Dear Friends who care for and pray for Israel:
Today is not only the Sabbath when Jews are at home, it is also the 8th day, and last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
In Leviticus 23:36 God commanded Israel (in the days of the Temple] to bring an offering by fire on this the last day of the Feast.
Today Psalm 6, is sung in synagogues, but, how does it fit with the Feast? This my friends is a mystery. Our God is all knowing. In Psalm 6, you will read the word “fire” several times. It has been a day of bombing, burning, firing shots, a day of war.
“Blow a shofar-trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm from my holy mountain. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the Day of The LORD is coming. It is close at hand – a day of darkness And gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.”Joel 2:1-25
Fifty years ago today the Yom Kippur War erupted. This was a carefully planned war against Israel. Yet again today, on the last and 8th day of the Feast Saturday/Sabbath October 7th 2023, terrorists infiltrated at 6:15 a.m. from Gaza, landing via sea in Ashkelon. Others smashed through security barriers in white pick up trucks filled with killers shooting in every direction. Still others came over the border using para-gliders and explosive balloons. Meanwhile thousands of rockets were launched all over Southern Israel, exploding as far away as the hills of Jerusalem. They crashed into Israeli towns, villages and kibbutzim, setting many ablaze.
Our son David and his wife Adi and children Amitai and Liyah, living in the heart of Jerusalem give us updates. They were in their apartment bomb- shelter 4 times between 6:30 and 9:40 a.m. At one point, David climbed up to the roof of the building and took a phone video of one of the incoming rockets. Black plumes of smoke dotted the horizon. Israel’s Iron Dome was is in action to take out as many incoming rockets as possible, but sadly, not all of them. David reports: ”A Muslim call went out to all mosques across Israel ordering their people to: “Take up arms and attack everywhere from house to house. Israeli soldiers and civilians have been taken hostage to Gaza. The bodies of soldiers are among them. As many as 100 citizens, of all ages, tonight are hostages inside of Gaza. Seventeen Nepalese health workers are among them. Israel has amassed, 200,000 troops on the Gaza/Israel border. Many think, hundreds of Israelis are dead even though the Israeli authorities have not released the full numbers. Hundreds are wounded.”
Amitai, our grandson, called to say he spent the night at a friend’s home and his mother drove to get him in the morning. “Grandma, it was so dark and dreary, really tense and ominous in Jerusalem’s streets.”
Shelly, our son Daniel’s wife here in Greece is in constant touch with her family in Jerusalem. She reports: “Terrorists drove up to our Jerusalem neighborhood, and spread out from house to house. All doors were kept locked. In the south entire villages and kibbutzim have been taken by terrorists. The town of Stderot was overrun, and the police station taken over. Killers search house to house, killing old and young alike. To those families who are hiding down in their bomb shelters, Hamas has set their homes on fire seeking to burn them alive.”
“There has been a terrible breach in security from the Prime Minister down to each and every security service. This terrible event is being called a second Yom Kippur War. We need you to make sure that your journalists get the whole truth, that they see the gory, inhuman clips on social media to understand who our enemy is. Write to whoever you can, politicians and journalists alike. Ensure honest reporting.” Sheila Raviv
On Sukkot, The Feast of Tabernacles, we leave our homes to sit outside in a frail little house or succah with only the branches of trees for our roof. This way, one can gaze up at the stars at night and remember WHOSE world we are invited to share. By sitting with loved ones and friends in such humble settings, we learn that our possessions, our homes and even our security, are not lasting. The only One we can ultimately rely upon is our Father in Heaven.
Today is Simchat Torah – The Joy of Torah, but, there will be no celebrations this night and
no dancing with the Torah Scrolls. We have nothing to celebrate. We feel that we
have become “an offering made by fire.” We are in deep mourning for those whom we’ve lost, for the hundreds in hospital, many in critical condition, and for those who saw horrors that no-one should see. Thank you for your prayers for Israel and her many diverse peoples. Please be careful who you donate to at this time, as many scammers are on the move.
Thank you for your prayers for our people. Do not forget the hostages in Gaza, those still under siege, and the wounded and dying. Please share our letter with your church or prayer group. Today, every soul in Israel became a soldier, including our former Prime Minister Naftali Bennet who is literally out on the front lines.
From the desk of Jay and Meridel Rawlings