Saturday, December 16, 2017

4th Night of Hanukkah

*
Shabbat Shalom

Shabbat candles are lit before dark. They are lit inside our home. By contrast, Chanukah's candles send a light into the darkness of the night, and near a window facing out into the street.

Shabbat candles bring light within, but the Chanukah lights go further, also transforming the darkness outside.

The Chanukah Lights remind us in a most obvious way that illumination begins at home, within oneself and one’s family, by increasing and intensifying the light of God’s Word in the everyday experience, even as the Chanukah Lights are kindled in growing numbers from day to day. But though it begins at home, it does not stop there. Such is the nature of light that when one kindles a light for one’s own benefit, it benefits also all who are in the vicinity. Indeed, the Chanukah Lights are expressly meant to illuminate the “outside,” symbolically alluding to the duty to bring light also to those who, for one reason or another, still walk in darkness.

Yeshua said, “I am the light of the world.”

Then he said, Matthew 5:14-16

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

These words are so appropriate for the lighting of the 4th Hanukkah candle on this Shabbat evening.

Blessed are You, Lord our Gd, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.


Blessed are You, Lord our Gd, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.

* Special appreciation to www.chabad.org for Hanukkah resources and music by Itzhak Perlman.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

3rd Night of Hanukkah


The Healing Light of Chanukah by Ariel Neshama Lee

Rabbi Malka Drucker (2002) states that the miracle of Chanukah is not just about a little bit of oil lasting eight days. It is about the inner healing light within each of us. Chanukah is a time when we can celebrate this inner healing light as we move toward wellness. Chanukah is also about the miracle of survival against all odds, about hope, courage, and belief in one's ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. This is a powerful symbol that can be used for healing and wellness. This imagery can be used to help people believe that they can overcome obstacles to wellness and healing.

First night:
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our bodies.

Second night:
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our minds.

Third night:
For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our souls.

Blessed are You, Lord our Gd, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

Blessed are You, Lord our Gd, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time 

One of the traditions of celebrating Hanukkah is to sing songs after the candles have been lit.

Maoz Tzur
Ma'oz tzur yeshu'ati,
lecha na'eh leshabe'ach,
tikon beit tefilati,
vesham todah nezabe'ach.
Le'et tachin matbe'ach
mitzar hamenabe'ach.
Az egmor
beshir mizmor
chanukat hamizbe'ach

My refuge, my rock of salvation!
It is a pleasure to sing Your praises.
Let our house of prayer be restored.
And there we will offer You our thanks.
When You will have prepared the slaughter of the barking foe,
Then we will celebrate with song and psalm the dedication of the altar.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2nd Night of Hanukkah


This night I dedicate to increase, to the second step of every path. This is the move towards abundance, to building in increments, an ordered process. The treasures of the house tell of holiness that should only increase, ever rise. Thus it was decreed that we light an additional candle to mark each night. 

For holiness, like light and all luminescent goodness should always advance, like an ascending staircase, ever more inclined, increased, enhanced. Just as each good act gives forth another, one spark springs forth to a second wick, while a string of candles awaits.

Blessed are You, Lord our Gd, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

Blessed are You, Lord our Gd, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.


I stand at the stairway, ready to rise, to explore. Having found my foundation, I move with upward momentum, the second night, the second step, the strength to start.

First Night of Hanukkah



Special appreciation to www.chabad.org for the resources provided.

Chanukah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting and special prayers. The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple.

In the second century BCE, the Holy Land was ruled by the Syrian-Greeks, who tried to force the people of Israel to accept Greek culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance and belief in Gd. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of Gd.

When they sought to light the Temple's Menorah, they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks. Miraculously, they lit the menorah and the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity. To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah.

At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting. The menorah holds nine flames, one of which is the shamash (“attendant” or “servant”), which is used to kindle the other eight lights. The first night which is tonight, we light just one flame. On the second night, an additional flame is lit. By the eighth night of Chanukah, all eight lights are kindled. The shamash, the "attendant or servant" candle that is used to kindle the other lights, sits a bit higher than the other candles, on the ninth branch of the menorah. Though the shamash's primary function has been served once the candles have been lit, we don't extinguish the shamash. Instead, we set it in its place adjacent to the other lights, ready to "serve" in case a candle blows out. Before we light the first candle these special blessings are recited:

Blessed are You, Lord our Gd, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

Blessed are You, Lord our Gd, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.

On the first night of Chanukah, Tuesday, December 12th we add the following blessing:

Blessed are You, Lord our Gd, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.

We light the first candle of Hanukkah and we remember the miracles of God in our lives.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Remembering Hanukkah and Israel


Hanukkah starts on the Hebrew calendar date of 25 Kislev and lasts for eight days. The coinciding secular dates for this year are December 12-20. 

The first candle of the menorah is lit at nightfall this Tuesday. Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers, and fried foods. 

The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple.

Each day during Hanukkah I will post a spiritual insight into this Jewish festival. I am doing this to show my solidarity with the nation of Israel and to encourage Christians everywhere to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Who Can Mend a Broken Heart?

Once again, a spiritual message is found in a secular song by the Bee Gees. It speaks of a broken man searching for answers to his brokenness. The theme of the song How Can You Mend a Broken Heart could well be from the Bible and especially the Job genre. He asks many questions such as, How can you stop the rain from falling down? How can you stop the sun from shining? What makes the world go round? The main questions are asked out of his brokenness, How can you mend a broken heart? How can you mend this broken man? How can a loser ever win?

We then hear this broken man reach out to God and say, “Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.” He is asking for help, wholeness, and life. He desires to live again.

God will answer this prayer for anyone who comes to Him and asks. God can mend our brokenness (heart), make us whole, and give us new life. Jesus offers all of this to whosoever. Everyone experiences brokenness at various levels. We all need to experience new life. This life is found in Jesus Christ. I sure hope that the man in this song found it in Christ. 

                                                                                                                   

Thursday, November 30, 2017

There is a Blaze of Light in Every Word


Why is our Hallelujah empty and cold to the world? 

You may wonder why I am putting a secular song on my blog. I do it because it can help us better understand people who may not profess Christ. The lyrics of this song, Hallelujah, get inside of the heart and mind of one who is not interested in our faith. They explain how they view the church and believers. The way we come across is often cold and judgmental. 

The second verse could be a raw conversation between a non-believer and one who claims to be a Christian.

        You say I took the name in vain, I don't
        even know the name.
        But if I did, well what's it to you?
        There's a blaze of light in every word;
        It doesn't matter which you've heard, 
             the holy or the broken hallelujah.

He is saying that the hallelujah coming from the non-believer is a broken hallelujah but it still is a hallelujah to God. The Christian thinks his hallelujah is a holy hallelujah, but the non-believer is saying that both the broken and the holy are a hallelujah to God.

When you hear his words in the last verse of the song you will hear his true heart:

         I did my best, it wasn't much.
        Couldn't feel so I tried to touch.
        I told the truth, I didn't come to fool you.
        And even though it all went wrong,
        I stand before the Lord of song with nothing
           on my tongue but Hallelujah.

He is admitting that even though he tried to do his best he told the truth. He is not trying to be something that he's not. He confesses that everything went wrong. But when he stands before the Lord of song he will have nothing on his tongue but Hallelujah. 

Help us, Lord of the song, to embody grace to those who don't have fellowship with you through Jesus Christ. May we be slow to judge and quick to give mercy. When we stand before you may the word on our tongue be Hallelujah, thank you for being merciful.