Tag Archives: Jewish tradition

SCROLL OF LIFE

Been a busy couple of weeks. Visiting days at the Grands’ schools. Planting new starts for the terrace gardens. Reading umpteen things that I find totally absorbing. Not to mention, Easter and the end of Lent. And – – – loving every minute of it.

Didn’t write much this year about where I was heading with my spiritual journey. I’ve said this before, bu I think it has just been my time to absorb and reflect on the blessings of this past year. I am somewhat healthier. Our new NC home feels so much more like home. Plants are flourishing – just like Hubby and I am. It has been that way since my 100 Day Ration and Advent writings – 140 days of writing and then a restful time by the sea. A time of enjoying the present moment and absorbing all I can as my scroll unfolds before me.

You see, the Jewish word that is usually translated as book in English is “sefer”. Sefer means scroll. Thus – “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your BOOK before one of them came to be.” [Ps 139:16] Would actually be – “…were written in Your SCROLL…”

Books are ‘a whole ‘nother thing’ as Mama Mick used to say. We can easily flip pages in a book. We can look back. We can skip forward. We can even take a peek at the very end so we don’t have to wait for it to unfold. And – while you can do the same thing in a scroll you can only see pieces of the one scroll that you hold in your hands.

“…and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ “~Lk 4:17-21

God wink moments happened to Yeshua, the man, and to all those people attending service that morning. He had to unroll the scroll the attendant handed to him – not the scroll He had choosen – and find the place that fulfilled the promise of that moment. Not the moments that lay in the past. Not the moments that would come in the future. But that moment. That moment when a promise was fulfilled. A wrinkle in time being lived to its fullest.

I like to think that this is what I have been doing in the past few weeks. Living my wrinkle in time. Talking with shut-ins. Running errands for those who are struggling to stand without falling. Playing with Grands that won’t be tiny munchkins much longer. Reading and printing things to absorb. Praying for family, friends, and country in my war room.

Speaking of which – this week – I cleaned off the door to my war room. All my prayer lists and Bible verses are filed away in one of my notebooks, so I can look back at them occasionally and see where I’ve been. Good use for a book. I seem to need that reassurance every now and then. A acknowledgment to myself, that my path – while somewhat crooked – is becoming straighter and easier to walk.

Today, I hung 3 new verses on that door. Verses that will reassure me on the dark days and challenge me to keep my path straight through the rainstorms of life. And, as the scroll unfolds a little more, I will write up a new prayer list which will be full of colorful names and requests. I like using different colors because that is the way Abba created everything – – – full of rich hues, vibrancy, diversity. Full of a little heaven on earth.

It’s funny. As I read back through today’s musings, this definitely wasn’t what I had in mind when I started to write. God winks are like that. The scroll unrolls – words leap off the page and into my head – and I just marvel at the path of thoughts that He plants with His WORD and Spirit. As always, I can’t wait to unroll the scroll a little more and see what He has planned for me this day.

Whatever it is – it will be for my good. [google images]

EVEN SO

There have always been periods of brokenness – in self – in families – in societies – It has been there since the Adam and Eve hid themselves in a tree.

Did you know that?

In the original language, Adam and Eve did not don leaves to cover themselves. Instead, they hid in the tree. Obviously, an omniscient God knew where they were even though He asked, “Where are you?” He wanted to hear their voice seek Him as much as He was seeking them. Later though, He follows it up with another question, He asks, “Who told you that you were naked?”

Most of us who read these verses assume that the serpent told them or they learned it when their eyes were opened. However, Jewish traditions say that God told them when they were first created that they were naked in all their glory, just as He was naked in all His glory. There was nothing between them when they walked in that Garden together. Nothing that separated Creator from His Creations. Just their love – filling each other up – making what is separate  – one.

Today, amid all our brokenness, we hide in our separate trees and silently hope that Our Father doesn’t call out, “Where are you?” We don’t enjoy the garden of genders or colors or thoughts that He created for us. We are afraid. Like Adam and Eve, we each find a place to lay the blame. “It’s her fault.” “It’s his fault.” “It’s their fault.” And when none of that works, we shake our fist at Heaven and whisper – – – “It’s Your fault.”

I am reading more about God, Jewish traditions, and in-depth biographies than I have ever read in my life – well – except for the year I devoured all those orange covered biographies in our school and public libraries which sent me into a long bout of non-fiction reading on strange subjects. Good thing I worked in a library all through high school and college.

These readings keep leading me to other readings and podcasts and research that continually loop and feed into each other. Somedays, my head just aches, and I find myself impatient with the bickering of this world on whose fault it is. It is mine. Like everyone else, I have eaten of the fruit and hide my face from the One who still loves me enough to sit on the floor with me letting His love whisper, “Even so”.

“Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off…is…the truest index of our real situation.”~C.S. Lewis

As soon as they ate the forbidden fruit, our fore-parents felt that yearning – that longing – for what they thought they would never have again. Brokenness that started with one bite. The ripples extending out to where we stand today in a sea of churning brokenness tearing away the land from beneath our feet. The Garden seems further away then ever…and yet…

And yet…the Father knew – He knew our yearning would never be filled by genders, colors or thoughts of this world by themselves. They could only be filled with a reunion with the Creator. A place where we could walk with Him in a Garden. A place where we wouldn’t have to hide in our separate trees. A place so filled with His love that the yearning disappears completely, and we feel complete once more. A place where we can sit, face-to-face and hear His Son’s love whisper over and over…“Even so”.

[google images]

Advent Peace #1: Sing a New Song

Tonight, after driving home from my daughters’, I made myself a salad and sat down to find a Christmas movie. The movie was to entertain me while I work on the Grands’ Christmas stockings. For whatever reason, my TV remote didn’t log all the numbers correctly and up popped Christmas music that had me sitting back in my chair and ignoring everything else.

Christmas Under The Stars 2016 at BYU was beyond just a seasonal show – it was a blessing.

Michael W. Smith – Amy Grant – Jordan Smith – BYU orchestra and choir – – –

Really? Who could ask for more on the first day of the Peace Advent?

“Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.” — Psalm 96:1

Jewish tradition teaches that when the Messiah establishes his kingdom on the earth, the world will sing a new song. Not only will it sing a new song – there will be a new note added to the musical scale. The note will signify to all Creation that balance has been restored. God, man and all creation will walk in the garden together once again.

As Christians we wait to sing that new song through Christ’s return. A Sovereign LORD bringing peace upon this war-torn earth. A Shepherd who has carried us through those wars – who wrapped his body around us, protecting his lambs from the worst of the arrows – who will continue to carry each of us close to His heart as He returns a peaceful balance to the Garden He created.

As we light the second candle of peace. We remember Christ in His first Advent, and we celebrate the second Advent that is just around the corner. We may not know the specific times, but we know to watch the signs that He taught us during His first Advent.

In his devotions for the 2nd week of Advent, Max Lucado quotes Frederick Buechner: “It is He who made us, and not we ourselves, made us out of His peace to live in peace, out of His light to dwell in light, out of his Love to be above all things loved and loving.” (p161)

As I sang those old carols tonight (and some new ones)– because who can possible watch a show with Christmas songs and not sing along??? – right??? I loved finding my voice again, and the memories those songs brought with them. But oooo…with each turn of the earth, I am getting more excited about singing that new Advent song. And of course – that sets of that crazy pondering latch in my head as I try to imagine exactly what that new note will sound like – ? – hmmmm – will all music then be re=written? – – – was there an 8th note before the fall?? when – – – -????

“O Zion, messenger of good news,
shout from the mountaintops!
Shout it louder, O Jerusalem.b
Shout, and do not be afraid.
Tell the towns of Judah,
“Your God is coming!”
Yes, the Sovereign LORD is coming in power.
He will rule with a powerful arm.
See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”~Is 40:9-11 [google image]

#perhapstoday #singanewsong

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #87

It is the month of thankfulness, and I am sooooo thankful that the political ads are about to go away – – -for a space of time. I am also thankful that we don’t watch regular TV very often, or I might be REALLY sick of the continuous play of political nonsense that only spews hate and venom instead of issues. Needless to say – today’s Ration was on point again.
 
‘We grow ‘righteously indignant’ abut our own grievances, and remain cool and calm in the face of corruption in high places, the exploitation of the helpless, and we shut our eyes to manifold evils that kindled the fire of anger in the heart of our Lord.’~1942 Ration #87
 
It reminded me of Manasseh. This boy king of Judah grew up and undid everything that is father had tried to establish – leading his people off G-d’s perfect path and onto his own destructive path. Then he took it up a notch by walking away from all righteousness, truth, love, and character – to the point of sacrificing his own children to Baal and killing the prophets who were sent to warn him – including his grandfather, Isaiah. [2 Chronicles 33]
 
As always, there is a price to pay. Manasseh was captured, tortured and, according to Jewish tradition, put in a bronze cauldron with a fire lit beneath him. It was then that he called out to all the gods he had been worshiping. In desperation, he finally cried out to G-d, the God of his fathers.
 
Jewish sages say that G-d was moved, but the angels were not. They argued back and forth that such a despicable man did not deserve mercy. G-d replied, “If I do not accept him in repentance, I am locking the door before all repentant sinners.” God forgave him and for the rest of his life, he tried to undo all that he had done. A side note – the rest of his life was 33 years which I find interesting.
 
There is a Jewish prayer that is used during fast times and the High Holy Days that I am adding to my prayers these last few days before the election. It is this line that holds me on my knees just a little longer: “…although we have no worthy deeds, treat us with charity and kindness, and save us.” Thank you for not locking the door. Thank you for forgiving us. Thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
 
1942 Daily Rations: ” ‘He…looked…with anger.’~Mark 3:3
 
“Jesus could get angry! But it is very significant that his anger was never for himself though he suffered injustice and abuse far exceeding anything that any of us will ever know. But it was the exploitation of others, especially the weak and innocent, that aroused his wrath. The selfish and callous subordination of the needs of man to the letter of the law, the desecration of the house of God by human greed, the perversion of abuse of God’s human greed, the perversion of abuse of God’s ‘little ones’– – -these were the things that made him look ‘with anger’.
 
Besides the splendid indignation of Jesus how petty are most of our outbursts of anger! We grow ‘righteously indignant’ abut our own grievances, and remain cool and calm in the face of corruption in high places, the exploitation of the helpless, and we shut our eyes to manifold evils that kindled the fire of anger in the heart of our Lord. If we would look ‘with anger’ through his eyes, we would do more about the wrongs of the world.
 
“Prayer: Forgive us, O Lord, for our anger over our own grievances and difficulties and grant us so to have ‘the mind of Christ’ that we may be deeply aroused by the evils that hurt and degrade our brothers In his name. Amen.”   [google images]

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #73

Never fails. When we start a new project, something breaks – beside my toe (actually I think it is just stoved – or at least that is what I am telling myself). Money in – money out.The good news is our handy-dandy fix-it guy showed up in time to help a very tired Hubby unload some more block. Another prayer answered.

 
Maybe that is why the world is having a problem. Maybe God has started a new project, so things are breaking all over the place, and the handy-dandy fix-it man is on his way. Gotta admit, I hope so. I keep watching the skies and moving my lips in prayer.
 
My war room door is becoming filled with prayer lists and affirmations of promises given by our Father. Prayer is so important. I was reading about Hannah today. Like many of our memorable matriarchs she had trouble conceiving. Jewish tradition speaks that God did not want them to believe in Him just because their husbands did. The matriarchs were just as important as the patriarchs in Hashem’s eyes. He wanted them to seek Him with their hearts. Hannah’s prayer did this on all levels, and her prayer became a model on how we should pray.
 
Silently, moving her lips but without voice, tears wetting her cheeks, she spoke directly to Him: ‘Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me…’ ~1 Sam 1:11a
Direct, simple, full of everything she dreamed and desired.
 
Our Father loves it when we come to Him – when we seek Him. Everyday – around 6 PM – I pray for our country and the leaders that will take over in 19 days. I pray for the leaders today who are making decisions this week for us and for Israel in the UN.
 
Prayer is important.
 
1942 Daily Rations: ‘Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?’~Isaiah 55:2
 
“Ours is a vitamin-conscious age. Every schoolboy knows why he must drink milk and eat vegetables. For lack of vitamins, children with full stomachs may suffer from malnutrition. Health depends upon what one eats more than it depends upon how much one eats.
 
“Ours is a day in which the printed page has come into its own. Never before was printers’ ink used in such abundance. People spend millions of dollars every year for printed matter—-newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, books. But what does this money buy? Much of the so-called reading matter of our day is not bread, but so much sawdust. Some of it is poison. One reads this sort of magazine or book only to come away feeling still hungry,- – – and sometimes sick!
 
“But why should we pay our money for that which is not bread? Why should we spend our labor, and precious hours of time, with lifeless husks when God has given us, in the Bible and in other great literature, a whole storehouse of ‘vitamins’ which our souls crave and which we need if we are to have robust spiritual health?
 
“Read: John 6:22-35
 
“Prayer: Break thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me; As thou didsn’t break the loaves beside the sea; Beyond the sacred page I seek thee, Lord; My spirit pants for thee, O living Word. Amen. “~Mary Ann Lathbury

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #61

This is the start of the last 40 days of Rations. Most people know that 40 is a number that is mentioned often in the Bible. One site that I visited said that 40 was mentioned 146 times. I recognized many of them – although I had somehow missed the one of Ezekiel laying on his side for 40 days to point out Judah’s sins (Ezekiel 4:6).

God doesn’t tell us we need to pay attention to specific numbers. In fact, He really doesn’t tell us that we have to do anything. He suggests. He hints. He supplies teachers, prophets and stories. According to tradition, He even had 40 different people write the 66 book of the Bible.

In Jewish wisdom, the number 40 holds great significance. It represents transition, a period of change, a renewal of faith; a new beginning. Rabbi Yeshua apparently held to this rabbinical thought as well since He spent 40 days in the wilderness before walking into the ministry that would change the world.

So as I write these last 40 daily rations of 2016, I am spending some extra time in the WORD, changing up my prayer times and treating it – in a sense – like the period of Advent or Lent. 40 days of change. 40 days of renewal. 40 days of new life on His path instead of my own.

1942 Daily Rations:Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you…as though a strange thing happened unto you.’~1 Peter 4:12

“Handling difficulty is half the art of living. One must be a spiritual engineer. The first step in dealing with trouble is to expect it and accept it as a normal element of existence. It seems to require hardship to make the sort of human spirit that we like best and value most. If so, God could not make it otherwise. The book of life is a dramatic volume, a mingling of joy and sorrow, defeat and triumph. This is what life is like and no one is exempt. Some people seem to think that the normal life is one of unbroken ease, and that difficulty is abnormal and must be accounted for. There is no evidence for that premise. To expect trouble is not to borrow trouble. Borrowing trouble is apprehension; expecting trouble is comprehension. One who expect difficulty a an integral part of his lot will not be swept off his feet with surprise and dismay when it comes.

“Prayer: Give us grace, O LORD, to keep our hearts at peace among the varying tides of life. Joy and sorrow, health and suffering, need and plenty, are all parts of the common lot of men. May we shrink from no fortune, but learn to meet each one as it comes. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #58

Today, I wished my hubby a good new year of life today. In Jewish tradition there is a big difference between ‘Happy New Year’ and a ‘Good New Year’. It is a key to Jewish wisdom.

You see, in the beginning of creation, God didn’t talk about feeling happy at the end of each endeavor. Instead, He looked around at all He had done and saw that …it was good.’ [Gen 1:3,9,12,18,21,25,31] Thus ‘happy’ means getting things to arouse that feeling inside of us. Whereas, ‘good’ is creating something wonderful for others.

Jesus took it a step further. He said, “I go to prepare a place for you.”~Jn 14:2. He understood the concept of creating ‘good’ for others. He did not talk about creating happiness for himself. He endured the cross to prepare a place for you, me, and everyone who will follow Him.

Blessings!Be! and Shanah Tovah! [Good Year]

1942 Daily Ration: “I…have the keys…of death.’~Rev 1:18

“Read: Rev 1:9-18

“Keys are the symbol of authority and power an understanding. To find the key to a problem is to unlock its mysteries. What then is the interpretation of death, for our Scripture says that Christ has the keys of that age-long mystery?

“Death in the New Testament and for the Christian is a comparatively unimportant event. It is regarded as a transition from this life to the life beyond. In that confidence Stonewall Jackson died saying, ‘Let us cross the river and rest under the shade of the trees.’

“But is there anything beyond the sunset of life? The philosopher replies, ‘Man hopes so’; and adds; ‘The God who placed the instinct in birds to fly South in winter created a South to which they may fly. Will not that God who placed the instinct for immortality in man’s breast satisfy that longing?’ The historian says men expect to live beyond this life and points to the pyramids of Egypt as symbols of that faith. Ethics says, ‘Men ought to live again in order that wrongs may be righted.’

“But Christ said: ‘Because I live, ye shall live also.’ ‘I am the resurrection, and the life.’ ‘I go to prepare a place for you.’ ‘If it were not so, I would have told you.’

“A father once spent a night in a house reputed to be haunted to prove to his children that there was nothing to fear. So Jesus entered the domains of death, and returned and showed that there is nothing there to fear, for he has the keys of death.

“Prayer: Roll away the heavy stones of sin and fear, Our Father. May the radiance of the living Christ brighten our pathway each day. Help us to realize that he has the keys of death. Amen.”

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #57

Today is Tovah 5777. Rosh Hashanah. The Jewish new year. In the Bible it is basically a day “to sound the trumpets.” It is a day that Rabbi Yeshua observed and celebrated every year He remained on earth.
 
The Jewish trumpets aren’t the trumpets of marching band or orchestra fame. They aren’t the trumpets of some medieval kingship. It is a Ram’s horn called the shofar. On Rosh Hashanah it is blown three different ways to remind the Jewish people of three very important concepts to take forward into the new year.
 
I’m not going to bother to give you the names of each blast, but the Jewish people know from their traditions their names and why they are important. The first long blast on the shofar is to remind everyone that God is present in our lives and He is the King of our lives.
 
The second trumpet sound is to resemble a weeping sound. It reminds everyone that even at the point where their brokenness is the most raw and brutal, He is there as well – loving, comforting, and answering prayers.
 
The final sound is 9 short blasts. It is meant to awaken those who have been slumbering – ignoring – their purpose in this life — His purpose for us in this life. A reminder to wake up and walk forward with their Father.
 
Hence, for the Jewish people the new year has begun. With courage and humbleness, they have acknowledged that there is a King in their lives; that they have a brokenness that He is reaching out to help them heal; that they are awakened and ready to walk forward onto a new path – His path.
 
It is good to understand our roots. It is good to worship Our Father as His Son worshiped Him while He journeyed upon this earth. It is good to have a Father who loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to show us the way home.
 
1942 Daily Rations: “Suffer me to speak.”~Acts 21:39
 
“Read: Acts 21:27-39
 
“Fear is crossing bridges before we come to them. Courage does not consist in feeling no fear, but in conquering fear. Paul, facing an angry mob, may have had some inward doubts, but he was sustained by an unfaltering trust. Christianity has advanced through the courageous stand of her leaders. The Saviour crucified upon the cross was courageous as only the Son of God could be courageous. Others have followed his example. Stephen prayed for his tormentors as he was stoned to death. In our own world, religion has found strength in the courage of her martyrs. Latimer [**Hugh, c. 1487-1555], the aged Reformation preacher, even while burning at the stake, cried out, ‘We shall this day light such a candle…as…shall never be put out.’ We need men of courage and valor who are not intimidated by mob psychology and who dare speak courageously for Jesus’ sake.
 
“Prayer: Our Father grant unto us the selfless courage that comes to humble souls whose every purpose is dedicated wholly unto thee. Place within our finite minds the one truth of thine own infinite being. Teach us to be strong and courageous, through our dependence on thy strength. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.”
[google images] **my addendum to 1942 Ration for those who don’t recognize the name Latimer

RATIONS 100 DAYS #22

The week with our Littlest has passed way too quickly. It has been a gift on so many levels, and I can’t wait to see where life takes her on this next journey to Columbia in NYC.

It has been fun seeing this kidlet – who hated talking on the phone (except with friends, of course) – negotiating with car buyers (since a car in NYC is not exactly a necessity), accomplishing the impossible to be in compliance with a new state’s laws, leaving the security of the known for the unknown and weathering each and every decision with her wonderful life partner.
 
Wisdom is one of those things not necessarily guaranteed in this life. The Bible uses lots of metaphors when it talks about wisdom. “She is a tree of life to those who hold her fast and blessed are those who look for her.” Prov 3:18 Of course, Jewish sages add even more depth to this.
 
After the miracle of the Red Sea, the Jewish people traveled three days without finding water or taking time to study Our Father’s teachings. They were grumpy and bitter when they finally found water. Is it any wonder the water tasted just as bitter as they felt?
 
Water is more than water.
 
Trees are more than trees.
Wisdom is hidden amidst the ordinary things of life.
 
God told Moses to take some wood and throw it into the water to sweeten it. What we are not told in that story is that this wood was wood from the Tree of Life. Jewish wisdom says that when we study Our Father’s wisdom, life becomes sweeter. Somehow, I was not surprised by this.  For me – I had already figured it out.  Surrounding myself in His teachings adds much more to ordinary days. That’s why this week has been so “sweet”.
 
Today’s RATION also reminds us that we need to look for the wisdom He gave us through the suffering of his son. Until we seek it, our world will continue to taste bitter. We need that tree in our water. We need that grace hung from a tree. We need His wisdom.We need to pray the 1942 America’s Prayer Minute in 2016. Seeking that piece of wood to throw in our water.
 
“The soldiers who crucified Jesus sat in the shadow of the cross, after the deed was done, and watched him. The world has been watching hi ever since! There is something strangely thought-compelling about the spectacle of a good man being crucified as a criminal, about a teacher of love and righteousness being silenced by death and torture, about one who come to be regarded as God’s supreme revelation of himself being mocked, insulted, and killed by men too ignorant and brutal to realize what they were doing! I wonder if we really grasp the depth of meaning in Jesus’ atoning death, however, unless we also realize that in a very real sense the world is still crucifying him today! The crucifixion, alas, is a constantly recurring tragedy!”
 
“And when they crucified him, they parted his garments among the, casting lots; and they sat and watched him there.”~Matt 27:35-36
 
“And this is the judgement, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light.”~Jn 3:19
 
“Prayer: We realize, O God, that we live in a world that is still crucifying Jesus, betraying his cause denying his purposes, deriding the truths he came to teach. Help us so to understand and reverence his message that we shall not take part in the crucifixion in our street our nation, our day and generation. In his name we pray. Amen.”
[Janet Searfoss art image: Sacred Energy/google images]http://janetsearfossbatiks.com/

THERE ARE TIMES

estherprayedThere are times we don’t understand. There are times when it hurts more than we thought it would. There are times when the aching hole becomes an terrifying abyss. There are times when tears are not enough.

There are times when we must – – –

“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” — 1 Chronicles 16:11 

Tragedies and miracles happen in this world. We bumble around and whine or cheer depending on our perception of the events. Blaming or praising. Cursing or Singing. Weeping or laughing.

But – there are times when we must – – –

“….stand on a rock.”~Ex 33:21 

passover_custom-55cfde5853950100beb5e8b591604363d3161087-s900-c85Passover starts tonight. It was a time of tragedy and miracles.It was a time of fear. A time of excitement. A time living the reality of bondage. A time with hints of freedom. A time of fearful doubts. A time of scary decisions. A time when most chose to stay within the constrictions of Egypt and not follow the strange elder calling for them to follow him into the freedom of the dessert.

There are times to curl into the cleft of the rock – – –

“When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by” Ex 33:22.

Jewish tradition says that hindsight is the only way we can see why things happen as they do, because we can only see the back of God. Seeing Him face-to-face would be greater than anything we could handle. Knowing the reasons and the whys of all the things of which must come together to bring us back to Him would overwhelm us – paralyze us. Infinite ramifications. Choices. Options. Circling time. Generation-to-generation of entwining love. Sinful mortality being pursued by pure Grace.

“Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” Ex 33:23 

Those who stayed behind in Egypt probably never knew what happened to the others who had followed Moshe into the desert. Non-existent technology. Communications limited. There are times that I have wondered if – when they pulled their head out of the clef of the rock – did they see God’s back or did they just go doing the same old things they had always done as if nothing had ever occurred?

There are times when faith leads us to decisions. There are times when faith leads us to miracles. There are times when Grace blesses our wisdom, and we see His indistinct back  fading into the distance. There are times when we leave everything behind even the yeast of our lives to follow the One who leads us into a desert. A desert of freedom.  A desert filled with enough manna and water that we will never be hungry or thirsty again.

There are times when we fall on our knees and humbly whisper: Baruch Hashem, Adonai.