Location Minimize

5070 Pine Island Drive N.E.
Comstock Park, MI 49321
(616) 531-7455


    
 Service Times Minimize

  תפלות שחרית לשבת    

Men's Shabbat Morning Prayers 9:00 am

Shabbat (Saturday) Worship Service, 10:30 am

Shabbat School (pre-school~young teens) 11:30 am

Oneg (Delighting in the Shabbat with food and fellowship) 12:45 pm

 


    
 Archives Minimize

    
  Login
 Resources » Hadassah's Hints   Search   
 Copyright Notice Minimize

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise specified are taken from The Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright ©1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD  21029.
www.messianicjewish.net.
If you haven't yet done so, now is the time to get your copy of "As It Is Written: Ancient Torah Lessons for the Modern-day Believer." If you have a copy, get some copies for your friends and loved ones. Whether you've been studying Torah for years or are just beginning, you're sure to find pearls of wisdom and insight in this book. To get your copy, please click here: http://bnottziyon.com/christina_oakes

Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement.
Most sincerely in our Messiah Yeshua,
Christina Oakes/Hadassah

 Please note, for the 5775/2015 Year, Hadassah is considering the idea of writing another book. While we will miss her missives, we invite you to visit the archives of her past works. In these archives you will find selections on the parshiyot, haftarah and Tehillim (Psalms) according to the annual cycle of Torah readings, going back a few years. Todah!

    
 Hadassah's Hints for Halachah Minimize

Entries for October 2010

29
This Torah portion contains two weddings and a funeral.  We must saygoodbye to our beloved Sarah, but we also have the pleasure of meeting anextraordinary young lady, Rivkah, who becomes Yitzchak's wife and amatriarch of the burgeoning nation of Yisrael.  What makes her sonoteworthy? She isn't superhuman; she was just like we are.  Hernotoriety lies in the qualities she possesses and her consequent actions.The rabbis say that Rivkah was known for her kindness as seen through herincredible hospitality.  In B'reishit 24:12-14, we are privy to theprayer that Avraham's servant offers concerning the qualities thatYitzchak's bride must have.  He sets the standard very high.  Not onlywould the perspective girl offer him refreshment from her water pitcher,but she would offer, without his asking, to water his ten camels.  Justto paint the scope of what he's asking of this poor girl, each of his tencamels could feasibly drink up to twenty gallons of water.  That's 200gallons of water that she would have to draw from the well and empty intothe trough for these animals, and that doesn't include whatever Avraham'sservant and his men would drink.  This was back-breaking, laborious,really hard work! Yet, amazingly, when the servant asks Rivkah for adrink of water, she freely offers him refreshment and waters the camelsuntil they are done drinking (B'reishit 24:17-21).  Rivkah pours outherself with every jug of water.  This is hospitality at its finest, andit is this kind of hospitality that every believer is called to exercise.I used to think that practicing hospitality was a gifting.  In fact, Ihave often heard people say concerning someone who was especiallyhospitable, "You have the gift of hospitality." However, when I looked atScripture to see what it says about this subject, I learned that everybeliever, yes, every believer, is called to practice hospitality.  If westudy closely the life of our L-RD Yeshua, we find that He was a masterof hospitality (John 1:38-39).  Consider this Scripture also, whichexhorts us saying, Let brotherly friendship continue; but don't forgetto be friendly to outsiders; for in so doing, some people, withoutknowing it, have entertained angels. (Heb 13:1-2) As Rivkah poured outher water and herself in serving others, let us pour out ourselves inservice to Messiah and each other.  As it is written: "Love each otherdevotedly and with brotherly love; and set examples for each other inshowing respect. Don't be lazy when hard work is needed, but serve theL-rd with spiritual fervor. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in yourtroubles, and continue steadfastly in prayer. Share what you have withG-d's people, and practice hospitality." (Ro 12:10-13)

Shalom uvracha,
Hadassah
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
22
This Torah portion, entitled "And He appeared" contains momentous eventsin Avraham's life and lineage.  The progenitors of four nations areestablished, and Avraham's loyalty to HaShem is put to the ultimate test. There is one verse in particular, though, that jumps off the page anddemands my attention.  In B'reishit 18:19, HaShem says something soremarkable that it almost defies explanation.  Almost.  This verse saysin the King James Version, For I know him, that he will command hischildren and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of theLORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abrahamthat which he hath spoken of him. This begs the question:  What, ifanything, did Avraham do to receive such high praise from the Holy One,blessed be He? Was he faithful and obedient to G-d's Word? Yes, for themost part, but we also see that he was human with faults and flaws as weall are.  So, how did this meritorious comment come about? The answer tothis question lies in the Hebrew of the text.B'reishit 18:19, literally translated from the Hebrew would readsomething like this:  "For I have known him for the purpose that he willcommand his sons and his house, and they will keep/guard the way ofAdonai to do righteousness and judgment in order that Adonai may bringupon Avraham that which He has spoken to him." This puts a different spinon this verse.  The main action of this sentence is not that Avrahamwould command his household to keep the way of HaShem, etc., but thatHaShem has known Avraham for the purpose of Avraham's consequentbehavior.  To clarify, in Hebrew, to know "yada" is not just knowingabout someone, but knowing them by experience.  By way of example, when ahusband knows his wife in the context of marriage, the hopefulconsequence is that she will become pregnant and bear a child. Obviously, this passage in B'reishit 18 doesn't have any sexualconnotations, but it does tell us of the intimacy that HaShem had withAvraham and wishes to have with each of us.  To sum up the matter,Avraham's keeping HaShem's Torah and teaching his family to do the sameis the fruit borne of his covenantal relationship with the Holy One,blessed be He.  This sheds light on what it means for us to bear fruitfor G-d.In Yochanan 15:4, our L-RD Yeshua said:  I am the vine and you are thebranches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the oneswho bear much fruit; because apart from me you can't do a thing. Thoughthis certainly applies  to making talmidim, other passages give furtherexplanation of what it means to bear fruit.  Philippians 4:17, Hebrews12:11, Galatians 5:22, and Hebrews 13:15 show us that our fruit is in ourcharitable acts, and in what we do and say in our everyday lives.  If weare fruitful as Avraham was fruitful and as Yeshua promised that we wouldbe, we will grow to learn to keep His Torah in a manner that is pleasingto Him and that glorifies His Name.  Furthermore, we will be equipped tomake talmidim because we will be talmidim.  As it is written: This ishow my Father is glorifiedin your bearing much fruit; this is how youwill prove to be my talmidim. (Yochanan 15:8)

Shalom uvracha,
Hadassah
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
15
This week's Torah portion is entitled "Get yourself out," as David Sternso beautifully translates (B'reishit 12:1).  Here, HaShem calls Avram outfrom Ur of the Kasdim to begin a new life in a strange land.  Withouthesitation, Avram obeys HaShem and journeys to the land of Canaan. Spiritually speaking, things start out well as Avram passes through thisland that HaShem promises to give him and his descendants and buildsaltars to HaShem, signifying that Adonai is G-d of this land.  All othersupposed deities needn't apply.  There is an interesting pattern thatemerges, though, when this promise is seemingly delayed and faith istested.In B'reishit 12:10, Avram finds that he must temporarily leave thispromised land because a severe famine has come about.  He and hishousehold journey toward Egypt, and on the way there, Avram askssomething of his wife that appalls the western mind, but in the MiddleEastern culture of his day, is perfectly acceptable.  He asks that Saraiwould tell the Egyptians that she is his sister instead of his wife sothat he will survive and things will go well with him.  Whether hesurmised that Pharaoh would actually take Sarai as a wife or not isanyone's guess, but as Rav Lohrberg says:  We are in control of ourdecisions; we are not in control of their consequences.  Though Avram didwhat was culturally acceptable, and things did turn out well in the end,this was not acceptable in G-d's sight.Another piece of this pattern is found in B'reishit 16, when Saraiproposes to give Avram her handmaid Hagar as a wife so that Sarai mighthave children through her.  Avram acquiesces, and Yishma'el is theresult.  Again, not only was this culturally acceptable, but it wasexpected that if a wife was barren, she should give her servant girl toher husband as a concubine, and any children resulting from that unionwould be considered hers.  However, this decision of Sarai and Avramresults in spite and conflict between Sarai and her maid, jealousy withinAvram's and Sarai's marriage, and thirteen silent years before HaShemspeaks with Avram again.  The principle brought to light here is thatjust because something might be considered acceptable, expected, or evenlauded within a culture doesn't mean that it is permissible for the childof G-d.  Lest I seem too harsh in my evaluation of Avram's actions, I dobelieve that he did what he thought was right.  However, with knowledgecomes accountability, and as believers, we must learn from our forefatherin the Faith.If we truly seek to walk with our G-d as Avram learned to do, we willinevitably live counter to our culture and we must come to terms withthis.  Our L-RD Yeshua said as much when he declared to His talmidim:  …If anyone wants to come after me, let him say ‘No' to himself, take uphis execution–stake, and keep following me. (Mt 16:24) Practicallyspeaking, this could manifest itself as anything from refusing a jobopportunity in order to keep Shabbat to losing a friend or disagreeingwith family because we must stand for righteousness.  When HaShem calledAvram to leave his kindred and his country, He wasn't only referring tothe physical journey on which Avram would embark; He was bringing about aspiritual and cultural separation from the world as well.  As it iswritten:  Go in through the narrow gate; for the gate that leads todestruction is wide and the road broad, and many travel it; but it is anarrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.(Mt 7:13-14)

Shalom uvracha,
Hadassah
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
08
This week's torah portion is full of new beginnings.  After G-d sends theglobal deluge, He mercifully reestablishes the earth for habitation andcommands Noach, his family, and all the creatures saved alive on the arkto be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.  This passage goes on torecord the reestablishment of human civilization only to have it crumblebecause of humanity's arrogance as displayed in the tower of Bavel. However, the Holy One, blessed be He, never leaves us without hope as weare introduced to Avraham avinu at the end of this Parasha.  There is oneconcept in this portion that, in the English mindset, would prompt somequestions, but in Hebrew, reveals more of HaShem's character, and givesus hope as well as a responsibility.B'reishit 8:1 says:  God remembered Noach, every living thing and allthe livestock with him in the ark; so God caused a wind to pass over theearth, and the water began to go down.  Whenever I have read this versein the past, I couldn't help but ask the question, "So, did He forgetNoach?" Obviously, we know that HaShem never forgets anything or anyone,but in English, when we say that we remember something, it implies thatwe had temporarily forgotten.  However, when I looked into the context ofthe passage and the Hebrew, I found that the word "to remember" means waymore than just bringing something to mind.  I found that when a passagesays, "G-d remembered," a decisive action follows hard on the heels ofthat statement.  For instance, in this passage, when G-d remembers Noachand all the creatures with him in the ark, He causes a wind to blow todry the land, preparing it for the reestablishment of life.  Anotherinstance where Scripture says that G-d remembered is B'reishit 19:29,which says:  But when God destroyed the cities of the plain, heremembered Avraham and sent Lot out, away from the destruction, when heoverthrew the cities in which Lot lived. For further study, see alsoB'reishit 30:22 and Sh'mot 2:24.  In other words, when G-d remembers, Heis about to do something.  How should we live in light of this?Whereas the Greek mindset that heavily influences western thought andphilosophy tends toward the intellectual and internal, Hebrew is alanguage of action.  When Scripture commands us to remember something, itdoesn't mean that we should only think about something; we should actdecisively on that memory.  to give just one example, Sh'mot 13:3commands us to remember how HaShem brought us out of the land of Egypt,and consequently, we are to eat no leavened bread during Passover.  Infact, every mo'ed is given for the purpose of remembering and doingsomething to reinforce that memory and make it part of our very being. There is a daily application to remembering as well.If we say that we remember someone, we should take decisive action ontheir behalf.  For instance, on the yearly anniversary of a loved one'spassing, it is traditional to light a memorial candle, fast, and makesome kind of charitable donation in our loved one's memory.  Remembering,though, isn't only seasonal.  Whenever the Ruach HaKodesh brings someoneto mind, let us stop and take the time to call or visit them, and if theyhave any needs, let us do what we can to relieve and comfort them.  As itis written:  If someone has worldly possessions and sees his brother inneed, yet closes his heart against him, how can he be loving God? Children, let us love not with words and talk, but with actions and inreality! (1 John 3:17-18)

Shalom uvracha,
Hadassah
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
01
The title of this Torah portion means "In the beginning" or moreliterally "in/at  the head." Covering about 1500 years of human history,this passage establishes the origins of everything from humankind's sinnature and death to culture, the family, marriage, the wearing ofclothing, and industry.  Considering this, I would be so bold as to saythat this Torah portion is the most important portion because it is herewhere HaShem establishes His authority and even His credibility.Why do I dare to mention credibility? I do this because it seems that alltoo many believers stumble over whether we should take the Creationaccount as found in B'reishit 1 and 2 literally or whether we shouldstart playing with defining how long a day is.  More liberal circleswould even question the validity of Adahm and Chava, the fall of man, andso on.  If we question the validity of the Creation account in B'reishit1-2, we are, in a sense, questioning the Holy One's credibility, and ifwe cannot trust His Words here, where can we start to trust Him? If He'snot trustworthy here, is He trustworthy in chapter 3 with the fall ofhumanity, or is it in chapter 12 with the choosing of Abraham? Is Hetrustworthy when it comes to the virgin birth of our Messiah, His death,burial, and resurrection? I ask these questions to illustrate a point. the rabbis say that when you start pulling at a thread, where does itstop? Even so it is with this passage.  The truth is that every Word ofour G-d is faithful and true.  As it is written:  The grass dries up,the flower fades; but the word of our G-d will stand forever. (Isa40:8; see also 1 Kefa 1:24-25.)To conclude, I realize that many have questions as to how scientificallycorrect the first eleven chapters of B'reishit are.  In this case, Iwould recommend two web sites that I have found to be very informativeand encouraging.  they are www.answersingenesis.org and www.icr.com. Both Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research areupstanding ministries that believe the inerrancy and infallibility of theWord of G-d, and they're not afraid to grapple with the hard questionsthat come up in the debate of Creation versus evolution.  it is prudentfor us as believers to know not only what we believe, but why we believeit.  Scripture supports this as well when it commands us:  but treat theMessiah as holy, as Lord in your hearts; while remaining always ready togive a reasoned answer to anyone who asks you to explain the hope youhave in you  yet with humility and fear, keeping your conscience clear,so that when you are spoken against, those who abuse the good behaviorflowing from your union with the Messiah may be put to shame. (1Pe3:15-16) If we study to show ourselves approved (2 timothy 2:15 KJV),then we can rest assured that the Ruach HaKodesh will answer ourquestions and teach us what we need to know.  As it is written: However, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all thetruth; for he will not speak on his own initiative but will say only whathe hears. He will also announce to you the events of the future. (John16:13)

Shalom uvracha,
Hadassah
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
    
©Copyright 2010 Tree of Life Congregation   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement