Shabbat Shalom and Chag Shavuot Sameach!

This is a special weekend, as we honor the Shabbat and celebrate Shavuot.  We at wish you a blessed time.

Here is Baruch’s special Shavuot blog:

Shavuot 5775

Torah Reading: Exodus 19:1-20:23

Maftir: Numbers 28:26-31

Haftarah: Ezekiel 1:1-28, 3:12

Whenever one discusses spiritual gifts, there are always many opinions on the subject; especially when the gift, which is being discussed, is what is commonly referred to as “Tongues”. This same word can also be understood as languages. My purpose in this brief article is not to deal with this subject in any plenary manner, but simply to point out that what occurred on the Festival of Weeks (Pentecost) nearly 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem had one general message. This message is that through the Holy Spirit believers can have a greater unity than the rest of humanity. Also related to this general message is the responsibility to use this unity for Kingdom service. The gift of tongues in the Scripture was used for a variety of purposes.

Sharing of the Gospel and the truth of Scripture to those who could not have otherwise understood it.

As a prayer language

As a sign for non-believers

I do not have the gift of tongues or at least I have not received this gift at the time I sat down to write this article. However, I do not deny the existence of this gift today. Some fellow believers interpret my statement that I do not speak in tongues as admission that I have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. To this I simply and respectfully ask the question, “Does the failure to speak in tongues mean that the Holy Spirit cannot function in and through me in other areas?” To be consistent with their view, this would mean I only have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as an outcome of my salvation experience; but I would still need what many call the “Second Blessing.” What is the purpose of the indwelling Holy Spirit Whom people receive when they believe? They answer that He is to show that this one is sealed for salvation. The problem I have with this answer is that when I examine the many Scriptural passages, which are interpreted as relating to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a separate event from a salvation experience, I see other factors at play, which lead to a very different interpretation. Returning to the issue at hand, it seems to me that separating the Baptism of the Holy Spirit from a salvation experience would demand that those believers who have not had this “Second Blessing” would be incapable of doing ministry.

The purpose of this Blog is not to settle this issue which has been thoroughly debated for many years, but to encourage those on both sides of it to delve into the Scriptures dealing with the Holy Spirit and strive for HaShem’s truth concerning this issue and other matters related to the work and Personhood of the Holy Spirit.

Have a great festival!


A couple of news items

I was reading the newspaper and ran across a couple of items which I felt were important.

1.  Two French Jews in their 20s were attacked by a crowd of about 40 men in Paris.  The violence and anti-semitism is NOT decreasing, but continuing to rise.  Even as soldiers are posted for security, the Jewish people are not safe.  G-d is using events around the world to draw the Jewish people back to Israel.

2.  The Happiness report was released this year, which ranks the happiness levels of countries around the world.  Even with all of the problems and threats, Israel ranked #11!  The quality of life here is wonderful.  I was reading a commentary about this and the rabbi wrote that this is because the Jewish people are looking for G-d to come dwell among us as in the days of the Temple.  While our works are not the answer, it is interesting that at least G-d was mentioned as a reason for happiness in Israel, while it was not for any of the other countries.

Protests in Israel

Perhaps you heard about the protests in Israel which turned violent yesterday.  They were sparked by the assault by police on an Ethiopian IDF soldier.  I’m sorry to say that the Ethiopian Jews in Israel are not treated equally and that there is racism here. I was pleased to hear that Benjamin Netanyahu met with the soldier and promised that changes would be made.  In the meantime, 63 people were injured and 43 people were arrested last night.  Another protest is scheduled for today in Jerusalem.  I hope that some meaningful changes are made and that our Ethiopian Jewish brothers and sisters are treated like the equals that they are.