Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Happy `Nissan 1`!



Nissan 1 is the first day of the first month on the Hebrew calendar, as commanded by God to the Children of Israel (Exodus 12:2).  It is the `head` of the year, the Rosh Chodesh, the day that everything begins a new.  Nissan 1 is also the day that some believe to be the "birthday" of Messiah Yeshua, or rather the day He came from Heaven to earth to live in human form.  Nissan 1 is the day that, as we read in the last chapters of the book of Exodus, the Tabernacle was complete and ready for God to dwell with the Children of Israel.
Then ADONAI spoke to Moses saying, "On the first day of the first month, you will set up the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting."   ---Exodus 40:1~2

Nissan 1, the first day of the first month on the Hebrew Calendar,  is also today!
        
Nissan 1, 5777;  March 28, 2017

This morning I put on a Messianic-pink skirt to dress for the day.
Its my first time of knowing that this day existed, as I never lived in the cycle of Torah and followed the Hebrew calendar before this past year.  Probably no one else that I would meet during the day today would know what this day is on God`s calendar.    I knew it was special, and wanted to acknowledge it. So I dressed in my new pink skirt, filled with joy to be with Messiah Yeshua in my heart.  If anyone asked, or if the opportunity was opened, I would tell them.

Everything in the day felt bathed in the new light of Nissan 1.  

A friend had invited me to go to a park with her family and to drink matcha,  green tea in Japanese style setting.  I went with her and her daughter and granddaughter.  Her granddaughter is so precious, just a little over one year old! We sat on the tatami floor of the temporary tea room set up in the park for an event welcoming spring.  The person making the tea poured the water and performed all the rituals of making the tea.    A  very pretty and delicate pink and green Japanese sweet  was served.  Its colors, shape, and tastes,  are made to bring together the taste and feeling of the season.  My friend explained how we  first eat the sweet Japanese wa-gashi and it prepares our taste for the bitter green tea. 

 This year I am feeling a deep Messianic connection with things Japanese, so it somehow seemed the perfect taste for this day.






To my great surprise, I also saw the very first cherry blossoms in the park !! All of the trees were starting to bud.  Expectation is in the air, but only a very few were open into blossoms.    As exciting as full bloom is, there is something truly special about seeing the first blossoms.  In the season of re-birth to see new life coming forth!!

(note for those readers who are following my reports, yes I did a post (HERE) about seeing cherry blossoms a little earlier this year, but those were the `pre`-firsts!, the cherry blossoms-before-the-cherry blossoms, you could say, preparing the way!)

By the way, I did have a chance to tell someone the great story of it being Nissan 1, and the reason for my wearing my Messianic-pink skirt!!

So to everyone,
May we grasp a hold of the tree of life, the Torah of Adonai, the Word made flesh, Yeshua our Messiah, and Have a Happy Nissan 1 !!!




Matcha, Japanese Green tea, and a sweet taste of spring
Living water
A three blossom cherry blossom--- announcing Nissan 1, and everything new!!
This month will mark the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year for you.

---Exodus 12:2

Sunday, March 26, 2017

(almost) Nissan 1!




               As we finish reading a double portion Parsha, we come to the end of the book of Exodus in the Torah cycle.  In the place where Exodus finishes, it is Nissan One and the Tabernacle is completed.  God`s dwelling place is completed and the Israelites are commanded to begin /open the Tabernacle. 

The amazing thing is, on March 28th 2017, it will be....Nissan 1! The first day of the Hebrew month of Nissan, Tuesday in this coming week.

The Torah cycle and our lives once again and in an ever repeating cycle, come together.

God made the seasons and He made springtime to burst into blossom just around now. God also planned the Tabernacle and that it would also be ready for Him to dwell with the Children of Israel on the first day of Nissan in spring.  The whole Torah cycle and God`s feasts are all perfectly planned so as we celebrate each Shabbat we enter more and more into His time.   The Passover is coming up.  Spring springs to life and bursts with excitement as  God`s spring feasts are about to begin.

God`s plans are so immaculate and perfect.  We get a view of that in the reading of the parashiot the past week about the details of the Tabernacle.  And then we see in its repetition that it was all carried out to a T.   T for Tabernacle.

How amazing and even more wonder-ous to the Mth degree to see how the birth, death, and Resurrection of Messiah Yeshua are revealed through the Passover and all of Creation, the giving of the Torah, and the making of the Tabernacle.   All the events leading up to this Spring Feast of ADONAI.  We are commanded to remember these days and to observe the feast in perpetuity throughout the generations.

How lovely are Your tabernacles,
ADONAI-Tzva`ot!  

---Psalm 84:2  TLV

Dear Heavenly Father,  We thank you for this spring.  As the blossoms will soon burst from seemingly `dead` trees that come to new life!! Spring is the season of the birth of lambs.  Spring is the season of new life.  You give us the  Hebrew calendar which  starts in Nissan, and tell us that Nissan 1 is the Head of the Calendar for the whole year.  Could it be that this is also the time when Messiah is born?  Everything begins in this time, and You plan everything to Your specifications and to fit in with your great Plan.  Yeshua is the Head of the body of Messiah.   In this Nissan 1 may we celebrate and eagerly anticipate all things new and re-newed.  In Japan people will soon be celebrating in a great merry making, the spring under the cherry blossoms.  How wonderful it will be when the Japanese people come to know Messiah Yeshua. May it be soon! May the cherry blossoms bursting forth over the island nation remind us of the Resurrection Power of Yeshua.   Baruch Haba Hashem ADONAI.  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD.

No wonder the cherry blossom season feels like heaven on earth!!

ADONAI, I love the House where You live,
the place where Your glory dwells.

---Psalm 26:8

Friday, March 24, 2017

Shabbat Shalom





May each Shabbat blossom like a new spring.   As we draw nearer to ADONAI in each delightful breath of His appointed day of rest.

Blessings and Shabbat Shalom!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Shabbat: A Perpetual Covenant Sign


Then ADONAI spoke to Moses saying,
"Speak now to Bnei-Yisrael saying, `Surely you must keep My Shabbatot, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, so you may know that I am ADONAI who sanctifies you.  Therefore you are to keep the Shabbat, because it is holy for you.  Everyone who profanes it will die, for whoever does any work during Shabbat, that soul will be cut off from the midst of his people.  Work is to be done for six days, but on the seventh day is a Shabbat of complete rest, holy to ADONAI.  Whoever does any work on the Shabbat will surely be put to death.  So Bnei-Yisrael is to keep the Shabbat, to observe the Shabbat throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.  It is a sign between Me and Bnei-Yisrael forever, for in six days ADONAI made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he ceased from work and rested."

When He had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave the two tablets of Testimony to Moses--tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.

Exodus 31:12~18  TLV

はモーセに告げて仰せられた。
「あなたはイスラエル人に告げて言え。
あなたがたは、必ずわたしの安息を守らなければならない。これは、代々にわたり、私とあなた方の間のしるし、わたしがあなたがたを聖別するであることを、あなたがたが知るためのものなのである。
これは、あなたがたにとって聖なるものであるから、あなたがたはこの安息を守らなければならない。

出エジプト31:12〜14節

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Good News! Israeli Oranges




Friday Special!!

Oranges from Israel--`Oa` Oranges Friday Special!

You open Your hand and satisfy the desire
of every living thing.                 ---Psalm 145:16

 Friday Special!!

Shabbat SHALOM!!


Purim Round-up



 With Purim now forming into a triangle-shaped memory, the parties are winding down and we can start to see towards  Passover just over the horizon.  

These photos are from today, as Purim extended into the week for a last party with a few of my students.  Studying English while getting a taste of Purim.

I hope you enjoyed Purim at Challah and Cherry Blossoms, thank you for celebrating it with us through the posts below.  It has been fun to share the festivities and hamentashen  with you.




costume credit:  I am wearing an Esther mask, printable courtesy of Alpha Mom, Here!
Blessings and Shalom!

Then Queen Esther the daughter of Abihail, and also Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter of Purim.  He sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of shalom and truth, to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, just as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them and just as they had established for themselves and their descendants, matters regarding their times of fasting and lamentations.  Esther`s command confirmed these regulations about Purim and it was written into the records.   

---Esther, 9:29~32

Monday, March 13, 2017

And now, the Feasts!


Shabbat Zachor and the eve before Purim!


These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family and in every province and every city.  These days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor their remembrance perish from their descendants.

---Esther, 9:28

The Shabbat before Purim this past weekend was called Shabbat Zachor, the Sabbath of Remembrance.  On this Shabbat we remember to never forget what Amalek did to the Israelites when they came out of Egypt.  (see Deuteronomy 25:17~19))  Amalek had no fear of God.  Haman from the story of Esther is said to descend from Amalek and thus the connection of this week`s special Shabbat and Purim.

Throughout the Bible we are taught that the Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, the Fear of God is what brings us life and into light*.  Those who have no fear of God but live for men and the glory of self walk in the way of darkness.  In the age we live in now too, many people do not know the fear of God. In the story of Esther, the wicked Haman did not have the fear of God. He believed he himself could control fate and randomly by `lots` destroy a whole people.  Queen Esther, who had not yet revealed to the King that she was Jewish, called all the Jewish people together in a fast and in unity and she was granted the scepter to have an audience with the King.  She prepared two great feasts before revealing her identity as a Jew and putting forth her request for the King to save her people.  In the end, Haman, was hanged on the gallows that he prepared for Mordechai.  Hence we make a feast on this day and celebrate the deliverance of the Jews.





Actually, this year it was an ongoing feast from Shabbat to the night of  Purim to the day of Purim, because Purim began on sundown Saturday just when the Shabbat finished! Hamentashen (triangle-shaped!)  for breakfast and Kreplach (triangle shaped!)  for lunch, and we have to get at least tipsy so we completely forget the name of Haman.

You will start to see triangles by the time the meal is done!!

In the post below I talked about the hamentashen.
So now we can return to the feast!


Purim breakfast table! (photo above), Purim day lunch! (below)

Purim Challah in a twisted rope shape, filled with cherry blossom filling.  Remember that `hamen-tashen` means `weaken Hamen` so as you can see, the Purim feast has a lot to say !!!

Japanese `Onigiri` rice balls also make a good addition to your Purim in Japan menu! They not only are triangle shaped, but they also have `hidden` fillings inside.
The fear of ADONAI prolongs life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

---Proverbs 10:27

The Purim challah (above middle) is in a circle shape, it is two stands twisted together like a rope that Haman was hung by.  I got the idea from this Purim challah Here.   But I made a variation. In my version, inside is , again, cherry blossoms! To represent the saving and resurrection power of Messiah Yeshua, and the fruit that comes from following the ways of Torah!!!

A Song of Ascents.
Happy is everyone in awe of ADONAI, 
who walks in His ways,
for you will eat the labor of your hands.
You will be blessed 
and it will be good for you.

---Psalm 128:1~2

On Purim we rejoice because although God was `hidden` in the pages of the book, it was a fear of God that kept the Jewish people so strong as they were a people who agreed together to walk in the ways of righteousness and who kept the Law of God. 

May we remember to blot out the memory of Amalek!! One of the meanings for hamentashen
is that `tashen` means to weaken, so the word hamentashen means to weaken Hamen and hence the power of Amalek. 

In Yeshua`s name I declare OUT AMALEK!!

For God, who said "Let light shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Messiah.   ---2 Corinthians 4:6

Blessings and Shavu`a Tov!!
From your Challah and Cherry Blossoms Correspondent,

Shayndel

Now when ADONAI your God grants you rest from all the enemies surrounding you in the land ADONAI your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, you are to blot out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens.  Do not forget!

---Deuteronomy 25:19

Shalom be upon Israel!

---Psalm 128:6b


*There are so many great verses about Fear of the LORD, HERE are some to start!

Note on Purim Giving: It is a mitzvot on Purim to give to those in need ,
may we not forget to give in this season!
Blessings and Shalom!

Kreplach in soup, and Esther-inspired beans stew
food note:  Queen Esther hid her Jewish identity while she lived in the palace, so it is said she kept a vegetarian diet in order to keep kosher.  See recipe for this Persian-inspired bean dish with cinnamon and tomato HERE.  These Kreplach contain meat and sweet potato and onion, but you can also find vegetarian Kreplach recipes for Purim.

Cherry Blossom Hamentashen!



On top of both you can place a cherry blossom flower, before or in the middle of baking time.

Nothing says `Purim in Japan` like Cherry Blossom Hamentashen!
Cherry Blossom is the perfect filling for this holiday that falls just before spring, the holiday before the Passover.  Purim is a time to celebration the deliverance of the Jewish people in Persia by Esther`s annulment of the terrible decree set out by Haman (see post below).

Hamentashen are the cookies that are traditional to eat on Purim.  They can be filled with all different kinds of filling, and there are many ideas as to what these little triangular filled pastries mean.  You can read ten of them in an article HERE that offers ten possible meanings.

This year I just couldn`t resist trying my first Cherry Blossoms Hamentashen.
 
 I also made  the classic, prune, which is often made for this Jewish holiday.
Two flavors.  Prune and Cherry Blossom. A fun mix of cultures.  With special meaning for me as they combine the place where I live with the faith that I`m from.



 I have come to also see the cherry blossoms through a Messianic lens, and the pink color of the spring blossoms that burst forth over all Japan has the expectation of Messiah and resurrection.
 Messianic Jewish and Japanese!
However you say it,  Prune and Cherry Blossom Hamentashen say "Purim in Japan!!"

To make Cherry Blossom Hamentashen:

For the dough I started with the recipe from Torey Avey`s Non-dairy Hamentashen recipe.
 I used Natane Oil for the `oil`, which is or is like Canola Oil.
And one sublime Challah and Cherry Blossoms addition:
 Sprinkle cherry blossom flakes into the dough.

For the filling, I used Sakura-an, which is a cherry blossom paste with a white bean base which is used for wa-gashi, Japanese traditional sweets.  I added a teaspoon of the filling into each triangle and the dough wraps around the filling.  You can follow the recipe and photos on how to fold Here.


To make prune Hamentashen:

I used the recipe directly from Tori Avey`s Non-dairy Hamentashen recipe.
With one sublime addition, I sprinkled cherry blossom flakes into the dough so they are
cherry blossom-infused Prune Hamentashen!!  For the filling I used her recipe for delicious Prune Filling HERE.

(You can read about the use of cherry blossom flakes and how they `dissolve` into the dough in THIS recent post on my first Cherry Blossoms Challah!)

Hope everyone had an extra-special Purim and new revelations of some of the treasures that fill the Book of Esther and all the Word of God!!  Blessings and Shalom!!




Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Happy Purim!



Mordechai recorded these events and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, urging them to celebrate the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar every year as the days when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into celebration.  
  
---from the Book of Esther, 9:20~22



 in Progress:  Shushan Photo Booth!!


 Shushan Photo Booth, Grab a prop and strike a pose.Idea from Joyfully Jewish blog, link to follow!
I`m so excited about Purim! 
I say `Happy Purim` but I realize not everyone knows about Purim!
Thank you for asking!! I will see if I can tell you a little to start...

Oh, and first to give credit to the Joyfully Jewish blog, whose Post `Purim Photo Booth` inspired me so much, I made a Shushan Photo Booth. Possibly the first in Japan!! Very possibly!!




Before you grab a prop and jump in the booth, to know about Purim, the very first thing is to do a little advance reading in the Book of Esther!  Actually, reading the Book of Esther is one of the things to do during  Purim, but if you are new to Purim, then you would need to read it first so you know what you are in for.

 I will also  copy this description from Jerusalem News Network*  
to share a brief description of `What is Purim?"
It is a celebration of redemption and a time of great merry-making as Jews throughout the world remember the deliverance from the hands of the wicked Haman, who tried to instigate the annihilation of the Jews of Persia. The Biblical Book of Esther, recited on this holiday by Jews throughout the world, tells the story of how the Jewish woman Esther and her uncle Mordecai saved the Persian Jewish community from destruction. Families and neighbors give gifts of sweets to each other, and many dress-up in costumes for festive events.
The date of Purim is the 14th day of the month of Adar on the Hebrew Calendar. 
This year it is March 12, and as all holidays on the Hebrew calendar, begins on the evening so it will be this week from just after Shabbat! Saturday March 11, to the evening on March 12.

The things we are supposed to do are told to us right there in the Book of Esther!
 These were to be days of feasting, celebration and sending presents of food to one another and giving gifts to the poor.  ---From the Book of Esther, 9: 22b
There is lots of hidden intrigue in this story and perhaps that is why we eat things that have filling `hidden` in them like Kreplach and Hamentashen, two traditional foods eaten on Purim.  Can you guess what filling I will put in the Hamentashen?!  See post to follow!

I believe that the hidden surprises in Purim will be revealed to us more and more as we  prepare the feast and party hearty.  There is also a day of fasting the day before Purim which is a good time to join in hearts of prayer for Israel and our nations, and to seek God during this special feast time.

The Book of Esther is the only book in all the Bible where God`s name doesn`t appear at all, and God Himself doesn`t seemingly appear, but of course He is in the foreground orchestrating all the characters, choreographing their moves, and the One who makes all the divine timings and appointments that all so perfectly make the story what it is.

In our lives, too, even when we don`t `see` God of course He is always there and the One who is orchestrating all we do and the timings, appointments, people in our lives, and where we are.  Something to think about too as we read the Book of Esther, where we see that within that,  we have responsiblity and we have to make choices.  Esther chose to not be silent.  She makes a choice, and what she did saves her people.  She annuls the decree that the wicked Haman set out.  I learned during this season that the word Purim which the holiday is named after has two meanings.  One is `lots`.   It also means `annul` in Hebrew. Many places say the holiday is named Purim for Haman`s lots, but actually it is named for the great irony that Haman thought he could control the fate of people through the lots, but his plan was turned around and he is hanged in the end by the gallows he himself made, so after all it is Esther`s `lots` that the Holiday is named for.  

So now that you know a little of Purim, there is still time, don`t delay!! Hamentashen recipe HERE
Kreplach HERE, the Purim Photo Booth and all the specifications on how to make it HERE!!

*
Please also know and remember that To send gifts and contributions is also an important part of the holiday.  HERE is a link where we can send donations to aid Israel, from education to aid to the poor to medical aid and more, there are many needs.
*

Happy Purim!! Boo Haman!  We love you Esther.
Praise God for His Mighty Outstretched Arm that continues to save and protect, comfort and love, bring joy and goodness to all who call upon His name, and that He alone is the One who brings about Righteousness and Judgement.   May we realize through the Feast days like Hannukah and Purim, seemingly `minor` Feasts, how essential it is to grab and grasp the TORAH of ADONAI and keep it in our heats, return to God, and declare His praises from all corners of the Earth!!

May the festival of Purim be known and celebrated throughout Japan in Purims to come!! And throughout the lands! You don`t have to be Jewish to Celebrate Purim, everyone can join in the special feast, and reach out to those who are in need to share food and giving.  As you eat your hamentashen and read the book of Esther, may  God reveal to you something about this holiday and may you know the  joy that comes in celebrating His victories!




Note on Kreplach:  For Purim you can make KREPLACH! Filled with meat or your choice filling, they are a traditional favorite on this holiday. I wanted to make them a little in advance,  so I made them and  froze them .  I had never done `freezing` before, so I was a little nervous to get it right.  Thank you my friend Debbie for telling me the steps on how to freeze kreplach! 

How to freeze kreplach and use for soup:   First make the dough and cook the filling.  Once the filling cools, fill them, shape them, then line them on parchment (cooking paper) on sheets  (for example, aluminum tray, cookie sheet etc) that can go in the freezer.  Put them in the freezer like that, uncooked and  UNCOVERED until they harden.  Once they are frozen, you put them in  ziplock freezer bags.  You can dust with a little flour to prevent them from sticking together.
To cook and use in soup, just take them out of the freezer when you are ready, put them in boiling water or directly into the soup broth, and cook about fifteen minutes.  You can now make a batch to freeze for Sunday!! Enjoy!Blessings and Shalom!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

PS scenes from a Cherry Blossoms challah



PS scenes from a Cherry Blossoms Challah.  Can you see how that swirl of pink echoes the shape of the Shofar?  Every slice is different.

Blessings to all and hope your Purim preparations are going well!!
Shavu`a Tov, have a great week!