Tag Archives: Elisha

PACZKIS

Ok – here it is – another “Fat Tuesday” – another Mardi Gras – another Shrove Tuesday – and I have yet to find Paczkis in NC. Oh – I could travel 50 miles and find some, but that isn’t really my idea of fun. Surely somewhere within a smaller circle of miles there must be a Polish baker who understands my pain. My former principal certainly doesn’t. She sent me a taunting text last night, and I cried myself to sleep…dreaming of those gut-busting, delicious doughnuts.

So instead – I went and picked up the Grandson, spread my metaphorical mantle over the both of us and rejoiced in his hugs and curious nature. (I’m not quite sure what I will do when he decides to be too big to hug on Grandma all the time. His sister is almost there and it is not easy on the Grandma – sigh)

I tend to think this was a much better way to spend “Fat Tuesday” since ingesting multiple varieties of ol’ Paczkis (can’t say that word anyway) would lead to me having to find a much larger mantle to cover the expanding gut. Soooo – as he curled into my lap (while eating mac ‘n cheese), we read a Pete the Cat book AND solved the major problem of all board games. We figured out that if one dice does not give you the number you want in a board game, there is another cube hidden deep in a drawer that may just be the lucky one you need.

“Elijah went up to him and threw his mantle around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah.”~1 Kg 19:19-20

Today, I was reading about the passing of mantles in the Bible world. A mantle was more than just a physical covering that enfolded the prophet or rabbi’s shoulders. It was the spiritual calling, the anointing of God’s blessing and covering presence upon that individual for the Ivrim (Hebrews) and later for the world.

Moshe, as he ascended the mountain for the last time, laid his hands and his mantle upon Joshua. When Elijah dropped his mantle to the ground as the chariot of fire came and whisked him away to heaven, his disciple, Elisha, reached down and picked it up, The spirit of Elijah – the spirit of Elohim came upon him. Each leader – each prophet – each rabbi – passed on his mantle.

[Elisha] took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.”~2 Kg 2:14

When Yeshua entered into the Jordan to be baptized, John passed the mantle just as his ancestors had done. And just as before, the Spirit of the Father descended and covered the man who had chosen to pick it up and carry it forward. But this is where it changes. The mantle Rabbi Yeshua carried could never be carried by just one man ever again. Instead, when He laid down His mantle, the Holy Spirit of God enveloped all who choose to pick up the mantle. We celebrate this day by calling it Pentecost, but in truth, whenever one God’s children chooses to pick up the mantle, to be born-again, the Spirit of God is present as well.

“And during the arriving of the day of Pentecost, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound like a violent rushing wind came out of heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them dividing tongues as of fire and sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit was giving to them to utter forth.”~Acts 2:1-4

“Shrove Tuesday” – “Fat Tuesday” – Mardi Gras – however you want to refer to it – was all about spreading my own cozy mantle. Spreading the mantle instead of the girth of my belly. I guess, I’m not ready to lay down my mantle yet. He keeps tell me there are some more rabbi days left in me and most of the time – I tend to believe Him. I just wish he would be a clearer on the specifics of it all. Looking at the backside of a tapestry is a puzzle my brain doesn’t always decipher well.

In any case, day-by-day, I’m definitely spreading my own mantle out over the shoulders of those around me – physically and metaphorically. FB, blogs and Goggle docs keep me writing, editing and teaching in more ways than the traditional classroom allows, and I am enjoying it. I’m also enjoying cuddling under my mantle with the Grands – even techno cuddling via FB with my MI Grands. The blessings of His Mantle never fails.

SEEDS OF FAITH

download (1)The Grands got to go trick-or-treating last night at their mama’s offices. Treats scattered over the kitchen table as they talked about the merits of each item. The Grandson doesn’t like chocolate as much as his sister, so they began swapping out this one for that. They traded back and forth until the Granddaughter noticed that brother had two big butterfingers, and she had two smaller butterfingers. As she was pointing it out, Grandson said, “Let’s trade. You should have the bigger ones because you are bigger than me.” Need I say more? Granddaughter jumped on that one and the swap meet was over.

Jewish tradition has a blessing that they pass around during Rosh Hashanah, “May it be Your will, God, that our merits increase like the seeds of a pomegranate.”  

Today, I think my grandson grew a few more seeds in his own small, redish pod.

Pomegranates are one of the special fruits of Israel. There are seven: wheat, barley, dates, figs, olives, grapes, and pomegranates. Jewish sages teach that pomegranates are special because they represent the person who is full of sweet kindness and many sweeter deeds. What makes them even more special is that the seeds are hidden. One would never guess at the multdinous seeds that lie hidden beneath the out shell – except Our Father who sees and never forgets.

There are 7 verses – just one tiny chapter in eons of history – that the Jewish sages use to teach how Hashem notices every kindness – every tiny deed done in secret as a gift which then becomes a seed – a seed of faith —- just like the pomegrante.

“The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” — 2 Kings 4:1

We tend to skip over little verses like this in the OT. After all, it is just a few words of a narrative from long ago, isn’t it? A story much like today’s stories – creditors – paupers – a single parent – potential destruction. However , that is exactly why I love Jewish oral tradition. It could be our life that was just 7 verses long in an even larger tome.  Concrete words that teache to something hidden beneath them – just like the seeds of the pomegranate.

Obediah was a husband who died within the first verse. He was a good man who had for many years cared, hidden and helped many others who had needed help in their own life journey. Out of his own resources he fed and supplied oil for their nightly studies of Our Father. No one knew. No one suspected. He did not brag about it. He did not ask others for help in his mission. He simply did what he could for those in need and each of them became a seed. A seed that God alone could see. So when Obediah’s wife came before the prophet Elisha, God didn’t just grant her a miracle, he let Obediah’s seed grow in the palm of His hand to bless Obediah’s seeds and meet their needs.

He saw what others did not, and he answered the desperate mother with a gift that she would recognize for she had watched and aided her husband over those many years.  Oil that provided light in the night for those in need now overflowed abundantly for her.  Our Father does not forget – what is freely given, He freely gives in return over and over and over.

It is our seeds, forming deep within us that brings blessings to those around us and those to come. All we have to do is choose to let them grow.  Needs met by deeds turn into seeds – seeds of faith spread out into His Garden of creation.

“Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”

“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” 2 Kings 4:2-7