What’s Wrong with Harry Potter?

We cannot ever teach the un-Believers around us if we cannot even speak their language.  Learning only Christianese or Yeshivaim hinders anyone’s ability to skim the edges of society.  A thorough understanding and wide knowledge of worldly ways must be taught to our young ones to enable any of them to make a living, and use one’s gifts from G-d to make a difference.

In the end, it is the Parent that decides what their children will know and how they will dress and speak, and even think…at least while they are children, but regimented morality does them little good when they step out into a college environment and run into every kind of attack on their G-dliness, and their careful education as Believers.

Careful parents need to know what to protect their little ones from…not just some of the dangers, but all of the dangers and the best way to do that is to teach them what the Enemy is doing in the secular world, and show them what is wrong with what is around them, and how to discern what is right, and thus stand up against peer pressure.

I once mentioned online at the time they came out that I read all the Harry Potter books and was virtually crucified in virtual reality, but with a firm grounding in mythology and legends of the world, I faced no danger of being lured to witchcraft or sorcery, and I can talk to people about what is wrong in the books.  The stories and characters are great on friendship, and the plot is good against evil, but there is no mention of any G-d in the world of the Harry Potter books…just the odd, unused church used for burials of the non-witches and non-warlocks.

But having read, and enjoyed them and the movies as a 50ish adult, I can also say that Harry Potter actually dies himself in order to save all the good people in his world from all the bad…and has a resurrection, even if it is a magical one, and thus use it to transition to Yeshua, and what Yeshua’s life and death did for mankind.  If a parent doesn’t read what is in the books as a study of possible evil, and find out what to say about them to their children, the child will be lost when exposed as a young adult, because the books and movies are brilliant, enjoyable, and oddly, meant for young people (if worldly ones), and what is not seen as a teen and thoroughly examined and critiqued, will be read or seen in HighSchool or at University with no protection at all, as the books are so well-written they are used in English classes in High School and College.

The same holds true for all worldly knowledge.  The Simpsons are crass cartoons to me, but they have humor and social comment that forms the basis of much general conversation at work, as do other popular shows.  Knowing the latest movies, even though one only reads the reviews and story content can let our young people not look like troglodytes from the 1800’s, prior to Darwin.

Darwin must be thoroughly explained as well, and the proper use of language, and why the world uses vulgar and blasphemous talk that is offensive.  Ammunition must be given to our children to fight the ideas of atheism and socialism and communism…and if parents do not give them Godly ideas to fight the world’s ideas, we must get the help of the those that know such things…from our communities, from the retired persons who know up from down, and why the Kingdom of G-d is upside down from the world, and have the time and inclination to teach a little worldly wisdom.

You can train up a child in right ways, but only in a Christian based world will that hold until they run the gamut in public schools and universities, and be able to walk and talk their witness in front of others, rather than bible-thump people they meet.

Alas…the world can no longer be termed ‘Christendom’ anymore, anywhere, and a child is not completely protected by the mere teaching of Biblical things unless they stay at home forever.  The Armor of G-d includes knowledge of Scripture in the imaging of the Sword of the Spirit, but it doesn’t hurt to have some brass knuckles and a baseball bat to aid in the more worldly battles.

 

What is the Oil of the Wise Maidens?

Most Believers are anxiously awaiting the return of Yeshua, and see the events around us pointing strongly to a very near time.  For some, it is the extreme desire to get out of the world and be at rest, to no longer fighting all the evil around us. I am one those of those someone’s.

I delight in living on this planet, in its beauty, and changeableness, never from one day to the next being quite the same.  I love meeting people, and talking about Abba, and all of the Scriptures, of Yeshua and what he has done for us, and what will be coming soon.  However, many of the people I meet are less than interested in what I am interested in, and some are downright opposed to it.  This lessens my enjoyment of this life.  I also am growing older, and suffer from many difficulties and pains due to many ills, and thus long for the new body we are promised, but despite my problems and my aching body, I enjoy my life, and what Abba has provided for me.  Thus I plead daily with Abba to send Yeshua soon.  I want to go Home.

It is not given to us to know exactly when Yeshua is to come, although there are still prophecies that are as yet to be fulfilled for that return.  Many Scriptures are somewhat difficult to understand, and for me, one of the more peculiar symbols in Scripture is a description of how we are to be in these days leading up to the Day of Jacob’s Trouble.  The symbology that perplexes me is is that of the ‘oil’ in the lamps of the Wise Maidens in the Parable of the Ten Virgins.  Just what kind of ‘oil’ is in the lamps of those who are admitted to the Bridal Chamber to be with the Bridegroom?

On a superficial level, one thinks, well, the five Foolish Bridesmaids must not actually be infilled with the Ruach haKodesh, or must have grieved the Ruach haKodesh away.  Yet that cannot be so, or why are they invited to be Bridesmaids?  And if Foolish, why are they invited at all?  Why is their oil insufficient to the moment?

I have determined that the ‘oil’ in the lamp is a clear reference to a quality we must have, and actions we must perform, but it is not so easy to explain my gut knowledge of what is needed to be known of the Beidegroom.  The oil in the parable is not a reference to the residence of the Ruach haKodesh within us, although that indwelling is necessary for Believers to do anything that could be acceptable to G-d.  The Holy Spirit enables us, teaches us, and leads us.  But evidence of what we are to be and do is not so plainly spelled out to us modern readers of this Parable.

In searching for information, I looked to the Scriptural text surrounding the Parable.

Matthew 25:1-13 (CJB)
1  “The Kingdom of Heaven at that time will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom.
2  Five of them were foolish and five were sensible.
3  The foolish ones took lamps with them but no oil,
4  whereas the others took flasks of oil with their lamps..
5  Now the bridegroom was late, so they all went to sleep.
6  It was the middle of the night when the cry rang out, ‘The bridegroom is here! Go out to meet him!’
7  The girls all woke up and prepared their lamps for lighting.
8  The foolish ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’
9  ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both you and us. Go to the oil dealers and buy some for yourselves.’
10  But as they were going off to buy, the bridegroom came. Those who were ready went with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut.
11  Later, the other bridesmaids came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they cried, ‘Let us in!’
12  But he answered, ‘Indeed! I tell you, I don’t know you!’
13  So stay alert, because you know neither the day nor the hour.

This is superficially a very plain Parable with what appear to be obvious symbols in it, but it is not definitive about what oil it is that the Wise Virgins have in their lamps, and that the Foolish Virgins did not bring with them to refill their lamps.  So there must be a meaning obscured by the text…symbolism in the words that must be present but we not aware of, but was common knowledge in the days that Yeshua walked the earth.  This lack of clarity is offset by the fact that no one in this time searching out the information about the meaning of oil is entirely deficient in knowledge of this tale.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins is a favorite one in many churches and synagogues. Indeed, I have heard this parable again and again, and I know that we must somehow be like the Wise Maidens to be accepted of the Bridegroom.  Most people I have listened on this subject believe that being ‘Born Again’ makes us one of the Wise, and that the “oil’ is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Others state that simply Believing in Yeshua makes us the Wise Maiden with the right kind and quantity of oil, and that the Foolish Virgins are just not in a relationship with Yeshua.  But it is never quite explained in a way I have understood clearly, and since we approach the day that the Bridegroom we are waiting for is to appear, I want to be sure I know what it is I am to know and do.

We are told frequently that oil often represents the annointing of the Holy Spirit, or even is the Ruach himself…but that is not something we can give to another person simply because they request it, and whatever the ‘oil’ is, it must be an item that can be purchased.  We also know that the Five Maidens who came well supplied with oil are called wise, or common sensible.

Wisdom is not for sale, but knowledge is, and one thing is obvious in the parable…the Foolish Maidens were unprepared for the coming of the Bridegroom in that they had oil that burnt out quickly, or that was unsuitable in some way, and sputtered out on being lit, and did not bring additional oil against the long wait for the Bridegroom.  Wisdom and Common Sense certainly references a kind of knowledge that is used to prepare for future needs. We can buy information and schooling, and practice whatever that information leads us to in understanding.  But knowledge is not sufficient in itself to be a provision for the future.  Action based on knowledge must be taken to lay-up that provision against future need…indeed the action is the price that we pay for the ‘oil’ we are storing up against the future.

How to get Oil

In the time this Parable was first taught by Yeshua, anything that was needed to live was grown or produced by individual effort.  If you needed oil, particularly for a lamp that was to burn cleanly, you needed olives.  Produing a grove of olive trees is not something quickly or easily done, and waiting for an olive tree to mature from a newly rooted slip from an existing olive tree requires time, patience, and attentive care for the sapling.

After some three to five years, a healthy slip will grow into a young tree that will bear fruit on the previous year’s new growth, and during that time, the sapling requires diligent care.  In a dry area where Olives are happy to grow, their roots seeking deep in the earth to find the water from long past rains, a sapling must be coddled a little, and fed nutrients from composted materials that have been soaked in water to release the minerals the young tree needs.  In time, the tree will fruit, and both food and oil can be obtained from its fruit.

Certainly, a person can go to the oil sellers and buy oil already pressed, but they must purchase that oil with the fruits of their labor in another endeavor, or with the fruits of their families labors…but that kind of oil is not the source of the light that Believers are to burn.

Proverbs 6:20-23 (KJV)
20  My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
21  Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.
22  When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.
23  For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

Believers are to shed light as a natural fruit of their actions.  We are to be an example, and walk in righteousness to the best of our ability.  Believers in Yeshua’s day were enjoined by Yeshua, and by every other person with any understanding to act in righteousness.  Obedience to the declared commandment to love G-d and to love one another, and all the commandments that derive from these two great summaries of the Torah is a given in the daily walk of any Disciple of Yeshua.

Burning Oil Creates Visibility.

Another point we must notice is the sheer practical fact that the ‘oil’ in the lamps that the maidens carry are to light the way of the Bridegroom, since he will be coming unexpectedly, and late in the evening.  Yet, knowing that we are to give the Bridegroom light to see by is an unsettling idea. Why would Yeshua, as a Bridegroom, need to see us to recognize us?  Are we not in him, and him in us?

Matthew 5:14-16 The Scriptures

“You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city to be hidden on a mountain.
“Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it shines to all those in the house.
“Let your light so shine before men, so that they see your good works and praise your Father who is in the heavens.

Next in the parable is the fact that the Bridegroom comes too soon for the unprepared,  Foolish Maidens, and they are shut out of the Bridal Chamber…presumably the Kingdom of G-d.  The foolish ones when they have purchased their oil, and come back to the Bridal chamber then pound on the door, and beg for admittance, but the Bridegroom refuses, and tellingly says, “I don’t know you.”  If they were chosen Bridesmaids, they should have been familiar to the Bridegroom, or at least recognizable in some way…not complete strangers.  The foolish ones have lamps, and now have oil, but are not known to the Bridegroom.  Why?

I believe that the telling phrase in the parable is not the lamps, nor the oil, but the fact that the Bridegroom does not know the foolish Bridesmaids.  He does not recognize them, because they are not shedding light that can identify them as his.  We know that Yeshua is all seeing in his G-dly nature through the Ruach haKodesh, but the Bridegroom in the Parable is a term of simplification…stripping away Yeshua from the Bridegroom, and leaving a man who is not able to see who the Foolish Bridesmaids are, despite the light shining from the burning of the oil they finally have in their lamps.  It is more truly a kind of ‘forbidden fire’.

Lighting a lamp with oil in it is a seemingly simple action, but ‘light’ has a meaning of its own in Scripture.  Believers are to be a light to others, who know less than they do, or have never heard of Yeshua, but ‘light’ is a term that also represents how we act as servants of G-d.  Consequently, having knowledge is not sufficient in itself…a wise Bridesmaid must do something to provide that light.  The actions must also provide a ‘good’ light, not cast a ungly, distorting glare.

Earlier in Matthew, we have a moment when a lack of knowledge and a lack of right action producing fruit will cause people who appear to be followers of Yeshua to be instead refused entrance to the Kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 7:19-23 (CJB)
19  Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire!
20  So you will recognize them by their fruit.
21  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants.
22  On that Day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we expel demons in your name? Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name?’
23  Then I will tell them to their faces, ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’

Believers in Yeshua are branches that grow from the Olive Tree Root that is Yeshua.  Those branches that do not produce fruit from which oil can be pressed cannot be anything but dry withered limbs to be cut from the tree, and tossed into the fire.  The question then remains, what produces the right kind of oil?

We have foolishness and wisdom as two types of Believer, for people can believe wholeheartedly in Yeshua, and even feel attached to him, yet not ever know him, nor be known of him, because they do nothing that he wants…nothing to produce the fruit from which oil is pressed, and later lit, giving evidence of who they are.  One can by one’s rebelliousness against G-d be in constant, deliberate, or careless disobedience to him, even when projecting an appearance of G-dly behavior and action, and be walking in constant, unrepentant unrighteousness.

Knowledge is not enough, and understanding is not enough.  We have heard from the very first day of our understanding of Yeshua as our Saviour that we are to trust him, lean on him, and obey him.  If we do not do that, we are workers of lawlessness who do not do what Yeshua’s Father in heaven wants.  Without obedience, without some action to reflect our having heard what Yeshua taught, we can produce no fruit by which to be recognized, and have no oil of our own, separate from the Ruach haKodesh, that we can light a lamp from, and shine.

It is not enough to be dressed for the Bridal occasion, and attend the ceremony.  We are sinners, and we have no true righteousness of our own…only the attempt to obtain it by obedience, and by seeking to know the Bridegroom, so that when he comes, he will recognize us as one of his own.

It is not enough to have oil to burn, but that we have pure, virgin olive oil that we have produced from our own labor as part of the Olive Tree to help light the world.  We have to prepare in advance for the time soon to come, to lay up oil from our own attempts to obey G-d, and to produce the fruits of righteousness.

We will be known by our fruit in the darkness of the night Yeshua returns in.  Little or great, we must have some ability to burn brightly to show him as he returns that we have been preparing all this time for his arrival, and that we have heard what his desires are.  We are to walk in righteousness and produce fruit.  That is the ‘oil’ that will burn brightly enough for us to be recognized no matter how dark it gets.

Why is There a Messianic Kingdom?

This is a topic I have been studying for decades, and something that I look forward to greatly, when Yeshua returns, and a promise is kept to Abraham.

When Yeshua died, and was resurrected, the time of the Gentiles effectively began…a two thousand year period of the spreading of the gospel of the Kingdom to Jew and Gentile alike, as represented in the New Testament by the two days Yeshua spent with the Samaritans, teaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to Gentiles.

But when Yeshua returns, the economy of G-d reverts to a Mosaic Covenant rule under Yeshua, and Temple Law.  The Ruach haKodesh will not work in the same way as he has in the past two thousand years, but reverts to working through the High Priest, King Yeshua…because this is a time in which Yeshua rules the planet with a Rod of Iron, under the Mosaic Law and a Temple Economy.  In other words, salvation for the mortal beings that survive to walk into the Messianic Kingdom in human form is not by trust in Yeshua, and Yeshua’s work on the Cross, but through the Temple Economy of Law, with a perfect High Priest to teach exactly what G-d wants of the Jews, and any of the Nations that survive the AntiChrist.

One reason for this is YHVH’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that the children of the Patriarchs would have a time in the full extent of the promised land, where they would live safely under their own laws, sit under their own vines, eating the produce of the land, and be able to live as G-d desired them to originally.  It is the perfect spiritual picture of a Shabbat…the 7th day of YHVH’s prophetic economy.

But the Messianic Kingdom has other purposes.  For those in Yeshua, whether Jew or Gentile, and saved in Yeshua prior to his appearing in power to clean up the mess the AntiChrist makes, it is a time of great joy, and reward, based on how we have walked our walk under Yeshua’s guidance, for we are used to help run the Kingdom in the ways that Yeshua decides is most valuable to him, and is directly connected to how we act now.

Some people expecting to rule a city or a nation for Yeshua might end up working at the DMV, or as a Traffic Cop, or a School Teacher or a Street Sweeper…what ever will be best for our growth, while those with great ministry gifts of music, and song, will be used world wide to praise the king, and bring rejoicing, and those of a scholarly bent will be sent to study and learn and write about what pleases G-d for the benefit of all of us.  Just imagine being the Chef for the Royal table, or a maker of fine wine for the King!  Those that paint, and sew and create designs will be set to beautifying all things, and life will be marvelous in so many ways that are entirely human.

The Parable of the Talents is a good picture of what is planned for those that stay faithful to Yeshua no matter what happens in this time of the Day of Jacob’s Trouble.  If we are given a gift by the Ruach haKodesh, and do not use it to further our spiritual growth, and to assist other Believers in their walk, it is going to get us tossed into outer darkness, a place far from Yeshua, and the eventual coming of the New Jerusalem at the end of the Messianic Kingdom.

Rebellious disobedience to YHVH is always punished, even if you think you are saved, and that Yeshua’s blood bought grace covers your indifference to his desires.  Remember the 10 Virgins, only 5 of whom have oil?  These 5 Virgins that enter into the Bridal Chamber of the Groom are those that seek to allow the Ruach haKodesh to change them and work in them to the glory of G-d.  Those that drift away from the Holy Spirit, and the Narrow Way,  are those that are left begging to enter into the Kingdom with Yeshua, and being told by the Bridegroom, “I never knew you.”

However, if we do our poor human best to do what is good with the gifts we are given, well, that is then rewarded.  Not everyone will be given cities to rule, but all of us will be used to make sure Yeshua’s kingdom is law abiding, even if the people in Israel and the Nations do not like living under the Temple laws, and having all civil law and governmental regulation decided by Yeshua, and enforced by us, the Tsaddikim…the Righteous Ones in Yeshua who are resurrected into a Yeshua-like body.

It is also described in the prophecies that people will disobey Yeshua during the Millennial Kingdom, and will consequently be punished by lack of rain, and the consequent famine for not keeping the Spring and Fall Feast days that celebrate Yeshua’s entire ministry on this planet.  But many who are not Jews will come to see that Yeshua is not only King of Kings, but Immanuel…Elohim in human form, and not to be disobeyed, but loved with all their strength and talent and will.  They will become G-d Fearers, and Proselytes into Messianic Judaism, and be considered righteous according to their walk under the Temple Sacrificial System, just as the Israelites of the past have been.

I wish heartily that I could live in that economy now, where Believers that have been resurrected into their perfected form become the government, teachers, policemen, and law courts…at least from the law abiding part of it, but I hold my salvation dear, and will not repine over my part in the Messianic Kingdom being one of many Believers working for Yeshua in whatever way he desires.

Then, at the end of the Messianic thousand year rule, the Adversary is released once again to work against Yeshua, and test the population in the world.  Once again, there will be a rebellion against G-d, and the disobedient people who do not want to live in a law abiding society, and instead only want to do as they please, rather than act in the ways that G-d desires and trust in him, will gather against Yeshua in an attempt to overthrow him.

The reason that this is allowed, is to show all of mankind from throughout history, and all of the Angels, that without G-d helping us, we can do nothing worthwhile, nothing of value, and nothing at all well or righteously.  We were given free-will so that we are able to choose freely our fate, but Abba wants us to choose him, by acting in the ways he desires.  This final gift of choice is given as the final statement on salvation being a gift from Abba, and not something that can be earned.  Rewards can be striven for, but are only given if the talents you were given are used in the right frame of mind…to please Yeshua, and show our love, not merely for the reward to be gained.  It is the same with keeping the commandments in the Scriptures to the best of our ability…we do not seek Abba’s hand and only his blessing according to our dessert…if we tried that, we would have earned nothing, for we are completely without righteousness except in Yeshua.

At the end of the thousand year reign, there is a very short rebellion, for the Adversary and those he has provoked to disobedience are stopped at once, and the day of the White Throne Judgement is finally at hand.  All the dead from all times are resurrected, and judged for what they did on the planet…basically, for how well they loved what they knew and understood of G-d and how well they loved one another, no matter if they were born in a place far from Israel, or even before Israel existed as a society, for many people will have walked well in their limited knowledge of Abba’s desires, and Yeshua will judge accordingly.  Death and Sheol, along with the Adversary and his friends and followers are tossed into the Lake of Fire, because our time in this version of Earth is over at last.

Yeshua then hands back control of the earth to the Father, and the planet is remade so that man and YHVH Tsava’ot can exist in the same physical universe, with all those who pass into the new creation living as the Children of G-d according to what Yeshua deems our inheritance.  We will be back in Eden, but this time there will be no serpent; we will be immortal beings; and Abba will teach us himself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do All Religions Lead to God?

Guest Post

By Eitan Bar   

Why Keep Shabbat? I’M Not A Jew!

I’m not a Jew either, at least in a proved, brought up as a Jew way…there are however two grandmothers of hidden background that I am investigating, and of course I am an ‘Israelite’ of the grafted-in sort…at least an ‘Israelite’ in spirit, and in full knowledge that the land promises and the promise of the Millennial Kingdom to the Jews stand intact, if unfulfilled at present.  I have tossed out all of the Pagan influences of the Christian Church, since I have never belonged to one.  I seek to walk a little bit more like a 1st Century Nazarene.  I keep a Saturday Shabbat, from Sunset on Friday evening, to Sunset on Saturday Evening.  And I enjoy it a lot.

I didn’t at first, as I struggled to follow the gentle suggestion of the Ruach ha Kodesh that I ‘consider keeping the Sabbath’.  It took me three years just to become aware of the original daily plan of the Creator, YHVH.  I missed more sunsets the first few years than I managed to even notice!  But I kept pursuing the idea.

And one day, I found that sunset had become important to me everyday.  In fact, I frequently ask myself, “Is today preparation for Shabbat?” as the sun dips in the west, because it is a wonderful thing to keep Shabbat as G-d ordained…in the beginning.

Genesis 2:2-3 (CJB)
2  On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made, so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3  God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce.

 

Shabbat celebrates G-d finishing creation for us to use and enjoy.  And as we are a holy people, we should at least honor those things that G-d sets apart as holy, not to mention setting ourselves apart to be holy, and kept blameless.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-23 (CJB)
16  Always be joyful.
17  Pray regularly.
18  In everything give thanks, for this is what God wants from you who are united with the Messiah Yeshua.
19  Don’t quench the Spirit,
20  don’t despise inspired messages.
21  But do test everything — hold onto what is good,
22  but keep away from every form of evil.
23  May the God of shalom make you completely holy — may your entire spirit, soul and body be kept blameless for the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.

Keeping Shabbat is not a Jewish thing; it is a G-d thing, and the easiest way of stepping back from the world.

How to keep Shabbat:

Well, the Bible gives specific rules…that were given to the Israelites and the Gentiles when they came out of Egypt, before the Torah was given…before there were any ‘Commandments’.

Exodus 16:23 (CJB)
23  He told them, “This is what Adonai has said: ‘Tomorrow is a holy Shabbat for Adonai. Bake what you want to bake; boil what you want to boil; and whatever is left over, set aside and keep for the morning.’”

 

Exodus 16:25 (CJB)
25  Moshe said, “Today, eat that; because today is a Shabbat for Adonai — today you won’t find it in the field.

Exodus 16:26 (CJB)
26  Gather it six days, but the seventh day is the Shabbat — on that day there won’t be any.”

Exodus 16:29 (CJB)
29  Look, Adonai has given you the Shabbat. This is why he is providing bread for two days on the sixth day. Each of you, stay where you are; no one is to leave his place on the seventh day.”

Exodus 20:8 (CJB)
8 “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God.

Exodus 20:10 (CJB)
10  but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property.

Exodus 20:11 (CJB)
11  For in six days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.

So, you are to gather and prepare food ahead of Shabbat, enough for two days…Friday and Saturday, and then rest.  Just rest.  At home…you know, kick back?

That is all that Shabbat is…an enjoyment of all that G-d created.

Yes, there are rules you can keep to make Shabbat special…if you happen to be Jewish, and have those traditions, but I am speaking to Gentiles.  If you want to organize your Sabbath, that’s fine…I am not going to judge you on how you keep Shabbat.  Technically, you can keep it by deliberately disregarding it…as the military, police, fire department, and hospital people do.  So, if you do not like relaxing and being with your family and friends, go and do for others.  Visit the sick, the old, the indigent, and take food with you for them.

Play music, make merry and laugh…is it so difficult to disregard all the rules that the Orthodox Jews made for their lives?

Well, actually, it is.  In the back of our minds, we have what we have read in the five books of Moshe, and if we are intent on becoming separated unto G-d, we will also have read what other people do on Shabbat, like Rabinnical Jews, particularly as we begin to consider keeping it.  The Orthodox Jews have made rules on their rules and to me, life a misery on Shabbat, and if you want to work that hard at resting, I won’t stop you, but it’s not anywhere commanded in the Scriptures.

All one needs to do is look at the idea of rest, and then try to do that…don’t work, don’t buy and sell, don’t carry heavy burdens, don’t make a fire from scratch…don’t do those things that are part of your customary work…whatever that is.

Truck drivers shouldn’t drive a truck.  Housewives should put their feet up, and nibble on cold chicken, and cookies.  Children should play, and not go to school.  And yes, one should keep in mind that the day is set aside to G-d, and not just to relaxation…so praise G-d in song, and read a few nice things from the Scriptures, and then take a nap.  And then gather together again, and celebrate Shabbat, for it is supposed to be the most marvelous day of the week…a holiday…a set apart day.

Go to the synagogue or church if you can find one teaching on Friday evening or on Saturday…take communion at home if you can’t.

Make it up as you go along, and as the Ruach ha Kadosh leads you.

Is Shabbat that EASY?

Actually, it is.  If you read the scriptures in Exodus that discuss Shabbat, or do a study on the word, you will find very little is forbidden and less is mandated.

I like the last three verses of the Study of the word Shabbat in particular, as they tell people what to do, and not do as Believers in Yeshua.

1 Corinthians 16:2 (CJB)
2  Every week, on Motza’ei-Shabbat, each of you should set some money aside, according to his resources, and save it up; so that when I come I won’t have to do fundraising.

Colossians 2:16 (CJB)
16  So don’t let anyone pass judgment on you in connection with eating and drinking, or in regard to a Jewish festival or Rosh-Hodesh or Shabbat.

Hebrews 4:9 (CJB)
9  So there remains a Shabbat-keeping for God’s people.

Yes, I know that Hebrews was written to the Hebrews, but are we not G-d’s people too?  And if so, why are we not keeping Shabbat in order to please G-d?  Oh, you don’t want to stop going to church?  Church has nothing to do with G-d’s Sabbath.  Church is church, and you go if you like as often as you like…it is not a Shabbat activity, even if you have come to think that it is.

It was the Catholic Church that deliberately changed the keeping of the seventh day each week to the eighth…very anti-Christ like of them. When the Reformation began, no one dared change it back…the rules were very strictly kept by good Christians, and you could get in trouble if you didn’t go to Church on Sunday.  And a whole set of rules grew up around keeping Sunday…even though it is about sun worship, and not worshipping the Son.

So, keeping a Saturday Sabbath might set you apart from the rest of the world?  Yes, well, that is the purpose of it…to make you separate and different from those infidels out there…you know. all those pagans that do not know and value Yeshua?  And those that have not read their Bible enough to know how much G-d appreciates those who keep his Sabbath…well, I don’t want to tell Yeshua when he comes that the Sabbath he demonstrated to be free from unnecessary restrictions was completely avoided by me.

Consider carefully whether to keep the Sabbath on Saturday, in the way that G-d mandated, to please him, and no other, because there is no other reason to keep Shabbat.

 

 

 

 

Why do we need Yeshua?

This article was posted in a forum, in answer to the above question by someone who is wondering why Yeshua…why a Savior:

 

TO understand the need for Yeshua in your life, you need to begin by looking at the world and the way it was originally made, and what it became…just as man was once a different being than he is now.

If you can postulate a Creator, and accept that he chose to make a race of beings that he could enjoy and interact with, it will help a good deal.  Consider it a theory worth exploring, and bear with me as I explain, for it is not a simple subject, even when viewed without religious overtones.

And this person, whom I call YHVH…the one that is and was and will be…is a creative being of great power…it is his pleasure, his actuality to create, and he (in so much as we call him a he, since we have no idea of his actual form of being) is able to create all that is…all this universe, all the planet, the ecosystem, all to provide his creation a place of existence, exploration and education.

That creation was taken from the elements of the earth, adamah, and made into living beings by YHVH.  That being was not created with a mind completely instructed in all the ins and outs of how to live, what to do, who to be, nor with a complete set of instinctual behavior built in…but was an adult human that was yet an innocent immortal person, being carefully taught, living in the creator’s nursery, Eden, where the child man Adam was set to learn about the creation, and to interact with YHVH.

At some point, Adam seems to have needed companionship of his own, someone that was not parent and teacher, but friend and soul-mate, so that the next stage of development could go forward.  Picture Adam at the age of about 13, becoming physically mature, and noticing that he had no mate.  And so, Abba (father in Hebrew) took DNA from his perfect human male, and made not just a mate for his initial creation, but a source of struggle, and development.  She is called Eve, and although taken from him genetically, was yet perfect in her physicality, and able to provide healthy offspring for the race of people that G-d was creating, and carefully tending.

With Adam and Eve as just-barely-adult beings, YHVH began the next phase in mankind’s development in order to become more like G-d …personal responsibility.  Since mankind was made in the Image of G-d and with G-d’s nascent creative abilities although without his power, Adam and Eve were capable of working together to make a life together.  However, there is only so far that any intelligent species can progress sitting at the feet of the tutor.  Sooner or later children must begin to find their own way, and develop in the ways that they choose to develop, rather than as the parent might want.

Now, YHVH had already created a race of beings (only one that we know of – there may be many we do not know of).  They are called Watchers, as they watch mankind to learn of them and from them, for they are not made in G-d’s image, but less like YHVH, even though G-d has given them much power, talent and ability to help him construct, and regulate this universe.  G-d uses them for many things that we do not understand in regulating this universe, and the other dimensions that we know must exist…every Artist needs people to grind the paints, and stretch the canvas for the work in process.  They are often used as messengers, warriors, and even as an adversary to mankind, and are usually called Angels.  But Angels, although they are magnificent beings, are not at all like G-d is.  They are more like an army to a King, doing what they are supposed to do without a great deal of personal involvement, yet individuals all the same.

And one individual Angel’s history is given in the Scriptures that plays a huge part in the development of mankind, and why Yeshua (Jesus) is necessary in the scheme of things.  He is called Satan…a Hebrew word that merely means ‘adversary’, and his design includes being a pain in the neck to mankind, under strict rules and limits set by G-d.  The Greco-Romans called him Lucifer, (Light Bringer) as he is the most brilliantly made and decorated Angel…one who often appears as a being of light, and deceptively so.

And thus we are back to Eden, and what was about to happen there that triggered the need for a redeemer for mankind.  Abba, in order to give mankind self-determination, also had to give them the ability to choose what they would do, and to receive the consequences that came of each choice.  And as an initial test of character, G-d gave a simple rule for Adam and Eve to break, or not to break.

Genesis 2:9 (CJB)
9  Out of the ground Adonai, God, caused to grow every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 

Genesis 2:16-17 (CJB)
16  Adonai, God, gave the person this order: “You may freely eat from every tree in the garden
17  except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You are not to eat from it, because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die.”

It seems to be a human trait that as soon as we are forbidden something, it becomes something we wish to do.  Still, Adam was told, and was not overly troubled by having just one tree he could not eat from, when he could eat freely from all other trees, bushes and herbs.

Eve, having been made after this point in time, was not directly instructed by G-d about the trees, or the consequences of eating from the forbidden tree.  Adam apparently told her about the situation, and again, she seems to have avoided eating from the dreaded tree, until the Adversary, decided to intervene.  Suffice it to say, the Adversary, ‘beguiled’ Eve into eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, and Eve gave some to Adam, who ate it. And the two of them were no longer innocent beings.  G-d judged the situation, and condemned mankind to mortality on a broken planet, but promised that one day a child of Eve’s would rectify the brokenness.

Awareness of identity was already within them, but in eating the fruit, mankind was altered to be conscious of what is not just right or wrong to do, but why, and the penalty of eating the tree became instantly in place.  Prior to the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were perfect, immortal beings.  Afterwards, everything was made mortal, faulty and broken…not just Mankind, but the Universe was affected, and entropy entered into the equation.

However, G-d, being a good parent, was already aware of all possibilities, and had put in place a solution to the expected disobedience of his creation.  Once Adam and Eve were mortal, their every choice would bring consequences for themselves, and everything else around them, yet without their ability to choose for themselves, they could not ever choose G-d as their G-d voluntarily.

Abba wanted a family, and made one, but needed to allow that new race of beings to love him or to hate him, or else not have a family at all.  But having condemned mankind to mortality, G-d needed a mechanism for mankind, if they chose him above all else, even their own, mortal life, to become immortal again, and not just immortal, but choosing to be under the direction of G-d…not as automatons, but out of reasoned choice.  In other words, G-d gave these beings a single mortal lifetime to have and enjoy and suffer through, and a chance to learn to be like G-d not merely in image, but in spirit.

However, in the free will solution to provide mankind with choice, Abba had damaged his creation.  How to undamage it now was the problem.  How does one find, amongst the billions of men and women born on this planet throughout history, those few people who would choose G-d, and G-d’s way of doing things out of love…not because they had to.  Their life was a gift already, and those who sought G-d learned from him, and chose to follow what they learned or not, as was their desire.

What I call the God Conspiracy was a plan always waiting in the wings for the time when mankind’s civilization would progress to the point that man would understand what G-d was doing.  In the early generations, there were few who paid attention to the information passed down from the first parents, but there were always some.  And eventually, a family line was chosen to create a small nation from, to be given special knowledge, and then also to demonstrate how to use that knowledge to the entire world.

Through the formation of that nation, starting from one man, Abraham, rules on how to live successfully were spread, and demonstrated to be effective when followed, and devastating if not.  In those rules and regulations that Abraham’s children were given were promises and laws that G-d promised to abide by as well. And in order to get the Israelites out of the fix they were in, since they were perennially falling into imperfection in their adherence to the rules of effective living, G-d focused a portion of his extra-dimensional person into the child who became known as Yeshua ha Notsri…Jesus Christ.

The reasons for this advent into a temporary existence as a human have to do with the laws and promises made to the Israelite people, and to Eve, and to the Adversary from the beginning.  The ideas present in the self-sacrifice that G-d made of himself by his own will are written in all the history and religion of the Israelites, and why it would be necessary.

G-d considered himself an husband to the people of Israel, and in the following of many of his own rules for successful living, having divorced a large percentage of idol-worshiping Israelites is in the position of not being able to legally remarry her.  To remarry that people requires either the nation to die, or G-d to die.  Then, those divorced Israelites would be free to remarry him, in a spiritual sense, since he would, being G-d, live again.

Thus the need for Yeshua’s death, and his resurrection in power.  It all follows a lot of plans that G-d wove into the teaching of the Israelites, but the point is that Israel is free to choose G-d’s ways again, and be made able to keep them And not just Israel, but any person who will choose to do so.  And best of all, during the time of their mortal life, they are changed, to be more and more like Yeshua, and less like the foolish mortals they begin as.  They are given a portion of the Holy Spirit…G-d’s spirit…put within them, and that Spirit slowly changes them as they cooperate with G-d to be changed.

And so, we humans ask that G-d as Yeshua to come into our lives, as our King, and Savior…the one who gives his perfect life for our imperfect one so that we can be changed…to be more like what G-d had in mind in the first place.  And on top of actually making us different than we were, he gives us also eternal life with him, and a renewed planet, once other promises to the Israelites are fulfilled in the remaining portion of this age on this planet.

Soon, Yeshua will return, and rule the planet, and mostly just a small remnant of Israeli’s and a few of the Nations will be in that kingdom repopulating the planet.  This time period offers the people who survive to enter it a final chance to see that without being enabled to be like   G-d we can’t manage well at all.

Those of us that are already Yeshua’s now will not be mortal when that time comes, and those that are not Yeshua’s die, and await judgement at the end of the age, stated to be a millennium of time from now, during which the Israelites finally receive what was promised to Abraham.  During the Millennium, the Israelites and the Nations get to have their lives lived in an enforced peace upon the planet, following the effective rules for living already laid down.

There are special tests laid down for this time period, and for the future, and all give each generation their opportunity to choose how they will live, and in what way, and whether they live their first life, or live eternally.  The Millennium also exists to demonstrate that without G-d’s enablement in Yeshua by the Holy Spirit in him, mankind cannot live successfully.

So, Yeshua is our redeemer, and redeems us from our own foolish choices, and the broken racial characteristics we have inherited.  At the final day of Judgement, Yeshua also causes the healing of the broken world we live on, and remakes it better than it is now.  Yeshua gives us all the ability to become the best we can be, now and in the future, and in an unlimited way, for eternity.

That is WHY Yeshua…because we can live without him, but not happily, nor successfully, and for only a short time.  Yet, because G-d loved us, he made a way for us to come back to the beginning, to be made like Adam and Eve first were, perfect in their genes, on an unbroken planet, and in harmony with G-d.

G-d caused a special human child to be born, and placed himself in that child, to live as a human, and die voluntarily to be a symbolic as well as actual sacrifice for our sheer imperfection…our sin, literally buying us free of all we owe to one another, by paying our debts to one another for the sins we commit, and the hurt we do one another, and satisfying all the rules that he set down for us.

Yeshua is a gift.  All you need do is ask for that gift, and G-d gives it to you.  It is not an easy way to live in the beginning, for there is a lot to learn, but G-d enables you, and you are free of condemnation for your past behavior, and enabled to do better and better all the time.  G-d blesses you as you grow, not necessarily in the things of this world, although they are there as well, but in the ability to live well, no matter the circumstances, happily, and in peace.

The gift is a gift…there is nothing you need do, but ask for it, and accept it.  The receiving of the Holy Spirit then will make you wish to become like Yeshua, a little bit at a time, and you will keep the successful rules for living because that is what Yeshua did, not because you have to, or because it gains you more love and approval from G-d.  And in living successfully, on purpose, with the Holy Spirit within you, well, that is a delight even when it is hard to do.

I hope that is sufficient to prompt more questions, and a desire for Yeshua in your life, and I hope you will establish a relationship with G-d, so that in Yeshua’s actions, and through the Holy Spirit, you can be made to be as you were created to be, a son of the Living G-d.

 

Can a Bear keep Shabbat?

In my world, and in the world of Rabbi Jacob Ben Avraham, yes they can.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

(From a Jewish Perspective)

…..It was around noon time when Goldilocks left her Brooklyn apartment on the corner of Court Street and Atlantic Ave.  She would finally spend a Sabbath Eve with her grandma “Zaide” Sarah who lived in a small retirement village apartment on the corner of 9th Street and 7th Ave.  She was in her late 80s now, and really didn’t get around much anymore, at least that was what Goldilocks thought.  So she thought it might be a good idea to visit her and spend a Sabbath Eve with her.  Mamma thought it was a good idea too.
…..So Mamma baked a fresh loaf of Challah, wrapped it in plastic wrap and placed it inside of Goldilocks’ back-pack.  She went to the corner of 9th and 7th and waited for the bus.  Once she boarded, Goldilocks settled down in a seat in the middle of the bus, leaned her head against the window and closed her eyes.  Her memories took her back to the times when grandma and grandpa had spent more time together with her.
…..In past years, they had taken her to Prospect Park which was near the grandparents place. They would walk together, throw nuts to the squirrels and bread crumbs to the birds.  Goldilocks would swing on one of the many swing-sets in the park.  A few years ago, grandpa had given up the ghost, and now it was only grandma “Zaide” Sarah.  These thoughts had slowly lulled Goldilocks to sleep.  She wasn’t planning a nap on the bus, it just happened that way.
…..When she awoke, the bus had stopped for a few minutes because the bus driver had gone into a store for a snack and a restroom break.  She looked around and saw the street sign, “New York Ave”, quite a way from where she had planned to get off.  She had plainly slept through her stop at 7th and 9th Ave.
….”Have a nice day” said the driver as he got back on.
….”Yeah, you too” replied Goldilocks as she rushed down the aisle and jumped down the steps and passed the open door.  A few more passengers got on and the driver closed the door and drove away.
…..So there she stood there at the corner of Midwood and New York Ave thinking that, ‘somehow, I have to get back to where Grandma lives’.  She opened her purse and fumbled around looking for another bus token, but all she found was some loose change, an old grocery receipt, some paperclips and an old folded up homework assignment from Mr. Stein’s Social Studies class.
…..’Great’ she thought, ‘so this is where it was, two weeks too late.  I’ll turn it in anyway, better late than never.’
…..The loose change amounted to twenty-two cents, not even enough for a cup of coffee.
…..’Well, she thought, I could “schnor” myself back to grandma’s place.’
…..She remembered the stories that grandma and grandpa had told her about “schnorers” back in the old country, destitute beggars asking pedestrians for a few Kopeks or even a Ruble or two near the great city of Kiev.
…..But, ‘No’ she thought, ‘there’s no way I’m going to schnor for bus fare, I’ll just walk it out.’
…..So Goldilocks began her trek back towards grandma’s place at 9th and 7th.  Sure, it was a long way off, but if she walked fast, she ought to be there in time for Sabbath.  With the loaf of challah in her backpack, she hurried along New York Ave as fast as she could walk.  A little ways up ahead she noticed a sign that pointed to Prospect Park.
…..’Well’ she thought, ‘I could go around the park or cut through it.  If I cut through it, I’ll save some time, yeah, cut through it.’ she decided finally.  So Goldilocks started through Prospect Park with backpack and challah loaf inside.  Soon she noticed a trail that led to Brooklyn’s only forest.
…..This somewhat intrigued her.  She remembered grandma “Zaide” telling her about this small forest in Brooklyn, yet she never took her along one of these quaint forest paths.
…..’Guess I can make a detour’ thought Goldilocks, ‘ten or fifteen minutes won’t matter. I’ll still make it back to grandma’s before the Sabbath begins.’
…..So Goldilocks started to walk along the main trail that lead to towering trees and bushes.  She was enthralled by such greenery in the middle of the city, she was captivated by the tweeting of the birds, and the scurrying squirrels that paused for a second to stare at her before disappearing into the thickets and trees.
…..Soon, she came upon a small log cabin house that was nestled between a clump of trees.  It was off the beaten trail but nevertheless, curiosity got the better of her.   She went over to investigate.  She made her way to this small, strange house in the middle of this vast Brooklyn forest.  She read the sign that was nailed to the front of the door which read; “BEARkowitz Family”. There were also three mail boxes near the front door with the names; Papa Bearkowitz, Mama Bearkowitz, and Baby Bearkowitz.
…..Goldilocks went closer for a better look and noticed that the front door was opened a crack, so she went up and knocked.
…..”Hello, anyone at home?”
…..Her knocking opened the door a bit more.  No one answered, so she pushed open the door and went inside the BEARkowitz residence.  Upon entering she noticed a small, cozy kitchen to the left and around the corner was a combination dining and living room.  On the dining room table, she noticed three bowls of porridge.  The aroma of the porridge stirred up her appetite, so her went over and sat down in a large chair in front of the larger bowl of porridge.  She tasted it but, alas, it was much too hot.
…..She moved over to the medium sized chair in front of a smaller bowl and tasted the porridge. But “oi” it was too cold and bland.  Then she saw the smallest bowl of porridge in front of the smallest chair.  The chair looked comfortable so she sat down and tasted the porridge.
…..”Yes” she exclaimed, “just right”
…..So she ate it all up.  After eating, Goldilocks felt a little tired so she went into the living room and saw two cushioned chairs and a small rocking chair.  She sat down in the first chair, but it was much too hard for her comfort.  She then tried the next chair, but the cushion was too soft for her comfort.  Finally, she sat down in the rocking chair and started rocking back and forth.  Yes, it seemed just right.
…..After about ten minutes of rocking back and forth in the small rocking chair, Goldilocks began to feel sleepy so she went into the master bedroom and found two beds.  She lay down in the first bed which was pretty large, but the mattress was too hard and firm.  She went to the other bed and lay down, but the mattress was much too soft.  Then she went into the adjoining bedroom and found baby bear’s bed, (who wasn’t really a baby anymore on account that he was already 13 and bar-mitzvahed).  She lay down on the bed and she felt that it was just right.  Soon, she fell fast asleep.
…..In the meanwhile, Papa bear, Mama Bear, and Baby bear (who wasn’t a baby anymore since he was already 13 and bar-mitzvahed) returned home from shopping.  They saw that the door was already open a jar, so Papa Bear said;
……”Honey, did you forget to lock the door again?”
….. “Oi Vey” responded Mama Bear, “Seems like I am getting to be a bit absent minded these days, my bad!”
…..”That’s OK” replied Papa Bear, “We don’t have anything worth stealing anyway.”
…..So the three BEARkowitz bears entered and Mama Bear put the groceries on the kitchen table for the Sabbath Eve dinner.  It was then that Papa Bear noticed the bowls of porridge on the table.
…..”Someone has been eating my porridge!” said Papa bear a little annoyed.
…..Mama Bear went over to the table and looked at her bowl of porridge and exclaimed;
…..”Oi, someone has been eating from my bowl of porridge too!”
…..The baby Bear (who wasn’t such a baby anymore since….well…you know)  went over to his bowl of porridge and cried out;
…..”Someone ate all of my porridge, and I am really hungry now!”
…..”Do you suppose that someone came in here while we were out shopping?” asked Mama Bear a bit surprised.
…..”Well”, replied Papa Bear, “you did leave the door unlocked didn’t you? We’ll just look around and see.  If someone is here, we’ll soon find out.”
…..So the three bears went into the living room and went over to their chairs.
…..”Someone has been sitting in my chair” exclaimed Papa Bear, noticing that his chair had been moved slightly.
…..”Someone has been sitting in my chair too” exclaimed Mama Bear, noticing that the cushion had been moved.  Then Baby Bear (who wasn’t a baby…..you know the rest) went over to his rocking chair and said;
…..”Someone has been rocking in my chair, look, my comic book that was on my chair is on the floor!” and he went over and placed the comic book on the rocking chair seat again.
…..”Good observation son” replied Papa Bear, nodding his head. “we’re getting closer to the truth of the matter, let’s check out the bedrooms.”
…..So the BEARkowitz bears went into the master bedroom.  Papa Bear noticed that the bedspreads were a bit out of place.
…..”Someone has been sleeping in my bed” he exclaimed, shaking his head!’
…..”Someone has also been sleeping in my bed” replied Mama bear, noticing that the sheets were pulled back a bit.
…..”Mama, Papa” cried out Baby (well, you know the story) Bear, “someone is sleeping in my bed, and here she is!”
…..Mama and Papa Bear rushed into their son’s bedroom and were very much surprised to see the young girl asleep in the bed.  For a minute, they just stood there staring at Goldilocks.
…..”Is she a friend of yours son?” asked Papa Bear.
…..”Never seen her in my life Papa!” replied (well, we have call baby Bear something else).
…..Then Mama Bear, very gently, reached over and shook Goldilocks’ feet.
…..”wake up, wake up little girl” she said softly.
…..Goldilocks stirred a little and awoke from her sleep.  She rubbed her eyes a bit and sat up.  When she opened her eyes and saw the three bears standing at her bedside, out of her mouth came..
…..Ayyyyy! Yahhh, Yahhhh, yahhh…. screaming at the top of her lungs, terrified to see the bears.
…..”Oi, little girl, stop screaming so, you act as though we’re going to eat you alive” responded Mama Bear, a little surprised to see the girl act so.
…..”Well Bears are bad, and evil” replied Goldilocks still a little distraught, “They attack and eat people and tear them limb from limb!”
…..”I think wolves do that” said baby bear, “it was a big bad wolf that ate little Red Riding Hood’s grannie!”
…..”Oi Vey” groaned Papa Bear shaking his head, “She must have gotten a hold of last month’s Field and Stream magazine, you know, the one that had the article about the hikers in the Rockies getting attacked by a grizzly.”
…..Mama Bear just smiled at Goldilocks and sat down in the bed beside her.  “Not all bears are bad dear” she said, trying to calm the young girl, “but grizzlies, well, they’re bears with an attitude”
…..”So what kind of bears are you?” asked Goldilocks, now a bit more composed.
…..”Well” began Papa Bear, “To be perfectly honest, we do have some grizzlies in our family.  My great, great aunt and uncle; Sasha and Tatyana BEARkovich lived in the forests of Siberia near Yakutsk.  Now those were two bears with an attitude, why they took on 4 Cossacks at once and tore them apart.  But the Cossacks were the ones looking for trouble mind you!”
…..”Yeah, but they’re probably a pair of rugs now in the Tsar’s palace” responded Baby (but not so baby any more) Bear, a little excited to join the conversation.
…..”Son” growled Papa Bear, “what did I tell you about saying that kind of thing. They aren’t rugs, they just…well… vanished one day.
…..”sorry” sighed baby Bear, a little embarrassed now, especially in front of this unexpected visitor.
…..”Well dear” replied Mama Bear, remembering the question, “What kind of bears are we? Well? We’re…ah…”Brooklyn bears!” Mama bear didn’t quite know what else to say.
…..”Yeah” added baby Bear, “like the Brooklyn Dodgers”
…..Goldilocks just looked at the three bears wide eyed, just looking for a chance to escape.  She still had her back pack on and she slowly got off the bed.  “Weeell” she began, “I’m not really into baseball, I’m a tennis fan…soooo….gotta go now…bye…” and she quickly headed toward the bedroom door.  Papa bear, though, moved quickly in front of her.
…..”Just a minute young lady, you haven’t told us why you’re here” he said, standing in front of the door, blocking Goldilock’s getaway.  Goldilocks stopped, threw the backpack on the bed and sat down again.
…..”First of all, my name is Goldilocks, and well…this is how it went.”  So she told the story of how she left her apartment and headed towards grandma “Zaide” Sarah’s place, fell asleep on the bus, got off at the wrong stop, ran out of bus tokens, head back to grandma’s place, took a short cut through the park and then…ended up at the Bear’s house.  Now, the Bear family’s interest was really sparked,
…..”So you see sir” continued Goldilocks.
…..”I’m Mr. BEARkowitz, and this is my family” interrupted Papa bear.
…..”OK, nice to meet you…as I was saying…I came across your house, the door was open a crack, I came in, I was a bit hungry and I still am, and well…I saw your porridge and well…you know the rest.”  Goldilocks stopped talking and waited for the Bear’s response.
…..”So you say you’re on your way back to your grandma’s place near 9th and 7th Street, right?”
Asked Papa Bear.  “what’s her name if I may ask?”
…..”Sarah” answered Goldilocks, “Zaide” Sarah.
…..”Grandma “Zaide” Sarah is YOUR grandmother?” questioned papa Bear a bit surprised. “Zaide” Sarah Goldstein?”
…..”You know her?” questioned Goldilocks, wondering how in the world he could know her grandma.
…..”Why everyone around here knows Grandma “Zaide” Sarah Goldstein”  replied Mama Bear, “She is so friendly, always comes to the park, feeds the birds, the squirrels, tells the children in the park Bible stories, why, we just saw her today when we were on our way home from shopping.  She was at Temple Beth Shalom.  I believe that Rabbi Stein and his wife invited her to their place to spend Sabbath Eve, such a nice old lady” smiled Mama Bear looking at Goldilocks with all serenity.
…..”You mean to tell me that I came all this way and she isn’t even home!? Answered Goldilocks, quite annoyed now, upon hearing this unexpected news.
…..”Well, you could have called her on the phone” replied Mama Bear quietly.
…..”She never answers the stupid phone” cried Goldilocks,  “and mama baked this Challah especially for her!” she added, taking the paper wrapped loaf of Challah bread out of her backpack, showing it to the bears.
…..”The challah” cried out Mama Bear, slapping herself on the side of her head.  “That’s what we forgot dear husband, the Challah bread at Aaron’s bakery!”
…..Papa bear just stood there, stroking his chin, deep in thought.  “You know” he began, “This is a very interesting situation.  We have a Sabbath Eve chicken dinner in the oven, and Goldilocks here has the Challah.  Young lady, how would you like to be our Sabbath Eve dinner guest this evening?”
…..”Yes” added Mama Bear, “it would be an honor to have you!”
…..Goldilocks didn’t quite know how to respond.  Then she smiled a big smile, and nodded
“Thank you so much, I accept, I’m as hungry as a bear….Oh…sorry, no pun intended, my bad.”
…..”Well” replied Mama Bear,  “It’s settled, let’s go into the dining room and wash up, the Sabbath is almost upon us”.  So the three bears and Goldilocks left baby bear’s bedroom and went into the dining room.
…..”Now, you two go to the sink and wash your hands and don’t forget the hand washing blessing. Papa bear and I will get the dinner on the table, and get the candles and wine out to greet the Sabbath.
…..So baby bear and Goldilocks washed their hands, recited the blessing, and went over to the dining room table.
…..”Goldilocks, you sit over there” said Mama Bear, pointing to one of the chairs, “and Baby bear, you sit next to Goldilocks.”
…..”Come on Mama” cried out baby bear, “Cut it out with the ‘baby bear bit’ I’m already 13 years old, remember my Bar mitzvah last month?”
…..”Well” began Mama Bear, “You know how the story goes, the author named you…”
…..”I know, I know” interrupted baby bear, “but you can change my name…Pleeeeeaase!! He cried.
…..”Go ahead, change the name” responded Papa Bear, as he set the candles in place on the table.
…..”How about, YOUNG BEAR?” asked Mama, looking inquisitively at her son.
…..”Sounds native American” replied her son bluntly.
…..”I like it” replied Goldilocks, smiling from ear to ear.
…..”YES” shouted Young Bear, pumping his fist in the air, “Young Bear, Young Bear, Yes, Yes!”
…..”OK, it’s settled, YOUNG BEAR, you sit with Goldilocks, the Sabbath is almost among us” replied Mama Bear as she put on her white scarf.  Papa Bear put the roast chicken, mashed potatoes and corn in the middle of the table. The table already had a beautiful white linen table cloth, especially for the Sabbath.   He poured some wine in the four wine glasses which was in front of each family member and the surprise visitor.  He then set the Challah bread next to the chicken and sprinkled some salt on it.  Papa put on his Yarmulke and looked at his wife and nodded to her to begin.
…..Mama bear lit the candles and waved her hands, as if drawing in the light of the Sabbath candles, then recited the prayer;
…..”Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech HaOlam……..”  Then Papa Bear took the Challah and cut it, and recited the Sabbath prayer for the bread, then gave a piece of Challah to those at the table.  Then came the blessing over the wine, and the wine was shared as well.
…..After all had partaken of the bread and the wine, Papa Bear said, “Aumein” and the rest responded,  “Aumein”
…..”OK, so let’s eat” replied Mama Bear, as she served the chicken, the mashed potatoes and the corn to everyone at the table.
…..”Gut Shabbos everyone” said Papa Bear, nodding at Goldilocks.
…..”Gut Shabbos” replied Goldilocks, “Gut Shabbos to all of you and thank you.”
…..”You are so welcome young lady” said Mama Bear, very happy to have a Shabbos guest.
…..Goldilocks was really enjoying the BEARkowitz’s Shabbos meal, and then she noticed that “Young Bear” was looking at her, and seemed to have something on his mind.  He finally got enough nerve and lifted up his voice saying;
“…..Uh…uh…Goldilocks?…uh…I wanted to, kinda, like, ask you something?”
…..”Yeah, what?” replied Goldilocks, a bit curious as to the nature of the question.
…..Young bear swallowed a piece of chicken with a bit more wine and then responded;
…..”OK, are you…well…kinda like…uh…going with someone? I mean…do you…like have a boyfriend?”
…..Goldilocks just smiled and rolled her eyes; “Oi” she said, “what next?”

Now it came to pass that an old rabbi with a long white beard, a bekishe, and a black hat just happened to come across this story written on several sheets of lined notebook paper.  He just happened to be walking in Prospect park in early Spring.  He sat down on one of the park benches to meditate on the creation of HaShem.  He looked and saw the 5 pieces of notebook paper stapled together and folded.  They were right at the end of the bench weighted down by a small rock.
He read through the story, smiled and said within himself; ‘Yes, this would be perfect for next Sabbath’s message.’  So, the rabbi went home and made some notes with the help of the rebbetzin.
Upon the arrival of the next Sabbath, the rabbi went up to the Bema and began his discourse.
“God has given us all the spirit of curiosity, began the rebbe, We are curious about new things, new situations, our nature is to be inquisitive, so we venture off-course a bit to explore new terrains.  What lies behind closed doors you might ask? Sometimes, the doors are open just a bit to invite you to ‘push it open and take a look inside.’
Life is full of new experiences and opportunities that we might wish to tackle.  Some of them might be just “too hot” to handle.  We might not be prepared just yet.  Other tasks may be, in our opinion, “too cold” “too bland” or just “too boring” for us to handle, or accept.  However, if there is a job that needs to be done, a “mitzvah” needing to be performed, a person in need of your help, no matter how “bland” or “how boring” it may seem to you, God has put you there for a reason.  Never think that a “mitzvah” is beneath your dignity, God will bless and reward many “humble floor sweepers.”
Then there are the situations and “mitzvoth” that seem “just right” right up your alley you may think.  “This is just what I was hoping for.”  Or “expecting” or “waiting for.”  Then there is “sit down” time, “down time” a time for a rest, a personal “shabos” time.  You may rest in an easy chair, or take a long snooze in a “b.b.b.” (baby-bear bed).
Many will take their long-awaited summer vacation, some will just be satisfied with a weekend Sabbath rest.  Some will take a yearlong “sabbatical” that is if it can be afforded.  God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh.  He worked and then rested.  We should take his example.  There is a time for work, to do mitzvoth (good deeds), and a time for rest.  There is a time and a season for everything and everything has its time and its season.
There is a time and a season to repent of wrong doing, a time for teshuvah, to get right with God, that time is now.  There is a time, a place, a season just right for you.  Take advantage of it, because there is no promise of tomorrow.  As the Prophet Isaiah said; “Seek the L-RD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near!” (55:6)

By Rabbi Jacob Ben Avraham,  re-printed by permission.

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