Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Dreidels and Latkes

Rejoice in the season of miracles and have a Happy Hannukah!!

...And Jelly Donuts too!!

LATKES recipe!

In our dreidel game, here in Japan we play for chocolate `Yen` gelt.

For a primer post on the Dreidel, This post on a blog called Chaiandhome is nice and all the info you need to get started to learn and play!

May your Hannukah be filled with light and the Glory of the Lord fill the earth!!

May you be blessed by ADONAI, 
Maker of heaven and earth.
The heavens are the heavens of ADONAI , 
but the earth He gave 
to the children of men.

...we will bless ADONAI both now and forever.  

--from Psalm 115, 15~16, 18

Monday, December 26, 2016

Happy Hannukah!

The people walking in darkness will see a great light.
Upon those dwelling in the land
of the shadow of death,
light will shine.
You will multiply the nation,
You will increase the joy.
They will rejoice before You
like the joy in the harvest,
as they revel when they divide spoil.
---Isaiah 9:1~2

Wow!! After typing in this scripture from Isaiah 9 for Hannukah, my eyes went on to the next scripture which is Isaiah 9:5,

For to us a child is born,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be upon His shoulder.
His name will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
My Father of Eternity,
Prince of Peace.
 ---Isaiah 9:5  TLV

 Glory to God in the Highest Highs, as on Hannukah we commemorate the light of so many miracles, the miracles that happened there, the miracles that happened here, and the miracles that go on and on in each of our hearts as we open our eyes to see how they all speak of the great Miracle of Messiah Yeshua, the Light of the World!  The miracle of oil that the Channukah lights commemorate is from during the time of the second temple in Jerusalem when it was taken over by the Greeks.  Jewish people were forced to assimilate into the Hellenistic culture and not allowed to worship in their ways and not allowed to study Torah.  Channukah lights honour and commemorate the victory of a small group of Jews, led by Judah Maccabee, who stood up and defeated the Greco-Syrian army and took back and re-dedicated the temple.  They cleaned the temple and found then there was only one vial of pure oil to light the temple menorah, enough to last only one day.  Because of what they did to take back the Temple, God gave them a miracle that the oil lasted for not one day, but eight!!   We share in the great joy the Jewish people had as they cleared the Temple and re-dedicated it to ADONAI, and celebrate the miracle of the oil.  As believers in Messiah Yeshua, we also celebrate today and every day the miracle of Messiah, God`s anointed One!  The Miracle of the Light of the original days of Creation shining again in our midst.   How beautiful the feet of those who bring good news,  and eagerly anticipate the light of His return!!  

Wishing you a beautiful and Light-filled Hannukah!!

Baruch haba b`Shem ADONAI---
Blessed is He who comes in the name of ADONAI.
We bless you from the House of ADONAI.

---Psalm 118:26

A great miracle happened here!

A great miracle happened there!

Click here  if you would like to find out more of the story of Channukah.  It is The story of Hannukah in brief , a version that is kid friendly and kid-at heart friendly !

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Joseph and the Bread of many colors

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons because he was the son of his old age.  So he had made him a long-sleeved tunic.    ---Genesis 37:3

Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob.

He stood out, not only when he was wearing his coat.  He was the first born son of Rachel, and the eleventh (out of 12) son of Jacob.  He stood out for his righteousness and for living in faith and devotion to ADONAI.

Joseph wasn`t afraid to show his colors.  When his father Jacob gave him the many-colored tunic, he wore it.  When he had dreams that spoke of his position in the family, he blurted them out to his brothers.  He was just seventeen.  It wasn`t a matter of pride, but maybe something of his genuine heart and an expression of someone who didn`t hide his light.   He didn't try to hide from wearing the colors that showed that he was a beloved son of not only Jacob, but of the LORD God Almighty.

That is a great lesson in this parsha.  For me it rings brightly.  I sometimes hide who I am.  I did so for 40 years with my Jewishness, and now I don`t want to do that anymore.  In a world where so few people put their trust in God, we sometimes have to be really bold to not only do so but to say we do.   When the baker and cupbearer asked about their dreams, Joseph said only God can interpret our dreams. He put his trust in God at all times and made it clear that he wasn`t in anything for his own glory, but rather always gave praise and glorified ADONAI, to the point that whatever circumstances he was in, he blessed all those around him and he always found favor with the  LORD ...even under such circumstances as when he was sold as a slave by his brothers,  serving an Egyptian master, and even when he was in prison for something he did not do.

 I am really loving getting to know Joseph as I read this parsha

So my challah this week of Parsha Vayeshev is a bread of many colors, a slice that stands out!
There are 12 slices of challah, representing Joseph and his brothers.  And you can see there is Joseph, the 11th brother in the lineup, with the colors!

It is also the first night of Hannukah tonight!! Surely it is no coincidence that this parsha and Hannukah are on the same day, well perhaps that is a Miracle! They are always near each other, but today just when Shabbat of Parsha Vayeshev finishes it is the time to light the candles of the first night of Hannukah.  A beautiful continuation from Joseph son of Jacob, to Yeshua our Messiah,  the Light that lights all the other lights!

All Torah points to our Messiah Yeshua, and Joseph`s story is especially rich with parallels and prophetic pointers to the Light of the World, Yeshua.   Wrongly accused and almost put to death (in Joseph`s case) by his own brothers,  and all part of God`s great plan for Salvation and repentance.

May this Shabbat be filled with light.  As we light the  candles, starting with the Shamash, or servant candle which lights all others may our hearts be open to know Messiah Yeshua and receive His Light.  May we not hide our light but let it shine bright in this season and all year through!!

Shabbat Shalom!  Happy First night of Hannukah.

You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket.  Instead, they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all ain the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.        
--Yeshua`s words from Matthew 5:15

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hannukah Miracles

This is my first year to celebrate Hannukah since I was a child.
I am making a menorah and dreidels out of paper clay, feeling the excitement of Hannukah approaching!.
I remember the song, Dreidel, dreidel dreidel I made it out of clay...but I never really made a dreidel until today!

As I make the paper clay menorah and dreidels I have a whole new understanding of this very special festival of Light.   I always knew and heard about the reason we celebrate this holiday for the miracle of the oil lasting eight days in the temple, which is indeed a miracle.  But there is something I never knew when I was a child.  That is, I have come to know and believe in the miracle of our Messiah Yeshua, Light of the World.  He is the Saviour.  He is the LORD!  When we light the middle candle, the shamash, it is His Light that lights all the others!  I pray that this holiday season many people will see the Light of Messiah Yeshua and receive Him into their lives!!  

 Yeshua spoke to them again saying, "I am the light of the world.  The one who follows Me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  ---John 8:12

Happy Hannukah and may you have a beautiful and light-filled holiday!! 

 Here in Japan, Playing dreidel game with chocolate `Yen` gelt!!!

Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.
---John 8:12

In these days leading up to Channukah, may we re-dedicate our hearts and our selves to serving ADONAI, to bring glory to Him in all we do, and to a season filled with the LIGHT of Messiah Yeshua reaching into all our hearts and nations!!Shayndel

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pomegranate Pancake


I would lead you and bring you Into the house of my mother, who used to instruct me. I would give you spiced wine to drink from the juice of my pomegranates.   
                                                       ---Song of Solomon 8:2
It was a great surprise to receive a pomegranate ...and on my birthday...!
I shared it with my family, my Japanese sister-in-laws never tried one before.

my daughter and I , w/ pomegranate!

 It was fun and exciting to share this...first fruit!! (first pomegranate that I ever had in Japan, and first ever for those that tried it including my daughter!)

We have been savoring the seeds and there is still some left.
This morning I had an inspiration to make a pomegranate pancake!

The red juicy seeds and even finding a pomegranate here, seemed to have come from these weeks of looking into the treasures of the parashiot and seeking their expression in our days!  I was thinking about that ....  When all of a sudden, pop! A pomegranate seed popped out from the frying pan!  And a  profusion of gratitude landed in my heart!

Of course, it gave me a new idea for a challah as well! I usually don`t plan what challah to make until I read the parsha, but now I am thinking there must be the perfect parsha that could find an expression in a pomegranate challah! Any ideas??  Tanoshimi-ni. (I am happily looking forward to it!)

Wishing you a blessed day!

     Love ADONAI your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

                                   ---Deuteronomy 6:  4

In these days leading up to Channukah, may we re-dedicate our hearts and our selves to serving ADONAI, to bring glory to Him in all we do, and to a season filled with the LIGHT of Messiah Yeshua reaching into all our hearts and nations!!Shayndel

Sunday, December 18, 2016

From Jacob to Israel, Fig Challah for Parshat VaYishlach

Then He said to him, "What is your name?"
"Jacob," he said.
Then He said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but rather Israel, for you have struggled with God and with men, and you have overcome.

---Genesis 32:28~29 TLV

 My challah this week is a fig challah!  For the Parashat VaYishlach!   Two 6 braided challahs, twelve strands total for the 12 sons of Jacob, who will become12 tribes of Israel.
 Why fig challah? because Jacob`s name was changed to Israel in this parsha and  "figs"  make me think of  Israel and are used in many ways in Scripture to represent God and returning to Israel.

For ADONAI your God is bringing you into a good land-- a land of wadis with water, of springs and fountains flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, vines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey, a land where you will eat bread with no poverty, where you will lack nothing...                ---Deuteronomy 8:7   TLV

When making the challah, you make the whole  dough, then divide out the sections for each braid...so this part I thought about Jacob and then each of the 12 strands to be his sons.  Even as I was rolling them and shaping them, each one seemed different and had its own character!! It was a chance to meditate on the sons and how each is so different, they even came from four different mothers.  In the previous parshat is where we met all 12.

Two challahs of 6 strands each--- 12 strands total, all from one dough.

When I was making them and dividing them, I also started enacting out the story of the Parsha.
In this Parshat, Jacob prepares to meet Esau.   He gathers together his family---his twelve sons and one daughter,  who have been born to him, from his two wives and their two maid-servants, and they all set out together. 

Jacob hasn't seen his twin brother since the blessings and birthright matter, and he fears for his life in this meeting with Esau, after having run away with taking both the birthright and blessing.  In going to meet Esau, he prepares for this meeting in several ways--- by praying, by preparing gifts of many animals as an offering for his brother..and by dividing up his family, along with the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps.  In case Esau and his armies strikes against one camp, there will still be one camp that can escape.

Then Jacob glanced up and saw, behold, there was Esau coming--and 400 men with him.  So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants.  --Genesis 33:1 TLV 

So as I was laying out and rolling the strands, I made one challah ready first, as the other 6 strands were in the next `camp` a little further behind.   One challah ready to go in to bake, the other six strands were still out and "safe" , so it was like the group setting out and the family being split up by Jacob to strategize on their route!!  Well, the goood news, both in the parsha and in the challah, all 12 strands, both challahs, all 12 brothers, both groups, made it to safety!!

Now about the filling!! Jacob receives a new name, Israel.  Now he is no longer just the deceitful Jacob who we see always trying to get the best of things, but rather he is the Jacob that has wrestled with God.  He was changed through it both physically with a limp, and sprirtually with a new name.

The dough in the challah making is "filled" with the fig filling.  The figs have been cooked with grape juice and some salt, and have become fragrant in the process of cooking and becoming rich in taste and scent.  Can you see where this is going with Jacob? Yes, the "dough", raw material of Jacob, is molded and kneaded by God in all these years and now as he became Israel he is filled with this rich inner being and after wrestling, humbling himself, and seeing God`s face.  As he goes to meet his brother, he is becoming the Forefather whose name was changed to Israel!!

When you taste the challah, can you taste some of this about the parsha?
Blessings and Shabbat Shalom!
Find RECIPE for this exquisite tasting Fig Challah HERE or on sidebar links!
Making Note:  for the fig paste, I used grape juice instead of where it says orange juice and left out the orange rind.


Parsha summary:
In the parashat is also the famous scene where Jacob wrestles with a man and his name is changed to Israel.
We love, because He first loved us. 
1John 4:19

Friday, December 16, 2016

God is Love

Everyday He surrounds us in His Love and compassion, His mercies are new every morning.

On Shabbat morning there is an extra exquisite Light that He bathes us in as we celebrate His creation, and rest in His Love.

More posts on this weeks Fig Challah and Parshat VaYishlach to follow...

Shabbat Shalom!!

This I recall to my heart--
therefore I have hope;
Because of the mercies of ADONAI
 we will not be consumed, 
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning!
Great is Your faithfulness.

---Lamentations 3: 21-23 TLV

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Red Lentil Fusilli, Kosher! With Whole Wheat Challah


 Now Jacob cooked a stew.  When Esau came in from the field, he was exhausted, so Esau said to Jacob, "Plese feed me some of this really red stuff, because I`m exhausted"--that is why he is called Edom. 
So Jacob said, "Sell your birthright to me today."

---Genesis 25:29~31 

I know some of you dear readers came by hoping to find some red stew in the last two weeks.  As I have been making challah to relate to the Parashiot, it would naturally follow that I would have served a red stew on the week of Esau and Jacob`s big birthright and blessings switch.

After all,  I didn`t exactly make the stew,
but  I do have a story to serve you about the red lentils!!

As you know in two weeks ago`s Torah Portion, Parsha Toledot, Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of red lentil stew.

Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and then got up and left.  ---Genesis 25:34

I did think about making it,  to serve with a nice challah, but I live in a small city in southern Japan and I never heard of any place that carries red lentils.  I don`t even know how to say red lentils in Japanese.    So I decided that week I wouldn`t even try to find them, perhaps giving up too easily.  I made a cholent-like Sabbath stew that week, using soy beans, which are plentiful in Japan, and meat.  It was very good, and I pretty much forgot about the red lentils.

Then the other day, I passed a shop in the train station.  They were offering free coffee samples so I picked one up and drank it while making a quick circle around the aisles.  When I got back to the front and center of the shop, a display of pasta caught my eye.

I saw an item that was highlighted in a pasta selection. It got my attention right away---
Red Lentil Fusilli!!
It even had a pop-up placard proclaiming it as a `new item`.   New indeed!
It must have been sent from Heaven, just in for this week to go with the parashat.   It was red and curly,  almost ...hairy! looking.  (*note, Esau`s name means hairy and he also is named Edom which means `red` in connection with the red lentil stew incident)

Not only were the words on the package in English, and overlaid with Japanese, but on the back was a `KOSHER` seal in Hebrew!!! 
  Seeing the Kosher seal on the back definitely made me smile and look up.

I thank God and the Holy Spirit for what seemed like a special order or wink from Heaven!!
I bought the fusilli, and this Shabbat made it using a Bolognese Kosher recipe.  It was very good, with an unusual grainy and chewy texture to the pasta!  It went perfect with a whole wheat Challah.

I hope you enjoyed my story of the red lentil finding in Oita, and I would encourage you to read the portion again if you haven`t already done so about the birth and rivalry between Jacob and Esau.  You will need to backtrack a little to Genesis Chapter 25.

There was a lot of deception in that parashat, but the good news is in this coming weeks reading, the brothers make up, and there is a time of reconciliation when Esau and Jacob meet for the first time after the stew and blessings incidents.

And now, after getting a taste of the Red Lentil Fusilli here on earth, I glimpsed something new.   Did you know in Heaven all the shops stock that red fusilli pasta in the week of Toledot!😇

Red Lentil Fusilli Bolognese, Kosher! With Whole Wheat Challah.  Recommended for Shabbat of Parsha Toledot!!

Lechaim! Shabbat Shalom!
And Shav`ua Tov!!
Have a great week!
PS links:   Whole Wheat Challah recipe can be found HERE

Kosher Pasta Bolonese recipe HERE,

 You can find the list of weekly readings HERE.  

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Jacob`s Ladder (2nd post, a day later), A step of Faith!

Undoubtedly my favorite verse from the scriptures this week in Parashat Vayetze, or at least the verse that spoke to me most in this week is the words Jacob said when he woke up from his sleep having seen the ladder from heaven.  
Undoubtedly, The Lord is in this place---and I was unaware.
--Genesis 28:16
And today I have no doubt what this parsashat spoke to me.
It said Yeshua is the ladder that connects us between earth and Heaven!! He is the step that reconnects us with God.  
It was like God put ladders in my path this week to engage me ...and you!...
in the conversation about ladders, Jacob, Yeshua, and stopping to see that indeed He IS in this place!!

When I saw this ladder (photo above), I stopped.
There was even a rock next to the ladder, another element from the scene in the scripture,  the rock  where Jacob laid his head to rest.

Then Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran.  He happened upon a certain place and spent the night there, for the sun had set.  So he took one of the stones from the place and put it by his head and lay down in that place.     ---Genesis 28:10, first line of Parashat Vayetze

Then I also noticed the gardener.  The scene made me think of John 15,  Yeshua as the Vine. 
God is the gardener who prunes us and cuts off all the branches that don`t bear fruit.

This real life vision of the ladder and the gardener came to life even more as I sat in front of it.
When I  took out my sketchpad and started to draw the ladder, a rainbow appeared...on my hand!   I moved my hand and the rainbow moved onto to the page of my sketchbook, just above the ladder!!!

Whereas yesterday I saw an actual rainbow in the sky, drew it, and  envisioned its connection to a ladder (see post below), today I saw an actual ladder and He drew in the rainbow,  showing me its connection...to Him!! 


Surely Adonai is in this place!!

      One `lesson` that took hold of me this week is that engaging our hearts and minds and time in the study of Torah brings us closer to God in real ways.  It was almost like a week of seeing answers to a question that the ladder raises which is:

What can we do to step up the rungs of the ladder, to come closer to Adonai in our days? 

We can pray, read the scriptures and keep close to God in our hearts.  We can bring the scriptures and our meditations with us as we go through our day, wherever we are.  After all, God is the Creator of the Universe,  so it is not a great step to take to say that He also creates the scenes that we walk or bicycle ride into in all of our days.  And even steps into them.
James 4:8 says  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
When we align ourselves with His calendar of Shabbatot and Torah study, we are saying that we desire to know Him and to abide in Him (abide by His commands). 

When talking about the ladder, I also believe one essential step on the ladder is to receive Yeshua into our lives as our Salvation.  It took me 50 plus years to take this step, and it wasn`t even one I ever thought about until He took me by surprise from up above the ladder.   Like Jacob, once I heard His voice,  I woke up and opened my eyes to the living presence of the Almighty God!!

I believe it is like that when we first see him, hear Him, and have that realization that `He is in this place.`  Of course, He is in every place.  But we are `unaware` until there is a place and time where He calls and we are ready to respond.  For Jacob it was on the way to Haran.  Remember he was running away from the consequences of deceiving his father and brother.  And yet when Adonai comes to Jacob, it is not to scold him, but rather to bless him with the covenant promises.   For me it was  after 17 years of living in Japan.   I too had run away.

My deceit was in thinking I could run away from my Heavenly Father! He didn`t scold me either, but welcomed me back with such great Love and compassion that I had never before known.  Such a ladder of Grace it is!!
For you, where was it? Or where might it be?!  

Surely ADONAI is in this place,  wherever we are!!
                           Waiting for us to reach out to take hold of the ladder,
                a step
                            of faith...!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Jacob`s Ladder (1st post), photos from Today

Undoubtedly, ADONAI is in this place

---Genesis 28:16

During this week of meditating on the Parashat VaYetse,  I have been seeing ladders and rainbows. First, God revealed a rainbow on a sunny day!  I saw it there above the cloud, so perfectly standing...like a ladder...and there wasn`t even rain at all that day!
I wanted to scream out the words above from Genesis, Surely God is in this place!!!

 Jacob made an altar to the LORD after He heard God speak to him in a vision when he stopped to rest on his way on his journey to Haran.  In the vision, ADONAI promised to be with him wherever he goes, and gave him the blessing that He gave his father and grandfather, Isaac and Abraham before him.  When Jacob woke up from the vision or dream he said
`Surely ADONAI is in this place--and I was unaware.`

Jacob right away made an altar to honor the meeting with ADONAI and the spot.
How can we turn moments in our everyday waking lives into moments of worship and praise!?
When we have those wonderful moments in our days when we feel His presence, may we remember how our forefathers bowed down and worshipped ADONAI right there!    I tried to represent my thanks and awe and mark the spot where I was standing in a drawing, so the middle drawing above is like an `altar` of praise.

Later in the day I saw cloud formations that look like the Ladder connecting heaven and earth.
It is thrilling to see in this Parashat how the Ladder is for Jacob`s Ladder (Genesis ch. 28) and is also represents Yeshua as the one who connects us between Heaven and Earth!!

And He (Yeshua) said:  "Amen, amen I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God going up and coming down on the Son of Man!"   John 1: 51 

Wishing you a beautiful week!

This weeks Torah Portion (parashat) is VaYetse, and he went out.
The readings are:
Genesis 25:19~28:9
Malachi 1:1~27
John 1:19~51


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Challah French Toast

(views from Shabbat morning)

Praise ADONAI, for He is good,
for His lovingkindness endures forever.

Psalm 106:1  TLV

Shavu`a Tov,
Have a Light Filled Week!