In the States

miaToday we arrived in Miami to get ready to begin Baruch’s speaking engagements.  El Al resumed its non-stop service from Tel Aviv to Miami. It is about a 13 hour flight and it is so nice to get to our destination with just 1 flight.

Today we made calls and had a get-together in the evening with very close friends we’ve known for 26 years.  It was so nice to see them and get caught up with each other.

Tomorrow we have more meetings and preparation for our first group of events.  Please be sure to check out Baruch’s speaking locations in the “events” section on the LoveIsrael.org website.

On a side note, if you would pray for a few people we know with health issues (some very serious) we would appreciate it:  Joanna, Jackie and Svetlana.  Thank you!

 

 

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Meeting in Ashkelon

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Today Baruch and I met with the director of a ministry here in Israel and a couple who work with it as well.  The couple (Baruch and Nava) are originally from the Ukraine and made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) almost 3 years ago.  Baruch was a pilot and Nava worked in finance.  When she was a child, her father was killed for being a believer.  They wanted to meet with us to see if there is anything they can do to help us distribute Baruch’s videos and articles, both in the Ukraine and to Ukrainians and Russians who now live in Israel.

We were very excited to hear about their desire to participate with us to reach the Ukrainian and Russian people.  I was just reading an article in the Jerusalem Post about how it is unsafe in parts of the Ukraine and many Jewish Ukrainians are immigrating to Israel.  And then yesterday, 300 more Ukrainians made Aliyah.  Many people do not realize that there is a war being fought in the Ukraine, as Russia continues to grab land from them.

We already have teaching in the Ukrainian and Russian languages, as our television show is aired in those countries with voice-over and we post them on the internet.  We will be working on strategies together.  We will also involve Michael, who many of you have met at our LoveIsrael.org conferences.  He is working with us within the Russian community here in Israel and the Jewish community in Russia.

We would appreciate your prayers as doors continue to open for us,  Praise the L-rd!

 

Tel Aviv Day

The spices, nuts, dried fruit, grains, all in containers to take gives such a market feel.  The shops are all busy with people getting just the right ingredients for the various ethnic dishes.

Today I went to Tel Aviv to visit our older daughter and also to drop off videos to be edited.  I love going to Tel Aviv–it is vibrant and you can find every type of person there. There are rich, poor, religious, secular, asylum seekers, native Israelis for 10 generations, young and old.

We ate at this restaurant, which is Ethiopian and Sudanese cuisine.  It was delicious and very healthy.

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The sauce in the middle is spicy!

Tel Aviv is packed with awesome places to eat, from coffee bars to upscale restaurants.  And, with the great weather most of the year, people enjoy sitting outside and taking in the sunshine and hustle of the city.

Shabbat Shalom! Parashat Beresheet

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Riga, Latvia.

This week, we begin the Torah reading cycle over again.  That means we begin once again at Genesis 1:1.  Below is an important truth Baruch wants to share about studying the Bible.  This is something about which we all have to be careful.

From this week’s Torah portion, we are going to learn a very important principle of Biblical interpretation. Awhile back,  I was speaking to a very nice individual who pointed out that on the second day of creation there is no statement that, “G-d saw that it was good“, as was stated on the other days of creation. This person wanted to know my thoughts on this matter. I responded that I would look into the Scriptures and respond at a later time. A few days later a different person posed the same question. However this time this individual had a very detailed reason and interpretation for why the phrase “G-d saw that it was good” was not included on the second day of creation.

This interpretation sounded very much like some of the Chassidic interpretations which I heard on other matters. Although his words were interesting, the fact of the matter is that his views were pure speculation. His thoughts were actually not his own but what his spiritual leader had taught in a lecture. Now however, they were received by my friend as a Scriptural doctrine that if one did not accept, he would be labeled as Biblically in error. Many religious movements have their origins in such “mystical” interpretations which cause the messenger of such doctrines to be viewed as a unique receiver of Biblical revelation and the leader of the true followers of G-d.

A well-known Scripture that I frequently turn to was stated by Shimon (Peter),

Knowing this first, that all prophecy of Scripture, (upon) one’s own interpretation, should not based.” 2 Peter 1:20

In other words, interpretation of Scripture must be based in that particular text with assistance from other Scripture, and not have its basis in the opinions of an individual or of a group of people.

On this Shabbat, as we begin to read the Torah again, let each person strive to understand its revelation based upon the clues located in the text and not in the imaginations of human intellect. There are rules for interpreting Scripture and a most worthy use of time is to learn the laws of exegesis and hermeneutics. If these terms are unfamiliar to you, invest the time to master the methodology of these two disciplines. You will most certainly find the Scriptures speaking to you in a much clearer manner.

Update

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I wanted to give you an update on a few things going on with LoveIsrael.org.

Ninth Annual LoveIsrael.org Conference.  There are no more rooms at the reduced conference rate available at the conference hotel.  Reservations can still be made directly with the conference hotel, but at their current rate.

LoveIsrael.org Study Tour of Israel.  There are a few spots still available on our tour which is April 29 – May 8, 2019.  The brochure is posted on our website (on the slider of our homepage).  We expect it will fill up soon.

http://www.loveisrael.org/israeltour2019

LoveIsrael.org Study Tour of Israel December 2-11, 2019.  We also have a second tour scheduled.  We will post the details for this tour as soon as they are available.

Speaking Tour in the U.S.  Baruch and I leave next week to head to the States, where he has several speaking engagements.  We hope you will check out the “events” section of the LoveIsrael.org website.  Maybe we will be near you!

http://www.loveisrael.org/speakingschedule/

 

Still Celebrating!

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(Yuri leading us in worship at our study center.)

Today is Hoshana Rabba, which is the seventh (final) day of Sukkot.  Tomorrow is Shemini Atzeret, which is a separate holiday, and therefore we no longer sit in the Sukkah.  In English, we know this holiday as the Eighth Day Assembly.  You can read about this in Leviticus 23:36, 39.  We read that on this day we should have a holy convocation, we should not do any work (it is a Yom Tov) and that it is a holy assembly.

Within Israel, we combine Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah into a one day celebration.  In the Diaspora (outside of Israel), it is a two day holiday.  The first day Shemini Atzeret is celebrated and then the second day, Simchat Torah is celebrated.  Simchat Torah is not a Biblical holiday.  Simchat Torah ends and begins the annual Torah reading cycle.

Outside of of Israel, the Torah reading for Shemini Atzeret is Deut. 14:22-16:17.  On Simchat Torah, they read V’Zot HaBracha and Genesis 1:1-2:3.  In Israel, we read on Shemini Atzeret what is read outside of Israel on Simchat Torah.

Recently, Baruch has taught twice at a newly forming congregation in our city.  Two men from our study center have begun this weekly meeting,  which is growing.  Many of attendees are not believers (yet).  Please pray for them as the hear the Word.  Baruch has gone a couple of times during these Fall Holidays to teach them about the holidays and to begin laying a foundation for this new work.  We are so glad to be of help.

Last night we had a great study during our Live Stream.  We studied Acts 10.  This passage is frequently misunderstood.  Here is a link to the study, which also includes an explanation about Shemini Atzeret.

Shabbat Shalom!

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A sukkah in the parking lot.  Ashdod, Israel.

Yesterday Baruch and I went to Jerusalem, where we had a few meetings.  I was hoping to capture some photos of elaborate sukkahs, but it was very crowded and I didn’t really have the opportunity to walk through neighborhoods.  As this is one of the three holidays where it is commanded to go up to Jerusalem, the city is the epicenter for Jewish people around the world to visit at this time.

This was also the day that the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem held their yearly Jerusalem March.  Each year, people from all over the world come to march in solidarity with Israel.  These are primarily Gentiles who want to show their love and support for the people here.  It is quite a testimony and it is appreciated by a large segment of Israelis.  People carry flags from their own country to give out as well as candy for the children along the way.  It is very encouraging to see so many Charedi families come out to the event.

Please find below a short commentary below by Baruch for this week’s Torah reading, which is Chol HaMoed Sukkot.

Although there are many aspects to the Feast of Tabernacles, a primary one is to demonstrate dependence upon HaShem. This was the major lesson that G-d wanted to teach the people during the forty years in the wilderness. It was very clear that the faithless generation died in the wilderness and only those who trusted in the redeeming G-d entered into the Promise Land. When Israel did not demonstrate this faith and dependence upon G-d, the people went into exile. Despite what some teach today, exile did not end Israel’s relationship with HaShem; rather it was for the purpose of healing this relationship and maturing Israel to become G-d’s faithful servants.

A very critical chapter in the New Covenant is John 6. This chapter contains some of Yeshua’s most difficult teachings— the type of teachings that require a great amount of faith and dependence upon G-d. It is not a coincidence that in this section Yeshua spoke about Israel’s time in the wilderness. Yeshua taught about the Manna and how without it Israel would not have survived. Yeshua compares Himself to this Manna and that in the same way it was absolutely necessary to partake of the Manna to live, so too must one receive Yeshua to find life in the Kingdom.

It is very significant that in this chapter when Yeshua speaks about receiving Him, He says,

‘Amen Amem I say to you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in you.” John 6:53

Please notice the emphasis on the word eat. This is not the common Biblical word for eating; rather, it relates more to an animal eating. According to Jewish culture, eating is more in regard to fellowship, while animals eat because of the necessity to survive. Yeshua chose this Biblical word to teach that without receiving Him one will not survive spiritually (or physically).

The Children of Israel observed the Feast of Tabernacles to remember their dependence upon G-d. Why not celebrate this Festival remembering the True Manna, the Bread of Life, Yeshua the Messiah and our absolute need to trust Him and depend upon Him for all things.