Covering your head, Submitting Your Heart

By Dr. Victoria Sarvadi

The kippah is called a yarmulke in Yiddish. It’s a small skull cap worn by Jewish men and boys to demonstrate reverence and submission to God.  The word yarmulke has an inference of awe and reverence to God just as the Hebrew word ‘kippa’ from the word ‘Kippor’ means atonement or covering.

Yom Kippor is the Day of Atonement, a day each year when one fasts, prays, seeks forgiveness from those he has offended and analyzes their shortcomings throughout the year, calling on God to reveal specific sins and imploring him to cover those sins through confession and repentance.

Chuppa which also comes from the same root means a tent (an idiom for talit or prayer shawl) that is spread above the heads of a wedding couple while pledging their vows. This covering above their heads is a beautiful picture of a newly joined couple submitting to the Almighty Creator from the very beginning of their union in His sovereignty and wisdom.

The act of covering ones head in the East is a sign of respect.  Ironically, in the West the tradition is opposite -where one removes his hat as a sign of respect.  The temple priests always covered their heads when they wore their priestly garments as explained in Exodus 28.  When one was in mourning it was also customary to cover the head as depicted in 2 Samuel 15:30.  Covering the head was a common custom among the ancient people.  Women were expected to show submission by covering their heads.  Orthodox Jews always wear a head covering to this day.  Other Jews may only wear them during prayer, worship or when studying the Torah.
​A head covering is worn to depict an outward demonstration of a submitted heart.

Whether or not one covers his head outwardly is really not the true issue.  The true issue is are you submitted to the authority of God in your heart?  Is He in control of you?  Is He the head?  Are you under His governance and covering?  Wearing a kippa is really a conscience act of the wearer to yield to the One who has all wisdom and power allowing Him to guide and transform him (or her) through out their walk in life.

We know that Yeshua wore the customary prayer shawl or talit to cover his head when he prayed. Many Believers have followed this example and have adopted this custom in their private prayer lives to pray under “His Wings”. Wings (or Kanaphim in Hebrew) refers to the corners of the prayer shawl where the tassels were attached. While praying, the one under the talit would grab hold of the tassels (attached to the wings) like grabbing the horns of the altar or the attention of the  Lord in sincerity of their heart.  Praying under the talit was often thought of as being lifted to a higher realm on the wings of a prayer.  Often, instead of a talit women chose to use a scarf to show their submission in prayer.

You may order talitot or scarves from
www.greetingsfromjerusalem.com

The Place of Grace in Judaism and Christianity

By Dr. Victoria Sarvadi

The emphasis of grace in the Hebrew Scriptures (Tenach) also called the Old Testament, is demonstrated in verses such as Nehemiah 9:31 which says, “Even so, in Your great compassion, You didn’t completely destroy them, nor did You abandon them, for You are a compassionate and merciful God.”

It is also seen in Psalms 119:156-159, “Great is your compassion, Adonai, in keeping with your rulings, revive me.”

While Christianity boasts of salvation obtained by grace it often teaches that the Hebrew Scriptures was harsh and held no grace.

“Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Therefore know the Lord your God. He is God. The faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for 1000 generations with those who love Him and keep his commandments.”
A generation is considered to be 20-50 years. 1000 generations times just 20 years would equate to 20,000 years to those who love Him and obey His commandments.” What are those commandments? They are the commandments of Torah. The commandments that Yeshua walked out perfectly in his very life. Yeshua IS the Torah of God in the flesh. Yeshua said, “If you love me, you will KEEP my commandments” John 14:15.

Christians hear the Word of the Lord!! -If you love Him you, you obey His commandments. Not to be saved but because you’re saved! You do it as a response to His goodness, As an act of self-sacrifice. He gave His life! We give Him our hearts – our obedience. Yeshua’s blood satisfied our need for atonement. Temple sacrifice is no longer necessary. What beauty! What grace!

Biblical Christianity is realizing the need for TORAH in our lives to demonstrate the workings of grace in our hearts.
Biblical Judaism will realize in the Tikkun Olam (The Restoration of all things) the need of MESSIAH to change the heart so Torah may be implemented perfectly in grace.

Yeshua was THE walking, living Torah.
When we receive Him in our hearts Torah is then written on our hearts.
We, then become walking, living Torahs, guided by His Spirit.
A new creation!

God has been and always will be a God that shows grace to those who love him and obey Him and walk according to His ways.

Understanding the Sabbath

By Dr. Victoria Sarvadi

I was adopted as an infant so I don’t know much about my biological background. And I wasn’t raised as a Jew but I’ve always had an intrigue with Judaism. I never had a clue as to why until 1997.

Then I had an Epiphany!

It was then that, Lo and behold, I realized that the Lord and Savior that I embraced as my Messiah, Jesus, was born a Jew, lived as a Jew and passionately practiced and displayed His faith as a devout Jew! He was born in Bethlehem, Israel during a time of great Roman oppression. He was circumcised in obedience to the Torah, worshipped in the Holy Temple, celebrated the Feasts of The Lord as proscribed in Lev. 23 and faithfully kept the Sabbath. It was then that it dawned on me that I really didn’t know Him in that context at all. And I wondered – why not?!

This revelation motivated me to go back to school and pursue an intense study of Hebrew biblical education; anthropology, Jewish understanding of the New Testament, the Hebrew language and it’s ancient idioms, the 1st century rabbinical, historical and archeological aspects of 2nd Temple Judaism (that is of Jesus’s time) and their Jewish customs and traditions. As I compared these early practices to what eventually became known as the Christianity of our modern day, I discovered this modern philosophy of Christianity was influenced and interpreted through Greek, Roman and Western eyes and it often failed to reveal the deep spiritual meanings of the 1st century Hebraic faith of our Jewish Lord.

I would like to address a few misunderstandings that I think we, as Gentiles, have struggled with for centuries. As European or Western thinkers we have difficulty approaching the Bible in the mindset it was written in. The reason is because we lack the rich Jewish heritage and basic foundational understandings of those 1st century Jews whose ears actually heard the voice of our Lord. The teachings of Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus) were initially directed to ancient Middle Eastern thinkers. We all need to step back and approach the Bible from a fresh but ancient Jewish perspective that goes back before denominations, the reformation and Catholicism to the original matrix. 1st century Judaism is our mother faith; it is this faith that the theology of Jesus, our Jewish Lord, is predicated on.

One typical misunderstanding we have is the idea of The Sabbath. In the 4th century, Constantine, the Great, emperor of the known world declared by an king’s edict that the Holy Day of Sabbath practiced by the early Christians on the 7th day was to cease and instead a day of corporate worship on the 1st day of the week, Sunday, would now be recognized as the Christian sabbath. Understand , it was already customary that the believers meet on the 1st day to worship and have fellowship but they did not do this as their custom of honoring the Sabbath. There’s nothing wrong with worshipping God on any day of the week but you can’t change the actual Word of God. It is recorded in Genesis that the Sabbath (the Hebrew word for 7th day) is the day God rested and HE declared that we were to remember it and keep it Holy. Can we change the day he rested? How can one say the 7th DAY of the week is now the 1st day of the week? That doesn’t even make sense! For over 3 centuries this movement that Yeshua started kept the Sabbath as a day unto The Lord. Then, by the stroke of a pen the new Emperor of the World, Constantine, who was immersed in polytheistic pagan religions, instituted a one world religion that he knew little about. He banned the beloved feasts of The Lord and the Sabbath that Yeshua kept and he blended the faith with other traditions from the feasts of the Sun God, Ra (Sunday worship), the fertility god, Eshtar (Easter) and the birthday celebration of Nimrod (we now call Christmas).

Realize there is a difference from worshipping God on Sunday (which of course, is absolutely acceptable) and keeping the Sabbath. You can do both if you want! But – they are actually two different emphasis! Yeshua says in Mark 2:27 …said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”. It is a gift from God commanding us to slow down! Rest and have faith that he will bless you because you keep this day as he personally convicts you. Corporate worship on Sunday is actually the response to the commandment “to not neglect the assembly of the brethren.” (Hebrews 9:25) And it’s a day dedicated unto the Lord as opposed to the Sabbath which is given to man.

But “Keeping the Sabbath”, however, is more of a personal thing. It actually is a weekly remembrance and commemoration of your personal decision to make Yeshua your Lord and Savior. People can keep the Sabbath in different ways as one can serve The Lord in many ways. The main thing is to keep it Holy and not profane the day. One must pray and search their heart to determine how to separate the day from the rest.

Starting the Sabbath at sundown on Friday can be a beautiful time of dedication and prayer for the new week. Because our western society does not recognize the Sabbath proscribed by Torah, many of us are required to work. Many schools and sports clubs make this the day of sporting events and extra curricular activities and we all feel the need to catch up on things we normally can’t do on the week days. Because of our social customs each person needs to seek The Lord and allow Him to guide them in all truth. Follow your convictions. He will show you what to do and what not do if you ask.

My husband and I often invite friends over to begin the Sabbath at sundown on Friday. We light the candles as a memorial to separate the day. We pray and bless one another, our children and our friends. We enjoy fellowship and a wonderful meal. The atmosphere actually feels charged and there’s an excitement and anointing that permeates our home as we invite The Lord in to “rest” upon us!

Resting on the Sabbath is all about trusting in our faith that God is in control. That’s why everyday is a Sabbath in that regard. We must place our trust in the Lord and not in our own wisdom, abilities and strengths.

One day in the New Kingdom, Yeshua will take His place on the throne in the New Jerusalem. This is the true on-going Sabbath that is to come when we all can rest in Him and war and evil are bound for a thousand years.

Demonstrating our faith on the 7th day is our response unto The Lord for the gift He as given us. Pray and ask Him how you should keep the Sabbath. Ask Him how you can be a blessing to Him!! It’s not that you HAVE too but rather He offers this wonderful privilege to commune with Him and you GET to!

Explaining your faith in Yeshua to a Jew

By Dr. Victoria Sarvadi

It’s important that believers in Yeshua be sensitive to God’s first covenant people, the Jews.  We must respect their faith and discuss our faith in Yeshua without an agenda to convert them.  Iron sharpens iron.  Who knows maybe both of us can learn something from the other.  When talking to a Jewish person about your faith include these points and concepts.

1.THE DECLARATION (The attention getter)!

I have come to the conclusion that Christianity has misinterpreted much of the 1st century Jewish teachings of Christ through Greco-Roman thought.   I have also discovered that in the 4th century, Constantine, the Great, added paganism and de-Judized the faith that had remained a Jewish sect for 300 years. Christianity of today has altered the rich 1st century theology of  Yeshua. I have researched and reconsidered many misunderstandings and misperceptions.

2. THE CONFESSION

The church was wrong in many of it’s claims concerning the Jews. I will share 5 of them. Read more

How the Torah relates to Christianity

By Dr. Victoria Sarvadi

God gave Torah to His covenant people, instructing them on how to walk with Him. Because He saved them and set them apart he gave them detailed instructions on how to live and stay consecrated. There are 613 instructions in Torah compared to 1050 in the New Testament. Somewhere during the interestamental period, rabbinic thinking began to change from keeping Torah as a result of redemption to keeping Torah to OBTAIN redemption. Yeshua came to rightly interpret the law and correct the thinking of His covenant people. He is Torah embodied. Yeshua followed Torah completely and perfectly. He is the LIVING Word of the Torah of God. The Hebrew word Torah means instruction. Read more

tephillin

What are Tephillin?

By Dr. Victoria Sarvadi

The Hebrew people were instructed in Deuteronomy 11:18 this command “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.” Since there were no instructions as how to bind His Words, the ancient people created a small box with straps that the wearer would wrap around his arm 7 times, then around the hand near his thumb, the middle finger and ring finger to create a shin, the letter of the alphabet that stands for El Shaddai (God Almighty). Inside of the small box was a parchment with 4 scriptures from the Torah. Another tefillin was bound around the forehead which also contained 4 separate compartments for the same 4 scriptures which are Exodus 13:1-10, Exodus 13:11-16, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Deuteronomy 11:13-21. These tefillin (also called phylacteries) are still worn by observant Jews today. Read more