Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25)
It is the eve of the Passover and it is a moment that has stretched all of us beyond what we could have imagined. In Israel, this is probably the biggest and one of the most important holidays, where families come together, big dinners are the norm and most everyone is happily on vacation for the duration of the holiday. While a certain percentage of Israelis love to travel abroad, most stay home and the national parks and camping areas are usually jammed as the nation enjoys a week of fun in the beautiful Spring season.
But this Passover is different. For the first time since the original described in the book of Exodus, the Seder meal, commemorating the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, from their bondage of slavery to freedom, will be eaten by single families only. Striking a stark similarity to the Biblical injunction in Exodus 12:21: “No one shall go outside the door of his house until morning“, the government has declared a regulation that starting from 3 pm today until Friday morning, no person may go more than 100 meters from his house. In this fight against Covid 19, the government had to make sure that there would be no big groups gathering. Knowing how important this holiday is and how much it means for Israelis to be able to be with family, the police have set up roadblocks on every highway, in every city and town to prevent people from leaving or entering. The national closure is being tightly enforced. Who could have imagined such a time?
Many people like myself will be alone in their homes for this holiday and as a gesture of encouragement, there will be a national Seder transmitted via television while others will do Zoom and join with family and friends.
It is also incredible to realize that this Passover, also just like the very first one, we are celebrating it with a plague swirling around us. Huddled in our homes so as not to be touched by the Covid 19, we will read the ancient story and thank God for saving His people by having each family put the blood of a lamb on their door post so the death angel would see the blood and pass over. May this be the year that the nation of Israel will read the story of the exodus and cry out to God for His deliverance once again. May a spirit of revelation and wisdom fall upon the people and may their blind eyes be opened so they would see the one they have pierced! May they see Yeshua, the true Passover Lamb who alone can deliver and save them forever – not just from the virus but from their sins! Come Lord in power on this night. It is truly different from all other nights!
I live on a moshav which is a special kind of village, which in the earlier history of Israel, was primarily an agricultural community, given to the Jews of Cochin, India when they were brought over by the Jewish Agency in 1954. They built the original homes and farmed the land. In these recent times, the agriculture is mostly gone and it is more residential in nature although there remains a community feeling.
Last week, the kids were asked to paint a picture and put it outside their house in order to brighten up the neighborhood. Each one had the words written in Hebrew: “It will be okay”. This is a national expression said by almost every Israeli when faced with a challenging situation. Israelis are not strangers to hard and dangerous times and their basic optimism has always carried them through. In this time of crisis, I have been so impressed with the resiliancy of the people, how they respond to these difficult times with optimism, care and concern for all those around them. The community spirit has been greatly strengthened as each one reaches out to his neighbor to help and to be a blessing. We all have been warmed in our hearts as each household has received a bottle of wine, and in addition, flowers for those who live alone.
And where else but in Israel, when there is shortage of eggs for the Passover and there are none to be found, the government brings a plane loaded with one million eggs from some other country so there would be plenty for the Passover meal and the rest of the week. The plane landed yesterday just in time before stores closed this afternoon!
Unfortunately, in other areas, the nation is struggling to maintain a semblance of stability. Although last week Gantz took a surprise step and agreed to join Netanyahu in an emergency Unity government, they have not been able to agree on all the other issues that are needed in order for the government to be formed and there is a danger that it will collapse under the weight of the politicking that is going on. Please pray for another miracle – that they would be able to come to some agreement and a government established that will help carry this nation through the greatest crisis in its modern history.
On a positive note, Hamas, in Gaza, in its fight against the virus, needs the help of Israel and so there is some communication happening and even hints of some deals being made that would not have happened otherwise.
BDS, the group that promotes boycotting Israeli products did make an announcement to all their people that if Israel produced a vaccine, they were permitted to take it! Amazing! Don’t buy our fruits, but take our medicines!
The congregation, Ahavat Yeshua, is doing its very best with Zoom meetings and personal contact as much as possible. Finances are a significant issue of course with so many people out of work. The leadership is endeavoring to provide financial assistance to those who are in need. Because of your ongoing generosity, Zion’s Glory was able to give an extra donation to help. Please pray for the provision of God for each one in this time.
We so appreciate all your prayers and support and know that as a Body, we are praying for all of you throughout the world. It is so amazing to think and try to comprehend that every single person on the globe is going through similar challenges.
God is faithful and we trust that in His great mercy, we will see His mighty hand extended to us in this significant Passover season. His great deliverance from this crisis is already on its way! And we look forward to the harvest that we know is around the corner!
May we all be strengthened through this time as individuals and as His corporate body, I can feel the Lord cheering us on as we learn to walk in unity and rise up and take our stand against the devil’s schemes. We will certainly reap a reward if we do not give up.
To God be the glory!
With love from Zion,