Home sweet home in Ashdod!
With prayer and turbulence we made it home this afternoon. The trip to the Southeastern U.S. went very well but we are happy to be home. We want to spend some quality time here building up the work in Israel. Baruch is also working on some articles and we have some things to accomplish in our home.
Thank you to everyone who came to one of the events to see us. We appreciate it very much and enjoyed seeing each of you.
We also look forward to taping a couple of new “Marriage Mondays.” Many of you have asked about them and I do want to get on a consistent schedule. If you have a topic you’d like for us to cover, please email me at RivkaK@LoveIsrael.org.
Baruch speaking Wednesday night in Cleveland, TN.
Today Baruch spoke at a messianic congregation in the Augusta area. It was our last event for this trip. It was arranged by some dear friends we’ve known for over 25 years. We leave early in the morning to head for Atlanta to begin our trip home.
The speaking at Journey Church in Cleveland, TN, on Wednesday evening went very well. I believe we are going to get a video of Baruch’s teaching. If so, I will post it here and on Facebook. We even had a mini-reunion of people from our Israel tour. It is so nice to see the people communicating still after the trip. The friendships which formed are special and the people really care about each other.
When we get home I will work very hard to produce some new videos for the Biblically Inspired Life. Baruch and I already have planned out the next Marriage Mondays and we look forward to filming it and sharing it with you.
This week’s Parasha is Parashat Vayigash (Genesis 44:18 – 47:27). Here is a brief commentary by Baruch.
In this week’s Torah reading, Jacob receives a special vision. It is a special vision for a few reasons. The term that is used here is unique. This is the only place that the expression מראות הלילה appears in the Bible. Although it is usually translated as a “night vision” the word מראות is more closely associated with an appearance. The definite article appears in the phrase so actually it must be translated as follows:
“And G-d said to Israel in The Night Appearance ….” Genesis 46:2
Translating the phrase so literally makes it sound very awkward in English. However, this awkwardness only serves to emphasize the significance of the text. The reader should glean from the phrase that this revelation to Jacob has great importance. As one reads, it becomes clear that the “vision” concerns Jacob and all his family descending to Egypt. This, in one sense, is not good news. Descending to Egypt is akin to going into exile. Exile, according to Judaism, is a type of punishment. Why therefore is HaShem punishing Israel? The answer is because of their sin against Joseph, selling him into slavery. Yes G-d punishes sin, but what is taught in the parashah is that the purpose of the punishment is not to destroy Israel, but to bring about a change in their spiritual condition.
As believers, HaShem will also punish us. Usually we view this unpleasant experience as misfortune, and we simply want out of the situation. We do not ask, “What have I done to bring this discipline upon myself?” We frequently blame others and never ask, “What does G-d want me to learn from this experience?” We tend to confuse Divine punishment with persecution.
When HaShem spoke to Jacob, he responded to G-d with the phrase, “Here am I” הנני. This expression is well known in Judaism and appears several times in the book of Genesis, usually with Abraham responding to G-d. The term implies one who is available for whatever HaShem wants to do to this person or with this person. Hence when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, do not immediately pray to HaShem asking to be removed from the problem, but be available to be changed by this experience. Remember what G-d said to Jacob in verse 4. Although Israel was going into exile, HaShem promised to descend with the people and to bring them back up. In other words, the descent is not to keep you down, but only for the purpose of restoring you to where G-d wants you to be, but in a new condition. Change often involves you being brought low, because humility is a necessary ingredient for true change.
Bright berries in Atlanta yesterday.
Yesterday we met with some old friends from our Miami days and then Baruch taught a study at their home in the evening. There was a very nice turn out and the people were very interested in studying the Word.
Baruch taught and then we shared about our work. This group of people is very interested in the People and the Land of Israel and are very supportive and prayerful for the current situation. It is so encouraging for us to meet with people whose hearts are burdened for the lost and for the lost sheep of Israel.
This has been a very productive trip so far, as we not only have many speaking events, but we have also scheduled many face-to-face meetings with our volunteers and those who do contract work (primarily media) for us. These meetings are so important for us as we make sure things continue to run smoothly and we discuss future plans and ideas. We are thankful for the wonderful teams we have in place.
Today we drive to Cleveland, TN, where Baruch will be speaking at Journey church.
Cotton in the Panhandle of Florida.
Yesterday, Baruch and I had the pleasure of spending the day with Tom and Jane. Tom ministers in a mens maximum security prison in the Panhandle of Florida and also makes DVDs of Baruch’s videos that the prisoners can watch (they do not have access to internet, etc.). Tom ministers 3 days/week and has done so for over 20 years. We feel blessed that he wants to partner with us to share sound Bible teaching with prisoners, who are often forgotten by society. Tom and Jane do all of this work, including all of the DVD production, at their own expense.
Tom arranged for Baruch to speak twice yesterday, once at the maximum security prison and once at a prison work camp nearby. That morning, due to some problems, the prison was placed on lockdown and normally Baruch’s visit would never have been allowed. However, through G-d’s intervention, the meeting was allowed to take place and there were about 100 prisoners who attended. The second meeting was in the evening and even more men came to that session.
I asked Baruch what was his thoughts about this experience. He remarked how attentive and serious these individuals were about studying the Bible. Most took notes and had their Bibles with them. The sessions were well over an hour each and the vast majority listened carefully. After the first session there was an opportunity to asks questions. A controversial subject was raised and Baruch was impressed with how these men debated with each other so respectfully. Pray for these men. Yes, these men acted wrongly, but Yeshua commanded us to visit those in prison and we must also remember that many of them are fellow believers.
In the afternoon we had a great time of fellowship with a messianic leader and his wife and Tom and Jane.
We also discussed producing DVDs for Home Groups. We know that more and more people are seeking places to get deeper into the Word and some are choosing to begin Home Groups. We are beginning to discuss this now.
This year’s meeting location for Love Israel conference in Dothan, AL.
Friday and Saturday we were in Dothan, AL, for our 5th annual conference there. This year we met in the very nice facilities of Dothan Messianic Congregation. The event each year is sponsored by Beit Lev Echad Congregation. Our friend and contact there is Mary-Jane and she always does such a great job of organizing the event.
This year our conference coincided with Hanukkah, which made it extra special. Lighting the Hanukkiah, a Hanukkah party and special games and desserts were also part of the time this year.
Baruch taught on selected chapters from the book of Ezekiel. The emphasis of his teaching was the Millennial Kingdom from chapters 43, 44, and 47. The messages were not only only what would take place and the character of this Kingdom, but developing from these texts principles that should impact how one lives today in preparation for this Kingdom experience. He also responded to questions such as who would be in the Millennial Kingdom, why would there be sacrifices during this period time, and why the Millennial Kingdom is rejected by many Christian theologians.
We were blessed to have visitors from up to several hours away who follow Love Israel either on our television show or internet platforms.
Wednesday, December 5, Murphy, NC.
Baruch and I arrived in the States on December 5. We landed in NYC and caught a connecting flight to Atlanta. Once there, we drove to North Carolina, for our first event of this trip.
At our National Conference in November, Baruch and I met a wonderful couple from Murphy, NC. They asked if we would consider coming to their town to do an event. We agreed and we were there Wednesday evening. They had a very nice size group and everyone was very encouraging and interested in hearing Baruch teach. Most of them knew of Baruch and watch his videos and/or television show. Baruch taught on Hanukkah and prophetic Biblical citations.
On Thursday evening, Baruch spoke at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in the Atlanta area. Our contacts there are parents of a young woman we met who is working in Israel. I meet with her now and then and this was my first time meeting her parents. We were also glad that our dear friends, Jose and Carrie, were there as well. They head up our Spanish expansion and they are very genuine people who love the L-rd.
There was good discussion concerning the End Times during and after Baruch’s teaching. I felt that the people were very engaged and were really seeking truth. It was an encouraging evening.
Atlanta, GA, last night.
This weekend (Friday/Saturday) is our conference in Dothan, AL.