August 2007 Updates
New Hebrew Mediation
08.30.07 Hodu la'Adonai ki tov, ki le'olam chasdo. I wrote a (very) brief Hebrew meditation last night (called Confession of Praise) that I hope will encourage you today.
It's wonderful to know that the LORD God of Israel gives us His unfailing chesed. He never leaves nor forsakes those whom He has called to be His own, despite the difficulties they sometimes may face...
08.29.07 I wrote a new article today (called the Devil's Logic) based on a blog entry I wrote last night. Although this is not a subject about Hebrew or the Jewish roots of our faith, I believe it is important for us to realize something about the intellectual climate of our day, especially since Yeshua called us to be "wise as serpents yet harmless as doves." Here is an excerpt, in case you are interested:
The devil's logic is based on compromise, calling evil good and good evil, hissing out a seductive appeal to supposed esoteric knowledge, claiming superiority to the commonsense truth claims of experience, pragmatically justifying human atrocities, barbarity, and even cold-blooded murder for the sake of political expediency. It's the prevailing dogma of the princes of this world, and it is at work in the halls of power today.
Some of you might find the content of this article a bit difficult, especially if you have never studied philosophy. I have included it here because the Christian church, at least in the West, has failed to engage culture in an adequate way, often reacting to symptoms rather than underlying causes. Unless we deal with the root issues of cultural paganism, we will continue to be marginalized and ignored.
Note: Because of server bandwidth issues, I have moved the site updates for year 2007 to a new page (there have been so many site updates for 2007 that the page took forever to load). This page will now only show the most recent site updates for the month.
Parashat Ki Tavo
08.28.07 I updated the weekly Torah summary for this week (Ki Tavo) and created a PDF file for you to download:
Note that Rosh Hashana is in just two weeks! Please see the article on Elul for information about attuning yourself to the Jewish mo'edim.
08.27.07 I will attempt to get the weekly Torah portion summary completed tonight or tomorrow.
Tzuris in Cyberspace...
08.24.07 Though I am still broygus ("bummed") about the various computer problems I've had over here (courtesy of the hackers), I do not want to close this site down or stop making it a resource for you. Please offer up a prayer for this work, chaverim. Thank you.
08.23.07 Tsuris. Vay iz mir! May I kvetch a bissel?
I am considering slowing down/eliminating further development of this site, primarily because I am fed up with all the hackers, spammers, phishers, and other malicious souls who seem to enjoy making other people's computing life a living hell... Nearly every day I have to deal with these farshtinkeners, and often my web sites have been attacked, causing me a lot of unnecessary work. Just today I spent nearly 9 hours working on this site -- nearly all of it spent removing spyware, restoring data, and repairing the site from attacks. This occurs regularly now. The discussion forum was recently hacked as well, and it is still having problems due to technical issues on my ISP (also caused from hackers who use "script kiddies" to attack sites). There has to be a better way than this, chaverim...
At this point I am unsure what recourse I have. I have added anti-spyware software, anti-virus software, security patches, firewall software, and other things. My "shiny new computer" (which I bought because the last one was recently trashed by a virus) now runs slower than a 286 with less than 1MB of RAM! (If I get away from the Microsoft monopoly, I am unsure if I can run some applications I need for this site on Linux.)
Sometimes I want to just pack this site up and forget about it... I will pray about this and see what the next steps should be, and of course I will keep you posted.
Parashat Ki Teitzei
08.22.07 I updated the weekly parashah for this coming week (Ki Teitzei) and created a new PDF file for you to download.
08.21.07 I wrote a new article (of sorts) today that I hope you find helpful. Actually, this article began life as a short entry on my blog. I decided to include it here since its content pertains to those who cling to the hopeless idea that pleasing God takes the form of some sort of "Torah Observance" (or other prescribed behavior, either by the religionist or the secular humanist). My lead-in for the article reads: "All-to-human idealizations, whether they take the religious or humanistic form, are nothing but trash talk when it comes to understanding a divine love that reaches down in compassion to heal and save those who are shattered by life in its concreteness."
"The soul that sinneth, it shall die." The alienation of man is NOT caused by the revelation of Torah, but the Torah nonetheless reveals the truth of our condition of brokeness and need. Torah by itself is powerless to save us, and that's precisely why we need Yeshua as our Savior. "God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to become sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him" (2 Cor. 5:21). The gift of life is freely given to all who trust in God's loving provision for their need as revealed in the face of Jesus, not in the fading glory of the brit yashanah - the older covenant (2 Cor 3:4-18).
08.20.07 I have been sick the last week or so and have been unable to update the site. I hope to get the weekly Torah portion summary written within the next day or so.
I am also putting together a blog that will have information that does not really belong on this site, and I am wondering if any of you have experience working with the major blog packages out there: WordPress, Typepad, Blogger, etc. If you have a decided preference, please let me know. I am currently using WordPress (you can preview it here), but I find editing the text difficult (the text editor is pretty poorly designed). I also was writing a post there tonight and WordPress lost the data.... So I am wondering how TypePad and/or Blogger compare.
08.14.07 I have been especially busy the last few days with forum-related issues as well as a new blog I am beginning to develop, however, I updated the weekly parashah for this coming week (Shoftim) and created a new PDF file for you to download.
In this parashah we find the only passage in the entire Torah where Moses explicitly identifies himself as a prophet of the LORD. Moreover, this is also the only passage where Moses identifies the coming of the Mashiach as "a Prophet like me" (Deut 18:15; cp. John 6:14). See how the Lord Yeshua resembled Moses in no less than thirty (30) ways!
08.07.07 I updated the weekly parashah for this coming week (Re'eh) and created a new PDF file for you to download.
The parashah begins with a dramatic appeal to Israel to choose to obey the commandments of the LORD: "See, I set before you blessing (beracha) and curse (kelalah)" - a blessing if you follow God's ways, but a curse if you turn to idolatry and forsake the way of the LORD.
Blessing and curses come from how we treat others. A key concept given in the parashah is that of kol Yisrael aravim zeh lazeh, "All Israel is responsible for one another":
The LORD did not bring His people into the land in order to live pietistically selfish or self-aggrandizing lives, but rather to serve Him and others in love. The regular practice of tzedakah (charity) and shemitat kesafim (the forgiving of debts) were intended to promote a dignified society of people that cared for one another as mishpachah (family). Thus the LORD's people themselves were to be am segulah - a treasured people - helping to create a world of chesed (love) and beauty for all who are trusting in the LORD.
08.06.07 I am currently working on the Torah portion for this coming Shabbat. I hope to get finished some time tomorrow night, IY"H.
The Collapse of the I35 Bridge
08.02.07 About 7:00 PM yesterday I was on my way to music rehearsal in downtown Minneapolis when I saw fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars everywhere. It was eery. A friend called me and told me about the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge. We have driven over that very bridge countless times...
I quickly tuned into MPR to hear the coverage. It was catastrophic news... several dead; many injured; cars literally plummeted down to the waters below.... We prayed off and on throughout the evening - for the survivors, rescuers, etc. Today there are many cars still submerged and the total number of casualties is unknown. Many people are still missing.
Thankfully the death toll was not as high as it could have been. Many lanes on the bridge had been closed because of construction. Had these been opened, there could have been many more deaths.
The bridge on 35W provides one of the best views of the city of Minneapolis, plus it is a major artery for the city's traffic. This will affect a lot of people's lives up here.
Things like this remind me how fragile we all are and how we need to be always ready to meet the LORD.... We are literally one heart beat away from the other world...
It's a sad day here in Minneapolis/St. Paul. People are shaken. Please pray for this city, chaverim, that many will reexamine their lives and turn to the LORD.
Site Related: I added some additional glossary entries over the last two days.