEN.  Yeshua HaMashiakh!  Yet, so many look to the Talmud for ‘halakhic rulings,’ in a desire to ‘unify’ with the Jewish community, who have REJECTED THE MESSIAH!  Yokhanan shows us this is ERROR!

“Hereby we know that we are in Him: he who says “I am in Him” ought himself also to walk His halakha.”

Yet most Messianic people walk the Halakha of those who follow Sheker HaMashia’kh, the very spirit that DENIES Messiah Yeshua!

Our take is very simple.  “Peshat” interpretation.  We are truly walking out Yeshua’s Halakha, who would not DARE to move the feasts of Elohim.  He was killed by people who were keeping the Pesakh a full 24 hours late!  They did not recognize Him, the Pesakh Lamb, because He did not DO AS THEY DID.  He did ONLY WHAT HIS FATHER TOLD HIM.  And His Father told Him to observe Pesakh on the 14th evening of the first Khodesh.

To move Khanukah, which is indeed not a commanded feast, but is nonetheless a legitimate, Messianic observance [Yeshua taught a very Messianic theme during the season, Yokhanan 9-11], is to equivocate, and to unify with a community of Jews who are NOT true Jews.  [Rom 2:29]  NOT EVERYONE who has Jewish blood is Jewish! [Rom 2:28]  ONLY those who TRUST IN MESSIAH are actually Jewish, in the eyes of Elohim!  And in the eyes of HIS Messiah!

Messianic people who consciously CHOOSE to walk according to Talmudic ‘law’ versus simply doing what Torah says, the way Yeshua does, are in a very, very dangerous ‘way.’  Yet they ‘trust’ in the comfort of ‘numbers’, versus TRUTH.

So, to those Maccabees who are BRAVE enough to DO WHAT TORAH SAYS, and to STAY THE COURSE of truth: KHAPPY KHANUKAH!  We will start night one TONIGHT, on the actual 25th evening of the ninth month, when the Maccabees actually lit the Menorah for the first time, after the Greeks contaminated His House.