Coming up this Shabbat at Ben David

May 25 - Message by Doug Friedman:sermon


“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 19 - 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 28 - Rosh HaShanah Messianic Service at 10:30am.


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 28, at 10:30am and celebrate this Biblical Holy Day and its Messianic significance.

Yom Kippur

Wednesday, October 9 - Yom Kippur Messianic Service at 10:30am:


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 Wednesday, October 9, for this Messianic Service at 10:30am.


Saturday, October 12 - Sukkot Service at 10:30am:


Join us for a Sukkot celebration.
- Morning Service followed by Oneg in the Sukkah.

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 3 - 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"
Weekly Scripture Commentary
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Parshah Vaetchanan - “And I Implored"

"Shabbat Nachamu, the Shabbat of Comforting"

This Shabbat is named so because of the first Hebrew word of the Haftarah reading from the prophecy of Isaiah 40:1. This Shabbat always follows 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.

"'Comfort you, comfort you My people,' says your God. 'Speak comfortably to Yerushalayim; and cry to her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received of Yehovah's hand double for all her sins.’”

"Tanakh - the Firm Root of our Faith"

In this Parashah Moshe continues his teachings, repeating the Ten Utterances, giving new instructions and pleading (imploring) with the people not to forsake Yehovah. He lays out the foundation for religious life in the Land, not as a wandering Nation but as a Nation with established roots.

“Now, therefore, give heed, O Israel, to the decree and to the ordinance, which I teach you, to do them, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which Yehovah the God of your fathers gives you. You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish nothing from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yehovah your God which I command you... When you are in distress, and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days, if you turn to Yehovah your God, and shall be obedient to His voice; for Yehovah your God is a merciful God; He will not forsake you, nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them... Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live? Or has God ventured to go and take Him a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand, by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that Yehovah your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was shown, that you might know that Yehovah is God; there is no other beside Him... Hear, O Israel; Yehovah our God, Yehovah is One; and you shall love Yehovah your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

First, in verse 2 of chapter 4, Moshe starts with the foremost instruction, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish from it.” This is a timeless instruction about the Scriptures. Do not add words of your own imagination and do not pick and choose from God’s words with the implication that God’s word is lacking. "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever" writes the prophet in Isaiah 40:8. The principles of God's Torah - God's teaching - are the same for every generation, past, present, and future even though some specifically apply to the Jewish people (the modern day believers did not replaced Israel) and some to the Mosaic sacrificial system. This sacrificial system - which ended with the destruction of the Temple - was a shadow of the redemptive work of Yeshua which was foretold in all those sacrifices and was made obsolete by Yeshua's ultimate sacrifice on the Roman execution cross. Only believing in Yeshua the word of God remains true and nothing is added or diminished.

This week we commemorate Tisha B'Av, the anniversary of the Temple's destruction, and indeed it is a sad day if you are not a believer, but for believers a new temple was built, the body of believers which can come together in any place on earth and worship Yehovah. God did not say that teshuvah, tefilah, and tzedakah, (repentance, prayer and righteous acts) avert the severe decree, but He said that nothing coming from us, none of our actions, but the shedding of innocent blood on our behalf will atone for our sins - "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement. (Leviticus 17:11) Notice that God gave the blood and that blood made atonement, and not any of our actions.

Second, from verse 5 we are to make a distinction between a decree (Hebrew: chok), an ordinance (mishpat), a commandment (mitzvah) and a teaching (Torah). The word of God has been violated throughout the centuries by careless translations giving rise to false doctrines. We are to study and divide the word of God correctly. In the Greek, the language that the NT was first translated, we have two words for “law”: “nomos,” referring to the divine writings, or teachings, i.e. Torah, and “krino,” referring to a human level of laws, judgments and regulations. Many Bible translations do not make that distinction. Unfortunately, so it is in Hebrew and most of the times it is translated only as “law.”

Let’s look at the Hebrew words: for God’s teachings the word in Hebrew is “Torah” but when the Biblical Hebrew refers to a judicial meaning or a human given law, the word is “chok.” For example, the first time the word “chok” appears in the Bible in this context is in Genesis 47:26: “And Joseph made it a law (chok) over the land of Egypt to this day.” This “law” was a practical and with judicial implications law, noting to do with the spiritual matters, not a Torah. But the first time the word Torah appears is earlier in Genesis 26:5, where we read God's words: “Avraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments (mitzvoth), My regulation (chukat – from “chok”), and My teaching (Torah).” Please note that this word was used few hundred years before God gave Moshe the Torah on Mount Sinai. This word “Torah” is a teaching that encompasses the physical as well as the spiritual realm, just as our relation with God has two parts, salvation and lifestyle. We are saved by faith and not by any regulation, decree, ordinance, commandment or “law” that we could keep. The shed blood of Yeshua saved us from the condemnation of not keeping these "laws" as it is required for coming in the presence of a Holy God, but our lifestyle must reflect this new understanding and be in obedience to the Torah, to the teachings of God, as Avraham was, and for this he was called the “friend of God.” We are keeping God's instructions not to be saved but because we are saved - it is an internalized change of heart's desire and if you do not have this desire to keep God's commandments you need to check how sincere is your heart towards God's salvation.

Third, from verse 6, one is to “safeguard and perform” all God’s teachings. Living a godly life is not passive. It implies action, such as committing God’s words to memory so as one not only remembers to perform them but also to defend them from being trivialized by the non-believers.

Fourth, from verse 9, we are to make them known to our children and our children’s children. Teaching God’s Torah to the next generation is the most important legacy of our life as believers. Passing down the banner of God is one of our responsibilities as a light and salt to the world.

In chapter 5 Moshe is repeating the Ten Utterances (Hebrew: Devarim - words) which God spoke to him on Mount Sinai. The common translation of these utterances or statements is the “Ten Commandments,” but Moshe calls them “decrees and ordinances,” which we are to “be careful to perform.” Again, our salvation does not depend on keeping these decrees, but our lifestyle must reflect a careful performance of them. If we look at these utterances as mere commandments, our life would be lacking the spiritual element of holiness. But if we elevate these commandments to the status of God’s teachings, as our Messiah Yeshua did, our lives will express God’s desire of holiness, for these are holy teachings uttered by a Holy God. These Ten Utterances form the Magna Carta of human civilization, thus, how much more our careful observance of them should be a witness to the world of our belief in a Holy God. The first four form the essence of our relationship with God and the following six with our fellow human being. And here there are:

1) I am Yehovah (YHWH) your God, you shall have no other gods.
2) You shall not make for yourself a carved image.
3) You shall not take the name of Yehovah, your God, in vain.
4) Remember the Shabbat day to sanctify it.
5) Honor your father and mother.
6) You shall not murder.
7) You shall not commit adultery.
8) You shall not steal.
9) You shall not bear false witness.
10) You shall not covet.

The most recited sentence in the Torah is found in this Parashah, chapter 6, verse 4: “Hear O Israel, Yehovah our God, Yehovah is One.”

It is surprising to hear the answer that Yeshua gave to a scribe, when this scribe sought to find out from Yeshua which of the commandments is the most important of all, Yeshua answered: "Shema Yisrael, Yehovah Eloheinu, Yehovah Echad" (Mark 12:28-29) or "Hear O Israel, Yehovah our God, Yehovah is One." Even though the Shema seems to us to be more of a declaration of faith, a Jewish creed if you will, our Messiah tells us that it is a commandment. He is clearly establishing that our first duty, our first responsibility to God as believers, is to sanctify His Name in this world. To proclaim that there is One and only One who is holy. Holiness, in Hebrew 'Kadosh,' is the word which designates sanctification. We are to sanctify, to set apart, God from everything and everyone else. He is holy and He is the only One who is holy, and other persons, places or things are only holy as He has touched them and chose them for His service. For example, Torah is not holy because of the parchment that it is written on, but it is holy because in it we find God's holy words. Thus, we are commanded - given a Torah, a teaching - by Yeshua to recite the Shema, and by doing so to declare God’s holiness.

The Tanakh is the firm root of every believer, Jewish or Gentile. In Timothy's day there was no New Testament written yet, but we read the instruction apostle Shaul is giving Timothy concerning the Tanakh in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, saying "All Scripture (Tanakh in this context) is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate equipped for every 'mitzvah' or good work." Not only is the Tanakh - the Old Testament - a firm foundation for our faith in Messiah Yeshua, it is also necessary if we're going to bring fruit to maturity and for our lifestyle to reflect God's Holiness. Our God has given us a firm foundation in the Tanakh, let us deepen our roots in it by reading it and studying it every day.

Shabbat joy, peace, and blessings! Shabbat Shalom!

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