Shabbat Shalom

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Beautiful view of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) taken yesterday.

Shabbat Shalom!  Today, as I walked around our city, I saw so many children (and adults) dressed up for Purim.  They dressed up today because there is no school on Sunday, so they celebrated at school, etc., today.  We live near a large Junior High and they had music and balloons all morning.

Tomorrow night we will be reading the Book of Esther and having some goodies at our study center.  Purim is actually on Sunday.  Megillat Esther (scroll of Esther) will be read Saturday night and Sunday morning in all the synagogues, except for all the cities which were walled in the days of Joshua.  Those cities will hear the Megillah Sunday and Monday.

The past 2 days (Wednesday and Thursday) we were with the Romanian tour group.  I hope to post some pictures from those days and the places we visited.

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Taken at Capernaum (Kefar Nachum) yesterday.

Parashat Tetzaveh (You shall command) Exodus 27:20-30:10

Maftir: Deuteronomy 25:17-19

Haftarah: I Samuel 15:1-34

Shabbat Zachor

This Shabbat is the Shabbat before Purim. Because Haman, who tried to exterminate the Jewish people, is a descendant of Amalek, we read a special Maftir from the book of Deuteronomy which speaks about destroying Amalek. In the Haftarah, one learns that Saul failed to obey the word of HaShem and allowed Amalek to survive long enough to father a child, which many generations later produced Haman. These events reveal that failure to obey the word of G-d can have disastrous results which may not be seen for generations.

The clothing of the priests and their work are the primary subjects in this week’s Torah portion. This work takes place in the Tabernacle and one reads,

And I shall dwell in the midst of the Children of Israel and I shall be to them G-d. And they shall know that I AM HaShem their G-d Who brought them out from the land of Egypt for dwelling in their midst, I AM HaShem their G-d.” Exodus 29:45-46

It is clear that the work of the priests relates to HaShem’s presence and His glory being experienced by the Children of Israel. This intimacy that HaShem offers to the people should be our utmost desire. Even though the work of the priests is necessary for this intimacy to be realized, there is another important element that is required. This element is redemption. Redemption is foundational for a relationship with the L-rd and one experiencing His Presence. The concept of redemption is found in the text in the words, “…I AM HaShem their G-d Who brought them out from the land of Egypt…” The Exodus from Egypt should rightly be understood as redemption. It is this reason why Passover is called the Festival of Redemption. Messiah Yeshua laid down His life on the 14th day of Nissan, i.e. Passover, to be our redemption. Once again, it is through redemption that one has the potential to experience true intimacy with G-d.

In the same way that the Exodus from Egypt only gave the Children of Israel a potential to experience intimacy with HaShem, the work of the priests was also a necessary component. So too does the believer today have to serve and obey the instructions of the L-rd in order to experience the intimacy with G-d by means of the Holy Spirit Who dwells in the believer, like the Presence of HaShem dwelt in the Tabernacle.

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