We are back home after a month-long trip starting in Bulgaria, California, Tennessee and Texas. It is good to be back home after such a journey. We landed in Israel just in time for the big hullabaloo of the Biblical Holidays, Feast of Trumpets (יום תרועה), The Day of Atonement ((יום הכיפורים, and Tabernacles (Booth(סוכות – . This is a very busy time of the year. Israel and Jerusalem especially is inundated with tourists from all around the world. It is the busiest time also because the shopping season for the holidays is upon us and upon all of Israel. The Christians are not first to invent the Christmas shopping – we Jews have it from the end of August to the end of October. As it is written – “To the Jew First and also to The GREECS.

This week’s Torah reading is one of my favorites, Parashot Nitsavim (Deuteronomy 29:10 – 30:20) the reading of the Prophets, The Haftara) is also one of my favorites (Isaiah 61:10-63:9). I will try to take a little from both the Parashah and the Haftara.

““You are standing today, all of you, before the LORD your God: the heads of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and the sojourner who is in your camp, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water, so that you may enter into the sworn covenant of the LORD your God, which the LORD your God is making with you today, that he may establish you today as his people, and that he may be your God, as he promised you, and as he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. It is not with you alone that I am making this sworn covenant, but with whoever is standing here with us today before the LORD our God, and with whoever is not here with us today. “You know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed. And you have seen their detestable things, their idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold, which were among them. Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the LORD our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit,one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike. The LORD will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the LORD and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven.” (Deuteronomy 29:10–20 ESV)

The first of this reading in Hebrew is “Nitsavim” – it is translated in English as “Standing.” However, “Standing” is not a strong enough word in English to translate “Nitsavim.” – The root word of “Nitsavim” is translated in other places in the as “Standing Erect” – Lot’s wife it says she became a “Nitsav” of salt. The basic meaning of this word is “standing firm/erect/steady.” So Moses is speaking to the Children of Israel who are standing on the shores of the Jordan River – across from Jericho. Note that we are reading in Deuteronomy chapter 29. This is already toward the end of Moses’ lecture to Israel before he goes up to Pisgah to die. The people of Israel are already standing in the sun in the desert where it is hot and dusty. This is just before Passover – the Jordan River Valley could already be as hot as upper 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The people of Israel are there already a couple of hours or more, old and young men and women and children. Now Moses states “you are standing here erect, not sitting down.” The first thing that Moses is reminding Israel in his last speech is that God has made a covenant with Israel’s father, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but not with Israel alone. This covenant Moses says was made: “It is not with you alone that I am making this sworn covenant, but with whoever is standing here with us today before the LORD our God, and with whoever is not here with us today.” This verse is of great importance and it is greatly ignored by both Jews and Christians. The Jews think that God’s covenant is exclusive with Israel and with the Jewish people. It is “our covenant” and no one else’s. This text is very important for me because it states clearly that the covenant of God with Israel is not exclusively for Israel, but for every one who is standing with Israel and not only those of the first generation of Israel standing there with Moses, but with those none Israelites who are not there at that historical moment. This text opens a whole big discussion of should the none Jews who have joined the “commonwealth of Israel” (Ephesians 2:11-12) ought to do. We have two paradigms on this issue in the New Testament. We have Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter 14 – that essentially says that there are more important things in the Kingdom of God than what you eat or what day you keep or don’t keep. The other paradigm is from the teaching of Yeshua and Paul agrees with it – as Yeshua said in the story of the rich-man and Lazarus,

““Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, “No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”” (Luke 16:27–31 NKJV)

I suppose the two paradigms that we find in the New Testament gives each of us the freedom to keep or not to keep the Kosher instructions of the Lord to Israel and the same is true with the Feasts of the Lord. There are more important things for us to do and keep than what we eat or where we celebrate. In fact, today without a temple and without sacrifices and a kosher priesthood in Jerusalem – the whole question is mute.

The Israeli army announced yesterday that in the last 18 months Israel has run 203 air-strikes against Iranian military and terrorist targets in Syria. First, we have to take this information seriously because it demonstrates how seriously Israel is taking the Iran involvement in Syria. Iran is doing everything possible to build a military force with modern and accurate rockets that can hit Israel and every other force that is in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The Americans have the 6th fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean and another two American fleets in the Persian Gulf and in the Straights of Strait of Hormuz. Pray for Israel to be wise and strong to stop Iran from carrying their satanic plans and desire to annihilate Israel and rule the whole Arab Levant and reach the Mediterranean Sea by land.

Please continue to pray for Marcia my wife, and Danah my daughter and Noaam my granddaughter, and Barry my son, and Beth my daughter-in-law, and Joseph Shulam my grandson, and for Marcia’s family and Beth’s family
I would like to ask you to pray for all the brothers and sisters in Bulgaria. Bulgaria is the only country in continental Europe that did not hand the Jews to the German Nazi death camps. The disciples of the Lord in Bulgaria are good people sincere and seeking the Lord. I want to see Bulgaria blessed but especially our brothers and sisters there blessed, both spiritually and physically.Israel and the Israeli government need our prayers and so do many of our countries. It is a command of the Scriptures to pray for our rulers and governments. Let us all keep our own governments in prayer and also all pray for Israel too. The situation with Gaza and the Hamas is one day showing good promises and the next day disaster. So, please pray for Israel and all the neighbors around us.Please keep praying for the replacement of the vehicle of Netivyah. We have a van that is very old and needs replacement. This van serves every aspect of the Netivyah Ministry, the HaMotzi food program, the youth, the old people in the congregation that need a ride to attend the congregation and many more needs. Please consider contribution specified for the Van. Another need is Netivyah general fund. The general fund is the fund that pays salaries and pays postage and telephone and insurance and printing and medial work and much more. So, those of you in the United States who need the tax credit contribute to the Netivyah USA account that way you will receive the tax credit and those of you outside of the United States contribute to Netivyah Israel.

I ask you to pray for Aliyah and absorption of the New Immigrants in Israel. It is of great importance that the immigrants who move to Israel, especially those who come already of age, to be accepted and helped and enabled to learn the language and the costumes of their new old land. Help us help those who are arriving in Israel now!

Please pray for Eliot K., a dear Jewish brother and a friend from the USA who is one of the pioneer leaders of the Jewish Disciples of Yeshua in the USA. Eliot has some serious issues with his kidneys. Lift Eliot before the Lord. Remember our dear brother Jacob Damkani and ask The Lord to give strength and healing to Jacob.

Keep a dear sister in the Lord named Courtney in your prayers. Courtney has a number of health challenges and I ask you all to pray for this dear sister and her healing of all those challenges. There are good people who suffer and our ministry is a ministry of intercession for those whom God puts on our path begging and crying for the sake of our brothers and sisters. How ugly is the attitude of Cain in the book of Genesis, who said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God’s answer not in words but in deeds is, Yes, Cain you are either your brother’s keeper or your brothers murdered. This is on the principle of the New Testament: “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17 NKJV)

On the above teaching – let us do good because we know to do it and because it is the right and good thing to do – pray for our brothers and sisters who need God’s hand of mercy to touch them, their bodies, and our own illnesses will also be touched by His Mercy.

Please continue praying for baby Lion from the Huch family in DFW. Little Lion is doing better in the last week and is back receiving Chemo-Therapy.

Please continue to pray for our Jewish brother Hillel from Helsinki. Pray for Patty, Andrea and Tineke are all in Netherlands and need healing from God.

Continue to Pray for Julia and Victor our dear sister and brother who both need healing and God’s help. Please keep praying for a dear sister named Zhou Wenlian living in China.

Keep praying for the planned conference in Portugal in May 2019. This conference is to awaken governments and the world attention and press for the Restoration of the Anussim (Marranos) both spiritually and physically to their naturals home. Start making plans to attend this conference in May 2019.

Margareta, keep her in your prayers. Please keep praying for dear Ruby. Ruby has been diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer. She is now doing Chemo-Therapy. Pray for Kenneth and Margarite G. in Tennessee. They are worthy for God’s grace and we are privileged to pray for the healing of these dear mother and son who suffer.

Pray for Um Abu-Eid is a dear old Arab sister. Please pray for her healing and strength. The list is still the same Bida, Dr. Altamiro and Cassia, George, Gary, Melanie, Aharon, Yuri Marianenko, Sarit, Ahuva, Leah, Ilana, Miraim, Yehuda H., David Stern, Paulo, Noami, Tim Tucker, Anne-Mirjami, Satu-Maria and Anna-Majia, Sinni Tuuli, Erki and Sirpa, Keijo and Salme, Evelina, Eva H., Horace and June Marcia’s father and mother, Marcelo’s parents. Curita Sensei, the Abe family, Toru, Takeo Sensei, Daisuke Sensei, Tomoko San, Sadako San, Yumi and her husband, and her family in Okinawa. Please pray Ritva Huhtala and for sister Oksanen they need prayer for illness. Please pray for Louisa and Tony in Hong Kong.

I have special concern for our dear brother Goh and his family, and for Sister Christy, Sister Laurel, and for Brother Michael Knezevich. I have a special request from a brother Moshe Daniel from Kenya for his ministry and for the brothers in Kenya. There are other brothers and sisters who have some important challenges in their lives and business. I am not mentioning their names, but each one of us knows people who are fine dedicated servants of God and are going through a difficult time in their work and business. If you would pray for those whom you know that need this prayer – the Lord will surly cover those for whom you pray and those for whom I pray. It is hard enough to live in this world and work and business-related issues make it harder and as much as we pray for the spiritual issues and health issues.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and believe in God’s promises!

Joseph Shulam