by Rebbetzin Malkah
"Not by might, nor by power, but through My spirit" - Zechariah 4:6, read on Shabbat Chanukah
There is no doubt that we, as women, have the ability to carry much and rest little. Whether we have families, or care for those around us, we are constantly in motion. Sometimes before we even realize where the day has gone, it is over. But how do we maintain the balance of giving light and being sure our cruise of oil doesn't run out? As the darkness of the winter season comes upon us, it can be difficult to motivate ourselves, let alone feel cheery. However, as bearers of the light of Mashiach, it is possible to dance like the flames of the candles and radiate light, as well as endure the challenges of our days beyond what we think is possible.
By Rebbetzin Malkah
Ramban teaches us that Sefer Bereshis is really a book of symbols and allegory; it tells us not only what transpired in the past, but more importantly, it reveals that which will occur in the future. The poet William Blake says it well in this passage:
We are wishing you a sweet and prosperous New Year 5771. How are you going to make this year better than the next? How will we all be a better light for Messiah this year? I think we have an answer. Our community has started a new project and all are invited to participate. Let me introduce you to the practice of Mussar for the Messianic Jewish community.
The Hebrew term Mussar (מוּסַר), is from the book of Proverbs 1:2 meaning instruction, discipline, or conduct. The Mussar movement was a Jewish ethical, educational and cultural movement that developed in 19th century Eastern Europe, particularly among Orthodox Lithuanian Jews.
A diligent study of Mussar (Jewish ethical practice) can bring new life into your days. Our Mussar Master, Messiah Yeshua taught us how we should bring good fruit as a demonstration of our purposeful lives:
For a good tree does not produce rotten fruit, and a rotten tree does not produce good fruit. For every tree is recognized by its fruit; for people do not gather figs from thorns or harvest grapes from a thorny bush. A good man, from the storehouse of his good heart, obtains what is good; a bad man, from the storehouse of his bad heart, obtains what is bad. For from the overflow of a man’s heart his mouth will speak. (Luke 6:43-45)
Let us sprout good fruit this year. I welcome you to participate and be active in the Riverton Mussar project.
This week the theme of hiddeness has been ever before us as we have read the book of Esther, a book with no mention of G-d's name. As we recount how our people nearly became subject to a plan of mass genocide, it would behoove us to peer behind the curtain of history and see the thread of salvation that has been ever present throughout time. Along this thread have been individuals, who by no other reason except divine purpose and not coincidence, have been set before our people to be raised up during a time of need.
"I haven't ever really found a place that I call home,
"I was not looking for my dreams to interpret my life, but for my life to interpret my dreams." - Susan Sontag
During this time of the year all over the upper Northern Hemisphere, everything is hidden. A shell of white encases much of this part of the world, forcing it to rest and wait, until days of verdant spring force the snows to disappear and reveal the earth's potential. In this week's parasha, the snows of Yosef's life are starting to melt away and reveal his future. It is in guiding Mitzrayim through its national crisis that he begins to see the true meaning in the dreams of his youth. The events unfolding around him begin to actively interpret his dreams as his brothers arrive in Mitzrayim and stand before him in search of relief from famine. It is by interpretation through living, and not the reverse, that dreams show their true purpose: they are hidden keys in our lives that lie dormant, beckoning gently for us to walk forward, revealing our destinies at the proper time.
by Rebbetzin Malkah
The funny thing about searching for your bashert (your destined soul-mate), is that even when you find your bashert, you have only partly completed the task. For it is in helping our children through our sacred unions that they find their bashert, and finish the task which we started - to realize our own true destiny. In this mirroring dance of fates between our destiny and that of our children do we find our completion and our hope for the future. This couldn't be more true as we look into this week's parasha and see Avraham bury his beloved Sarah - his bashert - and at the same time move on to helping his son, Yitzchak, find his own destiny and carry on the promises given to Avraham and his progeny for all time.