Blog Chol HaMoed Sukkot Tishrei 29 5779. בלוג חול המועד סוכות, כ” תשרי תשע”ט
1) Rabbi Iosef Shemi, Spirital Leader of Messianic Congregation in Bs. As. Argentina:
Here are some simple thoughts at Sukkoth about Messianic Judaism. Ex. 34:30 “And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone and sent forth beams; and they were afraid to come near him.” Who was this man Moshe, who spoke to God face to face and whose face radiated light? Did it ever happen before? We don’t really know. Moshe was a man of the past, present and future of his generation. The way that God has formed our lives was to have the past and present projected into the future. Moshe left something very wonderful. How many mitzvot were there, 613, 300, 800? And now his time was up.
Who is Yeshua? To the western world, he is a god. To me and for others, he was a great rabbi. He showed us how to live the Torah. He was a man from the past, present and future. The present was projected into the future.
And who are we? When I was young, I used to write a letter to your Rabbi and twenty days later I would receive a letter from him in response. Today, with the computer we speak through the screen. This generation is very different, yet we are still followers of the Torah like Yeshua taught us. Our movement is growing rapidly and although it only seems that it is difficult, that we are very few, that others don’t understand and reject us, aren’t we also from the past, present and future? Soon we as rabbis will be part of the past but you are the future. Here, like in Argentina, we have people from various countries and cultures. What did Moshe teach us? He taught us that the Torah is a way of life. What did Yeshua teach us? He taught us how to live the Torah. What do we now need to do? We need to project this present into the future.
When we began, this was a dream; now it has become a reality. More and more people are getting closer to Moshe and Yeshua by the way that we live. For this reason, we are forming the future for humanity in the western civilization. We are breaking all the religious barriers in order to build a deep and lasting relationship with the Creator.
2. Dennis Zamora, Education Director, Kehilat She’ar Yashuv
There is an Israeli movie called Ushpizin, which means “guests”. In our tradition, we are supposed to invite various guests every day into our sukkah. The first day it would be, Abraham, day two would be Isaac, day three, Yaakov, day four Moshe, then Aaron, Joseph and finally to day seven with David. Today is the fourth day where we invite Moshe. These are beautiful traditions but; What does Sukkoth really represent to us as a community? We built in a sukkah and we eat in it. When we are in the Sukkah and look up we see that it has holes in the roof, through the branches. We can see outside and from the top, we can see inside. When God sees us, He sees us through the holes. We have some small holes and big holes meaning that He sees through us. We can try and play games with God, acting religious, as if we are perfect and holy without defect. However, God sees through all that. He sees exactly who we are. When I think of God seeing through me, I rejoice. How can we rejoice in His Presence when we know He sees through us? Because we don’t have to be someone else. He sees exactly who we are. We have been learning throughout the past year’s Torah portions that we have to remove the religiosity from within us. It is a process to remove the notion that we have to impress others and even God. We are starting a new year and a new cycle. We ask God this year to remove another layer of our religiosity. This is a time of rejoicing and I rejoice at this time of Sukkoth that we have a God who sees us as we are. We don’t have to play games with him. I was brought up in a very religious environment where everything had to be exact – how we ate, prayed, dressed and behaved especially in the congregation. Everyone watched our every move. It was so hard because it wasn’t real. Now I can rejoice and say thank you God for seeing exactly who I am, for seeing me from inside out. I can breathe at last!
3: Rabbi Netanel ben Yochanan, Spiritual Leader of Kehilat She’ar Yashuv
I always ask people who have not read the Scriptures and who know a little about them, to name me only one personality who was totally perfect. Then I would believe in the perfection of mankind. The gentile world created a perfect person out of who was originally, Yeshua the Messiah. By making him perfect they removed his humanity thus changing the purpose of his life, his role. His story was turned into a legend which then became a myth. It is hard to fight against a myth since it cannot be proved or disproved. Every great man depicted in the Scriptures had failures and weaknesses. That gives us hope and we can thank the Creator that we can be imperfect human beings with our limitations. This allows us to do teshuva, to turn back to Him and make reparations in our lives. Tomorrow evening we will celebrate Hoshanah Rabah, then Shemini Atzeret and with the addition of the tradition of Simchat Torah, all together in one. I love our traditions when they enhance the Creator. I want us to have a true experience with our Borei Olam. In our morning service, we have our liturgy which is in Hebrew but because most of you do not speak Hebrew, it is always best to follow the English translation. In that way rather than being mechanical, you can understand and appreciate the beauty of the prayers and praises to the Creator.
The Creator gave us brains, intelligence, the capability to think; He wants us to be His followers rather than the followers of man. My motto has been and still is, “Say no to religion, say yes to the Creator!” Our prophet Jeremiah told us, “cursed be the man who trusts in man; blessed be the man who trusts in the Creator.” Who do you trust and who do you follow? That will be our theme as we begin the process of reading the Torah all over again this coming year after completing the cycle with Sukkoth. I have been studying the Torah for the past 40 uninterrupted years and I am excited to tell you that every year I learn something new. Each year, we go through the process of drawing from His gift to us – emunah (faith) moving toward developing bitachon (trust) by using our bechirat chofshit (free will) to continuously do teshuva (return) by constantly examining our kavanah (intention of the heart). At Sukkoth, we rejoice that just at the point where we think that He has finished with us or forgotten us, we find that our God is a God of beginning again He never abandons nor forsakes us. Chag Sukkoth Sameach!