Being made small
PARASHAT VAYISHLACH (AND HE SENT)
BERESHEET (GENESIS) 32: 3 (4 IN THE HEBREW BIBLE)–36:43
We have some very special verses in this week’s Scripture portion (parasha) that I will translate directly from the Hebrew:
And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who didst say to me, ‘Return to your country and to your birthplace, and I will do well (Good) with you,’ I have become small from of all the acts of grace and of all the truth which Thou hast shown (did) to Thy servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me, the mothers with the children. For Thou didst say, ‘I will surely make it well for you, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’”
In Genesis 31:3, God tells Jacob to, “Return to the Land of your fathers, and your birthplace and I will be with you…” This is an instruction that may seem an easy one, but let us recall that, for Jacob, it meant that he would have to face Esau his brother, from whom he stole the birthright and blessing! This is also the same brother who vowed to kill him because of his anger over Jacob’s deception. Jacob—for very obvious reasons—feared his brother, yet because he had witnessed God’s faithfulness and His amazing acts of grace toward him, he chose to trust God and put his faith into action!
For me, personally, there is a specific part of Jacob’s prayer that holds great significance: “I have become small from of all the acts of grace and of all the truth which Thou hast shown (did) to Thy servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies.” I can really relate to this because when I left Israel after my army service, I took only a small backpack, with a couple pairs of pants, a few shirts, and one pair of sneakers. I arrived to the USA without much, and not knowing God at all!
It was during my time in the USA that, first and foremost, God opened my eyes to His existence, and showed me an immense amount of grace and truth through Messiah Yeshua. Ever since, He blessed me with an amazing wife, incredible children, and so much more than I deserve… I can honestly say that I have become smaller from the overwhelming acts of grace and truth that He has shown me!
God also called me to come back home, back to the land of my fathers, back to the land in which I was born, and I must say that just like Jacob, I had to put my full trust in Him and His promises. It was scary at the beginning, but His faithfulness has been increasingly demonstrated to my family and me over these past 11 years since we returned.
Can I encourage you to trust Him? Whatever He is calling you to, will you stop for a minute and reflect upon His amazing acts of grace toward you, His amazing love, faithfulness and the truth of His Word? Will you make a choice to trust Him in spite of the fears that you may face? He is worthy of all your trust… and praise.
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.
Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.
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Airbnb caves to BDS, removes West Bank settlement listings
Some 200 hosts are affected. Israel, in response, said it would try to restrict Airbnb in the country and also encouraged affected hosts to file lawsuits under Israel’s anti-boycott law.
Airbnb noted the policy change on its website.
“As a global platform operating in 191 countries and regions and more than 81,000 cities, we must consider the impact we have and act responsibly,” Airbnb said. The company cited “conflicting views” about doing business with companies “in the occupied territories.”
Israeli’s Tourism Minister Yariv Levin demanded that the management of the Airbnb accommodations reverse its decision.
“This is a disgraceful and miserable decision and a disgraceful surrender by the company,” he said.
Former Ambassador to the United States and present Israeli cabinet member, MK Michael Oren tweeted: “Airbnb blacklists Jewish apartments in Judea and Samaria – not Palestinian apartments, not apartments in Turkish occupied Cyprus, in Moroccan occupied Sahara, not in Tibet or the Crimea. Airbnb’s policy is the very definition of anti-Semitism,”adding that, “No one should use their services.”
Homeland Security Minister Gilad Erdan went as far as to urge Judea and Samaria home owners to sue the American company for discrimination.
“Airbnb executives will have to explain why they chose to take a racist stance against part of Israel’s citizens,” said Erdan, adding that he plans to urge American lawmakers to make sure Airbnb’s new policy is not breaking American state laws against boycotts.
It appears however that only Jewish properties are banned: Airbnb continues to list properties in other occupied and disputed territories, according to International Law Professor Eugene Kontorovich, including Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara and Turkish-occupied Cyprus among others.
Post on Facebook and Twitter with #BoycottAIRBNB, saying you will no longer use AIRBNB until they reverse this policy. Now others, like Booking.com, are being pressured by loud, even if small, leftwing groups to discriminate against Israel.
Ron and wife Elana make their home in Tel Aviv. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua—the Glory of Yeshua—a Tel Aviv-based, Hebrew-speaking Messianic congregation. Ron is a published author with Destiny Image Publishers, having written books like “Identity Theft”, “Leave Me Alone, I’m Jewish” and “The Jerusalem Secret”. Ron is a sought-out conference speaker and shares passionately about the Jewish Roots of the New Testament and God’s broken heart for His ancient people Israel.
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Who is the underdog?
In the wake of the Nazi Holocaust, most of the world saw the Jews as underdogs. This was enough to allow the State of Israel to be established in 1948 with United Nations approval. However, since that time Israel has become stronger and more prosperous. Starting in the 1980s, many began to see the Palestinians as the real underdogs.
However, this point of view displays ignorance regarding the context of this conflict.
The heart of this conflict lies with Islam.
Muhammad proclaimed that the Jews had once been God’s Chosen People, but were replaced by the Christians. Then, according to Muhammad, the Christians were in turn replaced by the Muslims, who became God’s Chosen People. I call this Islamic supersessionist displacement, “Replacement Theology on steroids.”
For many centuries the history of sovereignty and control of the Holy Land seemed to confirm this Muslim theology. For much of the 1,400 years leading up to the time of Messiah, it was mainly inhabited and controlled by the Jews. Later came the Christian Byzantine Empire. Then, in 638 A.D., the Muslims took over and controlled this territory until 1917. The most concrete and visible promise to the Chosen People was the Promised Land, and the history of this Land seemed to prove Muhammad’s theology to be correct—it was controlled first by the Jews, then by the Christians, then by the Muslims.
However, starting in the late 1800s, the situation began to change. The Jewish people began to return. In 1917 the Christian British Empire took over from the Muslim Turks. Then in 1948 the Jewish State was established and subsequently survived several wars with multiple Muslim armies against all the odds.
So now, the reverse of Muhammad’s displacement theology has happened. Sovereignty of the Promised Land went from being Muslim to being (British) Christian to being Jewish in a period of several decades. It began to look as though God had miraculously restored this Land to Jewish sovereignty. It began to look as though the Jews had not been replaced by Christians or Muslims after all.
If so, then Muhammad was WRONG about this important Islamic theological doctrine that the Muslims are now God’s Chosen People. If the “Prophet” Muhammad was wrong about this important doctrine, that would seem to make him a false prophet of a false religion!
Could that be why—among the 50 Muslim-majority nations in the world—only three of them (Egypt, Jordan and Turkey) actually recognize Israel’s right to exist? The total population of the other 47 nations exceeds one billion people! Israel has 8 million.
So who is the underdog?
In 2005 Israel uprooted all the Jewish inhabitants from Gaza, giving the Palestinians there the opportunity to actually build a Palestinian State. Instead Hamas has focused their resources on their stated goal of destroying Israel, not on building a viable state and benefiting and developing their own people. They are totally dependent on foreign ‘aid’ from the UN and Muslim countries such as Iran.
The true conflict is not essentially between Israel and the Palestinians. It is with Islam. The Palestinians have been victimized by being deliberately kept as refugees by Muslim leaders, to be used as a tool and a weapon against Israel, because the very existence of Israel proves Islam to be a false religion.
Where—According to Scripture—is All This heading?
“…in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:3 NKJV).
This is happening all over Europe and also in North America. Those who once stood with Israel are now turning against her.
What is the LORD’s answer to this?
“In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem…” (Zechariah 12:8).
And then, the greatest news of all:
“…in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives” (Zechariah 14:4a).
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication;then they will look on Me whom they pierced“ (Zechariah 12:10).
This article originally appeared in Oasis newsletter, November 2018, and reposted with permission.
Eric and his wife, Terri, are congregational leaders at Kehilat Poriya, in Poriya Illit, near Tiberias.
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Messianic Jews in Modern Israel
Thirteen years ago, loaded with two suitcases and a backpack, I boarded a plane and trekked from my birthplace in the United States to the homeland of my people, Israel. Within the next year, I was married and had officially immigrated to the Land. Since then, I’ve gained an entire apartment full of treasured belongings and a home filled with the playful laughter of my Israeli children.
Being a native English speaker with a thick American accent has its downfalls in Israel – taxi drivers always want to charge you extra money, for example. But it also has its perks. I write and edit newsletters of organizations that are doing spectacular work to serve their local communities, so I’ve often had the pleasure of communicating with the outside world about all the amazing happenings in and around the country.
What does it mean to be a Messianic Jew, especially in Israel?
Answering that question is a near impossibility – almost as hard as if one were to ask, “What or who is a Jew?” While Jewish believers in Jesus in Israel agree on the central tenets of our faith, we are extremely diverse in our family backgrounds, native tongues, theological interpretation of Scriptures, and how we live them out.
The modern State of Israel is relatively young and mostly populated by first, second, and third generation immigrant families – each from another country, speaking different languages, and holding a different set of traditions. While Hebrew is Israel’s national language, nearly 25 percent of the population speak Russian and 20 percent Arabic. Messianic congregational services are held in Hebrew, Russian, English, Amharic, French, Spanish, etc.
How many Messianic Jews live in Israel?
Trying to pinpoint an exact number of Jewish believers in Yeshua poses even more of a challenge. The last professional study was conducted in 1999 by Kai Kjaer-Hansen and Bodil F. Skjott. They found that there were nearly 5,000 believers (both Jewish and non-Jewish) attending Messianic congregations in the Land. While that number has certainly grown in the last two decades, it would be hard to describe that growth as a revival of massive proportions. In the “International Religious Freedom Report for 2017: Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank, and Gaza,” it says, “There is also a community of approximately 20,000 Messianic Jews, as reported by the Messianic Jewish community.” These estimated numbers are largely due to the fact that Messianic congregations are often attended by both Jewish and Gentile believers. In fear of retribution from anti-missionaries, congregations don’t post an exact number of members.
While most Israelis might now be able to tell you that they’ve met a Messianic Jew, most children from Messianic homes are still probably the only one in his or her school. These statistics show that Messianic Jews still make up only a fraction of a percent of the population, but it is apparent that Messianic Judaism has made huge gains in the awareness of the Israeli public.
How do Messianic Jews live?
The way Messianic Jews in Israel live out their Judaism is also quite varied. Most Messianic Jewish Israelis could not be called Torah observant, but a small number are, and they adhere to the rabbinical interpretation of Scripture. It would be difficult for many of us to distinguish the difference between these believers and the people in the Orthodox Jewish community. Their style of dress and their outward worship is compatible with that of the orthodoxy. Some will even attend a synagogue rather than a Messianic congregation.
On the flip side, some Messianic Jewish Israelis have completely distanced themselves from the Jewish religion. It would be hard to tell the difference between their weekly Shabbat services and that of a Christian church in any other part of the western world – except perhaps for the fact that the service is in Hebrew. However, the large majority of congregations and believers in the Land fall somewhere in the middle – celebrating the Jewish holidays in a way that recognizes Yeshua, using some traditional Jewish liturgy in worship services, and perhaps even keeping kosher. In spite of their differences, all Messianic Jews in Israel consider Yeshua the Messiah and are trying to express this unique belief in their everyday lives.
What is the status of Messianic Jews in Israel?
The status of Messianic Judaism in Israel is still under debate. Instead of being labeled Jewish or Christian, we have often been branded as a cult. As a result of this social stigmatism, often we are not considered worthy of being hired for a position or trustworthy enough to rent property. Many Messianic Jews are still not granted the right to make aliyah (immigrate) to Israel under the Right of Return, as the court generally sees Jewish believers as having converted to Christianity. Some small number of Messianic Jews still do immigrate every year but must jump through hoops to hide any evidence that they might be believers. This is especially true if they have ever openly shared their faith, as “missionary” is still considered a curse word in the Hebrew language. Despite all of these setbacks, Messianic Jews are free to practice their faith in Israel, and are starting to get a better reputation due to popular online videos in Hebrew and social projects that serve the community.
What do Israeli Messianic Jews have in common?
What can be said of Messianic Jews in Israel? We are a small, but growing and diverse community of believers in Yeshua (Jesus), outcast for, but living out our faith in a world that fails to see us as either Jewish or Christian. All of us share the same goal: to love, serve, and work to bring the good news of salvation through Yeshua to our people Israel.
This article originally appeared on Jews for Jesus and reposted with permission.
Shimon is on staff at the Tel Aviv branch of Jews for Jesus.
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So what did Solomon really ask for?
Wisdom, right? That’s what we all learned as children and, in addition when G-d responded to his request in 1 Kings 3:12, He said, “Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart.”
הנה, נתתי לך לב חכם ונבון.
But what did Solomon really ask for? The original Hebrew in 1 Kings 3:9 says:
ונתת לעבדך לב שמע, לשפט את-עמך, להבין בין טוב לרע.
“So give Your servant an understanding or a listening heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil.”
So the Hebrew says that Solomon’s request, when he could have asked for worldly treasures was a listening heart!
I grew up in a Jewish home where everyone was speaking at the same time and no one was listening because we were too busy thinking about what we’d say next. (This drives my husband crazy and it could explain why we have so many Jewish lawyers.)
Yet the watchword of the Jewish faith is the Sh’ma from Deuteronomy 6:4:
“Hear O Israel, the L-rd our G-d, the L-rd is one.”
שמע ישראל, יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד.
There’s that word again – Sh’ma. The first letter of this proclamation is found on the outside of most mezuzah boxes and the mezuzah scroll within begins with – Sh’ma! Perhaps this is why G-d created us with one mouth and two ears, so we’d spend more time listening and less time speaking.
We’ve been learning more about listening during our prayer time from a ministry called LK10.com. So now often when praying with my husband and our children who are followers of Yeshua, we present our requests to G-d but then we take time to Sh’ma – to listen and then we journal what we hear. We do this because we believe that G-d is still speaking today and it’s vital to hear what He has to say about situations in our lives.
A listening heart is considered a wise and discerning heart in the eyes of the L-rd, so let’s talk less and listen more to what G-d is saying and also to what our loved ones are saying.
Carolyn Margolin-Hyde was raised in an Orthodox Jewish synagogue near Chicago. She graduated from University of Illinois and as an RN she practiced nursing for many years. After making Aliyah Carolyn served as worship leader at K’tsir Asher, The Harvest of Asher Congregation, in Akko, and then led worship at Kehilat Poriya, a congregation near Tiberius. She has written and recorded many worship songs in English and Hebrew and her worship CD’s include “Just Like Joseph” and “The Latter Rain”- contemporary worship CDs; “Deep Calls to Deep” – a soaking CD; and “Fine Linen” – worship with a touch of the blues.