Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Happy New Year!

Exodus 2:2 finds the Lord instructing Israel "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you."

Here in the Western World, we celebrated our New Year January 1, 2010.
In the Jewish World, they will celebrate the Biblical New Year on March 15th, at sundown.

I'm looking through the different names that have been given the month of Nisan.  "Rosh Chodashim" which means the head of months, "Chodesh Ha-Aviv" or the month of spring and "Chodesh Yehudah" or the month of Judah.

Some interesting facts about Judah:

Judah was Jacob's fourth son through Leah, but he inherited the birthright.  Reuben had it taken from him for wrongdoing (he slept with his father's concubine Bilhah) and Shimon and Levy lost the inheritence because of their actions at Shechem.

Judah offers himself as a sacrifice and plays the role of intercessor for Israel when he pleads with Pharoah on behalf of his father, Jacob, to not take Benjamin as "bondman", but to take him instead. 

At Jacob's death, he prophesied that Judah would be praised by his brothers, that the "scepter shall not depart from Judah...until Shiloh (which means quiet rest and is interpreted as the Messiah) comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people."

The name Judah in the Hebrew includes the Name YHVH with the letter "dalet" included.  This is suggesting that Judah would be the "door" into the Lord's presence (dalet is the fourth letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet and means tent door or pathway).  In Numbers, we read that the tribe of Judah was camped right in front of the door to the Tabernacle.

Jesus calls and refers to Himself as "the door" in John 10.

In the Zohar (which I'm merely quoting), dalet is read as "that has nothing [d'leit] of her own."  It is the consciousness of possessing nothing of one's own.  That one's accomplishments are known not to be of "my power and the strength of my hand".  It speaks of having no other light than that which is received from the higher light.  As one reads through the New Testament, it is clear that Jesus is always pointing the people towards the Lord.  Never asking for glory or worship (although He did not stop others from doing these things), but continually humbling Himself. 

This humility coupled with selflessness (Mt 16:24) is what the Lord asks of us.

This speaks to us today.  If we have chosen the Door, the Way, Messiah, we are to take the Son's example and always seek to reflect the light of His life to others.  To live out Micah 6:8 "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  To make a difference in our world, so that others will ask "What is different about you?  And how can I have that?"

A challenge for me today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


We all have a beginning.
Sometimes, we have more than one.

This is a place for me to go and share where my footsteps are beginning to lead on the journey Home.  I stumble, I fall.  At times, I run and every now and then, I fly.

Right now, I'm swimming.  I've jumped into a opaque, deep pool of Living Water.  I've been floating for a long time.  Mostly, I've been afraid to do much more than this.  It's safer at the shallow end!  The Lord invited me to take a step, or stroke, to faith.  To head out into deeper water and be amazed.

An invitation from the Author.

Who begins our understanding of time and history with Bereishit, which means "in beginning of".  My Bible says "In the beginning."  But that's not quite a literal translation of the Hebrew.  Bereishit is really the word resheit and the prefix of beth, or the letter B, meaning "in".  So, at the beginning, there is no "the".  Just "in beginning of".


If He wanted to, the Lord could have inspired the use of the word barishonah, which does mean "at the beginning" or "at first".  If He had used this word, we would be reading "At the beginning" or "At first, God created the heavens and the earth." instead, which makes a lot more sense to my Western mind than "In beginning of, God created the heavens and the earth."  My English teacher would be horrified.

Instead, He chose resheit.  It's a word that in no other place in the Bible doesn't not have a noun immediately following it to let us know exactly what it is that has begun.  The nouns give us context.  We know what is beginning.

Genesis 1:1 though, is missing its noun.  "In beginning of ____________, God created the heavens and the earth."  We're given an emptiness, a hole, a fill in the blank so to speak.  Jewish commentator, Rashi, brings up that if Genesis 1:1 is about the start of the arrangement or progression of creation, then it should say "of the Lord God's creation of' as is found in Genesis 2:4's 'when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens'."

Could it be that in choosing to inspire the Word to be written in this way, with no "the" at the beginning, the Lord is trying to tell us that something unique--so totally different is happening alongside His fashioning creation?  Do I dare take this fill in the blank as an invitation to swim to a deeper part of the pool?

Could that noun that should follow "in beginning of" be the word decision or desire?  Because it is here, in this grammatical emptiness and infinite eternity, that a complex choice was made by the Lord.  To increase His relationships--which encompasses and unfolds at the same time--to create.  Things and beings outside of Himself, in relationship to and fellowship with Him.

It is quite literally, when Time and existence apart from the Lord began.

And that, of course, is only one of my beginnings.