Check out the newest Shaboom episode for Rosh Hashanah! Our family loves the Plonys…
A few weeks ago the kids and I went to a Rosh HaShanah party. We've celebrated this feast for many years now, but the Lord always shows up to reveal something new to me. This time was no different.
Part of the party was a workshop for children to craft their own shofars, glaze and all. As the rabbi stood explaining to the children about shofars prior to them getting to work, he discussed that only a kosher shofar was one with marrow inside the horn. There are many other horns that we could use, but they weren't the same because they don't have the marrow. Why would Hashem require bone marrow inside the shofar?
It was seconds before He showed me why. What is bone marrow? It is the LIFE of the horn. The bone marrow holds the keys to the life of each shofar. The life is in the blood. But in order to properly use it, all of the bone marrow must die. (It is a picture of your atonement essentially.) Once it does, encased in its hard exterior, it is to be completely removed. It is then REPLACED by the filling of the breath of life that Hashem has given all of us when we place our mouths to its end. This horn then becomes the embodiment of His Ruach HaKodesh, or Holy Spirit. So essentially, even our rams' horns represent the message of the Lord that we must first receive the sacrificial death, bury the remains and be open to the wind of the spirit of God, just as Yeshua did as our provided ram. Not all horns are the same; all are unique in their own right just as you are. I hope every time you hold your shofar you declare your gift of breath through its curvy exterior and remember the lengths the Lord goes to show you His sacrificial love. And when you put the shofar down, continue to act on that principal in your daily walk with our Mashiach. Breathe the Almighty in and EXHALE! The results will be heard and felt around the world. Chag sameach, and may you blow Hashem's breath over His creation today and proclaim His soon return!
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.
Rosh HaShanah is here again and with it comes another year of both new and old traditions. I'd like to take a minute and share a new craft project we did this year. I'd love for you to try it too!
For several years now, I've tried to give the kids gifts for Rosh HaShanah. We have a tradition of going to a local nursery to buy flavored honey sticks. Root beer, cherry, sour apple, watermelon...even chocolate! The kids love determining their favorite flavor for the year. We also always wind up with lots of honey bear containers with all the honey we consume during the holiday! So it was time to finally bring these bears out to our party.
This project is really simple but really cute. Just take the bear containers and use permanent markers, fabric, stickers, or whatever else you might desire to personalize each bear. Make sure before starting to remove the labels typically with water and a touch of oil to break through the sticky residue. Get a hot glue gun and get your creative juices flowing! Below you can see our beloved bears dripping with personality! Once finished, we stuffed honey stirrers, honey sticks, candies, apples & cinnamon potpourri, honey lip balm, honey taffy pops AND honey lotion inside our little bears for safekeeping. Such a sweet activity to do as a family!
I personally loved seeing our bears emerge. My two sons made t-shirts on their bears, with cute sayings and one sticker is actually a scratch and sniff! So his bear smells like burritos when you scratch his tummy. My one daughter wants to be a fashion designer, so she glued her entire dress with red flowers. And I went for fake eyelashes. I loved making my "Bubbe Bear" with her high hat and added sass. Plus she smells like grandma's house during the holidays thanks to the potpourri. lol
I hope this holiday is an amazing one for you and your family too! I pray that the Lord bless you and keep you as you learn more about Him in this season and that it will be the bear-y best Rosh HaShanah yet!
Alright, I know we're well into the month of Elul and our preparations for the high holy days, but I wanted to skip ahead and share an idea you may want to keep in mind for Sukkot this year. This is one of those easy but memorable elements to add to your sukkah!
A few years ago, I happened to run across a photo similar to the one I've posted above, of an outdoor suspended table. It is super simple to assemble and a really cool concept for this feast of the Lord. I have actually tried this project out, so I tell you from experience this will not be a tough task to undertake.
First find yourself a tabletop. Our first year implementing our table we used an old closet door, which gave it a little bit of extra detail that I was looking for in our sukkah. All you need to do is drill four holes near the four corners of your tabletop, knot the rope on the bottom side of the table, secure to the top of your sukkah, and voila! Instant table. We added extra decorations to the table, adorning ours with Scripture verses and mirrors for an artsy effect, but you can personalize your table however the Ruach HaKodesh/Holy Spirit leads! It's really fun to have the chance to put your own personal touch into this project.
With a suspended table, there are more positive aspects to this contraption than just the fact that it's an interesting piece. Firstly, without the typical table legs, you can actually get more seating in your sukkah. That means more people can join the party OR you have a lot more legroom. Definitely a bonus. Furthermore, and my favorite aspect personally, is how this centerpiece becomes the focal point of this family time. And where will it remind us all of this incredible time of togetherness with the Lord and our greater community of family and friends? Heaven. Every time I visited my sukkah I remembered where my food came from. And even my Bible studies where I'd sit and commune with the Lord in His word I couldn't help but see His greater purpose to keep my eyes looking heavenward.
I pray your upcoming high holy days are a time of complete devotion to our King of Kings. He tabernacled with us; the majesty of the heavens came down to earth to dwell here and commune with us. What incredible intimacy our Creator desires; many blessings to you all...be strengthened and keep your eyes focused above!
Shalom gals! I hope you are all getting a chance to examine and reflect on your journey with the Lord and go deeper in your walk with Him. This is our preparation month before our Sabbatical 7th on the Hebrew calendar. Most commonly known as "Elul," the rabbis have connected the verse from Song of Songs 6:3 ("Ani L'Dodi V'dodi Li/I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine") because the initial Hebrew letters in each word of the Hebrew verse form the acronym "Aleph-Lamed-Vav-Lamed" or ELUL. The rabbis also discuss how the King steps off of his throne this month and comes into the fields of His people, to commune with them in their humblest state. It is a beautiful image of the desire our Lord has to be with us and love us with complete intimacy by initiating contact with us in our neck of the woods.
Now it was my time in ministry to serve last week and that meant I would be doing a teaching on this month of Elul and conveying these wonderful reminders to our children. The Lord was so good in His lesson plan for these youngsters. Just wait for it:
The Lord led me to a children's art project on Vincent Van Gogh. Immediately when I saw the painting, "The Sower," I knew this could be a really interesting way for the children to grasp the essence of what this month is all about! I modified the original concept a smidge, using oil pastels instead of paint, and adding silver Sharpie pens to the lesson too. To see the original children's art project, click here: http://www.mybrightfirefly.com/2016/05/sunset-on-fields-art-project-for-kids.html?spref=pi&m=1.
I really liked how this particular painting focuses on the contrasting light and dark areas of the piece. The Lord had me explain as the children drew their own rendition of "The Sower," that we are the painting. The upper half of the work is our sunniest parts of our walk with the Lord, the parts of us that glisten brightly already for the world to see. Things He has gifted us with to use for His glory. I had the children use that upper half of the page to list qualities in themselves that they found were strengths from Abba. Some of the children even had their qualities written as if they were the rays extending from their drawn sun. Hence, the things that THE SON helps them radiate each day. And then the field...the colors are darker hues of blue, and I explained to the children how these are our more difficult aspects of ourselves, like unforgiveness, or other areas we may need to work through with our wonderful King. This was the point in the art project that I reiterated that the King is in the field, and that He was ready to sow into each one of their hearts just like the sower in the field in Van Gogh's work. After they drew their fields, they took that same silver marker and wrote areas they wanted the Lord to help them sort through in their little hearts. One child was quite humble and wrote of his need for help with obedience and self control! It was marvelous for the children to start reflecting and identifying their own areas in their lives that need repentance. It was a really engaging lesson that helped them express their thoughts through a different medium than they were used to doing. And it can't hurt to give them a little bit of art appreciation and a lesson of drawing too, right?! Our God is so multifaceted! He can make lessons multi-level and fluid at the same time. It's amazing.
Furthermore, why did the Lord have me add silver marker to this project? Simple. Silver is the color of redemption. And when I explained that the Lord turns all things for good and causes them to shine, it only took me holding their pictures up to the light to convey that each sin they listed would be another aspect of their picture that would shine for Him. And that was good enough for them to know how much they are loved. I pray you all continue to explore those dark parts of your fields, and know that our King loves you so deeply He is willing to go there with you and sow into your heart beautiful seeds of love too. Have a happy preparation month of Elul everyone!
Shalom ladies! Here is a presentation Abba helped me to make regarding the mitzvah of wearing tzitzit. It includes the Messianic prophecy references, a brief Hebrew word study, the fulfillment of prophecy when Yeshua used His tzitzit as a healing ministry for the multitudes, etc. Abba really helped me encapsulate and summarize their purpose, which I think is helpful for a lot of believers who question the validity of tzitzit or would like a deeper understanding about this commandment. Please feel free to post your comments and questions below. You will, if viewing from a mobile phone, download the Prezi app in order to view! This is relevant and current for our generation. Let's help share the message of love once again! Click on the link below to get started, and if you like it please share with your loved ones!
Hi everyone! Feel free to use this logo to promote this extra special mitzvah this year. There are many resources to consider to be part of this incredible time. I will try to list them in a separate post in the near future. Blessings and l'shanah tova!
Abba gave me a really amusing new children's craft to teach the mitzvot of mezuzot to our youngsters. I saw a lot of really creative Jewish mommies using Pez dispensers and many other containers for our special little scrolls, or "klaf" in Hebrew, to be hung on our doorposts.
But when I headed to the stores to find the Pez dispensers and other containers posted by these wonderful women, I couldn't find them in my local stores! What a dilemma I was facing. However, this was no surprise for our Abba. When we come to a roadblock, we just may have to realize He may have an alternate route to take. At the time, though, seeing as I am a mommy with a limited time frame for these shopping excursions (as I am sure some of you understand), I prayed as I walked the aisles of my local craft store and asked Abba for an alternative game plan. As the minutes ticked past, I began pleading and begging Abba. And then, in my desperation, Abba showed me His game plan with His soft voice...
What did He show me you ask? I package of kazoos. Kazoos?! I then began to chuckle as I heard that little humorous voice in my head say, "Kazuzahs. Get it?!" My desperation melted, relief set in and I started to get excited about the new game plan as I laughed and embraced this new spin on our beloved mitzvah.
I grabbed the pack of kazoos, some stickers and decorative tape, and some sticky tack to affix our "Kazuzahs" to the doorposts. Now it was onto the classroom.
I was pretty excited about class, with this new little humorous spin Abba gave me to share. But the children were, as children sometimes are, all over the place! That day I couldn't get them to focus. I had another dilemma on my hands, but Abba again had the solution! He told me, "Explain to them what 'shema' means, and then use the little kazoos to explain how we have to hear and obey what goes into our kazuzah case." I even let them blow it enough times to woo their hearts back to Abba's words. Now THAT got their little eyes and ears focused!
We went onto discuss the mitzvah at length, and read about the job of a "sofer." I printed out the word "Shema" in Hebrew and had them practice writing it with bamboo skewers and black paint telling them they were going to be "sofers" for the day. (Feel free to use feathers, which are more authentic!)
Once our little scrolls dried, we rolled them up, blew our kazuzahs a final time, and explained the prayer to say when affixing our new treasures in the entryways. (You can easily affix these "kazuzahs" with a little sticky tack from the school supplies section or a local craft store.) I told them to remember every time they passed by their "kazuzah," to remember the words on the scroll and listen/shema to our Heavenly Father. One little girl mentions "Shema" to me every time I see her at synagogue now. May YHVH receive the glory!
Here is the link to the template I used for our scrolls:
Torah Scroll Templates
Enjoy this Torah learning adventure too! Pezuzahs...Kazuzahs...what does Abba have for us next?!
The Lion of Judah is rousing now. Are you ready?! The wickedness of this world is reaching deafening decibels. Our Creator and our Lion will not turn away but come to devour evil once and for all. Hear (Shema) this song and get ready...
Just in time for Yom Teruah and the Shemittah/Sabbatical year to start, Abba led me to a means of teaching our youngsters all about these incredible mitzvot.
For those of you who have no clue yet what I am talking about when I say "Shemittah," I am referring to the commandments in the Torah:
"You may plant your land for six years and gather its crops. But during the seventh year, you must leave it alone and withdraw from it. The needy among you will then be able to eat just as you do, and whatever is left over can be eaten by wild animals. This also applies to your vineyard and your olive grove." (Exodus 23:10-11)
AND in Leviticus/Vayikra...
"God spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, telling him to speak to the Israelites and say to them: When you come to the land that I am giving you, the land must be given a rest period, a sabbath to God. For six years you may plant your fields, prune your vineyards, and harvest your crops, but the seventh year is a sabbath of sabbaths for the land. It is God's sabbath during which you may not plant your fields, nor prune your vineyards. Do not harvest crops that grow on their own and do not gather the grapes on your unpruned vines, since it is a year of rest for the land. [What grows while] the land is resting may be eaten by you, by your male and female slaves, and by the employees and resident hands who live with you. All the crops shall be eaten by the domestic and wild animals that are in your land." (Leviticus 25:1-7)
"And if ye shall say: 'What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we may not sow, nor gather in our increase'; then I will command My blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth produce for the three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat of the produce, the old store; until the ninth year, until her produce come in, ye shall eat the old store." (Leviticus 25:20-22)
AND in Deuteronomy/Devarim...
"At the end of every seven years, you shall celebrate the remission year. The idea of the remission year is that every creditor shall remit any debt owed by his neighbor and brother when God's remission year comes around. You may collect from the alien, but if you have any claim against your brother for a debt, you must relinquish it...." (Deuteronomy 15:1-6)
"Moses then gave them the following commandment: 'At the end of each seven years, at a fixed time on the festival of Sukkoth, after the year of release, when all Israel comes to present themselves before God your Lord, in the place that He will choose, you must read this Torah before all Israel, so that they will be able to hear it. 'You must gather together the people, the men, women, children and proselytes from your settlements, and let them hear it. They will thus learn to be in awe of God your Lord, carefully keeping all the words of this Torah. Their children, who do not know, will listen and learn to be in awe of God your Lord, as long as you live in the land which you are crossing the Jordan to occupy'." (Deuteronomy 31:10-13)
Ok...so there is a LOT to learn with the shemittah, but an exciting way to start is this fun seder idea for the younger generations or the young at heart. I gathered some simple veggie/fruit platters that I will show you below:
Say hello to Adam! I decided that in order to explain all of the mitzvot of the land release, I'd go back to Genesis/Bereshit where it all started. I introduced the children to Adam, who was healthy (hence the yummy veggies) and walking right with God in the Garden of Eden. UNTIL...
This pesky snake came along and tempted Adam's wife to eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I designed my serpent with just the strawberries. And here's the tree platter we made:
And so I asked the children, "When God found out that Adam sinned by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, what did He do?" We then discussed how Adam not only was expelled from the Garden of Eden, but also would have to now work THE LAND by the sweat of his brow for the rest of his life.
The great news is, our Elohim created the Shabbat even before this sin took place. The neat part about the shemittah, as I told the kids, is that by observing YHVH's commandments, we get a chance to completely get back what it felt like to be in the Garden of Eden! For one day every week known as the Sabbath/Shabbat, and one year every seven known as the shemittah. The sin that Adam committed is now forgiven! We are no longer slaves to working the land, our debts are paid and we can walk freely knowing that our Heavenly Father and His glorious Son have provided our sustenance, physical and spiritual nourishment, for us. We just have to live it out by our acts of faith through obedience!
We also played a numbers game where we counted up to seven, and with each number the children had to name as many Scriptural things having to do with that number. For example, I would say, "The number one." And the children would say, "The first day of creation. Light. Echad. One way to the Father (Yeshua)." By the time we got to seven, we had lots of things to talk about, including the shemittah and the "seven sevens" counting up toward Shavuot and the Jubilee years! (The game idea came from the Jhub "Give It a Rest" Campaign. Will do another whole post on that one hopefully!)
Furthermore, I drew a picture of Joseph on a dry erase board. I drew the head, coat, pants, feet, and hands. I told the children in a minute they'd be able to decorate Joseph's coat and his face with whatever they thought he would have looked like. Then I asked, "Why do you think Joseph has to do with the shemittah?" (None knew.) Then I drew Joseph's hair very long. I went on to explain that Joseph is actually the first reference in the Scriptures of a Nazirite (dealing with the Hebraic thought of the Law of First Mention, "nazir," found in Genesis/Bereshit 49:26), whose hair remained uncut (just like the land was left alone). I then asked if anyone knew about Joseph's story, which some of them were very familiar with. They remembered how Joseph was sold by his brothers as a slave. I then stated, "And in the year of the shemittah, we learn that everyone is released from their debts." I questioned them, "How on earth did Joseph get out of prison?" The children were quiet. I explained that Joseph finally was released from prison for explaining Pharaoh's dream, a perplexity of two sets of seven years. By doing so, he was appointed second in command in all of Egypt, with the job of storing up food during the plentiful years, just as we store up food for the upcoming shemittah year. And by Joseph's obedience, Israel, his brothers, AND the nations were saved. Would it not be wise to follow in his footsteps as well?
Joseph is a favorite Biblical character for children. So I found it was an easy example to help walk them through the different elements of this exciting part of the Torah.
Additionally, we decorated the tables with some green tablerunners, blue and green glitter tulle for the chairs, and my own children made a Lego shemittah city to help me expound on the halacha of this year to my wonderful class! (Will do a separate post on that one.) I pray that you can bring your children into this special season in fun and engaging ways. Have fun and enjoy celebrating this extra special time of year!
May we all find ways to embrace Your commandments, Abba, and teach our children Your ways. Amen.
Meredith Welborn is a mother of five beautiful children who has gradually integrated the Torah into her family's life as YHVH directs her. Her heart's desire is to create a forum for women to grow in the goodness of the Torah, Yah's holy instruction manual.