Man Is Not Alone – Man Stands Between God And The Beasts

Man Is Not Alone


* Man is always faced with the choice of listening either to God or to the snake.

* Man is the knot in which heaven and earth are interlaced.


Between God and the Beasts   3.25 mins. [from Ch.20 – The Essence of Man]


More from: ‘Man is Not Alone’

[from Ch.15 The Divine Concern]

The concern for others is not an extension in breadth but an ascension, a rise. Man reaches a new vertical dimension, the dimension of the holy, when he grows beyond his self interests, when that which is of interest to others becomes vital to him.

…The self, the fellow-man and the dimension of the holy are the three dimensions of a mature human concern.

…Our first impulse is self-preservation. …If life is holy, as we believe it is, then self-regard is that which maintains the holy. …The moral task is not how to disregard one’s own self but how to discover and be attentive to another self.

The self is not evil. The precept: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” includes the care of one’s own self as a duty. …To serve does not mean to surrender but to share.

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” concludes with the words: “I Am the Lord.” It is this conclusion that contains the ultimate reason for that solemn command. True and timeless is the command; but if God were not God, there would be no truth, no timelessness and no such command.

~Keren Hannah


You can purchase Man Is Not Alone from
Man Is Not Alone : A Philosophy of Religion


Four entered the orchard:
Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Elisha and Ben Azzai and Ben Zoma.
Ben Zoma gazed and died,
Rabbi Elisha cut down the plantings,
Ben Azzai gazed and was harmed.
Only Rabbi Akiva emerged in peace.

by Yochi Brandes
Translated from the Hebrew by Daniel Libenson

~ Review by Cindy

The Orchard is one of the most profoundly thoughtful, intensely moving, at times keenly troubling, and spellbinding reads I have taken the time to enjoy for a long while. 

Yochi Brandes weaves a story of the greatly venerated Rabbi Akiva (born not long after the birth of Yeshua) as told through the eyes of his second wife Rachel. Though fiction, it is rooted in Scripture, historical events, and Talmudic lore. Brandes paints for us the life of Akiva, an illiterate shepherd who meets Rachel, the daughter of one of the richest men in Israel. Though on the brink of betrothal, Rachel is stuck by the heart and mind of Akiva and withdraws from her betrothal. Seeking out Akiva’s company (and hand in marriage) Rachel teaches Akiva to read and marvels at his uniqueness of drawing out meaning not only from the words of Scripture but also from the individual letters and spaces between them. Seeing potential for greatness, Rachel pushes Akiva at the age of 40 to study Torah under Rabbi Eliezer, a leading sage of the post-Temple era.

The Orchard is centered on the life of Rabbi Akiva, but it also tells the story of the rabbis who lived following the destruction of the Second Temple (70 C.E.) and one Rabbi who died just before 70 C.E. – Paul of Tarsus. The Orchard propels the reader into the struggles between the schools of Judaism – the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel, the struggles between the Sadducees and the Pharisees, and the struggles between Israel and Rome. Yochi Brandes also gives a glimpse of the complicated relationship between the Nazarenes and the Sages in this same period.

At times I laughed out loud, other times my heart swelled and overflowed with such warmth and love, and then there were times I wept. Throughout this read I had many sleepless nights of wrestling. Please if you pick up this book don’t expect it to be a happily-ever-after read. It is visceral, raw, and at times heart breaking.  But with all that said, The Orchard is fascinating. What a gift to witness arguments for the sake of Heaven.

The Orchard is a deeply moving read, penetrating the heart. It is an experience not to be missed, and also an experience not to be entered into lightly.

Available on Amazon

Win a Complimentary Copy of an Abraham Joshua Heschel Book

exited baby


Make your choice from the list below!


Enjoy a wonderful adventure this summer into the thoughts, concepts and inspirations of renowned thinker and author, Abraham Joshua Heschel.
Let your thinking be stimulated  and join the discussion.

Write a comment below the posts, either here on the HIS-ISRAEL website or on our Facebook page. Or  simply share the post on your Facebook timeline each week. You are awarded one entry for each comment or share.

The final draw will be made at the conclusion of the series and the winner will be announced on the website and on the His-Israel Facebook page.

 Choose from this amazing list of books, one of which Keren will be featuring each week:
  1. Man Is Not Alone
  2. The Sabbath
  3. Israel – An Echo Of Eternity
  4. I Asked For Wonder
  5. The Prophets
* The draw for the winner will take place on 23 August, 2019
* photo credit: Pinterest

Meditations For SIVAN

“… it is possible to know that we are always there, arriving wholly in this moment, fully present in this step, alive to the miracle of the journey.”*


*Shefa Gold, Are We There Yet?


Congratulations LINDSAY INGALLS
and thank you so much for being a friend to HIS-ISRAEL.

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

Next selection will be July 1, 2019.


Leil Shavuot – The Eve of Pentecost

~ Keren Hannah

The anticipated time has arrived and we can celebrate the Jubilee of Shavuot!
At nightfall, special festival candles are lit with the blessing:

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’Olam,
asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav ve’tzivanu lehadlik ner shel Yom Tov.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments and commanded us to light the Festival lights.

The She’hechianu blessing is then recited:

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’Olam,
She’hechianu, ve’kiamanu, ve’higianu la’zman ha’zeh.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe,
who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.

Shavuot 2 -3

Study of Torah

At Shavuot we celebrate God’s giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, and the gift of the Holy Spirit on Mount Zion. It is customary, in some Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, for children at three or four years of age to begin their study of the Torah at Shavuot. In order to symbolize the sweetness of Torah, as expressed in the verse: “The knowledge of Torah is like milk and honey under the tongue,” the teachers give each child a drop of honey, or candy, as they learn each new letter. Whenever, we study God’s Word with all our heart, the sweetness is tasted and it is a moment of revelation and a celebration of God’s gift at Sinai and in the person of His Son and Messiah, Yeshua.

At Shavuot the ten utterances of Creation in Genesis are echoed in the Ten Words – the Ten Commandments given at Mount Sinai. Through the gift of His Torah, God informs us, as a Father to His children, that what we do matters. He gives us His guidance and instructions on how to live in order to grow in His likeness and to become the people He created us to be. There is no other way to fulfill our potential and live a life that is meaningful and vibrant – a life of true peace and joy eternal – apart from His way. All that is required from us is to do as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai – to recognize that He is God and to say, “We will do and we will hear!”

Yeshua came and lived His life as the the love of God and the Torah Incarnate, the perfect expression of the Father’s holiness. An important aspect of His mission was to bring the light of God’s Word to the world – to perfectly reflect the Divine image and to lead us in our Father’s way of truth and righteousness; to walk in His love with giving hearts. All that Yeshua did every day was in unity and harmony with the Father and was empowered by the Holy Spirit. He came, as a faithful Shepherd, to lead the way and to inspire his disciples to follow, to the glory of the Father.

Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.
(John 5:19)

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 15:10).

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness”… “Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee”
(Luke 4:1, 14).



The book of Ruth and the Psalms are the main focus of study at this season. Shavuot is considered the day of the Psalmist King David’s birth and death, and the link in lineage between Ruth, David and Messiah is celebrated. Psalm 68 is considered a special psalm to be read at Shavuot. During synagogue services, the Hallel Psalms are read (Psalms 113 – 118). In addition, there is a special reading of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19-20), during which the congregation stands in order to re-enact the receiving of the Torah at Sinai. Sephardic Jews read a beautiful ketubah (wedding contract) following the opening of the Ark on Shavuot morning to honor God as the Groom and Israel as His bride. At the Temple on Mount Zion, the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples of Yeshua, thus it is worthwhile to include a study of the gifts and fruit of the Spirit in our lives at Shavuot.

After a light celebratory dinner, Leil Shavuot, the night of Shavuot, is devoted to the study of Torah – an all night event for the stalwart! In Jerusalem, for example, study events with excellent teachers are set up all across the city throughout the night. I have sweet memories of moving with a group of friends from one preselected and timed study to another. Just before dawn, everyone started walking to the Kotel, the Western Wall, at the heart of the Old City. As we walked, we could hear the steps and soft murmurings of more and more little streams of people joining with the growing ‘river’ that was flowing from all directions to the gathering place that represents the earthly, Holy House of God.
Suddenly time had no meaning; we became part of the innumerable processions that, through history, had made their way joyfully in response to His call to “come up” to His holy mountain to meet with Him at His appointed time. Our hearts were filled with the beauty of His Word, our mouths were singing psalms of praise, and we rejoiced that we could stand together in His Presence in the place that He had chosen as His Dwelling Place forever. As we prayed and sang and watched the new day dawn with its ever-brightening golden light, our hearts were filled with hope and faith in the Salvation and Redemption of our God, who has promised:


On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. YHWH, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will renew you in his love; He will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival. He will remove disaster from you…” (Zephaniah 3:16-18).

Day of the Firstfruits – Yom HaBikkurim

The central theme of the ingathering of the wheat harvest fifty days after the planting at Passover, and the offering of the first fruits to the Creator and Giver of all, is beautifully celebrated on the kibbutzim [agricultural communities] in restored Israel today.  I enjoy delightful memories of my time on a kibbutz in the swamp-turned-fertile-farmland valley of Jezreel. Late morning, after catching up on some sleep after a night of study, everyone would meet in the wheat fields where, in a form of dance, a group of men would reap the grain with huge sickles. I was invited to join the group of women, dressed in white and red, who danced behind them gathering the stalks and placing them together in a growing pile. What a prophetic, joyful dance!

Lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest.
He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together

John 4:35-36

We then walked to a large open area, happily led by the children who were dressed in white like little brides and grooms, bedecked with flowers in their hair and flowing colorful ribbons. There we rejoiced in God’s plentiful provision as each department of the kibbutz would process with the fruits of their labors and display them. This was followed by further celebration in dance and communal song, until we all adjourned to the flower and greenery filled dining hall for a fresh and delicious dairy-based meal.



It is customary to eat dairy foods rather than meat at Shavuot, based on the verse,
The knowledge of Torah is like milk and honey under the tongue” (Song of Songs 4:11).
Baked goods also feature, being the ‘fruit’ of the grain crops.

Extra large and longer challah bread is baked or purchased in recollection of the offering of the two loaves of bread waved by the HIgh Priest at the Temple. They are a fitting symbol of the good and nourishing results of man’s participation with God as he works with what is given by God.

Cheesecake, of course, is the perennial favorite. [See recipes below]. Some Sephardic communities bake specially decorated seven-layer cakes to indicate the completion of the seven weeks of anticipation. There is also a mystical belief that there are seven spheres, or heavens, that separate man and God. Thus, “…the seven layers of the cake represent the mystical celestial spheres that God had to traverse to deliver the Torah to the Jewish people.” [1] And, thus, the seven spheres our spirits need to spiral upward through as we grow and draw closer in intimate relationship with Him.

Things to Do at Home

  • Decorate your home with special flowers and greenery to celebrate God’s gift of the beauty of the season.
  • Make garlands of “flower crowns” for children to wear.
  • Arrange a centerpiece for your table using meaningful symbols. Here, for example, I used a silver platter embossed with fruit, to represent the silver of Redemption and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). A single white candle represents the spotless Messiah Yeshua, who enfleshed the Torah and dwelt amongst us as the “light of the world” (John 8:12).

Shavuot 2 - 6

We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit [red, as in flames] and through belief in the Truth [white]. (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Shavuot 2 - 7

  • Make a Ten Commandments Card.

To help children understand the importance of the day of receiving God’s Word, help them make a decoration that can be displayed as a reminder. This is a simple example.

Shavuot 2 - 8

* Fold a piece of A4 paper in fourths and cut the top in a semi-circle so that it unfolds like the tablets of Torah.
* Fold left and right sides inwards. You can practice Hebrew by writing the first ten letters of the Aleph Bet, which represent numerals 1 through 10, or write the numerals.
* Paste a cutout red heart on the inside to show that the Word is written on our hearts. Enjoy selecting and writing relevant and meaningful Scripture verses, e.g. Psalm 119:89, 97, 130; Luke 4:4.

  • To add to the fun, have a sleepover party for the children, while the adults study the book of Ruth. As a “midnight feast,” a treat of a special cake can be enjoyed. Maybe a white cheesecake, ice-cream cake, or a cake with white icing, representing the sweetness, purity, and enjoyment of the Word. You could add twelve red cherries or strawberries, representing the fruit of the Spirit. Add a few candles representing the flames of fire that descended at Mount Sinai and on the Temple Mount. At an opportune time, the children could blow out the candles, making the sound of a “mighty, rushing wind”! [2]

Chag Shavuot Sameach! A Blessed and Joyous Pentecost!



Shavuot Coconut Cheesecake

  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker (or ginger biscuit) crumbs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup cream of coconut
½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whipped cream or topping of your choice
  • ½ cup coconut, toasted

Mix together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter/margarine and press into bottom of 9-inch spring-form pan. Refrigerate. Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.

  1. Cream together cream cheese, cream of coconut, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Add eggs one at a time. Pour mixture over crust and bake for 40 minutes.
  3.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove sides of pan and top with whipped topping and toasted coconut before serving.

Fruit Kebabs with Creamy Dips

  • Assorted fruit, cut into roughly 1” shapes
  • Wooden skewers
  • 1 large container vanilla yoghurt
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Skewer a selection of fruit on each skewer – red strawberry and yellow pineapple brighten them up!

Mix yoghurt & honey. Pour into three or four bowls and add a different flavor to each if desired. For example, coconut, orange juice, chocolate.

DIp fruit into the various creamy dips and enjoy.

Yummy and healthy! Be’teiavon! Bon apetite!


Shavuot 2 - 10


1. Rabbi K.M. Olitzky & Rabbi Daniel Judson, Jewish Holidays, Jewish Lights Publishing, Vermont, 2007, 94.
2. Thanks to Michele Guiness for this idea! (The Heavenly Party, Monarch Books, 2007, 181)



You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain [barley harvest – Passover]. Then you shall keep the Festival of Weeks [Shavuot] for YHVH your God, contributing a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing that you have received from YHVH your God.
Deuteronomy 16:9-10

Shavuot also is known as Chag HaKatzir, the Harvest Festival. It is the second of the three major Pilgrimage Festivals appointed by God, when the people of Israel would go up to Jerusalem to meet with Him at the Temple. This applied to men in particular but women and children accompanied them whenever possible. Usually, great and joyful processions would wend their way from every corner of the Land, all going up to the beautiful City of God. None travelled empty handed for, apart from all they needed for the journey, they carried baskets filled with the first fruits of their crops, which they would bring to the Temple as an offering of gratitude to the generous Giver of all.

The seven weeks they had counted since Passover were almost at an end, they had harvested the wheat crop, and now, before the days of the fast-approaching summer became too warm, they were gathering together in eager anticipation as one big family at the House of their Father to celebrate His goodness with offerings, music, dance, and feasting.


Shavuot is only a one day holiday in Israel, whereas Passover and Sukkot  each are celebrated for a week. Counting the seven weeks of the Omer connects the springtime festivals of Passover, and the week ofUnleavened Bread with the climax of Shavuot, when, in a dramatic revelation of His Presence, God presented His Word to His people.
This ‘chain’ of 49 days in the Spring is reflected in the Fall Feasts, beginning with the month of Elul, which is followed by Rosh HaShana, the ten Days of Awe, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). The Fall sequence culminates with the special celebration of Simchat Torah – rejoicing over the precious gift of God’s Word, the firstfruits of which were given at the first Shavuot/Pentecost.


One of the central themes of the Bible is the revelation of who God is and, as a result, who we are as His children created in His image. As Shavuot primarily celebrates this revelation and the covenant relationship of God with His people, it is one of the key festivals in the cycle of God’s appointed times. At Passover we celebrated “so great a salvation.” God showed Himself, through signs and wonders, to be the mighty Redeemer of His enslaved people. Through the blood of His Passover Lamb, Messiah, this salvation was made available for all peoples of the earth. He opened the way, the door to life, for all. That was a wonderful beginning! Then He said, “Count the days! Wait in anticipation – there is more!”

Seven weeks later, in a spectacular ‘sound-and-light’ show, God revealed Himself on Mount Sinai before His waiting people. At the Red Sea, Moses had declared the understanding that the God of Israel was King. “Adonai yimloch le’olam va’ed! The Lord, YHWH, will reign forever and ever!” (Exodus 15:18). Now, at Sinai, He would present the blueprint for life in His Kingdom; the Constitution, as it were, which would instruct His people on how to create a kingdom on earth in which God is King.

The gathered Israelites not only would receive their ‘identity cards’ as members of His Kingdom, but they also would receive a declaration of His love, a ketubah, a betrothal document from a groom to a bride. They were both overwhelmed and terrified! The King knew, however, that this was not a one-time event. It was the start of an extended process – the forging and developing of an eternal relationship that, like any covenant relationship, would require constant, ongoing dialogue and interaction.


An embroidered Torah Ark cover., which reads:

 Etz Chaim Hi L’Machzikim Ba –  A Tree of Life is she [the Torah] to those who strongly take hold of her.

By hearing, studying, and living this great gift of His Word, incarnated in Yeshua, we His people are enabled to grow in knowledge and love of our Bridegroom-King. At the same time, we are enabled to grow in all the Kingdom potential our Father has planted within us.

At Shavuot on Mount Zion, the promised gift of the Holy Spirit came from Heaven as tongues of fire and rested upon the disciples of Yeshua – filling, empowering, inspiring them to “go forth into all the earth” as ambassadors for the Kingdom of God and His Messiah. They would carry the good news that the sacrifice had been made, the price was paid, and whosoever would repent and turn in faith to the one God of Israel would be “children and heirs” in His Kingdom (Romans 8:14-16). That Shavuot was a new day for the extension of the Kingdom of God on earth, which, beginning at His Holy House in Jerusalem, would now reach out to the far corners of the earth.


The connection between Pesach and Shavuot is also marked with the beginning and end of the wheat harvest. The ingathering of the whole harvest was a vital, busy time as the crop would provide a staple food for the nation, the lack of which would mean famine.

The centrality of the harvest is a feature in the book of Ruth, which is read and studied at Shavuot. It was due to a famine in the land that Naomi and her husband, and their two sons, left their town of Bethlehem for the neighboring country of Moab. After the death of her husband and sons in Moab, Naomi and one Moabite daughter-in-law, Ruth, returned to Bethlehem. It was at the time of the wheat harvest and Ruth went to glean in the fields in order to support herself and her mother-in-law. Ruth was the “first fruits” of those from the nations who have and who will in the last days, as the prophet Zechariah describes, “…take hold of the tzitzit/ tassles of the prayer-shawl of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you” (8:23).


Picture – Kenneth Berg

Just as Ruth said to Naomi: “Do not entreat me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die – there will I be buried” (1:16-17).

Ruth’s faithfulness and demeanor earned her the admiration of the landowner Boaz and, to cut a long story short, a wedding ensued. To them a son was born, named Oved (servant of God), who in turn had a son, Yishai (Jesse), who was the father of David – the second king of Israel. From David’s line would come forth the Messiah, Yeshua, the future King of all kings; the one sent and anointed of God as the “bread of life.” As Yeshua said, “I am the living bread that came down from Heaven. [God’s Word enfleshed – as he said, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Luke 4:4] Whoever eats of this bread [of the truth of God’s Word] will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh” (John 6:51).

He gave his flesh as a sacrifice for the sins of the world and then, in the power of the Father was raised from the grave as the first fruits of new resurrection life. “Messiah has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

At Shavuot on Mount Zion, God poured out the gift of His Spirit of holiness. We now wait for the full and final harvest in the last days with longing and great anticipation, as Paul wrote, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for…the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:22-23).


The Shabbat before Shavuot (31st May this year) is called Shabbat Kallah – the Sabbath of the Bride, which is comparable to the Sabbath celebrated by a Jewish bride prior to her wedding. On Erev Shavuot, the Eve of Shavuot, it is customary for an observant Jew to go to the mikveh (ritual bath) as a means of purification and preparation, as a bride and bridegroom do on the eve of their wedding and as the Israelites prepared themselves at Sinai.

It is with this same sense of eager anticipation, albeit that our joy can be touched with some trepidation, that we count the final days of the Omer and arrive at the threshold of Shavuot. Our preparation will determine whether we will be ready to approach the mount and enter the ‘fiery cloud’ of His Presence and hear the voice of God that has special words to speak to each of His children. We need not fear, however, for they are words of love as a bridegroom would whisper to his beloved bride. A very concrete example of this is enacted in Sephardic services on Shavuot. When the Ark is opened and before the Torah scroll is removed, a ketubah like document is read before the congregation. Some examples of which are as follows:

The Bridegroom [YHVH], Ruler of rulers, Prince of princes…Whose mouth is pleasing and all of Whom is delightful, said unto the pious, lovely and virtuous maiden [the people of Israel], who is beautiful as the moon, radiant as the sun, awesome as bannered hosts… Be thou My mate according to the law of Moses and Israel, and I will honor, support and maintain thee and be thy shelter and refuge in everlasting mercy…

The bride consented and became His spouse. Thus an eternal covenant, binding them forever, was established between them…. The dowry that this bride brought consists of an understanding heart that understands, ears that hearken, and eyes that see….Thus, the sum total of the contract and dowry…amounts to the following: “Revere YHVH and observe His commandments; this applied to all mankind” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

I invoke heaven and earth as reliable witnesses. May the Bridegroom rejoice with the bride whom He has taken as His portion and may the bride rejoice with her Husband
…while uttering words of praise. [1]

A chuppah – wedding canopy

When describing the Kingdom of God, in chapter 25 of the gospel of Matthew, Yeshua shares a parable that describes the return of the eagerly awaited bridegroom for the wedding feast. In the gospel narrative it is clear that he, Messiah, is the Bridegroom. John the Baptizer confirms this when he describes himself in the role of a friend of the bridegroom:

He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom,
who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.
For this reason my joy has been fulfilled (John 3:29).

In the parable, at a time unexpected, the bridegroom arrives. “At midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’” Some were prepared, others were not. As we anticipate the arrival of our beloved Bridegroom and friend, let us be prepared, be alert, be looking out and listening for the proclamation of His voice, “Come my beloved bride, the Feast is ready!” Our longing will be consummated and our joy truly will be fulfilled.

He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love.”
(Song of Songs 2:4)

~ Keren Hannah Pryor


* Picture: Shavuot,  Baruch Nachshon, Israel

1. Michael Strassfield, The Jewish Holidays, A Guide & Commentary, Harper & Row, NY, 1985, 75.

Meditations For IYYAR

Wherever the river flows…there is life.
Ezekiel 49:7


I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord G-d Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of G-d illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. …Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of G-d and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.
Revelation 21:22-23, 22:1-2

During this month of Iyyar may this future promise of tikkun be realized in our lives even now!

IYYAR Meditations


Keren’s book “A TASTE of TORAH” is now available in 

To obtain a copy contact Colleen at:

Congratulations ANMAR VOLSCHENK!
We are so very thankful to have you with us here at HIS-ISRAEL.

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

Next selection will be June 1, 2019.

5779 / 2019 Counting The Omer Calendar


Sefirat Ha’Omer – Counting the Omer between Passover and Shavuot 


If we are merely counting down to something, then that thing is, by definition, finite. It is limited; it disappears as quickly as it arrives. But if, instead, we “count up” to something, we desire it to be infinite, to be unlimited, to be everlasting. And so we celebrate the timelessness of Torah [the Word and ways of G-d] and the importance of each and every day when we commit ourselves to counting the Omer, because, “In matters of holiness we should always ascend, and never descend.” *

Download: 2019 Omer Calendar


* Rabbi Joel Seltzer, Counting Up, Not Down, Toward the Omer

Keep Climbing! Facebook LIVE- NISSAN


The root of the name Nissan is nes – meaning miracle. During this month of Nissan G-d performed open, supernatural  miracles – miracles that transcend nature and the ability of men to comprehend. He sent the ten plagues upon Egypt in order to prove to Pharaoh and the people that their idols were false and powerless.

He then parted the Reed Sea and effected the physical redemption of His people from the slavery in Egypt. We need also to remember the part the Israelites played in the midst of these miracles. And what part do we ourselves need to play as we await the Final Redemption?



Prayer reminds me of the simple truths. We are surrounded by holiness. By beauty. By wonder and awe. At the same time, we must live as it is offered us, sometimes messy, sometimes challenging, potentially painful, potentially traumatic, a mixed bag of joy and sorrow. No matter what, our lives are enriched by prayer. Prayer gives our hearts a voice.

There’s no moment too small for a prayer. Or too large for that matter. A single petal of a rose. A field of wildflowers. A birth. A death. And there’s no moment too small or too large for gratitude.


Psalms and Prayers for a New Day
by Alden Solovy

~ review by Cindy

Alden Solovy is a well-known liturgist and has become a favorite writer of mine. His words are both beautiful and heartfelt and I find myself not just reading his words but praying them. These psalm and prayers are both profound and deeply seated expressions that stir yearnings in my heart and have often helped me form words that I couldn’t find on my own.

This stirring anthology contains over 100 poems, organized into nine sections to make finding what you are looking for easy:

  1. Days
  2. Seasons
  3. Shabbat
  4. Jewish Holy Days
  5. Other Special days
  6. Turning Points
  7. End of Life
  8. Grief
  9. Memorial Prayers

The Grateful Heart is deeply soulful.  Often used by myself for personal prayer, Alden Solovy truly does bend light onto the pages of this inspiring collection.

His new book This Joyous Soul is just as beautiful and inspirational.

You can find them both on

Visit Alden Solovy at To Bend Light

March’s Winner of ‘A Taste of Torah’

we are so grateful for your friendship to HIS-ISRAEL!

As always, please remember to post a new comment each month to participate in the current month’s name selection and for another chance to receive a complimentary copy.

Next selection will be May 1, 2019.

Signs and Wonders – Fun For The Family Seder

(Exodus 7:3-11:10)

Raphael Abecassiss

Raphael Abecassis (Israeli) PASSOVER

The following family activity based on the ten plagues can add fun and drama to your Pesach Seder meal.

Make a  gift “Plague Packet” for each child and insert small labelled bags containing each of the plagues that offer ‘hands-on’ application. At the appropriate plague they can open the small bag and toss the contents at their friends!

Or, as we have done in our (Cindy’s) home, enjoy one sign and wonder on each of the 9 days prior to Pesach eve with the hope of stirring up questions and discussion, and of building excitement in anticipation of the Seder.

Enjoy and adapt according to your child / family. Use any or all ideas.

1.  WATER INTO BLOOD (Exodus 7:14-25) You need red food coloring.

I’m not sure if this one is more fun for the child or the parent. Put a few drops of food coloring in a glass prior to the family sitting down at the breakfast table. Once everyone is seated, pour water into each glass — oooh… the water turns red!

At the Seder table you also can have fun with the food coloring and water. To add to the ‘Plague Packet’ you could make drops of blood by cutting two tear drop shapes out of red felt. Sew the top of the tear drop together and a child can slip it over his / her finger.



2.  FROGS (Exodus 7:25-8:11) You need little plastic frogs.

These little guys are way too much fun! On frog day, you can put them in a lunch bag, or half in and half out of a sandwich (you want your family to see them not eat them); strew some on the breakfast table or place some on your child’s bed before he or she wakes up.

The possibilities are endless! In shoes, on toothbrush etc., etc.



3.  LICE (Exodus 8:16-19) You can use llittle beads or confetti.

Sprinkle the beads / confetti over your child when sleeping so they have to shake them off when they wake up. Put some in their hairbrush. Sprinkle on your table and counters. Again, the possibilities are endless…the clean up is worth the fun.




4.  WILD BEASTS, possibly flies* (Exodus 8:20-32) You need toy plastic lions and tigers and bears, insects. Oh my!  Place them around your house.

Flies are just too hard to resist. Freeze them in your ice cube tray and put the cubes with the frozen flies in your families beverages.**  Enjoy the beverage with wild / zoo animal cookies.



5.  DISEASED LIVESTOCK (Exodus 9:1-7) You need a toy cow, goat, sheep etc..

Place them around your house in strategic places.



6.  BOILS (Exodus 9:8-12) You need round colorful stickers.

Place the stickers on everyone’s face.  Another option is to get those wonderful gel stickers, cut into circles and place on all the mirrors in the house.


7.  HAIL  (Exodus 9:13-35) You need styrofoam or  marshmallows.

Cover your table top and counters. Be ready for some snowball fights!




8.  LOCUSTS (Exodus 10:1-20) You need toy winged insects.

Set around your house, on meal plates…etc.




9.  DARKNESS (Exodus 10:21-29) You need sunglasses.

Wear sunglasses inside. At Seder meal you can turn off the lights suddenly.





If you would like a beautiful picture book to use along with, or in place of, the ideas mentioned above, consider From Darkness to Light by Gadi Pollack — it’s a gem! Stunning illustrations, simple text, and a special study section at the end of the book to help understand the meaning of each sign and wonder and how it might correspond to the hardships suffered by Bnei Yisrael – the Israelites.

You can purchase this book via From Darkness to Light

from darkness to light



Rabbi David Fohrman

In his six part Passover series, Rabbi Fohrman opens up layers of meaning of Biblical text, asking questions most of us have never even thought of asking and bringing it all home to who we are and the time we find ourselves in.  An absolute favorite teacher!

Rabbi Sacks

Visit Rabbi Sack’s website and type Passover in the Search box. You’ll find a number of inspiring and thought provoking teachings that are perfect for this season.

Avivah Zornberg

Avivah Zornberg, a Torah scholar, is one of the most original Biblical teachers I have ever heard. Inspired by Scripture and Rabbinic midrash, Zornberg illuminates Scripture; injecting life into them.

You can enjoy two of her teachings pertaining to this season for free on iTunes Exodus, Cargo of Hidden Stores and The Transformation of Pharaoh, Moses, and God. If you don’t have access to iTunes visit On Being with Krista Tippett and type Avivah Zornberg in the search box.


* The majority of Rabbinic commentators say that the fourth sign was wild beasts. They understand the Hebrew word arov ( עָרֹב ) to mean a mixture. Rashbam translates arov as a wolf-like beast. The wolf – arov, attacks at night and is related to the Hebrew word erev (עֶרֶב) meaning evening.

** Be careful that as the ice melts you or your little ones don’t swallow any flies!

*** You can access each of the teachers websites by clicking on their names.




February’s Winner of ‘A Taste of Torah’

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

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

Next selection will be April 1, 2019.