Monday, March 24, 2008

Festival Notes 7: Passover/Unleavened Bread

Okay, this is brief because the festival starts in 3 days. I may add more later...yeah, right!

Passover & Unleavened Bread
  • Translation: Passover & Unleavened Bread (the two festivals have basically become one and Unleavened Bread is simply a part of Passover as far as human custom goes)
  • Biblical name: Pesach
  • Reference: Exodus 12:14-17, Leviticus 23:5-6
  • Jewish Date: 14/15 Nissan to 21 Nissan (1st month, 14th day at twilight, which is basically 15th day, for 7 days)
  • Gregorian Date (2008): April 20 - April 27 (sunset 19th to sunset 21st) [from]
  • Sabbath? Yes. On the 1st day and the 7th day (Exodus 12:16 says the only work to be done is to make food for everyone. Of course, because this year the 1st day starts at the end of the weekly Shabbat, we can't cook either!)
  • Festival Traditions:
    • Eating Matzo
    • Cleaning chametz from your house - cleaning sin from your heart/life
    • No eating of leaven/chametz
    • Seder meal (congregation, community, family, friends), which has TONS of traditions, both serious and fun
    • Remembering the sacrifice, death, and resurrection of Yeshua HaMeshiach (this is obviously not a traditional part for most Passover observers. But He is our Passover Lamb!)

Festival Celebration: Passover/Unleavened Bread

I realized I haven't done any Festival Notes on Passover, but I'll post this now anyway.

I started the Unleavened Bread cleaning today. Just a little bit at a time, as we have a month. But I think I tried to do it all in a week last year, and that didn't happen. So today I cleaned out the silverware drawer, the kitchen linens drawer, the front of all the cabinets and oven. The last two tasks aren't really necessary for Passover, but they needed to be done.

My Favorite and I are still trying to figure out all the leaven (se'or) and leavened foods (chametz) rules. It is a bit confusing sometimes. We have decided that the nutritional yeast will go (last year we didn't know "the rules" and had just bought a huge amount of it), any bread or pasta, any wheat flour, the yeast in the freezer. I don't think we have any seasoning mixes. Oh, but we do have some vegetarian meat substitutes. Well, we'll just have to eat those before Unleavened Bread starts. We aren't dumping pet food, just doesn't seem like the point, although we will be touching it. And the wheat we have that is still packaged, we just won't open it until afterward.

I know a few people who either store their leaven/chametz at non-messianic's homes, give it away, or store it in their garage. The first My Favorite and I both felt wrong about doing. If the leaven is a symbol for sin, we didn't feel right giving our "sin" to someone else and then taking it back. The second is on the same lines. However, we were just given a ton of odds and ends from a friend's pantry last week. Since it wasn't something we bought, or even asked for (although very thankful for it), we felt okay offering any chametz we couldn't eat before Unleavened Bread to family and friends.

The last, putting it in the garage, is a whole different thing all together. We have heard that a well known Messianic feels it is acceptable. Many people in our little group feel it is acceptable. The Torah does say "house" in English, and either way, the garage isn't technically a dwelling place for humans. My Favorite pointed out that the Jews didn't have garages. Good point. Then I thought about the fact that some of them did have barns or store houses. Torah doesn't seem to indicate that these were to be leaven/chametz free. Without doing any further studying, which we might need to do, My Favorite said he would be fine with this rule as our family halacha: If it is something we already store in the garage (bulk food, garage freezer), then it stays. If it is something we don't want to throw out but normally keep it in the house, too bad, it goes. I am thankful that I feel no problems submitting to that.

Now if I can keep the energy up, the fridge is next (although it will have to be done again) and maybe another drawer or two. It is fun to see what odds and ends have settled in what drawers. Maybe I'll find some things we can get rid we can fill those spots with new things! Or at least old things that didn't have a good home.

Festival Celebration: Purim

So, yeah, we did nothing. Kinda sad about that. Our congregation had a Purim celebration with the reading of the Book of Esther, costumes, finger foods, prizes and carnival games. The weekend before, our kids group made simple groggers for drowning out you-know-who's name. But the celebration started late at night, a half our from our home. I decided that it was just too late for Teeny Tiny, seeing as how she wouldn't really sit for the reading and then it would be a little, if not well, past her bed time by the time games started. But I think it was just as much too late for me. I'm pretty tired these days, and the thought of running after a little one just didn't seem...well, I guess I am just lazy. I don't necessarily regret not going, but I'm sad it wasn't really at a time that worked for my young growing family.

I didn't even remember that the day before was a fast though, until I read FFOZ's blog post yesterday. Oops. Here's to getting my act together next year.

I am going to post something I started months ago, and never finished. Obviously, it is too late for this year, but it will be out in the abyss of the cyber world for anyone who needs it next year. Whether or not I get my act together!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sad reality

I watched a movie tonight. "The Devil Wears Prada." Yeah, I know, how more pointless of a movie could I have chosen?! But, to be honest, a small, very very tiny part of me enjoys movies like that. Where the frumpy girl gets to be the head turning, knock out. If you could skip the part in the middle where she has to sell her entire self and scoot straight to where she walks away, still a head turner, that is.

Maybe it is just being pregnant, but wouldn't any girl like to be a head turner for a day?

In the end though, I'd so much rather be the pregnant mama of the most beautiful little girl, wife to a man whom I can't even describe, he's so wonderful. I can be more then content in that role. That I know how to do. Now if they would just come home so I could kiss them both and share this kicking baby with them.

Thanks makers of silly hollywood movies for reminding me that I don't, and never really have, wanted a empty life. I'm just embarrassed to admit that sometimes I need to watch them to remember that. Yuck.

What was to be offered/sacrifieced?

Leviticus 1-5

I am not sure what the significance is, but as I was reading the different sacrifices, I noticed slight differences. But I like to see things side by side, so here is what I have broken down so far. What did HaShem instruct to be the offering acceptable for the different offerings?

Burnt Offering:

"from the herd, male without blemish," (1:3) "bull" (1:5)
"from the flock, from the sheep or goats...male without blemish" (1:10)
offering of birds...turtledoves or pigeons..." (1:14)

Grain offering:
fine flour, oil, frankincense. (2:1)
NO leaven or honey (2:11)
"...season all your grain offerings with salt..." (2:13)
if baked in the oven "unleavened loaves of fine flour mixed with oil or unleavened wafers smeared with oil." (2:4)
if baked in a griddle "fine flour unleavened, mixed with oil." (2:5)
if cooked in a pan "fine flour with oil." (2:7)
if it is firstfruits "fresh ears, roasted with fire, crushed new grain" with oil and frankincense.(2:14-15)

Peace offering:
"an animal from the herd (bull), male or female... without blemish before the LORD." (3:1)
"an animal from the flock (lamb/goat), male or female...without blemish." (3:6)

Sin offering:
Anointed Priest - "a bull from the herd without blemish" (4:3)
Whole congregation - "a bull from the herd" (4:14)
Leader - "a goat, a male without blemish" (4:23)
Common person - "a goat, a female without blemish" (4:28) OR "a female [lamb] without blemish" (4:32)
A person who doesn't speak out as a witness when he should (5:1), touches an unclean thing (5:2), touches human uncleanness (5:3), or utters a rash oath (5:4) and doesn't realize it until it is brought to his attention - "a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat" (5:6) OR "two turtledoves or two pigeons (5:7) " (one for sin offering, one for burnt) OR "a tenth of an ephah of fine flour" with no oil or frankincense*, depending on what he can afford.

Guilt offering:
Person who "commits a breach of faith and sins unintentionally in any of the holy things of the LORD" (5:15) - "a ram without blemish out of the flock" (5:15)
Person who sins - "a ram without blemish" (5:18) AND "make restitution... and shall add a fifth to it and give it to the priest" (5:16)
[Guilt offering continues in next weeks portion, so I am including it here]
Person who deceives his neighbor "in a matter of deposit or security, or through robbery, or if he has oppressed his neighbor or has found something lost and lied about it (6:2-3) - Must restore in full plus a 5th "what he took by robbery or what he got by oppression or the deposit that was committed to him or the lost thing that he found or anything about which he has sworn falsely... giv[ing] it to him to whom it belongs on the day he realizes his guilt." (6:4-5) AND "a ram without blemish out of the flock" to the priest (6:6).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sin Offering

A brief look at who does the sinning and who does the killing of the sacrificial animal. Or, in another way of thinking, in the form of a question, who is responsible for taking the innocent life to atone for the sin committed?

Anointed Priest: "He shall bring the bull to the entrance of the tent of meeting before the LORD and lay his hand on the head of the bull and kill the bull before the LORD." Lev 4:4

Whole Congregation: "And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the LORD, and the bull shall be killed before the LORD. Lev 4:15

Leader: "[He] shall lay his hand on the head of the goat and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD; it is a sin offering." Lev 4:24

Common People: "And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and kill the sin offering in the place of burnt offering. Lev 4:29

I never noticed that before! The person, or representative of the persons who realized their unintentional sin, is the one who must get the bull/goat/sheep, bring it to the Temple, lay his very own hand on its head to say "Yes, I am guilty," and then he has to take its life. Not the priest, but the very sinner. Talk about repentance. I suppose you could go through the motions, since HaShem's word makes it clear that they did from time to time, but wow, how much harder must it have been? To just walk through the steps of repentance, like so many of us do, when you had to kill something to show your repentance? Yikes! I think our church buildings would nearly empty if that were still the case today.

But that is what we are supposed to have in mind when we accept that Yeshua lived a perfect life and then allowed that perfect life to be sacrificed so we could walk free and blameless. We are to be walking ourselves into that Temple, putting our hand on His head, and driving in the nail. Not only are we the cause of His death, but we must take part in it. Not as blood thirsty men, but as sorrowful, repentant sinners. He is our atoning sacrifice.

Leviticus/Vayikra Thoughts

Thought 1

Vayikra "And he called", Leviticus 1:1–5:19

"The LORD called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting..."
Leviticus 1:1

This week at home group we talked about what caught our attention in this section. One thing I am eternally grateful for is the fact that this is not a dead book to me anymore. Hard to read sometimes? Yeah. Completely pointless to daily life? Not at all!

I see God and His plan in all the details of this section. One of our group members said something along these lines: "I saw that the sacrifices weren't so much about death and blood as about life. Something/someone has to give up it's life for an offering to be sufficient." The death and blood are important parts, but the sacrifice of life is pivital.

Just last week we were singing a hymn about the blood of Christ. I turned to My Favorite and mentioned how creepy it might be to walk into a church service and hear something like that if you didn't understand it. He looked at me and said, "That is why most churches never mention it." (again, that was not a word for word quote). Usually we think blood = death. But really, blood = life. Dead, useless things don't bleed. The sacrifice of innocent life, be it a bull of the Temple times or Yeshua is what the blood signifies. Hence this point HaShem makes a few chapters later:

"For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life."
Leviticus 17:11

"...because the life of every creature is its blood."
Leviticus 17:14

Hmm, now that is all running around jumbled in my head...a lot to think about.

Thought 2

They aren't all sin offerings. This section is about offerings and sacrifices and I had always understood from what I heard that all sacrifices were for sin. Now, maybe that wasn't what the pastors and speakers intended, or maybe I just never thought about it, but there it is nevertheless. But they aren't all sin offerings!

The first 3 offerings/sacrifices are these: burnt, grain, and peace. They are at their simplest form, time to come before HaShem and offer what you have that is pleasing to Him. And this is another thing that struck me. Offerings to the Creator of the Universe? What do we have to offer Him? But He knew we would desire to come before Him, He put in us a desire to know Him, and He knew we could never do it empty handed. And knowing we have nothing to offer Him, He gave detailed directions on what would be "a pleasing aroma" to Him. He knew we would want to give gifts and loved us enough to tell us exactly how to please the god who has everything.

They are food sacrifices. He created a time of fellowship with Him, as well as the people around us (by us I don't mean we do this now, but here is His intent) and His priests.

Okay, so many thoughts, but I need to go to sleep. I will post this knowing I very well may never get back to it. See, I am learning...maybe.