February’s Winner of ‘A Taste of Torah’

Congratulations ROBYN ATTWELL
and thank you for joining us here at HIS-ISRAEL!

Just a reminder – remember to post a new comment each month to participate in the current month’s name selection and for another chance to receive a complimentary copy.

Next selection will be April 1, 2018.


Blessed are You O Lord our God,
I dedicate the work of my hands to Your glory
and I ask for Your inspiration and anointing upon it. Amen

Experiences can fade with time and even be forgotten. A journal is a wonderful place to hold these memories. It is a place of return –  to mntemplate healing and growth, to be encouraged and even at times to simply water the seeds that were planted long before. A journal can act as a mirror, a lens, or a window.

As technolgy and the keyboard or Smart-phone take over, the power of the personal, handwritten word is being rediscovered. Whether in a journal or a handwritten letter, the positive, and even healing, effects cannot be exaggerated. ~ Keren Hannah

Your journal is a place for you to be creative, to draw, doodle, record thoughts, quotes, poems, and Scriptures. It’s a safe place where you can have honest conversations without the worry of being misunderstood or rebuked.

If you haven’t previously developed the habit of journaling, we encourage you to begin with this very special Rosh Chodesh cycle. Not much is needed to join us on this adventure. Basically, you only need sheets of paper, a pen, and a binder to hold your thoughts and mementos of this season. The rest is up to you. Remember that you can journal with more than just words – include images, doodles, scribbles, and even tangible mementos.

Invite our Creator G-d into the heart of your journaling and enjoy!

Keren and Cindy

Each month we will provide a PDF download of Keren’s notes, including a journal page with ideas to respond to in connection with the themes of the month.

Here is a ‘Journal Page’, with the banner, that we invite you to download and use for your Ohr Kadosh – Being Holy; Being Whole  journaling adventure. Here, also, is an optional ‘Front Page’ download for your journal binder:

Journal Page

Front page

This is Cindy’s Journal cover, using a beautiful piece of her artwork.  We have made it available here for those who desire to download and make use of it:

Being Holy Being Whole Notebook Cover

Following are a few examples of my [Keren’s] past Journal notes. They include quotes, meaningful cards from friends, notes from othere sources and my own thoughts. I have kept these for years and I am amazed at how the Lord leads me to a specific one when I need to review the contents. This year, though, I aim to expand to include more drawing, sketches maybe, and illustrations! More color! There are always new possibilities. Simply enjoy making a start if you haven’t journaled before.

* From the same root as chodesh (month) and chadash (new), the Hebrew word chidushim means new insight and thoughts; fresh inspiration.

SELAH – סלה – A Holy Interruption ~ Cindy Elliott


’Womb to world’ is a startling moment for a baby. After months of being surrounded by warm amniotic fluid, cuddled in a strong protected sac and limited by the walls of the womb, the little one is suddenly pushed forth from this safe, familiar place and thrust into light. Baby is bombarded by stimuli, and startled by how far he can stretch his limbs. We as parents are there to help our little ones through this transition. We swaddle them, hold them close, coo to them, comfort, and to our best effort meet their every need. We hush and woo them to their new world, holding them in a soft, patient embrace telling them of the wonders and delights – the sights, sounds, smells, taste, and the love, oh the overwhelming soul hugging love that awaits them.

Rest – Pause!

For the mother the birthing process can be both intense and beautiful. For myself, I found the hardest part in the long laborious pushing stage was the rest, or pause. I’m not talking about the natural wax and wane of the contractions, but those times when for various reasons we are told to stop. Stop – breathe – rest. Yet our muscles and brains are screaming push, push, push. A painful, at times burning rest – not done in vain but one that is for life. A rest that helps lead to that moment when the flood gates open and out bursts an indescribable gift! It’s a gasp of breath moment – that first moment you see your child. Holy… holy… holy.

This “womb to world” / birthing process is something I’ve experienced more than once as I have made a deliberate effort to rest and pause while reading Scripture. That being still before G-d and, at times, being hushed and held in the patient embrace and relentless tenderness of G-d as our Source of all Wonders, startles my mind and delights my heart. Sometimes it’s a painful moment as I am pushed out of a place of comfort. But, every time, it is a holy moment. A moment that transforms my life entirely, a moment in which there is nothing but a gasp of breath – a gasp of worship.

I can best understand this transformational pause in one intriguing Hebrew word – Selah.

Selah – a word seen frequently in the Psalms and less than a handful of times in Habakkuk – is challenging to translate. The Talmud (Eruvin 54a), as demonstrated from Psalm 48:9, says that selah means forever. Ibn Ezra [1] understood selah to mean “true and certain,” functioning in a similar vein to an Amen –  “so be it”- to what preceded it. Radak [2] saw selah as a musical notation – a lifting up of the singer’s voice. Rabbi Raphael Hirsch comments: “Selah is a notation at the close of a thought directing one to reflect upon its enduring significance.” [3]

Any and all of these understandings of selah make it a holy interruption – a threshold for change. A place where you pause, reflect, ponder, and let G-d’s living word flow deep into your soul and allow yourself to sink deep into His heart. Sometimes it is this deliberate quiet, this intentional stillness, that lifts your heart toward Heaven.

Many times when we read Scripture we come with preconceived understandings and expectations that stifle the flow of Living Waters. Other times we come with a familiarity that dulls our heart and crowds out our curiosity. Making a practice of a deliberate rest breaks up the breathless flow and allows us to breathe and create space for G-d to reveal His truth to us. These deliberate rests allow the Living Word to shape our souls and set deep realities and understandings within us.

The pictograph for selah – סלה  is astounding:

Selah – what comes from lifting up something of VALUE.


Be Still And Know That I am G-d. (Psalm 46:10)

Selah is a holy invitation to stop – breathe – rest. It is a whisper from G-d to not miss out on what’s important. Selah is a moment that births transformation – being both undone and remade.

We have a beautiful example of “selah in time” with the weekly celebration of Shabbat. Every 7th day the Creator of the universe invites us to stop – breathe – rest and spend 24 hours breathing in His word, His presence and celebrating and delighting in His creation “expressing glory in the presence of eternity.” [4]

Proverbs reminds us to number our days – not because our days are short [they are] but because time is sacred. When my daughter was born I felt the Lord urging me to take off my watch – as if in that holy moment He was whispering to me – don’t miss out on one precious minute – time is fleeting. How thankful I am that I listened and, 28 years later, my wrist is still absent of a watch. For me that absence is a reminder – a selah – to stop – breathe – rest – to slow down and be present in every moment – to not miss out on what’s important.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel had it right when he said, “Labor is craft, but perfect rest is an art. It is the result of an accord of body, mind and imagination.” Selah is a holy rest – a sacred art.

Blessed are you Lord our G-d, who created rest. Abba may we learn to stop – breathe – rest and know the wonders and beauty of being your child. Abba may we embrace the sacredness of rest and welcome holy interruptions.  Selah


Photo Credit:

* Yarkovoy/Shutterstock.com
** Copyright Marla Jean Clinesmith, used by permission. www.hebrewwordpics.com

1. Abraham Ibn Ezra (1089-1164)
2. Rabbi David Kimhi (1160-1235)
3. Noted in From His Holy Mountain, SELAH, by Dr. Eugene Narrett
4. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Shabbat

Meditations for ADAR


Yakriv Mikem / Sacrifice “Of You”

Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: when one of you offers a sacrifice to the Lord, the sacrifice must be taken from the cattle, sheep or goats” (Lev. 1:2).

Or so the verse would read if it were constructed according to the normal rules of grammar. However, in Hebrew the word order of the sentence is strange and unexpected. We would expect to read: adam mikem ki yakriv, “when one of you offers a sacrifice”. Instead what it says is adam ki yakriv mikem, “when one offers a sacrifice of you”. The essence of sacrifice, said R. Shneor Zalman, is that we offer ourselves. We bring to G-d our faculties, our energies, our thoughts and emotions. The physical form of sacrifice -an animal offered on the altar – is only an external manifestation of an inner act. The real sacrifice is mikem, “of you”. We give G-d something of ourselves. ~ Rabbi Sacks, Self and Sacrifice

Meditations for ADAR

* Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces, Facebook


A long life is not good enough,
but a good life is long enough.

by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

~ review by Cindy

There is a charming story about an exchange that took place between a rabbi and a little boy.
“Tell me, my son,” the rabbi asked, “where is G-d?”
“That’s easy,” came the ready reply. “G-d is everywhere.”
“No, my son,” the rabbi said, “G-d is not everywhere. G-d is only where man allows Him to enter.”

It is for this reason that I have written this book – so that we might open our hearts to G- d, invite Him into our lives and discover the blessings that will enhance our days, the blessings that are our rightful spiritual inheritance. ~ Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

This is one of those truly beautiful reads to have on hand for a quiet Shabbat afternoon – when time stands still and you are tented in the menuha (stillness, quiet, peace, and harmony) of Shabbat.

Extremely personal, this autobiographical read both captivates and inspires the heart to love G-d and to love others. A masterful storyteller, Rebbetzin Jungreis, teaches nuggets of wisdom through her stories of family, her children, her people, and her beloved husband, Rabbi Meshulem HaLevi Jungreis. Drawing from the deep wells of Scripture and rich teachings of the Sages, Rebbetzin Jungreis encourages each and everyone of us to make the choice to participate in tikkun olam (healing of the world).

Rebbetzin Jungreis grew up in a Torah rich home (her father was chief Orthodox Rabbi of Szeged, Hungry, during the Nazi occupation and the family was taken to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp). As a survivor, she carried forward the legacy, passed down through the generations before her, of commitment to kindness, truth, love, and faith; all inspired by a deep of love of G-d and His Word. Passing on this heritage to her children, Rebbetzin Jungreis challenges the reader to do the same – to leave a heritage to our children that has eternal worth.

Rebbetzin Jungreis touches on subjects such as: inviting G-d into your life, responsibility, charity, family life, prayer, forgiveness, compassion, faith, hope gratitude, time, self-control, marriage, and keeping Shabbat.

Deeply affecting, this book encourages one to reach for a deeply personal, visceral relationship with G-d and also to make a commitment to live a life bigger than ourselves. A life permeated with the purpose of Heaven.

Truly one of the most touching books I’ve read, I’m on my second read and drinking deeply. The Committed Life is a read that profoundly touches the heart.

Available from amazon.com The Committed Life: Principles for Good Living from Our Timeless Past

Such a sweet spirit and kind soul – the following is a YouTube clip of the conclusion of her testimony regarding the Shoah.

January’s Winner of ‘A Taste of Torah’

Congratulations RHONDA HARKINS and our warm thanks to you for joining us here at HIS-ISRAEL!

Remember to post a new comment each month to participate in the current month’s name selection and for another chance to receive a complimentary copy.

The announcement of the next winner will be March 15, 2018.

OHR KADOSH – Holy Light – Introduction

Art in Hebrew – omanut – has a semantic connection with emunah, “faith” or “faithfulness.” A true artist is faithful both to his materials and to the task, teaching us:

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
William Blake

…As Goethe said: “Where there is much light, the shadow is deep.” When art lets us see the wonder of creation as G-d’s work and the human person as G-d’s image, it becomes a powerful part of the religious life, with one proviso. The Greeks believed in the holiness of beauty. Jews believe in ‘hadrat kodesh’, the beauty of holiness: not art for art’s sake but art as a disclosure of the ultimate artistry of the Creator. That is how ‘omanut’ enhances ’emunah’, how art adds wonder to faith. [1]


We are reminded of ohr (light) from Genesis to Revelation. From G-d’s work in creation –  Let there be Light (Genesis 1:3) to the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in the book of Revelation – And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of G-d has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb (chapters 21 and 22). G-d is light. [2]

G-d’s light – lights our way, overcomes darkness, illuminates the shadows in our lives, encourages us, warms us, blankets us with compassion, stirs us, delivers us, and causes us to grow.

His light shines into our past, onto our sufferings, through the 
cracks of our brokenness - restoring, creating new and shining bright.

We know Yeshua, the Word of G-d enfleshed, the Light of the world. And Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:6:

G-d has shone in our hearts the Light of the knowledge of the glory of G-d in the face of Yeshua
(2 Corinthians 4:6).

Yeshua himself tells us to let that light SHINE! (Matthew 5:14-16)

Within each of our hearts G-d has shone His light and planted seeds of possibilities and talents to share His light in a ever darkening world. Keren and I want to invite each of you to explore with us how each Hebrew month reveals a special way to creatively express and share G-ds light / presence with the world around us. How through purposeful creativity we can partner with G-d in tikkun olam – healing and hope to the world.


Some may be thinking that you are too busy for this – too busy to set apart time to create. We encourage you to think outside the box. There are endless opportunities and possibilities in your everyday life to live artistically and creatively. Edith Schaeffer in her book Hidden Art (of Homemaking) shares, “For many… the areas in which they could be creative have been encased in a cast, and the creative muscles and joints have stiffened with disuse.” Maybe it’s not so much that your creativity has gone unused but that your creativity has simply been overcome by the follies and busy-ness of this world and lie dormant.


But we have a Father who shines His Light on and through us - removing casts - setting captives free - restoring life to stiffened and dead limbs - making straight, strengthening, healing - and sounding the shofar to those of us who are sleeping - rise up!

We want to encourage each of you (ourselves included) to:

 (2 Cor. 3:18). 

Influence your world to the praise and glory of our Father - SHINE!

Each month, beginning with Nissan (17 March, 2018), Keren and I will share the notes on “Being Holy, Being Whole” and a creative expression from a friend of His-Israel. Each month we ask you to share in our comment section, here on HIS-lSRAEL or on HIS-ISRAEL Facebook page, how you are enjoying the Light of G-d’s Presence and the ways that you are able to creatively and artistically reflect that in your life.

**** Go and tell about the creative song He has given to you.

There is a breath of G-d in every man, a force lying deeper than the stratum of will, and which may be stirred to become an aspiration strong enough to give direction and even to run counter to all winds. [4]

Blessed are you oh Lord our G-d Creator of the universe. How marvelous and great are your works! Thank you for surrounding us with beauty and wonder and thank you for your Presence which sustains us and enables us to be holy and whole.


Pray with us:
Abba, Father, open our eyes, so we can see. Stir and strengthen our hearts, so we can move.
Open our lips Lord that we may raise our voice and sing a never ending song of praise to You.
Abba, inspire and bless our work, infusing it with Your Spirit to reflect Your truth, Your good, Your beauty, Your love, Your wonder, Your hope and bring about Your purpose.
May our work carry with it the song of your mercy and grace, your restoration and healing.
Through our work, Abba, may others see clearly Truth and from Truth – hope and vision.
Abba, may the works of our hands touch others – to give food to the hungry, water to those who thirst, sight to the blind, balm to the hurting, healing to the sick.
Reveal to us the beauty of Your holiness, a revelation of You our Creator!
Abba, may the works of our hands bring a smile to your face.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Abba that you have called us to partner with you in this Kingdom work!
Abba, Father, we love you so much!


Literature, painting, and sculpting are able to bring to fruition all the spiritual concepts engraved in the depths of the human spirit, and so long as one brush is missing, which is stored away in the depths of the spirit – which ponders and feels – but has not been realized, there is still an obligation on the purposeful work to realize it.

The matter is self-evident, that only these treasuries, when they are opened, will sweeten the air of all existence. It is good and beautiful to open them. [3]


Photos are of some of my (Cindy’s) ‘openings’ over the last year.

* My creative expression of Gan Eden (The Garden of Eden).

** This is a piece I made through a cry to our Abba about how far from Truth and how angry the world has become. He reminded me of Micah 6:8.

*** A piece created in response to the warmth and light of G-d at a special moment in my life.

**** I made this piece hoping to encourage myself and others to boldly sing the life song(s) our Abba has given us.

***** This piece was the first ‘opening’ to me last year when I had a revelation of the overwhelming Presence of G-d.

****** This piece was created in part with sand and shells – treasures collected from one of my explores on the Gulf – asking our Abba to help me love passionately both the people and the things that He loves.

1. Rabbi Sacks, Vayakhel (5771) – G-d’s Shadow
2. See Exodus 10:23, Psalm 27:1, Isaiah 9:2, 2 Corinthians 4:6, 1 John 1:5…
3. Rav Kook, as related by Dr. Benjamin Levin 1901
4. Abraham Heschel, The Call of Transcendence, p 79

December’s Winner of ‘A Taste of Torah’

Congratulations MARY SAYER
and thank you for being a friend to HIS-ISRAEL.

Please remember to post a new comment each month to participate in the draw and for another chance to receive a complimentary copy.

Next selection will be February 1, 2018.

* Please note – Due to increased mailing cost, those living outside of the USA will
receive a coupon from FFOZ to download a complimentary PDF eBook of Keren’s ‘A Taste of Torah.’ Those living within the USA will continue to have the option for a hardcopy or may choose to receive the PDF eBook.

Biblical Month 10 – TEVET – Exploring the FERTILE DARKNESS

May it be Your will, Avinu, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that You inaugurate this month of Tevet upon us for goodness and for blessing.

TEVET – a month of winter darkness in Israel and the Northern hemisphere. We are reminded of the balance of judgment and mercy; and how the light and truth of God’s Word shines forever, bringing hope of new life in the darkest of times.


November’s Winner of ‘A Taste of Torah

and our warm thanks for joining us here at HIS-ISRAEL.

Please remember to post a new comment each month to participate in the draw and for another chance to receive a complimentary copy.

Next selection will be January 1, 2018.

The Lights of Hanukkah – Video and Notes


What makes the lights we light on Hanukkah, and Shabbat and the biblical Festivals different? Can they change the way we see things…God, others. ourselves?

For your convenience, you can download Keren’s notes here – LIGHTS OF HANUKKAH Notes