Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"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.

--Exodus 31:13  TLV

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Bento Blessings

In everything give thanks; for this is God`s will for you in Messiah Yeshua.

--1 Thessalonians 5:18  TLV
For years I have made bento for my daughter. But today was the first time I blessed her bento!!

A little about bentos---
Bento (弁当 bentō ?) is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container.* (from Wikipekia).  Children have to take a bento lunch to school in kindergarten, high school, and for school outings.  Bentos are also for special times like for cherry blossom viewing picnics, to take for work lunch,  as well just for lunch to go.  

Bento are often wonderfully creative, there is a whole art to it, and you can see many of them if you search bento or `o-bento`.  They really look like little boxes packed with the goodness and riches from God`s creation!  
                                                                                                                                                           When I was making my daughters bento this morning I put in some grapes.
It was unusual yesterday to find affordable locally grown grapes at the supermarket, so I bought them!
Usually fruits grown in Japan are very expensive.   Grown-in-Japan grapes especially are usually reserved for special gifts, something to bring to others.  Buying them for everyday use are almost prohibitive!!
So when I put the grapes in the bento it felt very gorgeous, and of course the grapes made me think of Yeshua, because He is the vine.

I am the true vine and My Father is the gardener.   ---John 15:1

John 15 is the beautiful scripture where Yeshua says `Abide in Me, and I will abide in you.` He uses the vine and the fruit and speaks of how God prunes us and takes away what we don`t need.  To abide in Him is the way to glorify the Father, His Father, our Heavenly Father.  In verse 9 He says
`Abide in My love! If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father`s commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and your joy may be full.`  
                                                                                                        ---John 15:9~11
I was going to quote only the first verse,  but its all so beautiful,
you just have to go and read John 15!

Before I closed the lid on the bento box to send it off with my daughter, I remembered the Hebrew blessings I am just learning.  They are for all different occasions.  There are different blessings for fruit, for grains, for bread, for wine and grape juice, and there is one that may be said before eating all other foods. The one I wanted to use for her bento was the blessing for all foods.   Since the bento contains many kinds of food, I wanted to give thanks for all the many kinds of food that ADONAI, Lord our God and King of the Universe, blesses us with.

Ba-rukh at-tah `Adonai `e-lo-hei-nu me-lekh ha-`o-lam
bid-va-ro nih-yeh she-hak-khol

"Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, through whose word everything is created."

There are so many kinds of ingredients in one `o-bento`, even this simple one has  tofu, spinach, chicken, carrots,sesame seeds, egg, hijiki (black seaweed), aburaage (fried tofu), edamame (green beans from branches), rice, nori (black seaweed), and todays special item, grapes!!

A little insider secret, most mothers (including me!) make them everyday so they don`t often look like the ones that you will see when you click to see bentos!!  Like today`s the everyday bento is usually put together with ingredients in the house and made with a mother`s heart of love. You might want to try making your own or for someone you love.  Enjoy!
Blessings and Shalom!!
O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good
For His lovingkindness endures forever.             ---Psalm 107:1

Often you see bento referred to as `o-bento`.
`O` is an honorific prefix used in Japanese put before a word to indicate respect.  It is also like a way of giving thanks and humbling ourselves before another.   In the Japanese language that honor and respect for others is built in.  The honorific `O` preceding the word is used for  certain choice foods and other things that go with foods, like in
sushi, o-sushi,
Japanese tea, o-cha,
and chopsticks , o-hashi,

 `O-nigiri` are rice balls. The action of shaping them with the hand is the verb `nigeru` and the `o` in front of it makes it into `onigiri.`

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Now we know that we have come to know Him by this--
if we keep His commandments.    --1John 2:3

The first Sabbath

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.  Thus the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it Holy.      ---Exodus 8:8,11

 God is so merciful, He cleans our hearts and our lives when we repent and become new in Him.   He makes us into a new creation in Christ.  It is something miraculous.  Little by little I was shedding many things from my old life.    

(I don`t exactly know where to start, so I will start from the first Challah and let the story take its twists from there!)

O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how incomprehensible His ways!  --Romans 11:33

When we moved into a new apartment this year God showed me that he wanted me to leave everything behind, and only bring 3 boxes with me.  It was not easy but in the end, I did it and understood why.  It was so I could make this home new and holy for Him.   I delighted in choosing each new thing,  from the rice bowl to the color of the curtains. 

Then once we were set up, He asked me to observe his Shabbat. (Yom Shabbat is Hebrew for Sabbath Day).

When I think of it now its romantic that He asked me to do that.  
Perhaps like a new bride I didn`t quite know how to set up house for him or even what it meant to keep the Shabbat.

I didn`t know how to start, but knew the special Jewish bread called Challah and that Jesus is the bread of Life, so I decided to start by making a Challah.

Something new was happening.  We were celebrating the first Shabbat.

 I read a book around that time about the Kingdom Calendar and the importance to God of observing His feast days, for both Jews and Gentiles, called Touching the Heart of God (Touching the Heart of God by Paul Wilbur).  This book (I highly recommend it!) spoke to me strongly and I saw how important the Sabbath is for God.  Now that I loved Him I wanted to do the things that pleased Him.  It was not out of obligation but rather out of hearing something that was in His heart and obeying that call to observe His fourth commandment.

It was a wonderful time to make the dough while meditating on my Savior.
Our Father, Our King.
I never celebrated the Sabbath as a child, even though we were Jewish, so this was my first time ever to observe it,
here in our new apartment in Japan.

So there it is my first Challah!

When my daughter came home from school that Friday evening and saw the Challah she got excited!
My love for Jesus went into making it.  It was a holy bread.  It emanated light! I attempted a six braided challah, but as you can see it is quite different!! But even as I see it now, it is my first and came from my heart.  It was an offering to God. After years of separation from my Jewish faith--- forty years in the wilderness!!-- I had returned to Him through Salvation in Yeshua.

No one comes to the Father except through the Son!

 He was pleased.  The first Sabbath.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Surely the islands will hope in Me, 
with the ships of Tarshish in the lead, 
to bring your sons from afar,
their silver and gold with them,
for the Name of ADONAI your God,
and for the Holy One of Israel,
because He has glorified you.

Isaiah 60:9  TLV

Torah and Tatami

Hi and Welcome to Challah and Cherry Blossoms!

As I get started on a new blog, I wonder who my new readers will be.
I wonder how can I tell you what the blog is about, as I too am forming it in each new post.

These first two posts are combinations of two things starting with the same letter.
              You see, for example, Challah and Cherry Blossoms, 
                                                                           Torah and tatami...

Are you starting to get the connection?
You are getting it!!  they are pairs that express something about being Jewish and living in Japan.
I made this blog to express the miracle of a Jewish girl (woman, but I like the sound of girl for this!) from New York who ran away from home all the way around the world to Japan. 

She kept her Jewish identity hidden for many years as she made her new life in Japan. 
But guess what?  Like Jonah, who tried to run away from God, all the way to Tarshish,  she too was found.    Her story comes full circle when seemingly out of nowhere she was not only found but she  was saved and brought back to life through Jesus Christ, who she learned before long is YESHUA the Jewish Messiah!

She wasn`t in the belly of a whale when He found her, but I think the story has enough of a parallel, especially as Japan is an island full of many kinds of fish and as we all know Yeshua was a great fisherman!

Of course that is the simplified version of a long story and the Jewish girl is me!
I just can`t tell you what a big surprise it all has all been in the past two years.
This is my new blog to express and share something about coming back to my Jewish faith and having found out that there is only one way that completes that faith, and that is salvation in Yeshua.

I hope this blog can be a place where people from all over can come together, share a love for Yeshua and for God`s word, encourage each other, and glorify His name through simple things in our everyday lives.  I love to draw, dance for the LORD and am completing the second year of training to become licensed in worship dance.   I love Japan and I love being re-connected with my Heavenly Father where I least expected it.  I am also a mother of one beautiful daughter.   I would love to hear from you so please don`t hesitate to share in the comments.

Shabbat Shalom !

Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life! 
No one comes to the Father except through Me.   ---John 4:16  TLV