Monday, December 30, 2019

Hanukkah diary--Hanukkah encounters of the Divine kind (reflections and a story from the 7th night of Hanukkah)

The lifebreath of man is the lamp of the LORD
Revealing all his inmost parts.
                                               Proverbs 20:27

(note:  still catching up some Hanukkah posts!!  this some notes I wrote from the 6th or7th night)

The light of Chanukah is not just any light.  It is the light of the Shekinah, the divine light, the light of the Divine presence that we recall from the miracle of Hanukkah those many years ago in 167 BC from the oil that burned in the re-dedicated Holy Temple after the victory of the Maccabees. 

The small band of Maccabees stood up for their faith in the God of Israel and their Judaism in walking in His ways, and from refusing to give in to the ways of the "world", of the Greeks, and fighting for the Torah for their life,  even though they didn't have a chance in terms of "numbers", they had strength in God.  He gave them a victory over the Greek army!!!  He gave the stronger into the hands of the weak.  As even the weakest is given strength in the One who gives us strength!

While the lights are lit, and especially for the first 30 minutes, the Jewish sages say that we are not to do anything to use the light for any other purpose,  but just to look at the light.  There are many things said about the light of Hanukkah! One is that it is said to be a concentration of the hidden light of Creation.

On each night of Hanukkah you can see that the light is increasing.  You light first one on the first night, then two on the second, three, ....and then seven , then eight lights at last are lit!! Its very exciting to think of how the one days light spread out and expanded over 8 nights.  There are said to be two kinds of light, one the "physical " light that can be defined by its properties and physical qualities measurable to the eye, and the other is light of the Divine kind.  Like the fire of the burning bush,  which kept on burning but wasn't consumed.  And the light of the Hanukkah miracle, which was "measurable" to one nights amount, but spread out over eight.  Even when we light the 8 lights of Hanukkah with the one "shamash" candle, we have a sense of what looks like a tiny flame can light all the others.

So when I set out tonight with my menorah in hand, I prayed for some kind of miracle or divine encounter so that I would be able to share about this amazing miracle and more than that, so that I could share about this amazing God!!! And lo and behold, He gave me an encounter!! I returned to the "tent" that you can see in this post below, where I had a little Chanukah party on the third night.  Tonight though I didn't have anyone with me, I decided to bring the menorah there and "light"it.  The dome "tents" that are set up there in our city made me think of Abraham and how he and Sarah always anticipated for someone to come into their tent so they could share about the God of Israel, and I had a flicker of confidence, almost a mustard seed of faith, that there might just be a guest to the tent!!

So you know what happened?!  I had not one guest, but three!!! It was a wonderful Hanukkah encounter in the tent with the menorah!! First a woman passed by before I even settled in, I hadn't yet taken out the menorah and she peeked in to see if there was anyone in, and she actually asked me if she could come in!! She beat me to it! I would have asked her! It was just that exact timing that the Holy Spirit breathed on the moment, so that it would work out that she would come in!!  She said she had time before her bus and wanted to have a place to wait!!   She asked if I mind if she had a sweet snack she brought, and offered me one.  (guess what it was?  you guessed! a "red bean" sweet! )   So it was my moment to ask if she would mind if I "light" the menorah with her, and she said she'd like that!!  And wanted to know about what it was about!! Then I took out the menorah from my "sack" (yes, thinking of the sack with the goblet! in Benjamin's sack, this week's parsha Miketz, Genesis 44:12)).  And when I was about to "light " the Shamash candle (on the battery powered menorah),  a young woman and man stopped to look into our tent. Both I and the other woman asked if they would like to join us, as we were just starting to light the menorah!!

The young man and woman lit up and seemed excited about this gathering, and they entered into our Hanukkah adventure!! This was God!! Now there were four of us settled in around the menorah, and I was able to share with them about Him and the miracle of Hanukah!!!  I made a prayer and a blessing.  Even though it wasn't the real candles, it was the real Presence of the Holy Spirit, so we were able to feel His light expanding even beyond the transparent confines of the tent!! It was wonderful!! I even had a chance to pray for the young woman, and in that way introducing her to Yeshua, in whose name we pray.  He showed me a lesson of the Maccabbees.  How when we step out to shine our light for His glory, He will meet us and in the power of His light we become strong!!

I really hope I can meet the people I shared Hanukkah with tonite again, but most importantly, they had an encounter with Him, with God who is the Light !

Wishing all a Happy New Year, may we go forth with the light revealed from Hanukkah and may the year and each of our lives be filled with the pure oil of the Light of Messiah Yeshua!!

(ps please pardon my spelling of the word Hanukkah in so many different ways, I know there are several ways to spell it and I just couldn't settle on one, and left it the way I typed it out! thank you, from the editorial staff at Challah and Cherry Blossoms! Much love!)

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Nes Gadol Haya Sham, Hebrew Letters Challah! Parsha Vayashev Challah-cast

"Nun" on the dreidel stands for
"NES"  which means"Miracle"

Gimel on the dreidel stands for "Gadol" which means "Great"
"Hey" on the dreidel stands for "Haya" which means "Occured"
"Shin" on the dreidel stands for  "Sham" which means "There" .  Remember, on the dreidels in Israel this letter would be "Pey" which stands for "PO", which means "HERE"!

Nes Gadol Haya Sham, in Challah!!

Hebrew letters in challah is not what you would see on the typical Shabbat table, but our God sometimes asks us to go out of the typical!  As its something I love, so He is giving me the go ahead  in such a way on the challot these past weeks, from a "Shalom" challah to the "letters on the dreidel"  challah in a recent Chanukah challah, this one to go with the parsha Vayashev.

As I was making the letters,  I learned a lot as I shaped each one, even consulting a book on Hebrew Calligraphy to get the basic strokes right, and then while the dough was rising checking a little about the meanings of the letters, and looking for connections with reading about Joseph in our parsha from the week.

My "kitchen" and rooms became like a Chanukah Challah studio in the days of Chanukah.

Tonight is the seventh night of Hanukkah. Or Chanukah.  There are a few ways to spell it.   The CH sound in Chanukah has the same first letter as the CH in Challah.

I will share my challah-cast in which I make the "Nes Gadol Haya Sham" in Challah!  if you are moved to watch it please do and enjoy!!  It has some fun twists and spins, and a little learning as I go along!

Hope you enjoy it if you have a chance to take a break to view it during your end of the year cleaning and winding down, and that you might even learn something new and hope it blesses you!!  

Blessings and Shalom!



Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Let your light shine!♡

latkes with sour cream and applesauce, is a de- light of Hanukkah!

For with You is the source of life---. 
By Your light we shall see light.

Psalm  36:9

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 in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.           Matthew 5: 14 ~16

A few scenes from the first few days of Hanukkah here.  Each night there is ever increasing light as the candles are lit adding each day to the light from day one to eight.
On this holiday we are to go out and shine our light!
Blessings and Happy Hannukah!
Don't hide your lamp under the table!

Light and dreidel -- Sharing Hanukkah

"Light and Dreidel"  is the name of a small community exhibition and workshop I had at a community gallery this past Sunday,  to share about Hanukkah.   Visitors were invited to  make a "dreidel" and enjoy an afternoon of  relaxed meeting , fellowship,  playing the dreidel game,  and learning a little about the festival of Light, which is Hanukkah!

A dreidel is a special game that is played at Hanukkah with a four sided spinning "top" that has four Hebrew letters written on it to represent "A Great Miracle Happened There", and as you know that is the Hanukkah miracle of the light that the pure oil that miraculously lasted long enough for 8 nights that should just have been enough for one .  

I love Hannukah,  though I must say I don't quite know how to spell it.

You can make a dreidel in two ways at the workshop, either out of paper clay or using origami paper "straws".

Of course, the idea of making a paper clay dreidel comes from the song! Which we sang.  In Japanese and English!

And the idea for the  dreidel craft from straws, comes from a creative Jewish Mom's blog, and it is This Post.  I love her creative and colorful Hannukah ideas, and when I saw it  I had an inspiration for my "Made in Japan" variation here, which is to use origami paper to make "straws".

Just roll the origami paper first into "straws" and enjoy all the variegated patterns and colors to make a dreidel decoration of many colors or many different colored dreidels. Because we were reading the Parsha about Joseph, it made me think of "Joseph and the many colored dreidels".

Please tune in  for a related Challah-cast from this week, all new,  HERE!

The original special edition challah in the header above will just be for the days of Hanukkah! It spells the letters on the dreidel which as you know stand for "A Great Miracle Happened There"!

Much love and Hanukkah blessings!!


I was so happy to share about making a dreidel with the children!!  A few adults made one too, and when you make a dreidel as an adult, you feel like a child again!!
This paper clay dreidel was made by an adult who stopped by.  We found a new idea, to make the letters on the dreidel out of cut origami paper.

As part of the "light" theme, a photo that I took in Israel , Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee, and of the Menorah that will go in the Holy Temple.

A Great Miracle Happened There--this is what the letters on the dreidel stand for, Nes Gadol, Haya, Sham.   Sharing about the miracle of Hannukah at a small community exhibit here in Oita.  This Origami craft Menorah I made inspired by this creative Hannukah Craft HERE that uses Straws to make an adorable menorah.

Reading the Hebrew letters from Right to Left, they stand for "Nes Gadol Haya Sham", a great miracle happened there.  The dreidels in Israel have one difference, there it says "A great miracle happened HERE"!
This little girl made her first dreidel.  She made it out of clay!
Sharing Hanukkah with children was a complete joy!! This is one of the new friends I made! She took home a little dreidel after we read together from the Little Dreidel book.

Reading this book, with a Japanese translation handy, that I translated last year with the help of my Japanese teacher!!  Its a fun book because it is all in "verse" to the Dreidel song tune, so even if the words aren't all understood, the pictures and the "song' are fun to share!

Another craft using origami paper rolled into "straws" inspired from this Dreidel Craft HERE!  Thank you to Creative Jewish Mom for the inspirations on her blog!
Sea of Galilee sunrise♡

Yeshua, You are welcome in this place!!

And He called a child to Himself, set him in the midst of them, and said, 
"Amen, I tell you, unless you turn and become like children, you shall never enter the kingdom of heaven.  
Whoever then shall humble himself like this child, this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever welcomes one such child in My name, 
welcomes Me.

Matthew 18:2~5

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Jacob and Rachel at the Well--Shalom (post and giveaway, re-visited!*)

Jacob resumed his journey and came to the land of the Easterners.  There before his eyes was a well in the open.  Three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it, for the flocks were watered from that well.   ---Genesis 29:1~2
Well, yes,
more drawing and  talk of wells.

How are you , are you well?
Yes, I`m well.
I made a fun and exciting `Shalom` discovery when reading this week`s Parsha Va-yetse  ,  that in Hebrew the word `Shalom` appears  twice  for the words `well` and `well` in one of the dialogues in Genesis 29:6. Not in the case of the `water well` but in the case where the word `well` is used in the sense above, as in `are you well?`

The Hebrew writing in the drawing is from Genesis 29:6, where Jacob meets Rachel.   First Jacob inquires about his relatives and how the family is.  And in the very same line, we meet Rachel.

The verse goes like this:

וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם, הֲשָׁלוֹם לוֹ; וַיֹּאמְרוּ שָׁלוֹם--וְהִנֵּה רָחֵל בִּתּוֹ, בָּאָה עִם-הַצֹּאן. 6

And he said unto them: 'Is it well with him?' And they said: 'It is well; and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.' 

I highlighted in blue to show how in Hebrew the word `Shalom` is used here.

Hence in the drawing, I drew the word Shalom in the Well and Shalom in the sky,
I put twelve sheep in the drawing,  and do you know why?

Because there at the well was a meeting between Rachel and Jacob.
You might say that meeting went well.  Jacob moved the big rock off the well, and then everything flowed from there,
he watered the flock.

Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and broke into tears.   ---Genesis 29:11

Saw Rachel, and gave her A kiss at first sight,
and you know what happens in the pages after that,
12 sons were born , who became the 12 tribes of Israel (Jacob`s name was changed to Israel in the next Parsha)
Of course, other wives were involved who mothered the sons,
but here at the well
it all was begun!!

PS note:  speaking of Shalom, if you haven`t yet entered the first Challah and Cherry Blossoms giveaway, please read the end of the post below and enter! Up until Dec. 3, and be eligible to win a book, Shalom in the Psalms!  
(NOTE: This was posted from last year but the prize of the book Shalom in the Psalms was not redeemed.  If you would like to be eligible for this gift please let me know in the comments to that affect, and I will hope to send one to someone this time around!! I just can't figure out how to do the Amazon giveaway this time, so I would arrange to have it sent to you from Amazon,  this will be active up to the end this month of Kislev! (through December 28 )

PSS  did you notice Rachel`s dress? I gave her a dress that  is yellow with a pattern of pink cherry blossoms! 

PSS I hope that even those who don`t read Hebrew, that you are starting to recognize the word `Shalom` even in the Hebrew letters!!! Wishing you well!

Blessings and Shalom   ♡  Shayndel

*Note on "re-visited"!:  
 From the Archives of Challah and Cherry Blossom, from the original post HERE!!  
 I like this talk of "Wells" and the scene at the well with Rachel and Jacob, so this post in its entirety is 

God's Torah Cycle is Eternal and Everlasting, and this moment of meeting is forever re-visited  and alive each time we read the Parsha!

Torah Readings for this week of Parsha Vayetse:
Genesis 28:10~32:2 (3)
Hosea 11:7~14:9(10)
John 1:19~51

A link to this week's CHALLAH-Cast can be found HERE! 

If you watch, please enjoy, and you will see the connection to this post and the word "SHALOM"!

Ch & Ch Blossoms Diary: A mezuzah story

        The LORD will watch over your coming and your going
        from this time forth and forevermore.           Psalm 121:8

 Note:  This story does contain challah!

A few months ago, all the doors of the apartments in our building were changed.
It was in the planning for a while, and at last we got new green doors to replace the old (green doors!) that had started to creak and jam and some other concerns for which it was unanimous in the building that we would change them all.

The workman and his team did the work efficiently and smoothly and thankfully now we all have new doors.  As it was a big work that was being done in the doorway, where the mezuzah is on the door frame,  I prayed a blessing on the workmen, and for a blessing on all those getting new doors that they would sanctify their homes and hearts to the LORD!! and that the mezuzah would be fine through it!
You are to write (these words) on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
                                                                                     Deuteronomy 6:9
For those who don't know what a mezuzah is, it is the little "box" with a scroll in it containing the "Shema", words from Deuteronomy 6:4~9 that gets affixed on the doorposts.  It is a commandment to speak these words and teach these words and keep them on our heart and to put those words "on the doorposts of your house".  It reminds us of the LORD's sovereignty in our lives and homes.  As we are human, these "physical" reminders of God's presence in our lives serve a beautiful and holy purpose.  Beautiful in that there really are so many beautiful mezuzot (link HERE to some you can see on a Judaica site!).  Holy because when you enter the house after all the worldly things we run around doing outside and then you come to the threshold of your home, you look up and see that simple yet beautiful box and know that is a reminder to focus on the things above.  It makes coming into your home a sacred act and brings new meaning even to the doorway, and to that simple act of entering the door ーーreach up and give it a little touch and then your hand a sweet kiss !!!

 a few months later---。。。

After the new door was put in, the old "screen door" that is on the inside  looked even more shabby in contrast , and I had been realizing for some time I wanted to change that too.  I had been trying to arrange with the workman who did the doors for us to put in the new screen door, and finally this past week it was done.  When he came in to do the work, he  and his co-workman started to quickly and methodically take down the "door frame".  I was surprised and hadn't realized that there was a separate door frame that went just with the screen door, and that is the place where I had affixed our mezuzah!!

So I was watching as my mezuzah was going out of the house with the door frame!!  I quickly interrupted!! And said to him, that--pointing to the mezuzah--  that has to stay!! Of course I had no idea to communicate that it was a "mezuzah".  I am sure that even with all  of doors he has replaced and door frames, this would be his first encounter with a mezuzah, and I decided unless he asked, I wasn't going to explain as this would be difficult in Japanese.  But I needed to let him know it was important to me and to ask him to handle that area of the door frame with care, and that I would remove it.  Once he saw how it was attached he took a knife blade and carefully removed it as I watched.  It was just attached with a heavy duty double stick tape.

I have to add here, that I had been praying for this workman that somehow God would give him a revelation of Himself, through his encounter with the mezuzah.  Maybe he would see a TV show on the Jewish people , as sometimes on the Japanese TV there are such documentaries, and that he would encounter the meaning of a mezuzah in that way, or in a dream Yeshua would appear and tell him what it was, or any way that the Holy Spirit would show Himself!! That was my prayer.  Dear LORD, please if in any way reveal a knowledge of you and a YOUR love in this encounter.  I believed a divine encounter was being set-up here, as he was doing this work that concentrated on the door post of our home.

He finished the work, and said he needed to come back to paint some areas on the door frame.  After that,  I paid for the work right away at its completion.  Then he said he needed to come back again to bring me the receipt.  I said he could leave it in the postbox, but he was insistent about bringing it in person. I figured that was a formality and proper closure for this business.  But when he came to the door next time, he had brought me a bag of bread!!

As I  received the bread,  a divine light fell on  the scene and I could feel the presence of the Holy spirit.  Bread! An encounter with bread so unexpectedly like this, that took place within the door posts of the house.   In the glow of the moment,  I wanted to give him something, and remembered I had a challah.  I usually give one of the  challah to someone on the weekend of each Shabbat, but that last week I had one "saved" in the freezer for when an opportune time came!   I ran and got it, and explained about it being frozen, but in any case he was glad to receive it and bowed a thank you, as is customary in Japan.  I did the same to thank him, and the divine light remained on us in that doorway until our thanks were completed, bread exchanged, and we each turned in or out leaving from the space of the doorway to go on our ways!!

PS Oh my goodness, I just realized something! Does anyone recall my recent upload for the Red Bean Challah? He gave me red bean bread!!! (as well as other kind of coffee cake bread).

About the photos below!
  When I was in Israel I loved seeing the "physical" reminders of God's commandments everywhere, and on every doorway is a mezzuzah.  I saw beautiful ones, old and new.  Somehow though I didn't take any photos of them, just "experienced" them!.   So although I didn't actually take any pictures of a mezuzah, I did a little detective work into my photos from Israel, and when you zoom in on the doorways in these photos,  below, you can see on the right side of the doorway, facing slightly in to the shops, a little long thin rectangular box!! That is a mezuzah!!

Can you find the Mezzuzah in each?  Hint, in the first photo there are many mezuzot in the shop window!!

can you see the mezuzah affixed to the doorways on these two shops?  above, a Jewish art and fashion shop, below a bagel shop! both in Jerusalem

Blessings and a happy day to you filled with new and divine encounters in your comings and goings!


The mezuzah on this doorway is a little harder to see at first, but there it is if you can zoom in, between the red door frame and the beautiful blossoming at the entrance

I am the door*! If anyone comes in through Me, he will be saved.  
He will come and go and find pasture.    
John 10:9

*or, Gate

Concluding remarks and observations of what I learned through the meeting with the workman!

 God's commandments are gifts for all who desire and choose to walk in His ways.   They are  "new" each time we lovingly do them.  Not only that, but when we do them and do them lovingly and obediently without asking for explanations of why, He reveals to us something about Himself, and how they are so "now" as He is the same as always and forever.    His mercies are new every morning!

Sometimes the commands in the physical can help us to do the commands of the "spiritual".  I.e, my conclusion here is that  observing the command to affix a mezzuzah to my door, brought about this moment that He was able to manifest a "Love thy neighbor as thyself" experience!!  Without the mezuzzah, I can honestly say that I think this exchange with the workman would have been "business as usual", unless I was to have that spiritual insight on my own about the doorway (which I am sure I wouldn't have without the "training" from the commandment of the Mezzuzah through which he teaches us ).   But who knows?  Only God knows!!

From down here on earth, I find that the mezuzzah is a gift and a blessing, and draws me closer to the God of Heaven.

photo from in Israel: Capernum,
Yeshua's town where he often taught in the synagogues, this shows the remains of one of the synagogues where he taught.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Challah-Cast Diary/notes! Life of Sarah

Now Sarah's life was 127 years--the years of Sarah's life.
Genesis 23:19

The reading from this past week in the Torah is the Parsha "The Life of Sarah" .
It is called "The Life" of Sarah,  even though it is actually to tell about her passing, at the time of her death at 127 years. 

 Sarah lived in righteousness, purity and with a love of loving-kindness--the quality of chesed, in Hebrew-- in everything she did .  She and Abraham opened up their tent for hospitality to strangers to share the truth about the One true God.  Her whole being emanated light because she drew from the source of light for her life.  At  age 90  God blessed her and Abraham (who was 100) with a child, even though in the natural it was impossible.  Nothing is impossible with God!

In connecting with something about challah, the aspect I wanted to share is how her light shone even in her challah dough!!

According to a midrash in Bereshit Rabba, we learn that Sarah's dough was divinely blessed, that  her challah stayed fresh from  Shabbat to the next Shabbat, and that a candle would burn in her tent from Sabbath Eve to the next.  There was said to be a cloud of the divine presence always over her tent. 

I love this teaching about Sarah
* from a Rabbinic source, quoted below, and what it tells about her life and how she lived doing everything for the glory of God.  I can try to imagine the light that shone forth from her very being!! The woman who was the mother of all the generations of Israel.  Her challah dough was divinely blessed!  From the same midrash, we also learn that the divine blessing left in all those areas, but when Rebecca came into the tent as Isaac's bride, the blessings returned.

Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother, 
took Rebecca and she became his wife--and he loved her.  
So Isaac was comforted after the loss of his mother.
Genesis 24:67

And Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah, his mother-" All the days that Sarah was alive, a cloud was connected (lit. tied) to the entrance of her tent. When she died, the cloud stopped [resting at her tent.] And when Rebecca came, the cloud returned. All the days that Sarah was alive, the doors were open wide. When she died, the wideness stopped. And when Rebecca came, the wideness returned. And all the days that Sarah was alive, there was a blessing in her dough, and when Sarah died, that blessing ended. When Rebecca came, [the blessing] returned. All the days that Sarah was alive, there was a candle that would burn from Sabbath Eve to [the next] Sabbath Eve, and when she died, the candle stopped [burning for so long]. And when Rebecca came, [the week-long flame of the candle] returned. And as soon as [Isaac] saw her, that she did the deeds of his mother, separating her challah in purity and separating her dough in purity, he brought her into the tent.
                                                                                 * from Bereishit Rabbah 60

For those that are following or interested in the Challah-cast series,
please read on , these !
"Notes on the "Challah-cast":

My  basic "filming"  plan was to take  scenes of first getting  flowers for Shabbat at the flower shop,  a special bouquet to honor the Life of Sarah, then zooming in on the flowers in the shop, and next scene , zooming out on the flowers when back in my home, and showing the flowers and the dough.

The whole short film, the challah-cast, would be homage to Sarah. The aspect of the challah that we would focus on is the dough, talking about the teaching above, about the blessing on her challah and the light that she shone from living with the Divine Presence always.
In my challah making scenes I would just show the dough, from when its made, to when it rises, as I talk about that aspect of Sarah's life.

So that is the basic idea for the week of Chayei Sarah.  What I am learning for the challah-casts is it takes a lot of "takes" to get a short video together! And I have to work fast if I want to do it by Shabbat, from the making of the Challah.

After all, I didn't get a finished challah-cast that I felt ready to share, so  am just sharing this post as an "outline" this week, and realize that I may not get a finished Challah-cast each time.  I started to get a little discouraged, but, rather than get discouraged if I don't complete it, I am glad as it is a way of drawing closer to Him in the process.

The midrash (Rabbinic commentary) from Bereishit Rabbah, is about how once Isaac and Rebecca married, and Rebecca entered into Sarah's tent with Isaac, the blessings returned through her.

Its such a beautiful testament to the generations, how through Sarah's life, Rebecca was able to enter in and keep alive the flame of God's presence continually.   It is said that in the time after Sarah died, the blessings stopped, but when Rebecca entered the tent as Isaac's bride, they returned again.
May we learn from the Life of Sarah, and be inspired to keep the light of Yeshua shining through our lives, and be diligent in prayer and in how we live, to pass it on to the next generation.

And a PS, I really was gettting a little discouraged not having done a Challah-cast, so just to keep on going I made a "rough" upload with talking it through and I also included the next Parsha, Toldot, to tie in with it.  If you are moved to watch it, you can see it HERE

When we spend time with the Lord, and more than that, when we live with Him as the source of our very being,   then our light will shine forth in all we do.  And nothing is impossible with Him!

Blessings and Shabbat Shalom!!

 Every year I post my Rebecca (Rivka)  drawing (Below) to go with this parsha!
Blessings and Shalom!

Happy Thanksgiving!


So she said, "Drink, my lord," and she quickly lowered her jar onto her hand and gave him a drink.  Now when she finished giving him a drink, she said, "I'll also draw water for your camels until they've finished drinking."   Genesis 24:18~19

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Red Bean Challah for Abraham---and a Lech Lecha Challah-Cast!

Then the LORD said to Abram, 
"Get going out from your land,
and from your relatives,
and from your father's house,
to the land that I will show you.
My heart's desire is to make you into a great nation, to bless you, to make your name great so that you may be a blessing.                    Genesis 12:1~2 

 This week I made a Red Bean Challah for our forefather Abraham, for the week's Parsha, Lech Lecha!

If you are just joining in, this year in the new Torah Cycle I am trying out the idea of doing weekly "challah-casts" as a way to share about the weekly parsha reading and connecting it in some way to the making of challah  or some aspect of the challah making for Shabbat.  This week the topic is making a Red Bean Challah, for Abraham in honor of his setting out to "Go" into himself and obediently walk in the ways of the LORD to form the nation of Israel and be a father of all the many nations!!!
Hope you might enjoy watching the challah-cast !! And check out my new channel in progress,
Joanne's Challah-cast channel! I would welcome your comments and even questions or any feedback--are there are things you learned,?would like to see more of?  questions?  encouragement!!, etc, as it is a new work in progress!

Each week its a learning for me, and I hope there might be something in it for you!  Its a challenge how to make the challah connection to the week's Torah study, as well as a fun challenge in trying to make a short video that  that might be a way of sharing my love of making the challah and reading the weekly Torah, and that God's love might shine through as it all comes out of Love for Him!!

Now without faith it is impossible to please God.  For the one who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.                                             Hebrews 11:6

Blessings and Love!

Shabbat Shalom!!

Preview from this week's challah -cast!
First scene, a short clip from my return trip to Japan, where God showed me Mt. Fuji as He brought on the evening
voice over from the flight:  どうぞ、ごゆっくりを過ごしください。
We wish you a pleasant flight.
Scene switches to me in the kitchen "studio"!
Hi, welcome.
My name is Joanne and this is our weekly Challah-cast.
This is the week of Parsha Lech Lecha.

If you are just joining in,  these challah-casts are weekly broadcasts to go with each week's reading on the Torah Cycle.  We introduce the week's reading as well as connecting it in some way with the making of challah.  Like a pod-cast, but we are using the base of "challah" to make it a "challah-cast"!  Thank you for joining us in this week of Lech Lecha!

Lech Lecha is the third parsha (Torah reading) in the book of Genesis.  Starting with Bereshit, then Noach, and now Lech Lecha.  The story of where Abraham is called out into his mission to set out and be the father of many nations....
 For more on making a red bean challah for Abraham, see other posts including a tutorial on how to make it HERE and various posts related, HERE , HERE, and HERE.

The basic challah recipe I used for this challah in the challah-cast is this Whole Wheat Challah.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Succa Sky and clouds of Glory

The sky canopy (above) and the succa canopy.The sky canopy draped in the heavens as the Succa was being constructed on earth!

On the first day you are to take choice fruit of trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and rejoice before ADONAI your God for seven days.
Leviticus 23:40

On the day the succa was being set up at the synagogue I didn't know where to look!! It was so exciting to see the succa as it was progressing and it was at the same time I coudn't stop looking UP to see what God was doing in His succa sky, forming and gathering the clouds in the shape of a welcoming Succa!!

I just learned this year that there is also an expression to do with Succot of the tents or booths of succa also being a reference to Clouds of Glory, or Clouds of Honor.
I love that expression of being under the Clouds of Glory, as we prepare to sit and dine and rejoice in the succa, and all this week of the holiday of Succot (until today as it is a big rain)!!! 

At night it was heaven to sit in the succa.  What does one do in a succa?  Eat! Sing! Rejoice!! The Feast of Succot is also known as the Holiday of  Rejoicing.  It is a commandment to rejoice the whole week of the 7 day holiday.  Its hard not to soar up to heaven when in the succa and with the people filling in it with song and feasting!!
Most of all、 the holiday is about God and dwelling with Him,  being reminded of the fragility of all life that is given and sustained by Him.

Blessings and Moadim l'Simcha.
Enjoy the Appointed days of the Feasts!