NISSAN – 1st Biblical Month – Being Holy ~ Being Whole


A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
A spring locked, a fountain sealed.
Song of Songs 4:12

Every woman has innate feminine creativity that can be expressed as gifts to her family, her friends, and to the world. As many and varied, and uniquely created as we are, that is as unique and varied our gifts can be. Home-making, decorating, cooking, sewing, and gardening, are all forms of creativity, as are painting, sculpting, writing, dance, and music. 

Children naturally are bursting with creativity and curiosity. Inevitably, either by family, teachers, peers, or society in general, as a child grows different forms of creativity are squelched or restricted. Most unfortunately, what is repressed may well be the one particular gift or voice that only that individual child has been given. The world needs to hear that voice. 

Now is the time to allow the wind of the Spirit to blow, as it were, on any “locked gardens” in our lives, so that fruit may blossom and the unique and fragrant spices may be released – to the delight of the Beloved; and to help bring beauty and healing to the world.

Let my Beloved come into His garden and eat its choicest fruits.
Song of Songs 4:16



Each month we will focus on a particular part of the body and see how the three elements of our being are related to the functioning of that member of the body.

During Nissan we will explore why how and what we speak is important. What prompts us to speak as we do? What effect do our words have on ourselves and others?

NISSAN – Mouth – Speech 

NISSAN – the first month of the biblical year and the Rosh Chodesh Cycle. The month is associated with the mouth and words. The first festival of the year is celebrated – Pesach / Passover. The name Pesach is comprised of two Hebrew words…peh – mouth and sach – speaks or converses. The Israelite tribe connected with Nissan is Yehudah; which means praise. How fitting that a mouth filled with praise describes Nissan – the month of the Exodus and God’s mighty deliverance of His people from slavery. As His redeemed, He brought them to Mount Sinai where His mouth would confirm HIs covenant faithfulness to them and would speak forth the Ten Words that would transform them into a holy nation and would change the world forever.

In connection with the festival of Pesach  – when the enslaved Israelites were delivered by God and brought into freedom, including the freedom to speak and have a voice, Rabbi Nachman states in Likutei HaMoharan that pure speech leads to freedom, while blemished speech corresponds to exile. If we rectify our speech we become free people; an exalted creation. Such is the great value and power of speech.

“With every breath one takes, with every word uttered, one can evoke God’s honor. Speaking properly, even when speaking of mundane matters – and avoiding blemished speech – brings one continually closer to God. …These are words through which we merit the Exodus. Through them we become free.” Likutei Moharan 1, 55:7
And then, with each breath and word, we are able to praise God.

Good vs Evil Speech

One needs wisdom to distinguish between good and evil speech. Evil often can masquerade as good! Apart from the obvious hate-speech, profanity, and slander, today, with the general lapse in morality and integrity, many lies are accepted as truth. Evil speech has a powerful and detrimental effect on the one who speaks them. They also cause damage to the listener and to the one who is being denigrated or slandered.

To strengthen good and holy speech we need to consciously reflect on God’s Word and express His words in prayer, praise and song. Rabbi Nachman taught, “Through song and joy one can guard and preserve one’s memory  and [always keep in mind] the World to Come.”  (Likutei Moharan 1,54:12) Also, “It is good to make a habit of inspiring yourself with a melody. Great concepts are contained in each holy melody and they can arouse your heart and draw it towards God. …The loftiness of a melody is beyond measure.”

Even Moses had a problem with speaking. Medically, It has been  proven that singing, even by yourself in the shower, and reading poetry, helps to rectify speech problems.

Mashiach – Messiah

Yeshua, as the Word made flesh, is the perfect example of good, holy speech. Rabbi Nachman points out that the Hebrew word MaShIaCH relates to ”MeSIaCH the mute” – “God causes the mute to speak.” In the era of Messiah, when he is ruling as King of kings in Jerusalem, everyone will be dedicated to the pursuit of peace and holiness and all will be able to speak freely without causing pain to another. At that time, when God’s Kingdom of Love, Unity, and Shalom is established on earth, then all speech will be holy, as proclaimed by the prophet Zephaniah,

For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord.” (3:9)


On a harp of ten strings You have made me rejoice Adonai in Your works!
Psalm 92:4-5

It has long been understood that the Psalms carry a special anointing and blessing of healing. I call them “harps of God,” the strings of which produce music that severs the bonds that the world and the enemy of our souls attempt to lay upon us. 

As an aid in assisting us towards wholeness – be it mental, physical, or spiritual, we will be focussing on the ten Psalms identified by Rabbi Nathan of Breslov as Tikkun Klali – Complete Healing or Repair.  

The Concept of Tikkun

The word tikkun means healing or repair in the context of the perfecting of the individual, the Jewish people and the nations, and the universe in general. The phrase Tikkun Olam means the repair of the world. The ultimate goal, working together with God, and with His help, is to bring the world to wholeness and perfection as far as it is in our ability to do so. Every tiny, individual act of healing and reconstruction of brokenness contributes to the repair.

The Word of God is the Rock we stand on in this work. 

To quote Midrash Tanchuma – Yitro 8:

     Said the Holy One blessed be He:
     “There is no affliction
     for which there does not exist a cure;
     the therapy and medicament for every affliction is discernible.
     If you seek that misfortune befall not your body,
     engage in the study of Torah,
     for it is therapy for the entire body.”

The ultimate purpose of Creation is to reveal and establish God’s Kingdom in the world. Every person created in His image has this purpose and can only find meaning and fulfilment to the extent that he/she discovers and releases their innate godliness and creative gifts. We can only do our part, in whatever situation our Father places us, remembering the wisdom of PIrkei Avot 2:16,

“You are not required to finish the task,
but neither are you allowed to desist from it.”

Often we can feel intimidated and question our own worth and ability. The world can be like a mighty, churning, often threatening ocean. Rabbi Nachman points out:  

“[One’s] life is like a very narrow bridge, and the essential thing is not to fear at all!”

Even if one falls into the waves there is no room for despair, for, as he explains, there are “rafts” to cling to for safety, such as: 
Faith, encouragement, melody, dance, appropriate self-criticism and introspection, learning from others, and the yearning for a deeper relationship with the Creator.

We also have the assurance that our Messiah, Yeshua, is there to raise us from the troubled sea and he can speak the words to still the storm! (Mark 4:39).

How to Apply the Psalms

Each month we aim to read a particular Psalm and attempt to apply it to oneself in a meaningful way – to find one’s self in the psalm. How?

  1. Find a word or phrase or passage that resonates with you. Consider expressing it through writing your thoughts or composing a verse or poem; doing a sketch, painting, collage, or illustration in your journal; sing it, express it in movement or dance. Make it yours in whatever way you can.
  1. In place of ‘Lord’ or ‘God’ the Hebrew word Adonai can be used to shed a fresh perspective on the verses. We also will seek a more personal, descriptive name for the Almighty in each Psalm.

Understanding that this is “holy work,” and in order to sanctify it as a sacred, set apart time, we suggest you do a special washing of your hands at the start.
(i) First get your Journal, any artisitc materials needed, Bible and notes ready.
(ii) Do a traditional netilat yadaiim – pouring cool water from a cup [use a traditional two-handled one if you have one] first over the right hand and then the left.
(iii) Before drying them, say, e.g.,
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


In verses 1-4, David is feeling vulnerable, unworthy, and guilty. Maybe he believes he is suffering because he deserves it? Reassurance comes in verse 5 with the knowledge that Adonai is his “portion.” When we reach out to take hold of His right hand, it is always there and He, in His great care for us, leads us toward the destiny He has planned for us.

Our loving Father does not want us to wallow in our troubles and sorrow. When we, as verse 8 tells us, keep Adonai continually before us and keep our eyes upon Him, we see His power at work and we gratefully can appreciate that we are beloved and beautiful in His sight. We need to understand that we each are equally and completely worthy of being here in this life. We are essential to God’s unfolding plan of Redemption, of which we, individually, play a tiny but important part. As Madyson Tigler says, in Healing of Soul, Healing of Body: “Seeing ourselves as part of something larger, as beings called to serve, is the ultimate cure for feelings of unworthiness.”

Because of God-Who-Is-My-Right-Hand, we can stand strong and press forward with perseverance. Our whole being can be joyful and we can rest secure and sing, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; let all that is within me bless His Holy Name.”

My [Keren’s] response:

God-Who-Is-My-Right Hand
is my refuge in times of trouble.
When I am weak, He is strong.
I am not over, finished with; rather
I am starting anew!
In His strength and compassion
I am revived; myself.

POEM to Ponder for Nissan 
* Suggestion:  Write the poem in your Journal and jot down any thoughts.

Water Without a Tongue  by Malka Heifetz Tussman / original in Yiddish

The sea
ripped a rib
out of its side and said Go,
lie there,
be for me a sign that I am great,
mighty am I.
be for me a sign.

The canal lies at my window
What could be sadder
than water
without a tongue?

As a 16 year old, in 1912 Malka immigrated to America from the Ukraine. Having to learn the language and suffering the limitations that entails, she described it as the experience of becoming inconsequential. You lose your voice and cannot communicate or contribute to society. 

The sea can be heard. Its waves sometimes resound with mighty crashes – a canal, however, lies motionless, the water constrained and uncommunicative.  

The description of a canal being ripped as a rib from the side of the sea clearly is a reference to Genesis 2:21-22, making Eve a kind of “tributary derivation from Adam, as Andrew Vogel Ettin describes in his book Speaking Silences. While useful and practical, Ettin continues to describe, “…a canal is quiet and subsidiary, sadly lacking a tongue and language for wider discourses; mere water without substance, effect, or majesty.” How many women, mistakenly, feel that they fit this description?

Author Tillie Olsen, in her book Silences, notes the significant fact of “…women’s silence of centuries. Not until several centuries ago do women writers appear.” She encourages those “…who begin to emerge into more flowered and rewarded use ourselves,” and says, “…by our achievements [we are] bearing witness to what was [and still is] being lost, silenced.”

Dear women of God, as we do our part in TIkkun Olam, let us discover and exercise the different “voices” the God-Who-Is-Our-Right-Hand has gifted us with and begin to sing them forth for His greater glory.


From the same root as chodesh (month) and chadash (new), the Hebrew word chidushim means new insight and thoughts; fresh inspiration. During this year’s monthly cycle – Being Holy ~ Being Whole, we are encouraging each one to keep a journal and to express our thoughts, ideas, sketches, pictures, doodles – whatever, in order to give expression to the chidushim in our hearts and minds. Each month we are aiming to share a video of a woman who is finding a way to creatively express the physical focus of the month.

This month HIS-ISRAEL friend SUSAN MAXON shares how she finds creative expression with her words.

Download OHR KADOSH – NISSAN Notes

The Liminal Space of PAIN ~ Raynna Myers

The liminal space of pain is the place where we receive an invitation to healing.

We feel as though we are sick and dying. Soul, spirit, and mind wounds become burdens we cannot carry. We never should have tried. The burdens are real, but, has anyone told you…? Has anyone told you that there are burdens that you have and will know, but they are not yours to carry?

There are wounds that wind our souls so tight we quit breathing from our bellies. That’s how babies breathe. Until the pain comes, we breathe from our bellies. Then we swallow the pain down to our guts and kill ourselves—but we simply think we’re trying to survive.

And, in reality, we are. What’s so horrible about that? Why should surviving make us sick?

It’s this question I have to capture; and have it be a memorial in time, so I’ll never forget. I don’t want to forget that surviving really does have more to do with thriving than I learned at first. That these two elements – survivng and thriving – are not opposites but brothers walking side by side. I never want to forget that brokenness is the invitation to wholeness. Rest, stillness, and wonder, much like faith, hope, and love, will outlast any and all of my striving.

Now I can look back and see and hear certain people speaking into my life. They are living memorials to their hard winters. This  heart-sharing often is a gift in response to need. The things they said to me, they hoped I wouldn’t forget. Things I didn’t want to hear, but needed to. But, then I became strong again, so I forgot. Being strong, it becomes easier to be weak. We get shamed. We start to believe maybe the shamers are right.

Love rejected is a source of deep inner pain. It becomes a strange, contorted thing, but what if it doesn’t have to? What if…  What if you healed me when you said, “Welcome, my friend, come in!”? What if I healed you in return when I said, “Thank you, I need you. I need you. I need to be with you and to hear you!”?

Brennan Manning in his book Abba’s Child speaks of a story he read in The Wounded Healer. It’s about a rabbi who asked the prophet Elijah when the Messiah would come.

Elijah replied that the rabbi should ask the Messiah directly and that he would find Him sitting at the gates of the city.

“How will I know Him?” the rabbi asked.

Elijah replied, “He is sitting among the poor covered with wounds. The others unbind all their wounds at the same time and then bind them up again. But the Messiah unbinds one at a time and binds it up again saying to himself, ‘Perhaps I shall be needed. If so, I must always be ready so as not to delay for a moment.'”

The suffering servant of Isaiah recognizes His wounds, lets them show, and makes them available to the community as a source of healing.


Manning goes on to express that grace and healing are communicated through the vulnerability of men and women who have been fractured and broken by life. And then he writes one of my very favorite lines in his book,

In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve.

This is the radiant hope in all our suffering. To release the weight of expectations and concerns we put on ourselves, or those that we resignedly accept in the midst of it all, and instead receive the wisdom of grace that says, “Do not be afraid little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” You can aspire to your identity as His sons and daughters.

Illness, division, lack of peace; these should not surprise us nor stop us from bearing fruit, that is true. But what does it mean to bear fruit? Does it mean to work in our own strength, bear our burdens, until we are bent into the ground? Don’t you think we get our role confused in all this martyr-like living we’re doing?

When pain comes we are the people of God; we overcome. But what if overcoming has more to do with honesty and open hands than it does with, “Faking it ’till making it”? What if overcoming is more about calling it what it is and praising our Father in heaven even still.

Like our matriarch Leah, when she named Judah, in the midst of what the Bible calls “a pain beneath which the earth trembles”—to be a woman unloved, she said, “This time, I will praise the Lord.”

What does it mean to give grateful praise even in in the midst of our pain and grief? It is knowing that, even then, nothing separates us from the love of God. It is understanding that our broken places and our weaknesses are not our definition, the end, or a punishment, but rather a beginning, a way forward, even the very door.

As Paul said, we too can say, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Messiah can rest on me.” Because His grace is enough we don’t have to keep trying to be enough. To Him, we already are. We are His Beloved. He knows our frame. “His power is made perfect in our weakness.” We don’t need to be ashamed, we can actually boast!

Boasting in our God isn’t a shiny, pretty thing we do during congregational worship; it’s what we do when we open our hands, lift our heads, and come out of hiding in the day-to-day. It doesn’t mean not mourning, or grieving; it means weeping as we walk with seeds in our hands—watering them as we go.

This is our healing, and healing for many others if we are willing to share. This is where His power comes in and rests on us in our weakness. This is where we get to return to His arms of comfort and rest. This is what we discover in the liminal space of pain.


Raynna Myers is an author, blogger, speaker. She currently lives in Washington State with her husband and six children and writes at




In answer to my question, Pamela Eisenbaum, of the Hebrew University and now a professor of biblical studies at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, boldly states on the cover of her book (excerpted above): Paul was not a Christian. 

While my husband of blessed memory, Dwight A. Pryor – to whom, on this his 7th yartzeit, I dedicate this article – had a strong affinity with Paul, I wrestled with the apparent contradictions I found in the apostle’s letters. In particular, those that carried a strong Anti-Jewish and Anti-law, or Torah, slant. I simply decided to disregard any such problematic verses and appreciate the positive life and Torah affirming statements made by Paul. Then came the challenge!  I recently attended a four-part lecture series by Ryan Lambert,** entitled Paul Within Judaism – Rethinking the Jewish Apostle to the Gentiles. Ryan made a passionate appeal for the need to clarify our understanding of Paul in his Jewish identity and context and to gain greater clarity on the verses I was happy to dismiss. He also emphasized that we need to grasp WHY this was necessary, indeed vital in the continuing restoration and the unfolding of God’s redemptive purposes.

From Ryan’s introduction:

“WHY take the time to examine Paul in the context of Judaism? Because it is a critical component of the restoration of the Hebraic heritage. It’s the important paradigm shift for the multidirectional hermeneutic needed to gain a clearer perspective of the basis of Paul’s important mission and message. Christianity needs to be restored to its Jewish Roots and the Torah. This is not to say that the Church is ‘bad.’ It has done, and is doing, great good in the world, and it preserved the teachings of Yeshua. [However, at this point in history] the Church needs to be lovingly and respectfully challenged in regard to the Jewish identity of Paul.”

I believe, by now, that a good portion of the Church has woken up to the Jewish identity of Jesus and the Hebraic roots of the faith. Christians can embrace the Jewish Rabbi Jesus. However, the anti-Judaism roots run deep.  

In the 2nd Century, Church father Ignatius said, among other Anti-Semitic diatribe: 
“If we go on observing Judaism we admit we never received grace. It is monstrous to think of Jesus living as a Jew!”  Christian scholar and author, John Gager, comments: “In the rhetoric of Christian triumphalism there was no space for Judaism. Jews no longer had anything to offer.”
Martin Luther accused the Jewish people of being enemies of God – and he therefore made them his own enemies. In fact, Anti-Judaism can be traced throughout Church history…from Marcion, to Luther, to modern Christian scholars such as F.C. Bauer and Bultmann. Even the renowned and respected Bible teacher John MacArthur proclaims: “Judaism, in God’s eyes, is a dead issue, but the burial took a long time. It was a very difficult thing for the Jews (Paul, Peter, etc.) to sever their relations with Judaism.”
Pamela Eisenbaum comments: “The misreading of Paul was inexorably linked to the degraded conception of Judaism that so often led to the worst manifestations of Anti-Semitism.”

In the 1960’s a new interpretation arose, coined the ‘New Perspective’ on Jesus, Paul, and Judaism, through scholars such as J.D.G. Dunn, E.P. Saunders, Krister Stendahl, etc.. Their big contribution was to offer a different perspective on Judaism in Jesus’ time.

E.P.Saunders described a pattern of Jewish thinking he termed “covenantal nomism,” and pointed out that Jews did not keep the Torah and do mitzvoth in order to earn salvation and to see themselves as ‘righteous’, but rather because it was the way [given by God] to live in affirmation of their covenantal relationship with God. 

SO, how do we relocate Paul within Judaism? Here are salient points made by Ryan Lambert, with my comments at times interjected [in square brackets]:

  1. Re-examine the Damascus Road event, seen as Paul’s “Conversion” experience.

Stendahl points out that rather than being converted to a new religion, Paul was called to apostleship to the Gentiles. 
Galatians 1:15-16  “But when He [God] who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles,…”.

It was a Calling not a Conversion! Paul remained faithful to the God of Israel and to Judaism, and assumed other Jews would too. Objectors can point to Galatians 1:13, which references Paul’s “former manner of life” as a Jew,and see it as indicating he no longer lived that life. Scholar Dr. Mark Nanos responds: “Paul here refers to a certain way of living in Judaism that no longer characterises the way he lives Judaism now.” Previously, he persecuted Jews who followed Yeshua as being traitors to the faith. Now, with the revealing of Messiah, and the inclusion of gentiles into the Kingdom, he realized a great change had occurred – one that ushered in the ‘end of Days.’

2.   Paul’s so-called negative comments on Torah issues should not be universalized. They are highly situational in nature. E.g., Why did he seem to oppose circumcision?

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.”

[He expresses his concern regarding a situation that had arisen. Strict Jews had approached the new gentile believers and were forcing them to undergo circumcision as a sign of inclusion into the Jewish community. Paul, understandably, was angry and said: “…you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4b). And added: “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!” (Galatians 5:12).

In his letter to the Corinthians Paul says: “For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God” (1 Corinthians 7:19). He points out how strict, self-righteous Jews (the ‘circumcision party’) can make a show of keeping the commandments but their hearts are far from God. On the other hand the new gentile believers (the ‘uncircumcised party’) who have come into knowledge of their loving Father God through Yeshua, and now are learning and keeping the commandments in love, are those in true “new creation” covenant relationship with God. See also Romans 2:26-29). ]

Paula Fredrikson: “[Paul’s audience] were ex-pagan pagans – ex-pagan Gentiles. Like God-Fearers they would worship the God of Israel but preserve their own ethnicities and would not assume the bulk of the Jewish ancestral customs such as circumcision.”

Circumcision was not the end goal!  [New believers could not be coerced into the multi-faceted stream of Jewish life. Learning and understanding would come slowly.] Paul’s universal view of circumcision is expressed in Romans 3:1-2: “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?Much in every way.”

3.   We can ask the question: Was Paul a Liar for the Gospel?

We need to examine Paul’s “missionary strategy” on the basis of 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, which impacts how one understands Paul.

“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak.I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”

The standard Christian understanding is that “chameleon-like” activity is justifiable in missionizing. [Ryan related a story of how a Christian disguised himself as an Orthodox Jew and infiltrated a local Jewish community. He eventually ‘witnessed’ to some; then was hosted by a large Christian Church where he boasted about his hypocritical accomplishments and bad-mouthed the Jewish community. As awful as the behavior of the individual was, Ryan felt the justification, even applauding of his actions by the Christian congregation was worse.]

A Christian view is that Paul defines himself as Christ’s slave and is set free from the bonds of Judaism and can be a Jew to the Jews and a gentile to the gentiles. His inconsistent behaviour is justifiable. According to the traditional Jewish viewpoint, there is no way a Torah-observant, Judaism following person could do such things. He would be considered a “shmuck”!

From the Christian viewpoint one can understand that Paul is identified as not Jewish, not Gentile, but part of a third Christian race that is neither Jew nor Gentile. This seems delineated in: “Give no offense to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the church of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:32). Author Christian Soulen: “The Church sees itself as a special fellowship outside of the carnal categories of Jew or Gentile.” D.A. Carson, considered one of the leading Christian scholars at present, proclaims: “Paul occupied a third group and so, as far as law is concerned, he is prepared to move from that ground to be either a Jew or a Gentile, because his relationship to Torah is neither one nor the other.” 

The prevailing viewpoint, therefore, is that a Jewish believer’s relationship to God is not based on the Torah covenant or Mosaic Law. We may ask, then, what about the texts, for example, in Acts 21 and 28 and in his letters, that point to Paul as Torah-observant? 

[We may also recall the fact that Yeshua  himself remained Torah observant and lived according to the will of the Father.]

Paul’s adaptability was only in relation to his rhetoric, not his lifestyle. He emphasises in 1 Thessalonians 2:3 – “Nor are we trying to trick you!” Porphery, in the 3rd Century, said that if Paul was justified to ‘trick’ people then it was useless for him to proclaim: “I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie!” (Romans 9:1).

Dr. David Rudolph, of King’s University, points out that to back the Christian claim that Paul did not remain Jewish, 1 Corinthians 19 is used as a hermeneutical starting point; “problem” texts are expected to come into line with it. If Paul only kept ‘the law’ as a means to an end, then it was fine to be a “cunning deceiver” for the sake of the gospel. Rudolph suggests that, rather, Paul’s flexibility in addressing his audience reflects Yeshua’s accommodation of different strata of people. He would dine with regular Jews, strict Jews, and tax collectors and sinners. So Paul exercised flexibility in relation to the strictness of Pharasaical halacha.

4. ‘Time’ played an important part in the urgency of Paul’s mission.

Another important consideration is what scholar and author Mark Nanos describes as a “chronometric” view of Paul. Paul believed that the End of the Age had broken in and that time was short! Paul believed that the entry of gentiles into God’s Kingdom proved that the God of Israel was the God of all people, not only those ethnically Jewish. It was therefore better for them to stay, culturally, where they were because Messiah would soon return and establish the Kingdom of God over all the earth. [This eschatological view was an essential element in Paul’s thinking.]


5. The problematic Romans 14 passage. Who is “weak” and who is “strong”?

Romans 14:1-2  “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.”

[In reference to this passage a friend and Christian pastor once remarked to Ryan, who also pastors a Messianic Jewish congregation, “This proves that Jewish and Torah ways were a less mature expression of spirituality and I hope all you Jewish believers will move to a New Testament Church.”] According to this Christian view, Jewish life, which is motivated by covenant responsibility and divine commandment, is portrayed as a sign of spiritual immaturity.

Dr. Mark Kinzer, in his book Post Mission Messianic Judaism holds that the Jewish believers were “weak” because they believed certain foods were ontologically (intrinsically) impure and therefore were impure for all. If non-kosher food is impure ontologically, then it’s impure for non-Jews too. Mark Nanos counters, however, that purity is not intrinsic, it’s imputed. God has spoken and it is so. Counter to the common assumption that both groups [the weak and the strong] are Christians, in his book The Mystery of Romans, Nanos understands the “weak” to be the non-Messianic Jews. The weak are ‘weak in faith’ because they do not yet realize that the promises of God have been fulfilled in Yeshua the Messiah. 

Romans, chapters  9 – 11, talks much about the dynamics between the non-Messianic Jews and the ‘new in faith’ Messianic Gentiles. Paul’s use of the word “brothers” does not require the Jews to be believers in Yeshua; they are “kinsmen in the flesh.” Nanos underscores the fact that Jews remained the historical community of the One God, whether they recognized Jesus Christ as the Messiah or not. The relationship between them, therefore, should be strong – as “brothers” [in worship of the One God]. Paul is pursuing the establishing of the Kingdom of God spoken of by the prophets. The inclusion of Gentiles was an indication of this coming to pass. Paul, therefore urges the Gentiles to have humility and selflessness in relation to the Jewish people in general.

Conclusion: What are the Practical Implications of this Rethinking of Paul?

The implications touch the heart of God’s Redemptive agenda. Rethinking Paul is the ‘tip of the spear’ to its advancement. Some apply to Jews and some to non-Jews.

1. Traditional Judaism.

  1. The real Paul belongs to Judaism. Jews, in general, if they think about Paul at all, usually consider him as the “real bad guy” who started Christianity and took Jews away from Judaism. Today, Jesus, at least, is considered a devout Jew who upheld Torah but Paul is seen as Anti-Torah. The real Paul , however, was on a mission to spread the heart and principles of Judaism to the nations. 
  2. Paul, within Judaism, is a Paul a Jew could have a family discussion with. He was monotheistic and looked to the Shemah as the basis of the One God for both Jews and Gentiles believers. They were now equals and could practice Judaism under the Messianic King.

2.  Christianity

  1. Christians should not try to convert Jews to Christianity. 
  2. The Church should encourage Jews, and Messianic Jews, to more deeply be Jews and follow Torah as our God-given constitution.
  3. The Church needs to acknowledge that Judaism has not been replaced by Christianity. The Torah-based structure of life is essential for the ongoing movement of the Redemption process.

3. Messianic Judaism

1. Messianic Judaism should not see itself as a ‘missionary’ enterprise. Historically, until now, Jews were “saved” and “Christianized” rather than remaining Jewish and Messianic – [“Father focussed, Yeshua centered, and Spirit inspired,” as Dwight used to say!]
2. Torah and Judaism still represent God’s “marching orders” for the Jewish people.

Note of interest: Pamela Eisenbaum points out that,”…it is virtually a historical certainty that people produced and promulgated texts using Paul’s name pseudonymously. …some of the letters attributed to Paul are ‘disputed’ and of dubious origin.”
The seven undisputed letters are: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. (Paul was not a Christian, p. 22)

  • Pamela Eisenbaum, Paul was not a Christian – The Original Message of a Misunderstood Apostle, Harper Collins, 2009
  • Ryan Lambert is a Messianic Jew based in Atlanta who is associated with the ministry of FFOZ. He is busy working on a book to be published on this topic.

The Liminal Space of BORDERS – Debra Elfassy


Here on the heights of Samaria, overlooking the shimmering northern expanse of the Dead Sea nestled at the foothills of the majestic mountains of Moab, time has stopped and past has become present. I feel as though I am standing on holy ground.

The landscape around me is barren; hills rocky and bare and the wilderness solitary.
Rocks cry out with sacred history and mountains still reverberate with the words of Israel’s prophets. In the deafening silence I can almost hear the footsteps of our forefathers, for here it was they shepherded their flocks, covenanted with G-d, and erected altars of worship. I am privy to living history.

Looking across the distance to Mount Nebo in Nachalat** Reuben I am reminded that,

“…when the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the borders of the people according to the number of the children of Israel” (Deuteronomy 32:8).

Truly, G-d, “Thou hast set all the borders of the earth” (Psalm 74:17).

I stand, humbled, at this ancient threshold to the Promised Land and, as if the scroll of history is rolled back, I behold with wonder….

 Forty years of wandering have come to an end. Forty years of dreams, hopes and longings have brought the travel-weary Israelites to this G-d-appointed rendezvous. Just across the Jordan River from Jericho the Israelite camp has come to rest, according to its tribes. Their tents are spread out wide across the plains, and the surrounding peoples feel threatened. It has been a treacherous journey. Not only have they had to contend with the altercations of the Edomites, Canaanites and Amorites along the way, but now Balak, king of the Moabites has sent for the seer Balaam in order to curse the Israelite camp. But as the co-conspirators look down from the high places of Baal onto the tents of Jacob, Balaam prophesies: “The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.”(Numbers 23:9) The spirit of G-d then comes upon him and he pronounces blessing in the place of cursing: 

“How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.” (24:5, 9)


Here at the threshold of claiming their inheritance, the Israelites realize that crossing this border won’t come easily. They will need to conquer their psychological giants before they can conquer the physical. They are forced to face the conflict of imminent expectations versus the fear of disappointments; the ‘turning of the back’ on the past and ‘turning the face to’ the unknown. It is the time to ‘let go and press forward’.

There is a sense of apprehension and uncertainty in the camp as G-d tells Moses that, despite having led his people faithfully for forty years, he is to abdicate his leadership to Joshua who will lead them across the border into the Promised Land. There is a hush as Moses raises his hands and blesses the people, and takes the two tablets of the Law and places them within the Ark of the Covenant. Then he undertakes his last, and arguably his most difficult, mission and begins the ascent to Mount Nebo on the heights of Moab. There, from his final mountaintop, his eyes behold the Promise…the near-yet-so-far Land where his feet will never get to tread. There G-d confirms to him the covenant concerning the Land as Israel’s eternal possession. Lovingly, the Lord himself lays his servant, the one he “knew face to face,” to rest.

With the words of Moses still fresh in their memory, the Israelite encampment takes on the mantle of mourning. The dirge of weeping hovers over the plains for thirty days. When the days of lamentation are ended, Joshua and the tribes take leave of Shittim at the crack of dawn and come to lodge at the banks of the Jordan. Finally they are at the point of crossing. Filled with anticipation, the Promise within reach, Joshua tells the people to prepare to sanctify themselves, for in three days’ time: “The Lord will do wonders among you.” The third day arrives and the atmosphere is electrifying as the people prepare to cross the Jordan. 

The Levites, bearing the Ark of the Covenant, lead the way and as the soles of their feet touch the waters of the Jordan an exclamation of wonder rises, for the waters are held back and all the people cross over on dry ground. This miracle needs to be remembered throughout their generations and Joshua chooses twelve men, one from each tribe, and tells them to retrieve twelve stones from the riverbed at the spot where the Levites’ feet had stood. They are then to place them on their shoulders and carry them to the place where they would camp that night. In the minds of the Israelites, this must hearken back to another miraculous crossing…that of the Reed Sea. It is the 10th day of the 1st month and the people encamp at Gilgal where they lay the twelve stones.

But in order to be a nation ‘set apart’ from the surrounding heathen nations, the Israelites must keep the covenant that binds them to G-d and the Land… they must be circumcised. Here at their first stop, Joshua makes sharp knives and all the uncircumcised males born during the wilderness journey are circumcised. “This day”, G-d says, “have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you” (Joshua 5:9).  As the men heal, the people rest at Gilgal and prepare to keep their first Passover in the Land. There, on the 14th day of the 1st month, on the plains of Jericho as the sun sets behind the rolling hills of Judea and Samaria, they would remember and relive the Exodus from Egypt. On the morrow,  the manna would cease and they would begin to eat of the fruit of the Land.

Joshua, while walking near Jericho, is met by a man with a drawn sword who introduces himself as the captain of the Lord’s host. In yet another echo of his master Moses, he tells Joshua, “Loose thy shoes from off thy foot, for the place whereon thou standest is holy” (Joshua 5:15). He tells Joshua that Jericho is given into his hand and reveals the strategy. He is to take the men of war and encircle the city for six days. Seven priests with seven ram’s horns are to encircle Jericho seven times before sounding the shofars.

When this is accomplished, the shofars sound and their blowing rends the heavens. At the sound of the long, piercing shofar blast, the Israelite camp explodes with a deafening shout of praise! There is a rumble as the earth begins to tremble, then an earth-shattering crash as the walls come tumbling down. And there, amidst the shouts of praise and dust clouds of rubble,

“Joshua took the whole Land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes” (11:23).

And here I stand today, as part of the modern miracle, witness to the wonder of the Gateway into the Land and the evidence of G-d’s eternal covenant….”and there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border” (Jeremiah 31:17 ). We have come home…to inherit.

The most difficult time in your life may be the border to your Promised Land. First you need to make the journey to the threshold to initiate change.  Waiting at the border requires patience. It is a vulnerable place where you are forced to face yourself, your fears and expectations, in order  to make a conscious choice to step into the waters of faith, “…being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). You can choose to see the giants in the land, or the Promise.

Crossing means leaving behind your ‘Egypt;’ turning your back on the past and your face to the yonder shore of promise. And crossing requires praise that brings the walls of opposition in your life tumbling down.

May we each take that step of faith into the waters and may G-d lead us to where our trust is without borders. 


Debra was born in South Africa and was drawn to make aliyah to Israel in 1986. She resides with her husband Yossi in Rimmonim, a yishuv in the tribal area of Benjamin in the heartland of Samaria. 

Rimmonim, meaning ‘pomegranates,’ is perched atop the mountains of Israel that form the backbone once known as the Highway of the Patriarchs. It is mentioned in Judges 20 with the story of the 600 Benjamites who escaped the bloody battle against their fellow tribes and fled to the rock of Rimmon where they found refuge.
Established in 1981 with only 12 families, today Rimmonim is home to some 200 families.

********** SPECIAL DEDICATION **********


This article is dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Raziel Shevach z”l  who was gunned down this week in a cold-blooded terror attack in Samaria.

This week Israel saw one of its brightest lights extinguished and we, the residents of Samaria, together with and all Beit Israel grieve with the family for this son of Zion who, as a first responder with Magen David Adom, gave himself selflessly in the service of saving others. Driving on the highway a stone’s throw from his home at Havat Gilad shortly before 8pm, the 35 year old father of 6 was shot at repeatedly from a passing car. Suffering a critical wound to the neck, he managed to call his wife and ask her to call for an ambulance. Raziel was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. On Wednesday his body was laid to rest at Havat Gilad on the hilltops where he worked, on the Land he loved.

Rabbi Shevach z’l was a central figure in the Samarian community of Havat Gilad; not only was he an authorised rabbi, he was also a *mohel and *shochet, a member of the *chevra kadisha” and in the process of studying to become a rabbinic judge. He was also a longstanding volunteer paramedic with *MDA, on call 24/7 serving the residents of Samaria, and received a citation for his work in the organisation.

A friend and co-medic called him “a great man with a great heart. I never saw him sad. He was always so happy and he made everyone happy. He was someone who loved everyone.”

Yossi Dagan, head of the local settler council called him “a man of grace, a man of Torah and a friend…a true man of kindness, filled with boundless love.”

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel said: “We swear to build the land of Israel. We will build, we will plant, and we will have children. We are emissaries and we will do our best to be faithful emissaries.”

Another said: “He is a korban tzibur, a communal sacrifice. He is not a private loss but a national loss…It could have been anyone amongst us who was killed, but this is what G-d wanted. He died for us.”

And Rachel still weeps for her children. May they all come home soon and thrive in the heartland on the mountains of Israel.

Rabbi Raziel Shevach z’l is survived by his wife Yael, 4 daughters and two sons. His oldest child is 11 and the youngest is 8 months old. We embrace the family in their sorrow and pray that they will be comforted in Zion.

“Whoever is buried in the Land of Israel, is as if he were buried under the altar.”

                                                                                                                  The Talmud

* Photo credit: AG-PHOTOS/
** Tribal area inherited by the tribe of Reuben
*** Picture credit: Christina Mattison Ebert – D’rash Design on Etsy


May He who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, bless the members of Israel’s Defense Forces and its security services who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God from the Lebanese border to the Egyptian desert, from the Mediterranean Sea to the approace of the Aravah, and wherever else they are, on land, in air and at sea.

May the Lord make the enemies who rise up  against Israel be struck down before them. 

May the Holy One, blessed be He, protect and deliver them from all trouble and distress, affliction and illness, and send blessing and success to all the work of their hands.

May He subdue our enemies under them and crown them with deliverance and victory. And may there be fulfilled in them the verse:

“It is the Lord your God who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies,
to deliver you.”

And let us say, Amen.


Prayer taken from The Koren Siddur – with translation and commentary by Rabbi Johnathan Sacks.

The Liminal Space of ENGAGEMENT ~ Sarah Sanders


There are few things in life that can both cover and expose like finding love.

In the last year, since meeting my fiancé, I have gone through several cycles of death and rebirth. I have tussled with all the questions a precocious, conscientious, and spiritually-minded young woman would: “How do I know he’s ‘the one’?” ” Do I even believe there is one ‘the one?” “What does the Word say about this?” “When the Word seems to have gaps, what do the ‘experts’ say?” “Should I trust their interpretations and opinions?” “When I pray, what does the Father tell me?” “What questions am I not asking that I should?”

When I was a teenager, I was told to make a list of characteristics I wanted in a husband and pray for Yah [HaShem] to bring me the man of that list. I decided later that, while well intended, this was a misguided activity. Do I really know what I need in a man? At 15, can I know what I want and need at 30? I think not. I gave up on that and started praying that Yah would direct my path to the right man and that we each would be shaped into the person the other needs. As I matured and mused on finding a mate, one thing became clear.

At the end of the day, there is one prerequisite that matters most – he needs to love the Father more than he loves me. If he has that priority straight, the rest will take care of itself.

Like many young ladies, I wondered and dreamed at how my future mate and I would meet. Being highly involved in church leadership, I figured I would meet him at church. There were a few attempts at relationships with guys I served alongside, but they were short-lived and, frankly, frustrating. I discovered that while the church seems to preach an ideal image of what a Biblical or Christian relationship should look like, that image is vague in application and usually not lived out. In fact, the church, in general, sadly conforms to the same habits as the world: aimless dating based on physical attraction, relationships  rife with interpersonal issues caused by selfishness and miscommunication, immaturity, and lack of mentorship. Add to that the hazards of temptations and missteps being a condemnable sin.

I was supposed to be the most prepared person to find a suitable mate. I read numerous books, attended women-only Bible studies on the topic, promised to save myself for marriage, and committed to date only for the purpose of marriage. Still, I felt sorely underprepared. I knew what not to do (with big blaring sirens and lights!), but not what to do. In addition, my parents divorced when I was 17, contributing to a feeling of isolation and ambiguousness. I lacked not only their (healthy) model, but also their leadership. I would love to say that this sticky wicket resolved itself with time and experience, but it did not. When I met my fiancé at 29, I felt not much more prepared than my 17-, 24-, or 27-year-old selves.

When my fiancé and I met (at work!) in April of last year, the air was electric. I was disarmed. Our connection was undeniable. I soon began a recurring cycle of questions, time, prayers, exhilarations, terrors, deaths of assumptions and expectations, resurrections of dreams and hopes, doubts, confirmations, more questions, and more prayers. That was a journey in and of itself, a tedious and delicate act of Divine trust. The interplay of spiritual and physical decision-making was more complicated than I had anticipated. But, when I emerged on the other side of that true and genuine battle, I finally understood what a few key couples in my life have told me, When you know, you know.”

My fiancé and were engaged in December of last year. The last several months have been marked with a contentment I have never experienced before. My heart is happy. Happy happy. I cannot help but be bright and full of life. It is effusing from every pore in my body; my heart, my chest, my face. It is exhausting and energizing.

I feel so full, so saturated and, somehow, at the same time, emptied, flung wide open. This exhilaration carries both a deep sense of satisfaction and anchorage while also being so obviously vulnerable and fragile. It is covering and exposing. I am soothed and raw.

As our wedding day nears, I find myself alternating between a sense of being somewhere and nowhere. I am spoken for, but not yet taken, and cannot live like either. I have moved into a holding pattern that, from what I have been taught, is somehow supposed to maintain a certain status quo (purity, separateness, guardedness) while also moving forward (intimacy, unity, vulnerability). The tension exists not just in the physical sense, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Mentally and emotionally, this anticipated relational change is more than just having someone else to spend time with, consider, coordinate with, and look after. It feels more like becoming a citizen of a new country. My new country has its own learned language, non-verbal gestures, customs, expectations, and rhythm. My core identity is being acted upon and shaped, touched and accessed in a unique way, more deeply in this transition than in any other I have experienced. However, at the same time, miraculously, this new citizenship is not just happening to me, I also have a hand in defining it. In any situation, I can choose to act on, stop, or advance its creation.

As I merge with this oscillating dance, acting on and being acted upon, my familiar and usual frame of reference of “me” and “you” is morphing into “us”. Emerging out of this give and take of influence, a distinct, third entity is taking form. We.

This process is wondrous and uncomfortable. At times, I see a side of myself that I do not like, a side I did not know existed. What is this sudden burst of emotion or selfishness or immaturity? I do not like that. Is that really in me? Other times, I get a fleeting taste of what true unity must be like. It is a closeness hard to describe. And just when I think we are close, we get closer.


I cannot write about the liminal space of engagement without discussing physical intimacy. In fact, this is the part I am most excited to write about. Why? Because it is the part that has, so far, taught me the most. I have received many mixed messages about physical intimacy in my years growing up; it is shameful, beautiful, uncontrollable, painful, to be avoided, to be celebrated, embarrassing, sacred, something we do not talk about, something I should know about, something Yah created, for procreation, for recreation, carnal, a necessary evil, on and on. It is no secret that our society has a myriad of views on intimacy – even the church varies in its sentiment.

As a woman who has saved herself for marriage, finding and falling in love with my future husband has brought these mixed messages front and center. What is the difference between lust and desire? Is it as simple as a day and some vows? What does it mean that I so deeply desire something that is regarded as both a gift and a plague? What does the Bible say about it? How should I feel about it? In the face of increasing closeness and the necessity for unity, how do we protect our boundaries? How do we care for each other, embracing the real, physical part of our relationship, without overstepping our limits and hurting ourselves and our future? And how tedious is it to talk about and prepare for something you will be sanctioned to do in the future, but cannot at present?! (That is a thought in and of itself: what else in life does the Bible say we cannot do until we make a certain covenant, undergo a certain passage?)

Ultimately, what is this new intimacy and, in this liminal space, how do we learn to be intimacy-minded while not being intimate? At least, not in that way.

What I am discovering is that physical intimacy is far more than a kiss or a touch. Those elements are essential, but are accents to a greater motivation. Intimacy is an orientation. It is a posture. It is something that, through our tangible, concrete decisions, we either move towards or move away from, intentionally or unintentionally. Intimacy is in how we include our spouse, regard our spouse, and protect our spouse. It is in how we guard our relationship; how we allow somethings in and keep other things out. Intimacy is – as appropriately described in my premarital class textbook – about stewardship. We are making the choice to care for each other in the way that Yah has told us is the best, whether we want that in that moment or not. Before marriage, it is minding our physical boundaries. After marriage, it is tearing those boundaries down and not allowing them to build back up. Before marriage, it is possessing our bodies and conducting them appropriately, together, but still separate. After marriage, it is surrendering our bodies to the “we”, making them a shared space, without boundaries, without ownership.

Falling in love with my fiancé has given me a new appreciation for the spiritual intimacy that Yeshua wants to have with us, but not without its discomforting epiphanies.

The closer I come to being a bride, the more awkward it seems to seek to relate to Yeshua as my bridegroom, my husband. My brother? My friend? My shepherd? Those make sense. What do you mean Yeshua desires me and that I should desire Him? Desire Him like my fiancé? For a brief moment, I squirm at the thought, but finding the spiritual equivalent is actually not that hard. We have to remember that intimacy is an orientation. How am I including Yeshua, regarding Yeshua, and protecting my relationship with Yeshua? Thinking about the closeness I feel when I am in my fiance’s arms or when we are acting in unity on a project or issue, what am I doing to create those moments with Yeshua? Do I rely on my alone time with Him like I do my time with my fiance?

On one hand, my fiance and my relationship has caused me to feel pulled “away” from the spiritual; my time, focus, and energy are being applied more to the concrete things around me (buying a house, planning a wedding, working an extra job) that need to be done. But, on the other hand, I feel more tightly connected to my relationships with the Father and His Son. I am beginning to sense a level of intimacy that is available and possible with them that I have never known before – and I am encouraged and excited to move forward.

We need to savor and value these strategic, liminal spaces in our life journey. Truly, He has embedded lessons in every transition, in every liminal space, to awaken us to new capacities and to draw us closer to Himself.



Sarah Sanders is an educator, worship leader, and soon-to-be bride.

Born and bred in the Pacific Northwest, she enjoys being a health nut and a foodie (and wants to be more outdoorsy), but gets excited learning and experiencing just about anything. She dearly looks forward to being a wife and mother, and building, together with her fiance, a home of hospitality and worship.


Sarah and her fiance Shane.



  • Artwork: Israeli artist Martina Shapiro

JERUSALEM’S JUBILEE – 50 Years of Restoration – 1967-2017

JUBILEE in Hebrew is YOVEL (יובל).

In biblical times, the special shofar used by shepherds to call the sheep together before they returned home to their sheep-pen also was called a yovel. It was made from a gazelle horn and, unlike the curved shofars used for ritual purposes, it is straighter and dark in color.

 A Dorcas gazelle, Israel – Wikipedia

The concept of ‘return’ blends well with a central commandment of God concerning a jubilee year. We see in the book of Leviticus:  “It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan” (25:10) “In this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his property.” (25:13)
The reason God gives as to why no one could make a permanent claim to the land of Israel is: “The Land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the Land is Mine.” (25:23) In a Jubilee year things are restored to their original, God-intended place!

This is what we celebrate this year on Jerusalem Day 5777 / 2017. It is the Jubilee of the restoration of the reunified City of God to its rightful place. In 1967, during the Six Day War, when Israel was attacked by the armies of the surrounding Arab nations, a brigade of the Israel Defense Forces broke through the Lion’s Gate of the Old City, which had been held by Jordan since the War of Independence in 1948.  Against impossible odds they were victorious and the city – including the holiest place for the Jewish people, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall – was restored to Israel’s sovereignty. 

Jerusalem is a place to which one returns – a place of connection and meeting. Here, in this city, heaven meets earth; the past and the present meet with the future. This Holy City of God is where we will meet our soon-coming Messiah; a day when this fleeting life will meet eternity. Then God’s purpose for the city, the one envisioned from before the very Beginning, will be fulfilled in radiance —the establishing forever of the eternal Dwelling Place of the Holy One of Israel.

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for lo I come and will dwell in the midst of you,” says the Lord.

(Zechariah 2:10)

The Lord’s Sanctuary will be established with powerful praise and unshakable strength in His city, which is the heart of the universe—the City of the Great King. Therein, His throne will be set and the light of Zion will shine forth to the nations, bearing the vision of eternity in the spirit of kindness and truth.

A new song will flow forth, a pure haunting melody carrying luminous words of redemption and hope; and this Holy Place will finally become a House of Prayer for all nations.  King Solomon knew God’s purpose for His Dwelling Place on earth and the vision of promise it contained. When he dedicated the first beautiful Temple in Jerusalem – built as designed by his father King David in accord with God’s specific instructions and plan, Solomon proclaimed:

“… that all the peoples of the earth may know Your Name and fear Thee,  as do Thy people Israel, and that they may know that this House which I have built is called by Thy Name”  (I Kings 8:41– 43).

Also, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah, the Great Shepherd’s yovel is sounding and he is gathering his flock from the nations and leading them home where they belong, to be one flock with the family of God.

“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast My covenant—
these I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer;
…for My House shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” (56:6-9)

May we soon all rejoice together in grateful praise, thanksgiving and joy in the City of the Great King – the eternal, filled-with-His-glory, Jerusalem ~ YERUSHALAIM SHEL ZAHAV.


  1. Baruch Nachshon, Israel – 
  2. Alex Levin, Jerusalem –

Open Heart – Part 3 – TOWARDS THE END

Everything exhausts me. To breathe, to open my eyes, to think – everyting brings renewed agony. Am I out of danger? Not yet. …The doctors try to convince me that from now on, for a few days, a few weeks, I must be patient, that the feeling of being cut into pieces will disappear. But when? …The oppression lasts thirty-six hours, perhaps two days. An eternity during which I can do nothing without help. …On the third day, I am at last able to leave my bed. Then my room, to walk a few steps in the hallway.

One day at the begining of my convalescence, little Elijah, five years old, comes to pay me a visit. I hug him and tell him, “Every time I see you, my life becomes a gift.” He observes me closely as I speak and then, with a serious mien, responds: “Grandpa, you know that I love you, and I see you are in pain. Tell me: If I loved you more, would you be in less pain?” I am convinced that God at that moment is smiling as He contemplates His creation.


Open Heart – Part 3 – TOWARDS THE END – 9.14 mins

Biblical Month 1 – NISSAN

NISSAN – ניסן

“This month shall mark for you the begining of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you.” (Exodus 12:2)




Praised are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who created the skies with His Word, and all heaven’s hosts with the breath of His mouth. He gave them appointed times and roles, and they never miss their cues doing their Creator’s bidding with gladness and joy. He is a true creator who acts faithfully, and He has told the moon to renew itself.
It is a beautiful crown for the people carried by God from birth [Israel], who will likewise be renewed in the future in order to proclaim the beauty of their Creatorfor His glorious majesty.
Praised are you, O Lord, who renews new moons.

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

Abba, Father, may You give us long life, a life of peace  –  Shalom 
a life of goodness – Tovah
a life of blessing – Bracha
a life of sustenance – Parnassa
a life of physical health – Hilutz Atzamot  
a life in which there is a fear of heaven and fear of sin – Yirat Shamayim ve’ Yirat Chet  
a life in which there is no humiliation – Ein Busha u’Chlimah 
a life of wealth and honor – Osher ve’Kavod 
a life in which we will have love of Torah and awe and reverence of G-d  – Ahavat Torah ve’Yirat HaShem 
a life walked more fully for Your glory in Adoneinu Yeshua, our Messiah and Lord.

Amen. Selah.


 “From New Moon to New Moon, from Sabbat to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 66:23)


“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

Prayer for the RESTORATION of ZION

 A beautiful prayer by Rabbi Yechiel Tzvi Lichtenstein (a Messianic Jew), published in 1887 with the preface: “We set our hearts day and night to Jerusalem and its exalted place. Whoever has eyes to see let him see, and whoever has ears, let him hear!”


O Lord, in accordance with all of your acts of righteousness, let your anger and wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain.

Our Father, our King, lift a banner to the peoples to return Israel to its pasture. Gather us from the four corners of the earth to our Land, and plant us within its borders on the mountain of our inheritance.

Bring us to Zion, your city, with singing and to Jerusalem, your holy city, with eternal joy. Build it in your compassion and let it remain perched and inhabited in its place. Establish your Holy Temple in it and gladden us in your House of Prayer.

Return your Dwelling Place to Zion, your city, and send us Yeshua our Messiah a second time. Let him reign upon the Throne of David in Jeruslaem, your Holy City.

Lift up the horn of the salvations of your people Israel in the house of David your servant – salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, just as you have spoken through your prophets.

O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for your Name is called upon your city and upon your people. Hurry HaShem, to help us! Ransom your people Israel from its iniquities and from all its troubles, for the time to be gracious has come. The appointed time has come.



Scripture references:

Daniel 9:16; Jeremiah 50:19; Isaiah 11:12; Exodus 15:17; Zechariah 14:10; Isaiah 56:7; Luke 1:69-71; Daniel (:19; Psalm 38: 23 [22]; Psalm 130:8; Psalm 25;22; Psalm 102:14 [13].

** From brochure printed by Vine of David,

  • Artwork: Alex Levine, Jerusalem


Photo credit: KHP 

  • Keep a Prayer Notebook or Journal. Especially note specific prayer requests and record answers with grateful praise!
  • Copy or print out prayers from His-Israel or from other sources that inspire you. 
  • Write out meaningful Scripture verses that relate, and proclaim them. 
  • Start to pray through the Psalms, daily if possible. Invest in the “15 Psalms of Ascent” CD by Keren Hannah – soon to be released. Keep a look out on His-Israel FB page. Play it as a prayer. 
  • Invest in a Hebrew-English Siddur (Daily Prayer Book). The Koren Siddur is recommended. Start brushing up on your Hebrew. Hebrew prayers are powerful! 
  • Sign up on the His-Israel Home page to receive the monthly Newsletter, which will include VIP Prayer Points particularly connected with Israel. The Shalom of the nations depends upon the Shalom of Jerusalem.

It is time to take a united stand against the enemy of our souls and raise up valuable, important and powerful prayers in fervent, believing faith, with the authority invested in us by our High Priest Yeshua.

Let us also fervently proclaim the timeless truth of the Word of God, trusting that the schemes and curses of evil will be be made null and void and that our God will arise and His enemies be scattered.

For His Name’s sake in Love.


“Elisha,” I say very quietly. My son hears me: “What can I do for you?” … I motion him to approach. Now he is very close to my bed. He takes my hand in his and caresses it gently. I try to squeeze his hand but I don’t succeed. I know that he wishes to transmit to me his strength, his faith in my recovery.

Is one ever ready? Some of the ancient Greek philosophers, as well as some Hassidic masters, claimed to have spent their lifetimes preparing for death. Well. the Jewish tradition counsels another way: We sanctify life, not death. ‘Ubakharta bakhaim,’ says Scripture: “You shall choose life” and the living. With the promise to live a better, more moral, more humane life. This is what man’s efforts should be directed to.


Open Heart – Part 2 – POST-SURGERY REFLECTIONS – 9.21 mins

Open Heart – Part 1 – “IT’S YOUR HEART!”


My wife, Marion, and I have just returned from Jerusalem, where, every year, we spend the holiday of Shavuot with close friends. …This time, in Jerusalem, it had all gone well. No terrorist attacks. No border incidents. …But now, back in New York, suddenly my body revolts.”It’s certainly the heart.” Ominous words, inducing fear and the promise of more pain. Or worse.


Open Heart – Part 1 – IT’S YOUR HEART! – 10.30 mins


And the Sea is Never Full – Part 3 – PEACE AND HATE

Was it Oscar Wilde who was wise enough to say that he who lives more than one life ends up dying more than one death? I have lived a few lives. How does one relate to the other? I look for the life of the boy from Sighet in that of the orphan abandoned at Buchenwald.

With a Nobel Prize come quite a few lessons. For one, you learn who is a friend and who is not. Contrary to popular wisdom, a friend is not one who shares your suffering, but one who knows how to share your joy.

Nothing good, nothing great, nothing that is alive, can be born of hate. Hate begets only hate.


Part 3 – The Nobel Peace Prize – 13.37 minutes


“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand,  I shall not be shaken” (Psalms 16:8).


What is that exactly? I coined the acronym to carry the meaning of  Valuable, Important and Powerful Prayer. Indeed, every genuine prayer from the heart is of great value and importance, and is extremely powerful in our battle against the forces of the enemy. 

This week I was forwarded a Facebook post by a friend with dual American-Israeli citizenship, which informed that a program, organized by an occult group of witches and others, was being launched to hold a “massive, worldwide, ceremony” to cast a curse of “binding” on Donald Trump, his administration, and his supporters. This is planned to occur monthly at midnight, under the emerging “crescent moon.” The first formal “cursing,” the format of which is being published via various media outlets, probably to encourage more people to participate, is planned for February 25, 2017. While they don’t term it as such, and the fact may not be understood by this occult movement, the emergence of the “new moon” is Rosh Chodesh – the eve of the new Hebrew month. This particular month is the start of the month of ADAR, during which we celebrate the festival of PURIM – instituted by Queen Esther and Mordechai, as described in the biblical book of Esther. This is a great encouragement, as Purim commemorates the great victory over the enemies of God, who had devised a plan to kill and get rid of His people! 

As well as the courage of Esther, who approached the king at risk to her life, the key element of procuring the victory was the united effort of the Jewish people to fast and pray together with her for three days. God’s face is hidden throughout the book of Esther, although one is very aware of his hand at work behind the scenes. A reason for his ‘hiddeness’ could well be that he desires to impress upon us the value, importance, and power of the prayer of his people. When we turn to him in faith, and call to him in prayer, then he responds supernaturally. We need to enter into VIP Prayer! But what does this look and sound like? There are many different forms of prayer – all of which become VIP Prayer when issuing from a pure and sincere heart.

I believe that when we have no words, every thought, sigh, tear, and cry directed to our Father in Heaven, is a form of prayer. More usually, as He has given us the gift of words and communication, our personal from-the-heart prayers can be raised verbally anywhere, and at any time; and all are precious. Also, as they are today, we know that even in Yeshua’s time and that of the Early Church, prescribed prayers were already in place and recited, either individually or communally in the synagogues. The daily morning and evening prayers, as well as those for Shabbat and the Festivals, are collected in the Siddur – the Jewish Daily Prayer Book.*  Siddur is from the root word  seder – order.

When these prayers are read and prayed with kavanah – concentrated focus and sincere devotion – they are powerful indeed. This is true also of the Psalms – another form of prayer. Just as Esther knew the importance of having all the people pray with her, wherever they were physically, we know that strength, unity, and reassurance ensue when many hearts are lifting the same prayers before the Throne of Grace. The occult group know this too, as they strive to unite before their demonic god. Particularly at the time we find ourselves in now, this prayer from the Siddur, which was  composed centuries before and would have been familiar to Yeshua and his disciples, is valuable to pray with a resounding Amen! 

May the time not be distant O God, when Thy Name shall be worshipped in all the earth; when unbelief shall disappear and error shall be no more. Fervently we pray that the day may come when all men may invoke Thy Name, when corruption and evil shall give way to purity and goodness, and when superstition shall no longer enslave the mind and idolatry blind the eye – when all who dwell on earth shall know that to Thee alone every knee must bend and every tongue give homage. 

O may all created in Thine image recognize that they are brothers, so that, one in spirit and one in fellowship, they may be forever united before Thee. Then shall Thy kingdom be established on earth, and the words of Thine ancient prophets be fulfilled. Adonai yimloch le’olam va’ed. The Lord will reign forever and ever!

May we daily be encouraged to focus our hearts on VIP Prayer – “for such a time as this!” 

With every blessing and encouragement in Messiah,

Keren Hannah

[Taken from the His-Israel March 2017 Newsletter.]

* An inspirational Hebrew-English Siddur we recommend is The Koren Siddur, (Ashkenaz),  with commentary by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.