The Prophets (3) The God of Pathos and Passion

prophets

The God Of Pathos And Passion – 9.04 minutes

 

To the prophets God was overwhelmingly real and shatteringly present. They never spoke of Him as from a distance.

They disclosed attitudes of God rather than ideas about God.

God does not reveal Himself in an abstract absoluteness, but in a personal and intimate relation to the world.

It was the certainty of God’s love and mercy that enabled the prophets to accept His anger.

 

~ Keren Hannah

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The Prophets (Perennial Classics)

The Prophets (2) What Manner Of Man Is The Prophet?

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prophets

What Manner Of Man Is The Prophet? – 11.56 minutes

 

Over the life of a prophet, words are invisibly inscribed: “All flattery abandon, ye who enter here.” To be a prophet is both a distinction and an affliction.

The prophet’s duty is to speak to the people, “whether they hear or refuse to hear.” A grave responsibility rests upon the prophet. …Yet, being a prophet is also joy, elation, delight!

The pages of prophetic writings are filled with echoes of Divine love and disappointment, mercy and indignation. The God of Israel is never impersonal. This Divine pathos is the key to inspired prophecy.

 

~ Keren Hannah

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The Prophets (Perennial Classics)

Keep Climbing! LIVE – AV (5th Hebrew Month)

 

AV

EQUILIBRIUM AND MODERATION

Verse:

Be perfected; be comforted; be of the same mind; live in peace: and the God of love and peace shall be with you. (2 Cor.13:11)

Quote :

“To ignore the paradox is to miss the truth.” 

~ Abraham Joshua Heschel, Israel: An Echo of Eternity 

The three week period of semi-mourning, that began on the 17th of Tammuz, continues into the month of Av. In the Northern hemisphere it poses a paradox as this period of mourning coincides with summer vacations and family fun. Altogether, Av is a month riddled with paradoxical details and illustrates the tension that paradox creates.

This tension seems in contradiction to the trait of the month – equilibrium; which we associate with peace of mind and inner calm. As Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv noted: “A person who has mastered peace of mind has gained everything.” It is easy to stay peaceful when all is going well, but what happens when we are faced with the inevitable frustrations and “downs” of life? We can encounter situations on a daily basis that erode our equilibrium!  Rabbi Menachem Mendel Leffin advises that to keep our hearts and minds on an even keel we must learn to …”rise above events that are inconsequential – both bad and good, for they are not worth disturbing your equanimity over.” In other words our reactions to both the good and bad things that happen should be calm and balanced. 

Achieving equilibrium enables us to act with moderation in all things. Over-reaction to a negative situation can cause one to move from concern to becoming agitated, and even angry, or hysterical and out of control. The opposite, also undesirable, reaction is shutting down and becoming apathetic. Maintaining one’s equilibrium enables one to stay calm and balanced and to react with grace rather than with irritation or anger. In faith, one can view the challenge as a test and trust the Lord for wisdom and strength to deal with it. One can even find a positive aspect to it and focus on that. 

The prophet Isaiah offers a key to achieving calmness of mind and spirit. “You will keep her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You” (26:3). “Stayed” can be rendered as fixed, anchored, focussed, stuck-like-glue! Let nothing distract our minds off of our Father in Heaven. And, as the apostle Paul exhorts in Philippians 4:6-7:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Messiah Yeshua.

The mind is the battlefield. Keep in mind that every problem is mental and every solution spiritual. Turning our minds and hearts to our Father in prayer and gratitude results in Shalom!

SORROW TO JOY

The name of this fifth Hebrew month literally means ‘father’ – Abba. We see an example in Psalm 103:13, K’rachem av al banim… “As a father is merciful to his children, so has HaShem shown mercy to those who fear Him.” When our minds are stayed on Him we can rest in the knowledge that our lives are in the hands of a loving and faithful Father who has us securely in His care. 

On the other hand, the 9th of Av – Tisha b’Av, a day of deep mourning and fasting, marks the destruction of both the First and Second Temples as well as the tragic exile of the majority of G-d’s people from the Land. Tisha b’Av also commemorates the many persecutions and pogroms, Crusades and Inquisitions perpetrated against the Jewish people throughout the centuries that followed. 

 Interestingly, the actual date of death of only one person is recorded in the Torah; that of Aaron, the brother of Moses. We read that forty years after the Israelites left Egypt, G-d called Aaron to Mount Hor and he died there. When? “In the fifth month on the first of the month” (Numbers 33:38) – the first of Av. Aaron, the High Priest, is also known as Rodef Shalom – the Pursuer of Peace. As one who daily was bathed in the presence of G-d’s holy presence in the Tabernacle, he desired to reflect that to others and always sought unity and peace. He was deeply loved by the people and his death was an occasion of deep mourning. The sadness of Aaron’s death in the same month seems fused with the mourning of the destruction of the Dwelling places of G-d

So, here we have the paradox of the Father’s loving care and protection and yet the sadness and destruction faced by His people. Av indeed is a month split in two: the waxing moon is a time of mourning and sorrow and the waning moon is one of comfort, love and joy. Immediately after Tisha B’Av the weekly haftorahs (prophetic portion read together with the Torah portion) become portions of Consolation from the prophet Isaiah. Then, the central day of the month, the fifteenth of Av – Tu b’Av – marks the turning point for joy. 

Tu b’Av was celebrated as a joyous festival hundreds of years before the First Temple was built. It was the celebration of the grape harvest, and the time the white squill blooms all over Israel. The tall tapered stems, covered with small white flowers, stand out brightly against the yellow and brown fields at the end of a long, hot summer. They are a clear season marker, for Tu b’Av signals the summer solstice and there is a subtle change as the days begin to shorten and clouds start to appear in the sky, announcing the approaching rains of winter. The virgin maidens, to reflect the blossoming lace-like white squills, would don white dresses and dance in the vineyards of Shiloh, and wedding matches were made. To this day the fifteenth of Av is celebrated in Israel as “Sweetheart’s Day”!

  In rabbinic literature Tisha b’Av, the day of great mourning, is the date reckoned to be the birth date of the Messiah – the Savior-King who brings new life. We can indeed rejoice in the paradox of “the Lamb in the midst of the throne” who is our Shepherd and who guides us to “springs of living water” that bring mercy, grace, hope and truth (Revelation 7:17) and the King of kings, the Lion of Judah who will reign over all the earth (Revelation 5:5-6).

Thus, the last weeks of Av are marked by harvest and romance and act as a prelude to the month of Elul and to the Fall Feasts which prophetically herald the arrival of the “Lion of Judah” and the “Marriage supper of the Lamb.” Av, therefore, while acknowledging and mourning the sorrow, evil, and hardship to be found in the world, celebrates the constant truth of new life in the One who is the Source of all life.  Our Father G-d is bringing us to full Redemption, when, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah, “death will be swallowed up forever and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth” (25:8). His Kingdom will be established in the earth and the dwelling of God will rest in Jerusalem and “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

EQUILIBRIUM AND MODERATION

Here and now, what do we do when faced with painful loss, distressing circumstances, or illness? Living in the relative comfort of our modern Western culture we tend to ignore and deny the possibility of suffering as much as possible. We fear that it will undermine our happiness, which can seem so fragile and unstable. As a result, we face the sad fact that when our happiness is marred and our equilibrium is shaken we tend to lose the balance of moderation one way or the other. Western society is plagued by problems of extremes – excess consumerism, over-eating, leading to obesity or under-eating leading to anorexia,

too little exercise or an excessive focus on physical fitness, over-working, constant entertainment seeking, and a myriad other addictions. All in an attempt to drown our fears and avoid suffering. However, Erica Brown, in her book In the Narrow Places, observes: “Ignoring suffering dehumanizes us, while being attuned to suffering makes us more compassionate. We become more grateful and can more deeply appreciate the blessings in our lives.” 

Sherri Mandel, who suffered the agonizing loss of her young teenaged son who was brutally murdered by terrorists, shares in her book The Road to Resilience: 

“Doubt, pain, and brokenness will mould your character so that you are more compassionate and live in an enlarged context. Your process of healing may in fact exalt you and propel you toward a more intimate relationship with G-d, the Infinite and the Eternal.” She adds: “Paradoxically, loss can lead toward greater awareness of the everyday pleasure that surround us… Suffering can highlight the miracles in the mundane.” And finally, “In the face of adversity, the recreation of self may be our most creative act.” 

When we know that our lives are in our Father’s hands, we can understand that whatever experience we are facing is the one He has allowed in order to to enable us to reach a higher level of spiritual awareness and personal maturity. That is a child of G-d’s great hope. In His grace, comfort, and powerful love He gives us the tools and means to “recreate ourselves” – to center ourselves on Him, clear our minds, settle our souls, and regain equilibrium. When, in faith we believe He is able, and turn to Him in prayer for guidance and help, He provides us with the courage and strength to press through any crisis. Even when there seems to be no clear way and “best choice,” His Spirit of Holiness can impart wisdom to enable us to make the decisions we need to make in order to begin moving through and beyond whatever obstruction we are facing. 

Of course, we can’t always feel that we are effortlessly soaring higher or spiralling upward. Often we fail. Sometimes our progress feels like “three steps forward – two steps back,”  Nevertheless, the baby steps are being made. We learn and are strengthened for the next stage of the upward climb! 

The month of Av ultimately represents the balance of elements we deal with constantly on our journey through life – sadness and joy, justice and mercy, anger and grace, discord and unity, what is hidden and what is revealed. Undergirding it all is the knowledge that our Father, in His abundant love and mercy towards us, is in control and He is guiding us and preparing the way before us.

 

The Prophets (1) Introduction To The Prophets

prophets

 

Introduction To The Prophets  – 12.20

 

The prophet is a person, not a microphone. He is endowed with a mission, with the power of a word not his own that accounts for his greatness – but also with temperament, concern, character, and individuality.

The situation of a person immersed in the prophet’s words is one of being exposed to a ceaseless shattering of indifference. …Reading the words of the prophets is a strain on the emotions, wrenching one’s conscience from the state of suspended animation.

Worship preceded or followed by evil acts becomes an absurdity. The holy place is doomed when people indulge in unholy deeds.

The prophet …begins with a message of doom; he concludes with a message of hope.  His essential task is to declare the word of God to the here and now; to disclose the future in order to illumine what is involved in the present.

 

~ Keren Hannah
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You can purchase The Prophets from Amazon.com
The Prophets (Perennial Classics)

JULY’S WINNER of A TASTE of TORAH!

Congratulations CAROLYN HOBBS
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 current month’s name selection and for another chance to receive a complimentary copy.

Next selection will be September 1, 2019.

I Asked For Wonder (3) – GOD’S PEOPLE

I asked for Wonder

GOD’S PEOPLE  [Chapter Eight] – 16.26 minutes

 

Heschel describes himself as,

“A brand plucked from the fire , in which my people were burned to death…”

The mark of Cain in the face of man has come to overshadow the likeness of God. There has never been so much guilt and distress, agony, and terror. …The taste for the good has almost gone from the earth.

The world [here we can substitute our life, home, government, country] is not a vacuum. Either we make it an altar for God or it is invaded by demons.

Heschel’s childhood was spent among the Hassidic Jews of Eastern Europe. He describes how:

They put no trust in the secular world. …To them life without Torah [the Word of God] and without piety was chaos.

They believed that a bit of spiritual nobility was a thousand times more valuable than all the secular sciences; that praying three times a day, “My God, guard my tongue  from evil,” was more important than the study of physics; that meditating upon the Psalms filled man with more compassion than the study of Roman history.

~ Keren Hannah

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You can purchase I Asked For Wonder from Amazon.com
I Asked For Wonder: A Spiritual Anthology

I Asked For Wonder (2) – THE BIBLE

I asked for Wonder

 

THE BIBLE  [Chapter Six]- 5.20 minutes

 

The Bible is holiness in words.

It is as if God took these Hebrew words and breathed into them of His power, and the words became a live wire charged with His Spirit.

To this day they are connections between heaven and earth.

~ Keren Hannah

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You can purchase I Asked For Wonder from Amazon.com
I Asked For Wonder: A Spiritual Anthology

I Asked For Wonder (1) – PRAYER

I asked for Wonder

Prayer [Chapter Two] – 6.40 minutes

 

Prayer is the border between heaven and earth.

Lord, the dominion is Thine. Take away from me all that would not enter Thy realm.

If not for the certainty that God listend to our cry, who could stand so much misery, so much callousness?

Prayer [in the light of His truth and will] makes visible the right and reveals what is hampering and false. In its radiance, we behold the worth of our efforts, the range of our hopes, and the meaning of our deeds.

~ Keren Hannah

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You can purchase I Asked For Wonder from Amazon.com
I Asked For Wonder: A Spiritual Anthology

The Sabbath – To Sanctify Time (3)

The Sabbath - Heschel

 

To Sanctify Time [Epilogue] – 5.45 minutes 

 

Our world is a world of space moving through time –
from the Beginning to the End of Days.

One good hour may be worth a lifetime; an instant in returning to God may restore what has been lost in years of escaping from Him.

It is the dimension of time wherein man meets God, wherein man becomes aware that every instant is an act of creation.

To witness the perpetual marvel of the world’s coming into being is to sense the Giver in the given, to realize that the source of time is eternity, that the secret of being is the eternal within time.

The Sabbath leads us to a realm of endless peace, or to the beginning of an awareness of what eternity means.

 

Keren Hannah

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The Sabbath

 

The Sabbath – A Palace In Time (2)

The Sabbath - Heschel

 

A Palace In Time  [Chapter One] – 5.21 minutes

 

Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth;
on the Sabbath we particularly care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul.
The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else.

The seventh day day is a palace in time which we build.

What was created on the seventh day? Tranquility, serenity, peace and repose.

 

Keren Hannah

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The Sabbath

 

The Sabbath – Architecture of Time (1)

The Sabbath - Heschel

Architecture of Time – Prologue  – 5 minutes 

 

There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord.

The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information but to face sacred moments.

The main themes of faith lie in the realm of time. We remember the day of the Exodus from Egypt, the day when Israel stood at Mount Sinai;

and our Messianic hope is the expectation of a day,
of the end of days.

 

Keren Hannah

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The Sabbath

 

Journal Jots for TAMMUZ – Keep Climbing!

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
(Psalm 45:1)

 

To begin living a life of Mussar, you must start by developing an awareness of who you really are. [How?] Acquire a diary. ~ Rabbi Micha Berger

 

It can be a challenge to get into a rhythm of daily journaling – not just the setting apart of time, but the finding of words to write. Keren and I are offering 29 Journal Jots for Tammuz to get you started.

Each day rewrite each Journal Jot in your own hand. As these Journal Jots speak to you – speak back.

If you are already a staunch journaler, these Journal Jots are also for you.
Each will act as a reminder of why we are making this climb.

We are so excited to be on this journey with you!
Keren and Cindy

Journal Jots For TAMMUZ

ISRAEL An Echo Of Eternity (3) – The Final Redemption

Israel - Echo

 

The Final Redemption – 13.47 minutes

 

Not only is Redemption necessary for man, man is a necessity to Redemption. His actions are vital and affect the course of the process. Man holds the key that can unlock the chains fettering the Redeemer.

The heart of the relationship of God and man is reciprocity, interdependence. The task is to humanize the sacred and to sactify the secular.

The hope is for universal Redemption, for ontological transformation. Yet it seems that fulfillment will come about by degrees. …The point in history at which that restoration [of His Kingdom] will take place remains the secret of the Father.

“It was a hatred without cause that brought about the destruction of the Second Temple. It will be love without cause that will save Israel and all mankind.”
~ First Chief  Rabbi of British Mandate Palestine/Israel, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

 

~ Keren Hannah

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You can purchase Israel An Echo of Eternity from Amazon.com
Israel: An Echo of Eternity

JUNE’S WINNER of A TASTE of TORAH!

Congratulations RUTH WAN
and our warm thanks for joining us here at HIS-ISRAEL!

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 August 1, 2019.