Friday, March 27, 2015

Shabbat Shalom and Passover links

This has been a crazy week! Field trips and volunteering and shopping and planning oh my!

Passover is in one week, and despite my brainiac attempts to organize, I am hardly ready, so this coming week will be a heavy push to get things done. I think I can do it. The checklist I made will certainly come in handy!

I've been spending my "down" moments in research and planning. I have the starts of a menu for next week, but nothing concrete yet. I have been setting aside some great Passover resources from various sources.

Here is a great resource for Passover planning, kosher on a budget, Kosher on a Budget is a great website that sends all sorts of amazing daily deals. I have been following this blog for probably two years now, and I love reading a saving/organization blog from a Jewish perspective. This year she put together her Passover Menu and published it. I love her.

If you are interested in learning more about Yeshua in the Passover, Chosen People has a free resource here.

The Messianic Passover HaggadahThis is an older Messianic Haggadah, but it does the trick. I remember using it at our Synagogue for many years.

First Fruits of Zion is publishes and sells the most beautiful Messianic Jewish resources. I have their Erev Shabbat Siddur. I have not seen their Haggadah, but if it is as beautiful as their other resources, I would highly reccomend it.
What is the difference between a Messianic Haggadah and a non-Messianic Haggadah?
I'm glad you asked :) A Messianic Haggadah mentions the redemption brought by Yeshua, whereas a non-Messianic is about the departure from Egypt.

Should Messianic Jews only use a Messianic Haggadah?.
Not always. The redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt is a powerful story to remember, and stands on its own. The story of Yeshua is not meant to overshadow that story, but to bring even more meaning to the story of God's redemption.

So. If you are like me, and think about which Haggadah to use very last minute, have no fear. The Maxwell House Haggadah that you see in your local grocery store will work just fine. The language is a little archaic, but the story gets told.

Oh! And if you are crunched for time, the 30 minute seder looks pretty incredible. Even though many traditional seders last into the wee hours of the morning, it may be a challenge to do so with little ones running about. Our seders tend to run short, but we tell the story in such a way that the kids know what is going on.

(And then there was last year. That was one short seder. You can read that story here.)

Shabbat Shalom dear ones and Happy getting ready for Passover!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Parasha Vayikra: 5775

This week's portion is on Vayikra. As I looked at the scriptures, I realized that I had written on this passage before. (You can find it here.) The beauty of studying scripture over and over again is finding new gems of knowledge each time.

Vayikra is the first portion of the book that bears its name in Hebrew, Vayikra, Leviticus in the English. The book starts off giving dirctions that pertain to the priesthood, the Levis.

The Torah portion, the haftorah portion, and our besorah portion all pertain to the priesthood and sacrifices. It is interesting to note line of development starting with Torah, moving to Haftorah, and ending in the Besorah. It is in things like this that I see a completion of the Torah in Besorah.

In Torah, we are told in some depth, what is necessary to present the proper offerings before God for all sorts of offences. Amidst the descriptions of blood and guts, Leviticus 3:17 says, “It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings, that you must eat neither fat nor blood.” (Leviticus 3:17 TLV). Other instances in Torah where the text says a perpetual statute, it refers to the High Holidays, and other celebrations such as Shabbat. I had not realized that eating blood, and FAT were prohibitied. Well, I knew the blood part. That is discussed at length in the Noahide covenant, which is reitierated in Acts. But I had forgotten about not eating fat. It brings a different reason to cut fat off your meat before serving.

After each of the bloody, messy sacrifices was made, Torah says, "The kohen should make atonement for him before Adonai, and he will be forgiven concerning whatever he may have done to become guilty.” (Leviticus 5:26 TLV). This was the original system put into place for the Jewish people.

The HafTorah addresses the sanctity of the Temple and the Levitial roles. At this point in Ezekial, flaws in the system were found. Keeping Torah was not as "easy" as it had perhaps seemed originally. After a long period of time, we see the Jewish people fail at their service to God, over and over again. After the temple had been desacrated, they are instructed, "Thus says Adonai Elohim: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, may enter My Sanctuary, not any foreigner who is among Bnei-Yisrael." (Ezekiel 44:9 TLV). We see now, at the time of these Prophets, a focus not only on being circumcised in the flesh, but also the idea of being circumcised in the heart.

The directions are to return to the ways of Torah. The Levites are to continue in their original roles. "So the Levitical kohanim, the sons of Zadok who kept charge of My Sanctuary when Bnei-Yisrael wandered from Me, will draw near to Me to minister to Me. They will stand before Me to offer Me the fat and the blood”—it is declaration of Adonai." ( Ezekiel 44:15 TLV) They are to deal with that perpectual statue of sacrificing the fat and blood to God. Also, “They will teach My people the difference between the holy and the common and explain to them the difference between the unclean and the clean." ( Ezekiel 44:23 TLV). The Levites are to continue to reconcile between the Jewish people and God, but we are starting to see the longing for a more complete system.

The Besorah portion shows us a new way. The temple sacrifices are no longer necessary, because Yeshua's sacrifice settled things once and for all.

"The Torah has a shadow of the good things to come—not the form itself of the realities. For this reason it can never, by means of the same sacrifices they offer constantly year after year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers—cleansed once and for all—would no longer have consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices is a reminder of sins year after year— for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." (Hebrews 10:1-4 TLV)

The author of Hebrews exposes the faults in the original system. It was not permanent. Only by the sacrifice of Yeshua can our sins be forgiven perfectly.

"For by one offering He has perfected forever those being made holy. The Ruach ha-Kodesh also testifies to us—for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will cut with them: ‘After those days,’ says Adonai, ‘I will put My Torah upon their hearts, and upon their minds I will write it,’” then He says, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Now where there is removal of these, there is no longer an offering for sin."(Hebrews 10:14-18 TLV)

This is powerful stuff. Instead of a perpetual cycle of sacrifices as in Torah, the desires of Haftorah has been fulfilled in a once and for all sacrifice. There is no longer any offering for sin because it has been done.

The passage continues, "Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have boldness to enter into the Holies by the blood of Yeshua." (Hebrews 10:19 TLV)

Yeshua  told his followers that the kingdom was here. If it was here on earth when He walked on Earth 2000 years ago, the kingdom is here now. We just need to hold tight to His promises and proceed in faith that the things the Scriptures say are true.

Today, let us enter boldly into the presence of the Holy One. Let us boldly pray for healing and our needs. Let us boldly love one another, and pray for our enemies. Let us boldly venture into the world around us and allow Messiah Yeshua to change the world through us.

Shabbat Shalom dear ones!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Preparing the House for Passover: What Must I get rid of?

Preparing the House for Passover: What Must I get rid of?

The object of this exercise is to get rid of anything that may have leaven, or chametz in it. “What constitutes leaven?” you may ask.

The rabbinic authority in Ashkenazi tradition has created three basic groups for us to understand Passover foods: foods permitted for Passover, Pesadic; foods that are not exactly forbidden by Torah for Passover, but are not traditionally eaten, Kinyot; foods that are forbidden for Passover, Chametz.  

According to, Chametz is defined as, “...any food product made from wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, or their derivatives, which has leavened (risen). Our sages have determined that flour from any of these five grains that comes in contact with water or moisture will leaven, unless fully baked within eighteen minutes.” 

Kinyot are legumes, bean, rice, peas and corn. They were prohibited in the Ashkenazi tradition because in certain forms they can be confused with chametz. Sephardic Jews permit eating kinyot on Passover. Aside from kinyot, fruits, vegetables and meats are kosher for Passover.

Can Messianic Jews eat kinyot? Kinyot are not strictly forbidden for Passover, so technically yes. It is important, however, to stay true to your family traditions. If you were raised Sephardic, eating rice and beans over Passover, by all means, continue to do so. If your family was Ashkenazi and even eliminated kinyot, abide by those rules. I think, however, that Jewish observance has changed over the years in that Sephardic and Ashkenazi are no longer the only choices in family upbringing. I would stipulate, (many would disagree with me, possibly your local rabbi!), that if you were raised Reform Ashkenazi, then you should continue in that tradition as well. There’s no reason that your favorite Passover lunch of peanut butter and jelly on matzah shouldn’t be passed down to your children(Peanuts are kinyot). If you are unsure or don’t have a tradition to draw from, ask your local rabbi.

What about the use of separate dishes? Once again, I think it is important to stay true to family traditions. If it is a meaningful tradition to take out Passover dishes and completely turn over the kitchen for the week, do so. If you are not observant in this way during the rest of the year, I find it more meaningful to focus on what we can do for Passover without stressing me out. I do have a set of china that I use during the week. Using the china reminds my family that this is a special time, and we use special dishes to commemorate.

One of my favorite resources is the MJRC Standards of Observance. Although I don't agree with everything in the document, I think it is a good document to read when you are learning about Messianic Judaism.

Armed with knowledge, we are ready to move on to cleaning.

To help you with this, I created a downloadable file that you can use as is, in a .pdf, or adjust to meet your need, in a Word document. Go here to download the Passover Cleanup Checklist.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Messianic Times: A Practical Passover Preparation

A Practical Passover Preparation
It’s mid-March, and I am thinking about Passover preparation. As soon as Purim passes, the next few weeks fly by. If I get organized the week before Passover is much less crazy than it could have been. My preparations focus around three major areas: Home preparation, Menu preparation (including the Seder menu) and Spiritual preparation.
Home Preparation
The object of the game is to get rid of anything that may have leaven, or chametz in it. The kitchen and dining room areas are most important because that is where food is. If you already have rules about where food goes in your house, then there’s no need to clean there. Many people use this time as an opportunity for a comprehensive spring cleaning, but this is not necessary.
I make a list of things that need to be cleaned for Passover. I wipe each shelf down, getting rid of crumbs. I run a self-clean on the oven and clean the stove. I wipe the outside of the cabinets, and give the entire downstairs a good vacuum. Ideally, I also give the car a once-over.
Around this time in March, too, I start taking inventory of my pantry, and start to use up the chametz. I also start watching the sales. Our local grocery store often has coupons for matzah and great discounts on grape juice and all things Jewish.
Read the rest over at the Messianic Times. If you are intersted in my Passover Checklist, click here. For what I've written in the past about Passover, click here. Stay tuned for more Passover content tomorrow!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Passover Cleaning Checklist 5775 (2015)

I know that I make lists and lists all the time to get things done. There is something about a list that someone else starts that is comforting - they have to list the same things you do to get it done! So, here is my Passover Cleaning Checklist for this year.

You can download the .pdf file here:  Passover Checklist5775.pdf

You can download an editable Word file here: Passover Checklist5775.docx

Let me know if the links don't work. This is the first time adding a download to the website! Email me at

Friday, March 13, 2015

Passover is Coming!

Have I ever mentioned that Passover is definitely up at the top of my favorite Jewish Holiday list? The whole turing your life upside-down for God for a week helps make my faith tangible.

Here are a few posts about Passover from last year. I hope you enjoy them! As I reread some of my work, I see that I repeat myself. I think I really mean these things that I say!

Path to Passover Series:
Not Perfect: In which I first outline my Passover ideas

Passover Pantry Challenge: Last year's pantry challenge to myself.

Last year I was honored to put together a couple of lovely interviews with women within the Messianic Jewish world. Read these lovely interviews and learn how different people observe Passover. Interview with Miri, and Interview with Michelle Schiffman.

When I say you Passover doesn't have to be perfect, here is the perfect example! Also could be titled, "What to do when sickness hits your house in Passover." The Perfect for us Passover Seder.

Shabbat Shalom dear ones!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Musing about this Blog

As I think about writing in this space, I constantly wonder what my focus should be. There are so many things that interest me, so many things I could write about. It has just about always been a challenge for me to choose between things that I love doing and that I am good at doing. In this space, I am now declaring it a place where I do not have to choose.

I may write about my family, my music, my faith, the medical challenges I have encountered. All of these things are part of me. In all of these things, I can find miracles - large and small.

I am reminded of my first 31 day writing challenge. I wrote 31 Days of Being Me. I rambled about this and that - the things that happened in my life. I will probably continue with that train of thought, perhaps with less rambling.

So don't be surprised to see posts about all sorts of different things. Life as a mom of a child with a g-tube, perhaps. Or, From Behind the Piano. Or How to get ready for Passover. Maybe even [insert number] Reasons I love Dr. Who.

Thanks for coming around. And Yay for warm-er weather!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

It's been a while

It has been quite a while since I have posted. I fell apart during the October 2014 30 days challenge. I thought I had a system all together, a whole month planned out for the challenge, but somehow I fizzled out.

Since then, I have pretty much ignored this blog, finding other things to do with myself. I sewed up a storm during December.

I have been writing monthly at the Messianic Times. There is an archive of my work on the right sidebar. You can scroll down to find my name. The other project taking some time is my work with Achot, the UMJC Sisterhood. I have been editing the newsletter for quite some time now, and since January I have been working on updating the Achot website.

Working on the website, thinking about an editorial calendar, planning out pages, made me think of this, my little home base. So here I am writing again.

Hi :)