L’shana tova to all! The new year began with a whirlwind of activity here at Bella Torah. This year most of the holidays fell on Monday or Tuesday and overshadowed our Tzadik Class. Along with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot (the fall feasts, foreshadowing Messiah Yeshua’s second coming) we witnessed two mikvot, a bat mitzvah, celebrated the marriage of a tzadik, Joshua Spurlock, and my daughter Julianna, under the chuppah, the sheva berachot meals and blessing for the new couple, the engagement of another tzadik, Isaac Alexander, and my daughter Christine, and finally, my birthday/anniversary getaway to the mountains with my lovely bride of 29 years. We had record attendance at the Shacharit service following the wedding and had to rent space at a local hotel. Baruch HaShem! it was a fabulous two months of celebration.

During this time of celebration, Greg Upham lost his mother, Joyce. May her memory be for a blessing. Our prayers for comfort and consolation are with the entire family.

This new year we began a new format for Tuesday nights with a single topic in an hour to hour and a half discussion. Our original format of two one-hour classes with a break between was designed to foster fellowship with the young ladies in study upstairs with my eldest daughter, Morgan. Since she has married a tzadik, Gregory Bartos (and with HaShem’s hand, given us a beautiful granddaughter), our focus returns solely to the men. (Although it is humbling to find so many ladies listening from afar.)

As new men have joined our class, studying and striving for obedience in our lives, we found that using the audio from previous classes to bring them up to speed was proving to be quite a challenge. So we are podcasting the classes from the Tzadik Class of 5773. They should be online before the weekend is out, bezrat HaShem. Using the Podcasts app for your iOS devices or searching the iTunes Store for Bella Torah should allow you to automatically get our latest classes.

While we’re on a high-tech note, we are entertaining the notion of providing a live feed during the Tzadik Classes, allowing our distant members to participate as well. I’m excited – and scared to death – of what lies ahead, but trust that HaShem will surround me with men of great wisdom to guide the path.

As we retrace the steps of the Patriarchs of our faith, and read this week of the death of our Matriarch, Sarah, I am comforted by the outpouring of G-d’s Spirit that I sense throughout our great land, and countries around the globe. I pray that our walk, our passion and our obedience will be a source of encouragement to many in the body of Messiah, and that we shall either see our King return – or convince our children and our children’s children to fight the good fight, patiently giving an account of the Hope that lies within each of us. May He come soon and in our days. Amen!

As I close this note, I’m heading off to spend the day as the Shotgun Safety Officer at one of the local gun clubs. This opportunity, to obtain, use and own firearms, is a mark of a free society. I served in our nation’s military for over a decade, and some of my closest friends are still in the military, protecting us. As our sons and daughters fight for freedom around the planet, I would ask those of you who are citizens of this great land to remember your duty and go to the polls to vote for freedom. I will be standing with Rick Spurlock and Bereans Online in prayer and fasting from sundown Monday night until sundown Tuesday night to plead G-d’s mercy and blessing on our nation, despite our sins, for the sake of the righteous (the tzadik) among us.

In accord with my class on “Receiving HaShem’s Blessing” some weeks ago, we will cancel this week’s Tzadik Class (11/6) to allow the throngs of righteous citizens to cast their votes in what I pray are long lines of patriots. Be patient and prayerful as you wait in line.

Shavuah tov!

Yosef ben Yosef