Coming up this Shabbat at Ben David

May 25 - Message by Doug Friedman:sermon

Title:

“Here Comes the Judge"

Paul’s “2nd” letter to the Corinthians is filled with arguments calling for changed behavior on the part of the Corinthian Congregation. Now, in the final chapter, Paul switches from arguments to warnings. But his summation reveals something else entirely. Come and hear the heart of a true Apostle!

Simchat Torah

October 2 - 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

Saturday, September 4 - Rosh HaShanah Messianic Service at 10:30am.

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 HaShanah (literally, Head of the Year) occurs on the first day of the Jewish month of Tishrei.
Please join us for the morning service on Saturday, September 4, at 10:30am and celebrate this Biblical Holy Day and its Messianic significance.


Yom Kippur

Thursday, September 16 - Yom Kippur Messianic Service at 10:30am:

ykippur

Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, occurs on the tenth of Tishrei, it is to be a "Shabbat of solemn rest."
Please join us for the morning service on Thursday, September 16, for this Messianic Service at 10:30am.


Sukkot

Saturday, September 25 - Sukkot Service at 10:30am:

sukkot

Join us for a Sukkot celebration.
- Morning Service followed by light refreshments, bagels. fruit, and coffee.


Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat of Remembrance

On the Shabbat before Purim, Jews throughout the world will turn their attention to two special readings in Deuteronomy and Samuel, describing how the ancient nation of Amalek attacked our ancestors in the desert. These readings come before Purim because Haman was the descendent of Agag, King of Amalek.

Deuteronomy 25:17-19: “Remember what Amalek did to you by the way, when you came out of Egypt. How he met you by the way, and struck at your rear, all who were feeble behind you, when you were faint and weary; and he did not fear God. Therefore it shall be, when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies around, in the land which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance to possess, that you shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget it.”

Not only was the attack unprovoked, but it came at a time when the people were faint and weary. Shabbat Zachor - the Sabbath of Remembrance - is so named because we are commanded to remember the heinous deeds committed by Amalek. Our memories as victims of violence and persecution are a two-edged sword, though. We sometimes find that many of our people have accumulated emotions of hate and vengeance against whoever belongs to a nation or group which has hurt us. We sometimes hear expressions of anger, following murderous attacks. Feelings of rage and the desire for revenge are natural and understandable in moments of crisis, and one cannot be judged in his or her moment of anguish.

But it seems that this mitzvah has a different meaning, because the Torah does not “command” us to feel that which is naturally felt. The Torah does not enjoin us to love our children, for example, we do that naturally. On the other hand, it does charge us to “love the stranger.” With this commandment to remember the deeds of Amalek, Torah seems to command us to make every effort not to be contaminated by the actions like those of Amalek and the tendency to respond to violence with violence and stain our souls and minds with violence.

Our God asked to “love your neighbor as yourself” and “love your enemies” but our mind, clouded by our sinful nature, cannot comprehend the full magnitude of this commandment, thus, at least we have to remember not to be like Amalek and darken our souls by hate. Justice is enough.

Hanukkah Celebration

December 28 - Hanukkah Celebration at 4:00pmhanukkah
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.

Coming up at Ben David - Purim

March 12 - Purim Celebration:



Join us for a fun filled Purim Celebration: costumes, parade, children's program, joyful music, insightful sermon, and an Oneg with delicious hamantaschen. Purim is the last event of the biblical calendar and symbolizes the ultimate victory over evil.

Hamantaschen Baking Contest:

Bring two dozen of your homemade hamantaschen before the service to enter the contest. Prizes will be awarded at the Oneg.

Coming up at Ben David - April 14 - Yom HaShoah

With guest speaker Rochelle Dreeben author of "One Dark Night"
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Weekly Scripture Reading


"SHAVUOT - FEAST OF WEEKS"

The Shavuot festival was celebrated primarily as a thanksgiving for the wheat harvest – the second First Fruits; it falls seven weeks after the barley harvest – the first First Fruits, when an Omer of the new produce was offered. The Torah refers to Shavuot as Hag haKatsir (the Feast of the Harvest) and Yom haBikkurim (the Day of First Fruits), observed by offerings of the best ripe produce of the fields. Beginning with the second day of Passover, seven weeks, or forty-nine days, were carefully counted, and the fiftieth day was celebrated as the festival of the First Fruits. In the course of time, as a result of the transformation of the agricultural festivals into historical commemorations, the additional significance of Shavuot, as the Festival of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai completely overshadowed its original significance. Though the Bible does not identify Shavuot with the anniversary of the giving of the Torah, the tradition has been that it was given on the sixth day of Sivan, at Shavuot.

“You shall count seven weeks, from the day when the sickle is first put to the standing grain. You shall then keep the Feast of Weeks in honor of the Lord your God, and the measure of your freewill offering shall be in proportion to the blessing that the Lord your God bestowed on you. You shall rejoice before the Lord your God with your son and daughter, your male and female servants, and the Levite of your community, as well as the stranger and the fatherless and the widow among you." Deuteronomy 16:9-11.

Shavuot is called Atzereth (Assembly) in the Talmud, in the sense that it serves as a concluding festival to Pesach. In the observances of Shavuot, the traditional as well as the agricultural aspects are reflected. The Decalogue is read in the synagogue on the first day. Plants and flowers, reminiscent of the slopes of Sinai, decorate the bimah and the Aron haKodesh. The book of Ruth, for its description of a summer harvest in Israel, and the famous liturgical poem Akdamut are read before the reading of the Torah on the first day. Milk dishes are the customary foods, symbolizing the Torah which is likened to milk, according to the allegorical interpretation of the book of Song of Songs ("Honey and milk are under your tongue").

Shavuot reminds us of the contribution of the Torah to the world. Torah was the first mind-set to recognize the worth of ordinary people, to champion human rights, public education, environmental responsibility, freedom of information, medical ethics, and social action — the whole concept of progress and hope for the future. No other teaching has had a comparative impact on our way of thinking today. It reminds Israel of her obligation to be a "Kingdom of Priests" and a "Holy Nation."

But for the believers Shavuot is more than that. Shavuot is a picture of a spiritual harvest, a harvest of the first fruits imbued with spiritual power, with the outpouring of the Ruach haKodesh. The first century of the Common Era was God's first harvest of those redeemed in the blood of Yeshua haMoshiach - both Jewish and Gentile.

"And when the day of Shavuot was fulfilled, they were all together with one mind at the same place. And there was suddenly from Shomayim a sound like the rushing of a violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And tongues appeared to them, being divided as fire, resting on each one of them, and all were filled with the Ruach haKodesh." Acts 2:1-4

On Shavuot two loaves of fine flour baked with leaven were presented as offering of first fruits (Leviticus 23:17). The symbolism of these two loaves is revealed by Ya’akov (James 1:18) as representing the first fruits of believers. The two loaves are Jewish and Gentile believers that God brought together to form a new body, a new creation, the Ekklesia. God redeemed us from the world of sin, from the spiritual Egypt, through the shed blood of His Son. But then why are the two loaves with leaven, the symbol of sin? That is to symbolize that we cannot cleanse ourselves of sin before coming to Him - all our good intentions are but as filthy rags in His eyes. We come to Him with our sins and He is the One who cleanses and makes us holy.

“Having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Messiah Yeshua Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a Holy Temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” Ephesians 2:20-22. God has built something else to take the place of the physical Temple in Yerushalayim destroyed in 70 CE - it is a spiritual Beth haMikdash, it is the Ekklesia. It is a Jewish Holy Temple, where Jews and Gentiles are fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Moshiach Yeshua. This passage tells us that the foundation of the Ekklesia is Jewish, Jewish, Jewish - Jewish apostles, Jewish prophets and Jewish Messiah. Therefore, Shavuot is the fulfillment of Torah-true Judaism, the hope of the Jewish people and the blessing of the Gentiles so that they might come together in faith as one.

It cost Yeshua a lot to bring us together, to form the Ekklesia. He died executed on a Roman cross shedding His blood and suffering agonizingly in order for us to be united as one Holy Temple in the Spirit. Because of that we owe it to Him to be holy and to love one another as He loved us.

Chag Shavuot Sameach!

Parashah Devarim - “Words"

This Shabbat is called “Shabbat Chazon,” the “Shabbat of Vision” named so because of the first Hebrew word of the Haftarah reading from the prophecy of Isaiah 1:1-27. This Shabbat always precedes Tisha B'Av, the Ninth day of Av, which is the saddest day in Jewish history because on this very day both First and Second Temples were destroyed, and many other tragedies befell the Jewish people.

"The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz... ‘Hear, o heavens, and give ear, o earth; for the LORD has spoken, "I have reared and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me... To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?" said the LORD; "I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of male goats. When you come to appear before Me, who has required this at your hand, to trample My courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense of abomination they are to Me."’”

The Sages point out that the prophet does not lament because the Bet haMikdash, the Temple, was destroyed, but rather he laments over the underlying causes of that destruction, how Israelis turned worshiping God into a routine exercise without emotions and, worst, coming in front of God with unrepentant sin. This annual lesson must serve to focus the national mourning of Tisha B'Av not to the past, but to the present. It is not enough to lament the great loss suffered by our people with the destruction of the Temple, we must use our fast and mourning as a way of initiating an examination of our present-day feelings, thoughts, and deeds. How have we improved our approach to God and our service to Him as a way of life? Do we have a personal relationship with God? Do we approach Him with a righteous fear of the divine?

Notice that God is not against sacrifices or observing His Holy Days and His Shabbat, but He is against the way we observe them. Is our worship today, our verbal offerings, like the animal-offerings described by the prophet, merely mindlessly performed rituals, never internalized, never spoken from the heart, just from the lips? Is our faith expressed just for the sake of our ancestors, rituals without meaning? Do we raise clean hands to God? Are our prayers sincere and meaningful? Do we practice during the week what we have said on Shabbat? Something to ponder as we come to worship on this Shabbat Chazon and read the Parashah of the week.

"Entering the Promised Land"

Parashah Devarim begins the fifth book of Moshe. The name of the book is taken from the opening phrase in the Hebrew text, “Eleh haDevarim,” - “These are the Words.” However, the oldest name of the book was “Mishneh Torah,” “the Repetition of the Torah,” a phrase based on chapter 17 verse 18. The Greek-speaking Jews translated this name in the Septuagint as Deuteronomion, i.e. “The Second Law;” and this title was taken over by the English versions as Deuteronomy.

Moshe had brought the people to the borders of the Holy Land. He then recounts in three discourses the events of the forty years' wanderings, warning against the temptations awaiting them in Canaan with promise of Divine judgment for disobedience, and Divine blessing for faithful observance of God's commandments. The second discourse includes a rehearsal of the principal laws, as these were to be observed in the new Land. These laws are given with amplification or abbreviation, and even modification to meet the new conditions. His farewell speech is in a form of a song with which he celebrates God as the Rock of Israel. Standing in the land of Moab, he gives his parting blessing to the tribes whose physical and religious welfare had been the labor of his last forty years; he then ascends Mount Nebo to the burial place which no man knows for the LORD Himself buried him. Moshe was one hundred and twenty years old, his eyes had not dimmed, and his vigor had not diminished. May we all maintain the vigor of our faith and never get tired of doing God’s work as Moses did.

Devarim is a unique book, distinct from the narrative, historical, legal, or prophetic writings of the Torah, though it has similarities with each of them. Devarim gives utterance to truths which are always and everywhere sovereign: that God is One, and that man must dedicate his whole life to Him; that God's character is Righteousness and Faithfulness, Mercy and Love. The central declaration of all this oratory - enshrined by Judaism in its daily devotions - is the Shema: "Shema Yisrael, Hear Israel, the LORD Eloheinu the LORD is One."

The God proclaimed in Devarim stands in a relation to Israel and humanity not merely as Judge or Ruler, but as Father and Friend. “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” This whole-soul love and devotion to God is to be accompanied by benevolence towards man; by applying the retributive righteousness of God to all beings; and by the insistence on the vital importance of family life and of religious instruction within the home. The influence of these "Farewell Discourses" of Moshe on the lives of Israelis throughout the millennia, has never been exceeded by that of any other Book of the Torah. Deuteronomy, aside from Psalms, is the most quoted book by Yeshua.

In the introductory verses Moshe starts recounting the long strings of sins and rebellions that marked the forty years in the wilderness and describing the boundaries of the Land promised to Avraham, Ytzhak and Ya’akov which would have been the Promised Land if they would have gone directly into it, but because of their rebellions it was modified as detailed in the previous book of Numbers.

We are also informed of the precise location and time of Moshe’s discourse: on the other side of the Jordan River, on the fortieth year, on the eleventh month, on the first of the month. In the book of Joshua we read that the people were to cross Jordan into the Promised Land on the tenth day of the first month of the new year and they were to observe Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of that month.

But why such a detailed timing? That is because God wants us to know that nothing in His Torah, in His teachings, is arbitrary or coincidental. He wants us to understand that all events are under His control and that they are for us to understand their meaning, especially when he sent His Son, the promised Messiah, that it was in the fullness of time, not one day too early or too late, to redeem us from the wrath of not obeying God’s commandments written in the Torah. Even though the dispensation of grace started when God sacrificed the first animal to clothe Adam — and thus Adam did not die for his sin - Torah was given to us as a tutor to know what sin is, to make a distinction between holy and profane, between right and wrong, to discern what is good, but in itself obeying Torah cannot save. Salvation is by faith alone and it was granted to Adam, to Avraham, to Moshe, and to every man and woman who put his and her trust in God.

Therefore, in the spiritual realm, corresponding to this entrance into the Promise Land of God’s people is Yeshua’s triumphal entry in Jerusalem on the tenth day of the first month, and His death on the fourteenth, as the Passover Lamb of God. Moshe, representing the sacrificial system based on animal sacrifices, could not have entered the Promised Land, but entrance is granted by faith as of Joshua, faith which is based only on the word of God. Joshua believed God forty years prior, before the giving of the Torah, when God told them to enter the Land, and God chose Joshua to lead the Israelites into this Land. We further read God’s instruction to Joshua: “This Book of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth; but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to observe and to do according to all that is written in it, for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall act wisely.”

Faith comes by believing in the word of God, which points to and presents a Redeemer who is the only One that can cover and atone for our sins, because all of our works and good deeds are just like filthy rags in God's eyes (Isaiah 64:6), but after coming to that faith, just as Joshua is instructed, our heart’s desire is to obey and behave as commanded by God in His Torah and to do the works of God.

Shabbat joy, peace, and blessings! Shabbat Shalom!

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