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Netivyah News

Last updated April 19, 2024

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Yehuda Bachana: Messiah Didn’t Come for the Healthy

WOW! These were definitely a few of the most strenuous weeks for the State of Israel, at least for my generation. As a child, I remember how Israel was threatened and in fear of a chemical attack by Iraq, during the Gulf War. Every home in Israel had a completely sealed room, including gas masks. I remember how we’d decorated the card board box of our personal gas mask, and we would take it with us wherever we’d go.

During that war, Iraq fired 39 rockets at Israel. Those rockets mostly caused damage in the regions of Dan and Tel Aviv. Back then, the ‘Patriot’ defensive missile system helped only partly.

In the night between last Shabbat and Sunday morning, Iran fired over 300 (!) rockets – including about 170 UAV’s, some 30 cruise missiles and 120 ballistic missiles, all in just a few hours!

Israel and her allies succeeded to stop closely to 99% of this historic missile attack. Without a doubt, this was a success on a global scale, and I’m not sure if we fully understand the greatness of this miracle/army-success. The issue here, isn’t about the success of having stopped just one or two missiles or UAVs (which are hard to lock on to by our defense systems, due to their very low radar cross section). But rather, for the first time in military history, Israel stopped more than 300 threats at once.

Is that a miracle or an military success?

As believers, we can sum up our answer by saying that God is the true Keeper of Israel; then, call it the end of the discussion, go home and wait for God to save, protect and redeem us with His mighty hand.

Such an approach was common at the re-birth of the State of Israel in 1948 when many opposed immigration to Israel, as well as the assistance to rebuilding the State of Israel. The idea was, that God is the true Defender of Israel and the Jewish People, and that Messiah had to re-build the Land of Israel (and not us, people). They argued that us taking action – instead of waiting on God – actually prevents God from taking action, and would not be for a blessing. It just wasn’t according to God’s will.

That’s their way of thinking, and in my opinion they were wrong.

I believe God uses people to be His hands and feet to fulfill His will. We are instruments in His hands, and we can be instruments for His blessing and honor, and tools for the Kingdom of Heaven (of course, we also have the choice to break and tear down, instead).

Of course, God is the Keeper of Israel and His will be done, for the good or even for the bad. But, throughout history, God used people to carry out His plans. He used David to bring victory and win wars, while conquering the Land of Israel. Who had victory of Goliath – was it God or David?

“This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down (…)” (I Samuel 17:46)

In this way, the soldiers of the IDF are God’s representatives, the keepers of Israel, and an extension of God’s arm.  

As believers, sometimes we tend to forget the importance of deeds, and tend to prioritize faith – and truly, faith is the first and foremost step. And yes! May God’s will be done. However, the story doesn’t end here, as it actually only begins there. The grand question is who is willing to be used by God to bring His plan to action?

Both last week, as well as this week’s Torah portion, deal with leprosy.

Let’s zoom back into last week’s question how that topic is relevant to us as believers and to our faith today (what can we learn from this Torah Portion?)

We can always read the Torah and translate it within the spirit and context of the text. That way, we keep the general direction that the Torah directs and guides us in – from generation-to-generation. As the central task of the Torah is to guide and light our path.

The Torah is light.

Our sages describe our life-journey as a man who walks at night, and who’s afraid of the journey: of the thorns, of stumbling and falling, as well as of wild animals or robbers.

The Torah is likened to a light that succeeds to break through the dark night. At first, the light scares off the wild animals, but it also lights up the way and prevents us from injuries and falling.

When we reach a cross-roads, and don’t know the right direction, the Torah shows us which way to go:

“For the commandment is a lamp and the law a light” (Proverbs 6:23)

Commandments are like private candles, and the Torah like a bright light.

Whoever keeps and lives according to the commandments of the Torah, is like a man holding a candle that lights up his surroundings. The neighbors who want to come closer to that light, will do so. That’s the importance of our faith life and the spreading of light. Yeshua is the light – our light – and through our faith in Yeshua, we can know which road to take. We aren’t lost, we just have to remember to let Yeshua lead us and to shine His light in all parts of our life.

When we talk about this week’s topic of lepers, we have to translate it into a topic that is relevant for us today. And so, we could translate this idea and say that, even today, we are surrounded by many ‘lepers’. Not ‘lepers’ in a medical or physical way, but in a social way. And yes, sometimes, those ‘lepers’ don’t look the best, or they don’t take care of themselves, their clothes might smell and they also act oddly.

We’d just prefer they wouldn’t be near us. And especially not near our children. If we could, we’d separate them and send them off to some distanced place.

At times, people look at us – Disciples of Yeshua the Messiah – as lepers, and they’d prefer to send us away, to quarantine us and keep us as far away as possible.

As we read these two Torah portions, the priest and the leper are at the center. The leper stands on one side: feeling embarrassed, and perhaps even humiliated, as the uncleanliness is physically visible. The priest stands across from him.

Why then, does the leper stand across a priest, and not across a medical specialist?

The main reason is because leprosy is commonly accepted as a punishment, rather than a sickness. Leprosy is an outer sign of inner uncleanliness.

In addition, we should examine the task - or even more precisely - the character of the priest. Jewish tradition defines priests as: ‘loving peace, pursuing peace, loving the public’ (Pirkei Avot chapter 1, Mishna 12)

Meaning, the one who blesses people and the nation ‘with love’, the one serving people, is also able to judge others and examine their afflictions. That task isn’t meant for negative people who notice each and every shortcoming.

Exactly here, the task of Yeshua stands out.
Yeshua came to serve humanity and individual people with love, compassion and patience. The sick, rejected, hurt and miserable came regularly to Yeshua, because Yeshua heals the human soul, and because He loves.

By the way, this is the background for the parable of the Lost Sheep. Yeshua was asked, why He (Yeshua) hangs out with sinners? Why doesn’t He invest more time in Bible study, to study and teach those who want to learn more, to spend more quality time with the bright students, with leaders, with those who are hungry for the Word of God.

Why waste time and energy on lost souls, on those who are condemned by society, on sinners who aren’t worthy of our consideration. Yeshua reminds us that:

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” (Mathew 9:12)

Please join us in prayer for:

Roeh Israel, our kehilla

- The health of some of our members, and for Joseph and Marcia Shulam in particular.

- Our youth was supposed to go camping this week, but it got canceled due to the attack from Iran (which canceled all school activities and youth camps all over Israel). Needless to say, the teenagers are disappointed. We hope we can still have fun with them during Pesach, but perhaps with an alternative activity.

- We got a special activity pack to teach the younger kids about Pesach for the coming two weeks, and are excited to work with it.

The state of israel

During this long Hamas-war, Netivyah has supported many IDF-units. This week we had the privilege of handing out special gear to a unit that had been waited for it, for a long time. We just received a very grateful phone call, expressing their great appreciation.

We also blessed another special unit with a lunch, this week.

And we are in the process of purchasing more gear.

The war isn’t over yet, please continue to lift up all our soldiers (protection, high morale, health) – as well as their families – and the State of Israel (wisdom, clarity).

Hamotzi

This week is perhaps our busiest week of the year, because of Pesach. May we continue to remember that it’s a true privilege to serve each of these families-in-need, to be focused on serving them with a warm heart and our full attention, especially before this special Pesach-feast. May Yeshua’s love and light shine through our hospitality and generosity.

 

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Shabbat shalom,

Yehuda and Lydia Bachana
Netivyah and the Roeh Israel congregation

Israel is at
War
Many soldiers need your help.

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