The Jerusalem Prayer List – September 17, 2009
Jerusalem is ready for the Rosh HaShana holiday. Rosh HaShana is the Biblical feast of Trumpets. It is written in Lev. 23:24, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.” We also have almost the same text in Num. 29:1, “Now in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall also have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. It will be to you a day for blowing trumpets.” Although it is the first day of the Seventh month when the Jews were in Babylon for seventy years of exile they adapted the Babylonian calendar and the new year was attached to the biblical feast of Trumpets on the first day of the Seventh month. There are three things that are celebrated on this feast, the Kingship of God over the whole Universe, the blowing of the Trumpets, and our collective historical memory as a preparation for the Judgment Day of God. These three things are unique and as far as I know only Israel has such a day every year in which God is crowned as King over our individual lives and over our nation and over the whole of Universe, and at the same time there is a memory of our past as a preparation for the future day of Judgment. In fact it is believed by some that the Day of Judgment is on Rosh HaShana and that on the Fast day of Yom Kippur our verdict is read. There is an interesting story about Rabbi Amnon of Magenza, Magenza is todays city of Mainz in Germany, not too far from the Frankfurt A.M. International Airport. Here is a short version of Rabbi Amnon’s story and prayer taken from the web page of the Orthodox Union of America:
The Bishop of Mainz called his old friend Rabbi Amnon, a great Torah scholar, to his court and offered him a ministerial post on the condition that Rabbi Amnon would convert to Christianity. Rabbi Amnon asked the Bishop for three days to consider his offer.
As soon as Rabbi Amnon returned home, he was distraught at the terrible mistake he had made of even appearing to consider the Bishop’s offer and the betrayal of God. For three days he could not eat or sleep and he prayed to God for forgiveness. When the deadline for decision arrived, the Bishop sent messenger after messenger to bring Rabbi Amnon, but he refused to go. Finally, the Bishop had him forcibly brought to him and demanded a response. The Rabbi responded, “I should have my tongue cut out for not having refused immediately.” The Bishop angrily had Rabbi Amnon’s hands and feet cut off and then sent him home.
A few days later was Rosh HaShanah, and Rabbi Amnon, dying from his wounds, asked to be carried to Synagogue. He wished to say the Kedushah to sanctify God’s Name and publicly declare his faith in God’s Kingship. With his dying breath, he uttered the words that we now know of as the U’Netaneh Tokef.
The following is the full translated text of the great prayer, “U’Netaneh Tokef,” attributed to Rabbi Amnon of Mainz, as related to Rabbi Klonimus ben Meshullam
So now, the Kedushah prayer shall ascend to You, for You, our God, are King.
Let us now relate the power of this day’s holiness, for it is awesome and frightening. On it Your Kingship will be exalted; Your throne will be firmed with kindness and You will sit upon it in truth. It is true that You alone are the One Who judges, proves, knows, and bears witness; Who writes and seats, (counts and calculates); Who remembers all that was forgotten. You will open the Book of Chronicles – it will read itself, and everyone’s signature is in it. The great shofar will be sounded and a still, thin sound will be heard. Angels will hasten, a trembling and terror will seize them – and they will say, ‘Behold, it is the Day of Judgment, to muster the heavenly host for judgment!’- for they cannot be vindicated in Your eyes in judgment.
All mankind will pass before You like members of the flock. Like a shepherd pasturing his flock, making sheep pass under his staff, so shall You cause to pass, count, calculate, and consider the soul of all the living; and You shall apportion the fixed needs of all Your creatures and inscribe their verdict.
On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquillity and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.
But REPENTANCE, PRAYER and CHARITY Remove the Evil of the Decree!
For Your Name signifies Your praise: hard to anger and easy to appease, for You do not wish the death of one deserving death, but that he repent from his way and live. Until the day of his death You await him; if he repents You will accept him immediately.
It is true that You are their Creator and You know their inclination, for they are flesh and blood. A man’s origin is from dust and his destiny is back to dust, at risk of his life he earns his bread; he is likened to a broken shard, withering grass, a fading flower, a passing shade, a dissipating cloud, a blowing wind, flying dust, and a fleeting dream.
But You are the King, the Living and Enduring God.
There is no set span to Your years and there is no end to the length of Your days. It is impossible to estimate the angelic chariots of Your glory and to elucidate Your Name’s inscrutability. Your Name is worthy of You and You are worthy of Your Name, and You have included Your Name in our name.
This prayer that is written in such sad circumstances is still so beautiful although there are some points that as Disciples of Yeshua we would put in different words. The important thing in this prayer is the sincere faith in the judgment day and in the Kingship of the Almighty God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. The most realistic way in which Rabbi Amnon expressed his faith in God’s ultimate judgement of all flesh is something that we can all agree with Rabbi Amnon’s words.
Well, at the end of the year we have to thank God for all that has happened in this past year. It was not an easy year but we also had our victories and the biggest one was the one from last week when we received the verdict of the district court Judge in Jerusalem. For those of you that did not hear from me last week let me repeat the good news: The district court judge gave us all that we have asked in the way of building permit, change of status as far as the use of the building is concerned and actually much more. We are very thankful to God and to the Israeli justice system for their fair and balanced judicial system and the victory of democracy.
Now we have to start very serious prayer vigil and ask you too to lift us up on prayer so that we can see the hand of the Lord use you and others to provide the funds to build and provide ample space for the activities of our congregation. I can’t actually go into great details in this prayer list forum but I can tell all of you that building this building is going to be a landmark for the Kingdom of God in Israel. The significance of this building is not only physical but mainly spiritual. We were the first in all of Israel to actually as a local congregation that is not connected to any denomination and not a part of any foreign or local missionary organization owned our own building. We were the first to actually have a Jewish Synagogue style service in Jerusalem. We were the first local Jewish believers in Yeshua to actually have a humanitarian food distribution ministry in Jerusalem. We are, the Lord willing, going to be the first to have a First Century Synagogue of Jewish Disciples of Yeshua in this city of the Great King, Jerusalem. We need your help!
Yesterday was the first day of the new arrangements in the food distribution of the Soup-Kitchen. We no longer take food to people’s homes. It just got so big and so laborious that it was no longer practical to do so and Yuda could not go around the whole city of Jerusalem climbing three or four sets of stairs to bring food to people’s homes. The Soup-Kitchen staff said that there were over 200 people who actually came in person to pick up the food, and the total number of people who will enjoy this food could be as much as double or triple that number. Every charity in this city has reported increase in the number of needy people in Jerusalem. This is a very important and purely humanitarian blessing to the poor people of Jerusalem. The Soup-Kitchen is for us all a kind of a small type of fire insurance that when we come to the judgment day we will not hear the Lord say to us, “I was hungry and you fed me not.” We are feeding the poor of Jerusalem and those who support any of the Soup-Kitchens of Jerusalem are blessing this city of Jerusalem and contributing to the peace of the citizens.
Please pray for Lonnie Smith and Barbara. Lonnie is a dear brother who has been a wonderful witness since the 1960’s and has brought glory to God and to Yeshua for so many years. Now Lonnie is in his mid 80’s and is in the hospital with some serious condition. Barbara is by Lonnie’s side and she too needs your prayers.
We continue to pray for all those with chronic health problems and we ask for God’s healing hands to touch these dear brothers and sisters in Jerusalem and Oklahoma City and Curitiba, Brazil, and California, and Tennessee, and Finland, and Germany, and Japan. I will not list the names this time, but I will ask you to pray from last week’s list and to also pray for all those sick friends and relatives that you can think of anywhere in the world. Prayer for healing the sick is a big mitzvah in Judaism and I believe that it is a mitzvah for every disciple of Yeshua to lift up the sick and the suffering in this world and mention to God with authority in Yeshua’s name to heal those whom we love and honor and respect.
Pray for the so called “peace process” in the Middle East. Pray for Judge Goldstone from South Africa who’s eyes were blinded from seeing the truth about Israel’s war in Gaza this last year. Israel’s soldiers are not angles but in comparison to the terrorist of the Hamas in Gaza they are Arch-Angles. Mistakes are made in wars, but I can tell you that Israel’s army does everything possible to keep from making such mistakes and if the mistakes are made officers and soldiers are both judged and at times even put in jail. The Hamas sends terrorists to blow themselves up in Supper-Markets and Shopping Centers with the express purpose to kill civilians and when they do the people of Gaza dance on their roof tops and hand out candy and coffee to passers by. The world is not fair and Judge Goldstone from South Africa was not given all the facts and did not check both sides and made a judgment that was built on bias and prejudicial one sided evidence. I see this act of the United Nations as another nail in the coffin of this organization that has always been manipulated by the Arab block and the enemies of democracy and freedom. Well, just pray for our world and pray for Israel to continue and have the power and the means to defend itself against those who want to see it’s demise. This I believe to be God’s will and program for Israel and for all those who seek justice and righteousness in our world.
Thank you for your support and blessing and enjoy the Autumn or the Spring in South America,