Weekly Scripture Commentary

Shabbat VaYeishev

If we would not have the holiday of Hanukkah, we would not have salvation. If God would have allowed success to the tyrant of 165 BCE by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes, all Jews would have been annihilated off the face of the earth. But God, in His grace and mercy, interceded because of His promise to the forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov. Therefore, "when the fullness of time had come God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Torah" (Galatians 4:4). The promised Messiah came to the Jewish people and to the rededicated Temple to become the Redeemer of all mankind who will receive Him.

The attempt to destroy all the Jews by Antiochus was another attempt by Satan to stop the coming of Messiah. Even as the Holocaust was an effort by Satan to prevent the formation of the State of Israel, thus, preventing Messiah's return to Zion. So, without Hanukkah there would be no salvation, because there would be no Savior born to the Jews. But we do have salvation as promised and we do have a State of Israel to which Messiah will soon return, also as promised.

But often we are told that Hanukkah is not a Biblical festival, commanded by God, therefore it is not important for Israel and for us to celebrate it. Our response must come from both, a historical and a Brit Hadashah perspective.

The historical perspective is pointing to the a biblical festival. At the time of the great victory of the Jews over Antiochus Epiphanes in 165 BCE, the Temple was cleansed of the satanic image of Antiochus (at which all Jews were being forced to bow down or die) and rededicated to God. When the Temple was rededicated, the Maccabee family led the nation in the observance of Sukkot, according to the historical account found in the apocryphal, non-Scriptural but historic, book of II Maccabees 10:6-9. And so, the holiday referred to as Rededication, was actually the observance out of season - two months later - of the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot. According to the historical account the seven-branched Menorah was re-lit in the Temple with enough kosher oil to last for only one day. The miracle was that it lasted seven more days, the entire eight days holiday of Sukkot.

The Brit Hadashah perspective is pointing to the One who is the light of the world, Messiah. Messianic believers know that the fulfillment of the Hanukkah miracle was not that God was again worshiped in the Temple built of stones with human hands, but that, few years later, God's Presence came to the Temple and dwelt in human flesh in David's Greater Son - Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel. Now we can say with the deepest understanding "Nes Gadol Hayah Sham" - A GREAT MIRACLE HAPPENED THERE, for God is now present among His people in a new Temple, which is the Messiah Himself.

There is one aspect of the "out of season Sukkot" which is unique, the lighting of the Hanukkah Menorah, the nine-branch Hanukkiah. Even though great lights were burning on huge pedestals to completely enlighten Jerusalem on Sukkot (it was at the Feast of Sukkot that Yeshua said, "I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD"), this feature has been lost to Sukkot, but retained in Hanukkah, and thus Hanukkah is also called the Festival of Lights.

John 1:4 tells us that in Yeshua was life and that it is the life of Yeshua which enlightens our own lives, that without Him we live our lives in dark fear and striving against one another. On the Menorah this symbolism is born out beautifully. The Shammash, or servant candle, represents the light of Messiah. When that great light touches our darkened lives, we become lights too, and Yeshua said to us, "YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD." In Matthew 5:14-16, He said that we were to share this light, letting our lives shine before all people through the good we can do in His name. John 10:21-22 tells us that the Messiah came to His Temple at Hanukkah and proclaimed that He was the I Am - YHVH - the light that enlightens our lives, thus comparing His light with the light of the Menorah.

Proclaiming Messiah to the Jew first and also to the Gentile is the reason we live and endure. We announce through Hanukkah that God is present with us - IMMANUEL - Yeshua the Messiah of Israel. The question we must deal with is "Does my life reflect that light of the Service Candle, the lite of Messiah Yeshua?" We are enjoined by the Scripture to "make known His deeds among the people" (1 Chronicles 16:8). Especially at Hanukkah, we are to be like the lights of the Menorah illuminating a darkened world by making known the free gift of salvation to the community around us.

What does Hanukkah mean to you personally? At the time of the Maccabees the Jews were forbidden to read the Torah, but the Maccabees fought and gave their lives in order for the Jews to be able to read it again. Today, we have the printed Torah in any form imaginable, do we treasure it? Have the Maccabees died in vain because most of the Jews today do not read the Torah as they used to? We need to take this Hanukkah message to heart and not only treasure the Torah - the Bible - by reading it and studying it, but also by sharing it.

And Hanukkah has yet another message. As we light a little candle on the first night it does not give much light, but every day we add another one and another until there is this bright light, so, too, our steps in sharing the faith and our spiritual growth could be small in the beginning, but adding another step and another, we will find out that one day we will be indeed a great light making a difference in this world.

This Hanukkah, let us make a point of proclaiming the Messiah to someone in our family or to a friend, even as Moses raised up the despised and rejected serpent upon a pole in the wilderness, so that the people of Israel looked up to it and were healed. What Moses did was a typology of our Messiah, that although we have, collectively as Jews, looked up to Him upon that Roman cross with abhorrence despising the One who claims to be our King, it is to that despised and abhorred One by the Nation (Isaiah 49:7) that every Jewish person needs to look for the healing that leads to life, not just temporary as in the wilderness of Sinai, but to life eternal!


Coming up this Shabbat at Ben David

December 2 - Message by Doug Friedman:


“Do Good Jews Who Don't Believe in Jesus Go to Hell?”

This is one of the most popular yet controversial topics that arise during outreach discussions with pre-believing Jewish people. Come and hear how you can be prepared to respond in a wise and effective manner so that you will “always be ready to give an answer to those who ask you for a reason for the hope that dwells within you."

Simchat Torah

October 14 - Simchat Torahtorah
The Joy of the Torah - Morning Service
Concluding the annual Torah reading and beginning anew.
Join us celebrating God's word.

Rosh HaShanah

Wednesday, September 20 - Erev Rosh HaShanah Messianic Service at 7:00pm.rosh
Rosh HaShanah, also known as the Jewish New Year, is called in the Bible, The Feast of Trumpets, or, in Hebrew, Zicharon Teruah, the Day of Memorial of Blowing.
Rosh HaShanan (literally, Head of the Year) occurs on the first day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, this year, on Thursday, September 21.
Please join us for the evening service on Wednesday, September 20, at 7:00pm and celebrate this Biblical Holy Day and its Messianic significance.

Yom Kippur

September 30 - Yom Kippur Messianic Serviceykippur
Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, occurs on the tenth of Tishrei, Saturday, September 30 this year.
Join us for this Messianic Service at 10:30am.


October 7 - Sukkot Service at 10:30am:sukkot
join us for a Sukkot celebration.
- Morning Service and Oneg in the Sukkah.

Sisterhood Event Oct-21

October 21 - Sisterhood Eventtorah
Has the Lord been good to you? Have you experienced His grace and blessings in your life? Psalm 105:1-3 Instructs us to:
“Give thanks to the Lord! Proclaim His Name; Make known His deeds among the people. Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works. Glory in His Holy Name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who see the Lord.”
If you answered “yes” to the questions above, then we hope that you will join us as we gather to say Toda Adonai in worship and fellowship. Let us proclaim His great Name and declare His wondrous works in our lives.
Join us after the morning service at 12:30pm for a giving thanks luncheon. Lunch donation: $5.

Hanukkah Celebration

December 16 - Hanukkah Celebration at 4:00pm
Come, celebrate Hanukkah with us.
- Menorah Lighhting
- Dancing
- Children’s Activities
- Dreidel Playing
- Traditional Foods
- Latkes & Sufganiyot

PLEASE NOTE: There will be no morning service.

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