Category: August 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 & Rebbetzen’s Greetings for August 2022

Rabbi & Rebbetzen’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!