ADAR – 12th Hebrew Month – Being Holy, Being Whole


We conclude another biblical calendar year with the injunction to be joyful. Historically, the month of Adar was not a particularly good one for the people of God, however, traditionally many Jewish families make posters or cards saying:


During Adar, the fun festival of Purim is celebrated; and here we find the reason for the happiness. We read all about it in Megillat Esther – the scroll of Esther. Our great God, who is  as close as our next breath, had placed one of His people, a very wise Jew named Mordechai, and his beautiful, young adopted niece Hadassah (Esther) in Shushan, the capital of the mighty Persian Empire that stretched from India to Ethiopia. When the king decided to choose a new bride the most beautiful young women in his kingdom were brought to the palace and Esther was among them. According to the purposes of God, she was the one chosen by King Achashverosh to be his new Queen.  

As you know, in every generation an enemy of God rises up in envy and pride with the aim to destroy and denounce Him by means of destroying His people. Think Pharaoh, Balak, Hitler, -— fill in the blanks! The villain of Esther’s generation was the wicked Haman, who devised an evil plot and tricked the king into signing an official edict that on the fourteenth of Adar all the Jews in his great empire – young and old, women and children, were to be attacked and murdered. The edict, sealed with the king’s ring, could not be revoked. All seemed hopeless…but… God! Esther and Mordechai called for a time of fasting and praying for His merciful intervention. Then Esther summoned all her courage and faith and approached the king without his invitation – an action punishable by death. He loved his beautiful bride, however, and instead she was given the opportunity to expose Haman and to have another edict sent which would warn the Jews and allow them to defend themselves. Haman was hanged on the gallows he had constructed with the intention to hang Mordechai, and the Jews were victorious on the day planned for their demise. 

And Mordecai recorded these things and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Achashverosh, both near and far, obliging them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor. (Esther 9:20-22).

After enduring great fear and trepidation at the threat of annihilation, we are told in Esther 8:16, “The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor.” Indeed, as we celebrate the month of Adar, so may it be for us all.


Children (of all ages!) love the festival of Purim. Apart from the delicious cakes, cookies, and candies that abound, part of the fun is that people get dressed up in ‘fancy-dress’ costumes and masks. These are meant to hide one’s identity, or maybe to portray a desired identity!? In the story of Esther, the face of God was hidden, as it were, and yet the deepest lesson we  can learn is that He is, in fact, always there; whether or not we feel we clearly can “see” Him. 

Another lesson is that true discernment, requires that we see beyond the physical facade — to look below the surface in order to not judge things by their outward appearance; just as our Father God does. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). “But You, O Lord, know me; You see me, and test my heart toward You.”   (Jeremiah 12:3)

Our Father knows us intimately and sees our deepest hearts. He knows our motives; our thoughts and fears. Our own perception of things can be distorted when we see only what we want to see, as opposed to the reality. For example, we can become “blind” to truth when we believe we are right regarding an issue and stubbornly refuse to consider the possibility that we may be mistaken, or ignorant of certain facts. The Word of God also tells us that ulterior motives, such as bribery and corruption, lead to unfair judgment, when bad is called good and good bad (Deuteronomy 16:19). Our outward actions are the ‘fruit’ or manifestations of our inner thoughts and feelings. 

A popular idiom tells us, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” The eyes undoubtedly are the most expressive parts of one’s face. They can shine beautifully with love or can throw looks like daggers. As author Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed: “An eye can threaten like a loaded and levelled gun, … or, in its altered mood, by beams of kindness it can make the heart dance with joy.” 

William Shakespeare noted in Much Ado About Nothing: “Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes.” More kindly he described, “And as the bright sun glorifies the sky, so is her face illumined with her eyes” (Venus and Adonis). 

The apostle Luke illustrated it well when he said, “The lamp of your body is your eye…”  (11:34). Interestingly, there are seven openings in the face – two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and one mouth. In Jewish mysticism the face is likened to the Menorah in the Holy Place of the Temple, and the seven openings are compared to its seven lamps. The pure olive oil that was used as fuel for the Menorah is compared to one’s mind, or intellect, which we trust are informed by the Ruach HaKodesh, the Spirit of Holiness. 

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught that these seven “lamps” can only radiate the light of God if they are sanctified. Our senses – what we see, hear, speak, touch, and taste can be sanctified only by purifying our heart and our thoughts. We remember how, after he had been ‘face-to-face,’ as it were, with God on Mount Sinai, Moses’ face shone with such radiance that he needed to veil it in order to not frighten the Israelites. He had received the water of the Word of God directly from the Source and his heart and mind had been purified and the result shone through his countenance. The closer we can draw near to God – the more we can perceive His Presence and “see” His hand in every aspect of our lives, the more we will achieve a clear perspective of reality. We can pray, as did poet George Herbert,  “Teach me, my God and King, in all things Thee to see.”

Are we seeking Him and recognising that all we have comes from His hand? Are we clinging to His hand in total faith and trust? Are we standing resolutely on His Word and constantly praying, with King David, “Send Your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to your dwelling!” (Psalm 43:3). 

People experience some form of pain or frustration every day. Our challenge is to see beyond the pain and suffering of this world with the understanding that our lives are in His hands and that everything God does has a purpose for our ultimate and eternal good. His is an eternal Kingdom and we know that when our Messiah returns to the City of the Great King, “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”  (Isaiah 11:9).

We have another wondrous promise from the prophet Isaiah, “Eye to eye you will see the Lord when he returns to Zion.” The Lord is comforting His people and redeeming Jerusalem and He will “…bare His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (52:10). 

So, dear friends, may we, like the beautiful golden Menorah, be a vessel that allows His light of Love and Truth to shine in our lives, and may we rejoice always! HalleluYah!


SHEVAT – 11th Hebrew Month – Being Holy, Being Whole





The day you were born is the day God decided that the world could not exist without  you.  ~ Rebbe Nachman

PSALM 139: God-Who-is-There

CREATIVE EXPRESSION: Find ways to illustrate and express in your journal the theme and what you are learning and experiencing this month. 


Psalm 139 powerfully expresses the fact of God’s omniscience, He is all-knowing of our every word and thought and of every aspect of our personality. As has been said, “He knows us better than we know ourselves!” He also is omnipresent – there is nowhere we can can hide from Him. For those who know and love Him, this is a great comfort. 

Verse 10 describes how His left hand guides us. It is on the side of the heart, and is the more gentle hand, as of a Shepherd, who caringly leads his flock. And His strong, redeeming right hand, often associated with Adonai Tzevaot – the Lord of Hosts, is the one that holds and protects us.

David highlights how intricately and wondrously our physical bodies are formed, and concludes with a plea that his heart and spirit would be guided in God’s “everlasting way.”

To which we can say “Amen”! 

SHEVAT is the 11th month of the Hebrew calendar and Jacob’s son Asher was placed  11th in the tribal formation in the wilderness. What do we know about Asher, who was born to Leah’s maid Zilpah? At his birth Leah declared, “Happy and prosperous (bosher) am I! For the women will call me happy” (Gen. 30:13). Asher, thus, is related to happiness. Other connotations of osher are: to be straight (yashar), honest, to go forward, to prosper.

Jacob’s deathbed blessing of Asher reads, “Asher’s food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal delicacies” (Genesis 49:20). This richness is attributed to the fact that his territory in the Land would be filled with an abundance of olive trees. 

We are blessed to have witnessed the rebirth of the Land of Israel and the quality and abundance of its trees and fruit once again. Of the physical restoration of the land and the people, Isaiah prophesied: “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly” (35:1-2). 

Water, together with air, is the element necessary for life. Speaking of God’s great salvation, spiritual life, the prophet Isaiah describes, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; …for waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert” (35:6). The spiritual water we need is mayim chaim, the living water of the Word of God. At the great water-pouring ceremony in the Temple at Sukkot, Yeshua stood and proclaimed, as the Word enfleshed, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37).

Water and oil generally do not mix, but here we can find a link between water and the oil of joy – osher. In the Holy Place of the Temple, the symbol of the living water of the Word of God is the golden Menorah. The vital fuel that provides its light is pure olive oil. The Word of God and the illumination of the Spirit of God; Life and Light; water and oil – both are needed for the fullness of understanding and abundant joy (osher) to be found in His Presence. The deepest joy is found not in the material pleasures of worldly things but in the spiritual delight of intimacy in our relationship with God.


Just as we saw the joyful benefit of the combination of two different elements, water and oil, so we can examine the differences, and unique properties necessary to bring forth fruitfulness, life, and joy in man and woman, the masculine and feminine.

Physically, the anatomical differences between a male and a female are obvious. In the God-given reproductive process that enables human beings to reproduce and bring forth new life, a husband and wife join together, become one, in an intricate, mysterious, and pleasurable, sexual union. The male’s sexual organ is external to the body…it is outward, and extends and gives. The female’s sexual organs are housed within the body…as a vessel prepared to receive. This design also reflects the innate nature and qualities that are found in men and women. 

For example, the man is given the seed of potential by God, which he gives to the woman who completes and nurtures what she receives. A man tends to be the initiator, while the woman patiently develops and brings forth new life. A particular aspect of the feminine nature is nurturing,  which we see illustrated physically in that a mother has the ability to naturally provide milk as nourishment for her baby.

 In Judaism, it is considered that the man has the characteristic of chochma, wisdom – intellectual knowledge, and a woman has binah – understanding. Wisdom without understanding is cold and essentially useless but, when combined with deeper understanding, the proper application can be made that will produce positive results in one’s life. The combination of wisdom and understanding, one can compare head and heart, and the balance between the two leads to da’at – true knowledge of God. 

King Solomon wisely declared, “A woman of valor is the crown of her husband” (Proverbs 12:4). She completes and honours him. In this regard, we can compare the six workdays of the week as ‘masculine,’ which are crowned with the ‘feminine’ Shabbat. During the week, we work, our actions are outward and giving. But Shabbat is a day to rest in the feminine mode of receptivity; which is why the Shabbat often is referred to as a Queen – Shabbat Ha’Malka or a Bride – Kalla. Work is an act that demonstrates man’s mastery over the world through his intelligence and skill. Shabbat, on the other hand, is a day of rest, drawing back from exhibiting dominance over nature and contentedly existing in a state of harmony with it – absorbing and appreciating the blessings and fruit of the weekday efforts. 

While we look forward in faith and anticipation to “the day that will be all Shabbat’’ when Messiah is ruling from Jerusalem and the Father’s Kingdom of love and peace is being established in the world, we can enjoy a taste of that day every Shabbat. 

As we greet one another with, “Shabbat Shalom!” we express the peace that this day is designed to bring between man and nature, reflecting the harmony between God and His creation.  A wise woman once said, “The Shabbat does not only make you holy, it also makes you whole!” The real depth and mystery of Shabbat is the unity and delight of echad – oneness. Another word from the same root is shevet – to dwell; as in the beautiful verse in Psalm 133:1, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to [shevet] dwell together in unity!” In unity, one-ness, harmony we find Shalom. A third word from the same root is shev -to sit, indicating a position of rest. God worked and created the world in six days and then, on the seventh, He rested and made it His home [bayit] – His dwelling place; a place of rest, harmony, beauty and peace. There was Shalom Bayit. This Shalom Bayit is God’s design and will for every husband and wife, every family and home.

The physical dimension mirrors the spiritual, and the perfect unity and ‘oneness’ of God is reflected in the union of a husband and wife. It is in this unity that God’s image can most perfectly be reflected on earth; which, very likely, is why the greatest aim of the enemy of God is to destroy this image – man and woman, masculine and feminine, husband and wife.  Adam and Eve first were created as one being; then God separated Eve from Adam and said to them, “Now become one!” Unity takes work and vision, and building together in harmony. When a husband and wife, and we can extend this concept to people in general, interact with each other with utmost respect and love, the full glory of God can be revealed. 

In a marriage, each partner’s approach to sex in their marital relationship is the main indication of how much they have matured emotionally and of the strength of their character, psychologically. There needs to be a balance of the essentially feminine characteristic of chessed (the ability to love and care for, and nurture another unselfishly) and the more masculine gevurah (sound judgment, self control and restraint). This capacity will be expressed in the way a person relates to their spouse before, during, and after sexual intercourse. Of course, key, and of utmost importance is for each one to have the awareness of including God as central to the relationship, especially in the bedroom. 

The Hebrew word for marriage is Kiddushin, from the root Kadosh – holy. When a couple understand the beauty and intimacy that exists also in their sexual union, when two opposites become one, then new spiritual heights of pleasure and joy are attained, and God’s image in their life together becomes stronger and clearer. On the other hand, if sexual desire is reduced to merely satisfying one’s bodily lust, this will lead one further from God and reduce the act to an animalistic level. 

If a marriage is based solely on physical attraction, without an awareness of the spiritual dimensions of love, the marriage may likely deteriorate over time. One or both may even become entangled in an illicit, extra-marital affair. Falsehood then enters the dying relationship and fear of discovery erodes whatever was left of it. If chessed (love and kindness,; compassion) is no longer operating in a marriage then the covenant is damaged. It probably was not true love, which is based on a spiritual bond. Any adultery, being untrue to one’s partner, damages the covenant between the couple and with God.  It is equivalent to idolatry, disloyalty to the Divine. Without true knowledge of God, which includes love of Him, faith in Him, and trust in Him, so-called love and compassion can be distorted and turn into cruelty.

Rebbe Nachman taught:

The prophet foretells (Isaiah 11:9), “They shall neither destroy nor harm in all My holy mountain, for the earth will will be filled with Da’at [Knowledge] of God as the waters cover the sea.” The attributes of compassion and kindness depend wholly on [this] Da’at, and in the Messianic Future, Da’at will be very great. For this reason, when Mashiach comes, there will be no cruelty or desire to harm others. Compassion will spread far and wide.”


And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it… (Genesis 1:28).

God spoke these words first to Adam and Eve, and we see them echoed through the Scriptures, to Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and eventually to the nation of Israel.

The primary response to the blessing and command is physical. People have the ability to procreate physically, in accord with their human bodies.  As important is spiritual fruitfulness. If spiritual fruitfulness, which stems from one’s own being, is missing in a relationship, whether it be with God or one another, the relationship will not thrive and grow into its full potential, and may even wither and die. 

The apostle Paul emphasises this truth in Ephesians 1:4,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord and Messiah Yeshua, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Messiah, even as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before Him in love:

How do aspire to be “holy and without blemish”? He tells us, by cultivating the fruit of the Spirit in our lives:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… (Galatians 5:22).


Early Israel poster for Tu’B’Shevat

The 15th of the month, Tu b’Shevat, is celebrated as the New Year for Trees and is the time that the sap in the trees begins to rise, ushering in new life, and feeding and strengthening the tree for the year to come. The dormant tree is waking from its winter’s sleep and we are reminded that although the tree looks dead with no greenery, and no fruit, inwardly there is much life. 

During this Hebrew month of Shevat our attention is very much focussed on the physical trees in Israel and the fruit they bear. The quality and abundance of fruit that is produced on a tree is dependent on the quality of soil in which it is rooted and in theatre it receives and the care with which it is maintained. The same factors can apply to the production of spiritual fruit in our lives. Is our life rooted in our Father’s Love and being nourished by His Word? Are we caring for and maintaining the growth of our spirits? The fruit, or lack of it, in our lives will be evidence of that.

The reassurance and comfort we have is that, as we do our part to the best of our ability, our Father God – the Master Gardener, is working with us.

And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9: 6,8).

May the Garden of our lives abound this month with the fruit of the Spirit of Holiness, and may they nourish and sustain and encourage the other precious souls He has placed in our lives. And, as we go forward in His light and love, may His glory shine even more greatly in the earth.

~ Keren Hannah

For more information on the New Year for Trees, Tu b’Shevat and a Seder to celebrate please visit the His-Israel website – 

TEVET – 10th Hebrew Month – Being Holy, Being Whole





QUOTE: There is a song that only my soul can sing.

PSALM 105: God-Who-is-our-Praise

CREATIVE EXPRESSION: Find ways to illustrate and express in your journal the theme and what you are learning and experiencing this month. 


In reference to Psalm 105, Rabbi Maurice Lamm makes a very interesting statement: “If we are going to heal from illness need to break two kinds of spiritual gridlock. One paralyzes us so that we become passive and resigned; the other steals the very song from our throats, leaving us with only a groan [of despair].” The psalm teaches us that, no matter the circumstances – illness, troubles, challenges, “Don’t act like a victim!” 

The first five verses of the psalm show us how to remain to remain positive and engaged with life. The first of ten calls to action is one of gratitude. In a troubling situation, to avoid reacting with passive resignation,or anger and despair, we need to maintain an ‘attitude of gratitude’ and “Give thanks to Adonai!” We can always find something to give our Father thanks for – a new day, every breath, a facet of beauty. Even facing death, we can give thanks that, due to His loving grace, we will enter a glorious eternity in His Presence.

Next, “call upon His Name.” He always is near to hear our prayers and to respond. Then, “Let all the nations hear about HIs deeds!” We must do all we can in whatever He has called us to do, and take every opportunity to share about His goodness and wonder. Be proud of Him. “Sing to Him!” When we sing praises our spirits soar above the mundane. The more we get to know Him the more our hearts rejoice. Search His Word, treasure His teachings. 

Learn the ways of God. Long and search for His Presence always. And, finally, always remember “the wonders He has performed, His miracles, and the laws from His mouth.”

When we lay a foundation of gratitude in our hearts then we can sing and our souls will be filled with Shalom, even a peace that is beyond understanding. HalleluYah! 



Last month, during Kislev, we explored the digestive system. Now, in Tevet, we will take a look at the organs that work together with the digestive system specifically in their role of filtering impurities from the body. These are: the liver, which is the largest organ, the gall bladder, and the spleen, which also plays a significant role in the circulatory and lymphatic systems.  Let’s take a look at their physiological characteristics before we consider the spiritual application.

The liver is the largest single organ in the body and it has essentially two functions: 1) it produces and regulates chemicals for the body’s needs, and 2) it neutralises poisons and waste products. Once the blood absorbs nutrients from the food that is digested it passes through the liver and is filtered before returning to the heart. We can picture the liver as serving the heart. In addition, it serves the rest of the body in that it takes the raw nutrients from the food we eat and purifies them so that the body can absorb and utilize them. 

It manufactures proteins and processes carbohydrates (sugars and starches) by converting them into glucose to supply energy for the body. And it stores some of the sugar for future use. The liver also processes fats and the waste products of the blood. The enzymes in the liver cleanse the blood of bacteria and neutralises any poisons that have entered the body. As the liver interacts mainly with the heart and blood, its essential color is red.

Next to the liver, also on the right side of the body, is a small pear-shaped organ – the gall bladder, which stores bile – a thick, bitter, yellowish-green fluid produced by the liver. Bile neutralizes acid and is necessary for the digestion of fats. 

The spleen is situated on the left side of the stomach. It offers protection against any foreign matter in the body and against infection. It collects the surplus fluids from the body’s tissues and it filters and destroys any bad bacteria and breaks down any waste matter. The color of its fluid is milky-white. However, if it is overworked or weak, blood can become tainted and is described as “black” blood. Therefore the spleen is also associated with the black fluids in the body.


In Hebrew the liver is called ka’ved, meaning ‘heavy.’ The liver serves the heart and the whole body, and if it is functioning well then all goes well. If it has problems, the negative effects are felt throughout the body. 

An interesting connection is found in Exodus 8:28, where the well-known term is found – “Pharaoh hardened his heart.” The Hebrew word used here is also ka’ved. He livered his heart! Instead of serving the heart the liver took over and ‘hardened’ it. What does this mean? In Scripture, the heart and the kidneys are associated with wisdom, and should reign over the body.  For example, in Psalm 16:7, “I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.” The main function of the kidneys is the processing and purifying of the fluids of the body. The two kidneys filter and retain what is good and excrete the waste. Likewise, we should cultivate the wisdom to choose and keep what is good and reject what is bad or evil. 

We know that life is in the blood. The liver is the primary filter that purifies the body’s blood. All blood passes through the liver. If it is properly nourished it functions well, but if, for example, we overeat, or have an unhealthy diet, it becomes overworked and returns impurities into the blood. These accumulate and the blood becomes polluted causing negative effects in the body. Blood is red, which can symbolize heat, anger, and violence. The Sages connect this with Esau, who, at birth “…came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau” (Genesis 25:25). His characteristics are pride, anger, and accusations. On the other hand, King David was also red-haired and, positively, red represents strength of character and fear, or reverential awe, of God.  When a person desires godliness, and, in the awe of God, longs to serve Him properly and to worship Him alone, he will be free of the influence of Esau and will live in gratitude and peace. His heart will rule his liver and he will be set free from the traits of pride, envy, and anger. 

The lust for power and wealth is a major negative force of our times. When this is driven by a materialistic desire, anger, envy and hatred will be the outcome. Rebbe Nachman observes: 

A by-product of the fire of pride [which is tantamount to idolatry for man puts himself on the throne in place of God] is anger. Because of his haughtiness, a person is quick to anger when his desires are not satisfied as he wishes. A humble person is more capable of exercising restraint. Therefore haughtiness and anger stand together as two of man’s worst characteristics.  




A fool or angry person as described in Proverbs!

A related danger is false humility, which is a more disguised form of pride. A person realises that arrogance is bad, so they adopt an appearance of humility. Often fooling themselves, they act as though they are modest and not wanting to accept any honor or recognition. Deep down, however, they crave notice from others and chase after honor. True humility does not require that you hide yourself, or act as though you are worthless. You should know the extent of your full worth, and yet be humble, knowing that you are not perfect and are on a spiritual journey that is not yet completed. Humility leads to repentance, a quality that is vital on our life’s journey; for, God says, “…this is the one to whom I will look: he/she who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2b).

THE GALL BLADDER is alongside and works together with the liver. We are reminded in the Psalm for the month of the Exile in Egypt. In slavery the Israelites became weakened, both physically and spiritually, by the suffering they endured. They became embittered. In Hebrew, the gall-bladder is called ma’rah from the root mar – meaning bitter. Usually, it serves to cool and balance the liver, but If this organ gets out of sync it becomes stoney, hardens as it were, and can cause pain, fever and illness. 


The Sages consider that there are seventy basic facets of Torah (God’s Word/Teaching), that correspond with the seventy aspects of a person’s character. Seventy also relate both to the seventy souls of the Children of Israel who went down to Egypt and to the seventy nations. The Children of Israel are rooted in the Torah – the will and ways of God, which guide one on the spiritual path. When a person distances himself from God and the spiritual light of His Word, then the darkness and negative characteristics of the nations – including materialism, lust, anger, and violence, take root in him/her and result in wicked or immoral behavior. Interestingly, the liver has seventy major blood vessels. Therefore, a person can choose to connect him/herself to the good source of Jacob, which is following God and His Word with all one’s heart, resulting in joy and peace; or to the materialistic, evil source of Esau that results in anger and despair.


 The role of the spleen is to eliminate impurities found in the body. The more excesses, the harder it must work. A damaged spleen, if overworked by an unhealthy diet, or over-eating, can result in a general sluggishness, which leads to indifference, laziness, and sadness. Traditionally, the spleen has been associated with melancholy. 

The spleen is called t’chol in Hebrew. The word for sand is chol. Rebbe Nachman taught that “…the main bite of the Serpent is sadness and sluggishness. This is because [even in the New Heaven and New Earth] the Serpent is cursed with, “Dust shall be the Serpent’s food” (Isaiah 65:25). In Genesis, Adam, too, was cursed concerning the earth and eating, “And to Adam [God] said, “…cursed is the ground because of you; in pain [sorrow] you shall eat of it all the days of your life” (3:17). 

We are advised in the Word of God to distinguish between Kodesh ve’Chol – Holiness and Materialism – spiritual and earthly. Bounty and wealth are not evil in and of themselves. Wealth, when achieved and used correctly, is a great blessing and can be a powerful tool for the advance of spirituality and God’s Kingdom. When, however, greed and lust separate the material from the spiritual, wealth becomes like dust. If a person becomes obsessed with materialism and wealth, “all the days of his life” will be consumed and ultimately it will be like eating dust, and will result in delusion, sadness, and depression.

All bounty, goodness, and true wisdom, come through our faith and trust in our Father God. Knowing that our lives are in His hands, we can trust Him to provide for our every need. This understanding fills our lives with balance, joy, and great peace.

KISLEV – 9th Hebrew Month – Being Holy Being Whole




QUOTE: Eat to gain strength to serve HaShem physically and to grow spiritually.

PSALM 137: God-our-Avenger-and-Song

CREATIVE EXPRESSION: Find ways to illustrate and express in your journal the theme and what you are learning and experiencing this month.



Psalm 137 is a song of captivity and exile. Sometimes, on our journey through life, situations occur and things happen for which we have no ready explanation and they leave us filled with grief. In such times of darkness we can only weep. Our spirit feels crushed and we cannot imagine being able to raise our voice in song; not even one to the Lord of our lives. We simply hang our harp of song on a branch of a weeping willow. We find ourselves on “alien soil,” far from “Jerusalem” – the place of the beauty and fragrance of His Presence, which is our highest joy.

Suddenly, even as we remember Jerusalem and His Holy Sanctuary, something in our soul shifts. We recall the eternal home of our God-breathed spirit – His Eternal Dwelling Place, where He promised to place His Name forever. A popular saying goes: “Wherever I stand, I stand with Jerusalem.” Such is the cry of the heart of those in whose hearts there is a Highway to Zion – the palace of the King of kings.

At this remembrance, we find that our hearts and mouths can fill with song. We can sing songs of gratitude, of praise, of wonder. We can celebrate the wonder of life in His Kingdom; the truth and promise of His Word. We can breathe deep and rest in His unfailing love, secure in the knowledge that His is the vengeance and the eternal glory.



The first transgression of man, as recorded in Genesis, was connected with eating. Since then, it has been recognised that the three primary weaknesses or failings of mankind are the lusts after wealth, sexual pleasure, and food. The lust for wealth is a driving force from which it is very difficult to break free.
Sexual lust, that manifests in various forms, also is a constant challenge that plagues many. Yet, Rebbe Nachman calls gluttony “the paramount lust!” Why? He points out that food is a constant essential that provides man with physical strength and, therefore, enables him to pursue all his other desires – which could either be for good or evil. Food is always before us as a temptation. In the abundance of food available today, medical scientists record that more people are dying from the effects of over-eating than from famine. 

Eating, of course, is a natural need, second only to that of breathing. On the one hand, for optimal survival, humans need only a simple, well balanced diet. The body’s need to eat, to digest, and to eliminate waste begins at birth and continues until death. Interestingly, babies instinctively know when they have received the nourishment they need and, therefore, when to stop eating. Apart from our basic need for food, on the other hand, the Word of God also makes it clear that we are expected to enjoy and derive pleasure from food. Special meals, such as our weekly Shabbat tables and Festive meals, are an integral part of our heritage. However, we need constantly to  be aware, that there is a difference between maintaining a healthy balance in our enjoyment of food and lusting for excesses. Avinu, our Father, defines, and provides us with all that is permissible and beneficial for man to eat and we, then, are able to thank and praise Him for His provision and His wonderful edible creations.

*Photo credit: Debra Elfassy

Next, a look at the digestive system: Ancient as well as modern medicine recognizes the vital importance of the digestive system in the healthy growth and physical well-being of a person. In addition, the health and fitness of our physical body has a powerful effect both on our mental capacity and on our spiritual well-being. Obviously, our spirits don’t need physical food; we feed them with the ‘bread’ of the Word of God. However, while they are housed in these physical bodies, there should be a harmonious relationship of well-being between the body and spirit.

How does the digestive system work? Based on Chaim Kramer’s explanation:
When we eat, the food descends to the stomach, where acids and enzymes break it down into smaller particles. The digestive tract processes the particles into nutrients, which then are transported to the blood stream. The blood flows to the heart, where it is further enriched with oxygen from the lungs. It is then pumped throughout the system, bringing nourishment to the body. Whatever is not needed is rejected and eliminated from the body as waste. The whole process and the ability of the body to know exactly what to absorb and what to reject is truly one of God’s most awesome wonders.

The organs of the body associated with eating are the mouth, the neck or throat, and the stomach, intestines, and colon. We will take a closer look at the neck/throat and the stomach. The neck is a narrow part of the body. In Hebrew the throat is called Meitzar ha’garon, which literally translates as “the narrow of the neck.” We know that the stories of the Bible carry meaning for every generation, including this one. Rebbe Nachman taught that the land of Egypt – Mitzraim, has the same Hebrew root as Meitzar ha’garon. And, Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler who represents the forces of evil, has the same root letters, in reverse, as Oreph, which is the nape or back of the neck in Hebrew. 

The three life-sustaining vessels that pass through the throat are: 

  1. the trachea (windpipe) that carries air to the lungs and is situated on the right side; 
  2. the oesophagus, which carries food and is situated on the left slightly behind the trachea and is closer to the nape of the neck; and 
  3. the jugular vein and carotid arteries, which carry blood.

We can notice that the tube for food is located closer to Pharaoh – the back of the neck! If we give in to the wiles of an evil master through improper eating habits not pleasing to our true and good Master, then we become as slaves in Egypt. 

Regarding the stomach, Proverbs 13:25 tells us: “The belly of the wicked always feels empty.” Rebbe Nachman taught: “This refers to those who are never satisfied and always crave more.”  He adds:  “Peace and prosperity go hand in hand, while hunger bodes strife and war. Therefore a craving for food is a sign that one has enemies. By breaking one’s craving for food, one can gain peace with one’s enemies.” (Likutey Moharan 1,39) 

Essentially, these ‘enemies’ are deceptions, which often bring confusion between what is good and what is evil.  When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the one tree God had forbidden to them (Gen. 3:6) the serpent had enticed Eve with, “You will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Instead, they were exiled from the Garden and descended to a place where good and evil are often confused – where evil can be seen as good, and good as evil. As the prophet Isaiah warned, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil. They exchange darkness for light and light for darkness…” (5:20). 

In this context, the celebration of the Festival of Hanukkah during this dark, wintry month of Kislev, reminds us that the true light we have is that of the God of Israel and His Word, as expressed by King David:

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?” Lift up the light of Your face upon us, O Lord!  You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:6)

A Talmudic story reflects a central theme of the season of Hanukkah:

When Adam and Eve first saw the sun go down they were panic-stricken, thinking that the setting of the sun was a consequence of their sin, and that this new, intense darkness would spell their death. They spent that entire first night weeping, until dawn broke and they realized, to their immense relief, that this was simply the way of the world — day was followed by night, and night was followed by day.

Sometimes we, like Adam and Eve, find ourselves in a confusing and painful “dark night of the soul” and can forget that morning follows night. We become anxious and even panic stricken at the thought that there is no end to the ominous darkness that has befallen us. Then God, in His chessed, love and mercy, gradually brings the dawning of a new day.

This truth is reflected in a powerful statement by the prophet Micah: “Rejoice not over me,  O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.”  (7:8) 

We can celebrate the fact that in Messiah Yeshua the veil of darkness that covered the nations could, and can to this day, be pierced as they received the light of the truth of the One God and His Word.  “The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has  dawned.”
(Matthew 4:16)

Photo credit: Shutterstock

~ Keren Hannah Pryor

CHESHVAN – 8th Hebrew Month – Being Holy Being Whole

CHESHVAN – The 8th Hebrew Month



QUOTE: May our lives emit the fragrance of His Presence. 

PSALM 33:6 tells us: “With the Word of God the heavens were made; with the breath of His mouth, all their hosts.” 

From the very beginning we realize the importance and power of breath. All that is was created by the breath of God, and His Divine breath is the constant sustainer of life.When God created man we are told: “God breathed into Adam’s nostrils” (Genesis 2:7). We know that the nose is the main passageway for air. Also, it contains membranes and fine hairs called cilia, which filter and purify the air when we inhale. Thus, the nose plays a vital part in the process of respiration. Through our noses we draw in air and oxygen which descends to our lungs. There life-sustaining oxygen is absorbed and channeled to the heart, which distributes it into our blood. There the oxygen is absorbed and the waste of carbon-dioxide is brought back to the lungs from where it is exhaled. There we have the fairly simple process of breathing, which helps to sustain our lives. It is a process we mostly take for granted until, G-d forbid, something goes wrong!

A Hebrew word intimately connected with respiration is ruach ((רוח. Ruach has many meanings; for example, it can refer to the wind that blows outdoors. Metaphysically, it can mean spirit or soul. A person’s ruach is the basic essence of one’s personality, one’s character, which is affected by one’s mind, thoughts, attitudes. Psychologically, too, e.g., one can speak of a ruach or spirit of despair, or a deep, quiet spirit. The Ruach HaKodesh (רוח הקודש) is the Spirit of Holiness – the Spirit of God that can fill, inspire, and anoint one. The prophets, for example, were inspired (or in-spirited), to speak words from God to the people. The prophet Isaiah describes how Messiah is blessed with six qualities of the Spirit of God:- 

A ruach of wisdom and understanding, a ruach of counsel and might, a ruach of knowledge and of fear of God.” (11:2)

The Ruach is a gift from the Father to HIs beloved children. Yeshua instructed his talmidim to remain in Jerusalem after he ascended to the Father until Shavuot when they would receive the promise of the Father of a special anointing of the Holy Spirit  in power (Acts 1:4-5). In the face of the ever-increasing Godlessness in the world today, we can trust the Spirit of Holiness to cleanse our hearts of any impediments that would hinder us from growing in knowledge of the One true God and, as a result, would prevent us from growing in a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. Proverbs 20:27 tells us: “The spirit of man is the lamp, or candle, of the Lord.” We are encouraged by Matthew, in chapter 12:21-22, who quotes the prophet Isaiah in saying, regarding the Messiah who would be “…a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out from prison those who sit in darkness,” that “…a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning – or smoldering,  wick he will not quench” (Isaiah 42:1-4). No matter how faint a person’s faith is, the Spirit of God can fan it into a brightly burning flame!


We know that physical and spiritual realities are intertwined. In a lovely metaphor, the Breslover Rabbi Nachman compares the lungs to two wings whose gentle movement constantly fans and cools the heart in its demanding work of pumping blood, thus regulating its temperature and enabling it to operate smoothly without overheating. To live, physically, we need a constant supply of air and water. Spiritually, the Torah, or Word of God, is often compared to both of these life-sustaining elements. In connection with breathing, we inhale the moisture-laden air of Torah, which fills our being with life. Interestingly, the five books of Torah can be compared to the five lobes of the lungs. When we breathe in the truth and holiness of His Word, our response should be to exhale prayer – words of thanksgiving and praise to the Giver of Life, as well as words that carry truth, kindness, and holiness. 

The enemies of God and His people “…breathe out cruelty, or violence” (Psalm 27:12). This indicates that what they are breathing in – their very life source and essence of being is cruelty, hatred, violence, and lies.  The words we breathe out have power, and either elevate or deplete us spiritually. In addition, they have the power to influence and affect those around us. Let us speak life-giving words and be careful to not be a source of Air pollution!

Happily, when Messiah is reigning as King of kings over all the earth, and all mankind turns to God, then speech will be perfected, as the prophet Zephaniah foretells: “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).

The Hebrew word for nose is af, which also can mean anger. In II Samuel 22:9, anger is compared to smoke “…escaping through the nostrils.” If one becomes angry, impatient, or anxious, one tends to breathe short, shallow breaths. Being aware of this and regulating one’s breathing by taking deep, long and slow breaths, helps control the negative emotions. In Exodus 34:6, a characteristic of God is erech apayim – literally of ‘extended nose’ but meaning “long of breath, slow to anger, patient!”

We presently are moving from the intense and Feast-filled month of Tishrei into the quieter month of Cheshvan, which is sometimes called Mar-Cheshvan, (Mar means bitter), because it has no festivals. This also indicates a move, or shift, of awareness from an intense focus on our relationship with God, when we affirm His Kingship over our lives, and the universe in general, and rededicate ourselves in His service, to our relationship with and service to others. Cheshvan is the first Rosh Chodesh of the new calendar year that is celebrated after Rosh Hashanah in Tishrei. This initiates the start of our walk once again in connection with the others in our lives. We can employ what we learned during the intense month of Tishrei, when we purposed to “…love the Lord your God with all your heart,”  to now “…love your neighbour as yourself.”

FRAGRANCE.   May our lives emit the fragrance of His Presence.

The Hebrew words for spirit – ru’ach and smell – rei’ach are closely related, and for good reason. The sense of smell is mysterious and powerful. The Sages say that: “Mashiach will be able to ‘smell’ deceit and judge by his sense of smell.” (Sanhedrin 93b) In English, when something is “off” and does not seem right, we have the expression” “I smell a rat!”

In Exodus 20:13, the commandment “Do not commit adultery,” in Hebrew is, Lo tin’af, which literally would be translated as, “Do not give in to the nose!” The Sages comment that this can mean, “Do not even seek to smell the perfume of another woman for this leads to adultery.” 

Anatomically, the physical sense of smell is associated with the limbic lobe of the brain, which is considered to be the link between the cognitive and emotional processes, that is, between thoughts and feelings. Since the sexual urge is undoubtedly one of man’s strongest passions, which impacts his mind as well as his emotions, physiologically the sense of smell and sexual desire are interconnected. Quoting Rebbe Nachman again: “A spiritually pure  sense of smell can be attained only through sexual purity. Where sexual purity is lacking, spiritual energy inevitably wanes.”

In ancient biblical times perfumes were very costly and only used by royalty. We see in the book of Esther how the young women who were to be presented to the king underwent a treatment of “…six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women” (2:12). *

Of course, the Song of Songs is the most fragrance-laden of books in the Bible, and speaks of the king as “…perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the fragrant spices of a merchant” (3:6). We can make the connection with the gifts brought by the wise men from the East to the babe in Bethlehem, who is destined to become the King of kings, all of which indicate royalty: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

In a striking example, it’s interesting to note that God filled His house with fragrance. The special incense burnt constantly on the Altar of Incense in the Holy Place filled the Temple and also all the surrounds of Jerusalem; so much so, that the women didn’t need to wear perfume. How wonderful to realize that as travellers, and pilgrims during the Feasts, approached Jerusalem they were informed of the presence of the King of the universe by the fragrance in the air. 

Stirred by the Spirit of Holiness, may we be filled with the beautiful fragrance of the presence of Messiah and may our homes and lives, too, emit a fragrance pleasing to our Father God.


TISHREI – The 7th Hebrew Month – Being Holy Being Whole




QUOTE: Gam zu le’tovah! This, too, is for the good.

PSALM 77: Almighty God-Who-Does-Wonders

CREATIVE EXPRESSION: Find ways to illustrate and express in your journal the theme and what you are learning and experiencing this month. 



THE ECHO OF YOUR PROMISE  – Based on Psalm 77 – by Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis 

When I cry my voice trembles with fear   When I call out it cracks with anger.

How can I greet the dawn with song when darkness eclipses the rising sun

To whom shall I turn when the clouds of the present eclipse the rays of tomorrow

Turn me around to yesterday that I may be consoled by its memories.

Were not the seas split asunder  

Did we not once walk together through the waters to the dry side

Did we not bless the bread that came forth from the heavens

Did your voice not reach my ears and direct my wanderings

The waters, the lightning, the thunder remind me of yesterday’s triumphs

Let the past offer proof of tomorrow, let it be my comforter and guarantor.

I have been here before, known the fright and found your companionship.

I enter the sanctuary again to await the echo of your promise.


Rosh HaShanah (or Yom Teruah, the Day of Trumpets as it is called in Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 29:1), is celebrated on the first two days of Tishrei. It ushers in the ten days until Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, considered the holiest day of the Hebrew calendar. Yom Kippur marks the conclusion of the forty days of cheshbon nefesh (introspection) and teshuvah (repentance) that began on the first of Elul. After hearing the one hundred blasts of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, the ‘Ten Days’ are a final time of spiritual preparation before we stand, as it were, before the Throne of G-d’s Presence and an accounting is made on Yom Kippur. While it is not intended to induce fear, the solemnity of the season should engender yirat HaShem – a reverential awe of our Almighty G-d and a deep gratitude towards the One who is good and performs wonders on our behalf.

The cry of the shofar initially is intended to announce the presence of the King, who is drawing closer to us at this season, and to wake us up to any area of sin that needs attention. Another purpose we may contemplate is that it is a call to us to reconnect with God’s Divine calling on our lives.The seventh month of Tishrei is considered by the Sages to be humanity’s birthday – the day G-d created Adam and Eve. Thus, it also is a fitting time for us to re-examine our lives; to affirm our identity as His child and to re-evaluate the purpose He has given us in the work of tikkun olam, bringing healing to a hurting and broken world,. This must begin, of course, with healing ourselves – to address and repair any ‘brokenness’ and to realign our lives where necessary with our Father’s will and Kingdom purposes. 

Perhaps at this threshold of the new Hebrew year of 5779, so filled with major appointed times with Him, He is wanting to redirect our steps or enlarge our tents. Now is the time, as the shofar reminds us, to be awake and aware; to draw near and hear His voice. 

After all the preparation of Elul, while the King had left His palace and was with us in the field, we now, on Rosh HaShanah, enter the palace to which He has returned. During the ten days, the shofar is silent as we make our way through the palace courts and the Holy Place, as it were. On Yom Kippur, when we put aside as much of our physical, material existence as possible, we enter the Holy of Holies to stand in awe before His Throne and worship in the beauty of the holiness of His Presence.

If we have accepted His gifts of grace and repentance, we can stand before Him with deepest gratitude, assured and resting in His love. Then, after the last, long, unbroken blast of the shofar sounds to mark the end of Yom Kippur and the closing of the heavenly gates, we can enter into the week of Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles, with the assurance of His love and protection, sheltered by His clouds of glory, and we can draw from the source of Joy that will sustain us through the year ahead.

I grew up in a Western culture where the Gregorian calendar ‘New Year’ is celebrated. Rabbi Dr. Raymond Apple  formerly a rabbi in Australia and now retired in Jerusalem, said the Western New Year season could be described as “Ten Days of Living it Up.” He concocted a list, in alphabetical order, of ten characteristics of the secular celebration: amusement, banality, consumption, drinking, eating, frivolity, gambling, hedonism, idleness, and jabber. I comprised my own list, instead, of the attributes characterising the Ten Days of Awe: ahavah (love), binah (understanding), [OK, I cheated a bit using Hebrew words here, but I had to include love and understanding!], charity, dignity (of every person), empathy, faith, goodness, holiness, justice..all leading to JOY!  

As we progress through the seventh, holy month of Tishrei may we think on these things.


The number 9 is represented by the Hebrew letter tet – ט. The first tet in the Bible begins the word good – טוב, tov. 

The first thing God spoke into being was light, and God saw that the light was good, tov! (Gen.1:4). When He surveyed the work of Creation every day, He saw that it was good. After He created man, bringing full meaning and purpose to Creation, He proclaimed it was all very good! (Gen. 1:31).

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us: Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, For the Lord is GOOD, for his steadfast love endures forever! (33:11) 

It is easy to thank G-d for good things and when all is going well, but the verse doesn’t say that. It says to thank Him – no matter what, because HE is good. Naturally, we tend to evaluate things and happenings in our lives subjectively, and consider what is good for us. Only our Father in Heaven sees all and knows, objectively, what truly is good for us in the light of eternity.  When we understand that whatever happens according to His will is good, because, like a perfect parent, His will for His children is only based on grace and loving-kindness, then – even when it’s beyond our natural understanding, we can thank Him for everything. The quote this month – Gam zu le’tovah! Also this is for the good, comes from the story in the Talmud of a man, Nachum, who was given the nickname Gamzu, because he had full trust and faith in HaShem and always said, no matter what the circumstances, “Gam zuh le’tovah!” And, usually, as far as possible in this life, he was proved right. So, dear ones, let us ask for “good” understanding this year, to enable us to make the right decisions in whatever comes our way and, no matter what, to always be grateful for our Father’s goodness.


In Psalm 77 we see a theme of hands. Verse 2: “In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.”

The psalmist dreads being forsaken by G-d and verse 9 cries: “Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” He then recalls, in verse 15:You, with your outstretched arm, redeemed your people…” And, finally, in the last verse, he proclaims: “You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” The Good Shepherd is always there, watching, caring, and guiding His people through every circumstance, no matter how difficult and challenging. We can rest knowing that our lives  are in His hands.

Taking a closer look at our hands. There are 14 bones in the fingers of each hand.
The Hebrew word for hand is yad – יד , which has a numerical value of 14. Thus the number for both hands is 28. Interestingly, there are 28 Hebrew letters in the first verse of the Bible, which describes G-d as creating the heavens and the earth. The prophet Isaiah records that, of the earth, it is G-d: “ Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand”…and “who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in” (40:12, 22). As we know, hands are vital instruments for creation and expression, whether in art, music, dance, poetry, writing.  Just as our Creator did in the beginning, bringing His concepts and ideas into physicality, so de we, as those created in His image, bring our ideas, concepts and inspirations into physical reality. 

Despite his many troubles, King David in the Psalms always concludes: “My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” (63:8) “Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold my right hand.” (73:23). The Right Hand of G-d is referenced many times in the Bible, which indicates He also has a left hand. Indeed, we find in Scripture that His right hand usually is associated with His chessed – love and kindness, whereas His left hand represents gevurah – judgment and restraint.  These four basic attributes are influenced by one’s mind – one’s thoughts and attitudes, which influence the decisions we make and how we act and react. Our thoughts and emotions often are reflected in the gestures of our hands. For example, clenched fists usually indicate anger; drumming fingers express impatience; one can give a thumbs up, or down; a friendly wave…or, hopefully not, signal rude signs! 


While our hands are vital in accomplishing our practical everyday tasks, they also are very significant spiritually. There are many biblical examples, one being Moses stretching out his hand and God parting the Reed Sea for His people to make a way of escape from the Egyptian army. We also see Moses raising his hands in supplication during the Israelites’ battle with Amalek (Exodus 17:12). The Hebrew word says his hands were faithful. Raised hands expressed his faith as he, in trust, reached out his hands toward God. When his arms fell, the Israelites weakened, but when they remained raised with the help of Aaron and Hur, they triumphed. Using one’s hands, raised in prayer or clapping in praise, as well as one’s feet in dance and celebration, gives freedom in expressing one’s emotions before God. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov goes so far as to say that an “inability to bring and express heartfelt emotion into one’s prayer demonstrates a shortcoming in one’s faith.”  

He also points out that what “blemishes” or adversely affects the hands is pride and greed, as illustrated in Deuteronomy 8:17, where the proud person proclaims, “My power and might of my hand have brought me this wealth!” Rabbi Nachman says, “An obsessive pursuit of wealth shows he lacks faith in God’s ability to give him his sustenance.” He stresses that idolatry [the opposite of faith in God] is basically found in the worship of money. Without faith people are eager to “get their hands on” as much money as possible. We do need to work to provide for our livelihood but we also need to have faith that, at the end of the day, it is God who is providing all we need. We know, as described in Psalm 145:115-6 that, “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.” God opens His hand and “satisfies the desire of all living things.” So, we need to raise our open hands to Heaven in faith in order to receive the bounty and blessing our faithful Father wants to bestow on us, His children. 


As we see throughout Scriptures, hands are basic to bestow blessing and healing. One command in the Torah is that the kohanim (priests) bless the nation of Israel every day (Numbers 6:22-27) and in Leviticus 9:22 we are told that Aaron, as High Priest, raised his hands and blessed the people. When the priests are faithful to do that God says that it is He Himself who bestows the blessing. As a “kingdom of priests” we too can extend our hands to others, in the authority of our High Priest Yeshua, and trust our Father to give the blessing. 

In the medical profession, hands, of course, are vital.  Doctors and nurses engage in procedures and administer treatment that, hopefully, will bring healing to the patients.  Scripture tells us, on the other hand, “My son, attend to My words, incline your ear to my utterances… for they are life to those who find them and healing to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:21-22). His “words” and “utterances” are God’s Torah, or Teaching – His Word. As described in Deuteronomy 8:3, God fed the Israelites with manna in the desert so that “…He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” And as Yeshua also declared in Matthew 4:4,  when the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”…“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Often, when Yeshua healed the sick, he would physically touch the person, such as when he took Jairus’ daughter’s hand and raised her to life (Mark 5:39-42). Also, when Peter and John were on their way to the Temple and a man lame from birth begged for alms, Peter said “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Yeshua the Messiah of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”and he “…took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God” (Acts 3:1ff). After the event, where thousands had witnessed the healing, heard Peter’s testimony and believed, Peter gave God the glory and prayed, “Lord, …grant to your servants to continue to speak Your word with all boldness, while You stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name [authority] of your holy servant Yeshua.”(Acts 4:29)

On other occasions only Yeshua’s words were needed to bring healing, such as with the Roman centurion’s daughter (Luke 7). Also, the woman with the issue of blood had faith that if she only touched the hem of his garment she would be healed.  

To conclude… during this special month of Tishrei, may we be aware of what our Father has put in our hands to do in the extension of HIs Kingdom on earth. 

Interestingly, Science shows, as illustrated in the famous  sketch by Leonardo Da Vinci, that when a person extends his or her arms out to the side the span is equal to their height. One’s arms and hands therefore correspond to the outer range of one’s potential. 

May we all, throughout this year of God’s goodness, reach out and embrace all the opportunities our Father brings to learn and grow spiritually, and to more fully give expression to all the potential He has deposited within us, for His glory! 


~Keren Hannah






ELUL – The 6th Hebrew Month – Being Holy Being Whole

ELUL– אלול



QUOTE:  “Time is reversible, the past can be undone, a wasted life can be restored.”

PSALM 27:  G-d-Who-is my-Light

CREATIVE EXPRESSION: Find ways to illustrate and express the theme and what you are learning and experiencing this month. 



Psalm 27 is read every day during Elul. Orthodox Jews recite it morning and evening through both Elul and Tishrei, until the close of Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles). In your journal, write it out in your own hand, also in Hebrew if you are able, and keep it available for easy access. 

The psalm reminds us that the Lord is our Light. When we repent, His light dispels any darkness in our lives and the light of His Truth guides our feet into and through the coming year. King David never claims that he is not afraid. Fear is a normal emotional reaction, which could, for example, follow a cancer scare, the loss of a job, a lost child, fear of our own hearts… but when this natural fear is wrapped in the absolute knowledge, da’at, of our God who is good, we are enabled rather to fear [in awe and reverence] the only One who is to be feared. When we do, then Fear becomes a fortress and refuge for us. David feared God and lived in the fortress of His love all the days of his life.


There are forty days between the first day of Elul and Yom Kippur. These correspond biblically with the forty days between 1st Elul, the day Moses saw the Israelites worshipping the Golden Calf and broke the first set of tablets carrying the Ten Words or Commandments of God and, after ascending Mount Sinai to intercede and plead for God’s Divine pardon, the day (10th Tishrei) he returned with the second set of tablets. 

In response to Moses’ heartbroken and persistent intercession, God forgave the sin of idolatry and the gift of His Word was evidence of His forgiveness. This clear manifestation of Divine pardon has marked these forty days as a time for  self-examination and repentance, and for giving and receiving forgiveness.

“The first tangible symbols of justice, the Holy Law of God, are the two stone tablets that bore the words inscribed by “the finger of God” (Ex. 31:18). We only can imagine the depth of emotion Moses experienced when, after being immersed in the wonder of the glory of the Presence of God for forty days and returning with the gift of His precious Word, he was confronted with the ‘carnival’ spectacle of the people idolizing the Golden Calf. He smashed the tablets in all-too-human despair. However, the holiness of the fragments did not disappear when the tablets were broken; they still carried the letters written by God.  Although not stated in the text of Deuteronomy 10, Rabbinic literature supposes that they were gathered and placed in honor in the Ark of the Covenant together with the rewritten tablets. 

That compelling supposition is a great encouragement. Sometimes we can despair at the brokenness of the sinful world, often evident in our own lives as in that of others, and yet each broken piece is holy. It was created and written on, as it were, by the finger of God and is precious in His sight.  Our Father, through the work of His Son and the power of His Spirit of holiness, is actively restoring, regathering and redeeming all the scattered pieces. In all we do, we have the honor and sacred calling to participate with Him in that healing work.”

~ Keren Hannah Pryor, (unpublished series) Ethics Now and Then 7, Avot 1:8

The month of Elul is considered a particular time for repentance and reconciliation with God. The name of the month is a reminder that this season of repentance (teshuvah) and spiritual reflection is not to be a time of morbid introspection or conducted with heaviness. E,l,u,l (aleph, lamed, vav, lamed) is an acronym for the Hebrew verse, Song of Songs 6:3, 

Ani le’dodi ve‘dodi li.   I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.

The month therefore affords us a special opportunity to turn our hearts to God in love. We are reminded that teshuvah, repentance, is a loving gift from our faithful Father. It is, in fact, a supernatural gift – a process that is above the forces of nature. The Creator set the laws of nature in place, day follows night, time marches on, death follows life and penalty follows sin. Teshuvah/repentance, however, demonstrates that the same Creator is able to counteract His laws of nature. As Jewish author Avraham Finkel, in our quote for the month,[1] describes:

Time is reversible, the past can be undone, a wasted life can be restored; “God is close to all who call to Him – to all who call Him with sincerity” (Psalm 145:18). 

Teshuvah enables the the Presence of God-Who is-our-Light to enter any areas of darkness in our hearts, to allow purification and illumination – bringing rectification. The Baal Shem Tov [2] uses a beautiful analogy to explain the concept of repentance:

When you enter a dark room carrying a burning lamp, the darkness vanishes without leaving a trace. So too a baal teshuvah [one who repents and turns to God and His Word] even though until now he lived in the total darkness of sin, when the light of Torah begins to shine in his soul, all the darkness is gone.

Teshuvah takes courage! It requires 5 elements, which, in accord with Maimonides’ view of repentance, I like to call “The Five Fingers of the Hand of Repentance” that we reach out to God.

FAITH – Belief /  RECOGNITION – Determination  / CONFESSION – Humility /  


  1. First one needs FAITH – emunah – even as a mustard seed – to believe that His voice is calling us  closer and to have hearts prepared to respond. 

2. Then it requires a RECOGNITION of our weaknesses, which takes determination to push aside our natural tendency to justify our every action and to recognize those that are out of line with God’s will. 

3. Next, we need to CONFESS the sin or wrongdoing before God and, before the person or persons we have wronged. This requires much swallowing of pride and walking in humility, before God and especially before man. 

4. Then we need to make RESTITUTION in whichever way possible for any wrongdoing towards our fellow man. God forgives the sins against Himself but, with honesty, we need to seek forgiveness from and extend forgiveness to one another.

5. Finally, to achieve full RESOLUTION, requires having the resolve to not repeat the sin or wrongdoing when one is in a similar situation or faces the same temptation. When one can achieve this, one has reached wholehearted repentance of the sin. 

The physical symbol of this season of Repentance is the Shofar. The first mighty blasts of the Divine Shofar were heard at Mount Sinai, announcing the revelation of the Presence of God to His chosen and redeemed nation. Its call has echoed through the generations ever since, echoing sounds of a shepherd calling his flock home. The Torah portion Nitzavim, which always is read during Elul,  carries a Divine promise of the joyful time when the hearts of all Israel will return to God and will yield to His will in loving obedience: 

“You will do everything that I am commanding you today; you and your children will repent with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deureronomy 30:2).

On that day the great Shofar of God will sound with a triumphant blast to announce the arrival of the King of kings before whom every individual will stand to give an account of his or her life. The shofar is thus sounded at the morning and evening services every day through Elul in the hope that its stirring blasts will awaken those who are “asleep” in the stupor of sin. The clarion call moves us to repent and turn again to the Almighty, the Shepherd of our souls, to receive the power to break any negative patterns of the past and walk forward in new hope and inspiration.

As we extend forgiveness to others who may have hurt us, and (i) in faith in the love and mercy of our Father God, (ii) recognise the areas in our lives that are not in accord with His will, and (iii) confess any sins and weaknesses, and (iv) make restitution where possible, and (v) resolve to not succumb to the same sin, we can rejoice and rest in the knowledge that we are forgiven and can stand confidently before the “Judge of all flesh” when the shofar resounds on Rosh haShanah, the Day of Trumpets, and on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:24;27). We then can eagerly anticipate another year of devoted service in joyful worship of our God and King, and in partnering with Him in His great work of healing and rectification – Tikkun Olam.

Every individual is a product of his or her past experiences; all of one’s ‘yesterdays.’ 
One of the greatest gifts of God to His children, along with free will, is the ability to change 
– to learn and to grow in character – and to step forward into tomorrow reflecting His image a little more brightly.                        

~Keren Hannah Pryor,  Ethics Now and Then


You and I

Leonard Nimoy

I am not immortal.
Whatever I put off for later
May never be.
Whoever doesn’t know now
That I love them
May never know.
I have killed time.
I have squandered it.
I have lost days…weeks…
As a man of unlimited wealth
Might drop coins on the street
And never look back.

I know now,
that there will be an end,
A limit.
But there is time
Valuable and precious time
To walk,
Time to touch,
To warm the child
Who is cold and lonely.
There is time to love.

I promise myself…
I will.
I am
I am ready
I am ready to give
I am ready to give and to receive
I am ready to give and to receive love.

The poem was published after Leonard Nimoy’s death in the Blog of a friend, Rabbi John Rosove.


All my limbs shall declare, “G-d! Who is like You?” (Psalm 35:10)

There is a profound connection between a person’s physical body, one’s outer being, and the spirit, one’s inner being. In reality, as someone described, we are spiritual beings encased in physical bodies. However, how we physically “…live, and move, and have our being,” as Paul mentions in Acts 17:28, and whether it is “in God” or not, has a powerful effect, either positively or negatively, on our spirits and inner being. 

The brain, which is the most complex organ in the human body, is what connects the two. The brain is the center of our thought processes and our physical coordination and actions. Together with the spinal cord, it comprises the central nervous system. As the location of one’s mind, we can compare the brain to the central processing unit of an ultra-sophisticated computer. Everything that happens to the body at some point has been processed through the brain. As Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught, “The mind is the commander-in-chief of the body.” (Likutey Moharan 1.29:7) 

While we must never stop learning and growing, we also should have a clear understanding that we will always be Beginners in this life, no matter how much we learn and think we know. We should always yearn and long for further revelation of our great God and His ways and strive for greater spiritual growth and fulfilment. As a result, the body and spirit begin to work together in harmony and we become more conformed to the Image of God in which we were created. As one’s everyday actions become more imbued with holiness, the light of one’s spirit is more reflected in one’s personal life and the glory of God’s presence can shine more brightly in all we do.


How is it possible even to aim for this? We know that it is impossible. As Rebbe Nachman also taught:

Know! There is a light which is higher than [the spirit and soul of man]. This is the Light of the Infinite One. And though the intellect cannot grasp this Light, the racing of the mind nevertheless constantly pursues it. …And know that it is impossible to grasp this Light…except by performing the mitzvoth with joy. (Likutey Moharan 1, 24:12)

To enable us to even to make the attempt, God Himself has provided the tools we need – the revelation of Himself and the teaching in His Word. We need to first know and love Him and then, in faith, learn His ways as expressed in His Word and then walk in obedience to His commandments (mitzvot). Yeshua, who was the Word enfleshed, and whose life illustrated the perfect harmony of spirit and flesh in accord with the Father’s will, was tempted to satisfy his hunger supernaturally after forty days of fasting in the wilderness. He responded: “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4) His Word is the source of true Life; our response is joyful, loving obedience to His commands/mitzvoth.

The Hebrew word mitzvoth, plural of mitzvah, has the root meaning le’tzavot – to command, or to bind. When we perform a mitzvah with joy it binds us closer to our Father in Heaven. 

This is our essential mission in life – to overcome the ever-present conflict between the needs and wants of the body and the yearnings of the soul to grow and become the true spiritual being we were created to be. Adam and Eve exchanged what was truly good; life in the garden of Eden – a place of eternal delight in the Presence of God, for the temporal, material life we now endure. We must, b’ezrat HaShem, with our faithful God’s help, aim and purpose to grow spiritually, to better discern between good and evil, and to end our personal exile and return to the Garden and the Presence of God….for that isn His will and the longing of His heart.

~ Keren Hannah



[1]Avraham Yaakov Finkel, The Essence of the Holy Days, Insights from the Jewish Sages, Jason Aronson Inc., New Jersey, London, 1993;

[2] Israel Baal Shem Tov (1700 – 1760), founder of the Hassidic movement in Eastern Europe.

[3] Artwork: Orit Martin

AV – 5th Biblical Month – Being Holy, Being Whole

AV – אב



QUOTE:  Through prayer, our needs and wants become the source of our greatest blessing – closeness to God.” ~ Heshy Kleinman (Praying with Fire)

PSALM 59: God-my-Tower-of-Strength

CREATIVE EXPRESSION: Find ways to illustrate and express the theme and what you are learning and experiencing this month. 



At the start of Psalm 59, we see that young David is in a life-threatening situation. As he flees the murderous rage of King Saul, he cries out to God for help. From this place of terror we see how, in the mere 18 lines of the Psalm, he moves to a place of serenity. His cry of despair transitions into a song of grateful praise! How does this happen?

When a person finds herself in an overwhelming situation, feeling time constraints, stressed by overpowering demands, feeling totally out of control and not able to manage, the first step to a transition is to recognise what is happening and to name it. Then she can cry out for help, knowing with full assurance that our Father hears our cries! 

The enemy is described as howling, ravenous dogs that are intent on causing disturbance and to maul their victims. David knows, however, that our G-d is mightier than they and He scorns the evil among the nations. In verses 10 and 11, David uses personal adjectives to describe God. Ozi – my Strength; Misgavi – my Haven; Chasdi – my Lovingly-faithful One. Such is He to all His children and we can happily run into His Presence as into a Strong Tower.  Then, like David we can take a deep breath of relief and rest. Selah! 

CE: Write out the verses that resonate with you and express your responses to the Psalm. 


And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire the sound of a low whisper – a still, small voice. (1 Kings 19:12)

The volume of noise in the world, on many levels, is overwhelming. Together with the physical din, there is constant mental chatter going on in the surface of our minds from TVs, radios, cell phones, etc., etc. Imagine you are in a noisy, crowded room – maybe at a wedding, or party, or convention, and you want to speak to someone and to hear what they are saying. What would you do? Our immediate reaction is to raise our voices and to yell over the noise. It is proven, rather – in order to protect your vocal chords and to be heard more successfully, it is far better to lean in close to the person and whisper! We may consider the “still, small voice” God uses to speak to us in the midst of the cacophony of the world. When things seem out of control, as they did to Elijah in the account recorded in the first book of Kings, God did not yell at him in the whirlwind, or earthquake. Rather, He spoke in a whisper and brought calm and enabled Elijah to voice his fears, upon which He was able to reassure him.  However, we need to be able to attune ourselves to His whisper, His still, small voice – to know how to hear it, to recognise it, and then we will be able to respond to it. 

The noisy clatter in our own heads may be loud, demanding voices that deliver messages that make us feel afraid, or defensive, or negative and fill us with doubt of our own ability to cope. It’s likely that the prophet Elijah was being plagued by some of these voices when he was on the run from Jezebel! The messages may be ones we internalised from childhood experiences, from society and the culture we grew up in, and they may contain half-truths which confuse us. We should, logically, be able to refute and ignore them, but their strident, distracting urging claims our attention. God’s voice of truth, on the other hand, whispers reassurance and its message instils  quiet confidence. Once our ears tune in and hear it, a sense of peace and calm will settle over us like a warm tallit (prayer shawl) and the other voices simply fade away.

The more we become adept at listening for and recognising our Father’s voice, we will discover the beauty and power it conveys and then we will be able to walk in the peace, reassurance, and confidence it imparts. As we align ourselves with it more and more, we we will be able to share His soft whisper, like a gentle rustling in the leaves of a tree, and create more moments of peace, comfort, and confidence, amid the raucous clatter of the world. May it be so!

POEM:  A PRAYER FOR PRAYER by Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman

O my God
My soul’s companion
My heart’s precious friend
I turn to You.

I need to close out the noise
To rise above the noise
The noise that interrupts—
The noise that separates—
The noise that isolates.
I need to hear You again.

In the silence of my innermost being,
In the fragments of my yearned-for wholeness,
I hear whispers of Your Presence—
Echoes of the past when You were with me
When I felt Your nearness
When together we walked—
When You held me close, embraced me in Your love,
Laughed with me in my joy.
I yearn to hear You again.

In Your oneness, I find healing.
In the promise of Your love, I am soothed.
In Your wholeness, I too can become whole again.

Please listen to my call—
       help me to find the words
       help me find the strength within
       help me shape my mouth, my voice, my heart
so that I can direct my spirit and find You in prayer
In words only my heart can speak
In songs only my soul can sing
Lifting my eyes and heart to You.

Adonai S’fatai Tiftach— open my lips, precious God,
So that I can speak with You again.



What is the extraordinary power in the gift of music that God has given us? In some ways, music and song are more effective than speech  in expressing our thoughts and emotions. Medical science has proven that even a baby in the womb responds to both instrumental music and the sounds of voices, particularly that of its father. It has also been observed how, with patients suffering the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s, their musical gifts and abilities are what endure the longest. Children love to be sung to and to learn to sing childhood songs. In Israel there is a popular song, Lo Nafsik La’Shir! – Don’t Stop Singing! It is a joy to hear someone singing or whistling as they work or simply humming a happy tune as they walk. It is the sign of a happy heart.  Doctors say that singing is good for one’s health, so keep singing, even if it’s in the shower!

The Bible emphasises the power of music. Young David would play his harp and sing to quieten King Saul’s spirit when he was disturbed. It soothes the soul to hear pleasant music. It also is inspiring to the spirit. When the HolyTemple was standing in Jerusalem, the Levitical choir would be singing God’s praises day and night in the form of the Psalms and melodies composed by King David. We read in Isaiah 51:3 how, when the Lord redeems and restores the result is thanksgiving and joyous song.

For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.

To appreciate the constant song of the spirit one’s ears must be awake and listening in order to receive it. Hearing is stressed in Judaism’s most important and most often recited prayer – Shemah Yisrael – Hear O Israel. 

In every Hebrew Torah scroll the ayin, the last letter of the word Shema – שמע, is enlarged, as is the last letter of the word One – echad – אחד, at the end of the sentence. Together they spell the word  עד ed, meaning ‘witness’. This illustrates that when we hear fully, i.e., hear, are receptive, and understand in our hearts, we become witnesses to the presence of God and to the truth of His Word.

Another interesting fact is that when the two enlarged letters are removed, the four letters that remain can be arranged to spell esmach  אשמח, which is the first word found in Psalm 104:34, and means, ‘I will rejoice!’ Those who Shema – hear, and give thanks and proclaim the unity and presence of God daily, will be filled with joy. This indicates that our faith in God strengthens our joy and, when we are joyful, our faith is strengthened. There are 248 words in the full Shemah – the same number of positive mitzvoth, or commandments. There are also 248 parts to our skeletal frame, indicating that when we use our body to serve God positively, we will be able to serve Him joyfully. Indeed, as His people, songs of joy and praise should be constantly on our lips. An inspirational illustration is found in the fact that the Hebrew letters of Israel – ישראל can be rearranged to spell the words Shir El  שיר אל – the Song of God. God wants to sing His song through us to the world! 

Finally, another amazing aspect of music is the fact that not only humans are affected by it but so too are animals and plants. Greenhouse experiments have shown the effect of music on plants. When classical, jazz, or folk music is played in their environment, plants  grow and thrive but those exposed to heavy metal or hard rock music wither and die! Many people have noted a spurt in growth in their garden plants when they speak encouragingly to them! 

The common element in people and other living things, apart from breathing, is water. You may have heard of the Japanese researcher and author Masaru Emoto who wrote the bestselling book The Hidden Messages in Water, and also The Secret Life of Water. His fascinating studies and experiments have recorded the pronounced effects speech and music have on water.  The effect of loving, positive words and a happy, pleasant environment produced beautiful, balanced crystals in the water, while hateful, negative words and a stressful atmosphere caused chaotic forms and distorted shapes. A great lesson to be learned as a result, is that, as our bodies are comprised mostly of water, we are also powerfully affected – either for good or ill, by the words we hear and speak and the environment surrounding us. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see the illustration of happiness as reflected in water. 


As a teacher I know how important this is in regard to how one speaks to children. Parents, too, should be extra vigilant in their words and in being aware of the speech and atmosphere children are exposed to on TV and in movies and video games.

We may understand that all of Creation has a song, and is waiting for the full redemption of all things, when – as we are told in Romans 8:20 ff:  “…the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” Just as we sometimes do, all Creation can groan but it also can sing when it is valued and cared for and hears the harmony and balance of words and songs of love.

1. Photo – Shutterstock

2. Photo credit – Masaru Emoto – The Secret Life of Water.


The Sages of Israel describe ten archetypal songs that, beginning  with Adam, are echoed and sung throughout history. 

  1. The first song of ADAM was one of teshuvah, repentance. All restoration and healing begins with repentance. Through revelation of God and true repentance we can sing the song of Shabbat, which is the sign and gift of restored relationship with God.
  2. The second song is the Song of MOSES, MIRIAM, and all Israel when they were redeemed and set free from slavery upon crossing the Reed Sea.
  3. The third song was sung by ISRAEL when they miraculously received water in the wilderness when “…the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together, so that I may give them water.” Then Israel sang this song, “Spring up, O well!—Sing to it!” (Numbers 21:16-17).
  4. The fourth song, HA’AZINU – GIVE EAR, was sung by MOSES at the end of his life when he gave a review of mankind and Israel’s history and gives prophecies of the future. Nachmanides (the Ramban) and other Bible commentators consider that this song connects the days of Moses with the time of Messiah. (Deut. 32:1-43)
  5. The fifth song was sung by JOSHUA after God gave him the victory by miraculously stopping the sun and moon. (Joshua 10:12-14)
  6. The sixth song, recorded in the book of Judges, chapter 5, was sung by the judge and prophetess DEBORAH and her general BARAK after they enjoyed a great victory over Jabin, the king of Canaan, which resulted in forty years of peace in the Land.
  7. The seventh song, sung by HANNAH, the mother of the prophet Samuel, is a beautiful song of praise and thanksgiving to God. (Samuel 12:1-10)
  8. The eighth song, also a powerful song of thanksgiving, was sung by KING DAVID on the day He finally delivered him from King Saul and from all his enemies.  (II Samuel 22:1-51)
  9. The ninth song is the SONG OF SONGS – Shir HaShirim, written by King Solomon. It is believed that he composed it at the time he inaugurated the First Temple after being inspired by the awesome presence of God and was overwhelmed by his love for Him.
  10. The tenth song is the SONG OF MESSIAH, Shir HaMashiach, which will be sung at the full and final Redemption of Israel and the world. We will “sing a new song” to God. This song of deep joy will express a totally new understanding of life in all its completion, purpose, wholeness, and holiness. It will express the beauty and harmony of the holy gift of music itself; the music that  crosses boundaries and reaches hearts and brings healing and unity. The song of eternity.

~ Keren Hannah

This was such a sweet experience… friends from the UK were spontaneously singing on a rooftop in the Old City of Jerusalem. A few lovely young Jewish people sang along and a Rabbi and Orthodox Jewish family came along to listen.

TAMMUZ – 4th Biblical Month – Being Holy, Being Whole




QUOTE:  When you place your life in the hand of God, you begin to see His hand in everything.

PSALM : 42 G-d-my-Ever-Present-Help

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. 


Psalm 42 is a maskil – a song of instruction. Its words carry a spiritual lesson. It could well have been written by David while he was fleeing from King Saul, who was intending to kill him, and David was hiding in a cave at Ein Gedi. There he would have observed the deer and mountain goats and heard their panting for water as they approached the Ein Gedi oasis from the surrounding desert. The psalm vividly describes the pain of perceiving that, while separated from home, family and friends, one is separated from G-d Himself. As a deer pants for water, the source of life in a dry land, so one’s soul becomes dry and thirsty for the life-giving water of the presence of G-d.

It is, however, a false perception – a result of the scorn and reviling of those who jealously mocked him, saying, in effect,  “You are nothing but a fugitive. Where is your God now?” This same scorn followed Israel throughout her exile and has brought much pain and many tears. The psalmist, however, expresses the truth that G-d’s Word is the Hope they can cling to and rejoice in. His people are never alone. They can say: “By day the Lord commands his steadfast love [over me], and at night His song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.” (v.8). His hand always is there when we reach out for it. Our hearts always can sing to Him in response to His constant, unshakeable love. 

CE: Write out the verses that resonate with you and express your responses to the Psalm. 


Last month we saw how the Name of G-d was embedded in our skeletal frame. This month we will begin to examine the head, which would link with the first letter in the Name of G-d – the yod. The head is the head, the ‘manager’ as it were, of the body. As well as the brain, it carries the four sensory organs of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. This month we will focus on the eyes. The eyes are considered the most important of the four and often are compared to wisdom – the seeing and understanding the essence of something. 

The Hebrew word for eye – ayin / עיןhas the numerical value of 70; an important number in the Bible. Abraham was 70 when God cut the Covenant of the Pieces with him. There were 70 souls of the house of Jacob who went down to Egypt (Genesis 46). There are 70 archetypal nations of the world, for whom 70 bulls were offered as sacrifices during the week of the Festival of Sukkot. These correspond to 70 evil characteristics that epitomise the worldly nations, of which the trait of sexual immorality is considered the most widespread and damaging.  The Torah is considered to have 70 facets that counteract these evil characteristics.

The Shemah prayer, the first learned by Jewish children and prayed at least twice a day, is prayed with the right hand covering the eyes to impress the importance of sight and how we “see” things. The verse Numbers 15:39 is included in the Shemah: “…remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after.” The verse refers to the tzitzit – the tassles on the corners of a man’s tallit, prayer shawl and tallit katan, a vest-like undergarment. By constantly seeing the tassles, a man is reminded to obey God’s will and to be “holy to your God.” Yeshua emphasised the importance of not “straying after one’s eyes” in Matthew 5:28, when he said:”…I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” 

Another important aspect of seeing is included in the portion. The account of ‘The Sin of the Ten Spies.’ The Israelites are camped on the border of the Promised Land and twelve leaders, one from every tribe, were sent by Moses to scout out the Land, to “see” what it was like, and to bring back a report. After 40 days they returned and, according to their report, ten saw one thing and two saw another. What happened? The ten described ‘reality’ as they saw it, from a fear-filled perspective, and gave a negative report of the ‘giants’ the inhabited the Land and made them feel like grasshoppers. The two – Joshua and Caleb, assured the now terrified people of the goodness of the Land and they would be able to conquer the giants because G-d had promised and was with them. Which perspective won out? Sadly, the faithless fear-based one… and, as a result, that generation continued to wander for 40 years and died in the wilderness. What was their sin, which is considered to be worse than the Sin of the Golden Calf? They did not see with eyes of faith and they turned their backs on the Land G-d had promised them for generations as their sacred inheritance.

We could argue that the two were facing reality and were only sharing what they had seen with their own eyes. Joshua and Caleb, by the way, did not argue with them about the challenge posed by the warlike inhabitants but emphasised how the reality we see with our physical eyes is not necessarily the truth of the matter. In a wonderful commentary by David Ebenbach, called The Artist’s Torah, he describes how, when a person is in pursuit of truth – about life, about meaning, about the universe, the Divine, often the things we discover may seem completely unrealistic! We need to see beyond the seemingly ‘real.’ Ebenbach quotes from scholar Earle Colman’s book, Creativity and Spirituality, how famous Jewish artist Marc Chagall called spiritual reality unreality. To see the spiritual view, which G-d was asking the Israelites to do, means seeing and grasping the truth that is beyond the mundane reality which we see around us. In his autobiography, Marc Chagall wrote of his search for truth and G-d’s unique purpose for him: 

I roamed the streets, I searched, I prayed. “G-d, Thou who hides in the clouds or behind the shoemaker’s house, grant that my soul may be revealed, the sorrowful soul of a stammering boy. Show me my way. I do not want to be like all the others. I want to see a new world.

Stained glass window – Marc Chagall

Interestingly, I believe that art and creativity are gifts, tools, we have been given to better envision the reality of the spiritual realm. It began in the wilderness with the creation of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) with all its beauty and design, color and pattern, as a vision of this “new world” – the world as G-d created it to be, with His Presence dwelling among us. In fact, the Hebrew words for art – ohmanut –  אמנות, and faith –  אמונה, both have the same root אמנ, amen, which is an acronym for El Melech Ne’eman,  which means G-d Faithful King. The truth of which is the basis of our faith! 

Ebenbach also quotes the well-known poet and author Saul Bellow (whose novel Seize the Day popularised the Carpe Diem saying, and whose novel Henderson the Rain King is a perennial favorite) who said, in his 1976 Nobel Prize winning acceptance speech:

Only art penetrates what pride, passion, intelligence and habit erect on la sides – the seeming reality of this world. There is another reality, the genuine one, which we lose sight of. This other reality [Chagall’s new word?] is always sending us hints which, without art, we can’t receive. 

We need to be visionaries. What does that mean? To be a visionary means, not ignoring the reality of what we see around us, but perceiving things that are not there – yet! It means standing with Caleb and Joshua against the fear and pessimistic proclamations and rather to proclaim the truth of what we can envision – that which is written and promised in the Word of our Creator.


There are many idioms associated with seeing, for example, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” There is a danger in choosing to see only that which we want to see, as opposed to the reality of what actually is there. Our perception of things can be distorted by, for example, the desire to be right and to not admit to ignorance, or a mistaken understanding of the facts. The Torah also underscores in the case of making a judgment, “And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right” (Exodus 23:8).  There are many forms of ‘bribery’ – peer pressure, desire to be popular and accepted, or to be seen as important. If we succumb to these we can make unfair and unsound judgments and end up calling bad good and good bad.

The Sages of Israel describe the reality of a Good Eye – ayin tov (עין טוב), and an Evil Eye – ayin rah (עין רע).  Proverbs 22:9 tells us,  “Whoever has a good eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.” Abraham is the prime example of one with a good eye for he intently watched out for those whom he could help and always tried to see the good in others. Balaam is an example of one with an evil eye – someone who always looks for fault, is willing to accept bribes, and is jealous of another’s goods or status. One with a good eye gives, while one with an evil eye takes and the latter is never satisfied with what he has; he is driven by greed.

In order to combat the presence of the ‘evil eye’ – from evil thoughts about others, from jealousy and covetousness, and all forms of negative thinking, our focus must be on God’s Word, which is Truth. We need to shift our gaze from the materialism and influence of the ‘kingdom of the world’ – Olam HaZeh around us and remain focussed on the Kingdom of God and Olam HaBa – the World to Come. That doesn’t mean, as the popular saying goes, that one must be so heavenly minded that one is no earthly good! It means that we need to train our eyes to see the Presence of God and the signs of His provision in this world, even while we know that this is but an all too brief transition to the eternal world to come. 

The eyes of our Father in Heaven always are upon His children; and upon those who are searching for Him. “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God” (Psalm 14:2). Psalm 145:15-16 also tells us how, “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.” He is the prime Giver, the perfect Ayin Tov, Good Eye.We need to see and understand that all our provision comes from God. When we do we will have an attitude of complete trust in Him for all our daily needs. We will learn to see His hand clearly and will be able to respond in heartfelt gratitude without ever taking it for granted. Then we will be able to work more in harmony with Him in this world. We will be able to taste and see that God is good! (Psalm 34:9)

The prophet Isaiah gives a beautiful, joyful promise to those who are watchmen and women, watching for God, in 52:8, “The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion.” Seeing ‘eye to eye’ means being in perfect agreement. Coming to an intimate knowledge of God through His Word, and having one’s will in harmony with His; being ‘one’ with, just as Yeshua was with the Father. As he prayed to the Father for his disciples before his arrest in John 17: 17-24, 

Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth. As You sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world….The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and You in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent me and loved them even as You loved me. 

The prophet Habakkuk tells us that after Messiah is enthroned in Zion, ruling over God’s Kingdom, “…the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (2:14). Until then, let us pray…

Abba, Father, our desire is to “see eye to eye” with You. Help us to surrender our lives more fully into Your Hand and to begin to see Your hand more clearly in all things. Thank You for Your faithful provision. We pray that you will continue to sustain us and strengthen us in all You call us to do. May we continue to grow in knowledge of You, and to become more and more the people You created us to be; each one unique and in Your image. 

Help us to study and gain deeper knowledge of Your Word that we may stand securely on it and proclaim is Truth without worry of being led astray. Our trust is in You Abba. Thank You that You hear us when we call to You.You see our hearts and know our love for You and for Your son and Messiah. Let us keep our gaze upon You and Your amazing wonders even in this world; and may our inner focus be on the glory and reality of the World to Come. For Your Holy Name’s sake! 

                                    May we constantly…

~ Keren Hannah

Thanks to Geneva Seeds for the photograph!


We are blessed and honored this month to have TERRY MASON, a dear friend, share with us his perspectives on the value of eyes and sight, both physical and spiritual, and his experiences of birdwatching in Jerusalem. 


SIVAN – 3rd Biblical Month – Being Holy, Being Whole



BODY: Skeletal system; legs, feet; arms, hands

QUOTE:  Act with confidence. ‘Humility’ that disempowers can indicate an inflated ego.

POEM: ‘Toward Myself’ – Lea Goldberg

PSALM 41: G-d-Who-Heals-the-Wounded-Heart

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. 


Living in this imperfect world inevitably results in hurts and wounds, which lead to the formation of negative concepts and perceptions in our minds that hinder us, block our creativity, and stall us in becoming more fully the person our Father created us to be.

The wounds often are hidden from our minds and are deeply embedded in our hearts. We read in Psalm 41 how the psalmists overwhelmed by fear, anger, and grief as he faces the pain alone. Although  knowing the “good way” of the Lord, he cries out for pity, healing, and forgiveness for he has realised, “I have sinned against You!” (verse 5). We, too, are assured that we can cry out to G-d, the One-Who-Heals-the Wounded-Heart. With His unfailing help we can be healed and set free from any hidden blocks. Then we can rejoice in gratitude as we happily grow in holiness and wholeness.

CE: Write out the verses that resonate with you and express your responses to the Psalm. 

Toward Myself  ~ Lea Goldberg   (1911 – 1970)

Lea Goldberg is one of Israel’s most respected poets. With added melody, many of her poems have become classic songs. In 1935, at age 24, after her university studies, she made Aliyah to Israel from Lithuania. She was a prolific and versatile writer. Her publications include ten collections of poetry, plays, novels, and stories for children. She translated major literary works into Hebrew, including War and Peace, plays by Shakespeare, and stories by Chekov, Moli`ere, and Ibsen.

Although Goldberg lived through both Word Wars and their horrors she expressed a commitment in her poetry “to remind humankind, every moment and every day, that the opportunity to return and be human is not lost.” 

The years have made up my face
With memories of love
And have adorned my hair with light silver threads
Making me most beautiful.

In my eyes
landscapes are reflected.
And the paths I have trod
Have straightened my stride –
tired and lovely steps.

If you should see me now
You would not recognise your yesterdays –
I am walking towards myself
Bearing the face you searched for in vain
When I was walking toward you.

CE:  Write out the poem in your Journal. Can you identify with it in any way? Jot down any thoughts you may have. 


Of all the many beautiful and powerful Scripture verses connected with walking the one I come back to time and again is Micah 6:8, with it’s direct simplicity: 

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

The emphasis on what to do to please Him is not on theology, sacrifices, and rituals. The most significant of God’s desires for mankind as we walk through our days are justice, compassion, and humility. Note that, as we walk together with Him, these requirements relate to how people interact with one another. Thus, we may understand that the primary goal of our thoughts and actions in every situation is to use our intelligence and creativity, and any gifts the Father has given us, in order to fulfil the chief interpersonal commandment, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

“Being Holy” is predominantly connected with the motivation and the execution of one’s everyday actions. This involves our physical bodies. Our legs take us where we want to go and our hands do the necessary actions. The greatest thing we can do is to bring blessing in whatever we do. First we want to bless God and then to bless others. The Sages say we should find 100 reasons to bless God every day. Hebrew blessings are essentially an expression of grateful praise. They begin with, “Baruch Atah Adonai Eoheinu, Melech HaOlam…”  Blessed are You O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe…, and then follows the reason for praising Him:-  “…for restoring my soul to me in compassion” (said first thing on waking); “…for bringing bread from the earth” (before eating a meal with bread); “for the fruit of the vine” (before drinking wine); “who has made the great sea” (on seeing the ocean); on hearing good news, “…who is good and does good” and even on hearing sad news of a death, “…the true Judge.” And so on…one hundred reasons to praise God. In Israel we are used to saying “Baruch HaShem” – “Praise or Bless HIs Name”, at the drop of a hat. 

God Himself is the great bestower of blessing, therefore, our desire, in order to emulate Him, should be to bless others as well. In fact, when we do we are sanctifying His Name. Based on the third commandment in Exodus 20:7, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain,” and Leviticus 22:32, “You shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctifies you,” observant Jews pray twice daily, together with the Shemah, to “nekadesh et Shimcha be’olam” – to “make Your Name holy in the world.” How does one do this? Firstly, an interesting point grasp is that, in Exodus 20:7, the Hebrew word usually translated as ‘Do not take’ –  Lo tissa, literally means “Do not carry the Name of the Lord in vain.”

We are created in such a way that we physically carry His Name in our bodies. 


The human skeleton is the framework and support for all the organs of the body. It is divided into two categories: the axial, which is the central column – skull, spine, ribs, and sternum, and the appendicular – the shoulders, arms and legs. As well as being of vital importance to our physical well-being and strength, it is in the skeleton that we see a diagram of the Name of God. We are told in Genesis 1:27 that we are created in the image of God and this is illustrated, as it were, in our very bones! Externally we all look very different but when we get down to the bare bones level we all are very similar!  

Back to the question, “How do we carry His Name in our bodies?” Let’s take a look. The Name of God, the Tetragrammaton, as written in the Hebrew Scriptures is Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh. י-ה-ו-ה  Now look at the skeleton. The skull fits the shape of the yod; the arms form a heh (with an open space for the heart); the spine fits the vav, and the legs form the final heh! We carry the Name of God in our very being. How is this of relevance in our daily lives? It is intimately connected with how we walk through our days. In our video this month you will learn more about the importance of standing and walking correctly according to how our skeleton is created, but let us consider how the shape of our skeleton in the Name of God, together with the breath He gives us, affects our spiritual lives.

Simply put, when others, particularly those who do not know God, observe your behavior and appreciate the righteousness of your actions, and the godliness of your character, they will be drawn closer to God and His ways – and that is Kiddush HaShem – Sanctifying His Name.  It stands to reason that the opposite of Kiddush HaShem, sanctifying His Name, applies. The desecration of God’s Name is called in Hebrew Chillul HaShem. If others, who know you are a believer in God see you acting in dishonest or obnoxious ways their opinion of God will  be lowered negatively. 

From the start, Abraham and Sarah serve as great examples. As renowned medieval Torah commentator and physician, Maimonides, describes: “Just as Abraham, being a lover of God, summoned mankind to believe [by constantly opening their tent to serve wayfarers with food and rest and ave praise to God for the provision], you must love God and summon mankind to Him.”  Maimonides also noted that the greater and more prominent a scholar or leader, the greater responsibility they have to act in an exemplary, God-honoring way. As examples, he cites that they must (i) pay their debts promptly, (ii) never embarrass colleagues, and (iii) not overindulge in merrymaking in public. (The Foundations of Torah 5:11)

In relation to the body part of feet and walking, It is said that your feet will take you where you want to go. It is important to be aware of where we go and who we are seen to be associating with. In 1965, the esteemed teacher and author Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Selma civil rights demonstration. It showed that he cared about righting the injustices of segregation and believed that all are created in the image of God and are equally deserving of respect. He later famously commented, in effect: “It felt as if my legs were praying.”

The perfect example of Kiddush HaShem is Yeshua himself. His motive, in all he did, was to bless and please our Father in Heaven.  As he said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” (John 5:19) In so doing, he could extend the blessings of wisdom and healing to others and open the way of God’s Kingdom to all the world – to whosoever would come and respond to the good news he proclaimed.

Considered the greatest of Yeshua’s teaching on blessing is the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, in Matthew 5:1-10. The focus behind the beatitudes is love of God, stemming from a pure and humble heart. Interestingly, when Yeshua began his teaching with, “Blessed are you…”, the initial reaction could well have been to think, for example,“…when you are healthy; when you are well off financially; when you have all you desire.” However, he says, “Blessed are those who are poor in spirit; who mourn; who are meek and humble; who hunger and thirst after righteousness; who are merciful and pure in heart, and make peace; and even those who are persecuted!”  The blessings come through the love and grace of God when the mourners are comforted, the hungry satisfied; when the meek, humble, and pure are called “sons of God” and inherit the earth. And those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for Kiddush HaShem, can rejoice and be glad for their reward in Heaven will be great.

Yeshua underscores for us in the Beatitudes that the Father is the first and only Being we can rely on. He reaffirms this in the next chapter, Matthew 6, when he teaches the disciples to pray to our Father in Heaven. The first proclamation is Kiddush HaShem – hallowing God’s name. It continues to proclaim that our aim is to do His will on earth as it is done in Heaven, and we grateful receive our daily bread and forgiveness of our sin. It is He who safeguards us from temptation and who delivers us from evil. Baruch HaShem – Praise His Holy Name, for His is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen!

Yeshua continues, in verses 25-34, that when we serve God in love, we need be anxious for nothing. Our Father knows of all our needs, we need only seek first His Kingdom and righteousness, and all will be added to us in His loving grace. And in chapter 7:11, we are again assured, “If even an evil man knows how to give good gifts to his children, how much more will our Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?”


Let us finish with a final look at our legs and humility!   We are told in Scripture that Moses was the most humble of men who ever lived. And yet he was called and used by God to perform powerful and mighty deeds in the liberation of His people from Egypt. This indicates that to be humble does not mean being a wimp. To stand strong and balanced we need to have two legs – one leg of humility and another of confidence. We may consider the two pillars that led the Israelites through the wilderness, which often are described as the “legs” of God going before them, one was bright fire and the other cloud. At times our confidence in God’s calling and gifting in our lives must allow us to shine and to be self-assertive; at other times we must, as it were, hide and ‘cloud ourselves over.’ In wisdom, we need to discern when it is appropriate to remember that God created each of us uniquely for His special purposes and when to remember that, without Him, we are nothing but dust and ashes! 

The prophet Micah’s words echo those of Moses in his final farewell to the people of God, in  Deuteronomy 10:12-13,

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good.”

Let us stand strong on His eternal Word and carry His Name with joy and blessing! 

~ Keren Hannah


VIDEO – “STEPS TO PERFECT POSTURE”  – ‘Good Posture means Lasting Health’

In the West we need to relearn the basics of good posture! My sister, Cathy Daley,  is a trained Physical Therapist as well as a Yoga teacher. Here she shares the principles of correct standing, sitting and walking that will help enforce correct skeletal alignment, and improve circulation and muscle tone. All towards better health!

Posture Overview by Cathy Daley

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



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).



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 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.



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.


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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

NISSAN – Mouth – Speech 

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

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

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

Good vs Evil Speech

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

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

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

Mashiach – Messiah

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

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


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

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

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

The Concept of Tikkun

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

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

To quote Midrash Tanchuma – Yitro 8:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Apply the Psalms

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

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

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


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

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

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

My [Keren’s] response:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Download OHR KADOSH – NISSAN Notes


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 contemplate 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.

BEING CREATIVE and sharing our Creator’s OHR KADOSH – Holy Light

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

 (2 Cor. 3:18). 

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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