4th May 2020

Shalom!

We are rapidly moving towards the holiday of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks), hence, the Sfirat Ha'Omer (literally, "the counting of the Sheaves") is coming to an end.

A few words about Sfirat Ha'Omer

Sfirat Ha'Omer is a hint on the willingness of our souls to receive the Torah and God's spirit. "Omer" - from Hebrew - barley. Barley is a very adaptable and well-growing plant in any nature or surrounding, very healthy at the same time.

We can look from two angles on this.

First, Omer (the barley) those are we, who, by the Grace of God, can be placed anywhere, in any country or land or nation to walk before Him.

Second, Omer is a good fruit of our life, no matter from which background we come, rich or poor, strong or weak, educated or less educated - everyone can do something unique that pleases the Creator.

Shavuot or the day of Giving of the Torah (not the law, not the covenant, not the principles, but the Torah - a word that is not easy to translate, but which means for the creation of God the same as blood for the human body) connects us with THE Operator Of This World himself and with all his creation, encouraging and teaching us to do the deeds of God for others and ourselves.

Shavuot is also the day of Giving of God's Spirit. Not just a "power cartridge for miracles," but similar to "God's Hand" introducing us to the Father's chamber and making us participants in his processes. Almost the same as the Giving of the Torah, but in this case, extending the number of participants (recognizing eligible people from all nations, not just Israel)!

Therefore, using this opportunity - congratulations on the Feast of Shavuot!

I would like to express my gratitude for your prayers and financial assistance and thus partaking in the life of our ministry. For us, this is a great blessing and a real opportunity to serve, knowing that YOU ARE UPHOLDING OUR HANDS.

A peace from the Scriptures for today - hopefully, this will be useful for reflection and application:

These days, chapters 1 to 4 from the book of Bemidbar (Numbers), are being studied. This is the so-called "weekly reading portion" in the Jewish annual study cycle of scripture.

We read two interconnected texts from Numbers 1 and Numbers 2:

...and they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month; and they recited their ancestry by families, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, each one individually. (Numbers 1:18)

It says here that after recounting all the sons of Israel (20 years old and more, qualified for war) there were 603,000+ men. Approximately the same number as those who left Egypt (then they were 600,000 men qualified for war). Meaning, years later we see a small but positive dynamic..

The following text is read from Numbers 2:

Everyone of the children of Israel shall camp by his own standard, beside the emblems of his father's house; they shall camp some distance from the tabernacle of meeting. On the east side, toward the rising of the sun, those of the standard of the forces with Judah shall camp according to their armies; and Nahshon the son of Amminadab shall be the leader of the children of Judah. (Numbers 2: 2,3)

These and the following verses speak of the construction of the camp of Israel ... the Levites were in the center surrounded by four groups of three. One group under the leadership of Judah (+Zvulon and Issachar), the other is Reuben (+Shimon and Gad), Ephraim (+Benjamin and Menashe) and Dan (+Naftali and Asher).

A few thoughts from these texts ...

Everyone trusts that God "counts the hair on our head" - there is no doubt about that. But each of us understands that we are not perfect, and we sin a lot. It could be some real sins or problems with our thoughts or motives. Like the sons of Israel in the desert, they were directed upon God and God was in their midst, but periodically sin or grumbling or some other problems arose. Therefore, we have a reference point - Heaven / Heavenly Father / redemption in the Messiah - and can be absolutely sure that God, leading everyone through the circumstances of life, will leave us in CREDIT. And I am not talking now about money or condition, on the contrary - I am talking about the fruits of our lives. The Psalm persuades us to trust God: "to dwell in the shelter of the Most High."


A word on the location of the tribes

Not only Levi, standing in the middle the camp, served God. But the combination of all the tribes and their connection with one another built the structure of the true worship before God.

It is interesting to investigate the arrangement of groups made of three tribes. The arrangement of the tribes, or preferably a combination of their characteristics. By the heavenly wisdom, one complemented the other - for example Reuben, "overflowing with the desire for life, but not always stable" was joined with a "bold" Shimon and with the reflective Gad, a worshiper before God. This combination of their personalities/gifts made them able to go under the leadership of Reuben.

Similar, Zvulon, trading in the latitudes of Mount Carmel and Issachar, absorbed by the Torah were under the leadership of Judah, who in his turn was provided with the "Voice of the Lord." As they moved forward, they were creating an unusual alliance of gifts that give them both natural and supernatural power, thus complemented the rest of the tribes and all together they could exalt the presence of the Almighty among the peoples on earth. The same applies to Ephraim and Dan ...

An important lesson for us. God emphasizes the diverse nature of unity - when each one develops his gift, his understanding, and is respecting (even if he does not fully understand) the gifts of the other, trusting God that each of us is member of the Body of the Lord, and together we form a force. Paul later speaks of this in Romans 12:5.

The unity that was shaken so much among believers in the 20th-21st century. Still, unity is so significant that it can attract God's power and make each of us a light and an instrument in the hands of our Heavenly Father.


In conclusion, a few prayer requests:

Israel is exiting quarantine and we continue to renew our projects that were in "sleep mode." We ask for prayers and support for:

  • Music and Art school - for children from new immigrant families.
  • Humanitarian ministry and aid for the needy.
  • Online Oasis-Media Studio (on the basis of it we stream all our broadcasts and share the word of God).

Sincerely,

Donate to the work of Leon and Nina Mazin
at Shavei Tsion congregation in Haifa ...