IYYAR – 2nd Biblical Month – Being Holy ~ Being Whole

IYYAR

THEME: THE HEART, THOUGHTS AND CONTEMPLATION

QUOTE: “Faith exists only in the imagination. In that sphere which the mind is able to comprehend, the concept of faith cannot exist.” ~ Rebbe Nachman 

POEM:  Waves of Light  by Rumi.

PSALM 32:  God-Who-Envelops-In-Chessed/Lovingkindness

CREATIVE EXPRESSION: Find pictures; draw your own; sketch; write down any other Scripture verses and/or quotes that will illustrate and express the theme and what you are learning and experiencing this month.

 

 

IYYAR – Heart – Thoughts

Paul writes in Romans 14:17-19 that the kingdom of God is a matter of righteousness, peace and joy in the Ruach HaKodesh – the Spirit of Holiness. A friend pointed out that this is a progression. Righteousness (holiness) leads to Peace (Shalom – shalem -wholeness) and Peace leads to Joy. The greater our righteousness, the greater will be our peace, and, in turn, the greater will be our joy.

The question then is, “How do we become more righteous – more holy, and thus more whole and more deeply joyful?” The process requires Tikkun – healing, rectification, restoration.The key to Tikkun is the reality and power of our Father’s Infinite Love.

The body part we are focusing on during the month of Iyyar is the heart – lev (לב). The Psalm for the month is Psalm 32, which number, interestingly, is the numerical value of lev – ל = 30 and ב = 2.

The heart is the seat, as it were, of the emotions and the organ we most associate with love. What emotion do we commonly consider as the opposite of love? In my research I [Keren] came across the interesting concept that the opposite of love is not hate but Fear! If one digs deeper into the roots of hatred one can discover that hate is a manifestation of fear. It turns out that most negative emotions we experience, such as pain, grief, anger, resentment, depression, and guilt, are all rooted in, and are forms of, fear.  When true love and real peace are allowed in these negative emotions disappear – just as darkness does when light shines in.

Another interesting idea, according to Dr. Gerald Jampolsky, (formerly on the faculty of the University of California’s Medical Center, and author of Love is Letting go of Fear) is that, “Love and peace are so interwoven that they never can be used separately.” To be able to experience the enveloping love of God in our lives, we must allow peace in our hearts, and, vice versa, to experience true peace, we must open our hearts to the love of God.

We can apply this concept – the reality and power of our Father God’s love, and the Shalom that accompanies it, in many different scenarios. Even politically. For example,  a core issue in the ‘Middle East Conflict’ is the desperate attempt to devise a “Peace Plan” between Israel and so-called Palestine. This seems doomed to failure. Why? Because peace and love are interwoven with the light of Truth. The three realities must work together. Picture a three-legged stool – with peace, love and truth as the legs. Remove one leg and the stool will topple. It cannot stand. Any relationship, whether between friends, family, spouses, political partners, etc, must be based on all three – truth, love, and peace, then the relationship will have a base upon which it can grow and endure. Without the three working together in harmony, the fruit will only be fear, hatred, and violence in one form or another.

We all naturally want to be happy, healthy, and productive human beings. During this ‘Being Holy, Being Whole’ series, we are aiming to take gentle and manageable steps to clear our minds, nurture our spirits, and to strengthen our bodies. Now is the time, as we contemplate upon the theme of Thoughts and the Heart,  to make the decision to respond in love rather than in fear to any situation or circumstance in our lives. How do we do this? Remember the three-legged stool! 

First, each thing needs to be brought into the light of truth – the warm, holy light of God’s loving truth; not a harsh interrogation spotlight! This is where the vital link between our thoughts and our hearts comes into play. Our thoughts and imagination are powerful and feed what we believe in our hearts. They are the interface or bridge, as it were, between the physical and spiritual – our bodies and souls. Our thoughts and imagination are the source of our creative ability and can raise us up to spiritual heights or drag us down to  the depths of sin and degradation. 

The mind is a battleground and the apostle Paul  refers to our godly thoughts and beliefs as ”weapons” of our spiritual warfare. He exhorts us to: “…destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Messiah” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We can only “destroy the strongholds” of the enemy if our minds are filed with the knowledge of God and the truth of His Word, as patterned and exemplified in His Son and Messiah Yeshua. 

Raynna, in this month’s video, challenges us to contemplate and answer God’s question to Adam, “Ayeka? Where are you?” Of course God knew Adam’s physical location. The deeper question is: “Where are you now in your relationship with Me?” Are we separated and distant from Him or are we peacefully enfolded in His loving Presence as we rest in the assurance of His truth.

According to His Word, the first basic, foundational truth to grasp is the assurance that you are a child of God, precious in His sight. Secondly, you are not a bad person or a failure for having problems or having made mistakes and, as a result, are unloved and being punished. Thirdly, you are unique and have a purpose in God’s plan that only you can fulfil. Finally, He always is there when you call or reach out for Him. 

These truths are beautifully illustrated in Yeshua’s parable of the merciful father and his prodigal son (Luke 15). The son, who had insulted and disregarded his father, left home and wasted the inheritance he had demanded from his father, and ended up in a pigsty.
As soon as he woke up to his mistake, and saw the results of his bad choices, he truly repented in his heart.  He turned around in humility and, willing to admit his error and to work as a servant, he decided to return to his father. What was the father’s response? It was the same as our Father in Heaven’s when we repent of sinning against Him and causing Him pain. The father was waiting and constantly watching for his child and, when he saw him far off on the road, went running to meet him. He embraced him with great joy. He took him home, dressed him in beautiful robes, gave him a ring of authority, and celebrated his return with a huge feast! 

Mistakes and pain come and go in life. They are a great means of learning and growing. It’s when we get stuck in our pain, as it were, or bury it and ignore it, that it becomes detrimental to our well-being and growth. Nobody likes pain. Children are able to cry, and even throw a tantrum, to naturally express their pain, and then let it go and move on to new experiences. If children grow and  mature in a healthy environment, they learn that there are better ways of dealing with pain. However, if our childhood environment was not loving and healthy, we develop negative coping strategies to deal with our pain. We can repress our feelings, or deny and run away from them. We can even close down our heart and be unwilling to trust or to try new things, all in order to avoid suffering heartbreak, rejection, or failure. Another negative result of being stuck in one’s pain, is that a person can get so used to living with their pain that the thought of being without it scares them; making it almost impossible to let it go. 

So, what can one do? Whether our pain is from childhood or from an experience this week, we need first of all to face it – be aware of it. We can begin to notice familiar patterns of pain. Then we need to bring it into the light of God’s truth and love. Then we can gently let go of any hurt, hatred, bitterness, guilt, resentment, and release them into our Father’s outstretched hand, which always is there ready and waiting. As we allow His healing love and peace to flow in and displace the pain, we can go forward – joyfully reconnected to the source of His life. Then, we must determine to keep moving forward. Each new day, each new moment, our response can be one of love and peace. Sometimes it may be difficult, but the more we embrace the reality of our Father’s Love, the more we will understand that it is far more powerful than our own pain or guilt, as well as the other person’s behavior and guilt.

In every situation, the only meaningful choice we have is between fear and love. Let us choose to fill our thoughts with truth and righteousness, and our hearts with love. Then we will be filled with the joy of Adonai, which is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). As Yeshua described in his parable of the master and those servants who had served him faithfully, the master proclaims: “Well done, good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things; enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:23).

 

IYYAR – PSALM 32

Aim to identify individually with the content of the Psalm in a deep and meaningful way and attempt to apply it to oneself – to find one’s self in the psalm. May our lives become harps that play the songs of God. 

Write out the verses that deeply touch you and express your responses to the Psalm.

The first two verses are an expression of the “joy of deliverance” – the happiness experienced with the realisation that one’s sin is not only forgiven but is completely washed away as if it had not happened. Such is the power of the forgiveness of our Father in Heaven when we confess our sins and repent. We can see how the the prodigal son of Yeshua’s parable clearly reflects the dire scenario of the Psalmist. His confrontation with and confession of the sin, and repentance of it, is the turning point. No sin is greater than God’s infinite love and forgiveness and, once truly repented of, one’s life can be centered in the Father’s Loving Presence and not in the pain of shame and guilt. 

As verse 10 beautifully describes: “Many are the troubles of the wicked, but one who trusts in Adonai will be enveloped by Chessed / Lovingkindness.” His loving Presence surrounds one constantly and, as a result, one can joyfully sing His praise: 

“Rejoice in Adonai! Exult, righteous ones! Shout for joy, all who are upright in heart!” (v.11)

Even if you are suffering or in pain, your preciousness to God cannot be diminished. Nothing can cancel the truth of your being loved. Your Father’s face is toward you and His eye is on you every moment. When your trust is in the God of Love you are surrounded by His steadfast love that never wavers. There is no need to fear, for He constantly reminds us, “Fear not, for I am with you always!”

 

 POEM

           Poem to Ponder for Iyyar 

       Write it in your journal and jot down any thoughts.

                              Waves of Light by Rumi

[Abba, Father]

You are ‘there’, I ‘here’

Worlds separate us

Death’s angels, 

the void of space…

Yet I say Your Name,

and waves of Light

Wash to me silently

from Your Heart.

 

JOURNALING – CHIDUSHIM

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 other 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. 

Before you start journaling remember the blessing: “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

Shemah Yisrael!
You shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your might.
(Deuteronomy 6:5)

Yeshua affirms this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
(Matthew 22:37-40)

Take 5 minutes or so and write spontaneous answers to the following questions:

  1. Loving wholeheartedly involves loving God, loving yourself, and loving others.     What are your strengths and weaknesses in this regard? 
  1. To build authentic connection in one’s relationship with God and others takes courage – to be who you are, compassion – towards yourself and others, and vulnerability – a full awareness of your value and worth as one who is unique and precious in God’s eyes that enables you to reach out in love without guarantee of reciprocity. 

      Where do you stand in these three areas?

  1. Based on what we learned, if you could give yourself one small but practical piece of advice to help you grow in this area – something you can intentionally implement during the month ahead, what would it be?

When we love with all our hearts we can…

~Keren Hannah Pryor

 

In this month’s video,  HIS-ISRAEL friend RAYNNA MYERS shares how she finds creative expression with thoughts from her heart.

 

JOURNAL: BEING HOLY – BEING WHOLE

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.

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

THE NEW ROSH CHODESH CYCLE

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

 

TIKKUN of BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT

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)

PSALMS – HEALING HARPS

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


NISSAN – PSALM 16

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.
Ready!

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.
Go,
be for me a sign.

The canal lies at my window
Mute.
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.

CHIDUSHIM – JOURNALING

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

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:

GO! MOVE, DANCE, SPEAK, PAINT, FEED, LISTEN, WRITE, SING, TOUCH, 
EXPLORE, PAUSE, ENCOURAGE, INSPIRE - sharing through your creative works His TRUTH, BEAUTY, HOPE, LOVE, GOODNESS, KINDNESS, GENTLENESS, HEALING, COMPASSION, LAUGHTER, WONDER - - and become these things 
 (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