Tag Archives: HaShem

So Many Holy Days!

On the eighth day hold an assembly and do no regular work.

 Bemidbar (Numbers) 29:35

Tishrei is a special month in the Biblical calendar due to the number of Holy Days observed.

 The first day of the month, which the world calls Rosh Hashanah, the so-called Jewish New Year, is really the Festival of the Sounding of the Shofar.Yom Teruah marks the beginning of a time of spiritual introspection and community reconciliation culminating in Yom Kippur. Five days afterwards is the seven-day long, Sukkot. Immediately following the seventh day of Sukkot is another holy day, called in Hebrew Shemini Atzeret, which simply means the “Assembly of the eight (day).”

Shemini Atzeret coincides with the completion and recommencing of the annual cycle of the reading of the Torah. A special celebration, called “Simchat Torah” (Joy of the Torah) is observed. In the Land of Israel Simchat Torah is observed on Shemini Atzeret. Outside of the Land of Israel where certain holy days are doubled, Simchat Torah is observed on the second day of Shemini Atzeret.

If all these special days seems like a lot to you, it’s because one half of this whole Biblical month is given over to a special focus on G-d. Fulfilling all these observances would mean major changes to our normal schedule. In Bible times, celebrating Sukkot meant taking your whole family to Jerusalem for the week.

But I think G-d knows that our normal schedules need upsetting.

In our fast paced society, it seems that we have a lot of difficulty breaking our normal routine to give G-d this kind of attention, but I don’t think we need it any less than the people of ancient times.

Those of us who do take time for G-d often approach him as we do many other things we do. We slot him in somewhere. We spend time with G-d just like any other meeting, rarely taking time to linger in his presence, not to mention setting apart several days just to focus on Him.

When G-d provided His people with His yearly calendar, He directed us to give over to Him large amounts of time. Besides the weekly Sabbath, there are festivals throughout the year. Once a year there would be these two weeks, which includes even more intense time with Him.

Those who know Yeshua but believe the L-rd has “released” His people from Torah may think that we are “free” from such observances. But if the people back then needed this kind of time with G-d, how much more should we want to have intense and prolonged times with him now?

 If we know the love of G-d in Yeshua should we not want to spend more time with him, not less?

Series: 1 and 2 Peter [audio]

The epistles of 1 and 2 Peter (Kefa) contain priceless wisdom for the maturing believer in Messiah Yeshua. Below is a collection of messages from Derek Blumenthal comprising a verse-by-verse study of the two letters.


What the Torah Says [audio]

The topical series, delivered in April through June of 2014, was created according to the requests of Beth Sar Shalom congregants and explores what the Bible has to say on a variety of subjects.

Each message can be downloaded for offline listening by right clicking on the title and selecting Save Target As or Save Link As.


1 – Shomar Shabbat 6 – Friendship and Fellowship
2 – The Tongue 7 – Marriage and Romantic Relationships
3 – Brit Milah (Circumcision), Tevilah (Immersion) 8 – Pain and Suffering
4 – Tzitzit, Tefillin, Head Coverings 9 – Our Adversary
5 – Work and Finances


The Covenants [audio]

This in-depth series provides an overview of the covenants HaShem made with Israel and how through them he gradually revealed His specific plan of salvation – all pointing to Messiah Yeshua. Also explained are several passages of Scripture that are commonly thought of as covenants but don’t actually fit the biblical description.

This series, delivered by Ryan Tyson in June 2013 through January 2014 at Beth Sar Shalom, uses Tim Hegg’s book “The Biblical Doctrine of Salvation” as its main source material.

Each message can be downloaded for offline listening by right clicking on the title and selecting Save Target As or Save Link As.

NOTE: Message 5 is intentionally missing from the playlist since there were errors in the recording.

Intro to Torah Living [audio]

The Intro to Torah Living series is a perfect primer for someone new to the Messianic Torah lifestyle. Covering topics such as Shabbat, holy days, kosher, synagogue liturgy, rabbinic literature, and much more, there is something in there for everyone to learn.

This series, delivered in September through November of 2012 at Beth Sar Shalom, uses Tim Hegg’s “Introduction to Torah Living” book as the primary source material.

Each message can be downloaded for offline listening by right clicking on the title and selecting Save Target As or Save Link As.


1 – Who is a Jew? 8 – Synagogue Liturgy
2 – Judaism Overview 9 – Appointed Times 1 of 3
3 – First Century Judaisms 10 – Appointed Times 2 of 3
4 – Rabbinic Judaism 11 – Appointed Times 3 of 3
5 – Rabbinic Literature 12 – Cycle of Life
6 – History of the Synagogue and the Church 13 – Objects and Symbols Used in Jewish Worship
7 – Synagogue Traditions in Worship

Amidah Explained [audio]

The Amidah (or Shemoneh Esrei, “Eighteen”) is one of the most well-known and central Jewish prayers in the siddur. Much of the prayer dates back to period of the Men of the Great Assembly in the 1st century BCE. Although liturgical prayer can be intimidating to some due to its formality, there is great benefit in using it to guide your prayer time.

This series, delivered in January through April of 2014 at Beth Sar Shalom, explores the history and biblical basis for each of the 19 parts (as well as why it’s called “Eighteen” and not “Nineteen”!)

Each message can be downloaded for offline listening by right clicking on the title and selecting Save Target As or Save Link As.

Messiah in Passover

Then Moses said to the people, “Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the L-RD brought you out of it with a mighty hand.” Shemot / Exodus 13:3.

English: Passover plate with symbolic foods: m...
Passover plate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Passover is the story of a people – a people of destiny, called by G-d to be a blessing to the entire world, yet trapped as slaves in Egypt. G-d had promised to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that they would become a great and blessed nation in their own land. But eventually they found themselves in a most impossible and oppressive situation. Finally G-d sent Moses to confront Pharaoh, King of Egypt, demanding the release of his people. Pharaoh’s stubborn refusal resulted in G-d’s demonstration of power through destructive signs and wonders. Yet Pharaoh still refused to let the people of Israel leave.

Even though the celebration of Passover recalls the various elements of this story, the name of the Holy Day focuses on one particular event. While every detail contributed to the eventual release of the people, it was the last plague that made the difference, and it is this that is most essential to remember.

Passover Fun: Death of the First Born Masks
Death of the First Born Masks (Photo credit: Scott Robbin)

When G-d told Moses how to prepare for the final plague, there was no doubt that it would be this that would ensure Israel’s freedom. G-d determined that every firstborn human and animal of Egypt would die. The act of judgment was going to be applied to all Egypt. The only way that Israel would be unaffected would be if they would follow G-d’s specific instructions. Every household was required to take a lamb, slaughter it, and apply its blood to the doorframes of their homes. If and when the L-rd would see the blood on a house, he would pass over it. Thus the name “Passover.”

So year after year we remember the Passover Lamb. During the days of the Temple, the people were to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Each family would offer a lamb and eat it along with bitter herbs and matzo (unleavened bread) in order to remember what G-d had done for us. In the modern celebration we have two things that are reminiscent of the annual Passover sacrifice. One is a lamb shank bone and the other is a special piece of matzo, called the afikomen, which is eaten following the meal.

Through all this we see that it is essential to not only remember what G-d did, but also how he did it. Even though G-d determined to rescue us from bondage, and even though he provided a way of escape from oppression, if our ancestors had not applied the blood of the lamb to the doorframes of their homes, we too would have experienced the same judgment as the rest of Egypt.

So year after year we were required to commemorate this great miracle of deliverance, but we also realized that our deliverance from physical slavery was not sufficient. While we were free in body, we remained bound in spirit. Called by G-d to be his special people, we were not up to the task. It became clear that we required another more profound deliverance. A deliverance from those things that prevented us from being the people G-d called us to be.

We read in the Hebrew Scriptures that through the centuries a new hope in Israel emerged – that there would be another deliverer – greater than Moses – who would rescue us from our spiritual bondage. That person became known as the Messiah.

365/106  Lamb
365/106 Lamb (Photo credit: justmakeit)

It should be no surprise therefore that when Yeshua came on the scene he would be called “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). For there is another judgment coming, not only upon one nation, but upon the whole world. But just like the Passover of old, so today we too have the opportunity to see that judgment pass over us, if we apply the blood of G-d’s lamb to our lives.

The death (and subsequent resurrection) of Yeshua the Messiah, foreshadowed by Passover is our protection from G-d’s judgment and our guarantee of eternal life. But like Israel of old, we need to apply what He did to ourselves by trusting in Him, our Passover Lamb.

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Messiah in Purim


English: Esther and Mordechai writing the seco...
English: Esther and Mordechai writing the second letter of Purim. Oil on canvas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Purim, the Feast of Lots, is observed on the fourteenth day of the Biblical month of Adar (usually February or March on the Gregorian calendar). This is a celebration of the deliverance of the Hebrew people in the Persian Empire over one of the most dastardly plots in history to exterminate them. The biblical book of Esther tells the story of how the beautiful Hebrew woman Esther (Hebrew: Hadassah) and her cousin Mordecai thwart the evil Haman, who plots to massacre the Hebrew people in a jealous rage.


The book of Esther has been referred to as “a monument in the history of anti-Semitism.” The anti-Semitism shown in the book of Esther is ethnically and religiously based, in contrast to the type that is shown in later Hellenistic-Roman literature through to today which is purely ethnic hatred. The Hebrew people have faced elimination as a group many times through ancient, medieval, and modern societies. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” (Psalm 83:4B)


English: "A symbol that Messianic Jews be...
A symbol that Messianic Jews believe was used to identify the first Messianic congregation, led by Yeshua’s brother Jacob in Jerusalem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people are unaware of this, but Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated the feast of Purim! In John 5, the Lord Yeshua is in Jerusalem for an unnamed feast. Scholars have debated whether the feast was Passover, Purim, Sukkot or even Pentecost. Some have objected to Purim because it is referred to as a “minor” feast and not one of the three “major” pilgrimage festivals (Deuteronomy 16:16). However this argument is irrelevant because Yeshua also celebrated another “minor” holiday, Hanukkah (English: Dedication), as referenced in John 10:22.


Chronologically, the only feast that makes sense is Purim in 28 CE. The feast of John 5 fell on a Sabbath (vs. 9). The only feast day to fall on a Sabbath between 25 and 35 CE was Purim of 28 CE. Some speculate that the Spirit of G-d intentionally left out the name of the feast because G-d’s Name was deliberately left out of the Book of Esther. In John 5, Yeshua healed a man who had an infirmity for 38 years near the Pools of Bethesda (John 5:1-9). It is also the first time in His public ministry that He declared, “G-d was His Father, making Himself equal with G-d” (5:18). He also said that He was the “Son of G-d” (5:25) and the “Son of Man” (5:27).


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.” to the Trash”>Trash


Messiah in Chanukah

Mattathias and the Maccabees

Chanukah originated over 150 years before Yeshua was born. The Hebrew people had fallen to hard times; a clear warning that their relationship with God was not well (see Deut 28). Israel’s enemies to the north attacked and took control of the Hebrew state. The invaders made it illegal to worship the one true and living God. If anyone was found studying or even obeying the Torah, he would be executed. Many people were even forced to worship idols. When the evil soldiers came to the town of the Hasmoneans, now known as the Maccabees (“Hammer”), to force this idolatry on the people the town’s patriarch, Mattathias (Matityahu in Hebrew), refused to offer sacrifice to the false god. There was a volunteer from the crowd however, who worked his way forward to offer sacrifice. In holy indignation Mattathias killed him.

English: Mattathias and the Apostate (1 Macc. ...
English: Mattathias and the Apostate (1 Macc. 2:1-25) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mattathias and his sons then killed the soldiers and fled to the mountains. From there they gathered together a brave company of men who decided it was time to reclaim their heritage and land. The Maccabees realized that it was the sins of the nation of Israel that resulted
in their conquest: so they earnestly sought God in repentant prayer. They sought HaShem and HaShem heard them.

Though they were terribly outnumbered, they chose to fight. Backed by their faith in the Covenant God of Israel who had promised through Moses that: “…five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” They fought and they won just as God said they would. The small Judean army was victorious in battle after battle. They even retook the beautiful Holy Temple. While they are not canonized scripture it is nonetheless beneficial to read the historical books of 1 and 2 Maccabees for the details.

Remembering the Holy Days

English: A model of the second jewish temple i...
A model of the second Jewish Temple in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because they rededicated the Jerusalem Temple and returned to the Torah in the winter and due to the fact that up until this time they were unable to celebrate the Holy Days, they then returned to the last Holy Day they missed which was the eight-day festival of Sukkot. (Feast of Tabernacles, see Leviticus 23). This holy time is all about the Messiah dwelling with His people in the coming future. Even today generation after generation of Torah-believing people light miniature menorahs (chanukiahs) on Chanukah to celebrate and remember HaShem’s gift of deliverance. Chanukah honors two types of salvation: physical deliverance from oppressors and the spiritual deliverance from sin.

It should be noted that the Temple was the most sacred place in the Hebrew world. It was at the Temple where HaShem promised to meet with the people and fellowship with them. Each and every day Bible-believing people would sacrifice offerings and draw close to HaShem at the Temple.

Chanukah and the Messiah

The last night of Chanukah; Menorah with all 8...
The last night of Chanukah; (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About 150 years later the Hebrew people were again under foreign domination, but this time to Rome. Israel had again fallen into a spiritual malaise. They cried out for God to send them the promised deliverer, the Messiah. Many of the Judeans, (some of the progeny of the Maccabees) believed that a humble stonemason named Yeshua might very well be the Messiah. They tried to make Him King but He refused. It wasn’t until after His execution and resurrection that His followers realized the He did provide deliverance. It is important to note while the history of Chanukah is given outside of scripture it was predicted by the Prophet Daniel and the celebration is confirmed by Yeshua Himself in John 10.

He didn’t provide the Maccabeean style of deliverance from Rome they had hoped for, but deliverance from an even more evil and powerful enemy, sin. In addition, Yeshua promised to return one day to deliver His people from their mortal enemies as well.  We eagerly await that promised return.

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