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The Meaning of Shavuot

What is Shavuot? For being one of the most sacred holidays in Judaism, many Believers around the world know very little about this holiday, and why it is also important to their faith! In Israel, this holiday begins at sundown on the 5th of the Hebrew month of Sivan, and ends the following evening, and in the diaspora this holiday will last between the 8th and 10th of June this year. The holiday commemorates the end of the period of ‘Omer’, which is the 7-weeks’ time between Passover and Shavuot, as dictated in the Book of Leviticus. “Shavuot” means “weeks” in Hebrew, and delineates this period of time from when the Jewish people were liberated from Egypt, began their Exodus, and arrived at Mount Sinai. On the day of Shavuot, Moses receives the Torah from God, and thus the Jewish people as a nation are given their holy scripture and laws, which were studied, honored and glorified for the more than 3,000 years that followed. The word “Shavuot” also means “oaths”, as this granting of the Torah was a divine covenant between the Lord and his chosen people.

Thus, celebration of Shavuot both commemorates the ending of the Omer period, as well as the sacred oath between God and the Jewish people. From sundown to sundown is a dedicated time for Jews of all persuasions, from ultra-orthodox to traditional, to study and revel in God’s word that was given on Mt. Sinai, and the teachings that succeeded it. It is a time for renewing the devotion and oath with God, as though He is newly granting us His word every year for the first time. The holiday begins with the lighting of candles, and a special prayer to usher in the evening of study. It is customary to stay up all night studying the Torah. Oftentimes there are special seminars, lectures and learning groups created for this night. Among many teachings, there are of course special synagogue services to recite and learn about the Ten Commandments.

Shavuot is also considered a harvest holiday, as during the times of the Temple, wheat loaves were given as an offering along with the first and most select fruits from the harvest (these are referred to a “bikkurim”). Another holiday observation is the eating of a dairy-only meal on the first day of Shavuot. Because the Jews were given the Torah on this day, the Kosher laws were also bestowed upon them, and they began their observance immediately. However, because the laws were given on Shabbat, the Jews were unable to slaughter animals, so the Israelites ate a meal of dairy alone, which is why modern Israelis and Jews across the world also observe this custom on the first evening of the holy day. In modern times, it is not a sacrifice though, as Jews have perfected their recipes for cheesecakes, pastries and other celebratory foods for the event. This custom has also become symbolic, with the comparison between the nourishing power of the Torah and the sustaining nature of milk.

CBN Israel was happy to support one of our many partners in hosting holocaust survivors for a special Shavuot event this week in Jerusalem. 127 beneficiaries attended a musical performance and a special rabbinical Shavuot service. The event was hosted at Christ Church near Jaffa Gate at the entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem; the beautiful marble walls echoed with music and the charismatic imparting of the teaching. CBN provided food vouchers and a catered lunch for all attendees, to celebrate the coming holiday, and host a special social gathering for the elderly group. The event was a blessing to all, and beneficiaries left with smiles on their faces.

From Jerusalem, the CBN Israel team wishes everyone a blessed Shavuot. Whether Jew or gentile, it is a wonderful reminder to renew our devotion to God, and dedicate our lives more fully to living in accordance with His word, and his teachings.

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Behind Closed Doors

“But You, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; You consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to You; You are the helper of the fatherless”. – Psalm 10:14

On the outside, he was great. Doing a work that everyone could applaud. He had an organization that gave to the poor in need. His hands reached out to comfort people around him. But inside, he had a secret. 

Behind the closed doors of his home, he was a different man. His wife and children suffered. Those same hands that gave to the poor were the hands that beat his wife. The same mouth that smiled and spoke kind words to complete strangers tore his children apart from the inside out. He physically, verbally and emotionally destroyed his own flesh and blood. And if all that wasn’t enough, he left them. Taking all the money they had, he abandoned his family.

This is the true story of a now single mother of 3 who we have been working with for the past several months. (For the sake of her privacy, we will name her Orna). Orna is broken inside and beaten down to the ground. Having been isolated by her husband for so long, she struggles to interact and to build relationships with others. Having had no access to the family funds, she now has to learn all the procedures of handling a bank account, paying bills, and caring for the needs of herself and her children- alone.  The struggle to get out of bed and put two feet on the ground each morning is very real for her.

Yet, just like Hagar in the Bible, God is still the God who sees and He is still the One who defends the helpless. He saw her situation and through another single mom, He brought us into Orna’s life to love her and be a tangible help in her time of need. Because of you who give to us, we are able to give to her. We are able to provide her with food vouchers, emotional and spiritual support and with the contribution of another NGO, we managed to gain her financial help to meet the bigger needs.

Sometimes all a person needs is the shoulder of someone they can trust to cry on. We are not here to judge. We do not pretend to have all the answers to every problem. We simply make ourselves available to listen and walk beside them. We are not God. We cannot do what only He can do. Only He can heal a broken heart. Only He can make all things new. Only He can make beauty out of ashes, and work miracles on our behalf. But as His servants, we have a part to play. We are the ones who can be the physical hands around the broken hearted as they pour out their tears. We can listen with compassion as they share their stories. We can walk with them to the places they really would rather not have to go to alone.  And most importantly we have a POWERFUL tool that can move mountains on their behalf: PRAYER!

This single mother needs your prayers and support. After years of abuse, it will take time for her emotions, reactions, habits and memories to heal. We ask of you to lift this precious one up to the Lord and her children who are also suffering from the abusive words that were spoken to them. We know that God will do a beautiful work on her behalf if we stand together like an army defending her in prayer.

Thank you for standing with us as we share His love with others!

If you wish to give to the work of CBN Israel so that we can continue to reach more mothers like Orna, please do so here. God bless you.

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Holocaust Survivors Event Brings Nations Together

Every year, a ministry by the name of Shalom Israel, brings hundreds of Singaporeans to the Jewish homeland to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to bless His people Israel. Their focus is on helping the Jews return home (Aliyah), lending to the poor (specifically Jews from Ethiopia), and to host events for Holocaust Survivors in order to show them the love of God as believers in Yeshua.

This year, the ministry invited CBN Israel to an event for the Holocaust Survivors held at the Grand Court Hotel in Jerusalem sponsored by Shalom Israel. Hundreds of survivors came from all over the country.

Once escorted to their seats, the survivors were welcomed and thanked for coming. Representatives from the various groups present, including CBN Israel, gave speeches expressing love, honor and appreciation towards those who were present. Traditional Jewish songs filled the air as various Israeli musicians serenaded the audience. A buffet was served and Singaporeans and survivors alike met and mingled over the meal. One could feel the peace of God in the room as smiles and kind words were exchanged.

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Suddenly, the room was filled with dancing! The Survivors and Singaporeans had eaten their fill and it was time to celebrate together. The two groups formed circles in front of the musicians and couples twirled between them. It was a beautiful expression of joy and unity.

Two nations of completely different backgrounds and experiences were brought together because of love. Love takes on many forms but is always comes first and foremost from the heart. It’s revealed on the face and extended through the hands. Each believer who was present in that place were representatives of Yeshua who says of His disciples,

“They will know you by your love”. 1 John 4:8 

Why? Because He Himself IS love. Holocaust Survivors are passing away by the hundreds every month here in Israel and no one knows how long each one will remain with us. That is why we at CBN Israel are joining hands with believers like these from Singapore with eagerness to show God’s love to the Survivors through every opportunity we are given. And you can partner with us as well! The body of Messiah is not only hands and feet, but made up of many members and each one has their place and purpose in His kingdom. If you would like to join us in extending our hands towards these precious people before it’s too late, contact us. We appreciate every prayer, every donation and every aspect of your support.

God bless you as you live every day as unto the Lord and are His expression of love to those around you.

Give to CBN Israel

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Tali’s Devotional

Written by Tali

It’s Not About Us 

In business management classes, students are taught an important leadership principal that every good boss should know: It’s not about them. A good manager understands that it’s not productive to bark out orders or threaten with power. That may produce immediate results, but not a lasting return. A good leader becomes a servant to their employees. Therefore, it increases employee morale and gets a good return on the long run. This principal is applicable to us as believers. We are not in the center of the book of our life. Moreover, it is not about us, we are not writing the book. The Author and Hero of the story is the Lord. He writes the novel, He saves us, He loves us, He helps us and He keeps us.  

It is not about us, in our relationship with God. It is not about us, in our relationship with our spouse. It is not about us, when we serve. It is not about us, when we are with our kids. It is not about us, in relationship with our brothers and sisters.

Often we are so passionate about ourselves that we forget that life is not about us, and does not revolve around us. Often our thoughts are about how we look or speak. We are very concerned about other people’s opinions about us. In addition, it often builds or breaks our self-esteem. Then we are fixated on ourselves and our problems or our fortunes.  This is not the correct way to live as a believer. We must seek what Yeshua (Jesus) thinks about us! Does His heart rejoice when He looks at us? What must we do to change in our lives so that other people can see Him in us? We should ask ourselves:  

“What do I need to do in order to be a good representation of my Father in heaven so that He is not ashamed of my life and me.”  

CBN Isreal Devotional

Our self-confidence must build from an intimate relationship with the Lord. He knows us better than our best friend does. We can trust Him! He is faithful! In our relationship with God, we are looking for His desire. In our relationship with our spouse, we are looking to be the wife or husband that lives according to the word of God. With our kids, we should seek wisdom in how to bring them up. When we serve people we need to “wash their feet” as Yeshua did, and not to reproach them when they stink and are dirty. God will take care of everything in our lives. We just need to read His word, to believe, to love and to obey him.

However, as it is written:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10

We here at CBN Israel seek to be those that love and serve others as Yeshua has commanded us to. If you would like to partner with CBN Israel and help us reach families, single mothers, soldiers, holocaust survivors and many more, contact us to learn how you can be a part of what we are doing. God bless you. 

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~ Tali

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