September/October 2010 – Shemeni Atzeret–Abiding in God’s Blessing
Kehilat Ariel Messianic Synagogue Newsletter
Volume 27, Number 1 September/October 2010 Tishri/
|Shemeni Atzeret–Abiding in God’s BlessingBy Barney Kasdan, Messianic Rabbi
“For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the L-rd. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the L-rd; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work”[Leviticus 23:36]
It is a wonderful and busy season indeed during the High Holy Days. After the days of repentance of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we enter the joyous period of Sukkot. For seven days we dwell in the Sukkah/booth and rejoice in the reality that G-d dwells with us in a special way. Yet, right when you might think it is all over, the Torah exhorts us to celebrate one final day called “Shemini Atzeret”. Although we are not told much about why this day is so important to G-d, some insight can be gleaned from the very name of the feast, “the eighth day of assembly”, or more literally, “waiting, tarrying or abiding.” Why an eighth day of abiding? The rabbinic commentator Rashi relates a story that the day is reminiscent of a King who held a weeklong banquet for his friends. As the joyous festivities were winding down, the King expressed to his friends how he really did not want them to leave but to abide one more day in his presence. That is what Shemini Atzeret is all about; our Heavenly Father and our King doesn’t want to leave us when the holy days end. He desires that we would abide with Him and enjoy His blessings.
It seems that our Messiah Yeshua may have had this concept in mind as he taught His Jewish disciples on one occasion. As He was facing His imminent death, Yeshua was concerned that the talmidim understood the vital importance of abiding in the Father’s blessings. How could this be accomplished? “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love” (Yochanan/John 15:10). If they wanted to abide in the good things of G-d’s kingdom, they must go beyond simply hearing the Word. Memorizing the Torah is commendable, but that is not what necessarily keeps us in the Father’s blessing. We hear so many important truths during our high holy day services but Shemini Atzeret reminds us that the biggest challenges actually begins after all the sermons. If believers are to enjoy the continued blessing of G-d, we must “keep”; that is obey and apply the Scripture to our personal lives. Sometimes we may wish it was something more glitzy or complex. But, as those great theologians at the Nike Shoe Company remind us, “Just do it!” Shemini Atzeret is a call for all believers in Yeshua to abide in His precepts.
Secondly, our Messiah exhorts us to abide in the power of G-d. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (Yochanan 15:5). One would think that this message would be very clear through the course of all the High Holy Days. It is with much prayer and tshuvah/repentance that we come before the King at this season. Yet how many people struggle during the year with the frustration of trying to please G-d in our own strength? If we are honest, we must admit that even our best, most sincere efforts fall short of the high standard of our King. For us Messianic Jews, we have come to realize that without Yeshua we can do “bubkis” (nada, zilch, nothing!) Shemini Atzeret is a special time for us to reflect on our desperate need for G-d’s power in our lives. If we are to take some spiritual steps forward through the Holy Days, we must abide in the power which Messiah offers. Only then can we produce true, eternally lasting fruit in our lives.
Thirdly, Yeshua teaches us great joy when be ours as we abide in His presence. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be make full” (Yochanan 15:11). This world is often seeking a joy and happiness that seems so elusive. Yet, many have missed the very source of deep, abiding joy. The High Holy Days call us back to a vibrant, personal relationship with G-d through Yeshua HaMashiach. Maybe it is not so surprising that the capstone of the Holy Days is this eighth day of assembly. The King does not want you to depart from His presence. As one bumper sticker states, “Feel far from God? Who moved?” Shemini Atzeret is our call to remain in the Father’s blessing throughout this new year of 5771. What are you doing to ensure that you will abide in the blessings of G-d? Maybe it’s time to raise the bar in our spiritual lives and see what good fruit will result. L’shana Tova u-metukah! May you have a sweet year abiding in Messiah!
September 4, Saturday, 7:30pm. Selichot Service and Concert. We will prepare for the high holy days with this night of music, prayer and focus on this important season. Special free concert by the Goor Band and the dedication of our new Torah mantles for the High Holy Days.
September 8-9, Rosh Hashana Services. We will kick off the holy day season with traditional services on Wednesday, September 8, 8:00pm and Thursday, September 9, 10:30am. Holiday music, liturgy and the sounding of the shofar to help us focus on the message of the season. We will also have our Tashlich Service at La Jolla Shores on Thursday, 4pm. Meeting on the grassy area by the main Lifeguard Tower. Bring your picnic dinner and extra breadcrumbs as we leave our sins in the sea (Micah 7:19). Don’t miss the special mikveh service for newer believers in Yeshua. No ticket charge for any KA High Holy Day services but reservations are required by calling our office,858-490-4355. Complimentary tickets are also available at one of our shabbat services. Dynamic Junior Synagogue services provided for all kids as well. Invite a Jewish friend to any of these great events. L’shana Tova!
September 17-18, Yom Kippur Services. We will usher in the most holy day of the year with uplifting services on Friday, September 17, 7:30pm (Kol Nidre) and Saturday, September 18, 10:30am. We will be fasting from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday. Bring a non-perishable food item for our food drive to support the KA Food Pantry as well as Jewish Family Service. Neilah Closing Service on Saturday, September 18, 5:30pm followed by a dairy break-the-fast in the Social Hall. Bring a dairy (non-meat) dish to share. No ticket charge for any of these special services but reservations are required by calling 858-490-4355. Complimentary tickets are also available at one of our shabbat services.
September 25, Saturday, 10:30am. Sukkot Service. Bring you lulav for this most joyous celebration with lots of music, dance and kiddush in the community Sukkah. Special message on the significance of this holiday for Messianic Judaism as we anticipate the return of Mashiach. The KA Youth will be providing a special Oneg luncheon by donation.
September 30, Thursday, 7:00pm. Simchat Torah Service. We will conclude the important High Holy Day season with this wonderful celebration of the Torah. Lots of simcha, dance, Torah processionals as we gives thanks for God’s word to us. Don’t miss it!
Shabbat Morning Services: at 3219 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., in Clairemont, Saturday, 10:30am. Join us for this uplifting time of worship, fellowship and study. Our current sermon series is “The 12 Sons of Jacob” which is an in-depth study on both the history and the future of the various tribes of Israel.
Children Shabbat School: Our children join us for the first part of the service, then break for different classes. Classes for ages 2 through High School which include a Bible lesson plus background on Jewish studies and Hebrew.
Dance Ministry Dance workshop every other month at 1:30 pm meeting upstairs. Contact our office for the latest information.
Midweek Minyan and Messianic Jewish Institute of San Diego: No meeting September 7 as we prepare for the High Holy Days. Corporate prayer from 6:30-7:00 on Tuesday. From 7:00-8:30 New 14-week class starting September 14: “The Chamesh Megillot–The 5 Scrolls”. This fascinating study takes a look at the 5 scrolls associated with 5 major Jewish holidays; eg, Ecclesiastes for Sukkot. Bring your Hebrew Tenakh but Hebrew reading skills not manitory. The MJISD classes can lead to a certificate of Messianic Jewish Studies. $60 fee for this class taught by Rabbi Kasdan. Call for information.
“A Taste of Torah” Classes: Saturday 9:00-10:00am. This survey of the Torah class will take you through the Parsha in one year. Currently in Bemidbar/Numbers. A great way to learn the foundations of our faith! There is also a Spanish Torah Study at this same time. Contact Rabbinic Intern Mark Rantz or Luciano Rivera for info.
All men are invited to this group for connecting, dialogue and encouragement on vital issues that we deal with today. Always some good discussion and study along with service projects for men to be involved with. Contact Rome Remigio for more information at 858-243-3126.
This dynamic group of women meets monthly for study, friendship and service. Call the KA office for the latest info on the next luncheon and meeting. All women are welcome!
Barney Kasdan, Rome Remigio, Frank Rosas Mark Rantz, Valerie Cooper, Rome Remigio,
Anna Martin, Gabe Pacheco
Audio: Gabe Pacheco
Dance: Diana Martin
Music: Eric & Joanne Kragenbrink
Office: Donna Jacobson
Resource Center: Alice Hoover
Social Action Committee: Sharon Lynn
Singles: Bob and Jeannette Haas
Translation: Paty Garibay
Website: Mark Rantz
Nu? News is published bi-monthly by Kehilat Ariel Messianic Synagogue. We welcome your stories, testimonies, drawings, poems, humor (no kvetches) or any creative submissions. Please firstname.lastname@example.org
Del Cerro, Tony & Joan Savarese, (619)501-7778, every Fri, 6:30 pm. Cover dish.
Escondido, Mark & Kathy Rantz, (760)294-9619, 2nd & 4th Fri, 6:30 pm.
Men’s Club (at KA), Rome Remigio 858-243-3126, 2nd & 4th Mon, 7:00pm.
Encinitas, Michael & Jan Folb, (760)436-8828, 2nd & 4th Weds. 7:00 pm.
Oceanside, Diana Israel, (760)231-7005, 1st & 3rd Thurs. 7:00 pm.
Yachad (Singles Fellowship), Bob & Jeannette Haas, 415-370-8449. various events planned.
Espanol, Luciano Rivera, 619-475-0430. Shabbat 4pm-sunset at KA upstairs. Potluck.
Sisterhood, contact the KA office for details about the next monthly meeting.
Upcoming Speaking Engagements of Rabbi Barney Kasdan:
September 27-29: Teaching at King’s College and Seminary, Messianic Jewish Studies Program in LA, “Introduction To Talmud”. Go on their website for details.
If you would like to send a special love gift donation for our work within the Jewish community, please send it to:
P.O. Box 178755
San Diego, CA 92177
Thank you! And may God return a special blessing to you as you bless our people! (Genesis 12:3)