Archive for December, 2011

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What will happen in 2012?

December 30, 2011

ImageWhat will happen? Will 2012 be totally new and different? What kind of exciting surprises does 2012 have in store for us? Well…

“The sun still rises, and it still goes down, going wearily back to where it must start all over again. The wind blows south, the wind blows north—round and round and back again. Every river flows into the sea, but the sea is not yet full. The water returns to where the rivers began, and starts all over again. Everything leads to weariness—a weariness too great for words. Our eyes can never see enough to be satisfied; our ears can never hear enough. What has happened before will happen again. What has been done before will be done again. There is nothing new in the whole world. “Look,” they say, “here is something new!” But no, it has all happened before, long before we were born. No one remembers what has happened in the past, and no one in days to come will remember what happens between now and then.” (Ecc 1:5-11)

While keeping this in mind, we must still agree that some new things did happen in 2011. What would we have said at last new year’s if anyone had said that by this time next year there will be no Mubarak, no Khaddafi, no Kim Jong Il and no Bin Laden?

There are a few things that will happen in 2012 for sure (almost sure, anyway). Then there are a few things that might or might not happen. Then there are a few things that we think won’t happen at all, but will totally surprise us.

 

Worldwide:

  • We might see a new US president. We might not. If we do he/she will almost definitelly be more pro-Israel than the current one. So for totally selfish motives I am going to hope that Obama goes. I don’t know if I would do the same if I were American.
  • We might see something happen in Syria. Then again, we might see him keep killing people and the world will keep not caring. What would be really absurd is what would happen is if Hamas starts another war. They are really doing all they can to kidnap more soldiers, and if they succeed that is an instant war. Why would that be absurd? Because then the world would scream against Israel once again. And keep ignoring Syria. And the world media’s rotten biased agenda would be much more obvious. But then again, it’s been obvious for a long time and no one seems to care.
  • We might see Iran go totally nuclear. We might see the US attack Iran. We might see Israel attack Iran again and again and again, but as always, it’ll always be a “mysterious” explosion or a computer virus. Our guys are awesome.
  • We might see Greece and Italy leave the eurozone. Or we might see them actually take responsibility and start take action against corruption and tax evasions in their countries, in order to stop living on the German’s money. Nah, who am I kidding.
  • We might see more democracies in the Middle East if Egypt and Iraq go in the right direction. Then again, we might see worse islamist regimes and more of Iran instead. It actually looks like it. We might see more democracy in Europe too is something will finally happen in Belarus. Or we might see less democracy if the Ukraine keep jailing political opponents.
  • Here in Israel, we might see haredis get off their butts and go to work, stop humiliating women, and serve in the army. Hah, who am I kidding. But we might see stricter measures against their gender-apartheid ways.
  • This is a long shot, but I am still hoping we will see some actual peace process with the Palestinians. Not the fake one that started in 1993 where we promise, they promise, we keep, they ignore, and the world gets mad at us. But maybe this year they will finally accept that we exist, and we will have normal neighborly relations. Again, who am I kidding. In any case I hope for expansion and building of all our settlements and outposts, whether it’s Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or the small towns in the West Bank, Galilee or Negev.
  • We will definitely NOT see Yeshua coming with the clouds this year. Because according to the Mayan calendar we’ll see the end of the world. And a lot of people have said he’ll come this year. But Yeshua said he’ll come when we least expect him. So whenever a person says that “this is the year he will come”, I always know for sure that that’s when he will NOT come!
 

Personal:

  • During this year I will love my wife more and more for every day, just as I have the past 9 years. She is awesome. And I will keep telling her I love her at least once every day, as I have since summer 2001. More than 10 years of an unbroken chain. We have an awesome marriage, and during this year we will make it more awesome.
  • Me and my wife will both turn 30 this year. Na, not very scary. Not shaky, no crisis. Maybe finally people will take me seriously. I will start wearing more buttoned shirts and more black pants and less jeans. Except during stock count. Maybe I’ll get a few more gray hairs too. I have a few, barely noticeable. The Bible calls it a crown.
  • My awesome grandfather might live another year. Then again, he might not. He just turned 98. I am his only relative in Israel, so whenever it happens I’ll have a funeral and lots of stuff to organize. I know, horrible thoughts, but some realism. If he lives 2012 out and keeps going strong during 2013 it will be time to organize his 100th birthday party. I’d much rather organize that than a funeral. But you never know.
  • Also praying for a dear friend of ours that her problems will be sorted out this year. You know who you are. Some people are just going through a living hell that never seems to stop.
  • The homeschooling of my children will keep going. They are making great progress and learning a lot, and both me and my wife are learning a lot in the process. We’re having a lot of fun. It’s so wonderful to have them home at all times, and they have developed socially in incredible ways. We’ll have a summer break, and then the two big ones will start 2nd and 3rd grade. And the little one will start pre-K.
 
 
Work and Studies and Spiritual:
 
  • My work will probably change somewhat. My boss has been talking about renovations in my office, hiring new people, etc. Hopefully, with the new people, I might be able to get rid of some of the more monotone tasks that are holding me back from being able to take on new and exciting projects. Plus, a renovated office must mean better and nicer work environment.
  • My studies will keep going. I’ll finish international monetary economy and general math in February, I’ll study international fiscal economy during the spring, and then Econometric towards the fall. Degree in Economy in 2016 according to the plan. Once I’m done with that I’ll start writing my book. I have no idea what I want to write, but I must write a book.
  • My personal spiritual life must take a leap this year. I can’t keep going like this. I must live inside the Bible. My prayer life must make God the most real person in my daily life. The problem is that I read a chapter, and I forget it the second after. I try to pray, and I keep falling asleep. How do I get out of this?

Anyway. Happy new 2012. I normally don’t celebrate pagan holidays, and new years is no exception. But this one I acknowledge, because I count this way. We all count this way.

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2012

December 30, 2011

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Worse than I thought

December 29, 2011

Stayed till 2330 yesterday. And had to take a taxi home. Today I take a taxi to work in the morning to be there 0700 so I can finish and be done before the auditor comes.
Really need to review the way this inventory is done. There’s gotta be a better way.

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That horrible horrible last day

December 28, 2011

The day that is today is definitely the worst day if the year. It’s the day before the auditor comes to.seenif we did a good job with the stock count. We’ve done good progress during the week, but it all boils down to today. At the end of the day today everything must be done. Last year I had to stay till 22:00. I sure hope I’ll be able to finish earlier than that this time.
This year 30-31st are a weekend, so the auditor comes on the 29th which makes today the last day. It also happens to be my 9th wedding anniversary today. When we got married I did not know that I would be an accountant… Every year, celebrating our anniversary becomes an almost impossible task. But I guess we’ll do somwthing this weekend.
I just can’t wait for today to be over. To have everything done and behind me. Please pray for me today. God bless.

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About Hanukka

December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukka!

As usual every day is from sunset to sunset, so today (Tuesday the 20th) in the evening we light the first candle because the first day starts. The Torah reading is the traditional reading being read in the synagogue (plus an extra haftarah on Shabbat). The second row is other recommended reading.

 

Hanukka Sameach! Happy Holiday!

 

 

21/12 – Day one:

Numbers 7:1 – 17

John 1:4-5, 8:12, Isaiah 49:5-6, 1 Peter 2:9-10

 

 

22/12 – Day two:

Numbers 7:18 – 29

Acts 13:47, 26:18

 

 

23/12 – Day three:

Numbers 7:24 – 35

1 Peter 1:19

 

 

24/12 – Day four and Shabbat:

Numbers 7:30 – 41, Zecharia 2:10 – 4:7

John 12:46, Ephesians 5:8

 

 

25/12 – Day five:

Numbers 7:36 – 47

Luke 11:33, 1 John 1:7, 2:10

 

 

26/12 – Day six:

Numbers 7:42 – 47, 28:1 – 15

Isaiah 58:10, Matthew 5:16

 

 

27/12 – Day seven:

Numbers 7:48 – 59

John 12:35-36

 

 

28/12 – Day eight:

Numbers 7:54 – 8:4

Romans 13:12, 1 Thess 5:4-5, Isaiah 2:5, Psalm 119:105, Isaiah 60:1

 

 

Hanukka is one of the minor holidays not mentioned in the Torah. It is celebrated due to a historic event. A miracle that God did for us. But, as we shall see, it is also much more than that. In fact, even Hanukka – just like all other holidays – points us directly to the Messiah.

 

 

The holiday is a memory of events that happened “between the old and new testament” – the rededication of the Temple in 161 BC. Here’s the background story:

 

 

The Old Testament ends with an autonomous Jewish entity within the Persian empire, with Ezra and Nehemia as leaders. In the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great conquered the area, and after his death, Israel became a part of the Egyptian Ptolemaic Kingdom. Around the year 200 BC, the Seleucid Empire, based in Syria, conquered Israel. There was a continuing process of Hellenization amongst many Jews, especially from the upper class, who were seeking a Greek lifestyle rather than adhering to the Jewish law.

 

In 167 BC king Antiocus IV banned Jewish sacrifices, Sabbaths and feasts as well as circumcision. He put up statues of Greek Gods in the temple and sacrificed forbidden animals, such as pigs, on altars that were originally dedicated to God. Possession of Jewish scriptures was made a capital offence.

 

According to the narrative in Macc 1, the revolt was sparked by Mattathias from Modiin who after refusing to bow down to the Greek God, killed a hellenistic Jew who stepped forward to offer a sacrifice to an idol in Mattathias’ place. Mattathias fled to the desert with his sons. He died the following year, and his son, Judah Maccabee led the Jewish army to free the land. He led a number of successful guerrilla warfare missions, where he won battle after battle.

 

After the victory, the Maccabees entered Jerusalem in triumph and ritually cleansed the Temple, reestablishing traditional Jewish worship there, and that’s the event which we now celebrate. It happened in 165 BC.

 

Many other events happened after this as well, but to make a long story short – Judea eventually became independent under Judas’ brother, Simon, in 140 BC, and was an independent kingdom until 63 BC when the Roman emperor Pompey conquered Jerusalem.

(Note: some parts of above historic narrative is taken from Wikipedia).

 

 

For those of you with a deutrocanon, the story of Hanukka is in the book of Maccabees. It appears in both:

 

[36] Then said Judas and his brethren, Behold, our enemies are discomfited: let us go up to cleanse and dedicate the sanctuary.

[37] Upon this all the host assembled themselves together, and went up into mount Sion.

[38] And when they saw the sanctuary desolate, and the altar profaned, and the gates burned up, and shrubs growing in the courts as in a forest, or in one of the mountains, yea, and the priests’ chambers pulled down;

[39] They rent their clothes, and made great lamentation, and cast ashes upon their heads,

[40] And fell down flat to the ground upon their faces, and blew an alarm with the trumpets, and cried toward heaven.

[41] Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those that were in the fortress, until he had cleansed the sanctuary.

[42] So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the law:

[43] Who cleansed the sanctuary, and bare out the defiled stones into an unclean place.

[44] And when as they consulted what to do with the altar of burnt offerings, which was profaned;

[45] They thought it best to pull it down, lest it should be a reproach to them, because the heathen had defiled it: wherefore they pulled it down,

[46] And laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, until there should come a prophet to shew what should be done with them.

[47] Then they took whole stones according to the law, and built a new altar according to the former;

[48] And made up the sanctuary, and the things that were within the temple, and hallowed the courts.

[49] They made also new holy vessels, and into the temple they brought the candlestick, and the altar of burnt offerings, and of incense, and the table.

[50] And upon the altar they burned incense, and the lamps that were upon the candlestick they lighted, that they might give light in the temple.

[51] Furthermore they set the loaves upon the table, and spread out the veils, and finished all the works which they had begun to make.

[52] Now on the five and twentieth day of the ninth month, which is called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eighth year, they rose up betimes in the morning,

[53] And offered sacrifice according to the law upon the new altar of burnt offerings, which they had made.

[54] Look, at what time and what day the heathen had profaned it, even in that was it dedicated with songs, and citherns, and harps, and cymbals.

[55] Then all the people fell upon their faces, worshipping and praising the God of heaven, who had given them good success.

[56] And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days and offered burnt offerings with gladness, and sacrificed the sacrifice of deliverance and praise.

[57] They decked also the forefront of the temple with crowns of gold, and with shields; and the gates and the chambers they renewed, and hanged doors upon them.

[58] Thus was there very great gladness among the people, for that the reproach of the heathen was put away.

[59] Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness.

(1 Macc 4:36-59)

 

 

[1] Now Maccabeus and his company, the Lord guiding them, recovered the temple and the city:

[2] But the altars which the heathen had built in the open street, and also the chapels, they pulled down.

[3] And having cleansed the temple they made another altar, and striking stones they took fire out of them, and offered a sacrifice after two years, and set forth incense, and lights, and shewbread.

[4] When that was done, they fell flat down, and besought the Lord that they might come no more into such troubles; but if they sinned any more against him, that he himself would chasten them with mercy, and that they might not be delivered unto the blasphemous and barbarous nations.

[5] Now upon the same day that the strangers profaned the temple, on the very same day it was cleansed again, even the five and twentieth day of the same month, which is Casleu.

[6] And they kept the eight days with gladness, as in the feast of the tabernacles, remembering that not long afore they had held the feast of the tabernacles, when as they wandered in the mountains and dens like beasts.

[7] Therefore they bare branches, and fair boughs, and palms also, and sang psalms unto him that had given them good success in cleansing his place.

[8] They ordained also by a common statute and decree, That every year those days should be kept of the whole nation of the Jews.

(2 Macc 10:1-8)

 

 

As we know, Solomon dedicated his temple at the feast of Sukkot. The Maccabees therefore decided to celebrate this in 8 days – as the number of days of Sukkot (including Shmini Atzeret). Later, many mythical legends have been added to this story. Such as the story that the Menorah only had oil for one day, and it miraculously lasted for eight days. It is due to this legend that Hanukka has been connected to oil and light, and is today known as a “festival of lights”. This probably has more natural reasons, since it’s the darkest season of the year. But whatever the reason, we do know that God is light, and his light is always worth celebrating.

 

 

Jesus celebrated Hanukka – “And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.” (John 10:22).

 

 

God never commanded us to keep this holiday. But it is a memory of a significant miracle that he did for us. It is remembering that Jesus is the light of the world. And it is remembering that our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, and Jesus redeemed us by his blood, and cleaned our heart, just as Judah Maccabee redeemed the physical temple. This holiday is about getting all idol worship out of our hearts, and not let the enemy put it there. Be zealous for God. Cut off any sin. Kill any part of you that is trying to sacrifice to an idol. (Because anything can be an idol).

 

 

The first day is tomorrow, Wednesday 21/12, which means that the first candle we light this evening. We have a chanukkia, which is a candelabra with 9 candles (not 7 as the Menorah has), with one “shamash” (which means “servant”) used to light the others, and one for each day. Tonight we light the first, tomorrow night the second, etc. The lightning of the candles is usually done after the stars are out (except on Shabbat of course, then it has to be done before). This is just a tradition, but it’s a nice tradition, and it always reminds me that we are all like candles, and Jesus is our “shamash”. He is the one giving us his fire, helping us to be a light to the world – and he came to serve us! He is God, he is the Lord of Lords and King of kings, and he became flesh to serve us and to die for our sins!

 

 

The dreidel is just a tradition that has developed through time, but there is a story that connects it to Hanukka – “The Jews would gather in caves to study Torah, posting a lookout to alert the group to the presence of Greek soldiers. If soldiers were spotted, the Jews would hide their scrolls and spin tops, so the Greeks thought they were gambling, not learning.” (From Wikipedia).

 

 

Traditional food is anything oily, especially “latkes” and “suvganiot” (google it). This has to do with the “oil” legend and the obvious relation between fire, light, and oil (well, it was obvious until 150 years ago). Again, another reminder of the Messiah – the anointed one. But don’t use that as an excuse to get fat….

 

 

I’d like to finish with a quote from the New Testament about who is really the true light of the world:

 

[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

[2] The same was in the beginning with God.

[3] All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

[4] In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

[5] And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

[6] There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

[7] The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

[8] He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

[9] That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

[10] He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

[11] He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

[12] But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

[13] Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

[14] And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

(John 1:1-14)

 

 

The temple was built for God, but blasphemed by the heathen, and the Maccabees rededicated it to God.

 

We were created for God, but we are ruined by our sin. Jesus is the one rededicating us to God, giving us a new heart and spirit when we are saved through his grace.

 

Jesus is also the light of the world, and he lights us with his spirit. He is our shamash. He came to die for our sins, when we didn’t deserve it at all.

 

 

Happy Holiday!

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Happy Hanukka!

December 20, 2011

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Daughter’s love

December 19, 2011

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Every day my daughter makes new creative crafts for me and puts them on my bed. Lately mostly hannuka-related. She’s pretty amazing. Six years old.

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