Shabbat Shalom!



This is the Sukkah constructed by the National Park Service at the Qumran site.

Here is a special commentary from Baruch on this week’s Torah portion, which is special.

Parashat Chol HaMoed Succot (Feast of Tabernacles)

Torah Reading: Exodus 33:12-34:26        Maftir: Numbers 29:20-22                                Haftarah: Ezekiel 38:18-39:16

This Shabbat is the Shabbat during the Feast of Tabernacles (Succot). This holiday period has great significance in regard to the Kingdom. Jewish tradition associates the entrance into a succah (booth) like the entrance into the Kingdom of G-d. Most of you who hear this would take great exception to such a statement. Nearly anyone can walk into a succah, while only those who are believers in the Gospel of Messiah Yeshua will enter into the Kingdom. This represents a big difference. You are right. The point is that not just anyone who walks into a succah will be in the Kingdom; rather the message is that one should enter into a succah recognizing his or her absolute dependence on G-d’s grace. The succah was a temporary structure and represented one’s life in this world. In the same way that the succah was really insufficient for the forty years in the wilderness, but in the same way that one’s clothes and shoes did not wear out, so too did HaShem cause the succah to last until it was time to enter into the Land of Promise. This was a result of the grace of G-d and only afforded to those who trusted and recognized their dependence upon G-d.

It is very appropriate for followers of Messiah Yeshua to build a succah for the Feast of Tabernacles. Please note that it is impossible today to make the required sacrifices that the Torah demanded for the Feast of Tabernacles without a Temple and a functioning Priesthood. For the sake of this article, let us set aside the question of whether one should make such offerings even if there were today a Temple and a functioning Priesthood. Also, one should be aware that the only place that one could observe this Festival was in Jerusalem. My message to you is that despite all the impossibilities of observing the Festival as the Scripture instructed, one can have a great spiritual experience building a succah52 and studying the Biblical truth surrounding this Festival and applying this truth to one’s life. Being unaware of the Scriptural truth concerning this Festival or any of the Biblical Festivals makes it more difficult to understand the Biblical Yeshua. For example, understanding the Feast of Tabernacles provides the reader with greater insight into John chapters 6-7.

Marking the Feast of Succot and exploring its message can assist one in being prepared for life in the Kingdom. Recently I spoke to a Christian leader who called such Festivals unfitting for New Covenant believers and tied to legalism. This conversation took place as he was discussing with his staff his church’s observance for October 31st. I asked him why they were having a special event on that date. He responded because of Halloween. We want to give our children an alternative. I came to find that this alternative was dressing in “appropriate” costumes and eating candy and a party with Christian music. I remarked, why not teach your children and adults about a Biblical Festival that Yeshua observed and how the New Covenant relates it to a particular time in Yeshua’s life? Why not teach them about an observance that all those in the Millennial Kingdom will observe with Yeshua (See Zechariah chapter 14)? His response was again that I am legalistic and tied to the old and they have the freedom to do as they please.

Sometimes speaking to brothers and sisters in the L-rd can be frustrating.




A view from the top of Masada.

On Tuesday, we went to Masada with a very diverse group of people, many who didn’t know each other prior to that morning.

One of the places we went was Masada.  Most of you are probably familiar with the history of this place.  It is situated in the hills of the Judean Desert, by the Dead Sea.  The surroundings are very stark.  Masada is always a meaningful place for me, as I contemplate the future events which believers in Yeshua will have to endure prior to the Rapture.  We will not suffer the wrath of G-d, but we will endure persecution from the enemy for our faith.

We had some great conversations that day; many people have heard false teaching and Baruch was able to share important Biblical truths.

Let’s pray that our faith will be strengthened so that we can endure to the end.

What are the Lulav and Etrog?

Pictured above are the etrog (in the box on left and out of the box in right photo) and the other 3 species (palm branch, myrtle and willow) not put together.

The lulav is comprised of the 3 species listed above, bound together.  Many merchants will include a little “holder” made out of woven palm leaves.  As you can see in the picture below, it has 2 pockets.  The palm branch goes in the middle and the 3 myrtles go in the right side pocket and the two willows in the left pocket.


There is a blessing to be said each day of the holiday before the waving of the lulav and etrog.  In English it is, “Blessed are You, O L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us by His commandments and commanded us to take up (wave) the lulav.  There is an additional prayer on the first day, which says, “Blessed are You, O L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, for having kept us alive and sustained us, and enabled us to reach and enjoy this day.”

The waving of the lulav and etrog is in 6 directions–north, south, east, west, up and down.  This symbolizes that G-d’s presence is everywhere.

Chag Sameach!



Touring Day

Yesterday we had the great opportunity to tour some special sights in Israel with a group of about 18 people whom our friends had invited.  Baruch taught at each site.

The picture on the top left is the pretty view Baruch and I had as we travelled early in the morning over to Jerusalem to meet up with the group.  The other pictures are of our friends’ beautiful sukkah.  Every year they pack many people into their sukkah throughout the holiday.  They certainly have the gift of hospitality!

We visited the Dead Sea, Masada and Qumran.  I will share pictures with you over the next couple of days.




First, I didn’t post a “Sukkah of the Day” picture yesterday because by the time we got home from our Bible study and I got some housework done, it was kind of late.  So here are 2 pictures to make up for it!  The picture on the left shows several sukkahs on balconies of various low-rise buildings.  The one on the right shows one close-up.  In order for a sukkah to be “kosher”, it cannot be under an overhang.  So if there were a balcony, for example, above any of these sukkahs, they would not be kosher.  But, all of these are kosher.

We were blessed on Friday night to have visitors with us from the Netherlands, Tennessee and Florida.  It made for a very special time.  Baruch was able to share with them how the synagogue service in impacted on Shabbat and Festivals and also about John 7 when Yeshua was in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles.  We also had a great discussion about the Messiah as viewed in the Bible as compared to Judaism today, which relies upon rabbinical writings and not the Scripture.

Then last night, we had our weekly study at our study center.  We are currently studying from the book of Luke.  Last night we were in chapter 18.  We discussed how the judge was wicked, which reflected the situation of the people of the town.  That seems to apply today as well.  We also discussed the prayers of the Pharisee and the Publican.  When praying we should be focused on G-d and our need for His mercy, not focused on ourselves.

Tonight begins Sukkot.  This is a holiday focused on our dependence upon G-d.  Let’s meditate on our need for Him and what He has done for us to draw us closer to Him and enable us to have a relationship with Him.

Chag Sameach!


Shabbat Shalom!

Here are some sukkahs made out of wooden panels.  As you can see, this gives people an opportunity to be creative.  I will show various sukkahs throughout the holiday.  I will also be sharing about the holiday a little bit each day.

May you have a blessed Shabbat!

This week’s parasha is Parashat Haazinu, which means “Listen!”  Here is a brief commentary from Baruch:

Parashat Haazinu (Listen!) Deuteronomy 32:1-52

Haftarah: 2 Samuel 22:1-51

This week’s Torah portion contains statements about Israel’s history and information concerning Israel’s future. Even though many different subjects are addressed, there is a hint of a consistent principle that is present throughout Israel’s existence. This principle is the distinctiveness between male and female. Going all the way back to Genesis chapter one it is stated that HaShem created man, male and female He created them. The point is that the Torah clearly makes a difference between male and female and does not simply lump the two sexes together.

Today, it is more and more politically incorrect to make any distinction between the sexes. This is simply a small example of how Biblical truth is under attack by society today. In this week’s parashah one reads,

From the outside, a sword will bereave (the word denotes the sorrow from losing a child) and from the rooms (meaning the inside) is terror; also the young man- also the young woman (virgin); the nursing childwith the gray hair man.”

Deuteronomy 32:25

This verse speaks of a dire situation where if one departs from the house he will die in battle, but the situation inside is not much better as terror seizes all those within. In speaking about those inside, the grammar is significantly different. When speaking about the young man and the virgin (a word that describes a young woman who is unmarried and therefore assumed to be a virgin), the Hebrew uses the same word to introduce the two (also). However, in the next section when discussing not the two sexes, but the young and the old, instead of introducing the young and old with the same word, there is another word (with) used between the two categories which actually serves to unite the two.

This same principle is also seen in Psalm 148 which has a similar phrase,

Young men and also virgins, old men with youths.” Psalm 148:12

Once again Scripture makes a distinction between the sexes in order to teach that there are differences between males and females which must be maintained. It is when these differences are ignored that the very foundations of society are challenged and decay is sure to follow. As believers in the New Covenant we should be aware that there are clear roles for men and women and positions in the local congregation which women are not to hold. Although these differences are becoming more and more ignored, G-d blesses those individuals and those congregations that hold to His Word without compromise.

Shabbat Shalom


On our way to Sukkot!


After Yom Kippur ends and the break the fast is eaten, it is traditional to begin building the sukkah.  A sukkah is a temporary dwelling “booth” to be used for every meal (and some people even sleep in them) for the duration of the Sukkot holiday.

There are so many types of sukkahs.  Some are pre-packaged (as the one above) and are very easy to assemble.  Others are much more elaborate.  The sukkah must have 3 complete walls and the fourth wall contains the entry.  They are usually decorated and the top, through which you must be able to see the stars, is called a skoch.  This roof is made out of palm branches.  You can also buy pre-made ones.

Each day, from now until the end of Sukkot, I intend to post a different sukkah I come across during that day.  This should be fun, as a couple of the days we will be traveling around Israel with some friends.

We will discuss the holiday and its meaning throughout the chag.  Blessings!