My dearest sister, YvonYah, encouraged me to create this category (Living Spiritually) to share some of the expressions and rituals of my spirituality. May you find the information posted here to be a blessing, encouraging and an enhancement to your own walk. If I may, please allow me to share a brief overview of my spiritual journey . . .
My father was playfully known as ‘not an ordinary Jew’, and it seems I have followed suit. Of course, I have been called many things since then . . . black jew, messianic jew, goy, and more recently, in the awakening, Hebrew/Israelite—and I am sure there are more names to follow. But, I have never been a woman of titles. Call me as you will, the way I best describe myself can be found in Chizayon (Revelation) 14:12.
I am not a member of (and don’t belong to) any organized camp, particular synagogue, church, or organization. I have had the honor of being in the fold and presence of many gracious and gifted Torah teachers, from the Philippines to the Americas, and from Argentina. I have been taught in churches, synagogues, and home fellowships, and I am better known to fellowship with different and culturally diverse families from around the world.
( I am simply a repeater of all I have learned. In fact, my birth name is Tanna, which is Aramaic/Hebrew for ‘repeater’, ‘teacher’.)
And, I continue to learn, for when you study Torah, the more you learn, the more you do not know. My learning is never-ending; and thankfully, I am forever growing. While there have been times in my walk I have experienced a stagnation, some confusion, and seasons of discouragement . . . I have always pulled through, seeking and being found. The Most High has never failed me.
In Honor of my Teachers . . .
- ‘Mr. Man’ (Tzadik) Oakland, California (Circa 1960s)
- Missionary and Fellowships, Republic of the Philippines (1969/Circa 70s)
- Mr. Standish (Dedicated Servant of Yah) Kittery, ME (Circa 1970s)
- ‘Street’Rabbi (Unknown), SJSU, San Jose, CA (Circa 1980s)
- Elijah Mayo (In Blessed Memory), Portsmouth, NH (Circa 1990s)
- The Domenicio Family, San Antonio, TX (Circa 1990s)
- Rabbi Mordechai and Sharon Silver, Las Cruces, NM (Circa 2000s)
- Tony and Betty Bustamante, Las Cruces, NM (Circa 2000s)
(And now, my first post for Living Spiritually . . .)
Welcoming In Shabbat
Like the rising and fall of the tides, pulled by the moon . . . everything has a timing. My body’s clock yearns for Shabbat as the six days work away . . . how I look forward to shutting the world out . . . where I may, once again, in serene silence, commune with Abba-ni, my Father.
Hineni, Hineni . . . “Here Am I, Here Am I,” my soul cries out. And then, slowly, the sun dips and the ruach Eloheinu floods in, filling me completely. It is erev Shabbat (i.e., Friday—day before Shabbat). Here is where I learn to trust Yah’s ways and harness his ever encompassing and powerful love. I yearn for Shabbat . . . alway.
The Inner East Gate of the Heavens is Open
Thus says Yah . . .Yechezq’El (Ezekiel) 46:1
The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days, but on the sabbath, it shall be opened and in the day of the new moon, it shall be opened.
Shabbat is a taste of the world to come. It is a time to enter into the wholeness and completeness of shalom. It is a look forward into yom shekulo Shabbat—‘the day that is all peace’. Shalom is more than just peace—it is ultimate peace, universal (the heavens and the earth). Shalom can come by following the ways of Torah.
Kindling the Fire . . . Lighting the Shabbat Candles
Fire is the symbol of the presence of Elyon (Most High) and his excellence. Humanity’s spirit is Yah’s light. It has been written that we are the flint that allows Elyon to make the flame. We light candles to manifest the light of Yah.
The privilege of lighting the Shabbat candles and re-igniting the spark belongs to the woman. It is the woman who determines the spirituality of her home. She is the one responsible for turning her home into a place of holiness, tranquility, and peace. In Torah, the home is the sanctuary and it should be a place of harmony and wholeness.
- I sweep my prayer shawl over my shoulders and cover my head . . .
- I light one candle for the Truth (Torah) and the other for the Testimony (Ha Mashiach). From the right to the left, I light them.
- I close my eyes and sweep my hands three times in an inward motion, drawing the energy of the fire, my soul energy, inward.
- Then, I cover my eyes to recite the blessing. (Thus, my first joy of seeing the Shabbat light is immediately after the blessing when Shabbat is ushered in.)
Brakha (Blessing) for Lighting Sabbath Candles
Baruch ata Yahuah, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu l’hadik ner shel Shabbat.
(Blessed are you, Yahuah, Divine King of the universe, You have made us holy with Your commandments and commanded us to kindle the Sabbath lights.)
I commune with Yah in silence, and I am given to a time of prayer before enjoying a Shabbat dinner and joyous music. I usually do not recite from the siddur (traditional/classical Jewish prayer book) unless I’m, by chance, visiting a synagogue, nor do I follow the Talmud (oral text). I am not so rigorous or ‘fixed’ in my prayers, but I do recite and sing the following, prayerfully, every Shabbat:
RECITE: The Shema
Shema, Yashar’el, Yahuah Eloheinu, Yahuah echad. Baruch shem k’vod malkhuto l’olam va’ed.
(Hear, Yashar’el, Yahuah is our God, Yahuah is One. Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever.)
SHOUT: Tehellim (Psalms) 24:8-10 (I love shouting this! So POWERFUL!)
WHO IS THE KING OF GLORY? ELYON! STRONG AND MIGHTY, ELYON, MIGHTY IN BATTLE, HE IS THE KING! LIFT UP YOUR HEADS O’ YE GATES, YEA, LIFT THEM UP YOU EVERLASTING DOORS; THAT THE KING OF GLORY MAY COME IN. WHO IS THE KING OF GLORY? YAHUAH, HE IS THE KING OF GLORY! (Selah)
SING: Shalom Aleichem (Peace Unto You)
On erev Shabbat, it is always a beautiful time of love and sharing, laughter and caring, and eating heavenly foods with family and friends. I truly miss times shared with my sisters and brothers of past, enjoying a Shabbat meal together. May it come again, soon. Shalom.
(Upcoming posts: Shabbat, Sunrise to Sunset; and, Making Challah)