Parsha post: Acharei

This week’s parsha is from Leviticus 16:1-18:30 and Amos 9:7-15.

The Leviticus section picks up after the deaths of Aaron’s two sons because they were not treating the tabernacle or God with proper respect. Now, Aaron is given instructions regarding the sacrifices for the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur. Explicit instructions are given for how, who, when, and where these sacrifices shall be carried out. People are forbidden from trying to secure their own atonement from foreign gods by sacrificing outside of there camp and people are again forbidden from eating meat with the blood still in it. There is an additional listing of ways that people could behave in a way that would cause them to become contaminated as well.

Holiness is a serious thing. We see that again and again in Leviticus. Our God is holy and we need a covering or atonement in order to be in relationship with him, in order for him to dwell in our midst. The sacrifices offered by Aaron are a temporary covering over of sin, they do not remove it. The atonement offered by Aaron as the high priest is a picture of a permanent sufficient for all act of redemption. When Yeshua ( Jesus) shed his blood on the cross it was the sacrifice of the ultimate perfect spotless lamb. That one sacrifice is sufficient for all who would believe.

Shabbat Shalom Camp Gilgal,

RedSox

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Parsha Post: Metzora

This week’s parsha continues taking us through Leviticus and this week brings us to Leviticus 14-15:33. The Leviticus portion is another sure miss for a Bar Mitvah as it discusses purity for leprosy, home infestation, and discharges of many kinds. The Haftarah portion is one of my favorite stories and it comes from 2 Kings 7:3-20. This is an amazing story of how a bunch of desperate, hungry Israelite lepers decide to venture forward into the camp of the Aramean army, knowing that death is certain regardless of their actions. God uses these men as a way of bringing help and even deliverance to the whole Israelite camp. The Israelite camp that they have been exiled from because of their unclean state. God had caused the Aramean army to hear the sound of charging horses and chariots and so the enemy had fled–but the Israelites would never have known if it weren’t for these lepers finding good news and sharing their good fortune. They didn’t know what their reception would be when they visited the King, but they knew that they had to share the salvation they had found. They knew that they could not keep it to themselves. 2 Kings 7:9 “Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.””

This sentiment of the lepers reminds me of Peter and John in Acts 4:19-20 when they are brought before the religious court for causing trouble and healing a man lame from birth. Like the lepers, Peter and John knew they could not be silent, regardless of the consequences. “But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” What Peter and John had heard and seen was an even greater salvation than the temporary provision of food that the lepers encountered. What Peter and John had experienced was Yeshua (Jesus) coming to make the deaf hear, the blind see, the lame walk, lepers clean, and even the dead raised to life.

We too have stories to tell. We shouldn’t be able to stop talking about what we have seen and heard and experienced Yeshua do in our own lives. Let’s share it with our siblings, parents, extended relatives, and neighbors.

Shabbat Shalom Camp Gilgal,
RedSox

Parsha Post: Tazria

Tazria is this week’s parsha and it comes from Leviticus 12:1-13:59 and 2 Kings 4:42-5:19. This week’s parsha must be on the list of least popular bar mitzvah dates. Both the Torah and the Haftarah portions deal with skin diseases. Awesome, because blemishes are every pre-teen’s favorite topic of conversation!

Without going into too much detail for the more squeamish among us, the Leviticus portion is really amazing because the purity laws differentiate between the types of skin marks that are merely superficial imperfections and those that signal deeper contagion. God gives instructions for the priests to set up tests to distinguish between marks that were disease and marks that are disease. Moreover, it gives instructions for the people and for the priests to be able to regain ritual purity after a bout with one of these ailments. Exterior hygiene is important, but it is the inner condition of a person’s heart that will render them permanently clean or unclean.

This week’s Haftarah is from the prophetic career of Elisha in 2 Kings. Naaman is a military commander who becomes afflicted with leprosy. No one he knows can give him a cure or a referral for someone who might know more. At the suggestion of his wife’s unnamed Israelite servant girl, he travels to inquire after the prophet Elisha. Elisha doesn’t give this very important man very much attention, he just sends him to bathe in the Jordan River. The Jordan wasn’t a very dignified river and was sort of muddy and small. Naaman, even in his humiliated, leprous state, thought he was too good for Elisha’s cure. Naaman’s pride in the face of Elisha’s prescription almost gets in the way of him being healed. Thankfully, he is confronted by some of by his servants and companions who challenge him to follow Elisha’s instructions. They know that if Elisha had asked Naaman to do something complicated he would do it, but that because it is simple Naaman immediately has dismissed it.

How often are we guilty of the same thing? We are confronted with a problem and instead of turning to God and trusting him to meet our needs or provide for us we fret and worry. How often do we know that Yeshua has paid the penalty for our sins with his death on the cross, but still we act like we have the power or ability to win God’s favor for ourselves. This week, let us seek God’s help not just to be people who act right and look right, but to be people who pursue God and who ask him to lead us in his ways.

Shabbat Shalom Camp Gilgal,
RedSox

First Night of Camp Recap

Happy to be starting camp!
Happy to be starting camp!

Hey Parents!

It’s been a pretty fast and furious first night and day of camp. The campers are all settled and have been able to experience their first night and real day of camp and its activities. We started out last night with some tasty pizza and wings with a healthy dose of salad or veggies. After that each tribe went and took their swim test; fears were overcome and there were many green wristbands given out! Once everyone had dried off they went to the Mishkan and picked their tribe names and tribe flag. There are 4 tribes this year with the names: Levi, Judah, Reuben, and Benjamin. Following the choosing of names and flags the campers and staff began to head to their first campfire. Songs were song, and afterwards Baby Carrots gave a campfire talk about giving the glory to God through both our actions and words. The campers then settled down and spent their first night in their cabins with their staff and cabin mates.

 

More to come…

– Twister

Finding Meaning at Passover

Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday. Scratch that. Passover is my favorite holiday. I love being with a group of people who all know the same weird rituals, and think it’s totally normal. I love learning different Passover rituals than the ones I grew up with. I also love introducing new people to the traditions of Passover and explaining what it all means.

It’s meant different things to me, though, over the years. When I was a kid, Passover was all about the afikomen, the 4 questions, and matzah brei. In high school, I was too busy to really care about Passover and I let it pass me by. In college, I brought friends together and we pulled off our own Seders. I learned my family’s version of matzah brei isn’t the only way to do it. (Sweet vs. Savory – the debate continues!) I’ve been “adopted” by other peoples’ families for the Seder. And on and on Passovers have come and gone. Somewhere in there, celebrating it with my family has become the Passovers I love best.

Deep inside Passover is a lot of meaning. Meaning about things that really do matter – a people gaining freedom from slavery, being redeemed from slavery (basically that we didn’t become free for free it cost something). Passover shows us that, not only is there a God, but this God is involved in the lives of people and cares deeply.

Passover is a story that we retell each year. So we remember it, and if possible, in some ways experience it. That’s what all the weird rituals are about. It’s also one of the clearest stories that shows us that God can (and does!) redeem people. But this wasn’t a one time only event, believe me. God also redeemed people from spiritual bondage when Yeshua gave up his life on our behalf. There was a cost there too. Some of us didn’t (and don’t!) realize that we need to be freed from anything, or rescued in any way. And even though we may not recognize it, God still opened the doors for us to have this freedom, which puts us in relationship to him.

So, what are you going to do this Passover? How are you going to experience the freedom that’s possible? How would a personal relationship with God change your life?

Chag Sameach Camp Gilgal Family!
Twister

Wonderful Winter Weekend 2014 First Look at Photos

If you haven’t added the Camp Gilgal East page on Flickr to see the photos, we still want to give you a few glimpses at all of the fun we had! Stories and a recap will come tomorrow!

So much love on the Black Team!
So much love on the Black Team!
The green team hanging out!
The green team hanging out!
The Tribe of Simeon talks about worship!
The Tribe of Simeon talks about worship!
Thanks for leading us in Havdalah, Monkey!
Thanks for leading us in Havdalah, Monkey!