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Prayer: The Gate of Heaven (4 parts)


What does prayer mean for the body of Messiah?

This series traces the historical development of prayer, focusing on the Men of the Great Assembly under Ezra, to the time of Messiah in the First Century. From there, I examine the place of prayer where Jacob's ladder stood between Heaven and Earth. I also identify the very first place prayer is mentioned in the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Avi Melech and what that means for the community of believers as well as the nations.



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Study to Show Yourself Approved Session 2


Could you explain the difference between Jewish Hermeneutics and Christian Hermeneutics?

Download the PDF Workbook for this series

In Session 2 of "Study to Show Yourself Approved,  I  compare and contrast Jewish Hermeneutics with Christian Hermeneutics.  I also explain the traditional approach to study from a Hebrew perspective by looking at the art of debate, logic, and reason.  I continue this program by identifying the most important rules for evaluating Scripture passages. Finally, I  examine the most important aspects of research, application, and presentation. This session will help equip you with those skills necessary for serious study.


Part 1

Part 1 - Audio



Torah Gemstones – Nitzavim (standing) Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20

The Torah Portion, Nitzavim (standing), generally falls on the Shabbat before Rosh HaShanah.  Rosh HaShanah is called the Day of Judgment and much of the Parshah contains elements of repentance or teshuvah (turning).  We will also find that teshuvah doesn’t just mean a personal turning to the Father in sorrow and remorse but it also points to the RETURN to the land of Israel.  As the children of Israel are gathered before Moshe, preparing to enter the land, in a scene of great unity, Moshe understands that they would soon be driven into exile after his death for failure to obey the voice of the Lord.  Even the first words, “you are standing on the day”, the sages interpret as everyone, through all the ages, standing in judgment before God.  It is a picture of Rosh HaShanah, at this final Torah reading for the year, and a fulfillment of the Messianic Kingdom.

This Torah portion also deals with the “renewal of the covenant of Moshe”. It is on the last day of Moshe’s life when he addresses those who are literally standing there,  as well as those yet to come.  The renewal of the covenant is a reminder to those about to enter the land but it is also given in preparation for when they will be exiled because of their disobedience.  The same pattern is revealed at the time of Yeshua the Messiah.  Israel is in the land under Roman occupation but will soon be exiled and scattered to the four corners of the world.

The “renewal of the covenant” is really the same as the “renewed covenant” or “new covenant”, which is what we now call the New Testament.  Just as Moshe renewed the covenant on the last day of his life so too did Yeshua renew the covenant at his death.  We are reminded that Yeshua said, “This is the new covenant in my blood – do this in remembrance of me”.  The concept of remembrance is Yom HaZikron or the Day of Remembrance, which is another name for Rosh HaShanah.

Maimonides cites the following verses when describing the task of the Messiah.  The anointed one will build the Holy Temple and gather the dispersed of Israel. For the Torah testifies about him: "G-d shall return your captivity and have compassion upon you. And He will return and gather you from all the nations amongst whom the L-rd your G-d has scattered you... If your outcasts shall be at the ends of the heavens, from there will the L-rd your G-d gather you, from there He will take you... G-d will bring you..."  (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 11:1)

Notice the similarity with John 11:49-52. “You people don’t know anything!  You don’t see that it is better for you if one man dies on behalf of his people, so that the whole nation won’t be destroyed…the high priest…was prophesying that Yeshua was about to die on behalf of the nation and not for the nation alone but so that he might gather into one the scattered children of God.”

Can you see the relationship between what Yeshua fulfilled in the role as Messiah and what Moshe accomplished in his role as deliverer?

Ultimately, exile meant death and return to the land meant life.  The Geulah or redemption meant to restore to the original position.  In this case, the original state was the children of Israel living in their land and serving their God.  So the Ingathering of the exiles and their Return to the land came to be synonymous with the redemption. The sages were clear that to be in exile meant captivity and death.  Returning to the land meant freedom and deliverance.  The go’el (redeemer) was the one who would accomplish this.  Certainly it meant a return to the Father in personal repentance but even more significant, it was a return to the land for those in exile who were experiencing death. They would now enter the land and live again at the time of Rosh Hashanah.  This is why the resurrection of the bones in Ezekiel is so important and why it is associated with the Messianic Kingdom.

This is likely one of the reasons Yeshua sends out his Talmidim (disciples) to the “uttermost” parts of the world.  They would bring the good news to a people in exile in preparation for their return to the land.  He will return and gather you from all the peoples to which Adonai scattered you”.

The sages reminded us that, The Divine Presence always resides among Israel in all the misery of their exile.  When the people of God are redeemed, He speaks of it as His own redemption and He himself returns along with the exiles.” 

It is a pattern repeated over and over again in Scripture.  Hopefully this will give you new resolve for this New Year to take the message of the kingdom to the whole world. The time of our exile is nearly over and we are ready to RETURN.


Ki Tetze


This Week’s Torah Gemstone is from Ki Tetze(when you go forth).

Deut. 24:1 “if a man takes as his wife a woman and marries her”… 

Translation:  If a man takes or betroths (Erusin) himself to his wife and then marries (ba’alah) her…  

There were two stages of marriage in ancient Israel.  The first stage was the betrothal in which a bond formed between the husband and wife, but the marriage had yet to be consummated.  In the second stage (Nis’suin) the woman permanently entered the man’s home, just as today they stand under the Chuppah (wedding canopy) in a Jewish wedding.  The word used in this verse for the second stage of marriage is ba’alah, which denotes a yoke that binds the master to his servant or in this case the master (ba’al) to his wife.  To “take” a wife eventually came to be an idiom for the betrothal stage.  Further, according to the sages, “to eat” was an idiom for the full stage of marriage.

Now consider Chavah(Eve) who “took” of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and “ate”.  Trees in Scripture generally represent people; so, in effect, she betrothed herself to the enemy of God and joined herself in an intimate relationship by “eating” of its fruit.  The tree became her master (ba’al) in the act of ba’alah (marriage).  It is no wonder the Father brought curses upon them both and forced them into exile from the garden.  Now the fruit or consequence of this union was that ownership, control and dominion of the husband over the wife was passed down to every generation.  This was never in the mind of God.  We give thanks to Yeshua our Messiah, the Tree of Life.  It is by His Spirit that all things are restored to their original design, including the freedom that marriage should bring by our trust in Him.

Rav Sha’ul(Paul) reminds us “Do not yoke yourselves together in a team with unbelievers. For how can righteousness and lawlessness (without Torah) be partners?  What harmony can there be between the Messiah and B’liy’al?"  Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, “promised to present you as a pure virgin in marriage to your one husband, Yeshua the Messiah”.  Let us rejoice as the virgin daughter of Zion and look forward to the richness and the fullness of marriage to our Messiah.

Ki Tavo


This week the Torah portion is Ki Tavo (when you come).  My focus in this portion is on the basket the children of Israel used to carry the First Fruits or Bikkurim of the seven species of their crops to the place where God chose to put His name. The priests were then to take that basket from the hand of the people and place it front of the altar of God.

The word here for basket is teneh and it is only found in four places in the Tanakh, all in the portion Ki Tavo.  There is a similar word in Aramaic, TuNa, which means a burden or a load that is being carried. Since there are a number of words for basket, one might ask what is the significance of using teneh for basket, especially in the context of the First Fruits.

Teneh (basket) has the value of sixty in gematria and the sages relate this to the number of letters in the priestly benediction – the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord makes his face shine on you.  The thought being that although the priests pronounce this blessing, it is God who actually gives the blessing of the First Fruits.  God also blesses Isaac, at the age of sixty, with the twins Jacob and Esav, who are the first fruits of his body.

The Mishnah tells us the teneh was to be carried on the shoulder of the individual as they made their way to the Temple mount.  It was said that even Agrippa the king would take the basket upon his shoulder and enter the courtyard.  When he entered, the Levites would burst into song, I praise you God for you have raised me up and have not allowed my enemies to rejoice over me.”  The one who carried the teneh would recite, “a wandering Aramean was my father”, the central passage of the Maggid (story) portion of the Passover Hagaddah.  This declaration is part of the ceremony of the First Fruits.  Once the individual approached the altar with the basket, the priest would place his hand under it and wave it before the Lord.  This is reminiscent of the waving of the loaves of barley before God at Shavuot.

The Rambam also explains that the First Fruits can be conveyed in any manner, but upon reaching the Temple Mount, the presenter must himself carry the teneh (basket) on his shoulder.  We are reminded of the Levites who carried the Holy vessels on their shoulders and the children of Israel who carried their kneading troughs upon their shoulders as they left Egypt. The teneh could not be put down until the appropriate resting place was found.

It was not simply a matter of carrying the First Fruits from the field to the Temple but it was to re-create the journey from slavery to freedom, from Egypt to the land of their inheritance.  The declaration of the First Fruits recalls their descent into Egypt, their time in slavery, the exodus from Egypt and their entry into the land. This was the message of the teneh (basket) and the bikkurim (first fruit) at the time of Passover. This is the message of Yeshua, the First Fruit of the resurrection of the dead, who becomes a wave offering before the Lord and placed at the foot of the altar.

In conclusion the sages say the basket represents the united souls of all men, women and children.  Since the basket for the First Fruits is also described as a load or burden to be carried on the shoulder an interesting picture emerges. We can see Yeshua as the teneh carrying our burden of sin, taking the load from us as he lays down his life at the altar.  He is the priest taking the basket representing the whole house of Israel and lifting it as a wave offering before the Lord.  There was another, who carried the teneh or burden on his shoulder for the Messiah, as He made his way to Golgotha to become the First Fruits for all mankind.

“And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Shim’on, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country and on him they laid the tree that he might bear it after Yeshua.”

Luke 23:26


My Joy is Complete


Have you ever wondered what Yeshua meant by, “my joy is complete”?  This phrase is used in the book of John in connection to a marriage.

"The bridegroom is the one who has the bride; but the bridegroom’s friend who stands and listens to him is overjoyed at the sound of the bridegroom’s voice.  So this joy of mine is complete."

                                                John 3:27

There is an obvious relationship between joy and the consummation of the marriage.  Joy is complete when the marriage is complete and the friend of the bridegroom is overjoyed at the sound of the groom’s voice, which confirms there is a marriage in Israel.  We will find this joy relates to the festival of Sukkot, the wedding between the bride and groom and the rejoicing in the Torah.

This same expression is used in the context of the festival of Sukkot.  Sukkot is the final celebration of the agricultural year.  It is a seven-day festival, celebrated in the seventh month, and completes the annual festival cycle.  It is a time of great joy because of the ingathering of the final harvest and the feast that accompanies that harvest.

“You shall make the Festival of Sukkot for a seven day period when you gather in from your threshing floor and from your wine cellar. You shall rejoice on your festival. A seven-day period shall you celebrate in the place that HaShem your God will choose, for HaShem will have blessed you in all your crops and in all your handiwork and you will be completely joyous.“

                                               Deuteronomy 16:15

The translation “completely joyous” is better expressed “your joy will be complete”.  Joy is the hallmark of Sukkot.  In fact, all the various ceremonies connected to Sukkot were designed to inspire great joy among the people of God when they were in His presence.  From the waving of Lulav and Etrog during the Hakafot or circuits, to the Simcha Beit haShoevah, or rejoicing in the water drawing, to the lighting of the lamps in the Court of the Women, all represented the pure joy of being with Him in His house at Sukkot.

This joy is compared to a bride and groom inside the Chuppah or wedding chamber during their wedding week of which Yeshua was speaking about in John.  The Sukkah actually symbolized the wedding canopy – the "chuppah" that hovers over the bride and groom as they enter into a covenant of mutual commitment and exclusivity.  Again we see a connection between Sukkot, the wedding and great joy.

There are a number of different Hebrew words for joy.  One is סוס (soos), which means to turn around in joy or to dance around in circles. Today this verse is the basis for a song called "Mayim Mayim" (water) which is a dance done in a circle formation.

Therefore with JOY shall you draw water from the wells of salvation.”

                                             Isaiah 12:3

This rejoicing had to do with a special ceremony related to Sukkot.  The drawing out of water from the wells of salvation refers to the Simcha Beit Hashoevah, or the water drawing ceremony.  With this ceremony, the High Priest drew water from the Pool of Shiloach (Siloam) with a golden vessel and then carried it up to the altar where he poured it out along with the wine libation.  All this inspired great joy in the people.

The Sages noted that,"Whoever never witnessed the Simchat Beit Hashoeva has never in his life seen true joy."

In addition to the joy of the water drawing was the ceremony of the seven species represented by the lulav, etrog, willow and myrtle.  Anciently the Kohanim (priests) took the willows and circled the altar once.  This was known as the Hakafot or circuits, which took place each day during the first six days of Sukkot.  On Hoshannah Rabbah, the seventh day, the priests circled the altar with the willows seven times.  Once again, rejoicing is associated with cycles, as in turning around in joy, the circuits of the willows, and the drawing out of water.

As we have noted, Sukkot is the last festival of the agricultural season when all the crops were gathered in from the granaries and vineyards.  Attached to the days of Sukkot, in the land of Israel, is an additional day with two days added for those outside the land.  The extra day is called Shemini Atzeret, which means the conclusion of eight.  This is also Simcha Torah (rejoicing in the Torah), which celebrates the completion of the cycle for the reading of the Torah.  It celebrates the freedom of the soul accompanied by love and joy.

It is said that the Torah is betrothed to Israel as a wife to her husband, and that Israel rejoices in the Torah as a groom rejoices with his bride.  At Simchat Torah, not only is the cycle of the Torah reading concluded but a new cycle begins again.  Today in the synagogue there is a special celebration for Simchat Torah.  During the evening service the Torah scrolls are removed from the ark and seven circles are made around the Bimah (elevated place).  This reminds of the priests as they carried the willows and circled the altar for the Hakafot or circuits.  The congregation then dances before the Torah scrolls in circles with intense joy just like a bride who circles her groom seven times when they stand under the Chuppah.

Part of the ceremony in the synagogue is the actual reading of the Torah portions.  The last person called up to read from the Torah makes aliyah (to go up) to the Bimah (elevated place).  That person is called the Chatan Torah, which means the bridegroom of the Torah.  Another person comes up to read the first portion of the Torah, Bereshit (Genesis).  This person is called the Chatan Bereshit or the bridegroom of the beginning of the Torah.  So the essence of joy is the completion of a cycle that includes the rejoicing in the Torah, the conclusion of Sukkot and the consummation of the marriage. Now the words of Yeshua take on new meaning.

I have said this to you so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

                                               John 15:11

So you do indeed feel grief now but I am going to see you again. Then your hearts will be full of joy and no one will take your joy from you… Keep asking and you will receive so that your joy may be complete.

                                              John 16:22,24

I hope to come and see you and to talk with you face to face so that our joy may be complete.

                                               2 John 1:12

The festival of Sukkot is called the season of our joy, “Zeman Simchatenu”.  Let this Sukkot be a special time for you, your family and your congregation as you experience “complete joy” in Yeshua the Messiah.

Study to Show Yourself Approved Session 1


This is a new series called “Study to Show Yourself Approved,” which has everything you wanted to know about study from a Hebraic perspective. It is a nine program series which is the culmination of thirty-five years worth of study and research.

Download the PDF Workbook for this series

Why is study so important?

In this session you will see why the Sages say study is the highest form of worship and is of more value than the daily offering. I take a look at the difference between wisdom and knowledge, and some of the dangers of exalting knowledge above our relationship with the Father.  I discuss some of the pitfalls as it relates to study in the Christian community as well as the Hebrew Roots community. Finally, I examine the roll of the teacher and some of the challenges they face. This teaching will prepare you for digging into the Scriptures .


Part 1

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Marriage in Israel – Preview Teaching


Dr. Diana Dye looks at the wedding from a broader perspective. Not only does she examine the two stages of marriage, but she also looks at the wedding week through the celebration of all of Israel’s festivals.  She further goes on to explain how all the covenants relate to the marriage in some way.  Dr. Dye also examines the various symbols such as the Tefillin and the Tallit as elements in the wedding.


Members - click here for full teaching


The “Aleinu”


The Special Prayer called “Aleinu”.


There is a special prayer in the Siddur called the “Aleinu” which means, “it is our duty”.  It is actually one of the very oldest prayers and is found at the conclusion of every prayer service.  Early sources say the “Aleinu”, as a dedication of faith, was actually composed by Joshua after he led Israel across the Jordan into the Promised Land.  Eventually the prayer became part of the daily service.  It was said, that this prayer pointed to the Oneness of God and His kingship, and expressed the belief that all humanity would accept Him as the only God.

The “Aleinu” contains excerpts from Isaiah 30 and Isaiah 45 in which it says, “There is no other God besides me, a just God and a Savior;  …that to me every knee will bow and every tongue will swear about me that only in Adonai are justice and strength”.  The “Aleinu” further speaks of the conviction that He will one day remove detestable idolatry from the earth.

It is significant that this prayer is part of the letter to the Philippians.  Philippians 2:10 tells us, “that in honor of the name given Yeshua, every knee will bow in heaven, on earth and under the earth – every tongue will acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord”.  The “Aleinu” would have been quite familiar to a first century Jewish audience and it would have been obvious that Rav Sha’ul (Paul) was quoting from this prayer.

The “Aleinu” was also a favorite prayer of the Jewish martyrs.  In fact, those martyrs, during the Middle Ages, made use of the “Aleinu” as their dying song.   During the persecution of Jews in Blois, France, in 1171 CE they were accused of murdering a Christian child during Passover.  As a result many masters of the Torah were massacred at this time.  The death of these saints was accompanied by a solemn song resounding thru the stillness of the night causing those who heard to wonder at the melodious strains, which they had never heard.  It was ascertained afterwards that the martyred saints had made use of the “Aleinu”.

One eyewitness account sent to Rabbi Jacob of Orleans, read in part:

"When the flames blazed and licked the bodies of the victims, they raised their voices in a unison melody; at first it was a low chant and afterwards a high-sounding melody. The people [Gentiles] came and said: 'Which of your songs is this? For we have never heard such a melody from you before.' Yet we knew it very well, for it was the chant of the Aleinu."

So what was Rav Sha’ul (Paul) communicating to his “Gentile” audience about the Messiah?  The pre-existence of the Messiah was a familiar concept in rabbinic Judaism and so Paul was not drawing on Christian themes but on ancient Hebrew understanding.  From a Hebrew perspective, this prayer looked to the unity of mankind under the Kingship of God.  It was a firm proclamation of the Divine Unity of God.  Yeshua, who was the ultimate Jewish martyr, died for the sins of all mankind in order to bring that unity and restoration, and the fulfillment of God as the supreme King of the Universe.

Consider adding this special prayer to your daily prayer time.  One of the benefits of this prayer was to reveal the difference between Israel’s relationship with God and the view of God the surrounding nation’s exhibited.  Let us answer the call to be set apart.

Marriage in Israel


Dr. Diana Dye looks at the wedding from a broader perspective.

Not only does she examine the two stages of marriage, but she also looks at the wedding week through the celebration of all of Israel’s festivals.

She further goes on to explain how all the covenants relate to the marriage in some way.

Dr. Dye also examines the various symbols such as the Tefillin and the Tallit as elements in the wedding.



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