Torah Portion VA’ERA – Shemot (Exodus) 6:2-9:35
So you will rejoice in your feast—you, your son and daughter, slave and maid, Levite and outsider, orphan and widow within your gates. Deuteronomy 16:14
Shabbat shalom dearly beloved!
In spite of adverse circumstances, Israelis in the Land of Israel are considered among the happiest people in the world according to some statistics and researchers. Israel has fought for her life since its inception on May 14, 1948. She has been surrounded and outnumbered by her enemies both, around and within her borders. The pioneers who moved to the Land in the 1940’s were mostly escaping the Nazi Shoa-the Holocaust, the horrors of which are affecting even the third generation of survivors. Most of the nations of the world have been hostile against Israel, constantly accusing her of false crimes that are actually committed by her enemies against her. In spite of the hostility of the UN and the international community, the wars, the hatred from her neighboring countries, the BDS, the challenge of being a country of immigrants and the cost of living, Israelis are regarded as some of the happiest people in the world.
How can this be?
The Holy Triangle of Wellness
There is a Biblical Triangle that is the KEY for the wellbeing of the People of Israel. It is the unbreakable connection between these three elements:
- The God of Israel
- The Land of Israel
- The People of Israel
When these three come together the Jewish People are whole and can withstand all adversity with a victorious attitude.
The ransomed of Adonai will return and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 35:10 TLV
The epic and prophetic return to the Land after 2000 years of exile is a known fact today and it was prophesied by many ancient prophets thousands of years ago. This return is accompanied by the reawakening of the Jewish People to the Torah, the Prophets and the Holy Writings from a modern perspective. Government authorities, such as our first Prime Minister Ben Gurion and our President Yitzchak Ben Zvi, used to walk about the Land, Bible in hand, recognizing it as the “Deed of Inheritance”. Many of the battles that Israel has had to fight to defend herself where strategically inspired by the Biblical ancient battles.
(Scripture Reference: Psalm 105:8-11, Ezekiel 36, Ezekiel 37)
However, the return to the Land has also caused an awakening of celebration of what I term here HOLY VACATIONS. These are the prescribed Holy Convocations and Feast Days in the Torah. It is these Holy Vacations that make the difference to the People and to the Land. Without these Holy Vacations, Israel would be like any other country in the world that never stops, and its people would die of stress and exhaustion.
The Weekly Holy Vacation
The weekly vacation is the Shabbat on the 7th Day, starting from the 6th Day (Friday) sunset to the 7th Day (Saturday) at sunset. The Israeli week starts on the 1st Day or on Sunday according to the Biblical Creational Order. This particular Day, the Shabbat, is different than all other days as it is set apart, blessed and sanctified by the Creator Himself.
Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, for on it He ceased from all His work that God created for the purpose of preparing. Genesis 2:3 TLV
On Friday, in preparation for Shabbat, the smell of delicious cooking fills the air of the different neighborhoods. Most businesses close on the Shabbat Day and, especially in Jerusalem, there is an atmosphere of rest and peace that is UNIQUE! Traffic goes down to a minimum and you can see many families beautifully dressed up as they walk to the synagogue service at the start of the Shabbat.
(Scripture reference: Genesis 2, Leviticus 23, Isaiah 56)
The Yearly Holy Vacations
These are also called MOADIM or Divinely Appointed Feasts and are described in various chapters of the Torah with many important instructions on how to keep them. They are agricultural in nature.
Then Adonai spoke to Moses saying: “Speak to Bnei-Yisrael, and tell them: These are the appointed moadim of Adonai, which you are to proclaim to be holy convocations—My moadim. Leviticus 23:1 TLV
The common denominator of all of them is the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to pay homage to the Almighty who was worshipped at the Holy Temple on the Temple Mount.
- Pessach (Passover) and Feast of Matza (Unleavened Bread) for 8 Days
- Shavuot (Feast of Weeks-Pentecost) for one day
- Sukkot and Shmini Atseret (Tabernacles) for 8 Days
The instructions of the Almighty were for the men, accompanied with their families and even servants to come to worship the King of Kings in the Holy City, to bring the prescribed offerings to the Levites, to eat and drink and have a wonderful time of rejoicing and family fun.
The Feast of Sukkot was preceded by the Feast of Trumpets, 10 Days of Awe, and Yom Hakippurim which is the Holiest Day of the Year. Both during the Feast of Trumpets – called by many Rosh Hashana, and during Yom Hakippurim-the Day of Atonement, all work halts and people turn to seek Yah (God) and to be reconciled with Him and with each other.
(Scripture Reference: Numbers 29, Leviticus 23, Deuteronomy 16)
The Historical Holy Vacations
These are Feasts that are not prescribed in the Torah but carry historical and redemptive value. They are based on other Holy Books such as the Feast of Purim in the Book of Esther (3 days) and the Feast of Hanukkah in the Apocryphal the Book of Maccabees (8 days).
On top of the Holy Vacations stated above, the labor law of the State of Israel allows for customary paid vacation according to your years in a certain work place. It can be one week, 2 weeks, a month or more.
Yom HaAtsmaut, Independence Day is also a One Day National Vacation
Where Does the Money Come from for the Holy Vacations?
The Torah instructs the People of Israel in the area of finances. When we follow the Plan of the Creator we do not lack. There are three Holy Tithes,
- Tithe for the sustenance of the Levites and the Ministers
- Tithes for the Holy Feasts, to spend in the Holy Vacations
- Tithes of the Third Year for the poor
The Second Tithe that is set aside faithfully is a savings account to pay for your Holy Vacations. The Third Tithe that could be regarded as a third of a tithe is alms for the poor and needy.
It is the combination of following the prescribed Feasts, taking a breather from your daily activities, having a joyful family time and worshipping the Creator YHVH at the same time, that influences the level of happiness, joy and resilience to adversity in the People of Israel.
Your Israeli Mentors and Friends
Archbishop Dominiquae and Rabbi Baruch Bierman
To know more about the subject, we invite you to order your copy of the books or eBooks, Restoration of Holy Giving and Grafted In. www.kad-esh.org/shop
Why Not Take a Holy Vacation with us in Israel and experience it yourself?
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United Nations for Israel Yearly Convention in Jerusalem –16-19 of October 2019
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WATCH Feast of YHVH
Dr. Dominiquae Bierman removes the mystery surrounding the Feast of God as she opens a greater understanding of the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles). Explore the Word of God starting with Leviticus 23 to establish the foundation of this very important Feast. From this foundation, you will have a better comprehension of and foundation for all the Feasts of God and why He commanded that we celebrate during specific appointed times and for specific reasons.
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