Monthly Archives: February 2020

In Flight for Life!

In Flight for Life!

This story is very personal. It is more than a story. It’s a place in time when a person’s direction in life is changed forever. It’s a journey that throws one directly into the wilderness and the landing isn’t soft. It’s a life that’s hard, dry, lonely, tragic, heart-wrenching, broken, and shattered. The journey is difficult when we feel alone. It’s a place where very few people are willing to walk along your side—yes; we have been forgotten by many. The amazing love Hashem has for us can be found in the treasured people He places in our path Hashem assigns to help on our journey. During our trials, we may witness amazing miracles with a new joy found. We are not asked to understand, we’re called to trust in Hashem and to have Emet (faith). Hashem will never abandon nor forsake us.

“Be strong and resolute, be not in fear or in dread of them; for the LORD your G-d Himself marches with you: He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy/ Devarim 31:6)[1]

Abraham was the first Jew who had a Jewish mindset. He accepted whatever trials were sent by G-d in faith and responded with obedience, without questioning. Western (Greek) thought is worldwide. Greek mindset in America demands to know the reasons why…why…why… and what’s in it for me? Greek philosophy crept in after Aristotle and Augustine developed a foundation in Greek philosophy into Western thought. Hellenistic philosophy developed after Aristotle attempted to merge Plato with mixed Biblical concepts. While Greek thought teaches the student to be concerned for himself, look out for number one, it redefines “knowledge” with teachings that draws man away from G-d. Jewish thought draws man to G-d, away from self-indulgence and Replacement Theology teachings. Having a Jewish mindset understands the Heavens declare the Glory of G-d and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. (Psalms 19:1)

It’s important to train up our children in Judaism, and to love learning with a desire to seek what is righteous in the eyes of G-d. Having a Jewish mindset is “G-d centered,” understanding Hashem has the final Authority in all things. We should strive to learn with a Jewish mindset; understanding the chiasms in the Tanakh and Jewish writings. It’s important to keep the Tanakh in context by understanding what first mention is (a word may be written in the later books that was mentioned prior). It’s foundational to look back in earlier writings to receive “understanding.” Have Americans lost the real value of trusting Hashem when challenges come? Who or what do we turn to when our world becomes turned upside-down? Will we praise G-d in all things that are in our favor or not? How do we respond when our life is instantly pulled from under us? Will we allow ourselves to see His Light in all things?

Let’s begin the Journey:

Twins! We were having twins. My father was a twin and my husband’s father was a twin. What other news could be more exciting? This is usually the time a mom begins to think of look-alike clothing, two cribs, two highchairs, two of everything. The parents gleefully start making preparations for more children on board.

In the twenty-fourth week gestation everything changed!  The doctor wasn’t alarmed when I placed a call reporting that I was losing amniotic fluid. He said a small amount can be normal, especially with twins that generally seals up. The next morning I was passing blood. My husband and I headed to the Emergency Room. I prayed during the way there. Baruch Hashem, G-d had a different doctor in mind that just happened to be on call at the hospital on our arrival. Dr. Bexar* [2]is one of the best OBGYN doctors in my state. His love and compassion, as well as expertise were incredible. After the ultrasound verified the twins were coming, they began treatments to stop the bleeding and contractions. The pressure was unbelievably painful. The injections didn’t work; the twins were on their way. There is an enormous risk being born naturally premature. They could die being too fragile and tiny to survive the pressure of the birth canal. The ultrasound revealed the feet of one of the twins had already entered the birth canal, and one of the twins had hydrocephalus.

Fifteen minutes were given to make a decision! If they were born naturally, both would die. By caesarean-section, they would have a life-given chance! We chose life to give them every opportunity to live. On the table in the surgery room, going under anesthesia, the doctor and I counted backwards together as he held up his fingers. Ten…nine…eight…sevvv… (I’m asleep). Our beautiful twins were born; hearts beating with faint cries. Into the hands of exceptional doctors hand-picked from the Hand of G-d, Dr. Goldstein *[3], a pediatrician, who was on the delivery twin- team would become a big part of our son’s life in years to come.

Dr. Bexar reported that a separate mass was found and believed to have been a triplet that at some point stopped growing. In the first trimester, I had some unusual cramping that stopped after a day or two. Perhaps the triplet died and my body picked up messages that a life was over, but with twins, the chemistry became strong enough to send a message there’s still Life with my pregnancy. If so, we will see her/him in our next life to embrace, along with loving on Travis.

“It was You who created my conscience; You fashioned me in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am awesomely, wondrously made; Your work is wonderful; I know it very well. My frame was not concealed from You when I was shaped in a hidden place, knit together in the recesses of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed limbs; they were all recorded in Your book; in due time they were formed, to the very last one of them.” (Psalms/ Tehillim 139: 13-16)[4]

Hidden and concealed – protection, covering, hedged in:

  • Soul- Nefesh

Awakened to echoing voices in the background in the Recovery room, I discovered our hearing (Shema) senses return before vision.

  • The Father called us (my husband and I) on this journey. We answered Hashem’s call as “doers.”
  • Shema (hearing) – “Na’aseh v’nishma”—we will do and we will hear. (Exodus 19:8) The giving of the Torah. Our Wilderness begins!

The Storm

The storm came in two waves; physically and spiritually. Because the hospital wasn’t equipped for extreme premature babies weighing in the one-pound range, Life-Flight was called. Our babies were to be flown to a children’s hospital, out of state.

While waiting for Life-Flight, I was wheeled into the NICU on a gurney; giving the names of the twins with the correct spelling. They were too little to be held; thankfully, we were able to hold their tiny hands. Their tiny and delicate hands were the size of a man’s thumb—delicate, fragile, and precious!

The flight was almost canceled due to the horrific storms. With Hashem’s help, the pilots flew in-between storms, keeping perfect timing. There was one massive storm cloud in front, one behind. Life-flight flew in between the storms for its safe and precise arrival and departure.

Our beautiful twins were brought to my room; incubated in isoletts, ventilated, and on monitors. We were given treasured time before they left; not knowing if we’d see them alive again. My parents, sister, and her husband, headed to the children’s hospital during horrible road blizzard conditions with whiteouts. It was better for loved ones to be with our twins. Time was an essence. Life is precious!

The first night unable to hold my beautiful twins, undetermined how long they would live, or if I would see them alive was almost too much to bear. My sister-in-law drove through a mountainous storm to be by my side. After she left, a nurse sat by my side through the long hard nights when suddenly “the call” was transferred into my room during the second night. Travis was placed on complete life-support. His heart had stopped twice. They used the crash-cart to sustain him. My heart was breaking (I am in tears again, twenty-six years later). The medical team would do their best to keep them alive until my husband and I could arrive. Shawn, the smallest at one pound, four ounces, wasn’t out of the woods either. They both were fighting for their lives.

At last, I was allowed to leave—a day early. Considering my mother was the Head Director of the Women’s Center in the hospital, there wasn’t any reason to delay my discharge.

The Community Meeting

Upon arrival at the children’s hospital, we were allowed to see our babies before we were led into a private room for their “community meeting.” Community meetings gather the medical team with the parents to discuss the patient’s condition (weaknesses and strengths) to make a game plan; not limited to considerations with different probabilities and scenarios. It didn’t take long to figure out the complexity ideals held by some professionals assigned to the team. In other words, not all on board were believers in the miracles of G-d. Throughout the years ahead, we would meet doctors who didn’t believe; Hashem’s Light was going to shine through our twins—spiritually and physically!

Through prayers and all considerations given, we knew the direction Hashem was taking us before entering the room with the medical team. After listening, additional time given for prayers with family after being consulted, we knew the decision. Travis’ brain had completely bled to a grade four, meaning his life could not be sustainable without life support. Our hearts broke knowing Travis would die through painful suffering. He was in a cubical room full of equipment—full capacity. Shawn’s brain bleed was a grade two, and if shunted, he could have a chance to live—though we were given two years. Travis would come off life-support, return to the Father, and Shawn would remain in this world—in flight for life!

Travis was removed from all equipment, other than the heart monitor. In a swaddling blanket, Travis was gently handed to me. They said he would pass away in just a few minutes. After a few minutes he was still with us. We gently took turns holding Travis. He was bruised from being so little during the delivery process. His beautiful face resembled much fear and pain. My family who gathered around my husband, Travis, and me were my parents, sister, and her husband.

Hashem had given me the time needed to say “goodbye.” In earth time, we were given forty-five minutes. But eternally, it was outside of time. In other words, time outside of space and time doesn’t exist the same way our clocks do. The moment Travis was placed in my arms time stopped. It was as if our Creator moved us out of the earthly realm (of time) and into an area outside of time.

The forty-five minutes was eternal, no time, as if we were holding on to Travis forever. Cradling him in my arms, my tears were bittersweet. It was heavenly to hold him; yet, I knew he had to go on without me. I had to accept he couldn’t be with us at this time. It was heart-wrenching to let go knowing the separation would be long-suffering on this side of life. However, he would rejoice in his spirit (Ruach) returning to Hashem. The feeling of eternal time sent us back to real time. I knew it was time to let go and say “goodbye” for now. Holding him alive in my arms would soon end.

Through tearful eyes and a weakened voice, I told Travis it was OK for him to go by knowing G-d would take care of him. An amazing miracle happened—gifted just for me to see. There was a miraculous glowing LIGHT that radiated around Travis’ head, like an aura. His face was no longer in fear or in pain. His countenance lifted. His face began to radiate with Hashem’s healing light of glory, surrounding his head. Travis was received by Hashem as his beautiful spirit returned. Travis took his last breath on earth and “crossed over” into Paradise to be with G-d, our Creator.

It’s substantial to understand what Hashem can reveal intimately on a deeper level during our lifespan when we choose to follow Him. Every person conceived has the Spirit of G-d given with a story to tell. The Father, our Creator, is miraculous and every conceived human life will have his/her given Torah Parasha. Torah Portions are true stories of the Tanakh that our ancestors endured—to be remembered. Every week throughout the year “Parasha’s” are studied and read that have the Divine Presence (Hashem) with in-depth messages that are meaningful to man.

Let’s look at the connections:

“Travis”: English and French that means “To Cross” and “At the Crossroads;” given to toll collectors who stood by a bridge or crossing.”

“Shawn”: Hebrew name meaning: G-d is gracious.

Travis was born at the crossroads of life by way of the bridge to cross over the rivers into Paradise. Shawn reminds us that G-d is gracious and Hashem graciously placed Shawn in our care; illuminating the Light of Hashem for those who are willing to “see” and “hear” the miracles and see the loving-kindness (Chesed) of Hashem. Shawn, like his sisters, both have a “shen” (Sh) in their names that means “tooth” – crushing the enemy to bring Shalom. A tooth also sharpens, and it’s on the Mezuzah. Our daughter’s name means “Virtuous” and “Shining Israelite”, “Shiny Jew”, and “nes” means miracle. A miracle from Hashem brings forth His Light– Torah!  Hashem is our Redeemer who crushes the enemy for His victory! Powerful!

Crosswinds, separation of “Twins”

Our hearts were torn. One baby has passed, and our other baby was in for the fight of his life. With alarms sounding off, the parting of Travis, Shawn could sense a part of him was gone (strong Levite souls). To our amazement, all of the nurses in the room gathered together in a line (like angels); dividing the link between our twins—blocking communication waves. We were informed when a twin sense their twin died, they stop thriving with a higher possibility to leave as well. With Hashem’s help, Shawn gained the strength needed to continue his journey. Hashem’s Light was shining Hashem’s Glory for all to see.

Crossing over: 

Abraham crossed over Mesopotamia to Canaan. He was the first person to be called a “Jew.” Through faith and obedience, Abraham answered Hashem’s call; “crossing over ” from a life of idol worship of g-ds to a new life that would bring honor and glory to the Most High G-d.

When one crosses over a river, they leave their old life behind while passing through to a new life. This reflects a connection to conception and the seed making its way through the waters; leaving behind its old life to seek a new life [through the water]. Israel waits for the crossing over of the man’s old life, marking its target (Torah) on their new home. Moses and the Israelites crossed the Reed Sea. Joshua and the Israelites crossed the River Jordan into the Promised Land. Travis was in the waters of my womb. His feet came through the birth canal, like our ancestors’ feet that were set upon the Reed Sea. Travis was called back home to our Father and Creator; passing through the waters that cross over into Paradise. His souls were too perfect for this world.

G-d is Merciful/Gracious 

Shawn surprised the medical team on several occasions; surviving surgical procedures early on. He went through times of seizures, long term illnesses, and multiple shunt revisions that sent us back to the children’s hospital on Life-Flight numerous times. Through “trial and error” with shunt revisions for hydrocephalus [Shawn was the smallest infant to have attempted and succeeded at the time]; his procedures were written into medical journals. Today, through the pathway of Shawn, smaller infants have successful shunt surgeries, less time in NICU.

There were times of uncertainty during long and stressful recovery periods for shunt revisions, but with the grace and mercy of Hashem, Shawn miraculously came through. My husband and I spent countless hours traveling out of state to the children’s hospital. I stayed with Shawn while my husband went back home to work, meeting up with us on weekends. Once during Shawn’s later part of his first year, he was flown to NICU back home; anticipating his stay to be low key. While there, he joyfully received frequent visits from his Grandma, who just happened to be the Head Director of the Women’s Center. Shawn loved to hear Grandma’s voice. They were very blessed to have been given that precious time together. Over time, his shunts failed. It was discovered cabin pressure from commercial airlines caused shunt failure. He was Life flown back to the children’s hospital (out of state). Throughout his life, there have been many shunt failures and emergency Life- Flights. I was blessed to have had my Mom accompany me on one of those flights. I usually went alone while my husband and our daughter drove to meet us.

There was one particular time we (my husband, daughter and I) were planning to join my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and their daughter for vacation. My sister and her family live over one thousand miles away. Shawn’s shunts failed suddenly, rerouting our rendezvous, having side-by-side motel rooms near the children’s hospital. My Dad sat up his keyboard in the hotel room. We shared our time visiting Shawn, and found joy with my Dad’s music played and songs sung.

Throughout his amazing life, Shawn has given hope to many; glowing with the Light of Hashem that continues to shine within. His youngest sister loves and adores Shawn. She has always been by his side, helping and catering to his needs in his “quiet world.”  They truly are a gift to one another, a blessing.

More connections:

The twins were born in the month of June, rather, Sivan. Sivan, on the Jewish calendar, means the month of “Twins.” Ironically, my father was a twin, as well as my husband’s father. All three of these twin sets were blessed to be born in the Jewish month of Sivan—the month of Twins! How amazing and wondrous is Hashem?!

Torah Parasha: Shlach L’chah (Numbers/ Bamidbar 13-15)—The Twelves spies, two had a Good Report. Two is a separation of upper (Heavenly) and lower (earthly) waters—Creation Day Two.

Travis crossed over, left earth (passed over) through the waters with a clean record (Good Report). Shawn (G-d is Merciful/Gracious) continues to teach us HOPE, and to see the mercy of Hashem so that we can learn how to have a Good Report [in our lives] for the Father; walking in the Wilderness as Hashem’s Chosen Ones for His Glory. Will we hear (Shema) and obey our Father? Will we walk in the path Hashem gives for our good?

Let’s dig a little deeper:

The Jewish month Sivan was the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai through Moses. Moses was the third born son (Amram and Yocheved, his parents). Sivan is the third month. Day Three of creation is a gathering of land having trees and plants with fruit-bearing seeds (life). Trees (Etz in Hebrew) have growth rings which look very similar to the fingerprints of humans. Hashem’s “fingerprints” are a gift for us to see His Creation and believe in our Creator. Torah brings unity between man and Hashem.

Genesis 2:22 teaches, And the LORD G-d fashioned the rib that He had taken from the man into a woman; and He brought her to the man.” Adam and Chavah (Eve) were made to be equal. Chavah was not designed from Adam’s heel to under her mate’s heel, but from his side (rib). When we look closer at this we realize G-d, Adam, and Chavah (Eve) were three; yet, man and woman are designed to be ‘One Flesh.” When we include G-d in our marriage, the three becomes ONE accord: Hashem—Man (father)—Female (mother).

There are three elements of man/woman:

  • Nefesh (soul/flesh that is shared with animals, creation day six).
  • Ruach (Spirit, the breath Hashem that places us above animals).
  • Neshamah (the soul part of G-d–His Sparks).

More Threes

The Talmud:

“Blessed is the Merciful One, who gave a three-part Torah, to a three-part nation, through a third, in the third month.” [5]

Rashi directs us to observe in the Torah having three parts:

  • Chumash
  • Prophets
  • Writings

Three Groups of the Israel Nation:

  • Kohanim
  • Levites
  • Israelites

The Three Pilgrimages:

  • Pesach (Light separated the darkness- brought out of the bondage of Egypt)
  • Shavuot (Torah given)
  • Sukkot (Completion with Sabbath Rest)

We serve the G-d of:

  • Abraham
  • Isaac
  • Jacob (Israel) – Israel, third, eternal connection.

Bringing it together:

The upper and lower water was Day Two of Creation. The upper and lower waters were a separation. Two is a division, and three is unity. When G-d walked in the Garden with Adam and Chavah, the three were united. When Adam and Chavah sinned they were separated from G-d.  There was no longer unity; tragically, only two opposing sides. But with G-d involved the opposing sides found unity.

A triangle has three sides; yet, it remains ONE shape. The two opposing sides cannot continue to be separated with the third involved (Eternal connection). Zvi Ryzman teaches us that having the third side added to the opposing sides diametrically brings unity. Three can no longer have a representation of two (separation by opposing sides). “But if one takes two opposites—Black and white—and adds a third color, red, the third color will fall somewhere between the two opposites and connect them.”[6]

  • Red—symbolic to the soil (earth) Esau (Edom, red and hairy).
  • White—white light shun in a prism will light up all seven rainbow colors, Eternal, Pure.
  • Black—onyx stone is one of the twelves stones upon the Breastplate. It can be layered black, white and red. Faith and Truth.

Creation Day Two is a separation of the upper and lower waters; however, there is a connection of unity that is eternal with Hashem. Man alone will always oppose one another. Keeping Torah is a Lamp (Light) before our feet. When we walk in His Light (Torah), we guard the Torah and keep connected to Hashem in covenant.

The Levites banner of color is 1/3 Black, 1/3 White, 1/3 Red – A huge connection! They (Levite Priests) were called by Hashem to bring man into unity with G-d through the Torah. The Levites were given the Priesthood (Kohen Gadol) because it was the tribe of Levi who refused to partake in the worship of the Golden Calf. Jewish tradition teaches that none of the women participated in the worship of the Golden Calf either.

“Moses stood up in the gate of the camp and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come here!” And all the Levites rallied to him.” (Exodus/ Shemot 32:26)[7]

The Levites stepped forward. The Levites did not fall into spiritual adultery or idolatry. They took hold of Hashem. G-d called upon the Jews to bring the Torah to the Nations. They guarded (upheld) the Torah—the Light (Ohr) and Truth (Emet) that gathers man spirituality; exposing darkness that separates man from Hashem.

Hashem commanded the Mishkan (Tabernacle) to be built by the Children of Israel by using “Kerashim” (planks) from acacia trees. Acacia trees do not bend. Jacob (Yaakov) planted them in Egypt, and upon the Israelites leaving in the Exodus, they cut the trees down and took the wood into the Wilderness. The Mishkan was the resting place for the Shechinah—Divine Presence. Hashem desires to dwell with us. The Divine Presence, Torah, and Israel are three bonded together as ONE– Echad. They will NEVER be separated. We, too, are to be that “Mishkan” for the Divine Presence to dwell in us so that our mini menorahs can be lit to shine Hashem’s Light for others to see.

Looking back, we can see that the Levites are in the second line-up of the three. It’s remarkable the amazing intimate treasures Hashem revealed during this chapter! In the division, the upper and lower waters, Travis passed over (the waters) into Paradise, and Shawn (Hebrew name) fills in the gap; shining Torah (G-d is merciful and gracious) for those who will hear (Shema) and see.

“Also, if one attacks, two can stand up to him. A threefold cord is not readily broken!” (Ecclesiastes/ Kohelet 4:12)[8]

 

Shalom!

 

[1] Deuteronomy/ Devarim 31:6, Sefaria

[2] Name changed for privacy.

[3] Name changed for privacy.

[4] Psalms/ Tehillim 139: 13-16, Sefaria

[5] Shabbos 88a

[6] The Wisdom in the Hebrew Months, Zvi Ryzman p. 309 (Rabbinic teachings)

[7] Exodus/ Shemot 32:26, Sefaria

[8] Ecclesiastes/ Kohelet 4:12, Sefaria

Categories: Musings & Blessings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reflection or Deception?

Reflection or Deception? 

 

The worldly path manifested outside of G-d’s Instructions creates distortions that could lead people stumbling into darkness. The Creator looked into the Torah and created the world; man looks in the Torah and sustains the world.  We are called to be Hashem’s Light to the world to take the Torah to the Nations. There are many obstacles and attractions that become distractions from G-d’s Divine word. Social media, certain music, movies and sitcoms can feed man’s desires (Nefesh/ flesh) that take precedence from living in Torah when we lose focus, lacking wisdom and discernment. These desires can sometimes mirror images of the beast. When we are not careful to exercise wisdom, a snare will entangle us without being detected. We are to be diligent, and a reflection of Hashem’s Goodness—shining Hashem’s light.

It’s important to be under our Father’s covering and to be obedient to Torah. When we choose differently, false securities (idols) are created that are not beneficial to our well-being, physically or spiritually. Unfortunately, people can fog their thoughts in daily living with self-seeking cravings. There are two directions to go: the lighted holy path of the Torah that leads to life that’s eternal, or self-direction, opposite of Torah that leads to destruction. We were given “free will” and it’s up to us what kind of manager we will be. Of course, there’s forgiveness with opportunities to make a U-Turn, but will we?

The good news is many Jews are returning to Torah. They want to have teshuvah (returning to Hashem in repentance), to be Torah Observant and walk in obedience by observing Shabbat/Shabbos and the festivals. The Non Jews are becoming interested in the festivals, and they are asking questions pertaining to Judaism. A big awakening is taking place. We are reminded in Jeremiah 31:32-33 when G-d made a covenant with us, He placed His Torah (law) in our minds and wrote it on our hearts. This is the covenant Hashem sealed with the House of Israel. All will come to know Hashem from the smallest to the greatest. Hashem loves and welcomes everyone to come to Him, but Hashem allows us to decide our eternal fate. In love, we are to bring Torah to the Nations, teaching by example. Teaching includes application.

We are called to be overcomers, in doing so; we will have to climb that mountain in our wilderness—leaving our Egypt behind. There will be many distractions and obstacles to overcome, thankfully, with faith (Emunah) and trust in Hashem, He will light our path. It will seem lonely and difficult when we enter our wilderness; however, Hashem is waiting to have a one-on-one intimate time with us for our personal spiritual growth. Hashem desires to reveal more of Him. When Hashem is quiet and it seems as though He isn’t listening, we need to remember Hashem will never leave us nor lead us astray.

Time is precious and valuable. It can’t be given back once spent. The world is very good at keeping us preoccupied with our own yearnings that become justifications. One of the main excuses we tend to fall into is that we’re too busy to study, or too tired. Evil Inclination loves to keep us busy. A good friend of mine, Angie, states it best in an acronym (BUSY): (B) Being (U) Under (S) Satan’s (Y) Yoke. Now to be clear, there are times when rest healing is needed, especially when it’s a medical situation. There are also individuals, and families, who have children with special needs that contend with irregular daily/nightly hours. We do our best. Hashem knows the desires of our heart; His heart is pierced with ours. He will always help us. It’s important to never feel defeated. We just have to keep getting right back up.

We cannot serve other g-d’s (Deuteronomy 6:14-16). Our soul is confused with a divided heart. The confused soul is like a beast without boundaries. The Nefesh is a bundle of appetites, desires, and intellect. Will our treasures we invest in be eternal? A divided heart will rule over its soul and its possessions. The human heart has four chambers. Day Four in Creation is to govern. What will our hearts “govern” in this lifetime? “Time and Money” are crucial areas man will invest in. To become divided is a separation cut into two parts. Day Two in Creation is the separation of the upper (heavenly) and lower (earthly) waters.

“And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, And a twig shall grow forth out of his roots. 2And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and might, The spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. 3And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord; And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, Neither decide after the hearing of his ears.” (Isaiah 11:1-3 Jewish Publication Society 1917)[1]

The seven spirits placed upon the Menorah in its proper order for its purpose and function, the second spirit of G-d is “Understanding.” Our investments in life are either eternal or temporary of this world. If we don’t seek Hashem’s wise counsel we are bankrupt of understanding.

The key factor is: we need to keep things in its proper perception, and not get caught up in areas that become a snare (sin) that pulls us away from Torah. We must be diligent and make that choice to place Hashem first in our lives. Without Hashem’s Breath of Life we are nothing. His Breath (Ruach) is life, and His Light (Torah) is a lamp unto our feet that leads the way. If we will not walk in Hashem’sTorah, we are in direct disobedience (willful sin); and essentially, choosing a different path that leads to our destruction—death. “A road may seem right to a man, but in the end it is a road to death.” (Proverbs 16:25)[2]

Individuals are becoming desensitized by self-deception. Some people feel as though they have to “fit-in” in order to be accepted. We can become hesitant to mention our beliefs to not offend others. Man’s agendas are becoming more prioritized because of man’s EGO. The ego of man pushes Hashem out by “Edging G-d Out.” When our ideals and desires come before keeping and guarding Torah, or reciting daily blessings and prayers, we have chosen to edge/ push G-d out and positioned ourselves above Hashem. No one is exempt from falling into deception, a sickness of lies from the accuser—hasatan! When a person says “G-d knows my heart…” that is a true statement. However, we are the manager of our hearts, thoughts, words and actions. How is our personal management going?

The heart is the most deceitful of all, and it is fragile–who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)[3]

The path we walk should be in the Light of the Lamp—His Torah of Truth.

“Make your Your ways known to me, HASHEM; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the G-d of my salvation, to You I have hoped all the day. Remember Your mercies, HASHEM, and Your kindness, for they are eternal” (Psalm 25:4-6)[4]

Hashem has an incredible love for His Children. He will light the way of truth with His righteousness. Hashem wants us to cast our burdens on Him. Hashem’s love is indescribable. His mercy is incredible. There comes a time in our spiritual growth to take that step upwards, to walk in Hashem’s truth; turning away from distractions that keep us from studying Hashem’s word. Living Torah is a change in our lifestyle; removing any distorted beliefs and/or wrongful attitudes that taint our walk in Torah.

It’s time to make a decision to step outside of our comfort zone. We need to step away from the crib that holds us captive to live in obedience, fine-tune our priorities, adjust our attitudes, have a heart’s desire to follow Torah, love and forgive others, breathe life (not death) in our words, and lift each other up for the Kingdom of G-d.

We need to completely rely on Hashem for our provisions, and trust that Hashem can help us stay on the path of Light. We place ourselves on a slippery slope with an open invitation for the Adversary when we begin to justify our reasons to live outside of the Dvar (word).  We cannot continue to disobey the Torah and expect a good outcome, eternally. When Hashem sends a messenger it’s the perfect time to listen, and encompass His ways, changing ours.

Let’s dig a little deeper in Numbers 22:

  • The she-donkey saw the angel of HASHEM and crouched beneath Baalam. Balaam’s obstinateness deterred him from seeing an angel standing in front of him. Hashem removed that blindness so Balaam could “see”.
  • Balaam’s anger flared and he struck the she-donkey with the staff. Baalam was so pompous and agitated with pride he hit and yelled at a talking donkey for refusing to obey his orders. Blinded to self-deception, he was unable to see any miracles. Self-deception is arrogance that ignores godly counsel.
  • Balaam said to the angel of HASHEM, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing opposite me on the road. And now, if it is evil in your eyes, I shall return.” Hashem already told him not to go. Balaam twisted what G-d said. Self-deception justifies finding exceptions for self-will.
  • Balak was fearful of Israel. Many today are fearful of G-d’s Chosen people (the spirit of Amalek is in every generation).

We need to evaluate our attitudes, words, and thoughts. Self-deception places us in bondage when godly wisdom is ignored with actions justified, and will remain unteachable by not listening to Good Counsel. To remain passive (self-satisfied/complacent) to Torah is sin, spiritual adultery. One should never selfishly seek undeserved entitlement from others for personal gain. However, when we break something, or harm others (accidently, or willfully), there’s an accounting of restitution to be made.

Our identity is found in Hashem by how we relate to others—character traits. A good character trait is thankfulness. When we are thankful for what Hashem has provided, gratitude leaves little “wiggle room” for bitterness to sneak in. A good friend of mine visits third world countries. She shared in a letter about an individual who had lived in a cardboard house. With permission given, she wrote, “We went to Sabana Grande in the mountains one day and spoke with Angela now living there with her family. She grew up with her mom in a casa de carton, a cardboard house, and she always gives thanks to G-d for taking her out of such poverty.” I sat back in my chair contemplating the gratefulness of this person. I took that thought by contrasting it to the expectations of American kids today. While “Angela” lived in a cardboard box home, “Sally” expects the newest iPhone and a new car given to her. As mentioned, it really does come down to a heart matter. 

The Torah is a mirror that removes the distortions from man’s concepts. A person who does not remain in the teachings of the Torah is a poor marksman. His eyes deceive him. His ears have deafened.

The world seeks to devour Hashem’s Light with corruption by removing the validity of morals and values. Hashem will not allow His Light to be removed or put out. As long as there is at least one person on the earth believing in G-d, following Torah, life remains. Abraham was the first Jew. He didn’t use his circumstances if life by living in a pagan environment to determine his choices or future. He knew there was something more than what his home life offered. He set out to seek Truth—Emet. And so should we.

[5]

Doron Kombluth has a video on Jewish.tv “Raising Kids to Love Being Jewish.”

Our desire for our children/grandchildren is to keep them Jewish. Kombluth shared five key principle factors that are paraphrased below:

  1. Role Models of parents/Grandparents: The Jewish identity our children/grandchildren are learned from the role models of their parents. An example of everyday living as a Jew is to let our children see us doing good things for the Jewish community. Giving Tzedakah. Another good example is to have our home environment show we are Jewish (Jewish books, Mezuzah, Star of David, Shabbos candles, Menorah, etc.). Children need to see their parents reading Jewish literature, walking the walk. Family dinners are crucial as it keeps a home stronger within–building memories. That means all books, papers, and devices are to be kept from the table and actually talk to one another over a meal together. Investing in our family is key. Family should be valued, not left overs.
  2. Get our children/grandchildren involved in Jewish activities: We invest in our children by teaching them to care about being Jewish. We need to teach them how to choose the right friends and activities that do not conflict Jewish upbringing. We are to encourage our children to be involved in a Jewish lifestyle: Trips to Israel, Chabad activities, Jewish holidays, Shabbos; even if it’s one thing they can invest in such as a reading for the Festivals or family readings. By getting our kids involved, they will “own it,” and be willing to hold on to their Jewishness. This is love shown.
  3. Sense of belonging: A very powerful concept for our children is for them to know they belong to their Jewish people, their Torah, their holidays, and their foods. Pesach (Passover) Haggadah, the “Four questions” are asked by the children. This should remind us that we are not individuals, we are a community. We are connected to all Jews—past, present, future. When our people are attacked, we are attacked. We need to have a sense of belonging to our people.
  4. Jewish Education: Jewish educated children have stronger ideals of being Jewish. We live in a different generation. We need to be more active and involved in their lives; helping them incorporate Jewish things into their daily lives. Today’s world is drawing our people away by “other” things (assimilation). At the very least, hire a Jewish tutor. Sadly, in most cases in America, after the child’s bar/bat Mitzvah, it’s the end of their Jewishness. It should be the beginning of their Jewish lives! When we do not continue to teach our children their identity (even if it’s into their twenties in age), Kombuth points out it would be like taking away all of their Jewish books; leaving them nothing! Because we are the “People of the Book” we are to continue Jewish studies. Jacob was a tent dweller (Torah study). Esau ran from it, red, wild and hairy.
  5. Positive in Jewish living: Keeping our Jewish identity is crucial. Smart parents pick their battles. Teaching comes by showing our true actions by being involved, and being real. Being real or not is noticed.

The secular world doesn’t accept “religious” ideas that are G-d’s instructions because darkness cannot comprehend light. I conclude that many place their Nefesh (a bundle of appetites, desires, and intellect) above their Ruach (Spirit), allowing the Nefesh to lead. I would suggest that social media and worldly interests are taking priority. Some teens may see hypocrisy and want to hang out with friends, losing interest in following Torah. Sadly, many teens today do not want to have accountability for their choices and/or lifestyles; leaving them with much confusion.

Teens, and adults alike, sometimes struggle with concrete evidence if it doesn’t fit their ideals. Hasatan is working overtime whispering lies to our children— self-deception. If hasatan can convince children, layman, and others that some of the Ten Commandments don’t apply anymore, prey on their weaknesses, then he (hasatan) can convince them to sabotage themselves, in sin,  just like Balaam when he deceived the Israelites to mix sexually (corruption) with the Moabites. It was the Moabites who tempted the Israelite men to commit adultery and idolatry. The Adversary will use what people desire against them to fall into sin.

The Nefesh is very strong and if we allow it to rise up above our Ruach (Spirit), we place our Ruach under our heel—at ground level. That isn’t a good place to be [ground level is placed in the dirt]. The Nefesh doesn’t like the words “no” or “wait”.  The Nefesh thinks it is going to die. If you recall Esau, he sold his birthright for some red soup. He thought he was going to die. He wasn’t going to die; he wanted what he wanted without waiting!

Balaam’s sin was a heart matter, he let his Nefesh lead, not his Ruach. Leaving heart matters unchecked without accountability can devise wicked plans. Balaam’s sin came from the fourth of the “Wicked Lamp” that is an abomination. It is very thought-provoking “Balaam” means “Burning” such as the burning of the desires of the Nefesh. “Balak” means Destroyer—no promise of Eternal Good.

Hashem knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what will get our attention when He calls us to repentance. Sometimes Hashem will send the Adversary, one of His Agents, if that is what it’ll take to expose the sinner. He even sent a talking donkey once. The donkey was wiser than the man. Man falls into the “sin of Balaam” when there’s resistance to suffering. In other words, when we set our mind on things that are contrary to the will of G-d, we are resisting the trials Hashem set before us. Consequently, refusing to allow Hashem to work in our lives by not allowing the Father to transform us, like the angel of Hashem that opposed Balaam, we place ourselves into judgment.

What or who will we choose to “mirror” with our actions and attitudes? Our hearts are a heart matter that reflects our character. Who are we listening to? Do we want our ears entertained? What kind of movies are we watching at the expense of our spirit being forced to see? Are we holding our Ruach captive to the desires of the Nefesh?  Are we entertaining our Nefesh by justifying poor reasoning, dancing with forbidden fruit? What entertains our thoughts and eyes? It’s a heart matter, indeed.

We need to understand the seven abominations that G-d hates.

Proverbs 6:16-19

  • A proud look
  • A lying tongue
  • Hands that shed innocent blood
  • A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations/plans
  • Feet that be swift in running to mischief/evil
  • A false witness that speaketh lies
  • He that soweth discord among brethren.

It’s important to receive GOOD COUNSEL and Hashem’s wisdom in all things. Are we seeking counsel from those who don’t have a relationship with the Father and/or despise Torah? Are we listening to others who speak negatively (evil speak) others? Are we listening to hasatan who whispers lies into our ears? Perhaps we should exercise g-dly wisdom to seek an individual for truth instead of seeking to have our ears entertained.

The Adversary has many angles to deceived our children (Adults too!). After all, he is an expert in his work! Self-deception is apparent when it is taught that the Torah is no longer validated.  This is a heart matter and the lust of the flesh. Eve (Chavah) was asked by the serpent, “Did He really say……?” Had Chavah gone back to the Father before answering, the outcome for her would have been different.

“A road may seem right to a man, but in the end it is a road to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)[6]

We need to have a desire to be in covenant with Hashem and have Teshuva (repent and return to Hashem). Justifying our selfish desires (spiritual adultery) removes man’s value of the Torah. We need to have a change of heart—one that is made of flesh, not stone. It is important to have a true relationship with our Father in Heaven, our Creator; honoring His Name on High. It’s time to allow the Ruach Ha’Kodesh (Holy Spirit) into our lives for comfort and good counsel. We need to be careful how we treat G-d’s Messengers. Did we disregard what was said? By whose ruling brought us to the point to ignore what someone else said? It doesn’t matter if we didn’t like what they said, are we sure Hashem didn’t use them to stir us up? Sometimes Hashem will use nonbelievers to get our attention.

Let’s join together under Hashem’s protective covering, His Cloud of Glory, His Sukkah, and allow Hashem’s provision to surround us by not remaining opened to the world’s ideals.

“For I am mindful of the plans I have made concerning you—declares the LORD—plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a hopeful future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)[7] 

[1] Isaiah 11:1-3, Jewish Publication Society 1917

[2] Proverbs 16:25, Sefaria

[3] Jeremiah 17:9, The Stone Edition

[4] Psalms 25: 4-6, The Stone Edition

[5] All photos from Pixabay, free domain.

[6] Proverbs 14:12, Sefaria

[7] Jeremiah 29:6, Sefaria

Categories: Musings & Blessings | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: