Category Archives: Community Life

Sh’ma Yisra’eil: Return to the Law

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Sh’ma Yisra’eil – Return to the Law.

Torah Law, that is… the religion of the Hebrews.

I can keep it, it’s not terrifically hard, but it doesn’t matter.

Outside the land – It doesn’t matter.

I can live my life restrained only by civil law – eat, drink and be merry.  An ocean away, across the border, on the moon… as long as I’m not in the land chosen by Almighty, the Law is not a matter to much concern me.

So why am I so morose, so concerned with doing what YHWH commanded?  What keeps me on course, holding the line, standing apart and keeping separate from everyone and everything I know?  Why do I not just blend in, become a comfortable fit with society, with culture, with family and friends and community?

If nothing else, so that I can sleep well at night, so that I can practice what I believe with all of my heart.  Even if my obedience makes no difference, none.  Inconsequential, insignificant.  Important only to me.  Important only that by extension, I hope to revere YHWH by keeping the commands.

Truly, YHWH said I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you – by you all of the families of the earth will be blessed.

Not me.  Almighty didn’t say that about me.

Not anyone outside the land.  Other nations didn’t get this condition, this special selection.

Only Israel.  Chosen resident of the land.

So hey there Israel – Are you listening?!? – people in the land, citizens, strangers, residents of all shapes, sizes and beliefs – do you not believe YHWH?

Are you fearless, thinking Almighty, YHWH will not require?

The land is chosen, deliberately; forever claimed by YHWH – a possession only lent to others as punishment to those peoples who defiled it, those who denied that YHWH owned the land.

Israel – pay attention before you also are spewed from the land!  Please!

There are terms.  There are conditions.  Go back and search for the God of your father Abraham.  Look to the ancients, those Hebrews who came out of Egypt to serve your Almighty, and repair your ways.  Strip your extraneous laws and traditions and return to YHWH who chose you  – to be the blessing, to dwell safely in the land, to become the rightful servants of YHWH.

Find your priests, the sons of Aaron.  Ask them to take their stand, to resume their required positions.  Support them.  Give them reason  to seek YHWH, to inquire of, and worship YHWH as they have been commanded.  Ask them to seek out the old ways, the ways of Abraham.  Ask them to become servants of YHWH, as designed.

Kick those fucking rabbis to the curb.  Eject them from the land if you have to, if they, like others before them, refuse to honor the established hierarchy set forth by YHWH.  If they continue to usurp the position of authority set forth by YHWH, then send them away.  They lead you astray.

The rest of us are counting on you – whether we know it or not – our future hangs in the balance, waiting on you.  All of the families of the earth are looking and hoping for a thing that will not happen without you.

Save yourselves, and allow us to rejoice in your resumed status, as Chosen of YHWH, rightful residents of the Land of Israel, Land of YHWH.

 

 

Chag Sameach Pesach

Happy Festival of Passover.

On the fourteenth day, at dusk, we eat the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter greens, with feet shod and loins girded.  And any lamb left over from the whole roasted lamb, is not to remain until the morning, it is to be burnt entirely in the fire.

That’s what I recall from the reading.

And that’s why I don’t keep the feast, just the remembrance.  I don’t have the means to roast a whole lamb, and I don’t have a physical community with which to share the extra meat.

I have purchased unleavened crackers.  And I will rid the property of items that contain leaven tomorrow, as the First Day of Unleavened Bread, Hag HaMatzot, begins at sundown and will last for seven days.  I will also bake unleavened bread tomorrow, using a favorite recipe.

Just like any other restriction, just before the deadline, you’ll find me cramming in samples of the restricted item, slice by slice, piece by piece, bit by bit.  I’ve enjoyed buns and pound cake and toast and cookies and crackers this week.

Over-enjoyed, really.

It will be good for me to refrain for seven days.  Likely a shock to my system, considering the past month of over indulging on bread and baked stuffs.  I’m ready though.

I’m somber already, as the Holy Days always strike me as such sorrowful times.  I simply don’t consider them to be the celebrations they were meant to be, when I’m living in exile.

But I’m extremely thankful to be able to observe the Holy Days.

Todah YHWH!

Preparations: To Look Ahead

A signal for special Hebrew preparations, the twelfth new moon sighting was recently announced.  That triggers my attentions to my larder, my pantry.

As commanded in Exodus, the new year will begin soon.  It’s signaled by the first moon during or after the aviv stage of the barley in Israel.  From Wikipedia, ” aviv is the stage in the growth of grain when the seeds have reached full size and are filling with starch, but have not dried yet “.

This twelfth month means that soon there will be teams searching to determine the barley stage just prior to the next new moon – if the majority of the barley is at aviv, then the new year begins with the next new moon.

That means that Pesach/Passover and Chag Ha’Matzot/Unleavened Bread would follow shortly after.  Time for me to begin using up what I have of leavened items/leavening in my cupboards.

Last year, I was not as prepared, and tossed out nearly $100 worth of prepared foods from the outer food storage areas:  deep freezer and pantry.  It’s what had to be done.

This year, I’m trying to be less wasteful.  It’s so hard to remember when I’m at the store, buying in excess – “no, the remaining panko breading is enough to get through the next six weeks”.  I hope I’m not talking out loud when I remind myself, but that seems to be one of my recently acquired skills.  Ah, the freedom of age, eh?

 

 

The Calm Before…

Just a quick share of photos taken when my dear friend and I went to a state park.  Rock structures left by an ancient sea.

Then life stormed on us all, as the work week hit like a plains thunderstorm.  We’re feeling a bit ragged, as it seems the current work environments are a bit like fracking -forced pressure at our base materials to extract the final product.

 

 

In Anticipation of A Guest

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Tomorrow will bring with it the arrival of my best girl friend, in time to share the celebration of Sukkot.

The new moon sighting in Israel set the times for the Seventh month celebration, and Yom Kippur has passed.  Now we celebrate the time spent by the Israelites in booths/temporary structures as they traversed the wilderness.

On the agenda: some outdoor photo treks, some fun kitchen  and garden time, visits to local interests and a lot of chatting it up.  🙂

Yeah, I’m stoked!

 

Recompense

What is it that drives religion?  What keeps the gears of the masses oiled, the coffers full, the leaders employed?

Predominantly, it is fear of punishment or desire for reward.

Fear of hell-fire and damnation.  Fear of a god named satan, a devil, an angel gone bad.  Spending eternity in a fire pit ruled by the devil, surrounded by the worst of the worst sort of evil people – rapists, murderers, cannibals, thieves, liars.

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Desire to live in a paradise with no pain, no death.  Streets that are lined with silver and gold, and mansions galore.  Rights to rule over and judge other people, to enact punishments upon others.  Ultimate power, to be like a god.  Angels floating nearby, surrounded by all of the note-worthy saints and patriarchs of old.

I took up residence in that camp, or one quite similar, for a long period of time.

I’ll concede that there are many variations to this view, and I’ve taken the most liberal case in point.  The gist is still the same, however.

I’m no longer fearful of hell or a make-believe devilish character.

I no longer strive to spend eternal days in the heavens, ephemeral beings and blissful promises dispelled.

I’ve chosen my truth.  The fact that what I have, what I know, what I live, is what it is.  There’s no better place, there’s no better time.  This is my life and this is what I have to work with.

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The punishment, sans an operational Priesthood to govern, is self-imposed.  If I transgress in one of the minor issues, I do the best that I can to make the required restitution.  It’s pretty simple, really.  Thievery – pay it back, and add a fifth.  Liar – okay, there’s no punishment for this unless it’s been as a witness, or to incur punishment on another who is not guilty.  If the lie was to hurt another, then the pain should belong to me.  If my dog gets out and eats a neighbor’s chicken, I need to repay the chicken.

Major punishments – those I intend to never have to deal with.  I don’t want to be expelled from my already virtual camp, nor do I want to die.  I’ll keep myself from that evil by remaining faithful to my husband, by keeping the Sabbath.  I’ll control my anger and not go into a rage and kill another person.

As a result of grave misdeeds and vile doings, the people I would reside with, the community in the Land of Almighty’s choice, have been expelled, punished, judged to live outside of the Land, outside of the covenanted protection.  Therefore, the ultimate reward of Torah, to dwell safely, to have productive lands and productive wombs, is suspended and not available to those who would join the community.

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The ability to continue to enjoy Almighty’s creation, however, is still available.  The joy of Almighty’s created beauty is still reward.  The ability to wake up each day, to know that there is no other; this Creator, this Almighty, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is my God.

What more reward would I desire?