Recently in our community we had a lot of deaths. Supposedly it is the time of year when many find an end to their life. All, being human or animal, land up in Sheol,
“the Eretz Choshech V’Tzalmavet (land of gloom and deep darkness – the shadow of death).” (Job 10:21)
From Scriptures we do know sheol is the grave, where there is no thinking or handling any more. All life and all possibilities are gone out of the body. There is nothing more left over, than to decay and to go back to dust.
In Sheol we can find the shadow of death, something which is equal for all living beings [man or human being, behemah (or animal), plant] being them good, bad or wicked, sharing a common fate, much as they had in the Babylonian underworld. Though for us it is known that the place sheol does not conjure up images of an afterlife, for nothing happens there. It is literally inconceivable, and this is what makes it so frightening for many: death was and is utterly definitive, even if rather ill-defined.
For the living have da’as that they shall die; but the mesim do not have da’as of anything, neither have they any more a sachar, for the memory of them is forgotten. (Kohelet 9:5 -Ecc 9:5 OJB)
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy koach; for there is no ma’aseh, nor cheshbon, nor da’as, nor chochmah in Sheol, whither thou goest. (Kohelet 9:10 – Ecc 9:10 OJB)
For bnei haAdam and beheimah share one and same mikreh (fortune); as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that the adam hath no advantage above the beheimah; for all is hevel. All go unto mekom echad; all are of the afahr (dust), and all return to the afahr again.
(Kohelet 3:19-20- Ecc 3:19-20 OJB)
With that knowledge one may think we do have no hope. Don’t be disappointed we can create a lot of hope in the fact that when we die, all chashash and lich’ov will come to an end. That may reassure us a lot.
These darker days we think about how we can vanquish that darkness or gloomy thought of lifelessness or lehe’aved (to be lost, to perish). Scriptures show us how darkness was conquered.
These days we look back how El ʿElyon has always been with those who wanted to be with and under Him. These days we take some extra time to show how we wait for Eloheinu, and how we are sure of the manner He will treat His creatures, and trust how He will save us. Therefore, we show are rina or gladness and rejoice in His salvation. (Isa 25:9).
It is leranen time.
The proud city of Babylon, which for so many years had menaced the liberty of the Hebrew people, got its oppression of evil brought to desolation. Many might have thought to be able to destroy the Bnei Yisroel and Beis haShem. More than once people pulled down beis-haelohim, but these days we commemorate the rededication of the second temple of Jerusalem in 165 BCE, after its desecration three years earlier by the Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
25 Kislev we started our celebrations, giving us eight days to think about life and death, darkness and light, plus showing our thankfulness to Eloheinu.With the presents we give we share the giving of God, because He has given us so much and we should share His love with others.
The distinctive rite of lightening the multi branched candelabrum (one candle the first evening, two the second, etc.) has a spiritual meaning and represents the indistinguishable and ever spreading faith of those who love God and take Him as their Only One True God.
Today we like the navi Jeshaiah, may be certain of the given Words of God that oppression of evil will ultimately come to desolation, and that the world shall be relieved of the awful incubus of its tyranny. Jeshaiah also offers us some insight of a sent one from God, an Immanuel, to be given for the liberation of the curse of death. That sent one from God is also called a light for the world. these days we shall put a lot of attention to the HaOhr HaOlam Hazeh. Lightnening the candles we think about the Makor Or or Source of light and how light also may enter our lives.
Today we, like brethren and sisters all over the world, prepare the songs which were presently to break out in joyful thanksgiving.
All the Babylon’s which have menaced the well-being of mankind will have been destroyed when the Messiah shall come down from heaven. The veil of unbelief and uncertainty, which now lies so heavily over the world, will have been torn from top to bottom. Mavet or death will have been swallowed up in life; tears will have been wiped away, and our reproach will be over.
What abounding joy will be our portion then. Let the anticipation of it excite our thanks.
Are you poor? Make God your stronghold.
Are you needy and in distress? Make Him your hiding-place.
Does the storm beat on you? Flee to Him for refuge.
Axe you scorched by the heat of temptation? Stand beneath His shadow.
God the heavenly Father will not leave those alone who are willing to hear His Voice.
Your need is your best argument; your helplessness an all-sufficient plea. For you, too, there shall be song and feasting (Isa 25:4-6).
Praise is our highest exercise, and these eight days of joy we make use of it a lot. In prayer we often approach God for more or less selfish reasons; in praise we adore Him for what He is in Himself. However tired and weary you may be, see to it that the morning hour of devotion begins with the key-note of thanksgiving and adoration. It is marvellous how this quickens the pulse of the soul, and reacts upon every moment that follows.
Please do find also to read:
- Tekufat Tevet – Darkness, gold moon and Light to look forward
- A beginning by the 2016 Chanukah celebrations
- Eight days of sprinkling lights
- To see more menorahs in the windows
Find also in Dutch / Vind in het Nederlands
- The Darkest Evening of the Year
- Tomorrow I’m co-hosting a Death Cafe
- Shabbat shalom 159 – repent one day before your death
- Third Sunday in Advent
- A Few “Basic and Uncomfortable” Questions
- What Hanukkah’s Really About
- Chanukah (Hanukkah) / Christmas – Facts or Fabels?
- נר ראשון של חנוכה ה’תש”פ First Hanukkah Candle 5780
- December 22, 2019
- Happy Hanukkah 2019!
- Happy Hanukkah (or Chanukah) 2019, December 22 — 30: A Holiday That Jesus Would Have Celebrated.
- Happy Challah Days!
- YAHWEH’s Truth Behind The Pagan Holiday Christmas
- Hanukkah-message from rabbi Ruz Gulko