On Sunday it is Purim Feast in the Land of Israel. On Monday it is Purim Feast in Jerusalem. The reason for the difference is that Jerusalem is a walled city and in the book of Ester it is said: “But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as on the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.” (Esther 9:18 NKJV) Shushan was a walled city a citadel and that is why they did their feasting and resting on the fifteenth day. Tel-Aviv and the rest of the country and in the Diaspora in the cities that are not walled they keep the Purim Feast on the 14th day of the Month of Adar, and in Jerusalem and walled cities they keep it on the 15th Day of Adar. The names of the months of the Jewish calendar were adopted during the time of Ezra, after the return from the Babylonian exile. The names are Babylonian month names, brought back to Israel by the returning exiles. Essentially they are pagan names. Some of the names are like in the Greek and English names of the months based on pagan idols. The original biblical names are essentially the numbers of the months. Like Nissan is the first month and Adar is the 12th month in the original Hebrew calendar. As you can see the Babylonian names are included in the Hebrew Bible only in the books that after the Exile. Books like Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, are books written in the Exile or after the Exile and they include these Babylonian names of the months. It is something like the American Jews having a Hannukah Bush – i.e. a Christmas Tree. The book of Esther almost did not get into the Canon of the Bible at all. There are three reasons why it was almost rejected in the council of Jamnia: 90 AD. The reasons for the near rejection of the book of Esther are: 1) The name of God does not appear in the book of Esther. There is no mention of God but anyone who reads the book feels that God is behind all the events. 2) The moral character of the book is questionable from the point of view of the Torah morality. Mordechai instructs Esther to lie about her identity. He sends Esther to be a concubine in the court of a pagan king, that for sure has no kosher food. The third reason is that the Jews of Shushan seem to be acting vengefully and like blood thirsty gangs that are anxious to kill more Persians. We are all happy that in the end those Rabbis in Jamnia that understood the importance of this book and saw the inspiration of God in the story even though the name of God does not appear there were the ones victorious in the arguments and the book of Esther is in the Bible. This Shabbat is called in Hebrew Shabbat Zachor – Zachor means “Remember.” Because the special reading is: ““Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God. Therefore it shall be, when the LORD your God has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, that you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget.” (Deuteronomy 25:17–19 NKJV)
There are things that are not worth remembering and it is better to forget them. However, there are things that must be remembered because those who don’t remember are doomed to repeat them. God commands Israel to remember what the Amalek did to the Israelites in the Wilderness of Sinai. King Saul lost his kingdom because he did not remember what the Amalek did to Israel and saved Agag the King of the Amalekites (See 1 Samuel 15). The book of Esther takes us back to this event. Mordechai and Esther (Esther’s name is Hadassa in Hebrew) are from the tribe of Benjamin the same tribe of King Saul. Haman that wanted to kill of the Jews in the Persian Empire is a decedent of Agag the King of Amalek that King Saul spared. The story of Esther is a direct continuation and consequence of what King Saul neglected to do. (See: “In Shushan the citadel there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite.” (Esther 2:5 NKJV) “After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him.”) (Esther 3:1 NKJV)
Of course, the proximity of Purim to the Catholic period of Carnival in Europe and the pagan practices of the Carnival have influenced the European Jews to copy the masks and the drinking habits of the Pagans in Europe and these found a fertile ground in the following verses of the book of Esther (“But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together. . . on the fifteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.” (Esther 9:18) and there you are: Purim Feast alla Carnival, but at least no LENT. As you all know nobody is perfect!
Our Prime Minister went to Moscow for one day to meet with President Putin. I suppose Netanyahu is going there to put in something in Putin’s ear about Iran and their spread in Lebanon and Syria. Netanyahu is afraid that when the battle against ISIS is over the Persians who are strong supporters of President Assad of Syria and of the Hezbollah in Lebanon will want to stay in Syria and Lebanon and open a campaign against Israel on both the Syrian front in the Golan and in South Lebanon. So, please pray for Netanyahu and for Israel. We don’t really want a new battle field with Iran on our northern border. We already have enough problems with Iran, problems that were enhanced by President Obama that ignored all the facts and went head on to both make a deal with Iran that allows them to continue their nuclear development and poured billions of dollars in cash to rebuild their economy. Israel needs your constant prayer for the LORD to stop Iran’s nuclear program and to stop Iran’s aggression against Israel. Iran is over 3000 kilometers from Israel’s borders. It is as far from Israel as Istanbul, Turkey, or Athens, Greece. Only God Himself can do it, and we pray and ask Him to do it.
Pray for our brothers and sisters in Japan! They are going through a leadership transition period and the new leadership needs our prayers. May the LORD God of Israel give the new leader His Holy Spirit and wisdom and knowledge to revive and re-equip the brothers and sisters for the accomplishment of their vision and mission and goals.
Our son Barry is doing better and the incision of the surgery is closing and healing. Thank you for your prayers for Barry and please keep on praying.
Pray for Marcia’s health. Pray for Danah and Noaam. They both need our prayers.
Pray for Kol HaYeshua – we are praying and seeking ways to make our broadcast on the Radio more effective and more beneficial to the people of Israel and the whole Middle East.
Pray for the HaMotzi food distribution program. We have increased the number of recipients of the food. We have taken near 30 more families from Jerusalem’s Social Welfare departments. We would like to increase more into new neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The reason for this need is the poor situation of this city. We have a very large number of citizens of Jerusalem who don’t pay taxes and don’t work. A big part of this population is from the Orthodox Jewish community and others are from the Arab neighborhoods. Another reason for this situation is that lack of jobs in Jerusalem. The young and talented population is moving to the Tel-Aviv region where there are more jobs and better jobs in the High Tech industry of Israel. The HaMotzi program is one of the most appreciated by both the people who receive the food and the city of Jerusalem.
Please pray for more media production by Netivyah. Last week we were in South America and so many people mentioned how they enjoy and how much they learn from the YouTube.com and from our web page short video teachings. We want to expand this area of our ministry and we need your prayers for both the means and the energy that we need to make the best teaching programs. The Media is the best way now to reach the younger generation. The reading of books is now the inheritance of the older generation. We have come to the fulfillment of the prophecy of Marshall McLuhan that the Media is the Message. We need to buy some equipment and a whole lot of inspiration to be doing the best job of spreading the GOOD NEWS. The GOOD NEWS is the only cure for the FAKE NEWS.
Please don’t forget to pray for our sick list and the special needs of so many of our brothers and sisters around the World. This is a real prayer ministry that people from around the world take seriously and pray for each name with the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Our dear sister Lea Kurky is out of the hospital and back home. She still needs our prayers. Daniel P., is now in a Israeli military hospital that is one of the finest in the world for rehabilitation of young man after injury. He is progressing slow but sure. Please keep Daniel P., in your prayers.
Please keep Israel in your prayers. The storm is brewing all around us and unless the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, raise up to save us and deliver us from of our enemies there is no one else who can do it.
I would like to ask you to pray for some friends who have a need for God’s blessing on their work: Chung and Sister Lee. I have special concern for our dear brother Goh and his family, and for Sister Christy, Sister Laurel, and for Brother Michael Kenzevic, and Daniel L., and his company and his family. Pray for our dear brother David H., and his family in Finland. These are brothers who have needs in their work and God is gracious to bless and help those who have concern to bless others.
Please don’t forget to especial pray for healing and strength for our dear brothers in Murfreesboro. Pray for our dear brother and sister Bobby, and Emmet, and Joe M., and Gloria D., these are all very precious brothers and friends are battling serious health issues and we must keep them in our prayers.
Please don’t forget to pray for our dear sister Ruby, and for my finest teachers, Dr. John McRay, and George Howard.
Keep Gary in your prayers and Nancy’s and Don’s son Aharon who is doing better now, but still is struggling with a tumor in his brain keep him in your prayers please! Yuri Marianenko a member of our congregation in Jerusalem is fighting a prostate cancer. Our wonderful older brothers and sisters need our prayers: Ahuvah Ben Meir, David Stern, Sarit, Miriam, Ilana, and Leah. This week I am adding to this prayer list our dear sister Lydia – lift her up in your prayers.
We lift up our dear brothers and sisters Clara, Paulo, Naomi, Tim Tucker, Anna is in the hospital again and in not such a good condition, Anne-Mirijami, Satu-Maria, Anna-Majia, Sinni Tuuli, Erki and Sirpa, and Evelina, Eva H., and our dear sister Liz J., in Georgia, and Horace and June Marcia’s parents.
We especially lift up before your throne of mercy Marcelo’s father and mother in Belo-Horizonte.
We pray for Pastor Curita in Tokyo, Toru San, and the husband of Yumi, Sadako San, Shoko San, Takeo Sensei and Tomoko San all in Japan.
God bless you all who pray for Israel and for the Peace of Jerusalem. May the Lord God of Israel and Father of our Messiah Yeshua give you all the blessings that He promised to Abraham for all those who bless the Seed of Abraham – Israel.
May the good Lord keep all HIS blessings flowing to you and from you for the body of the Messiah worldwide.