I have fallen wildly in love with the Hebrew language. It is not just learning a new set of letters, it is so much more. Hebrew is an active and mysterious language. It is powerful, life changing, and reveals amazing insights. The utterance of our Creator, spoken in Hebrew, formed the world. The original words of the Bible were written in Hebrew. As I have just scratched beneath the surface to this inspiring language, I am left in awe.
The day we arrived in Jerusalem, we stood first on Mt. Scopus. I gazed out before me and could see the Hebrew letter shin in the topography of the land.
This picture is a model of the land and depicts what I beheld. This shin is made up of three narrow valleys that run north and south through Jerusalem, all connecting at the southern edge. Many verses tell us that G-d put His name in Jerusalem.
We stood at this place a few hours before the start of Shabbat, the 7th day of the week. A day of rest, prayer, attending synagogue, food, family, and much more. Our group of Christians had the blessing of participating in Shabbat and quickly checked into our hotel to prepare.
I listened to a song by Joshua Aaron, titled "Shalom", all about Shabbat, as I finished getting ready for synagogue. Attending synagogue was a great experience. I loved listening to the Hebrew spoken and at moments recognizing a word. My favorite part was observing to individuals with disabilities worship without abandon. I don't care what language you worship in, when you witness these individuals worship they are authentic and inspiring.
We divided into groups to walk to the homes of our various hosts for the Shabbat meal. I was with my friends Gidon and Devra and we were hosted by Mrs. & Mr. Samson. The food was amazing, the conversation engaging, and the people delightful. It was the perfect home for a student. Rabbi David Samson was a scribe. His knowledge was incredible and his willingness to teach made the evening memorable. I became more enthralled with Hebrew as I listened. He brought out a scroll he had completed, stating it was the Megillah, and I knew immediately it was the book of Esther, one of my favorite books. It brought tears to my eyes. He graciously allowed me to take a photograph and gave me permission to share it.
Today my Jewish friends are celebrating Purim. It is a celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish people from the evil schemes of Haman. It is a celebration of their lives both then and now. The book of Esther tells us the story of Purim and my friends will be reading the Megiallah, the scroll I had the blessing of seeing on this Shabbat evening.
Today may we all celebrate the lives of our Jewish friends, the language of the Bible, and the G-d we all serve.