Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Joseph and Cherry Blossoms and a Pomegranate

Joseph dreamed a dream

At seventeen years of age, Joseph tended the flocks with his brothers, as a helper to the sons of his father`s wives Bilhah and Zilpah...   ---Genesis 37:2b

We had some guests at last Shabbat,
so happy we could share a Challah.
It was the first time for most to try a pomegranate.
And to hear the story of Joseph.

I told a little of the story after our meal, and illustrated the colored coat (striped tunic, specially given to him from his father Jacob) with gingerbread (cookies) in the hopes of making an impression that they might want to read more.  Everyone wanted to eat more for sure!

After the girls went into another room (I just realized the girls are about the age Joseph was when he had the first two dreams, at the start of this week`s Parsha Vayeshev), I opened up the Song of Songs.  Because of the pomegranate on tonight's Shabbat table, I noticed particularly the verses with pomegranates, and because of the lily we had at our Shabbat, I also noticed those lines too.

I went down to the nut grove 
To see the budding of the vale; 
To see if the vines had blossomed,
If the pomegranates were in bloom.    --Song of Songs 6:11

It is rare to find a pomegranate in Japan, and it took me by surprise to see one in the supermarket where I have recently been going for Shabbat meal shopping.  Could God have put it there for me?  I remember the last time I had a pomegranate it was in December, around my birthday, and even made a post and a pancake about it , HERE.  Happy Birthday to all whose birthdays are in December!!

Blessings and Shalom,
Its already Sunday in Japan.

Challah French toast with pomegranate seed

Shavu'a Tov!!!  (have a good week!)

Continue reading below for a quiz challenge, and a SHALOM finding from this week`s Parsha Vayeshev

1。Here`s a   QUIZ!!! Challenge! about the drawing (pictured above, top of this post)!
In Joseph's dreams there were 11 of something in each dream.(you can see in  this week's Parsha, starting in Genesis Ch. 37 for Q's 1-3!)

1.What was there 11 of in the first dream? 
2.What was there 11 of in the second dream?
3.  What do the 11 represent?
4.What else is there 11 of in the drawing (though not in the scripture)?
5.  If you found an answer to question 4, WHY do you think there are 11 of these, what might they represent? 

2。Here`s the SHALOM finding!
This year as you know I have been on a mission to seek Shalom, I have also been keeping my eyes open for when  the word `SHALOM` appears in the weekly Torah readings.

This week it appears twice (at least), in these scriptures:
Genesis 37:4 :
When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak to him in shalom.
Genesis 37:14
 Then he said to him, "Go now and check on the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flocks and bring word back to me." 
note: in this verse in the Hebrew scriptures, the word `Shalom` is used twice, for the shalom (welfare in this case)  of the brothers, and the shalom of the flocks
 I found this very interesting because in the first one (Gen. 37:4), it was about how the brothers hated Joseph and could not speak to him in Shalom.  And its the first time I noticed this form of Shalom being , rather `no Shalom`.

In the second one  (Gen. 37:14) is when Jacob asks Joseph his son to check on his brothers and see if they were well , in this case, in `Shalom`. 

When there is `No Shalom`, we can see in how in all the verses to come and the parashiot to follow, and the history from there, the lengths the brothers go to to try to get rid of Joseph, rather than face their jealousies and seek Shalom.

I learned from this Torah portion and coming on that place in the verse of seeing where there was `no shalom`.  It really spoke to me because there was a place in my heart recently where I wasn`t feeling shalom, and so I really stopped at that verse in Genesis 37:4.  I saw from this what happens if we let that go and don`t check on it,  and how it `snowballs` and creates dis-harmony in relations with others.  So how to get back to shalom in those times?  It is God`s shalom that is the peace that goes beyond understanding, so it is by seeking Him through seeking His presence, His word, and abiding in the vine, Yeshua, that brings us out  of the chaos of `no shalom` and back into His presence, the place where we find His Shalom!! 


Shalom I leave you, My shalom I give to you; but not as the world gives! Do not let your heart be troubled or afraid.   -- Yeshua`s words from John 14:27



  1. shalom! Well...I know the answers to questions 1,2,& 3 so I won't spoil it for others....and I know what there are 11 of but not in Scripture but I'm not sure what they represent? Humm...

    I really found what you said about "no shalom" interesting...and you are right about your conclusions! If the "no shalom" happens in our lives and we don't check on it....things get ugly. Thank you for the reminder. Shalom and Happy Hanukkah!

  2. Shalom! Hmm.. should I tell or wait if anyone else might find their way way back here to `answer` or share any thought on that one!! I will wait a little to see if I can explain, but meanwhile, yes they are 11 cherry blossoms!!

    I am glad you mentioned that the part about `no shalom` communicated, as I was not sure if I was able to explain it well. (well!)..thanks for sharing your thoughts!! Have a blessed Hannukah!! ♡

  3. I love pomegranates as a live ornament (it's so beautiful, both closed and open!) and as part of my bowl of fruits that I constantly keep in the entrance room. I'm not very fond of the seeds despite of their great health benefit. Your toast with the seeds, however, looks yummi!

  4. Your live ornament bowl of fruits sounds beautiful, I can imagine it a welcoming display to have in the entrance! Yes, the seeds on the French toast are really yumm! Maybe you will like the seeds if you have just a few at a time, like on the toast or in a pancake;)) Blessings!