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Parashat Vayetzei - Jacob's Ladder "Sulam" and the Structure of Prayer

Posted on November 12, 2018 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Parashat Vayetzei / פרשת ויצא - Jacob’s Ladder “Sulam” and the Structure of Prayer (Pineal Gland - Transportation Device)

Bereshit 28:12

12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of YHWH ascending and descending on it.

Come and see, the ladder holds two worlds - the world above and the world below - everything goes through Jacob's “Yaakov” ladder, the foundation of the world.

Prayer “tefilah” is likened to the ladder in the dream of Yaakov. As the Book of Bereshit relates Chapter 28 verse12, in his dream, Yaakov saw “a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. The Hebrew word for “ladder”—sulam—is comprised of three Hebrew letters totaling 130: samach equaling 60; lamed equaling 30; and mem equaling 40. This is the same numerical value as that of the word Sinai: samach equaling 60; yud equaling 10; nun equaling 50; and yud equaling 10. This implies that the peak or ultimate experience of tefilah is the mystical union with YHWH, such as the Israelite people achieved at Mt. Sinai.

If the word sulam is spelled with an additional letter vav (equaling 6), its numerical value is 136, which is the same as kol meaning “voice.” This suggests that the means of travel on the ladder of tefilah is through the vocalization of our prayers. We need to include all levels of our being on this inner journey of tefilah (pineal gland - transportation device), most importantly our humanity, which is distinguished by our ability to speak, an ability not shared by any other creatures. The sages and commentators, have many interpretations for Sulam Yaakov but the simplest is that the sulam has to do with the encounter between the human soul and YHWH, an encounter which later generations have come to know as tefilah.

When Yaakov awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely YHWH is in this place, and I did not know it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of YHWH; this is the gate “Portal” of heaven.

The synagogue “temple” is the house of YHWH. Tefilah is the gate “portal” of heaven. And when we pray, the most profound result is that we too are conscious of the feeling: “Surely YHWH is in this place, and I did not know it.”

Our liturgy has a symmetrical three-part structure, 1-2-3, which has the following form: (1) ascent; (2) standing in the Presence; and (3) descent.

Four Stages of Prayer

The Midrash Tanchuma says that there were four steps to Yaakov’s sulam, and the Zohar teaches that these four rungs parallel the four main stages of morning prayer, beginning with earthly reality and slowly moving upward and inward to a higher, deeper level of connection and unity with YHWH. At the outset of tefilah, we begin by standing on the first rung, and through the course of the prayer service, we climb the sulam toward spiritual perfection and elevation.

The four stages of morning prayer with a threefold structure are as follows:

1. Morning Blessings (Birchat Hashchar), which reflect the dawn of our awareness: “Ki karov elecha hadavar mi’od bificha ubilvavcha la’asoso,” (Devarim 30:14) “For the matter of serving YHWH is very close to you, it is in your mouth and heart to fulfill it..” We thank YHWH for instilling Israel with the capacity to discern between night and day;

2. Verses of Praise (Pesukei DeZimrah), a series of psalms which constitute a preparation prayer which reduces negativity and awakens our emotions;

3. Recitation of the Shema (Keriat Shema), has three blessings that surround it, which internalizes our emotions; and

4. The Silent Standing Prayer (Amidah, also known as the Shemonei Esrei), which is a deep encounter with the Divine in a quiet space of union, ultimately reaching a place of oneness. It ends with a series of concluding prayers including Ashrei, itself a key element of Pesukei DeZimrah.

The basis of this threefold structure is found in a statement in the Talmud (Berakhot 32b) that “the early pious men used to wait for an hour before praying, then they would pray for an hour, and then they would wait for a further hour.” The Talmud asks on what basis they did so. It answers by citing the verse Ashrei itself: “Happy are those who sit in Your house.”

The structure of the Amidah has the following three-part pattern: (a) shevach, praise, the first three paragraphs; (b) bakashah, requests, the middle paragraphs, and (c) hodayah, ‘thanks’ or ‘acknowledgements’, the last three paragraphs. On Shabbat and Yom Tov, the middle section is replaced by usually one, on Rosh Hashanah three, paragraphs relating to ‘the holiness of the day’ claiming we do not make requests on days of rest.

Shevach is a preparation. It is our entry to the divine presence. Hodayah is a leave-taking. We thank YHWH for the goodness with which He has favoured us. Bakashah, the central section, is standing in the presence itself. We are like supplicants standing before the King, presenting our requests. The spiritual form of the first and last actions – entry and leave-taking – are dramatized by taking three steps forward, and at the end, three steps back. This is the choreography of ascent and descent.

The kedushah – verses taken from the mystical visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel – is said three times in the morning service (on Shabbat, the third is transferred to the afternoon service, because the morning service is more than usually long. However, its proper place is in the morning service). The first, known as kedushat yotser, occurs in the blessings before the Shema; the third, kedushah de-sidra, is in the concluding section of the prayers, beginning Uva le-Tzion. The middle kedushah is in the reader’s repetition of the Amidah.

The kedushah makes explicit reference to angels. Its key verses are the words Isaiah and Ezekiel heard the angels saying as they surround the Throne of Glory. We speak of the angels at this point: the Serafim, Cherubim, Ofanim and holy Chayot.

There are obvious differences between the first and last, on the one hand, and the second on the other. The first and third do not need a minyan. They can be said privately. They do not need to be said standing. The second requires a minyan and must be said standing.

Maimonides explains the difference. In the first and third, we are describing what the angels do when they praise YHWH. In the second, we are enacting what they do. The first and third are preparation for, and reflection on, an event. The second is the event itself, as we re-live it.

There is a basic shape and depth of tefilah. It consists of ascent-standing in the Presence – descent. The inspiration for this is Yaakov’s vision.

Essentially, tefilah is a ladder stretching from earth to heaven. On this ladder of words, thoughts and emotions, we gradually leave earth’s gravitational field. We move from the world around us, perceived by the senses, to an awareness of that which lies beyond the world – the earth’s Creator.

The spiritual ascent or stages of prayer can be paralleled to the worlds of creation as well as the levels of our soul:

1. the world of action (asiyah) and the soul level of physical/functional consciousness (nefesh);

2. the world of formation (yetzirah) and the soul level of emotional consciousness (ruach);

3. the world of creation/context (beriah) and the soul level of intellectual/cognitive ability (neshamah); and

4. the world of unity (atzilut) and the soul level of transcendental consciousness (chayah), which is reflected as our inner most deepest will and desire.

Yet, on Rosh Hashanah, we have additional prayers. The prayer service is much longer than on Shabbat or other holidays, because the verbalization of these prayers is very important.

It is no accident that Rosh Hashanah celebrates the creation of the first human being—Adam (Adam ha Rishon—The Common Soul). In describing the creation of Adam ha Rishon, the Torah says: “And He [YHWH] blew into his nostrils nishmat chayim,” a phrase which can be translated as “breath of life” or “a speaking soul.” Our capacity to communicate and structurally verbalize our feelings or thoughts is fundamentally a human ability, and thus expresses our humanness. Speech is our means to communicate and it allows us to build our civilization; additionally, our individual humanness is expressed in our distinctive voice—as unique to each person as a fingerprint.

Therefore, on Rosh Hashanah we go about verbalizing holy words of tefilah; we demonstrate our uniqueness as human beings—by using the highest form of speech we know “tefilah.”

The Rungs of Yaakov’s Ladder “Tefilah”

#4 The Silent/Standing Prayer - Atzilut -World of Unity: Chayah Transcendental Consciousness;

#3 Recitation of the Shema - Beriah World of Creation: Neshamah Intellectual Ability;

#2 Verses of Praise Yetzirah - World of Formation: Ruach Emotional Cosnciousness; and

#1 Morning Blessings Asiyah - World of Action: Nefesh Physical Consciousness.

As we climb the four levels of prayer upward and inward, ascent and descent; we come more in touch with our deeper levels of soul, and they become our internal reality.

Therefore, Sulam Yaakov is a symbol that represents and links different worlds.

In his book Ruah Chaim (“the breath of life," Rabbi Haim of Volozhin (a student of the Vilna Gaon 1749-1821) writes:

“…a ladder stationed on the earth–that is Sinai; and its top reaches the heaven–which represents our soul’s life, which is in the highest sphere. A whole person is like a tree whose roots are above, and whose trunk extends downward, which is the body, and which is fastened to its supernal roots.”

Therefore, Torah learning is likened to a Sinaitic event, since Torah is what connects the heavens and the earth; and Tefilah through its four stages during the liturgy enables one to ascend and descend on the sulam between the two spheres above and below linking everything in the physical dimension to its paralleled spiritual dimension: “As above, so below; as below, so above.” Thus, through the system of tefilah, we ignite supernal energies that flow through channels or conduits attaching our souls to YHWH.

From sleep or 1/60th of death; when our eyes are closed to a silent meditation done before we open our eyes or say a single word “modeh ani” we begin our ascent on Yaakov’s ladder. This inner connection is defined through our (i) “yechidah” literally “singularity;” (ii) “chayah” life source; (iii) neshamah “breath;” (iv) “ruach” wind or spirit; and (v) “nefesh” literally living being “bloodstream” forming a chain link on the rungs of the sulam leading us through the four levels of tefilah energy which ultimately leads us to the Supernal Universe and ultimately to YHWH.

Chayei Sarah: Heroism and Wellbeing in the 21st Century

Posted on October 30, 2018 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

This week's Torah portion:  Chayei Sarah  (חַיֵּי שָׂרָה‬ — Hebrew for "life of Sarah")  constitutes Genesis "Bereshit" 23:1–25:18

(A Tribute to Martha Leah Poinsett-Williams A Twenty-First Centuray Sarah)

This week's Torah portion begins with the death of Sarah, but it is more about the legacy she left with Isaac to carry on through the Israelite people in the generations to come. Chayei Sarah is the only Torah portion named after a woman.  Sarah is the mother of only Isaac, giving birth in her old age. Sarah is the critical other half of Isaac’s birth and therefore our covenant’s parentage.  We know little about Sarah's characteristics.  However, if we tap into our imagination, we could probably envision Sarah to possess the valor, courage, and heroism of our beloved sister Martha Leah Poinsett-Williams who is featured in the article below: 


Living with Advanced Breast Cancer

How three women shine in the face of disease.

12 Min Read Cancer Care & Research

Elaine Schain, 76, looks forward to changing the floral arrangements at the soup kitchen where she volunteers every Friday. Lissette Montanez, 46, takes pride in making sure children in her Lower Manhattan neighborhood get to and from school safely each day. And Martha Williams, 68, tries to never miss a tai chi class, where she finds energy, spirituality, and a sense of well-being.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Health Matters spoke with these three vibrant New Yorkers who are living with or have faced advanced breast cancer. Each woman is thoroughly engaged with their communities, and grateful to their families, who have helped provide a foundation and support system from which they draw strength. Elaine, Lissette, and Martha are honest about their struggles with cancer but remain steadfast in their determination to lead fulfilling lives — in spite of the difficulties, setbacks, and lingering effects of the disease.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop breast cancer in 2018. More than 150,000 women in the U.S. — like Elaine and Lissette — are living with metastatic breast cancer (meaning the cancer has spread to other organs), according to a recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The study also had good news, though. Women with metastatic breast cancer are living longer as a result of better treatments.

Here, Elaine, Lissette, and Martha share with us in their own words how their inspiring journeys, unique perspectives, and passion for life go far beyond cancer.

Elaine Schain

Long-term treatment hasn’t stopped this retired teacher from giving back to her community or staying active.

I just celebrated my 76th birthday. Having had cancer for 19 years, I am very happy to have another year. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my right breast in 1999. It was treated with a lumpectomy, radiation, and medication, and it never came back on that side. Eight years ago, however, I had a different kind of breast cancer in the other breast. It was more aggressive and required a lumpectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy. Two years ago it metastasized to my liver, where it could not be cured, but it could be treated. I am now on my third chemotherapy protocol.

As long as my wonderful medical team, originally headed by Dr. Anne Moore and, since her retirement, by Dr. Tessa Cigler, has a treatment to offer, I will keep going. If it comes to a point where the treatment interferes with my ability to function, I will stop the treatment, whatever will follow. While that may sound pessimistic, I consider myself a realist. I have been functioning well, so I go on. I volunteer at the All Souls soup kitchen on Fridays; I volunteer in a hospital on Tuesdays and I speak to medical students about my experiences. I am out and about! My husband and I go to shows and movies, to museums and parks, and we take long walks to explore Manhattan. We are occupied. I believe staying active and engaged is the most important thing anyone can do.

The soup kitchen is my favorite volunteer activity. We serve nutritious food to 250 to 270 guests in need each week. Each table has an artificial floral arrangement, which I make and change for each season. The people there are gracious and do more for me than I do for them. When you do for others, it takes your mind off your own problems.

I swim and do water aerobics for most of the year. I used to ice skate and ballroom dance, which I can no longer do — not because of the cancer but due to a stroke I suffered in 2008 that has affected my balance.

We go to Florida in the winter. When I am there, I am a regular at the gym, exercising, and where I take a number of classes, including my favorite, Zumba Gold, which is very much like Latin dancing. I love Zumba. I love the rhythm of all Latin music. If I hear it in the street, I stop; it gets me, that kind of music.

I enjoy great support from my family and friends. Married over 54 years to my caring and devoted husband, Howard, we have three married children and seven grandchildren who are my pride and joy.

By and large, I am doing quite well. I have more side effects from the stroke than I do from the cancer. Since I can’t smile with the left side of my face due to the complications from the stroke, I wear a smile pendant so people know that I am still smiling. I have smiled all my life and I won’t stop now.

Martha Williams

The Brooklyn native is jumping back into life after facing a difficult diagnosis.

When my energy returned after cancer treatment earlier this year, I had a desire to do things, to interact with people. I wanted to spend time with my grandchildren and my family, and I knew I wanted to take tai chi.

That’s because, some years ago, I used to go to Bay Ridge in Brooklyn to have my car serviced. While I’d wait, I would watch seniors nearby doing slow, focused movements — what I later learned was tai chi. And I just thought, “That’s so beautiful, I wish I could learn that.”

I started to take classes in July. Wednesday evenings and Friday mornings I’m at tai chi, come what may. After class, I feel like I’m walking 10 feet off the ground. I walk faster, and I have more energy. It’s good for balance and for memory, because you need to remember the movements. It enhances my spiritual well-being, and makes me feel connected to the other people in the room. Our instructor, Sensei Derrick Shareef, tells us to use our peripheral vision to watch everyone else. The class is doing the slow movements in unity, and it makes you feel like you’re bonded spiritually. It’s like singing in a choir — everybody is a part of the whole chorus and all the melodies merge to make beautiful music.

Before I’d found tai chi and started going to Rochdale Village Community Center in Queens for classes, I’d lost my energy to cancer. When I found a lump on my breast in July of 2014, I had already lost two friends and two first cousins to breast cancer, and I decided to seek alternative means of treatment — I had my doubts about traditional therapy. The tumor eventually grew bigger, and I knew I needed to find out what I was dealing with. A friend recommended her primary care physician, Dr. Jeffrey Vieira at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, who I went to see in 2017. He arranged for me to see oncologist Dr. Alan Astrow, who asked me, like other doctors, why I wasn’t doing traditional treatment, and I told him it was because of those I had lost. Though he wanted me to begin treatment, I was not ready, and we agreed I would come back in two months. In the interim, my family was putting pressure on me because I had lost a lot of weight. I had no energy. I would just sit on the couch and turn the TV on. I wasn’t opening mail; I wasn’t functioning. I prayed about it and something told me to go to my appointment, and that I would know what to do after that.

At the appointment, Dr. Astrow said to me, “Ms. Williams, we are going to …” and then he stopped, and he said, “Ms. Williams, what do you want to do?” What doctor does that? I told him I wanted to see a radiologist and have a PET scan. He got on his cellphone and called Dr. Hani Ashamalla, a radiation oncologist, and he agreed to see me that same day. Dr. Astrow’s nurse walked me across the street to Dr. Ashamalla’s office. He examined me on a Thursday and said of the tumor, “This has to come out by Saturday.” Well, that got my attention. I agreed to see a surgeon, Dr. Raffaele Borriello, and he got on his cellphone and they admitted me. I had triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive type. At that point my cancer had spread to form a mass under my right armpit.

I went through with the surgery in January, and my appetite immediately came back. The nurses were incredible. I never had to ring a buzzer and wonder about where my food or medication was. They were superb. I went through chemotherapy and radiation, and am currently free of disease. I’m also grateful to my plastic surgeon, who did a phenomenal job with my breast reconstruction.

I traveled to my family reunion in Williamsburg, Virginia, this year, and to my cousin’s 30th anniversary celebration, where he and his wife recommitted to their vows. I visited friends in North Carolina. I love to travel nationally and internationally, and intend to plan some trips going forward.

I believe that there is more God has in store for me to do, that he is not ready to call me yet. I am trying very hard to live life as fully as I can as a tribute to my friends and relatives who were trying to do the same thing, who wanted very much to survive, and didn’t. So I talk to them all the time and say, “This is for us.”

Lissette Montañez

This crossing guard is tackling cancer with courage.

I started work as a crossing guard in September 2017. I enjoy everything about this job — the people, being in the community, and especially the children. They put a smile on my face. They’re really special to me. I work in Lower Manhattan, where I grew up, so I’m comfortable here. When tourists ask for directions, I can help them out. I’ve built friendships doing my crossing guard duties too.

I chose to be a crossing guard because I was looking for a purpose. I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2008, back when I was living in Florida. I immediately started intravenous chemotherapy and had a lumpectomy to remove the tumor in my left breast. Then I did radiation, and, according to the doctors, I was in remission. In October 2015, after I’d moved back to New York, I discovered my breast cancer had returned, and it was now stage 4 and metastatic. It had spread to other areas of my body, my bones in particular. They started treating me right away. I currently take medication and oral chemotherapy, as well as chemotherapy and hormone injections.

I have the foundation of a very strong family, and that is the reason I’ve had courage in facing my illnesses. My mother, who unfortunately is no longer with us, faced a lot and had remarkable courage; she was who I always wanted to be. I wanted to learn from her strength, and I’d like to think I’ve made my mother proud. Sometimes I amaze myself and think, “Wow, I am Mom.” It helps, too, that I have a wonderful medical team at NewYork-Presbyterian — my oncologist Dr. Ok-Kyong Chaekal is amazing, and the entire team is incredible.

Like any illness, it sucks. But it is what it is. All I can do is my treatment, and pray for the best. It’s difficult, especially on days when I am immobile due to treatment and have to stay in bed, or when other illnesses come, like a cold. I’m used to being an active person, so when I’m knocked on my rear, I feel useless, and I start doubting myself. But then I think about my family, and I get myself out of that funk. When I get down and depressed, I think of my family, and I force myself out of bed and jump in the shower. I cry for a little bit, and once I come back out, I might still be a little depressed, but maybe not as much as before. I get dressed and tell my boyfriend, “Come on, let’s go for a walk,” and then we’ll go out, even if it’s just for 10 minutes to sit in the park and do nothing.

My boyfriend got me into fishing. We’ve been sharing different new experiences, and it’s been great. Once in a while we go out to Long Island, but we usually go to Canarsie Pier or Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. It’s peaceful and quiet and nobody bothers you. You forget about everything, even if it’s just for a few hours.

I like people to hear my story. And if they can get anything out of it, even if it’s just a little bit of courage, I feel like my place here on Earth has had its purpose.

Learn more about cancer treatment at New York-Presbyterian. 

A Woman of Valor: An Interpretation for the 21st Century - By Stacey Zisook Robinson , 3/07/2018

She doesn't feel brave,
except sometimes she does.
She feels the weight of rubies
and gold twist on her fingers;
she prefers a crown of flowers
in her hair to cold metal
and the straight-edged lines
of rocks.

She doesn't feel brave,
except when she does
in her heart -
the heart of a wife
and daughter
mother, perhaps
Or not - childless,
by choice or
unseen circumstance.

Weaver of tales, spinner of
fine linen that snags
sometimes, and she smooths it
with supple fingers -
slim fingers -
crooked and thick-with-age fingers.
She pulls the threads
that pulls the cloth.
There is beauty in its folds.

She doesn't feel brave,
but she laughs,
and it sounds like water
and light; and she knows goodness
and sometimes pain,
and the law of kindness
is on her tongue.

She doesn't feel strong,
but she rises when she falls,
because there are bills to pay
and dinner to fix
and papers to grade
and sometimes write.
There are knees to bandage
and meetings to endure
and the clock just keeps ticking.
And there are friends to love,
and family to love,
and self to love -
yes: self to love,

She rises, exhausted.
She rises, in joy.
She rises, trembling.
She rises, fearless.
She rises, bruised.
She rises, alone.
She rises, lonely.
She rises.

She knows nothing of valor
or the value of rubies.
She rises, and does not feel strong,
but sometimes she knows blessings
and a stumbling bit of grace.

This poem is an interpretation based on Proverbs 31:10-31, which is also known as "Eshet Chayil," A Woman of Valor.

In closing:  Tehillim to heal the sick

Psalm 20

This chapter ranks among the most familiar Psalms given its inclusion in the daily prayer service. The reason for its inclusion, perhaps, is that this Psalm provides hope and encouragement during times of crisis, assuring us of God's ability to assist even under the direst circumstances. As we all confront difficult situations on one level or another each day, we recite this chapter as an appeal to the Almighty for assistance.


Psalms Chapter 20 תְּהִלִּים


א לַמְנַצֵּחַ, מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד. 1 For the Leader. A Psalm of David.

ב יַעַנְךָ יְהוָה, בְּיוֹם צָרָה; יְשַׂגֶּבְךָ, שֵׁם אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב. 2 The LORD answer thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob set thee up on high;

ג יִשְׁלַח-עֶזְרְךָ מִקֹּדֶשׁ; וּמִצִּיּוֹן, יִסְעָדֶךָּ. 3 Send forth thy help from the sanctuary, and support thee out of Zion;

ד יִזְכֹּר כָּל-מִנְחֹתֶךָ; וְעוֹלָתְךָ יְדַשְּׁנֶה סֶלָה. 4 Receive the memorial of all thy meal-offerings, and accept the fat of thy burnt-sacrifice; Selah

ה יִתֶּן-לְךָ כִלְבָבֶךָ; וְכָל-עֲצָתְךָ יְמַלֵּא. 5 Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.

ו נְרַנְּנָה, בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ-- וּבְשֵׁם-אֱלֹהֵינוּ נִדְגֹּל;

יְמַלֵּא יְהוָה, כָּל-מִשְׁאֲלוֹתֶיךָ. 6 We will shout for joy in thy victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our standards; {N}

the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.

ז עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי-- כִּי הוֹשִׁיעַ יְהוָה, מְשִׁיחוֹ:

יַעֲנֵהוּ, מִשְּׁמֵי קָדְשׁוֹ-- בִּגְבֻרוֹת, יֵשַׁע יְמִינוֹ. 7 Now know I that the LORD saveth His anointed; {N}

He will answer him from His holy heaven with the mighty acts of His saving right hand.

ח אֵלֶּה בָרֶכֶב, וְאֵלֶּה בַסּוּסִים;

וַאֲנַחְנוּ, בְּשֵׁם-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ נַזְכִּיר. 8 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; {N}

but we will make mention of the name of the LORD our God.

ט הֵמָּה, כָּרְעוּ וְנָפָלוּ; וַאֲנַחְנוּ קַּמְנוּ, וַנִּתְעוֹדָד. 9 They are bowed down and fallen; but we are risen, and stand upright.

י יְהוָה הוֹשִׁיעָה: הַמֶּלֶךְ, יַעֲנֵנוּ בְיוֹם-קָרְאֵנוּ. 10 Save, LORD; let the King answer us in the day that we call.


Parashat Lech-Lecha (Bereshit 12:1 - 17:27) Go Forth

Posted on October 14, 2018 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Parashat Lech-Lecha


(Go Forth)




Making of a Nation




In YHWH, Israel has the source of inexhaustible strength.


The everlasting YHWH will not fail to carry through His great purposes.

What is written in Bereshit 15: 13-14, to say the least, is central or at the core of the entire Biblical narrative. It can even easily be shown that what is written in Bereshit 15:13-14 is also at the center of numerous narratives and sections of the Holy Qur'an – even the entire book.

In Bereishit 17:7 – YHWH establishes His Covenant with Abraham.

7  And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a YHWH unto thee and to thy seed after thee.

In 1619, (as it was recorded) “20 and odd” Africans arrived off the coast of Virginia, is this the marker for the prophecy of Bereshit 15:13-14:  13 And He said unto Abram: 'Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

It is believed that Sunday, August 25, 2019, will mark the 400-year anniversary of the "20 and odd," Africans. How has this date shaped the Israelite experience in the United States of America? Does the date have historical meaning for the Israelite in the Twenty-First Century?

Can any other group prove that this has happened to them just as prophecy said it would?