Day: August 1, 2022

The Biblical Wedding

The Biblical Wedding

By Eric Carlson in August-3, newsletter-post on August 1, 2022

What is the origin of the biblical wedding?  There is so much information on this subject that I will begin with the origins of the wedding and the wedding contract. I will continue this subject for several articles.  The wedding begins in the following scriptures:

Exodus 19:9-19. ADONAI said to Moshe, “See, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, so that the people will be able to hear when I speak with you and also to trust in you forever. “Moshe had told ADONAI what the people had said; 10 so ADONAI said to Moshe, “Go to the people; today and tomorrow separate them for me by having them wash their clothing; 11 and prepare for the third day. For on the third day, ADONAI will come down on Mount Sinai before the eyes of all the people. 12 You are to set limits for the people all around; and say, ‘Be careful not to go up on the mountain or even touch its base; whoever touches the mountain will surely be put to death. 13 No hand is to touch him; for he must be stoned or shot by arrows; neither animal nor human will be allowed to live.’ When the shofar sounds, they may go up on the mountain.” 14 Moshe went down from the mountain to the people and separated the people for God, and they washed their clothing. 15 He said to the people, “Prepare for the third day; don’t approach a woman.” 16 On the morning of the third day, there was thunder, lightning and a thick cloud on the mountain. Then a shofar blast sounded so loudly that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Moshe brought the people out of the camp to meet God; they stood near the base of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was enveloped in smoke, because ADONAI descended onto it in fire -its smoke went up like the smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently. 19 As the sound of the shofar grew louder and louder, Moshe spoke; and God answered him with a voice.

        The ancient Rabbis teach that God reached out from the heavenlies at Mt. Sinai and kissed the face of Israel under God’s Chuppa (marriage canopy) which is what the thick cloud hovering over Mt. Sinai represented.  The marriage canopy or Chuppa is a canopy under which a Jewish couple stand during their wedding ceremony. It consists of a cloth or sheet, sometimes a tallit, stretched or supported over four poles, or sometimes manually held up by attendants to the ceremony. The Chuppa symbolizes God’s covenants, promises, covering, and the home that the couple will build together. The following chapter, Exodus 20, recounts the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai under this heavenly Chuppa. The Torah is the first five book of the Bible and is considered a wedding contract as well as the Word of God!  Let’s Study:

The Ketubah - Marriage Contract

    Ketubah is Hebrew for a marriage contract and has been a tradition since Mt. Sinai and the giving of Torah.  The intent of this tradition is powerful and universal.  The word “Ketubah” comes from the root Kaf-Tav-Bet, meaning writing.  The ketubah is the marriage contract between a man and woman.  The ketubah spells out the husband’s obligations to the wife during marriage and is a binding document of confidence, trust, conditions of inheritance, and obligations regarding the support of children.  The “Ketubah” is read aloud before the marriage ceremony just as Moses did with the Torah after Mt. Sinai.  

Exodus 24:3 “Moshe came and told the people everything ADONAI had said, including all the rulings. The people answered with one voice: “We will obey every word ADONAI has spoken.””.

    The signing of the Ketubah shows that the bride and groom see marriage as more than a physical and emotional joining, but as a legal and moral commitment according to scripture. The same is true with the word of God, the bible!  The Bible is Adonai’s promises of how He will provide and support us, the bride, in truth and the instructions to us concerning how we are to live and remain pure for our betrothed!  How will that promise be fulfilled?  Through the groom, the Son of God, Yeshua!  How does the giving of the word prove this?  Let’s look at the physical construction of the Torah!

Torah Construction

    A Torah is made up of lamb skins and take approximately 4-5 years to construct.  The Torah is written by a specially trained scribe on approximately 80 sheets of meticulously prepared lamb parchment.  The lamb skin is soaked in lime water to remove hairs and then stretched over a wooden frame to dry.  When dried, the scribe cuts the lamb skin into a rectangle.  The scribe then makes lines for writing on the parchment with a stylus, which makes a mark in the skin similar to running your fingernail across a sheet of paper.  The scribe then prepares (made fresh daily) hand mixed ink by combining powdered gall nuts, copper sulfate crystals, gum arabic, and water. Using a quill pen, the scribe writes one letter at a time on the Torah while singing the letter over and over again out loud until the letter is complete.  This prohibits errors in his Holy Work.  More than 5 errors on one Torah and the entire scroll is thrown away!

    When the parchments are complete, they are pierced on the ends and sewn together with lamb sinew called giddin.  Then the completed scroll is sewn onto wooden rollers called Atzei Chaim עצי חיים (Hebrew for “trees of life”).  What an incredible, supernatural God we serve!  The entire universe is orchestrated and created to reflect and honor Yeshua!  The Torah is made from lamb skin, striped, pierced, hanging on the Tree of Life! The Torah is a representation of the groom, Yeshua who is the living word!  The Torah itself is a foreshadow of what was and is to come!  The Torah is the introduction of the Messiah to the world.  God had an arranged marriage and at Mt. Sinai we were given a symbol of the groom, the Lamb, the Son of God, Yeshua! We are His betrothed bride The Torah is God’s Ketubah, the wedding contract and Yeshua is the groom!

The Witness

        Every legal procedure in Jewish life is corroborated by two or more witnesses.  The witnesses testify that all aspects of the marriage are in accordance with biblical understanding.  Two witnesses are called upon to stand under the Chuppah and witness the marriage procedures.  Let’s go back to the original wedding in

Exodus 19:16-18. On the morning of the third day, there was thunder, lightning and a thick cloud on the mountain. Then a shofar blast sounded so loudly that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Moshe brought the people out of the camp to meet God; they stood near the base of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was enveloped in smoke, because ADONAI descended onto it in fire -its smoke went up like the smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently.

        The entire Nation of Israel was called to be the witness of God’s holy betrothal on Mt. Sinai.  NO OTHER RELIGION HAS BEEN REVEALED BEFORE WITNESSES – HINDU-ISLAM- MORMANS etc… The founders of these religions had an individual encounter, alone by themselves and are false. Adonai works in the open with witnesses: At Mt. Sinai the entire nation of Israel witnessed this momentous wedding occasion.  When Yeshua was crucified all of Jerusalem could see and there were many, many witnesses

I Corinthians 15:3-8 “For among the first things I passed on to you was what I also received, namely this: the Messiah died for our sins, in accordance with what the Tanakh says; 4 and he was buried; and he was raised on the third day, in accordance with what the Tanakh says; 5 and he was seen by Kefa, then by the Twelve; 6 and afterwards he was seen by more than five hundred brothers at one time, the majority of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Later he was seen by Ya’akov, then by all the emissaries; 8 and last of all he was seen by me, even though I was born at the wrong time.

    In next month’s newsletter we will study the Two Processes of Marriage:  Kiddushin and Nisuin.

The Shema

The Shema

By Eric Carlson in August 2022, August-1, newsletter-post on August 1, 2022

Deuteronomy 6:4.

“Sh’ma, Yisra’el! ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad [Hear, Isra’el! ADONAI our God, ADONAI is one];

The term Shema is derived from the Hebrew root shin, mem, ayin. Sh’ma is a noun that is most often translated as hear or hearing. On a side note, the word for rumor is shmu-aw; the plural, rumors, is shmu-aws. If that word for rumors, shmu-aws, sounds vaguely familiar, it should. For rumors, shmu-aws, is the basis of that wildly popular yiddish-american word, “schmooze”. So the next time you hear or use the word schmooze, and that probably won’t take very long, you will I’m sure recall that the Hebrew root of “schmooze” is shin, mem, ayin, and from that you will be e reminded of the daily obligation of the recitation of the Shema.

The Shema marks the declaration that God is One. If someone doesn’t understand Hebrew, they might read this verse “Here, O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is one (Deu.6:4) and think that Adonai doesn’t exist as a triune nature or in plurality! This however is not the case, the word used in Hebrew is echad.

The word echad, or “one” as it appears in the Hebrew text of Deuteronomy 6:4, doesn’t mean one, Yachid in modern Hebrew means singular or Aleph in biblical Hebrew means one. Echad means more than one part, a compound, a complex unity, oneness through plurality.

For example, in Exodus 26:6 the various parts of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) are to be constructed so that “it shall be one (echad) tabernacle,” and Ezekiel spoke of two “sticks” (representing a divided nation) as being reunited into one: “and they shall be one (echad) stick in My hand” (Ezekiel 37:19).

So scripturally we see that Echad is a completeness through pluralism!  The root word of Echad is “Ached”:  It means to unify, to be in accord, in unison, no more separate parts!  Adam and Eve are described as “one flesh”, Echad!

Genesis 2:24: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall be one flesh.”

Echad Flesh!  Complete, Whole, in Unity! This does not denote a sexual connotation.  It is a spiritual concept!

I Corinthians 6:16-17.  Don’t you know that a man who joins himself to a prostitute becomes physically one with her? For the Tanakh says, “The two will become one flesh;” 17 but the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.

Our God is Echad, Complete! Unified, as the three cords of a rope are bound together and unbreakable!  We are Echad with God, our wives, and are to be Echad with each other! Echad has a powerful impact in our lives and is found over 900 times in Tanach!

Exodus 24:3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments; and all the people answered with one voice, (Kol Echad) and said, All the words which the Lord has said will we do.

This is a key focal point to both Echad and Shema. Kolot in Hebrew is a multitude of voices! Kol Echad is a unified voice, they replied with a voice of Unity! This is simply understood to be the voice of many people speaking in unison so that you heard one sound. The core concept and understanding of Echad is revealed in:

Isaiah 40:31. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

The word “wait” in this verse is the Hebrew word Khavah (kaw-vaw) and it means to “twist and bind, gather together, to be strong and robust from the idea of binding fast.” Read the verse again knowing the definition “But they that are bound to the Lord- They that are gathered together with the Lord shall renew their strength.” This is a powerful, supernatural understanding! Strength is produced when we bind our lives together with the Lord’s. This twisting, this binding, this gathering with the Lord makes us Echad (complete) with God. Yeshua said in:

John 10:30. I and the Father are one.”

Echad, bound together as the cords of a rope is what Yeshua said, the same word used in Deuteronomy 6:4, and by using it, He clearly defines it. He was using the word Echad in the same vernacular as in Genesis. Yeshua identifies himself as complete with the Father, YWHW. The Jewish people of that time period knew exactly what he was saying.  They became enraged and picked up stones to stone him. He was declaring that he and the Father are unified, twisted, and bound together, gathered together, complete, Echad, they were in complete Shalom. They shared singleness of purpose. Yeshua said “I only do what I see me Father do!”  The enemy hates unity and seeks discord-that is how HaSatan conquers and divides!

Yeshua’s interpretation of Echad with God is: I am in the Father and the Father is in me, united, bound together, gathered together, complete, whole!  Just as the two parts of a day or Adam and Eve is Echad, complete, so too is Yeshua Echad with Father!  We as the body of believers are to be Echad but how do we get there?  Let’s go back to the Sh’ma:

The Shema is a declaration of faith, a pledge of allegiance to Adonai. It is said upon arising in the morning and upon going to sleep at night. It is said when praising God and when beseeching Him. It is the first prayer that a Jewish child is taught to recite. It is the last words a Jewish person recites prior to death.

The Torah records Moses including the Shema in his farewell address to the Jewish people. We recite Shema when preparing to read the Torah, on Shabbat, and when beginning the Feast of the Lord!  We recite Shema at the start of every service. The Shema is contained in the mezuzah we affix to the doorpost of our home, and in the tefillin that we bind to our arm and head. The Sh’ma is interwoven into every aspect of our expression of worship and faith! We must “Sh’ma, hear and obey.  The world is being shaken one more time and events will happen that defy understanding, we must have “singleness of purpose” operating in unity while listening, Shema to the voice of Adonai!! Shema is a verb that has several meanings.

1. To simply Hear:

Genesis 14:14. Then Avram heard (Shema) that his nephew had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, who had been born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

Abram heard that his relative Lot had been taken captive.

2) To listen, pay attention, heed.

Genesis 3:17. To Adam he said, “Because you listened (Shema) to what your wife said and ate from the tree about which I gave you the order, ‘You are not to eat from it,’ the ground is cursed on your account; you will work hard to eat from it as long as you live.

Many, many people hear but they don’t listen. Listening is a character trait that must be developed in our lives, particularly regarding the voice and word of Adonai. God doesn’t just hear, He listens:

Genesis 30:6. Rachel said, “God has judged in my favor; indeed he has heard (Shema) me and given me a son.” Therefore she called him Dan [he judged].

3) Shema is to obey without always understanding.

Exodus 24:7. Then he took the book of the covenant and read it aloud, so that the people could hear (Shema); and they responded, “Everything that ADONAI has spoken, we will do and obey (na’aseh v’nishma).

Na’aseh v’nishma “First we will do, then understand.”

4) Willing to obey by deed, by action.

This is found in the angel’s words to Abraham after the binding of Isaac:

Genesis 22:18. and by your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed – because you obeyed (Shema’ta) my order.”

5) To respond by deed, by action to do what someone else wants.

Genesis 21:12. But God said to Avraham, “Don’t be distressed because of the boy and your slave-girl. Listen to everything (shema bekolah-do watever) Sarah says to you, because it is your descendants through Yitz’chak who will be counted.

In this last sense it comes closest in meaning to “obey.” We see there is a profound, supernatural understanding to Shema-hearing, listening, understanding, obeying, and doing by action and deed! Now, with the knowledge and understanding of the complexities of the word Shema lets read:

Deuteronomy 8:3. He humbled you, allowing you to become hungry, and then fed you with man, which neither you nor your ancestors had ever known, to make you understand (Shema) that a person does not live on food alone but on everything that comes from the mouth of ADONAI (Be Al Peh).

There is a deep, profound understanding revealed in the word from the Mouth of Adonai that should also be upon our own mouth: 

Deuteronomy 30:14-18.  On the contrary, the word is very close to you – in your mouth, even in your heart; therefore, you can do it! 15 “Look! I am presenting you today with, on the one hand, life and good; and on the other, death and evil – 16 in that I am ordering you today to love ADONAI your God, to follow his ways, and to obey his mitzvot, regulations and rulings ; for if you do, you will live and increase your numbers; and ADONAI your God will bless you in the land you are entering in order to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, if you refuse to listen (Lo Shema), if you are drawn away to prostrate yourselves before other gods and serve them; 18 I am announcing to you today that you will certainly perish; you will not live long in the land you are crossing the Yarden to enter and possess.

Reading isn’t enough. To Shema, to listen and hear we must read out loud! This is the essence of Shabbat service, of Feast Days, of our own daily walk with Adonai! It’s not just reading it, its reading it out loud that we may Shema! That we may hear it, understanding, do it, obey it, and live it!  It’s through speaking the word, having it upon our lips, in our mouth, that we may hear the words of Adonai. That’s how we get His word into our heart and soul. It’s by refusing to listen and obey one turns away from Adonai

And finally Sh’ma is family! As a congregation we are to live as family! Support, protecting, encouraging, correcting, and loving each other. Our love of God is the fruit of obedience which is why we recite the Sh’ma. Your family is the first place you receive love and give love.  I’m by no means an expert but I have spent more time with people who are terminally ill than most and it strikes me that as I listened, as I talked with them all they discuss is family. Their parents, children, siblings, love they gave, love they should have given, love they received and love they didn’t receive. I have never, ever had a theological or doctrinal conversation with a person who is dying. How does the Sh’ma end?  You shall love the Lord thy God. Love is a command, something you do. Love is the fruit of obedience.

I John 2:3-5.  The way we can be sure we know him is if we are obeying his commands. 4 Anyone who says, “I know him,” but isn’t obeying his commands is a liar – the truth is not in him. 5 But if someone keeps doing what he says, then truly love for God has been brought to its goal in him. This is how we are sure that we are united with him.

This is why the Sh’ma is so important! It teaches us the core kingdom tenant to love and obey! By speaking His word, we Shema! Speak God’s word into every situation of your life, release the living word out loud, by mouth, Be Al Peh, the Word of Adonai. Speak those things that aren’t as though they are! Speak life, healing, speak the restoration and revival of Israel! You have the power to speak life or death! Shema!

Rabbi & Rebbetzin’s Greetings for August 2022

Rabbi & Rebbetzin’s Greetings for August 2022

By Eric Carlson in August-2, newsletter-post on August 1, 2022

Shalom Mishpocah,


August, the eighth month is here! Statistically, August is the warmest and most humid month of the year! As summer is half over families begin shopping for school cloths and supplies! August is also the month of our highly acclaimed Youth Service (August 12th), where our youth run the entire service! August marks the beginning of harvest, and the Fall Feast celebrations are just around the corner! For those who weren’t aware August is national Panini month, national Peach month, and national Sandwich month! Who knew? The first Friday of August, August 5th is International Beer Day. I started with a more upbeat, joyful tone because in August we also commemorate Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the biblical month of Av, not a good day in Jewish history.

This year, the 9th of Av, Tisha B’Av 5782 begins at sunset, August 6th through sunset August 7th 2022. Av is the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar which falls in July/August on the Gregorian calendar. The 9th of Av has become a day of fasting and mourning by Orthodox Jews in Israel due to numerous, national catastrophic events that have occurred against Israel and our people on this day through the span of History. The focus of this day is the destruction of both Solomon’s Temple and Herod’s Temple accompanied the expulsion of our people from our Promised Land into Exile or Diaspora.

The First Temple was built by King Solomon and the united Kingdom of Israel and Judah in Jerusalem about the 10th century BCE. The description of its building is found in I Kings chapters 6-8. It stood for about 410 years until it was destroyed when Jerusalem was laid siege by the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BCE on the 9th of Av.

After the prophesied 70-year Babylonian exile, our Jewish people returned to Jerusalem. Under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Second Temple and Jerusalem was rebuilt. This Temple stood about 420 years until it was destroyed by the Romans in August 70 CE on the 9th of Av.

Besides both Temples being destroyed on this same exact day, numerous other historical events happened to our Jewish people and Israel on the 9th of Av that continue to keep this a somber day for our people. I’ll list them in chronological order. On Tisha B’Av, five national calamities occurred:

• During the time of Moses, Jews in the desert accepted the slanderous report of the 10 Spies, and the decree was issued forbidding them from entering the Land of Israel. (1312 BCE)

• The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar. 100,000 Jews were slaughtered and millions more exiled. (586 BCE)

• The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans, led by Titus. Some two million Jews died, and another one million were exiled. (70 CE)

• The Bar Kochba revolt was crushed by Roman Emperor Hadrian. The city of Betar — the Jews’ last stand against the Romans — was captured and liquidated. Over 100,000 Jews were slaughtered. (135 CE)

• The Temple area and its surroundings were plowed under by the Roman general Turnus Rufus. Jerusalem was rebuilt as a pagan city — renamed Aelia Capitolina — and access was forbidden to Jews.

And the calamities continued in the diaspora.

• The First Crusade destroyed hundreds of French and Rhineland Jewish communities murdering some 1.2 million Jews. The First Crusade, which murdered 10,000 Jews in the first month, began on August 15, 1096, the 9th of Av.

• We were expelled from England, accompanied by pogroms and confiscation of books and property on July 18, 1290, the 9th of Av.

• We were expelled from France on July 22, 1306, the 9th of Av.

• On March 31, 1492, Queen Isabella along with her husband, Ferdinand, ordered the Jewish people banished from all areas of greater Spain. The edict was signed on March 31, 1492 and the Jews were given four months to leave the country. There was a massive loss of property, families became separated, and many died by drowning. The final day Jews could live in Spain, thus beginning the Spanish Inquisitions, was July 31, 1492, the 9th of Av.

• World War I began when Germany declared war on Russia. This war began a massive socio-economic upheaval in Europe that concluded with the Holocaust and World War II. World War I began on August 1-2, 1914, the 9th of Av.

• SS Commander Heinrich Himmler received approval for “The Final Solution” which resulted in the Holocaust and murder of six million of our Jewish people, nearly ⅓ of the world’s Jewish population. It was approved on August 2, 1941, the 9th of Av.

• The mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp began on July 23, 1942, the 9th of Av.

• Iraq walks out of talks with Kuwait setting the stage for the Gulf War on the 9th of Av 1989.

• The deadly bombing the AMIA (the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina) building which killed 86 people and wounded some 300 others was on the 9th of Av 1994

• Gush Katif was a group of Jewish settlements in Gaza with 8,600 residents. It was known for it’s unique greenhouses that exported more than $200,000,000 in bug-free fruits and vegetables to Europe and the Majority of our Esrog’s Lulav sets. For peace with Gaza, all Jewish settlements in Gush Katif were evacuated on August 13, 2005, the 9th of Av. This land for peace deal was brokered by the United States of America who 10 days later (10 is Yad, the hand of God) when we were struck by the most powerful hurricane every recorded up to that time, Katrina made landfall August 29th. Katrina was followed by an even stronger Hurricane Rita and Wilma, three of the largest hurricanes ever recorded strikes the United States in the same year.

There’s more but you get the point! Historically the 9th of Av is not a good day for us as a people or as a nation! Focusing on and praying over these events is meant to help us conquer the spiritual deficiencies, idolatry, and sin which brought about these tragic events.

The story is told of Napoleon walking through the streets of Paris one Tisha B’Av. As his passed a synagogue he heard the sounds of mourning and crying. “What’s this all about?” Napoleon asked. An aide explained that the Jews were in mourning over the loss of their Temple. “When did this happen?” Napoleon asked. The aide replied, “About 1700 years ago.” Napoleon said, “Certainly a people which has mourned the loss of their Temple for so long, will merit to see it rebuilt!”

As we remember Tisha B’Av this year let us not focus upon the calamities, rather let’s pray and fast for the revival of Israel, both the land and the people! Their salvation will result in all Israel declaring “Baruch Haba B’Shem Adonai”, “`Blessed is he who comes in the name of ADONAI.'” Let this day be turned from sorrow and lamenting to one of joy and dancing as we witness Israel’s salvation! Then we’ll experience the New Jerusalem and the real Temple descending from heaven and be established here for Yeshua’s reign!

The Wedding Kiddushin & Nisuin

The Wedding Kiddushin & Nisuin

By Eric Carlson in September-1 on August 1, 2022

Last month I discussed the traditional biblical wedding outline and implements. This month I wish to share how the process of marriage occurs in two distinct stages: Kiddushin (commonly translated as betrothal) and Nisuin (full-fledged marriage). Kiddushin occurs when the woman accepts the contract offered by the prospective husband.  The word “Kiddushin” comes from the root Qof-Dalet-Shin, meaning sanctified.  It reflects the sanctity of the marital relation.  However, the root word also connotes something that is set aside for a specific (sacred) purpose, and the ritual of Kiddushin sets aside the woman to be the wife of a particular man and no other. In this case, God!  Kiddushin is far more binding than an engagement as the term is understood in modern customs of the West.  Once the Kiddushin is completed, the woman is legally the wife of the man.  However, the spouses do not live together at that time, and the mutual obligations created by the marital relationship do not take effect until Nisuin is complete.

The time span between Kiddushin and Nisuin would routinely be as much as a year or even greater. During this time the husband is busy preparing a home for his new bride.  There was always a danger or risk that during this long period of separation between the betrothal and the marriage that the woman might discover that she wanted to become betrothed to another man!

This is the way God sees us!  We are His betrothed!  We are to remain pure and sanctified until the Grooms return! We do not belong to, nor do we serve any other God! Here’s what the scriptures say in God’s words:

Hosea 2:19-20. (CJB) I will betroth you to me forever; yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, in justice, in grace and in compassion; 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness, and you will know ADONAI.

And in:

Isaiah 62:4. (CJB) You will no longer be spoken of as ‘Azuvah [Abandoned] or your land be spoken of as ‘Sh’mamah [Desolate]; rather, you will be called Heftzi-Vah [My-Delight-Is-In-Her] and your land Be’ulah [Married]. For ADONAI delights in you, and your land will be married-

In these scriptures God is talking about Israel, so what about everyone else? As I often share all who receive Yeshua are part of the community.

Ephesians 3:5-6. (CJB) In past generations it was not made known to mankind as the Spirit is now revealing it to his emissaries and prophets, 6 that in union with the Messiah and through the Good News the Gentiles were to be joint heirs, a joint body and joint sharers with the Jews in what God has promised.

Sha’ul describes the Gentiles relationship in the Kingdom:

II Corinthians 11:2. (CJB) For I am jealous for you with God’s kind of jealousy; since I promised to present you as a pure virgin in marriage to your one husband, the Messiah;

We are Gods betrothed forever, and He is a jealous Husband!  Let’s continue!

The Witnesses

Every legal procedure in Jewish life is confirmed by at least two “kosher” witnesses. It takes witnesses to attest that all the aspects of the marriage have taken place in accordance with biblical understanding.  Two witnesses are called upon to stand under the Chupah and witness these procedures.

Let’s go back to Exodus 19 for a second:

Exodus 19:16-18. (CJB) And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the sound of a shofar exceedingly loud; so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the lower part of the mount. 18. And Mount Sinai was altogether in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount trembled greatly.”

The entire Nation of Israel was called to be the witness of God’s holy betrothal on Mt. Sinai. The cloud was the Chupa of God and Israel the witness! Back again to the end of the wedding witness statement: “Two witnesses are called upon to stand under the Chupah and witness these procedures.”

Exodus 24:12-13. (CJB) Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” 13 So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God.

The Wedding Feast

Most Jewish celebrations (marriage, circumcision, bar mitzvah, etc.) are followed by a dinner to honor the occasion. At this meal all guests participate in the Mitzvah of “L’Sameach Chatan v’Kallah,” to celebrate in joy with the groom and bride. Biblical custom shares that the couple begin their new life together in their community. For seven consecutive evenings following the wedding, it was customary that friends or relatives host festive meals in their honor. The act of feasting recalls the “seven-day celebration” after the marriage of Ya’acov to Leah, while spending their days in prayer and learning Torah in order to give the new household a solid biblical foundation in God’s ways of holiness. The Groom as stated in Torah was to be dismissed from working for one year allowing time for the newlyweds to “get to know each other”, and become Echad, complete, one!

The Nisuin (full-fledged marriage as bride and groom, together in intimacy) is performed after the feast completing the process of marriage. The husband brings the wife into his home, and they begin their married life together. It’s the consummation, the actual intimacy between bride and groom, the covenant act. 

Let’s recall now the Jewish Wedding:  Betrothal- the bride is picked, Ketubah- the promises are made, preparation- The groom then goes to his father’s house to build an addition onto the father’s home for he and his wife.  The Father says when the room is complete and satisfactory, and then decides when to send his son back to get the bride! The son goes to get the bride, he enters the town of the bride with a loud blast of the shofar to take his bride and celebrate the wedding feast.  He then returns to his father’s house for Nisuin, the full-fledged marriage. Yeshua directly relates this to us and the Kingdom:

John 14:1-3 (CJB) ” “Don’t let yourselves be disturbed. Trust in God and trust in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many places to live. If there weren’t, I would have told you; because I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 Since I am going and preparing a place for you, I will return to take you with me; so that where I am, you may be also.

This is the way God sees us!  We are His betrothed!  We are to remain pure and sanctified until the Groom’s, Yeshua’s return!  We do not belong to, nor do we serve any other god!  Yeshua gave a parable about this:

Matthew 22:2-14. (CJB)  “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son, 3 but when he sent his slaves to summon the invited guests to the wedding, they refused to come. 4 So he sent some more slaves, instructing them to tell the guests, `Look, I’ve prepared my banquet, I’ve slaughtered my bulls and my fattened cattle, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding!’ 5 But they weren’t interested and went off, one to his farm, another to his business; 6 and the rest grabbed his slaves, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was furious and sent his soldiers, who killed those murderers and burned down their city. 8 “Then he said to his slaves, `Well, the wedding feast is ready; but the ones who were invited didn’t deserve it. 9 So go out to the street-corners and invite to the banquet as many as you find.’ 10 The slaves went out into the streets, gathered all the people they could find, the bad along with the good; and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “Now when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who wasn’t dressed for a wedding; so he asked him, 12 `Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, `Bind him hand and foot, and throw him outside in the dark!’ In that place people will wail and grind their teeth, 14 for many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Yeshua gave us the parable of the One New Man here! All are invited to the wedding feast, which is the Nisuin phase of the wedding process, but we must be ready!  We must be found worthy, dressed for the wedding in our white robes which represent righteousness and purity with Him! Like the narrow road of Matthew 7, verse 14 is a wakeup call: “for many are invited, but few are chosen”. We must be ready for the wedding feast, its fast approaching, closer than many realize or suspect!  We must not be found in idolatry or adultery when the groom returns! This is the actual ceremony where the groom wraps His Tallit around the bride invoking the covenant! The bride has grown to include Gentiles from every nation, tribe, and tongue, as part the bride! The wedding is quickly approaching. Let me close with this fact concerning biblical weddings. How did Yeshua start His work here on Earth, what was His first Miracle?

John 2:1-9. (CJB) On Tuesday there was a wedding at Kanah in the Galil; and the mother of Yeshua was there. 2 Yeshua too was invited to the wedding, along with his talmidim. 3 The wine ran out, and Yeshua’s mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4 Yeshua replied, “Mother, why should that concern me? — or you? My time hasn’t come yet.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now six stone water-jars were standing there for the Jewish ceremonial washings, each with a capacity of twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Yeshua told them, “Fill the jars with water,” and they filled them to the brim. 8 He said, “Now draw some out, and take it to the man in charge of the banquet”; and they took it. 9 The man in charge tasted the water; it had now turned into wine! He did not know where it had come from, but the servants who had drawn the water knew. So he called the bride groom

Yeshua started His ministry here on earth with a miracle at the wedding feast by turning water into wine (yeah), and no it wasn’t grape juice……. And He will return to establish His reign here on earth, to take the bride and again go to the wedding feast that represented by Sukkot, in Jerusalem!  Oh, what a celebration and party that will be. May your lamps be filled! May you be ready for the sounding of the shofar heralding the arrival of the groom, Yeshua, who returns for His bride which is us!

Rabbi & Rebbetzin’s Greetings for September 2022

Rabbi & Rebbetzin’s Greetings for September 2022

By Eric Carlson in September-2 on August 1, 2022

Shalom Mishpocah,

         Summer has passed by quickly! School is starting, hurricane season is in full swing, and though September is a transition month into fall time we still have 21 days of summer left until the Autumnal Equinox on September 22nd 9:04 P.M. EDT-the first day of fall. The following Sunday, Sept 25th at sunset the Fall High Holy Days begins with the start and celebration of Yom Teruah! September is the biblical month of Elul. Elul is 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting. The month of Elul begins Saturday, August 26th at sunset. The 1st of Elul marks exactly 40 days until Yom Kippur. Elul is an Akkadian word for “harvest”. The Jewish names of months came from our captivity in Babylon.  Scripture refers to the months by their numerical order except for the first month of the new year, Aviv. Elul is a time to search one’s heart and draw close to God in preparation for the coming Day of Judgement, The Ten Days of Awe between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur, and The Day of Atonement.  It is customary to recite Psalm 27 every day in this 40 day period seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness. The 27th Psalm is one of trust, the psalmist has no fear of enemies while in the Lord’s protection. This Psalm is extremely relevant in our day today:

Psalm 27. (CJB)  By David: ADONAI is my light and salvation; whom do I need to fear? ADONAI is the stronghold of my life; of whom should I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assailed me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and foes, they stumbled and fell. 3 If an army encamps against me, my heart will not fear; if war breaks out against me, even then I will keep trusting. 4 Just one thing have I asked of ADONAI; only this will I seek: to live in the house of ADONAI all the days of my life, to see the beauty of ADONAI and visit in his temple. 5 For he will conceal me in his shelter on the day of trouble, he will hide me in the folds of his tent, he will set me high on a rock. 6 Then my head will be lifted up above my surrounding foes, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, sing praises to ADONAI. 7 Listen, ADONAI, to my voice when I cry; show favor to me; and answer me. 8 “My heart said of you, ‘Seek my face.’ “Your face, ADONAI, I will seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me, don’t turn your servant away in anger. You are my help; don’t abandon me; don’t leave me, God my savior. 10 Even though my father and mother have left me, ADONAI will care for me. 11 Teach me your way, ADONAI; lead me on a level path because of my enemies 12 don’t give me up to the whims of my foes; for false witnesses have risen against me, also those who are breathing violence. 13 If I hadn’t believed that I would see ADONAI’s goodness in the land of the living, …. 14 Put your hope in ADONAI, be strong, and let your heart take courage! Yes, put your hope in ADONAI!

This reason this Psalm is fundamental to this period of T’Shuvah (repentance) is that it contains references to all three fall feasts: “my light,” ori in Hebrew refers to Yom Teruah as the shofar announces the arrival of Adonai, the light! My Salvation, Yeshua refers to the atonement He gave us for Yom Kippur. Then David states Adonai would hide him in his sukkah in the times of trouble, referring to the holiday of Sukkot in verse 5.

Psalm 27:13 also contains a textual oddity: “If I hadn’t believed that I would see ADONAI’s goodness in the land of the living.” The phrase “If I hadn’t” in Hebrew is lule which when read backwards spells Elul. Salvation comes from devoted trust in Adonai’s mercy, goodness, and salvation. Repentance is useless unless we believe in Adonai’s love, salvation, and goodness in the land of the living.”

Forty is represented by the Hebrew letter Mem.  Forty is the revelation of the concealed.  The number forty is used by God to represent a period of testing or judgment (the length of time necessary to accomplish Gods plan in his interaction with mankind).  Forty is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in Schminnee-revival and renewal (8).  But where forty relates to dominion or rule it does so by virtues of its factors 4 (Dalet-the physical dimensions of the world including the cardinal directions North, South, East, and West) and 10 (Yad, the Hand of God), and in harmony with their signification.  Mem expresses God’s sovereignty over us and His Kingdom. God uses the number 40 when starting a new chapter of the history of salvation.  Human gestation is 40 weeks!  Teshuvah is a sort of death and rebirth: a death of the past life, and the birth of a new life and a new creation:

II Corinthians 5:17. (CJB) Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation – the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new!

These 40 days are an awakening from the apathy and slumber induced by sin. The Fall Feasts are Moedim, Divine Appointments that God established, specific times that He’s off the throne and among His people! Its critical to prepare for these appointed times.

Isaiah 55:6-7. (CJB)  Seek ADONAI while he is available, call on him while he is still nearby. 7 Let the wicked person abandon his way and the evil person his thoughts; let him return to ADONAI, and he will have mercy on him; let him return to our God, for he will freely forgive.

The services in these 40 days of Elul are referred to as Selichot Services from:

Psalm 130:4. (CJB) But with you there is forgiveness (selichah: forgiveness, pardon), so that you will be feared.

This word exclusively refers to God’s mercy to grant forgiveness, to pardon the sins of those who repent. Selichah is found only three times in the Tanach, once in Psalm 130:4, the other two are in profound prayers of repentance. The first in Nehemiah where he recalled our rebellion and Adonai’s compassion toward us:

Nehemiah 9:16-17. (CJB)  “‘But they and our ancestors were arrogant; they stiffened their necks and ignored your mitzvot; 17 they refused to listen and paid no attention to the wonders you had done among them. No, they stiffened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a leader to return them to their slavery. But because you are a God of forgiveness (selichah), merciful, full of compassion, slow to grow angry and full of grace, you did not abandon them.

And then in Daniels powerful prayer of repentance upon reading in Jeremiah that Israel’s 70 years of captivity and exile in Babylon/Persia was complete. Daniel immediately began repenting for Israel’s sins that had resulted in our exile:

Daniel 9:8-10. (CJB) Yes, ADONAI, shame falls on us, our kings, our leaders and our ancestors; because we sinned against you. 9 It is for Adonai our God to show compassion and forgiveness (selichah), because we rebelled against him. 10 We didn’t listen to the voice of ADONAI our God, so that we could live by his laws, which he presented to us through his servants the prophets.

Elul is the time for fasting, prayer, and repentance which is more critical now than ever before! My heart is heavy, I’m burdened for America, for the greater body of Messiah, our polarization, our disunity, our divisiveness, the vile hatred and violence that abounds! As a nation were rotting from the inside out! It’s not a time for panic, dread, or to be fearful!  It’s a time for radical intentionality in repentance, prayer, and fasting. To stand in the gap and shift history! We are at a very dark hour as a nation. This fall may be a dark time for America! If we don’t become radically involved, it may be irreversible! I highly encourage everyone to fast from now until Yom Kippur which begins at sunset, Tuesday, October 4th!

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for Jewish Revival (Land & the People) which results in the return of Messiah.
  • Pray for America’s awakening, for salvation and revival, that America will turn back to God!
  • Pray against the Spiritual Strongholds of Darkness over our City, State, and Nation
  • Pray for racial equality, justice, national unity, national Shalom, Peace and national healing!
  • Pray for leaders to arise in the greater body of Messiah to lead America into truth & righteousness!
  • Pray for an end to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Pray against rebellion and anarchy in America!
  • Pray for the release of the One New Man to sweep across this nation!

Etrog Lulav

Etrog Lulav

By Eric Carlson in September-3 on August 1, 2022

As I shared in our September Newsletter greeting September is the month we begin the celebration of the High Holy Days the Fall Feasts! September is the month that we order our Etrog and Lulav sets for our Sukkot celebrations!  The command to celebrate Sukkot with the Etrog and Lulav is recorded in:

Leviticus 23:40-43. (CJB) On the first day you are to take choice fruit (Fruit of the Hadar Tree), palm fronds, thick branches and river-willows, and celebrate in the presence of ADONAI your God for seven days. 41 You are to observe it as a feast to ADONAI seven days in the year; it is a permanent regulation, generation after generation; keep it in the seventh month. 42 You are to live in sukkot for seven days; every citizen of Isra’el is to live in a sukkah, 43 so that generation after generation of you will know that I made the people of Isra’el live in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am ADONAI your God.'”

Leviticus 23:40 mentions the “fruit of the beautiful Hadar tree” as the choice fruit required for use combined with the various branches collectively known as the Etrog and Lulav used during the Feast of Tabernacles. According to tradition, the “fruit of the tree Hadar” refers to the citron. The citron is the ancient, original citrus fruit from which many modern day citrus fruit came from. Citron is the root word for the modern day word citrus.

The Egyptologist and archaeologist Victor Loret identified citrons depicted on the walls of the botanical garden at the Karnak Temple, which dates back to the time of Thutmosis III, approximately 3,500 years ago. Citron was also cultivated in Sumer as early as the 3rd millennium BC. The Greek Philosopher Theophrastus wrote of the Citron around 300 B.C.: “The fruit is not eaten, but is very fragrant, as is also the leaf of the tree; and the fruit is put among clothes, it keeps them from being moth-eaten. It is also useful when one has drunk deadly poison, for when it is administered in wine; it upsets the stomach and brings up the poison. It is also useful to improve the breath, for if one boils the inner part of the fruit in a dish or squeezes it into the mouth in some other medium, it makes the breath more pleasant.”

Citron was also described by Pliny the Elder, who called it nata Assyria malus. The following is from his book Natural History:

“There is another tree also with the same name of “citrus,” and bears a fruit that is held by some persons in particular dislike for its smell and remarkable bitterness; while, on the other hand, there are some who esteem it very highly. This tree is used as an ornament to houses; it requires, however, no further description.

The citron tree, called the Assyrian, and by some the Median apple, is an antidote against poisons. The leaf is similar to that of the arbute, except that it has small prickles running across it. As to the fruit, it is never eaten, but it is remarkable for its extremely powerful smell, which is the case, also, with the leaves; indeed, the odour is so strong, that it will penetrate clothes, when they are once impregnated with it, and hence it is very useful in repelling the attacks of noxious insects.

The tree bears fruit at all seasons of the year; while some is falling off, other fruit is ripening, and other, again, just bursting into birth. Various nations have attempted to naturalize this tree among them, for the sake of its medical properties, by planting it in pots of clay, with holes drilled in them, for the purpose of introducing the air to the roots; and I would here remark, once for all, that it is as well to remember that the best plan is to pack all slips of trees that have to be carried to any distance, as close together as they can possibly be placed.

It has been found, however, that this tree will grow nowhere except in Media or Persia. It is this fruit, the pips of which, as we have already mentioned, the Parthian grandees employ in seasoning their ragouts, as being peculiarly conducive to the sweetening of the breath. We find no other tree very highly commended that is produced in Media.

Citrons, either the pulp of them or the pips, are taken in wine as an antidote to poisons. A decoction of citrons, or the juice extracted from them, is used as a gargle to impart sweetness to the breath. The pips of this fruit are recommended for pregnant women to chew when affected with qualmishness. Citrons are good, also, for a weak stomach, but it is not easy to eat them except with vinegar.”

The four species together are called in Hebrew: ארבעת המינים arba’at ha-minim, the four plants collectively (Citron, Palm Frond, Willow, and Myrtle) mentioned in the Torah (Leviticus 23:40) as being relevant to worshipping Adonai during Sukkot.  The three branches are bound together called the Lulav! The bundle is bound together with strips from another palm frond or bound in a special holder which is also woven from palm fronds.

The “Etrog,” the Citron, and Lulav have some profound spiritual symbolism. The Citron resemble in its shape, the heart, the driving force behind all our actions. The “Lulav,” the Palm Branch, resembles the spine, which holds the body together and, without which, we would be unable to move. The Myrtle Branches, resemble, in their almond-shape, the eyes, with which we behold God’s Word and the Willow Branches, resemble the lips, with which we give expression to our thoughts and feelings while speaking the Word in power.  These four implements held together reveal that a person should devote all of his-or- her strength, abilities, and heart in devotion to Adonai and His Service.

Symbolically, the four species represent the four kinds of people that make up a Messianic congregation or community.

1) The Etrog or Citron, a tasty fruit which also has a pleasant aroma, represents the righteous believer who have both Torah (Bible) knowledge and good deeds (or works).

 2) The Lulav, or branch of a date palm, produces a sweet fruit, but has no aroma or fragrance. This represents the believer who has Torah knowledge but is lacking in good deeds (a hearer of the word, but not a doer). He is deficient in good works.

 3) Then the Hassidim, or sweet-smelling Myrtle, are the believers who have good deeds, don’t have much knowledge of the word — these people do good works, but are deficient in, or deny Torah. The majority of the people of Israel may fall into this category.

 4) Finally, there is the Willow, or Aaravot. This species grows near the water, and needs water, but is odorless and tasteless — representing those believers who are lacking in both Torah and good deeds. Yet they have potential, they are planted at the right place!

All four types of people can be found in a typical Messianic congregation. Thus, the Lulav symbolizes the totality of the “One New Humanity” of Ephesians Chapter 2. Brotherly love and fellowship with everyone loving and helping one another in unity, striving toward the same goals: Fulfillment of Torah to the best of their abilities, bearing witness of Yeshua, and proclaiming the “Good News” to all humankind!

All that we do is done to Glorify Adonai as Sha’ul wrote:

I Corinthians 10:31. (CJB) Well, whatever you do, whether it’s eating or drinking or anything else, do it all so as to bring glory to God.

Additionally Sha’ul wrote:

Colossians 3:17. That is, everything you do or say, do in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

This understanding is a full-time commission, a full-time job whether we are celebrating the Feast Days or living our everyday lives!

On Sukkot, we bind all the branches together – Willows, Palm Fronds, and Myrtles.  We hold this bundle in our right hand, and then lift them together with the choice fruit represented by the Esrog in our left hand. We then shake them all together, three times in each of the cardinal directions starting towards the East then upwards towards heaven then downward towards the earth.

Holding these four in a tight bond represents the unity that is God’s goal for His People. This bond represents the convergence of separate individuals into a unified people, a One New Humanity, with common vision, common goal, and common purpose for service and ministry unto our King. The four species also represent the Name of God. Aravah (Willow), Hadas (Myrtle), Lulav (Palm) and Etrog represent Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, the four-letter tetragrammaton Name of Adonai.

Again, the key here regarding the Etrog, Lulav, and Sukkot is unity. As we say everyday in the Shema prayer: “God is One.” Being aware of this keeps our focus upon Him and helps us to deal with the trials and issues of everyday life. When we relate to Adonai’s unity, we come closer to achieving joy and victory in this world. As we daily wave the Etrog and Lulav in the six directions we recite this blessing:

“Baruch ata Adonoy, Elo-heinu Melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu bi’mitzvo-sav, vi’tzivanu al ni-tilas lulav.”

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who sanctified us with His mitzvot, and instructed us to raise up the Lulav.

The command to waive the “Lulav,” is a time-honored biblical expression of worship for all of God’s children, Jew and Gentile alike! There are propound spiritual lessons we learn through our obedience in performing this mitzvah today as Ya’acov stated in:

James 1:22. Don’t deceive yourselves by only hearing what the Word says, but do it!

The main, foundational understanding of Sukkot and the Etrog & Lulav waving is simply the lesson of unity, that the children of God be echad. As we joyously perform this mitzvah together, as the body of the Messiah, we do so in spiritual unity, one in Messiah! A reminder that we are in this spiritual struggle and fight together — we need each other — and we must help one another. As King David wrote:

Psalm 133:1-3. (CJB) A song of ascents. By David: Oh, how good, how pleasant it is for brothers to live together in harmony. 2 It is like fragrant oil on the head that runs down over the beard, over the beard of Aharon, and flows down on the collar of his robes. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon that settles on the mountains of Tziyon. For it was there that ADONAI ordained the blessing of everlasting life.

As you prepare for the Fall Feasts to enter His presence, may you minister to Adonai with clean hands and a pure heart! I pray you have a radical God encounter with Him these high holy days. May you see His face and hear His voice as we rehearse the soon return of Yeshua, our groom for us His bride! Chag Sameach, Happy Holidays!