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It would seem that in the first few verses of this portion Esau’s intent was to attack Jacob. The angels sent from Jacob return and relay the message,

“We came to your brother, to Esau; moreover, he is heading toward you, and four hundred men are with him.” Genesis 32:7

This would be “very frightening” for several reasons in my opinion. The first reason is traveling with four hundred men without any mention of family demonstrates an intention to fight. The second reason is Jacob was dwelling with all of his children and wives. The last reason is that besides his sons he only had servants with which to defend himself and his family. In the midst of his distress Jacob does something we should all do in times of calamity; pray. It is G-d’s faithfulness and answer to prayer that saves Jacob from the hand of Esau.

“Rescue me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear lest he come and strike me down, mother and children.” Genesis 32:12

G-d’s answer to the prayer of Jacob is very similar to G-d’s answer to the prayer of David:

“He rescued me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.” Psalm 18:17

Jacob was facing a strong enemy (Gen. 25:27), and Esau did hate him (Gen. 27:41), and Esau far outnumbered Jacob. Yet G-d saved him, just as He saved David. Prayer is an essential element in our relationship with G-d and this week’s portion reveals a fundamental truth. Our prayer should always include G-d’s word.

“And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in Your rules.” Pslam 119:43

But He answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of G-d.’” Matthew 4:4

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” Matthew 6:7

In Genesis 32:9-12, Jacob specifically prays the promises made to him and his fathers. His prayer is personal, his prayer is humble, and his prayer is glorifying to G-d. In addition, our verbal prayer is a personal reminder of G-d’s faithfulness. When we continuously declare the Word of the L-rd then we are continually hearing the Word of the L-rd. We are at war will fleshly distractions and frequent prayer is our best defense. We should live by the Word. We should desire to have His desires. If we truly want “the L-rd’s will to be done” then we should be praying in accordance with His will revealed to us in the Bible.

“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16

Jacob’s prayer request was to be delivered from his brother Esau, and G-d answered his prayer. G-d answered the prayer of the children of Israel in Egypt and saved them. In the same way, G-d will eternally save whom He has chosen. If we humbly pray, repent, and seek after G-d then by the blood of Yeshua we will be saved and our sins will be forgiven. Hallelujah!

“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

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Intro:
Several months ago I had the opportunity to have lunch with a dear friend of mine who I have known for over 12 years. Although our relationship started out as a family friendship it eventually led to our family attending their church – he is a pastor.

We were called out of the church about 3 ½ years ago to start an incredibly exciting journey which will not end – and actually seems like it only just began. I had recently been trying to share with him the truths that G-d had revealed to us over this short time by extending an invitation to attend a study in our home but he declined.

He did, however, accept an invitation to lunch to celebrate his birthday – as is our custom. I had intended to discuss, at least to some degree, our recent experiences and encourage him to look further and find the truth that has been covered from “our” eyes for nearly two thousand years. “G-d is calling His people back to Torah”….this most excellent news was answered with grave concern spread across his face. My friend’s concern was primarily regarding my relationship with Jesus Christ and I assured him that this was not a salvation issue but a sanctification issue.

He agreed to continue a discussion over email exchange as best that our schedules would allow…and so begins what I would like to share with you: “Thoughts from lunch”. This will be a short series of exchanges (there is a total of 2 emails from him and 2 responses from me) between the two of us that I have found challenging. I will post his emails for your review and practice on how you may have responded. Every few days I will post the next exchange.

Below (the first email) is my friend responding to my explanation of how we are to live out our faith.

Email Subject: Thoughts from lunch (#1)

“Hey Brother, Thank you for the lunch. I am glad we had a chance to share our hearts with one another. We are family in Jesus Christ. I was concerned, however, about some of your statements about the new covenant and what it means to live under the new covenant. My concerns come from the Book of Hebrews, especially Hebrews 8:6-13, Hebrews 9:10, and Hebrews 10:9-10. Hebrews 8:13 uses the word obsolete in the NKJV. In Strong’s Concordance it is number 3822 in the dictionary in the back. The word means to make or become worn out, to declare obsolete. That is a strong statement about the old covenant. We can talk more after you study it out. Thanks again for the lunch.”

“Seek the welfare of the city…and pray to G-d for it, for in its peace, you shall have peace.” – Jeremiah 29:7

This verse speaks to all of us across America. This verse is a call to action. In each city we live in, and in each town we have an obligation as citizens, Jew and Non-Jew alike, to heed the call. We should be asking several questions to ourselves and one another.

  1. What can we do to positively affect our community?
  2. How can we improve our local government?
  3. How can we increase support for Israel?
  4. How can we be a light of Torah and sanctify the name of HaShem in our community?

We must not let our society become passive. It is our responsibility as citizens to hold our government accountable and improve our standard of living. How have we come so far from our glorious beginnings? The answer may be summarized as laziness. I speak to myself as well as everyone else who expects to be taken care of, and expects the government to handle all our problems. Arise, you sleepers! Shake off your slumber. Start taking on an active role in the community and the local government. If you see a need, then fill a need. Do not expect the government to solve each problem. We all have special gifts and talents that we were graciously granted by HaShem for the purpose of glorifying His name and improving the world around us. Some may proclaim a lack of ability and creativity is what hinders his/her involvement. In this case, offer what you have. If you have hands and feet, then use them to volunteer time and strength for the good of the community. The simple act of cleaning up litter, planting trees, walking for charity can inspire and spark unity in your city/town. Some may claim a lack of time. Beware of time, as with money, becoming a primary focus and an idol. Remember who grants us time and seek to improve the community and government.

Local governments are equally as susceptible to corruption as state and national government. If accountability is not held by us then we leave the door of deviance wide open. Deviance from the Bible, from our Constitution, and ultimately from our well-being. A grave notion to consider is the absence of our political involvement equals a lack of troubles and trials. Does a tree produce fruit without working hands and the assistance of G-d? We cannot expect wholesome fruit from our government without individual participation of citizens and prayers for Divine wisdom. The inspiration of a nation begins with an individual.

To answer the initial question, “What can we do to positively affect our community?” Begin by supporting your community in various ways. Do not jump into politics without a thorough understanding of the community and solid knowledge of the city/town government system. Here are some ideas for becoming an active citizen.

  1. Planting trees.
  2. Walk for charity.
  3. Clean litter.
  4. Donate to non-profits.
  5. Host fund raising events.
  6. Educating yourself in local, state, and national politics. Know the views, intentions, and standing with Israel of key leaders.
  7. Voice your opinion. If you don’t agree with something than express it in writing, email, or by phone to the appropriate person.
  8. Host educational sessions to inform people of political situations.
  9. Begin educating your children and the youth in the community.

George Bush wrote to the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson : “Our nation’s moral tradition – indeed, the development of all Western civilization – has been deeply influenced by the laws and teachings contained in the Bible. It was a Biblical view of man, one affirming the dignity and worth of the human person made in the image of the Creator, that inspired the principles up on which the United States is founded.”

The inspired principles Former President Bush spoke of are disintegrating. The initial influence of the Bible on America is fading. Nevertheless, we are capable of individually reverting back to the morals and standards our nation was founded upon in hopes that communities, and local, state, and national governments will soon follow. The inspiration of a nation begins with an individual.

What are some other beneficial activities not listed?

What caused the divagation from America’s established principles?

Your thoughts are greatly encouraged.

by tzadikguy

The Master of the Universe granted me the privilege to arise this morning alive and well, and if you are reading this post then it is safe to say you were also granted the same privilege. An action as simple as waking up every morning is an amazing gift from HaShem that most people take for granted. How do you handle such a wonderful gift? Do you become infuriated with the alarm clock? Immediately turn on the radio, record player, or television? Do you go right to your computer? Sadly, these are just a few examples of morning activities that have become routine in our culture and society. How can we expect to spend the remainder of our day serving HaShem, if we begin by participating in worldly affairs? Thankfully there is a solution to this dilemma that is found in the Siddur {the book of traditional prayers and blessings}! The solution comes in the form of a short blessing that is traditionally sung or recited “Before getting off the bed or commencing any other conversation or activity” The blessing is as follows:

I thank you, living and eternal King, for returning my soul within me in compassion, great is your faithfulness.

Modeh ani l’faneykha, melekh chai vekayam, she-hechezarta bi nishmati bechemlah, rabbah emunatekha.

What a great way to commence each day! So many incredible things are included within this small prayer. First we are “thanking” Him for allowing us to wake by returning our soul to us. The reason for the wording of this section is that the act of sleeping places our bodies in a state nearer to death than any other time in our lives. When we are asleep we are helpless, vulnerable, and subject to our surroundings. We should pray before bed for HaShem’s protection and shelter, and upon arising to thank Him for His faithfulness. Secondly, we refer to HaShem as the “living and eternal King” which gives us a chance to demonstrate our respect and reverence for Him. He is alive, He is eternal, and He is our King. These facts are indisputable. Also included in this prayer is the verbal acknowledgment that HaShem is faithful and compassionate. Therefore we should also be faithful daily in our righteousness.

9Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;…” Deuteronomy 7:9

Let’s begin our day by thanking our King and focusing on Him. As it is said in the Sh’ma:

18 Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. ” Deuteronomy 11:18-19

To print a Modeh Ani {Blessing Upon Arising} study card, click here.

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