As we’re counting the omer in anticipation of Shavuot, it is traditional to study Pirkei Avot each week. If you don’t have a copy of it, you can study it online for free at my other site where I plan on making more texts like these available.
This past week was an emotional roller coaster. We had the sudden & unexpected passing of a loved one, the birth of a nephew and a bar mitzvah all within just a few days. These are the times I am thankful for family & friends. Thank you to everyone who has sent their condolences by email or through Facebook (btw – if you’re on Facebook, please look me up). Although the death was difficult, I believe this may be a catalyst to bring about some long term fruit for the glory of the Father. I’ll try to post photos of my new nephew and of the bar mitzvah later today or tomorrow. Blessings & thanks for your prayers…
Last year we enjoyed our first “Moshiach’s Seudah” which is basically a mini-seder that revolves around the telling of stories about Messiah. This is a fairly recent tradition, done mostly in chassidic circles. I don’t have time to post details, but we had a great time last year and are planning on it this year as well. We used both rabbinic lore and narratives from the Gospels. I loved it when my then 3-year-old’s eyes got as big as saucers as I dramatically told the story of Yeshua walking on the water to meet his talmidim. Here are a couple of resources:
This is a recent video from Toby Janicky of FFOZ. This is teaching #8 in a series called “Mishlei Musings.” (“Mishlei” is the Hebrew name for the book of Proverbs.) This episode is called “The Fruit of Humility.” It would have really helped me if I had watched this before we went into Passover, per my last post.
Invariably, no matter how hard and long we clean in preparation for Chag HaMatzot (the Feast of Unleavened Bread), somewhere around the middle of the week, we open a cabinet or the freezer and there’s a whole package of hamburger buns or something ridiculous like that. This year things are already a little different.
We’ve found a couple of small things that we had forgotten contained vinegar (a type of chametz/leavened food that we have chosen to remove during this time), such as our Ranch dressing that we had mixed up before we had started purging our home. Since it wasn’t labeled, all we thought about was what was in the mix contents. We didn’t think about the mayo that was added to it!
But there was something that was even larger that I, personally found. The actual day of Pesach, I found about three loaves of puffy, white bread in my heart. I allowed my zeal for observing the feast at a higher level than those around me spoil the spirit of the feast. The entire daylight hours of Pesach for my family ended up being a burden, and not a joy. I allowed a conflict of observance to get under my skin and sour our Pesach experience. Fortunately, I was able to work through this with my family prior to our second seder, confessing my sin and asking forgiveness from my family & friends.
I am admitting this publicly, because we need to confess our faults in order to get rid of them, and I also need a reminder for the following years so that I don’t allow it to happen again. I need to remember that we must continually look into the “Law/Torah of Liberty” (James 1:25;2:12), not falling prey to the “leaven of the Pharisees”—hypocrisy. I wanted to be strict in the minor areas, while allowing the larger, more weightier matters of the Torah (love, compassion, etc.) to fall by the wayside. May Hashem use this as a life lesson to draw me (and hopefully others) to the heart of His commandments. I am thankful for a loving and gracious family. Truly love does cover a multitude of sins.