CENTRAL TEXAS TORAH COMMUNITY FEASTS OF YHWH 2022

Sponsored by Seeking Messiah community in Bastrop, Texas.

You are invited to join us!

All events are in the Bastrop, TX area.  For location and directions, please RSVP by email  to heidi@seekingmessiah.org

Feast of Trumpets – Yom Teruah 

Sunday, September 25, 2022. @ 4:30pm

Worship & Service – 5pm

Meal – 6:30

Shofar blasts at sunset

Feast of Atonement – Yom Kippur

Wednesday, October 5, 2022. @ 6:45

A brief message followed by breaking the fast together. We will be meeting @ a TBD park in Bastrop, TX

Shofar blasts at sunset.  It might be the Year of Jubilee!

Feast of Tabernacles – Sukkot

Sunday,  October 9, 2022 @  5:30pm

Service – 5:30

Meal to follow

Feast of Tabernacles – Shemini Atzeret

Sunday,  October 16, 2022 @  5:30pm

Meal – 5:00pm

Worship & Service – 6:30

 

What’s A Yom Kippur?

The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

“It is to be a permanent regulation for you that on the tenth day of the seventh month you are to deny yourselves and not do any kind of work, both the citizen and the foreigner living with you. 30 For on this day, atonement will be made for you to purify you; you will be clean before Adonai from all your sins. 31It is a Shabbat of complete rest for you, and you are to deny yourselves. This is a permanent regulation.” Leviticus 16:29-31

Yom (Yohm) meaning “day” in Hebrew and Kippur (Ki-poor)from the root word “atone” bring us to what is arguably the holiest day of the Biblical year.  With the observance of this festival come the two conjoined fundamentals of repentance and atonement. This day falls in autumn following Rosh Hoshanah/Yom Teruah or the Feast of Trumpets and is directly preceded by the 10 Days of Awe. 

By now we have spent the month of Elul preparing our hearts. We have repented of wrongdoing, bitterness, seeking to distance ourselves from anything which damages relationships with others and especially those elements which could be a barrier in our relationship with Yahweh Elohim. With the gift of forgiveness and grace we have joyfully cast our sins on Him knowing He longs for us to return to Him with greater fervor than we could ever return. During the 10 Days we have spent time considering and evaluating all that remains within us.

All the soul searching and seeking, praying and thoughtful contemplation culminate on Tishrei 10 (September 28th, 2020) with a 24 hour period of concentrated prayer, fasting (in whichever method you believe is appropriate), and, as believers in Yeshua Ha Maschiach, the Messiah Yeshua, we express our profound gratitude for His grace and redemption.  Forever.  A “permanent regulation”.

So what happened, during ancient Biblical times, on this sacred day?  The first action of the High Priest was to mikveh, wash, and put on clean linen clothes.

Two goats were brought to the tabernacle or temple and the High Priest would cast lots over which of the two would be sacrificed. A tongue-shaped piece of scarlet cloth was tied to the horn of the Azazel or scapegoat and that goat was set before the people to wait until all their sins were laid upon him by the priest. As the goat waited, the offering of the sacrifice of a bullock would take place and only then could the High Priest step into the Holy of Holies, the Kadosh Kodashim.

The first time the High Priest enters to burn incense, representing the prayers of the priests. He enters a second time with the blood of the bullock and the third time to sprinkle the blood of the goat on the mercy seat.

When sprinkling the blood, he also casts it toward (but not on) the veil, the altar of incense, and the burnt-offering. It is now time for the High Priest to lay the personal sins and guilt of all the people on the scapegoat, make confession over it, and the goat is led away to die, Sometimes the goat pushed over a precipice to ensure its death as it was important that it did not come back to camp as the people perceived it as carrying the sins of the people.

Then the High Priest would mikveh, wash, a second time, put on his other clothes, enter the Holy of Holies one last time and offer the burnt offering and other sacrifices.

This command, given to Moses, has been observed for millennia and, naturally, various traditions and methods of observance have come from those times. Some based on clear biblical directions and some, in the post-Temple era, are naturally based on rabbinic interpretation and even simple expediency. 

To be sure, it is not easy to understand, in modern times, what we are to do about the Azazel (scapegoat) and the command to release one goat to the desert and one goat to be sacrificed for the sins of the people.  It is not easy for us to understand and not needful for our sanctification and redemption. 

“But when the Messiah appeared as Cohen haGadol (High Priest) of the good things that are happening already, then, through the greater and more perfect Tent which is not man-made (that is, it is not of this created world), He entered the Holiest Place once and for all.” Hebrews 9:11-14

He entered not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, thus setting people free forever. If sprinkling ceremonially unclean persons with the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer was capable of restoring their outward purity; then how much more powerful is the blood of the Messiah, who, through the eternal Holy Spirit, offered Himself to God as a sacrifice. A holy sacrifice without blemish that will purify our conscience from works that lead to death so that we can serve the living God in unity and restored relationship.

“24 “For the Messiah has entered a Holiest Place which is not man-made and merely a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, in order to appear now on our behalf in the very presence of God.25 Further, he did not enter heaven to offer himself over and over again, like the cohen hagadol who enters the Holiest Place year after year with blood that is not his own; 26 for then he would have had to suffer death many times — from the founding of the universe on. But as it is, he has appeared once at the end of the ages in order to do away with sin through the sacrifice of himself.”Hebrews 9:24-26

The parallels of the ancient command and our Messiah’s shed blood and the transference of our sin to His shoulders are stunningly precise. Obviously our Messiah’s sacrifice was the plan all along and the hope of all the ages. As believers, we walk in confidence since we have been covered by His blood and our sins are washed away. We can boldly approach the throne of grace is our birthright because of Messiah’s perfect sacrifice.

“God made this sinless man to be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with Him we might fully share in God’s righteousness.”  2 Corinthians 5:21

Animal sacrifices were never intended to be enough. The plan for our atonement was always the blood of Messiah, His perfect sacrifice, and His willingness to carry our sin.  He “…entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” Hebrews 9:24.  Not over and over again, annually, but once and for all.

Recognizing this incredible gift, we gather together on Yom Kippur, this Day of Atonement, solemnly reflecting on our great need for a Savior and His great love for us, and worship.  For we have been redeemed. We have been made clean. And it is our Yom Kippur.

A Feast of Shouting!

Yom Teruah – A Day of Shouting?

As we often do, this year we celebrated with a feast of food, friends, fellowship, worship, and, of course, the blowing of shofars. 

This ancient instrument, formed from the discarded or removed horn of a ram or goat, is the favorite worship instrument of many messianic and Hebrew roots believers.  The window rattling blasts resonate off the walls and, in our outside country venue, probably terrified more than a few coyotes and neighbor dogs. 

T’kiah!  Shevarim! Teruah! 

The long blast, the three wailing blasts, the nine staccato blasts all represent the calls both spiritual and physical echoing around the world on Tishrei 1 and 2 of the new year 5781. 

We call Yom Teruah the Feast of Trumpets but it is more honestly called “The Feast of Shouting”.

Teruah תְּרוּעָה is an interesting word.

It is a blast of warning, of war, of getting your attention. But it is also a shout of joy as per a religious impulse and, just a simple shout of joy. It is a clamor of joy or a battle-cry. 

In addition to the command to blow the trumpet, to shout, this feast is a memorial.  It exists to give an opportunity to remember. (Leviticus 23:24 “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.”)

What are we to remember?

Well, the word “memorial” isn’t just what we understand in modern terms. It is zik-ron זִכָּרוֹן and it also means “reminder”.


Exodus 13 uses this same word when Moses addresses the children of Israel and reminds them of their deliverance from Egypt and the purpose of Passover (Pesach) as a time of remembrance.

In truth all the feasts have an element of both reminder and remembrance in them.

Before the time of Yeshua, the Spring feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Shavuot) were an annual reminder of His promised arrival as well as a remembrance of the way He had delivered them, provided for them, and made them His own people.

After Yeshua fulfilled those holy days they became a time to remember His redemption and deliverance, the outpouring of His Spirit, and the purpose and directives for His Body in the world.

The Fall Feasts, pointing to the arrival of a King, the White Throne Judgment, and His dwelling with us on earth, are now accomplishing that role. In much the same way as our ancient forefathers once looked toward Yeshua, we now look for His return and all He has promised us as He establishes His kingdom on earth.

If that isn’t a reason to shout for joy?  I don’t think I know what is.

This IS a Feast of SHOUTING and of rejoicing.  A Feast of Trumpets calling us to battle, to worship, to awaken, to remember, and to be reminded of our Great King and Messiah, Yeshua.

HalleluYAH!!

It’s Time To Come Together Again

Shalom Bastrop Torah Community, 

Heidi and I pray every one of you is blessed and prospering in YHWH as the world around us is trying to find a new “normal” post lockdown.

I am reminded we have a sure foundation. YHWH is an unfailing anchor to keep us from succumbing to the plans of the evil one as we are witnessing the foreshadow of the “hour of testing” that is coming on the whole world.

Recently, at a critical point for me, I became aware we are experiencing a largely engineered event created to elicit fear and confusion. A measure of darkness has descended on humanity and especially onto our nation. This time has been foretold in Scripture and has been long-planned for by the enemy. Worldwide power is being consolidated while a stage is being set for the 10 ruler confederacy which will rise and then bow to the Torah-less One (more commonly known as the Antichrist or False Messiah). All humanity will be expected to follow their lead as they help usher in the final system of the beast. I don’t know if this will take months or years from here but it will happen and, barring a great awakening, life as we have previously known before the lockdown, will not return any more than we had a return to life as it was before 9/11 once Homeland Security measures were put in place.

We might be tempted to feel burdened with this knowledge and yet in this situation, we have an opportunity to wrestle with our Creator as Jacob did. He desires to remake us into the image of Yeshua like Jacob became Israel. However, as the patriarch did, are we willing to say (and do) like he said: “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”

Have you grown weary in well-doing? Have we been willing to sacrifice obedience to Yah’s Word to not forsake the gathering of the saints for perceived safety & security? I think y’all know what Yeshua has to say about that subject.

I can’t and shouldn’t tell you how to live your life or tell you how to respond to a government-mandated cease and desist order. However, I do know none of us are immune to the wiles of Ha-Satan. Sh’aul stated (Heb 10:25), we should be: “encouraging one another – all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Our Heavenly Abba has created us to need each other. Trying to do this on our own is a life of defeat and retreat. 

With that in mind, we are opening our house this Shabbat (5/23) at 1 PM for fellowship, praise, and Torah study. This week’s portion is about the census of the tribes. Will we be counted among His people?  Will we be physically present when His Ruach wants to move among us.

I cannot convey strongly enough how much we all need to fellowship in physical proximity with other believers whether with us here or somewhere else. Please get engaged where He leads you. But by all means, get engaged and don’t back down because your spiritual life depends on it.

Bamidbar – “In The Desert”

NUMBERS 1:1-4:20|

PROPHETS : HOSEA 2:1-22|

GOSPEL : MATTHEW 4:1-1

Please come with your Bible and, if you are able to stay and break bread with us, it would be great to share a meal. We will have the grill up and running. Bring your meat or main dish and a side to share. Please reach out to Heidi if you have other questions about what to bring.

Also, a friendly reminder to invite you to put it on your calendars to join us for the Sabbath of Shavuot on Sunday, May 31 – Feast of Weeks for fellowship and worship. We count from the morrow (Sunday) of the Shabbat following Pesach and end the counting on the 50th day on a Sunday. If that is not the calendar you keep you are still welcome to be part of a gathering.

We will keep in touch about plans for a holy convocation as we are instructed to gather on that day.

Chanukah 2019 – DONE!!

The Airaudi family! Lisa & Dani’el were essential to the success of this fantastic evening!
Photo: Lisa Airaudi

Our very first Chanukah party as a community was a smashing success. We all pulled together to create a marvelous evening. The Vargas’ family, of 5000 Catering, provided a wonderful biblically clean beef/chicken fajita dinner with all the trimmings for 80+ guests including our community, the Brenham Torah Community and friends from College Station, Bryan, and Bastrop.

Photo: Lisa Airaudi

We enjoyed wonderful storytelling and teaching from founder of the Brenham community, Jay Carper of AmericanTorah.com, blessings, and encouragement from Sid & Deb Davila, a current events update and conversation about YHWH’s movements in the heavenlies by Brian Stone. We were able to participate in music and worship provided by Heidi Stone, Dani’el Airaudi, and Joe Cox, dance led by Lisa Airaudi and enjoyed by many in our group, and a lot of laughter, joy, and fun by all we celebrated Chanukkah joyfully and beautifully.

Will this be an annual event? Not sure!!! But it was a wonderful night anyway and I know for sure I am looking forward to our next large scale party!

Sid & Deb Davila leading us in the Chanukkah blessings and
encouraging us after we lit the Chanukkiah for the 7th night
Photo: Jay Carper
Ful house!
Photo: Jay Carper

9.28 and 9.29 Shabbat & Yom Teruah Gathering Info

Join us at the Colorado River Refuge at 280 Riverside Dr, Bastrop, TX 78602, in the Cottonwood Parking lot (the last parking area) at 3pm on Saturday, the 28th, for a time of teshuvah, tashlich, and the opportunity to mikveh.

For more clarity on what teshuvah, tashlich, and mikveh are read “The Beauty of Searching”.

After our time there, we will be heading over to the Bensarghin’s home (Sherry & Amir) for a BBQ and maybe some swimming in their pool. They will provide burgers and beef hotdogs, bring a dish or dessert to share. If you want to grill something else, that works too. Looking forward to being with you and preparing our hearts for Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets, Sunday afternoon and evening.

Yom Teruah – 9.29.19

Come to the Stone’s at 4pm for food, fellowship, worship, and blowing of the shofar!!

Bring your shofar and a side dish or dessert to share. We are anticipating a joyous celebration as we begin the Fall Festivals of YHWH and bring in the new year at sundown.

Parashah Ekev – Consequence 08.24.19

TORAH: Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 HAFTARAH: Isaiah 49:14–51:3 B’rit Hadashah: Matthew 16:13-20

As we near the end of this year and look expectantly toward the Fall Festivals, their meaning in our lives, their prophetic importance, and the steadfastness of Abba’s perfect and excellent plan for His creation, Ekev has great meaning. We walk daily with the consequence of our choices and it is the heart of our Beloved that we would walk in the blessing and joy that is a natural consequence of following His truth and His commands.

“The forty-sixth reading from the Torah and the third reading from the book of Deuteronomy is named Ekev(עקב), a word from the first verse of the portion. Deuteronomy 7:12 says, “Then it shall come about, because (ekev, עקב) you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers.” Usually, the word ekev means “heel.” In fact, this word shares the same three-letter root as the name Jacob (Yaakov, יעקב), whose name actually means “heel.” He was born holding on to Esau’s heel. However, in Deuteronomy 7:12, the word ekev means “on the heels of” or “because of.” This portion of Deuteronomy speaks of the rewards that will come to Israel on the heels of keeping God’s covenant and commandments.” (quote from First Fruits of Zion)

  • TORAH
    • Deuteronomy 7:12 | Blessings for Obedience
    • Deuteronomy 8:1 | A Warning Not to Forget God in Prosperity
    • Deuteronomy 9:1 | The Consequences of Rebelling against God
    • Deuteronomy 10:1 | The Second Pair of Tablets
    • Deuteronomy 10:12 | The Essence of the Law
    • Deuteronomy 11:1 | Rewards for Obedience
  • PROPHETS
    • Isaiah 49:8 | Zion’s Children to Be Brought Home
    • Isaiah 50:4 | The Servant’s Humiliation and Vindication
    • Isaiah 51:1 | Blessings in Store for God’s People

Additional Study resources can be found on Torah Class by Tom Bradford. Lessons 10-13 are relevant to our Torah portion.

Parashah Devarim – Word 08.10.19

This week’s portions are: Deuteronomy 1:1-3:1, Isaiah 1:1-21, Matthew 24:1-22

https://torahportions.ffoz.org/torah-portions/allportions/devarim/

Additional study on this week’s Parashah can be found by listening to Tom Bradford at Torah Class: Lessons 1-4 will cover our text (Deut 1:1-3:1)

A resource my sons have particularly enjoyed was the Bible Project. This ministry based out of Portland, Oregon has used graphic novel type visuals and Youtube videos to explain historical and biblical concepts. This video is only about 8 minutes long but provides a fantastic overview of the book of Isaiah and can help us to gain perspective into our Haftarah portion, Isaiah 1:1-21, leading us into Isaiah’s vision, the wickedness of Judah, and the degenerate city.

Finally, our gospel portion, Matthew 24:1-22 is the text where Yeshua discusses the destruction of the temple and the Abomination of Desolation. This is a very appropriate text as we are ushering in T’isha B’Av, the 9th of Av.

Notable events of this historic date include:

1. The Spies Returned With a Bad Report

2. Both Holy Temples Was Destroyed

3. The Battle at Betar Was Lost – the end of the Bar Kochba revolt and massacre of Jews by the Romans.

the end of the Bar Kochba revolt and massacre of Jews by the Romans.

4. The Romans Plowed the 2nd Temple – Beit HaMikdash

5. The Jews Were Expelled From England

6. The Jews Were Banished From Spain

7. Both World Wars Began