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Mayim Chayim

Here you will find links, quotes, reviews of books, music and other materials available to you at Beth Shechinah. Please feel free to leave your comments and ideas so this site evolves in step with the needs of our community. "Mayim Chayim" means "Livin

Updated: 2014-10-05T00:41:54.701-06:00


Happy Hanukkah!!


Hanukkah is almost upon us, and we have some materials available to help you and your family celebrate.

A Light in the Darkness, an anthology published by First Fruits of Zion. It has an interesting re-telling of the story of Hanukkah (I learned some new things from it, and here I thought I knew everything!), and teaching about how Hanukkah relates to the prophecies in Daniel, and why it is important for New Covenant believers to keep this feast. It has blessings and instructions for lighting the candles, activities for children and readings for each night of Hanukkah. We still have several of these books available for sale.

A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays by Robin Sampson and Linda Pierce. This book is an excellent guide for all the festivals. This description is from the website:

Learn the teaching method God uses to teach His children. The ultimate hands-on Bible lessons! Teach your children the way God instructed the Hebrews to teach their children—with annual events telling the story of His people and the coming of Jesus.

This giant, 585 page telephone-size book gives an an extensive look at the nine annual holidays: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles, Hanukkah, Purim and the weekly holiday—the Sabbath!

This book includes information that will fill ten books: one on each of the seven holidays in Leviticus, the Sabbath, plus Hanukkah and Purim, and tons of information about the importance of our Hebrew Roots. You'll use this book over and over for years to come!

You will learn the historical, agricultural, spiritual, and prophetic purposes of each holiday, showing how each points to Christ and creative ways to teach them to your children!

In this book you get all the information listed above PLUS projects, crafts, recipes, games, and songs for celebrating each holiday.

Also instructions for a weekly Bible study and instructions using the Special Home School Section to incorporate the teaching of the biblical holidays with the academic school subjects!

The chapter on Hanukkah can be viewed online here. Be sure to look at the other links as well, and the parent website, Heart of Wisdom, where they have other Messianic publications geared especially for home schoolers. We have this book in our library, but if you would like your own copy, order them online at Our Hebrew Roots store.

Book Review: King of the Jews


King of the Jews by D. Thomas Lancaster

When I was a child, I asked my parents if there was "any more to the Bible". Somehow, although I couldn't put my finger on what I wanted, it seemed like the story was not complete. At the time my parents gave me a stock answer, along the lines of "the canon of scripture is set". I felt that something was missing- and today I would say I was looking for some historical context. What else was going on while Yeshua was calming the wind and waves of Galilee? What kinds of people crowded around Him to hear him speak and ask for healing?

In this book, Thomas Lancaster explores that context; not just the physical setting but the cultural, theological, and Rabbinic context of His life and teaching. In my dear Baptist upbringing, I had always been taught that Yeshua's teachings were utterly novel, that He came to start a new religion and those foolish Jews just didn't really understand Him very well. Here we learn quite the opposite- Yeshua sometimes alluded to parables and teachings which had originated from other rabbis, He never desired a divorce between His followers and Judaism, and His Jewish contemporaries understood Him oh so very well... and we are the ones with some bizarre notions.

The book consists of nineteen articles originally from Torah Club #4, and many of them were reprinted in messiah magazine. (They were my favorite feature and I am excited to see them all reprinted in one book.) They cover topics from Yeshua's birth to His death, His parables and miracles, John the Baptist's ministry, and such things as apocryphal gospels and Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. Lancaster helps us shed the blinders of thousands of years of a Greek mindset. He references the Talmud and other ancient Jewish writings to illustrate how Yeshua's contemporaries understood Him, and how He fit in that culture... and how we can better understand His teachings and follow Him.

Here is a quote from the Introduction:
The Church's sacred writings-the Gospels and Epistles left behind by those earliest believers-testify to the absolute Jewishness of the man and the original faith. The evidence remains within the books of the New Testament like an ancient, hidden code... The code could also be described as a paradigm of thought and interpretation. The paradigm is late second-Temple Judaism. Therefore, our best resource for interpretation is Jewish literature that was written in the same paradigm. For example, it is hard to correctly interpret the parables of Jesus in isolation, but when the reader compares the parables of Jesus with the hundreds of similar rabbinic parables preserved in ancient Jewish literature, he suddenly has a contextual matrix from which to draw understanding.

View from Jerusalem #3


Continuation of a series, received in an email, from a friend in Israel: "As I begin another "View from Jerusalem", the situation here remains the same: muddled. Iranian President Ahmadinejad said recently, "Israel is destined for destruction and it will disappear soon." Former Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is saying repeatedly, "This is 1938 and Iran is Germany." As then-Prime Minister Golda Meir said decades ago, "The Arabs want us dead. We want to live. It is hard to find a compromise between those two positions."The General Security Services (Shin Bet) people think Israel should undertake a large-scale military operation in Gaza. On Saturday the UN voted to oppose any Israeli military response in Gaza, as if the UN General Assembly runs Israel’s Cabinet and Defense Ministry. Are "innocent civilians" who voluntarily show up to serve as human shields (to prevent the IAF from bombing a legitimate military target in Gaza) actually "innocent civilians" as the western press depicts them, or are they part of the terrorist army? They know when they volunteer that Israel won’t bomb "civilians". When IDF forces are being fired on by snipers hiding in a mosque, is it legitimate for the soldiers under attack to shoot back at the mosque? The terrorists in the mosque know before they shoot that the Israelis won’t shoot back. Israel’s spies on the ground say that Iran has just tested a nuclear fuse, but the CIA’s scientific snooping devices tell us it didn’t happen. Do we trust Israel’s spies or the CIA’s machines? And even if Iran did test a nuclear fuse, what is the world in general (and Israel in particular) willing to do about it? "‘Tis a puzzlement."According to Arutz 7 (, there were ten Kassam rockets fired from Gaza toward Sderot over the weekend, and Sderot suffered its fourth major casualty in four days. It’s a small town. This situation is not acceptable. No other country would tolerate such a situation. In 2004, 159 Kassam rockets were fired from Gaza toward the Sderot region. In 2005, there were 306 rockets fired. So far in 2006, there have been 1,004 Kassam rockets fired on Sderot, and the year isn’t over yet. Do you see this in the western media? After a Jewish billionaire privately took a thousand Sderot school kids (+ or -) and their families to Eilat where they could be safe and the kids could play outside, then the government suddenly arranged a lot of Sderot school field trips to Tel Aviv so that the remaining kids wouldn’t be in Sderot’s dangerous schools during the school day. But these same kids live in unprotected homes at night. Sderot is inside the original Israeli borders of 1949. It is not a "settlement" in the "disputed territories". Why does this go on and on?The last speaker to address our tour group was Daniel Taub, Director of the General Law Division of Israel’s Foreign Ministry. Taub is a graduate of Oxford, London, and Harvard. He closed our conference by asking, "Why can’t the Palestinians take all of the incitement against Jews out of their school textbooks? They have nothing to replace it! Their whole identity as Palestinians is based on hating Israel, killing Jews, and being martyrs. They have no positive national identity."Americans can fondly remember Paul Revere without hating and killing the British today. Canadians can remember the ultimate victory of the British army over the French army, yet French civil law is still observed in Quebec and the French language is one of the official languages of Canada. In contrast, the deep-rooted hatred of Jews so carefully nurtured in the Palestinians’ souls will not disappear with the creation of the nation of Palestine (God forbid). This is a spiritual war, not just an emotional, nationalistic conflict.The incentive for continued Palestinian terrorism is strong and logical. When there is a terrorist attack, the Israelis close the border and ordinary Palestinians cannot go to their employment within Israel. At this point the Palestinians are [...]

View from Jerusalem #2


Continuation of a series, received in the email, from a friend in Israel:"Six days ago, my tour group ate pizza for lunch in Sderot, an Israeli town not far (not far enough!) from Gaza. That was Sunday. A local rabbi spoke to us about his town as we ate. Three days later one woman in Sderot was killed by a Kassam rocket launched from Gaza as she crossed a downtown street. One woman? Lots of people die in the Middle East every day. But my goodness, what a wild emotional storm engulfed Israel for the next two days!Hers was a particularly gruesome death. Warheads packed with nuts, bolts, screws, and nails make the explosion something like walking into a blender. Her photo was published: she was beautiful! Then we were told how many hours it took the Zaka team to remove all bits of flesh from the sidewalk, street, and surrounding buildings. The devout Jewish volunteers of Zaka respectfully collect and bury all body parts and pieces, even for this Muslim woman. She had crossed the street quickly while her Jewish husband lingered behind. He saw it from across the street. It doesn’t matter that she was Muslim. She was an Israeli citizen living in an Israeli town! When two Arab Members of the Knesset tried to attend her funeral, they were driven away by the outraged citizens of Sderot.In 1943, the 7,000 Jews of Denmark escaped to neutral Sweden overnight, just hours before the Nazi soldiers tried to round them up and send them to death camps. Writing about that escape, a Danish Jew said this: "Many Jews feel like the winegrowers on the slopes of the Vesuvius (volcano). As long as it only smokes, you can live with the danger. Once the lava is pouring out of the crater, it is often too late to run for safety. The tragedy was that most of those who feared the future and wanted to escape had nowhere to escape to." That was 63 years ago. When Canada was asked at that time how many Jewish refugees it would take, a government official infamously replied, "None is too many."Today there is one Jewish nation in the world, only one, and it has successfully defended itself for 59 years, since the UN vote in 1947 that created a Jewish state. Under the concept of Partition, the Arabs were also offered a nation of their own within the God-given land of Israel, but they turned it down, expecting they could get more land through war. Thus six decades later a Muslim woman living in Israel is killed by a Muslim rocket. She wasn’t Jewish, but she was Israeli. Then the UN General Assembly voted that Israel must not try to stop the rocket attacks from Gaza! Why not? How long must this go on? Self defense is a basic human right!When the alert sounds in Sderot, there are usually 15 seconds between the alert and the actual crash of the rocket. That’s how long people have to get to a bomb shelter. On Wed., however, they had only 4 seconds to protect themselves due to poor visibility and fog. Only about three classrooms per school have been reinforced for added protection. The idea is that the children in other classes can run to the protected rooms — in 4 seconds?! So most classes try to cram into the few protected classrooms all day and very little learning is going on. The Education Ministry is sending psychologists to Sderot’s schools while the UN votes that Israel must not go into Gaza to stop the rocket launches.A Jewish billionaire with a practical mind and a large pocketbook set up tent cities in the south last summer when northern Israelis were fleeing from Hizbullah’s Katyusha rockets in July and August. Now he has rented hotel rooms in Eilat, at the southern tip of Israel on the Red Sea, and has sent chartered buses to take a thousand kids and their families out of Sderot. The tension and fear have simply become too great to bear, especially for kids. The Israeli government is irate at the billionaire’s interference. His private initiative makes the government look totally incompetent. He did not coordinate his move with the government. How could he?[...]

View From Jerusalem


I received this email from a friend who is presently touring Israel. I am always trying to keep my ear to the ground about what is happening there, and especially from personal contacts. We hear nothing from the western media about the events and attitudes described in this email, except the botched Israeli attack. Let us always remember Israel in prayer, and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.Greetings from Jerusalem!I've just spent a week on an unusual tour of Israel with many thought-provoking speeches by major Israeli leaders and with many fascinating experiences. I could write a brief synopsis of the tour, but that wouldn't tell you much. Instead, I intend to write a series of emails, each with its own focus. Today I will tell you about the Arab Member of the Knesset who spoke to us. This gets to the root of the current Arab-Israeli war and why Israel has to defend herself.Today (Wed. Nov. 15th) a 57-year-old woman was killed by a Kassam rocket in the Israeli town of Sderot. In addition, one of the rockets landed near the personal home of Defense Minister Amir Peretz where a 24-year-old security guard assigned to the Defense Minister's residence lost both his legs from the shrapnel. Parents rushed to schools, half of which are still insufficiently protected against Kassam rockets, and removed their children. The city announced the cancellation of classes. Last night three Kassams were fired from Gaza, and today there were eight. Various Israeli leaders were already calling for a major military operation in Gaza. Now the Defense Minister will be inclined to do something bigger.A week ago, the Israeli army intended to knock out a Kassam missile launcher because the Arabs of Gaza were launching Kassam rockets at Israeli towns, as usual. Israel's aiming and firing mechanism malfunctioned and some civilians in Gaza were inadvertently killed. If you believe the Arabs and the media, those ruthless, bloodthirsty Israelis did it on purpose. But this was an Israeli response to hostile rocket-launching, and why were the Arabs launching rockets at Israel anyway? If you go back a year, you recall that some 9,000 Jews were driven from their homes in Gush Katif (Gaza) by the Israeli government and the Israeli army. That evacuation gave all of Gaza to the Arabs (i.e. the Palestinian Authority, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, etc.). Are the Arabs happy with this? No. It's not enough. They want all of Israel, with all Jews "driven into the sea". So they continue to launch rockets at the Israeli towns of Sderot and Ashkelon day after day without pause. The Arabs launch Kassams, and the Israelis try to wipe out the launchers. When anybody dies, it's always Israel's fault.The following tour-event was bizarre. Read on to see what happened in the Knesset (parliament) later. But first to the tour experience. The civilians in Gaza were accidentally killed on Wednesday. Two days later we heard a speech by an Arab Member of the Knesset who spoke directly, personally, to our tour group. [Yes, Arab-Israelis are Israeli citizens, and they have elected ten members to the 120-member Knesset.] Dr. Hana Swaid kept his voice soft and unemotional. He has been a professor of urban planning at the Israeli Technion in Haifa. He was the mayor of his village for ten years. He played the role of a civilized elected government official. He never once mentioned the civilian deaths in Gaza on Wednesday! That didn't fit his role, the image he was projecting to us at that time. His performance was all PR spin.Dr. Swaid talked about urban planning, infrastructure, poverty, unemployment. See? These Arabs are rational and well-educated. Then he said that the majority of Arabs want to be fully integrated as Israeli citizens -- but with their own culture, of course. That sounds politically-correct. Yet I wondered whether the Muslim culture could be or should be "integrated" into the historical, ethnic, linguistic, religious [...]

Messianic Archive Page


This website, the Messianic Archive Page, has a catalogue of Messianic books and articles written in the 19th and early 20th century by Messianic Jews, mainly rabbis. They are quite fascinating to read. All of them can be downloaded in pdf format.

A book on a similar subject, which is available at Beth Shechinah, is entitled, "What the Rabbis Know About the Messiah". This book looks at rabbinic writings regarding the Messiah.

Book Review: A Way in the Wilderness


A Way in the Wilderness: Essays in Messianic Jewish Thought

This book is a collection of essays by various authors on a wide variety of subjects within Messianic Judaism. As you read this book, prepare to have paradigms turned on their heads. Fresh perspectives fill these pages, even for veterans of the movement. This book is great for inquirers of both Jewish and Christian backgrounds and includes a glossary of terms in the back of the book. Besides the 18 essays written in English, two have been written in Hebrew... for those of you who can take that leap! Here are a few summaries of some essays:

I.E.S. יע"ס by Henry Einspruch
This is a short biography of an influential Hebrew translator from the 19th century. He translated the New Testament into Hebrew, besides works of such writers as Shakespeare and Milton.

The Bible - An Historical Document by William Katin
This essay briefly discusses archaeological evidence supporting the biblical accounts of Genesis, particularly focusing on Abraham's life. He also writes about the reliability of the documentation of the New Testament.

How Long? by Max Isaac Reich
This writer describes the confusion and heartache of the prophets and psalmists as they sought to follow God in a difficult and contrary world, and how this relates to our own struggles.
"(Jesus') cross is the key to all mystery. Strange that it should be so, for to the natural mind it is utter darkness and the greatest mystery of all, even defeat and disaster, the triumph of hate, the victory of evil over good. But to faith, it is full of light, the highest peak of love, patience, meekness, unselfishness, renunciation. It is the defeat of the powers of darkness. It is the laying of the sure foundation on which the hopes of humanity can rest and the universal reign of God be established."

Kidush Hashem by Agnes Waldstein
"Kidush Hashem" is "Hallowed be thy Name", translated into Hebrew. This writer explores the implications of this phrase in the Lord's Prayer when understood from a Hebraic perspective.

Blessed be Egypt? by Daniel Fuchs
Perhaps the title says it all. Just to whet your curiosity, I may say that he interprets a prophecy from Isaiah that most people (including Messianic believers!) just gloss over. And yes, it involves a blessing on Egypt, of all things.

Did the Jews Kill Christ? by Henry Einspruch
This essay examines the culpability of the various groups involved in Jesus' condemnation and death. The author cites passages from the Talmud regarding the sentiment towards the high priesthood of the time, and towards Jesus himself. He exposes the moral vacuity of laying blame.

This book is available at Beth Shechinah

Great Series of Teaching on Hebrews


The Beth Immanuel website has many great resources and articles for Messianic believers. If you are living in an area with no Messianic fellowship, this website is a great source for teaching and community. Their leader, D. Thomas Lancaster, has written a book which has been quite popular at Beth Shechinah, called Restoration. (I am planning to review it on this site soon.) He has also delivered a series of messages on the book of Hebrews which I highly recommend. Download them from their archive page here. His insights are deep and clarify much of what has been mistaught from the pulpit for years. There are also children's stories alongside the adult sermon.

Hebrew, Anyone?


Many people inquire about Hebrew learning resources, especially while our classes at Beth Shechinah are suspended. Here are some of the best online resources I have found:

Hebrew for Christians: an excellent site with detailed lessons and exercises, audio and printer-friendly pages for talmidim (students) of all levels. He has done extensive research into Hebrew and Jewish customs as well, and includes articles and teachings based upon Hebrew studies. With downloadable PDF's and frequent updates, this is a site you will want to bookmark.

Navigating the Bible II: This is an online bar/bat mitzvah tutor, offered in English, Russian, and Spanish. It will help you locate the parasha reading for your Hebrew birthday, and has audio files to help you pronounce it and cantor it, and a summary of each portion. It has a reference guide to the people, places, plants and animals mentioned in the Bible and a text search.

Akhlah: The Jewish Children's Learning Network: Here there are many fun and colorful exercises and learning aids. Don't think this is just kid's stuff- Hebrew is Hebrew, and the more fun it is to learn, the more you will retain. They have information on all the Jewish customs, festivals, traditions, and Bible characters, besides crafts for the holidays and a "Hebrew Word of the Day". An excellent resource for home-schooling as well. A searchable online Bible in over 50 versions and 35 languages: I include this because it is a handy tool to use as a concordance, flip back and forth between Hebrew and English, and to compare various translations. On the homepage, type in your keyword or reference, and then you will be able to choose from the versions and languages. (Languages are listed alphabetically.) The main site is also available in Spanish.

Torah Teaching


First Fruits of Zion has a feature on their website called the "Weekly eDrash" (click here). It is a small commentary on the week's torah portion, offered by free subscription to your email address. I always enjoy the fresh insights and the "Thought for the Week" included each time. It also helps me keep on track with which Torah reading we are on, so I am prepared for the Shabbat. Once you have subscribed, you can access the archives for any Torah portion.

Messianic Music


Interested in finding some new music? Try the band "Arba Minim" from Minnesota. They have a clean acoustic contemporary style. There are five downloadable tracks on their site Arba Minim. My favourite track is #3, "Yishtabach".

Check out their free e-card selection as well.

American - Israel Relations


Today I received a great article from about the mythical "Israel Lobby" in America and how supporting Israel can be objectively shown to benefit American interests in the Middle East.

Click here:
  • The American Interest

  • Book Review: Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus


    Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus by David Bivin and Roy B. Blizzard

    There are many expressions in the Gospels which are difficult to understand, and many which are so familiar we think we know what they mean. But do we? This book approaches the Gospels from a unique hermeneutical angle. The thesis is that Hebrew, not Aramaic or Greek, was the language of the common people in the first century C.E. They postulate that an account of Yeshua's life was originally written in Hebrew and later translated into Greek, as the need arose, and eventually this morphed into the three synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Many Hebraic sayings and idioms appear to be translated word-for-word into Greek, with confusing consequences for modern English readers. They believe the original chronology of the gospels has become jumbled, and therefore these parables and teachings have lost their original contexts.

    I would recommend this book to anyone who would like a greater understanding of the cultural context of the Gospels, and to anyone who has come away from a parable of Yeshua with more questions than answers.

    Here is an excerpt from Chapter 6, Page 88:

    "The kingdom of God has come near you.

    "In Hebrew, 'to come near' means 'to be at.' If we try to understand Luke 10:9 and 11, quoted above, by reading the Greek word engiken (translated 'has come near') we are in trouble. Engiken means 'about to appear' or 'is almost here'. However, if we translate it back into Hebrew, we get an entirely different meaning. The Hebrew equivalent of engiken is the verb karav, which means 'to come up and be with' or 'to be where something or someone else is.'

    "The Greek engiken, or the English, 'near,' mean: 'It's not yet here.' The implication is that the Kingdom of God is futuristic, not yet here. The Hebrew karav means the exact opposite: 'It's here! It has arrived!' "

    This book is available at Beth Shechinah.

    Making a Baby


    Now that I have your attention, this article came through my mailbox today, and I hope you are as blessed as I was by the deep miracle of God's creation of a new human being.

    Jim & Marie Watt – Beth Chesed,Tacoma
    PO Box25116 – Federal WayWA 98093-2116
    Web: – Fax: 253.474.0189
    Tel: 253.874.4265 – Email:
    October 15, 2006


    Zola Levitt discovered an amazing correlation between Jewish Holy Days and the forming of a human baby, from conception to birth. While preparing for writing a book for new parents, Zola contacted a gynecologist for some help in understanding gestation. During that session, the gynecologist showed him a series of pictures, pointed to the first one (an egg and a sperm) and said, "On the fourteenth day of the first month, the egg appears." The statement struck a chord in his Jewish mind because that was the date of Passover. He remembered the roasted egg on his family table every Passover. Now, for the first time, he knew what it meant! Not wanting to lead the gynecologist off from the subject at hand, he didn't say anything, but continued to listen.

    The gynecologist continued: "The egg must be fertilized within 24 hours, or it will pass on." This reminded Zola of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the seed of grain that "Fell into the ground and died" in order to produce a harvest, the firstfruits of which was presented to God. Next, the gynecologist said, "Within two to six days, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the womb and begins to grow." And, sure enough, the Jewish evangelist thought, "The Feast of Firstfruits is observed anywhere from two to six days after Passover!"

    Next, he was shown a photo of an embryo showing arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, a head, eyes, etc. The caption said, "Fifty days." The gynecologist continued, "Around the fiftieth day, the embryo takes on the form of a human being. Until then, we don't know if we have a duck or a tad-pole." Zola thought, "That's Pentecost!"

    The next picture showed the embryo at seven months. The gynecologist said, "On the first day of the seventh moth, the baby's hearing is developed. For the first time, it can hear and distinguish sounds outside the womb." Zola knew that was the date for the Jewish Festival of Trumpets.

    The gynecologist continued, "On the tenth day of the seventh month, the hemoglobin of the blood changes from that of the mother, to a self-sustaining baby." Zola thought, "That's the Day of Atonement, when the blood was taken into the Holy of Holies!"

    Next, the gynecologist said, "On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the lungs become fully developed. If born before then, the baby would have a hard time breathing." And Zola thought, "That's the festival of Tabernacles, a time of celebrating theTemple, home of the Shekinah glory or Spirit of God." In the New Testament, the Greek term pneuma, normally translated as "breath," is applied to the "Holy Spirit."

    Birth takes place on the tenth day of the ninth month. Eight days after birth, in Jewish families a son is circumcised. Zola noted that the eight days of Hanukkah are celebrated right on schedule, nine months and ten days after Passover.