BEHAR TORAH : LEVITICUS 25:1-26:2| PROPHETS : JEREMIAH 32:6-27| GOSPEL : LUKE 4:14-22


Shalom everyone! Welcome to another Torah Portion here at SSS! I love this passage, for I yearn to live in safety. Where I am presently residing I do not feel safe. I have not felt safe for a long time and feel stuck here in swamp country as I call it. The area where I reside was once a swamp, but man came along and cut down trees, filled in the swamp and built a campground on it…in rainy season, it floods in areas, in the hurricane season, the campground dwellers live vulnerable and open to the onslaughts of the HAARP program/Hurricane season. This Hurricane season, the warnings have already begun. I lament daily, I plead for His mercy and grace, I plead for His mighty hand to guard my 86 year old mother and myself while stuck in swampsville.

Father has been merciful so far as  there is at least one righteous person that dwells in swamp country! My mother has been a commandment keeper for most of her long life. She honors He Shabbat and has trusted in Jesus since a little girl.

https://theconversation.com/bad-news-for-the-2022-hurricane-season-the-loop-current-a-fueler-of-monster-storms-is-looking-a-lot-like-it-did-in-2005-the-year-of-katrina-183197

leviticus 25:1-26:2, behar “on the mount” chiastic structure

The rainy season brings intense storms that frighten many, Florida is known as the lightning capital of the nation, the first season here, as I sat in my tiny RV listening to the booming thunder and the fierceness of the rain pounding on my roof, I used that time to cry out to Abba, claiming His promises and praising Him that He is far  more powerful than any storm.

https://www.baynews9.com/fl/tampa/weather/2022/01/09/did-florida-regain-title-for-lightning-capital-of-u-s-

When we are called to a certain place, to a certain walk, to a certain way, if it goes against the grain of the world, storms come…but the One who came before us has to power to sustain us through the storm, or, to calm the storm…whether the storm is exterior or interior…

Jeremiah 32:17 — A Reason for Hope with Don Patterson

Twitter 上的 Deo Gloria Church:"Luke 4:18 - The Spirit of the Lord is on me  to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and set the captives free. (NIV)  #bibleverse #verseoftheday #bible #scripture #gaychristian #

Big Brother on this weeks Torah Portion:

G‑d spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai…”—Leviticus 25:1.

The traditional name used to refer to this week’s portion, Behar, is taken from the opening verse: “G‑d spoke to Moses Behar Sinai (at Mount Sinai).”

It is interesting to note that words “mount” and “Sinai” have opposite connotations. A mountain represents grandeur and stature while the word Sinai is rooted in the Hebrew word s’neh, a thorn-bush, which symbolizes lowliness and humility. The combination of the two words “Behar Sinai—at Mount Sinai” indicates a melding of both characteristics, boldness and humility together.

As regards our spiritual development, the three terms 1) Mount, 2) Sinai and 3) Mount Sinai, represent three progressive phases in our growth.

Our sense of self-nullity is so pervasive that it is obvious that any strength we may feel comes only from our total reliance upon G‑d’s strengthThe first level is that of “Sinai”—humility and self-nullification. At the beginning of our spiritual development, we must embrace our own nothingness. Any feelings of grandeur or stature at this point are counterproductive and entirely out of place.

The next level is that of “Mount Sinai,” a combination of the two words. At this stage, we have sufficiently negated ourselves so that we may actually experience feelings of power that do not stem from our own egos but rather from a sense of G‑d’s strength. At the same time, however, there still must be a clear sense of personal nullity for we have not yet come to such a degree of surrender where any sense of power we may feel is certain to be emanating solely from the power of G‑d.

Finally, the ultimate level of spiritual development is embodied by the single word behar—for which this week’s reading is named. This state is achieved when we are so entirely nullified to G‑d that it is not even necessary to mention the humility of “Sinai.” Our sense of self-nullity is so pervasive that it is obvious that any strength we may feel comes only from our total reliance upon G‑d’s strength rather than our own.

There are those critics of the Twelve Steps who say that personal humility along with submission to a Higher Power degrades alcoholics and makes them feel spiritually bankrupt. First of all, we didn’t need any steps to help us feel degraded and spiritually bankrupt. Our lives as active alcoholics had done a fine job at that already. But more importantly, what these critics fail to understand is that by admitting our own powerlessness and thereby coming to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we have found an inner strength that we could never have dreamed of throughout all our years of willful self-reliance. Perhaps they are baffled by the paradox—that through surrender we have become strong and that by facing our own lack of power we have come to know and feel what real power is.

ACHAREI MOT TORAH : LEVITICUS 16:1-18:30| PROPHETS : EZEKIEL 22:1-19| GOSPEL : MATTHEW 15:10-20; MARK 12:28-34


Acharei Mot: A Hot Mess? - YouTube

OzTorah » Blog Archive » All on your own – Acharei MotCategory: Parasha Acharei Mot - 29-5776

Leviticus 16:1–34 (ESV) - Leviticus 16:1–34 ESV - The LORD spoke to… | Biblia

Becoming Pure - Parashat Acharei Mot - Matan

There is a saying in the rooms of recovery…

Aim for progress, not perfection – Happy Act

There are many of us who have come out of a traumatic childhood and are struggling with the aftermath of using drugs and alcohol and other forms of addictions that helped us numb the painful shame. Some of us are still struggling with those addictions.

As we strive to walk in obedience to the Fathers instructions found in Torah,  some of us may forget that we are to walk with Yeshua, the Sacrificial Lamb. According to 1 John 1:9 when we are faithful to confess our sins to Him, He is faithful to forgive AND to cleanse us for ALL unrighteousness.

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)
ἀδικία adikía, ad-ee-kee’-ah; from G94; (legal) injustice (properly, the quality, by implication, the act); morally, wrongfulness (of character, life or act):—iniquity, unjust, unrighteousness, wrong.

But, if you are anything like me, that just is not good enough…that thing I did ruminates over and over in my mind, driving me to go to Him yet again,  begging Him to forgive me.

Is that necessary? Somehow I doubt it. I am thinking that is more the tactic of the trickster, harassing me, lying to me whispering to me “I am  different,  the exception, my sin is so much worse than others , I am unforgivable.” That is a lie straight from the pit of hell…you see, He IS faithful to forgive. His blood is THAT powerful. To wash even you clean from all unrighteousness. That is THE Good News!!!

 

Create in Me a Clean Heart (Matthew 15:1-20) - YouTube

Oh Abba, how we yearn for You to reach deep down inside of all the brokenness and wash us clean, heal us, deliver us from ourselves and the destructive ways within our own hearts that we not sin against you or do harm to another human being!

Pin by Tara Gordon on יהודה | Learn hebrew, Hebrew words, Hebrew lessons

The greatest joy I have had in my life is serving others, coming alongside of someone and letting them know they are not alone, they are heard and there is hope…in Him.

THE POWER OF HOPE | Dare To Believe - Inspirational & Motivational Video - YouTube

Yeshua gave us hope, giving everything He had, His very life, enabling us to cry out to Him for teshuva!

 

A word from Big Brother Judah on this weeks Torah Portion.

“And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself and for his home”—Leviticus 16:6.

This week’s portion describes the special service performed by the High Priest in the Holy Temple on the Day of Atonement.

One of the special confessional prayers that the High Priest pronounced on that day was in order “to make an atonement for himself and for his home.” The accepted interpretation is that “his home” refers here to his wife. We learn from this verse that to be eligible to perform the service on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest had to be married. The question is, if the intent of the verse is to tell us that the High Priest must be married, then why is this not stated explicitly rather than referring idiomatically to his wife as his “home”?

From this elevated perspective, the woman he married was not merely his wife but his homeThe answer is that this holiest of days demanded a special degree of sanctity. As such, the High Priest had to be on a level where he did not desire personal fulfillment but rather sought to be purely of service to G‑d. Thus, in his private life as well, he needed to see his marriage not as personal relationship but as a much greater objective in being useful to G‑d. From this elevated perspective, the woman he married was not merely his wife but his home.

Many of us have entered recovery because of a relationship with a spouse or a significant other. Perhaps we thought we could save a marriage that was on the brink of collapse. In some cases, we were already divorced and took that as our wake-up call. Some of us were trying to revive a dying relationship by making good on old promises to get our drinking under control. Others were just practicing appeasement. Whatever the case, a crisis in our most intimate of personal relationships was often a primary motivation for coming into recovery.

What a letdown it was for many of us to learn that being clean and sober was not the elixir of love that we sought. Recovery didn’t suddenly make us so irresistibly charming and desirable that we could continue our old shenanigans with impunity. To the contrary, recovery demanded that we be the ones to change. We had to be meticulously self-scrutinizing. We had to be accepting. We had to let go of resentments no matter what the other person had done. We had to be humble, admit our wrongs and make amends whether or not the other person was along for the ride of recovery. Recovery demanded from us an exceedingly lofty level of self-transcendence in our home life—a kind of selflessness that most husbands and wives never even consider attainable. But that’s what was demanded of us. We could no longer be self-serving in any way, especially not when it came to the subject of marriage. We had to let go of the illusion that love was supposed to deliver personal gratification to our doorstep and instead embrace the fact that our closest relationships are truly for the purpose of building an edifice that is of use to G‑d.

KI TISA TORAH : EXODUS 30:11-34:35| PROPHETS : 1 KINGS 18:1-39| GOSPEL : MARK 9:1-10

https://torahportions.ffoz.org/torah-portions/allportions/ki-tisa/

 

Part A) Weekly Torah Portion: 21 KI TISSA - WHEN YOU TAKE - EXODUS 30:11-34:35 - YouTube

 

 

Exodus Lesson 21 Ki Tisa

Being a person who has had a pretty severe drug and alcohol addiction in the past, when I first read this weeks Torah portions title “when you take” and then saw the Israelites worshipping the golden calf, I immediately thought of the saying in the rooms of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous meetings ; one is too many a thousand is never enough”. If you have ever struggled with an addiction/strongholds, then you have experienced that yourself. One cookie, potato chip, etc  leads to half the package or the whole package, let’s be honest…

It is said that addiction is another form of idolatry…worshipping that thing you are relying on rather than relying on Yahshua, THE Higher Power. Addictions are just a symptom of a deeper thing happening deep inside a persons mind/heart. Fear, rejection, abandonment, shame, guilt, lust, you name it…

The Israelites left the only home they knew. That environment they grew up in, with its culture, norms, etc were their norm…worshipping idols was one of  their norms. They were surrounded by addicts, I mean idolaters.

Transitions are difficult. Learning a new way of functioning and thinking is a process. And, it can be a very difficult transition. Renewing ones mind takes time. For me, I had a lot of addictions and it took me a long time to give them up.

In my recovery journey, attending 12 step meetings have helped tremendously. Working in the field of substance abuse treatment, the  treatment plans I developed with my clients would include attending weekly 12 step meetings. These support meetings would help them develop new relationship with healthier people, assist them in developing social skills, obtain coping skills and a host of other benefits.  Some embraced the steps, seeing the beauty of them, some rebelled, refusing to open their eyes to see the power of them.

For some, the steps became their new higher power, for others, they were led to Jesus Christ, Yahshua. Many have found Him, THE Higher Power. For way too many, due to their rebellion, they lost their sobriety and relapsed, some never returning to recovery, way too many have overdosed and have died.

COME TO THE ALTAR 1 KINGS 18:30-39 - Faithlife Sermons

 

What Does Mark 9:10 Mean?

If you have lived the life of an addict, then you KNOW that when He gives you freedom, it is actually being brought back from the dead. I lived as the walking dead for many years. The first 30 years of my life was filled with trauma’s of all sorts. I sought relief in sex, drugs and rock and roll…home away from home were bars. Drugs, alcohol and men were my gods.

Then He wooed me with His love. It has taken years for me to have enough trust in Him to allow Him to peel the snake skin lies from me. . Layer after Layer. Year after year, trauma after trauma, addiction after addiction, Year after year He  removed them

He had to show to me His faithfulness so that I would see HE IS Yahweh! He is the only Higher Power that can resurrect  the dead, deliver from bondage, set the captive free!

He raised me from the dead! And, if He can raise me from the dead, there is hope for anyone~

This weeks Torah portion and recovery from big brother Judah.

“When the people saw that Moses was late in coming down from the mountain…”—Exodus 32:1.

This week’s portion describes one of the most misunderstood events in the Bible – the sin of the Golden Calf. Taken at face value, it is difficult to comprehend how the same people who had witnessed the miracles of the Exodus and the Revelation at Sinai could be led to worship a molten image. However, a deeper understanding of the episode reveals that the people did not intend to replace G‑d with the Golden Calf. What they were looking for was a substitute for Moses. As the verse states, the debacle began “when the people saw that Moses was late in coming down from the mountain….”

Moses, a human being of flesh and blood, represented the people’s tangible connection to G‑d. As Moses related (Deut. 5:5), “I was standing between G‑d and you at the time [of the Revelation at Sinai]….” Although it was G‑d who redeemed the people from Egypt and gave them the Commandments at Sinai, it was Moses who served as the visible medium through which G‑d brought about these wonders. Without Moses to facilitate their relationship with G‑d, the people were in a quandary and sought to replace him.

They took it upon themselves to choose their own way of connecting to G‑dTheir mistake was that when they thought that they had lost their G‑dly appointed intermediary, they took it upon themselves to choose their own way of connecting to G‑d. Tradition relates various reasons why the likeness of a calf was selected for this purpose, but one explanation is that the people were interested in having a connection to G‑d that they could make into their own beast of burden. The image of a domesticated animal symbolized an intermediary with G‑d that could be manipulated and controlled. Moses made demands of the people; when necessary, he rebuked them. A docile calf would do no such thing.

One of the cornerstones of recovery is our willingness to be receptive to G‑d’s message when He speaks to us. One of the ways that we seek knowledge of G‑d’s will for us is by having a sponsor. While a sponsor is not a prophet nor is he or she infallible, a sponsor is, however, one of the best means we have for finding clarity on all aspects of our lives, great and small.

Having a sponsor whom we can manipulate or order around is hardly in the spirit of the basic humility requisite for recovery. Neither is it consistent with the acceptance that we do not always know what is best for us and that we need to always remain open, receptive and teachable.

There’s a saying in recovery: “Call your sponsor before… not after.” Having a sponsor means being willing to take direction, not give it. Whether our sponsor is always right is beside the point. What is relevant is that when we get out of our own heads long enough to truly listen to someone else, we may be able to hear the voice of G‑d.

 


Newsletter One/January 2022/Step One


Meet Grace! It Works if YOU Work “It”!

 

                                                                                 Shalom!

Welcome to the first newsletter! Each month we will be exploring a step from the 12 steps of recovery. I will also provide resources in every newsletter. If you have questions please feel free to reach out to me at moderndaysamaratin@gmail.com, I will help you anyway that I can.

Let’s get started!

Recovery? What is that?

Recovery to Practice Strengthened for the Future - $567,000 in New Funds

I like this definition, it breaks down different areas of our lives to address. For those who are desiring to address the inner brokenness, for some, this will bring clarity. Step two is all about clarity, but, for now, we are going to focus on Step One. For step one work, we must first admit that there is a lack of balance in our lives. Excessive drinking /drugging/sexing/ gaming/ sporting, etc  is only a few symptoms of brokenness. We are striving to recover balance and shalom in our lives.

(For information on who SAMHSA is, please see link below.)

So, let’s get stated with step one

Helpful Documents | Southeast Texas ACA Intergroup

According to Marriam Webster:

pow·​er·​less | \ ˈpau̇(-ə)r-ləs  \

Definition of powerless

1devoid of strength or resources…powerless victims
2lacking the authority or capacity to act…was powerless to help
Think of being an innocent little child while the caretakers are raging, abusing, drinking and out of control…or seeing a sibling abused, or a parent being abused by the other parent/caretaker.
I'm the one who wants the help. I've lost so many friend over the past 2 yrs since entering recovery… | Helpless quotes, Feeling helpless quotes, Apologizing quotesPeople who believe that everyone else is in control of their: OwnQuotes.com
Helpless Quotes. QuotesGram
Step 1 part 3 - Unmanageability - YouTube

For mSam's Story — Druglinkore info on Adult Children   of Alcoholics/ Dysfunctional Families check this out!

http://setexasaca.org/helpful-documents/

Using drugs, alcohol and other substances and/or process addictions such as pornography, exercise, religion is only a symptom of what is going on below the surface. I like to use the illustration of an iceberg.

addiction-trauma-iceberg - A hangover free life

Growing up in a less than nurturing home can create trauma. Many children are abused in various forms. Many times one thinks of severe abuse such as child rape/molestation when hearing childhood abuse. According to the A.C.E. studies, the impact of other less severe abuse leaves deep wounds. See below for links for further education on the ACE study.Signs of neglect - Eschool

 

Emotional Abuse: Signs, Impact, and Measures| Stop Suffering in Silence

 

Emotional abuse: the silent killer - The State Press

Child Abuse and Neglect: Recognizing, Reporting, and Responding in Early Childhood Ally Burr-Harris, Ph.D. Greater St. Louis Child Traumatic Stress Program. - ppt video online download

So, you see, there is much under the surface of the addiction. Addictions are a way of numbing out the voices in ones head, of numbing out the shame and pain of what happened, often in the younger, formative years.

Many folks who come into the Torah movement not only carry with them twisted doctrines of men, but also twisted images of themselves and Yahweh. I know I did! And, I am still in recovery from my own stuff from childhood, my teen years, my 20’s and onward until I reached my bottom!

I admitted I was powerless and my life was unmanageable! Even after a college degree, credentials as a substance abuse counselor, certification as a recovery coach and a peer advocate. Even after years of therapy…and even years in the 12 steps of AA, NA and Alanon…whoa! Wait, what???

Yes, it was not until I came into His Ancient Paths that the real freedom came. After I detoxed from man made medications such as Xanax, Trazadone, and Oxycodone. I unplugged from everything and everyone and began crying out to Him to show me His real truth. On this journey to wholeness, I also found the 12 step support group of Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families.  That was the key! It was not about the addiction! It was the trauma, buried deep within me. It was that little girl that was beaten and molested, rejected and abandoned, even by herself!

Yes, I even rejected and abandoned myself. That is what I learned as a little person. I learned at a very young age that I was unworthy of love and respect. I as a female, therefore inferior.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe not. Or, maybe denial is still playing with the mind.

We admit…we see, we surrender.

To the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Surrendering – For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.Surrendering – For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.Surrendering – For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

If you are interested in hearing my show on Hebrew Nations Radio, here is the link:

https://hebrewnationonline.com/

My other blog:

https://healingforthenationswithamoderndaysamaritanwoman.wordpress.com/

https://www.samhsa.gov/about-us

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/about.html

Welcome

Until Next Time…shalom!!!

YITRO TORAH : EXODUS 18:1-20:23| PROPHETS : ISAIAH 6:1-7:6, 9:5-6| GOSPEL : MATTHEW 19:16-26


Welcome to another Torah Portion! This week is another amazing story of how the Israelites journeyed through their own rabbit trail! I hope you are blessed by this weeks message…as usual, we also are going to go on a rabbit trail!

The Danger Of Going Down Rabbit Trails - p.s. That's Life!

Yitro

Yahweh gave His 10 ways of doing life (what is commonly called The Ten Commandments) to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai. In the recovery community we have the 12 steps and 12 traditions. These steps and traditions are a way of life…what I really like about the recovery community is that we KNOW we CANNOT do life alone, we cannot heal alone…we need a community of people who are also on this journey to the heart of the Father. Safe people who are doing their best to abide by the guidelines. The traditions are what keeps the group safe and running smoothly.

 

Moses and Jethro - She Reads Truth -She Reads Truth

Adonai has His Torah, condensed into those 10 commandments. Its His love language. It is to be our love language also. Loving Him and our neighbor…as we love ourselves…problem is, too many of us have never been taught how to love ourselves, to honor ourselves, to take care of ourselves, how to set boundaries. Many are workaholics, among other types of addictions/ways coping. Or people pleasing. Many women have had their childhoods stolen, forced to be in a parenting role to compensate for their absent parent(s). Reparenting is often needed.

But, before one gets there, one needs to admit there is a problem and they need help…many cannot ask for help. Step one: WE admitted we were powerless over (fill in the blank) and our lives are unmanageable OR We admitted we were powerless over the effects of growing up in an alcoholic/dysfunctional family and our lives have become unmanageable.

You see folks, we got some problems in our community and seems like way too many leaders are not addressing these issues…issues such as domestic abuse in all its various forms,  child abuse, all sorts of addictions, religious addiction included, and not to mention the demonic activity loosened upon us. Nope, not enough people who have admitted and done the work to get free in order to free others!

 

readthestory Instagram posts (photos and videos) - Picuki.com

Isaiah 6:1 - NIV Bible - In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord,...

Stuck By Finances (Matthew 19:16-26) – Growing Godly Generations

What Is Standing In Your Way - Faithlife Sermons

Big Brother Judah on the 12 steps of recovery…

Foundations for attaining life-long recovery.

First published in 1939 in the book titled Alcoholics Anonymous, the Twelve Steps were developed by the founders of AA as a method of recovery from alcoholism. It has since been adapted to address a myriad of compulsive and obsessive behaviors ― either addiction to substances like narcotics, or a process, such as gambling.

More than 50 different programs have evolved during the past 70 years, with millions of people across the globe having directly benefited from 12-step recovery.

Because much of 12-step recovery exists within the confines of anonymous group meetings, it’s difficult to evaluate in a controlled, peer-review process. Therefore, some in the medical and scientific communities are hesitant to testify to ifs effectiveness over other, more clinical approaches. However, ask most people who have spent significant time in the “rooms of recovery” and they will tell you they didn’t stand a chance to succeed prior to engaging in twelve-step help.

Judaism has been teaching 12 steps for 3,000 years.

Interestingly, the Twelve Steps is built on a paradigm of self growth that Judaism has been teaching for 3000 years.

The first thing that sticks out upon delving into the Twelve Steps is that the addictive behavior is mentioned only once ― in Step One: “We admitted we were powerless over fill in the blank ― that our lives had become unmanageable.” No where else do the steps directly speak about the compulsive habit, for the founders of AA understood addiction to be a three-fold disease:

  • Physical: intense cravings.
  • Emotional: using the behavior as a medication and distraction for dealing with challenging issues in life.
  • Spiritual/intellectual: Not accessing God to help arrest the behavior; stubbornly thinking I can do it on my own.

Therefore, the solution needs to include these three aspects of recovery:

  • Physical: a complete cessation from the action.
  • Emotional: developing healthy coping skills to address difficult situations.
  • Spiritual/intellectual: Humbly understanding that I am powerless over this behavior and asking God to do for me what I can not do for myself.

The sages have taught that this prototype is the foundation for both individual and global existence.

Shimon the Righteous says: the world stands on three things – on Torah (spiritual/intellectual), on service (physical) and on kind deeds (emotional).” Ethics of our Fathers, 1:2. The process of teshuva (self-growth and repentance) is rooted in these three pillars of our being.

  • Intellect can be directed either toward arrogance, or humility (and connection with the Creator).
  • Emotions can serve jealousy and selfishness, or loving-kindness and caring for others.
  • Physical instincts can be let loose toward lust and self indulgence, or restrained and channeled for a higher purpose.

Rabbi Elazar HaKapper says: jealousy, lust and arrogance remove a person from the world,” Ethics of our Fathers, 4:28.

Judaism teaches us that a person has three ongoing relationships at which he must excel: 1. with himself; 2. with others; 3. with God.

A relationship with self means an honest assessment of my character strengths and defects, awareness of my purpose for living, and taking responsibility for my actions.

A relationship with others translates into fulfilling my unique role in this world, how I can benefit others, and being aware of the impact I have on those with whom I have contact.

A relationship with God connects me to the Infinite Power in this world, tapping into ultimate pleasure and allowing me to humbly see my place in the grand scheme of creation.

STEPS ONE TO THREE

Looking through this prism, we can see how the Twelve Steps address these three relationships in the recovery process.

Step one: “We admitted we were powerless over fill in the blank ― that our lives had become unmanageable.”Step two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

The steps begin with an intense self awareness and admission as to the root of the problem ― an inability to change the behavior through willpower alone, and acknowledging the consequences of my conduct (step one: man’s relations to self).

Steps two and three transition to man’s relationship with God, first recognizing that the Creator of the Universe can in fact change my behavior (step two) if I take the requisite actions (step three). Simply put: “I can’t. He can. I think I’ll let Him.

Some erroneously argue that admitting powerlessness runs contrary to Judaism’s characterization of free will ― “If I truly set my mind to something, I will be able to conquer any challenge.”

The Talmud, however, tells us just the opposite. We are taught that a person’s yezter hara (evil inclination) grows stronger and renews itself every day. And without God’s help, we are powerless to overcome it. (Kidushin 30b)

A fundamental Jewish tenet is that everything is in the hands of the Almighty except for fear of Heaven (Berachot 33b). The sole autonomy we possess in this world is perception (yireh)- – to see ourselves in relation to the Creator of the Universe, with the subsequent awe that results from that observation. We have the freedom of choice, but it’s entirely up to the Almighty to allow that choice to successfully develop into action.

The disease of addiction is nothing less than the yezter hara, the lower self, as it manifests in those people given this particular challenge in life. Without God’s help, we are truly powerless.

STEPS FOUR TO SEVEN

Step four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.Step five: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step six: Were entirely ready to have God remove our shortcomings.

Step seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

The recovery process continues with a courageous and comprehensive personal inventory (cheshbon hanefesh). Step four focuses on, among other things, the challenges of arrogance, selfishness, and indulgence that are often found in an addict while in the throes of compulsive behavior.

Acknowledging these character defects to ourselves, to God and talking them out with another person well versed in recovery is critical in correcting the conduct. This is not confession, or seeking absolution, as some mistakenly conclude. Rather, it’s a three-fold method of identifying and concretizing specific flaws in order to construct an effective action plan. It’s anything but lip service.

Spiritual accountability is a bedrock in Judaism for character development. Working with a partner (chavrusa), or a rabbi to speak out issues and devise strategies for improvement is an encouraged practice (steps four and five: man’s relationship to self).

In steps six and seven we again see a transition to man’s relationship with God. We recognize that He is the source of success in achieving our spiritual growth and we are enjoined to be proactive in requesting that assistance.

STEPS EIGHT TO TEN

Step eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.Step nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

How can we ask God to forgive us if we’re not accountable for our actions?

Responsibility for our interactions with others is clearly delineated in these three steps. Addictive behavior can take a toll on people far and near the addict. Recovery is in large part a healing process, not only within ourselves, but for any relationship we may have adversely affected.

The universal custom for Jews to identify schisms with those close to us and to ask for forgiveness is a staple of our pre-Yom Kippur activities. How can we ask our Creator to forgive us if we’re not willing to be accountable for our actions with others?

STEPS 11 AND 12

Step eleven: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.Step twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics/drug addicts/compulsive overeaters/compulsive gamblers etc..and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The steps culminate in collective responsibility to continue investing in our individual connection with God, as well as our communal obligation to use our recovery to help others. Simply put: “You can’t keep it unless you give it away.” As Maimonides teaches, the highest level of fulfilling the mitzvah to Love God is to enable others to do the same.

We see a synopsis of our three-fold relationships in these final two steps. Strong, long-term recovery requires a consistent focus on physical abstinence from the addictive substance or behavior, as well as continual attention to emotional and spiritual growth. Complacency is a capital crime when it comes to addiction.

In truth, it’s a fatal sentence for all of us, addicts or not. The only guarantee we have in this life is death, and therefore every moment is a precious opportunity for growth. This realization, perhaps, flattens a final roadblock some might encounter before engaging in 12-step recovery.

I already have a religion, I don’t need this. It’s not from a Jewish source.

The founders of AA were extremely careful to distance this process from any organized religion for fear of turning away an alcoholic that might otherwise benefit. They understood that only through a physical, emotional and spiritual course of action could one attain life-long recovery from the dreaded disease of addiction.

As Jews, this certainly resonates with us. Not, God forbid, as a substitute for our mitzvah observance. But rather as a tool to enhance our Jewish practice and relationship with the Almighty. Does Judaism by itself possess the necessary tools for self growth and improvement? Absolutely!

However, addicts can certainly benefit from a process designed specifically to address the immense challenge that for so long has baffled so many. Numerous Jews who have entered the rooms of recovery battling multitude addictions testify to the betterment of their Jewish observance by the removal of the cloud of compulsive behavior.

We…We…We…it’s a WE program…a WE journey to the heart of the Father…

The Commandments, The Steps and The Traditions

Tradition One of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Our common welfare should come first;
personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.”

THE unity of Alcoholics Anonymous is the most cherished quality our Society has. Our lives, the lives of all to
come, depend squarely upon it. We stay whole, or A.A.
dies. Without unity, the heart of A.A. would cease to beat;
our world arteries would no longer carry the life-giving
grace of God; His gift to us would be spent aimlessly. Back
again in their caves, alcoholics would reproach us and say,
“What a great thing A.A. might have been!”
“Does this mean,” some will anxiously ask, “that in
A.A. the individual doesn’t count for much? Is he to be
dominated by his group and swallowed up in it?”
We may certainly answer this question with a loud
“No!” We believe there isn’t a fellowship on earth which
lavishes more devoted care upon its individual members;
surely there is none which more jealously guards the individual’s right to think, talk, and act as he wishes. No A.A.
can compel another to do anything; nobody can be punished or expelled. Our Twelve Steps to recovery are
suggestions; the Twelve Traditions which guarantee A.A.’s
unity contain not a single “Don’t.” They repeatedly say “We
ought . . .” but never “You must!”
To many minds all this liberty for the individual spells
sheer anarchy. Every newcomer, every friend who looks at
129
130 TRADITION ON E
A.A. for the first time is greatly puzzled. They see liberty
verging on license, yet they recognize at once that A.A. has
an irresistible strength of purpose and action. “How,” they
ask, “can such a crowd of anarchists function at all? How
can they possibly place their common welfare first? What
in Heaven’s name holds them together?”
Those who look closely soon have the key to this
strange paradox. The A.A. member has to conform to the
principles of recovery. His life actually depends upon obedience to spiritual principles. If he deviates too far, the
penalty is sure and swift; he sickens and dies. At first he
goes along because he must, but later he discovers a way of
life he really wants to live. Moreover, he finds he cannot
keep this priceless gift unless he gives it away. Neither he
nor anybody else can survive unless he carries the A.A.
message. The moment this Twelfth Step work forms a
group, another discovery is made—that most individuals
cannot recover unless there is a group. Realization dawns
that he is but a small part of a great whole; that no personal
sacrifice is too great for preservation of the Fellowship. He
learns that the clamor of desires and ambitions within him
must be silenced whenever these could damage the group.
It becomes plain that the group must survive or the individual will not.
So at the outset, how best to live and work together as
groups became the prime question. In the world about us
we saw personalities destroying whole peoples. The struggle for wealth, power, and prestige was tearing humanity
apart as never before. If strong people were stalemated in
the search for peace and harmony, what was to become of
TRADITION ON E 131
our erratic band of alcoholics? As we had once struggled
and prayed for individual recovery, just so earnestly did we
commence to quest for the principles through which A.A.
itself might survive. On anvils of experience, the structure
of our Society was hammered out.
Countless times, in as many cities and hamlets, we reenacted the story of Eddie Rickenbacker and his courageous company when their plane crashed in the Pacific.
Like us, they had suddenly found themselves saved from
death, but still floating upon a perilous sea. How well they
saw that their common welfare came first. None might become selfish of water or bread. Each needed to consider the
others, and in abiding faith they knew they must find their
real strength. And this they did find, in measure to transcend all the defects of their frail craft, every test of
uncertainty, pain, fear, and despair, and even the death of
one.
Thus has it been with A.A. By faith and by works we
have been able to build upon the lessons of an incredible
experience. They live today in the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, which—God willing—shall sustain
us in unity for so long as He may need us.

I say amen to unity and so does Adonai!

Top 24 Unity And Togetherness Quotes: Famous Quotes & Sayings About Unity And Togetherness

BO TORAH : EXODUS 10:1-13:16| PROPHETS : JEREMIAH 46:13-28| GOSPEL : JOHN 19:31-37


Welcome to this week’s Torah Portion! There is much to explore in this Torah portion. As I read  what our ancestors experienced in this particular Torah portion,  many memories of my own journey out of  darkness came to light. The process of getting free from the  bondage I was in took a long time. I didn’t have one of those “suddenly I was free” testimonies. Nope, I was not that fortunate! I suffered, I fought, I took one step forward and three back. I call that the recovery dance.

Like Pharaoh in our Torah portion, the enemy did not want me free to live life without  alcohol, drugs, sex and toxic relationships. Nope…he fought me hard…I claimed Philippians 1:6 many times  over the years, especially the times I relapsed on drugs/booze/prescription drugs to numb out the pain of being married to an abusive man.

finding messiah in bo, exodus 10:1-13:16

exodus 10:1-13:16, annual bo “go” outline

One thing I like about 12 step recovery communities, its how their support meetings are conducted. It is built on  a set of steps to freedom and also steps to building unity, which is the key. There are many truths we could learn from “those” people.  “Why do you put those people in quotes Laura Lee”, you may be asking…well because of the flack I have received for some of those in the Messianic community. You see, many get hung up on the triangle symbol used for Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc. not realizing that the beginning of the support group movement was based solely on scripture. That is why the steps work! If a person applies them.

And just like Yah using Moses to free His people, He has used the 12 steps to free people like me from bondage to  destructive lifestyles! Praise Adonai for the 12 steps of recovery!

***For more info, see the links provided at bottom of page!***

 

Exodus 13:1–16 (ESV) - Exodus 13:1–16 ESV - The LORD said to Moses,… | Biblia

Parashat Bo - Exodus 10:1-13:16 | Emet HaTorah

One of my favorite 12 step support programs is called Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families. It isn’t about the drugs, alcohol, sex, porn, food, religion, money, shopping, etc. It is about escaping reality. It is all about numbing feelings of shame and pain. In ACA meetings we talk about learning how to love ourselves so we can love others properly! I mean, isn’t that what we are suppose to do? Love our neighbor AS we love ourselves?? Hmmmmm, with all the infighting, disrespect, puffed up pride and ego within the Messianic communities, maybe, just maybe, the root issue is that many of us DON’T love ourselves properly! Maybe, just maybe, many of us were raised in a home that was dysfunctional due to addictions, perfectionism and/or domestic abuse. Maybe….

If that is true for you, there is healing in Messiah!

I love the haftorah portion. It is another promise He has whispered in my ear, going directly to my broken heart…He will go with us…and our sons and daughters. Maybe I am the only one snot praying for my remaining son. I was snot praying for months for my oldest when I got that phone call from his father. The phone call every parent dreads…that my child is dead…

My oldest was chasing after Jesus (Yeshua) before his death…he realized that Jesus IS the truth and that we are living in the last days. He was chasing after his Savior with all he had. He tried to get out of whatever he got caught up in, but before he could get free, he was killed. The Father comforted me by letting me know through my sons best friend, that all those snot prayers I was driven to pray, the Father heard and answered. Sometimes a parents prayers are answered in ways we never would have imagined or wanted. Trust is hard at times. But, I believe one day, my son will be in the Kingdom! If you are a parent praying snot nosed prayers over seemingly hopeless situations, do not stop praying and trusting, no matter what it looks like!

John 19:31-37 The Curse and The Cure — HAMPTON ROADS CHURCH

Enjoy this weeks audio as I bring to you commentary from The Recovery Bible.

The following was written by someone wishing to remain anonymous….

I walked into my first Adult Children of Alcoholics Meeting (ACA) late—which is kind of ironic, given that I had been brought up to never be late. I spent the first 10 minutes of the meeting agitated about my lateness and what others would think of me. I think that’s all the confirmation I needed to know I was in the right place. Then I heard words spoken around the room that made the hairs on my arms stand on end. It was like I was in a room faced with 20 versions of myself.

Like my first AA meeting, while I wanted to run out of the room, something kept me rooted in my seat. I knew that I needed to be there—it was the next piece of the recovery puzzle.

Over the past five years of sobriety, my life has transformed; what was once a bare existence of working, using, and sickness, has become a life of my wildest dreams. I now live on the other side of the world, I have discovered talents that I didn’t even knew I had, and I have leveraged those talents to design a career most people dream of.

But, I was left with repetitive patterns of behavior in my life around relationships—particularly intimate relationships—that were destructive and harmful. I couldn’t understand how I had radically progressed from a life of nothing to a highly functioning life, yet still struggling in just this one area. Perhaps those most painful and traumatic area of all.

No amount of step work, or CBT, was touching the surface. I was struggling to cope and couldn’t understand why I acted like a five year old little girl in my relationships. She was frightened, terrified of rejection, needed constant validation, sought approval, was virtually incapable of asking for her needs to be met, and treated every parting of company like abandonment. I have spent my entire life reliving the abandonment of my father 34 years ago, in every relationship I had.

It has been suggested to me to seek either family of origin therapy—referring to the place we learned how to communicate, how to process emotions, ask for our needs to be met, and form our beliefs and values—or go to ACA, over the course of my recovery. I occasionally looked at the ACA fellowship meetings list, but kept putting it on the back burner. I’ll deal with that later, I’m not ready. I’d say. Then life took off and I thought I didn’t need it.

Until the next relationship; which always served as a reminder of how much I actually did need it. Each relationship turned up the volume of that reminder. Until it became too loud for me to ignore it anymore.

Co-founder of ACA, Tony A, defines Adult Children as follows: ‘An Adult Child is someone who responds to adult situations with self-doubt, self-blame, or a sense of being wrong or inferior, all learned from stages of childhood.” He goes on to say that without dealing with this issues, “we unknowingly operate with ineffective thoughts and judgements as adults. The regression can be subtle, but it is there, sabotaging our decisions and relationships.”

You are an adult child if you have lived in a childhood where alcoholism, addiction, abuse, mental illness, or other types of dysfunction existed within your family setting.

At the beginning of the meeting, a list is read called The Laundry List—this is a list of traits or characteristics of what they refer to as Adult Children. This is what made me shudder with identification:

  1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
  2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
  3. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
  4. We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
  5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
  6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
  7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
  8. We became addicted to excitement.
  9. We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”
  10. We have “stuffed” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).
  11. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
  12. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
  13. Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
  14. Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.

Oh my god, that is me! I screamed to myself. It was the most definitive list of my personality that I had ever heard. While I could use those characteristics as a measure of areas where I had improved in my life in the process of recovery—no longer needing others approval, finding recovery, working on certain co-dependent behaviors—I saw the deep need to look at this fundamental aspect of my being as a whole.

It offered a new found perspective to my repetitive behaviors and angst. It was a similar realization that you have in addiction when you discover that recovery isn’t about stopping taking drugs, it is about learning what led you to take the drugs in the first place. The drugs, or the behavior in this instance, are just the symptoms of a greater problem. The root of my problem, was the dysfunction I had grown up in and I carried that child into adulthood.

Perhaps the greatest struggle of pursuing this program of recovery is that I no longer align myself with a 12 step modality at this stage of my addiction recovery. It seems at odds to me to get help for these issues in a 12 step fellowship when I have made a conscious decision to move away from it. Yet, like with the first few years of my recovery, I can put aside my issues with the 12 steps, and try not make judgments until I have experienced this path of recovery and all that it has to offer with an open mind.

I can see that there is hope. ACA offers a safe place that I can find freedom to express my greatest hurt, pain, and fears. A place to free myself from the shame and blame of the past. Somewhere I will learn to no longer imprisoned by the traumatized child within me. I will recover the child within me, re-parent myself, learning to love and accept myself in the process. I know that I can heal this aspect of myself.

I know that this is exactly where I need to be, as challenging as that may be, because I don’t want the past to hold me back—that is recovery.

***here are some more resources for you!

https://torahportions.ffoz.org/torah-portions/

https://www.alephbeta.org/playlist/why-the-israelites-couldnt-eat-bread

Hebrew For Christians audio:  https://soundcloud.com/user-488868207/shavuah-tov-for-parashat-bo

https://www.aish.com/ci/s/Marijuana-and-Judaism-What-Does-Jewish-Law-Say-about-the-Subject.html

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/818687/jewish/The-Source-of-Evil-Bo.htm

Newsletter One Part Two


January 05


Acting Purposefully

 “We have seen adult children use the principles of the Twelve Steps to handle family illness, despair, and death with amazing serenity and faith.” BRB p. 291

The beauty of the Steps is that they guide us in our recovery from having grown up in a dysfunctional home, providing us with a healthy spiritual base from which to live our lives. When we remain engaged with our recovery by attending meetings regularly and reaching out to other adult children, we maintain a level of spiritual fitness that will assist us in coping with the inevitable challenges we will face.

With strengthened spirits, we live from a solid foundation that will not collapse, even during times of crisis. Situations and events will come at us unexpectedly, and we will be presented with difficulties and painful circumstances – this is certain. Rather than reacting unconsciously and repeating unhealthy behavior patterns, we act purposefully while maintaining our peace. The Steps are the tools that help us navigate the uncharted territory that is our life. By continuing to apply what we have learned on a regular basis, we can face the trials of life with grace.

On this day I will apply the universal wisdom contained within the Twelve Steps to whatever problem I am facing.

Copyright © 2018 by Adult Children
of Alcoholics / Dysfunctional Families

SHEMOT TORAH : EXODUS 1:1-6:1| PROPHETS : ISAIAH 27:6-28:13, 29:22-23| GOSPEL : MATTHEW 2:1-12


Shemot biblestudyresourcecenter.com. Shemot Exodus 1:1 – 6:1 Haftarah: Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23 Gospel: Luke 5:12-39 Shemot = “Names” The 13 th Torah. - ppt download

Exodus 1:17 (ESV) - Exodus 1:17 ESV - But the midwives feared God… | Biblia

TITLE: A Message for Mothers TEXT: Exodus 2:1-10 THEME: Mothers should submit their children to God's care. - ppt download

EXODUS FROM EGYPT | EXODUS FROM EGYPT

Moses Sees Israelite Beaten Stock Photo - Download Image Now - iStock

 

exodus 1:1-6:1, shemot “names”

exodus 2 and 3

 

Pin on Comics and Illustrations

Exodus Dig Site 5 Going to Pharaoh Exodus 5:1–6:9. - ppt video online download

Exodus 4:21 BDC: Did God Harden Heart of the Pharaoh? – Christian Publishing House Blog

KnoWhy OTL13A — What Did the Lord Mean When He Said Moses Would Become “God to Pharaoh” During the Plagues of Egypt? | The Interpreter FoundationLesson #1 Exodus 1:1-22 These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: Reuben Dan Simeon Naphtali. - ppt download

 

The Book of Exodus: The Beginner's Guide and Summary

Haftarah Shemot שְׁמוֹת – Beneytzion – בני ציון

Isaiah 27 » The Warehouse » Bible Commentary by Chapter

Is Messiah Found In The TaNaKH and Brit Chadashah? Part 2 · Mini Manna Moments

Matthew 2:1-12 | The Reflectionary

 

Big Brother Judah’s word on recovery drawn from this weeks Torah portion:

A New Perspective – Shemot

“…The bush was burning in the fire, but the bush was not consumed. And Moses said: Let me move away from here and see this great sight…”—Exodus 3:2-3.

The first portion of the Book of Exodus describes Moses’ ascendance as the leader and redeemer of his people. His first experience of being openly called upon by G‑d takes place at the burning bush. When Moses beholds this miracle, he declares, “Let me move away from here and see this great sight…”

In simple terms, Moses physically moved from the place where he was standing in order to gain a better view of the burning bush. On a deeper level, the verse describes a shift in spiritual perspective as well. If one wishes to behold the divine, he must be ready to move from his current stance and assume a new way of looking at things. One must never be so complacent as to refuse to budge from his present view. Thus, upon encountering the divine, even a righteous and highly refined individual such as Moses saw fit to move to a new vantage point. As the ancient legal maxim goes, “Man is always partial to himself.” Therefore, we must always “move away from here”—from the inherent subjectivity of where we stand and try to see things from an angle outside of our present stance.

Even a highly refined individual such as Moses saw fit to move to a new vantage pointFor the alcoholic and addict, the need to look at things from a new perspective is essential to recovery. The first admission of powerlessness requires an abandonment of our old view of ourselves.

Later, our personal stock-taking and amends to others force us to look upon our relationships in a completely new light, swallowing some truths we may never before have even considered. As we progress, we come to see how our perspective is almost always skewed by self-justification. We learn to humble ourselves and seek the objective opinion of a sponsor. In other words, we learn not to rely solely on our own view.

In this light, G‑d‘s decision to reveal Himself to Moses in a thorn bush is also significant. G‑d could have chosen a more majestic tree, the towering cedar perhaps. But G‑d desired to show Himself to Moses in the midst of a small and scraggly shrub. A lofty ego cannot serve as a resting place for the divine. G‑d reveals Himself in that which is humble. Reacting in kind, Moses showed humility in abruptly surrendering his stance and moving to a new point of view. Pride tells us we can dictate terms on which G‑d is to come to us; that He should meet us where we stand. But with such inflexibility we only deprive ourselves of communion with G‑d. At last, we find that our view of G‑d is much better when we are willing to “move away from here,” to step away from our own egos and see things with new eyes.

 

Miketz Torah : Genesis 41:1-44:17| Prophets : Isaiah 66:1-24| Gospel : Luke 24:13-29


Commentary on Torah Portion Parashat MiketzKids Learning: 1.10 Miketz Bereshith (Genesis) Chapters 41:1-44:17

Weekly Torah Portion - Relationships Re-examined | The Detroit Jewish News

God's Salvation Is Always Possible | International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

 

10. Miketz Genesis 41:1 a 44:17 Maravillas Escondidas en la Torah | Buscando lo Escondido

Miketz biblestudyresourcecenter.com. Miketz Genesis 41:1 – 44:17 Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14 – 4:7 Gospel: Luke 4:16-30 Miketz = “At the end of” The 10th. - ppt download

Genesis 41 KJV - And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.

 

Ohr Torah Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gen 44:33 | scripture pictures at alittleperspective.com | Scripture pictures, Read bible, Bible

A Passage To Ponder: Genesis 45:5-7 | ThePreachersWord

 

genesis 41:1-44:17, annual miketz “at the end” outline

Isaiah 66:9 Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give… | Flickr

One Minute Reflection – 7 April – Stay with us! – AnaStpaul

Hard Work – Miketz

“And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘In my dream, I am standing on the bank of the River. And, behold, there come out of the River seven cows…'”—Genesis 41:17-18.

This week’s portion opens with the story of Pharaoh’s two dreams: first, seven fat cows swallowed by seven skinny ones, and then, seven healthy stalks consumed by seven withered ones. Joseph, who is released from prison in order to interpret these dreams for Pharaoh, himself dreamed two dreams described in the beginning of last week’s portion. In Joseph’s first dream, he and his brothers are working in the field bundling sheaves and in the second one, Joseph sees the sun, moon and stars bowing to him. A comparison between Joseph’s dreams and those of Pharaoh brings to light the essential difference between holiness and negativity as represented by Joseph and Pharaoh, respectively.

A comparison between Joseph’s dreams and those of Pharaoh brings to light the essential difference between holiness and negativityJoseph’s dreams begin with toil and labor: “We were bundling sheaves in the field.” (Genesis 37:7) Pharaoh’s dreams, on the other hand, have no mention of work at all. In his dreams, the cows and the stalks, both representing bounty and sustenance, simply rise by themselves out of the Nile. The underlying difference is that any gain stemming from the realm of holiness must begin with work, whereas all sustenance provided by the side of negativity comes without toil. The true good that G‑d wishes to give us must be earned, for it is a complete and perfect good. Thus, were G‑d to grant us ‘bread of shame’ (the kabbalistic term for unearned largess), the goodness He wishes to give us would be lacking in that we would be robbed of our dignity.

The realm of unholiness, however, is not concerned with our well-being and, thus, freely dispenses all kinds of quick and easy pleasures. This degradation is then later compounded by bitter disappointment as well, for all that the realm of unholiness bequeaths is hollow and fleeting.

There’s an old saying, “How do you know the difference between a weed and a flower? If you tear it out and it grows back by itself, it’s a weed. If not, it’s a flower.” That which comes without work rapidly develops beyond control, choking the life out of the very one who allowed it to grow. The fruits of real labor, however, are enduring and cherished.

Of course, we alcoholics and addicts know all too well how fast and easy payoffs come back to haunt us. But this pertains not only to our drinking days but to our recovery as well. Being a gift from G‑d, sobriety is true good and thus requires real work. There is no “easier softer way” to come by a gift as precious and holy as spiritual, mental and emotional healing.

There’s an old Hasidic parable about a man who brings his young son to the river in the middle of the winter to engage in the mystical practice of purifying immersion in water. The man cracks the ice with an axe then lowers the boy into the freezing water. The boy shrieks, “Eek!” The father pulls the boy up, wraps him in a blanket and the boy sighs, “Ah.”

“Anything in life that starts with an ‘ah,’ will certainly end with an ‘eek'”“Let this be a lesson to you, my son,” says the father, “immersing in the water is a holy ritual and so it starts with an ‘eek’ but ends with an ‘ah.’ Anything in life that starts with an ‘ah,’ is certainly not holy and will just as certainly end with an ‘eek.'”

This same idea is also expressed by the trajectory of the dreams of Joseph and Pharaoh. Joseph’s dreams begin in the field and end in the heavens with the sun and the moon and stars. There is a progression from the earthly to the celestial, an ascent. Pharaoh’s dreams begin with cows – from the animal kingdom – and then a lower form of life, stalks of grain – from the vegetable kingdom. Furthermore, in both of his dreams, Pharaoh first saw the healthy cows or stalks and then the poor ones with the good ultimately being swallowed by the bad. There is a terrible descent in both vitality and health. Negativity has no real staying power. It is always in a course of decay. Any appearance of it having substance is but a show, set up to lure man into taking its bait. The realm of holiness, however, is eternal. Any changes within it are only in a manner of increase and ascent from level to level.

Our relationship with alcohol begins with it giving us much for very little but regresses exponentially until giving us less and less for a more and more of a price. Recovery, in contrast, makes hefty demands from the outset but grows increasingly precious as the days go on.

 

The Maccabbee’s Bright Lights in A Pitch Black World


 

1 The Maccabean Revolt: Between Tradition and History By Steven H. Werlin  In modern Judaism, the holiday of Chanukah celebratesJudas Maccabeus - WikipediaDecember | 2017 | The Deadliest Blogger: Military History Page

275: Be the Maccabee!!!! The Maccabean Revolt for Catholics Today - Taylor  Marshall

…Lights of the World, that is who we are, filled with His ruach hakodesh…

Hanukkah: The Courage of the Maccabees

Chanukkah-Hanukkah-menorah-hanukkiah

A Jewish boy lights multiple Hanukkah menorahs on the second night ofHanukkah, as a neon menorah glows in the background.

Today is the first day of Hanukkah.  Last night, the first light of the hanukkiah was kindled in homes and public venues as this special holiday began.

As the sun sets here in Jerusalem, the second night of Hanukkah begins.

Perhaps the best-known custom of Hanukkah is the lighting of the hanukkiah, and tonight, all around the world, two candles will be lit on the hanukkiah (special Hanukkah menorah)!

Chanukah-hanukkah-menorah-hanukkiah-gelt-dreidel-dontus-sufganiyot

Symbols of Hanukkah: the hanukkiah, sufganiyot (jam-filled donuts), gel (chocolate coins), and dreidels (tops).

This special menorah is used only at Hanukkah, and although it is reminiscent of the seven-branched light stand that stood in the Temple, it is different.

Instead of having seven branches like the Temple Menorah, the hanukkiah has eight candles, as well as a special candle called a shamash.  Since the shamash is used to light all the other candles, it is considered to be the servant candle.

This ninth candle is most often elevated over the eight other candles in the hanukkiah and sometimes placed in the middle.

Since the second day of Hanukkah begins tonight, a second light will be added to the hanukkiah.  With the shamash, there will be three lights glowing on the Hanukkah menorah.

On each night of Hanukkah, one additional candle is added to the hanukkiah. On the last night, the shamash lights all eight candles so that all of the lights shine together.

Fully lit oil hanukkiah with the shamash raised at the end.

Fully lit oil hanukkiah with the shamash raised at the end.

In addition to lighting the hanukkiah, it is also customary to read stories, spin the dreidel, sing Hanukkah songs, and eat foods fried in oil.

Sufganiyot (donuts), which are a favorite here in Israel, and latkes (potato pancakes) served with sour cream and applesauce, are two traditional Hanukkah foods.

As fattening as these deep fried foods are, they are prepared in order to memorialize the miracle God did in restoring the Temple in Jerusalemand saving the Jewish People from the Greek/Syrian army.  (It’s all about the story of the olive oil!)

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A Jewish girl eats a sufganiyah on Hanukkah. This fried food of Hanukkah memorializes the miracle of a one-day supply of holy oil burning for eight days while the Temple was rededicated.

Hanukkah: A Great Miracle Happened Here

The word Hanukkah comes from the Hebrew word hanukh, which means dedication or education.

Hanukkah is celebrated as the Feast of Dedication to remember the re-dedication of the Temple after God faithfully delivered Israel from her oppressors.

In fact, the reason for lighting eight candles is to present to Israel and the world a visual reminder of God’s faithfulness and the miraculous story of Hanukkah.

Between the years 175 to 163 BC, after the death of Alexander the Great, who had conquered and divided the entire ancient world of the Eastern Mediterranean, the area of Judea came under control of the Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

Antiochus tried to force the Jews to accept Greek culture. He even defiled the Beit HaMikdash (Temple in Jerusalem) by sacrificing a pig on the altar and desecrating this holy place with the blood of this unclean animal.

As described in the book of the Maccabees in the Apocrypha, this wicked ruler forbade the Jewish people from keeping God’s laws.  In fact, the penalty for keeping the Torah was death.  Many Jewish people chose martyrdom over defying God’s commandments.

Dreidels

Since the Greeks outlawed the study of the Torah, when someone approached, the Torah was hidden and dreidels were taken out and played like a game of chance.  Their oppressors thought the Jewish people were playing a children’s game when they were actually pursuing the things of God.  The letters nun, gimmel, hey, shin stand for nes gadol haya sham, meaning a great miracle happened there.  In Israel, however, the letters are nun, gimmel, hey, pey meaning a great miracle happened here (poh).

Antiochus also erected a statue of the Greek false god, Zeus, in the Holy of Holies!

As horrible as this was, it fulfilled the Hebrew Prophet Daniel’s prophecy concerning the “abomination of desolation.”

The Prophet Daniel wrote: “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice.  Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.  With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”  (Daniel 11:31–32)

A Jewish revolt against this assault on Judaism rose up led by the courageous freedom fighters called the Maccabees.

This name is an acronym standing for the Hebrew phrase Mi kamocha ba’elim Adonai, which means Who is like you, Lord, among the gods?

latkes-sour cream-applesauce-Hanukkah delight

Delicious potato latkes served with generous dollops of sour cream and applesauce—a real Hanukkah delight!

Although greatly outnumbered and overpowered, Yehudah (Judah) the Maccabee led his brothers and some other Jewish men in a valiant battle to drive out tens of thousands of Greeks and reclaim the Temple.

God helped this small but courageous group of men to win the victory in 163 BC, taking back Jerusalem and rededicating the Temple to God.

Jewish law requires the Temple Menorah to stay lit 24 hours a day using consecrated oil, but tradition has it that they only found a one-day supply of sealed, consecrated oil; however, the oil miraculously burned for a whole eight days—the time it took to prepare the sanctified oil for lighting the Menorah every day after.

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The most common tradition at Hanukkah is lighting the hanukkiah.  It is lit in remembrance of the eight days that the Golden Menorah in the Holy Temple kept burning on a one-day supply of oil.

Yeshua: the Shamash Who Kindled the Light in Our Hearts and Lives

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  (Mark 10:45)

Since Hanukkah is not a holiday ordained by God in the Torah, some wonder if Yeshua (Jesus) actually celebrated it.

The answer is a resounding yes!

“It was winter, and the Festival of the Dedication was being held in Jerusalem.  Yeshua was walking in the Temple precincts, in Solomon’s Portico.  The Jews gathered round Him and asked: ‘How long must you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah say so plainly.’”  (John 10:22–24)

Yeshua went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), and while in the Temple area He proclaimed, “I and the Father are one.”  (John 10:30)

Chanukkah-hanukkah-hanukkiah

Shamash: Yeshua the Messiah, like the shamash candle, kindles the light in our hearts and brings us out of darkness into the light of life.

Just as the shamash on the hanukkiah is the servant candle that lights the other eight candles, Yeshua the Messiah came as a servant to be the light that shines in and through us to others.

John confirms that Yeshua is the light that darkness cannot overcome.

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  (John 1:4–5)

Darkness has no power over the light.  When the lights are turned on, the darkness disappears immediately!  It’s never a struggle or a contest.  Light wins every time!

“When Yeshua spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”  (John 8:12)

This gold replica of the ancient Temple Menorah sits opposite the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, ready for service in the Third Temple

Israeli children gather around the recreated Temple Menorah, which is on display in Jerusalem.  The Temple Institute created this Menorah for use in the Third Temple, which will inevitably by built.

The Significance of the Menorah

When the Holy Temple was restored during the time of the Maccabees, the act of re-lighting the Menorah in the Temple represented restoring God’s presence there.

The Temple was set up so that the Jewish people would have a place to come and meet with God.  And while the Menorah was placed inside the Holy Place, the Jewish sages teach that the windows in the Sanctuary walls were no ordinary windows:

“For what is normally considered the function of windows?  To let the light in.  But these windows were in order to let the light the out—to disseminate the spiritual light emanating from the Temple Menorah out into the world.  The Sanctuary’s windows allowed the special ethereal light coming forth from the Menorah to burst out to the world from within the hallowed hall.”  (Temple Institute)

While the Bible makes it clear that the Temple will once again be rebuilt, today, those who know Yeshua do have spiritual light and are the dwelling place for the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh).

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”  (1 Corinthians 3:16)

Without the presence and Light of God shining on us, we are all lost.  Moreover, without the presence and Light of God shining in us and out from us, we cannot minister His Good News of saving grace to others.

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