Archive for March, 2011

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Terror Attack in Jerusalem

March 23, 2011

My salary accounting class are usually on Mondays. But this week it was postponed to Wednesday due to Purim. It’s the last class before the Big Test on Sunday. It’s a test held by ICPAS, the Israeli AICPA, and around 40% fail. About One Thousand people come from all over the country to do the test, and it will be held in the Convention Center.

The lesson was scheduled to start at 16:30, which usually means that I need to leave the office at 15:30 to get there in time, because it’s on the other side of town. I was considering going already at 15:00 to have some more time, and maybe jump by my auditor’s office with some material I wanted to bring him. In the end I stayed a little longer because there was a lot of work to do. At 15:30 I started to get organized to go.

That’s when I started to hear a lot of sirens outside my window, and a coworker told be there has been a terror attack. I turned on the internet (TV and radio is old fashioned) and realized that the attack was at the convention center, near the central bus station, exactly where my bus passes. Had I gone at 15:00 I might have been there.

I was told that all the roads are closed and blocked, so the idea of getting to my class seemed impossible… I stayed another hour at work, and then decided to try to take a taxi to class. Maybe he can go around the bus station area. Two taxis refused to take me, the third one agreed, and with some help from the GPS, he was able to take me all the way. I remember looking at the bus station from far away as we passed by, but couldn’t see anything significant. The place of the terror attack was hidden by buildings.

I got to the class one hour late. I was not the only one who got there late. Since it was the last class before the test it was mostly repetitions etc, so it’s not like I missed out on anything. And we got our diplomas from the school for finishing the class (the “real” diploma is the one we get from the ICPAS when we’ve passed the test).

As I left the class to go home it was already 20:00, and I was about to catch bus 74 to the convention center as I always do, and there switch to a bus that goes home. 74 is the line that got hit, and the convention center is the spot of the attack. I figured that after 4½ hours things should be back to normal. But I got a ride with a classmate instead. Got to the convention center area, where the terror attack took place. Everything was back to normal, buses going, people standing at the bus stop. A lot of water on the ground – I’m guessing they washed away all the blood and glass. And a big TV-van with a reporter on top holding a mic in front of a camera. And another reporter holding a mic in front of a camera standing on TOP of the bus stop. Weird… anything for a good camera angle I guess… Anyway, as I got there with my ride, my bus was already waiting at the bus stop, so I just jumped on board and got home.

I am of course extremely sad over what happened. I pray for the wounded, the traumatized and their close ones. With the increased rocket attacks in the south, and the brutal knife murder of little children a few weeks ago, it is obvious that our enemy is trying to escalate violence, and have us live in fear.

I will not give our enemies that benefit. I will continue to live a happy life with my amazing family and enjoy every minute of it. I will not let fear over what might happen, darken my day. I will not let bitterness and hatred ruin me. Vengeance is with the Lord. It’s one of these “Psalm 94”-moments.

My kids haven’t been told yet. Tomorrow morning before I take them to school and kindergarten I will sit down with them, explain what has happened, pray with them and let them talk and share their thoughts and fears.

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Happy Purim!

March 20, 2011

The Feast of Purim is mentioned in the book of Esther and was instituted following the events described in that book. “To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly, As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.” (Esther 9:21-22).

 

We all know the story – the orphaned Jewish girl Haddasah becomes queen Esther of the Persian empire, and when Haman the amalekite tries to kill all Jews, she is able to plead with the King to save her people’s life. Her cousin Mordochai said to her “who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

 

The events in the book of Esther is often seen as the first antisemitic persecution in history. Haman wished to kill all the Jews in the kingdom in one day. But that horrifying threat was turned into gladness and celebrations for the Jews.

 

The joy of Purim is exactly that – in every generation we have been persecuted and accused of atrocities, but God has always and will always protect us. Every generation has its own Haman.

 

But that’s not all! There’s something very interesting that we can see if we start to look at this story more closely. In the end of the story, Mordechai, after saving his people from destruction, was entrusted with the King’s ring, which means that he got the authority to do anything in the name of the king. Does this ring a bell? First – he saves. Then – he gets full authority. Do we see a parallel to Joseph here? Actually, we have more examples in the Bible of people who were “regular people” and got authority of a kingdom – Samuel, and David to name a few. And of course, Mordechai’s ancestor, king Saul. Saul, who failed to kill the amalekite king Agag, but which was accomplished through Mordechai, his descendant who defeated Haman.

 

But let’s take a moment and look at that – what do all these different stories represent? The low slave and servant who became king?

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. … Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” (Isaiah 53:3, 9:7),

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18)

“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” (Ephesians 1:19-23)

 

We can see here that the story of Esther is, just like many other parts of the Bible, more than just an actual story. It’s a prophetic story, telling us the story of the salvation. Mordechai is a picture of the Messiah – who saved us from sin and delivered us from the evil, and has been given the authority of the entire creation. Psalm 110, as well as the readings in Zecharia, shows this in a beautiful way.

 

Ester means hidden, and we can find that word in Deut 31:18, relating to how God will behave if Israel is cast out of Israel “And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods.” Indeed we can see that the Jews were scattered in the Persian empire, becuase they had been cast out from Israel. And indeed, the book of Esther is the only book in whoch God is not mentioned. His face is hidden.

 

Isn’t it an amazing comfort that we can see that despite God hiding his face due to our sins, he is still “behind the curtains”, orchestrating everything to the best? Using his people to accomplish his will? If God was faithful and helped us at such a difficult and painful time, of which he said that he would hide his face (see also Lam. 3:22-23), how much more now, now that we have free access to God through the blood of Yeshua? And what a comfort it is for those who struggle. People who feel that God is not present, that he has forgotten them or doesn’t care. If that is you – know that he is hiding his face, but he is still with you and carrying you.

 

In Purim we normally dress up (I am wearing a clown wig as I am writing these rows). It’s both for the joyousness and the festivites, but also relates to the “hiding his face”. It is also relating to the “oppositness” of the holiday. Whatever Haman tried to do, it was done to him. The horror was turned to joy. We also give gift baskets to one another, as ordained by Mordechai (Esther 9:19), and when the book of Esther is read in the synagogues, the kids make noise every time Haman’s name is mentioned, in order to “blot out the remembrance of Amalek” (Deut. 25:19).

 

Besides reading the book of Esther, I also recommend the following scriptures on this day:

Exodus 17:8-16

Psalm 7

Zecharia 12:2-3, 6-10, 13:1,8-9, 14:1-9

Hebrews 11

 

Happy Holiday!

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Happy Purim!

March 18, 2011

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Homeschooling!

March 13, 2011

Got the letter from the ministry of education today! We got the permit to homeschool! Yes!

 

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Om friskolor och homoadoptioner – och varför jag ser ett samband

March 4, 2011

My first post in Swedish.

Princip 1 – Föräldrar ska ha frihet att uppfostra sina barn som de vill (under rimliga lagliga gränser). Enligt denna princip ska all sorters friskolor, hemskolning vara tillåtet, och även homoadoptioner. Varför är det då så många (humanister och liberaler och sossar) som åberopar denna principen för att berättiga homoadoptioner medan de samtidigt är emot friskolor? Och varför är det så många (religiösa extremister) som gör tvärtom?

 

Princip 2 – Barnens väl måste komma först, utan hänsyn till föräldrars åsikter. (Att staten vet bättre än föräldrar vad som är bäst för barn tas för givet). Enligt denna princip ska friskolor helst inte existera, och om de existerar ska de vara mycket begränsade och stå under stark bevakning. Hemskolning ska vara förbjudet. Homoadoptioner ska inte accepteras utan vidare, utan måste inspekteras och undersökas huruvida barn tar skada av det eller inte. Även här ser vi samma dubbelstandard från båda håll. Varför är det då så många (humanister och liberaler och sossar) som åberopar denna principen för att begränsa friskolor medan de samtidigt är för homoadoptioner? Och varför är det så många (religiösa extremister) som gör tvärtom?

 

Det är ju ganska uppenbart att båda sidor I dessa fall har förutfattade åsikter om vad som är ok eller inte och hittar på principer för att berättiga dem – för de är ju inte konsekventa överhuvudtaget.

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