Thursday, October 19, 2017

In the Beginning

In the Beginning was the Word.
The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.    --John 1:1

In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth.   ---Genesis 1:1

Then God said,  "Let there be light!"
and there was light.    ---Genesis 1:3

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.   ---John 1: 4

The Torah scrolls have been scrolled back to the beginning!
It is my second time setting out on the Torah cycle!
This time even as we are already starting out,  I saw Yeshua,  there,  from the Beginning.

He was there in Genesis and before everything.  He was with God in the Beginning!  Just as the Torah is one continuous scroll and goes back to the beginning after each cycle of reading, so too is the entire Word of God one continuous Word,  from the beginning, in Genesis, to the last, or Revelation.   Beginning, Revelation.  Revelation from the Beginning!

Reading from the beginning this time I am struck with how exquisite God`s planning is.  How He spoke and everything came into being.  And He sets each one into His plan. Orderly. Lovingly.

Out of all that darkness and chaos, Light!   He created the  Heavens and the Earth, and each `day` brings something else into being.  People on the sixth day, and  already they (we!)  are banished from the garden for sin and by the end of this first section, God is already planning to wipe everything and everyone away with the flood with the exception of Noah.

(post edited here)..., of staying afloat in the `ark` or `tevah`, which also means `word`,
 May the word of God and your time spent with Him and in His Love bless you and  keep you afloat in the season ahead!
Blessings and Shalom!


Related post on this blog about discovering the connection between the Ark and the Word, Tevah, HERE

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sunrise from the Succa, Psalm 19

For the music director, a psalm of David

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky shows His handiwork.
Day to day they speak,
night to night they reveal knowledge.
There is no speech , no words,
where their voice goes unheard.
Their voice has gone out to all the earth
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens He pitched a tent 
for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom 
coming out of his bridal chamber.
It is like a strong man
rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other end.
Nothing is hidden from its heat.   

The Torah of ADONAI is perfect,
 restoring the soul.
The testimony of ADONAI is trustworthy,
making the simple wise.
The precepts of ADONAI are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The mitzvot of ADONAI are pure,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of ADONAI is clean, 
enduring forever.
The judgments of ADONAI are true
and altogether righteous.

They are more desirable than gold,
yes, more than much pure gold!
They are sweeter than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned.
In keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors?
Cleanse me of hidden faults.
Also keep Your servant from willful sins.
May they not have dominion over me.
Then I will be blameless,
free from great transgression.

May the words of my mouth 
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable before You,
ADONAI, my Rock and my Redeemer.  

--- Psalm 19, TLV

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Challah over Mt. Fuji

challah wrapped in a `tenugui` cloth on the airplane table in front of the window

can you see Mt. Fuji?  There is is, you see! The mountain top!

Drawing from the plane, So close to heaven, God so near! 

Landed, with the Challah, in Tokyo!

Travelling from South to North, to Tokyo for Succot,
A challah in my hands.
Hoping to get a view of Mt. Fuji
before the plane lands.

There it is!! You see, the  mountain top!
The challah, on the table, prop (propped!)
Mt. Fuji and a challah in one view,
I hope one day you`ll see those two

Oh what a thrill
when it appears

So close to heaven
God so near

 Give thanks to the God of heaven
His love endures forever.   ---Psalm 136:26

Blessings and Shalom!
from Challah and Cherry Blossoms correspondent,


Challah and Mt. Fuji notes on this story:

The challah is a Red Bean challah! I used THIS RECIPE for the dough, with a few variations, and for the filling used  red bean paste (secret: the red bean paste, called azuki,  I used this time was ready made,  from 7-Eleven!),  You can also make your own!
(Variations:  I often make this recipe as is, but for this red bean version I made the following variations.  I note this here as sometimes I will go back to make a challah and I forget what I did!  So this is like my  diary of making the challah, and of course I welcome you to try it too!!
instead of honey, I used Tensai-to which is a Japanese sugar made from daikon radish;  I substituted Grapeseed oil, instead of Olive Oil; and doubled the recipe, one loaf went with me to Tokyo, and the other stayed home and was for our Shabbat, see in posts below).

The first Red Bean Challah I made was in this past year for Abraham, you can see the Red Bean Challah in This post and This post.

note:  The challah is wrapped for travelling in a Japanese Tenugui.  Click in the *labels* at right side bar or beneath this post under `tenugui` and there you can find out more about these cloths.  The design on the tenugui I was carrying this Challah in had a picture of a red Mt. Fuji!

note:  If you see in the photos, you might not even realize where Mt. Fuji is, but please look close and you can see the dark shape of the top of the Mountain coming out from the clouds!! You can also see more Mt. Fuji views and posts on this blog, some readers may already know my Mt. Fuji and challah fascination!  

Also noted:  often we make a foil `tent` for the Challah in the oven after about 20 minutes, depending on your oven so the top doesn`t burn while the inside cooks.  I noticed this time as I was making the foil tent, that this Challah is for Succot and at this time we are commanded to dwell, rejoice in tents!!
This photo below is the Challah in it`s tent.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Song of Songs

For your love is more delightful than wine.
Let us delight and rejoice in your love,
Savoring it more than wine-----

---The Song of Songs   1:2 b, 1:4d

I didn`t even touch a button, but suddenly a song came on, and filled the outside  air.

It was the Song of the Beloved.... Ani le Dodi, v`Dodi li....

Blessings and Shabbat Shalom, May you rejoice in a beautiful time of Sukkot !

Shabbat Shalom!

2 Dahlias... and a Challah!

Two Dahlias

Two (pink) Dahlias and a pink tent!

Two Dahlias and a Challah!!

Shabbat Shalom!

for Dahlia!*
(a friend from Israel!) 

and for Sandi!  when I saw the flowers today,  I  thought of  your 3 yellow roses!!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Chag Sameach Sukkot! Happy Sukkot!



The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:  Say to the Israelite people:
On the fifteenth day of this seventh month there shall be the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) to the LORD, (to last) seven days.    ---Leviticus 23:33~34

On the first day you shall take the product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.   You shall observe it as a festival of the LORD for seven days in the year; you shall observe it in the seventh month as a law for all time, throughout the ages.   You shall live in booths seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in booths, in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, 
I am the LORD your God.    --Leviticus 23: 40 ~ 43

I made a succa on the verandah!
I feel like such a child, and maybe, maybe ,
 I do hope...  Father in Heaven is smiling!   ---a feeling I had after making a succa on our verandah.  During this holiday we make a `tent` and spend time in the succa over the 7 days of the holiday, as per Leviticus 23、above scriptures.  
A succa is booth, or tent, made for this festival of Sukkot.
It represents the booths, or tents, that the children of Israel lived in the years in the wilderness.

They had no permanent physical homes or shelters, as they were wandering and on their way to the Promised Land of Israel.  They were living so closely and dwelling intimately with God in those days, as He guided them through the wilderness.  They saw that all their provisions came from Him.  When they were hungry, he provided them with manna from heaven and continued to do so in all their days in the wilderness, and when they were thirsty He gave them to drink water from a rock.

Of course, He is the Bread from Heaven and He is the Rock!!

Today when we make a succa, it is to remember those times in the desert/wilderness and it is also to remember that no matter what we have in the physical realm, it is temporary.  Only God is eternal, and our constant Provider.  It is also a tent of God`s love, as after the High Holy Days, cleansing, repentance, and forgiveness, we rejoice in His Love, in the intimacy of dwelling with Him under His wings, in His protection, in  the Succa!!

My daughter came out to see what I was doing, when I called her to see the moon through the tent!
I think she was surprised!  At dinner I told her about the Feast of Sukkot and what the tents represented, and she understood it in some way.  But I think when she came out and saw the moon through the tent, and the intimate dwelling place that it was on the balcony, I do think she had some feeling in her heart of being in the `succa`.

I admit, I was late to make my succa.  I really hadn`t planned on it, but as the day was getting near to a close, approaching erev Succot (the eve when the holiday begins), I just scurried out to gather some materials to make a succa!

 Returning to my opening sentence, I think being late was less important than realizing in my heart how much I longed to make a succa and dwell in G-d`s presence beneath it!!!

Love and blessings to you in this week of Sukkot!

Shout for joy, Fair Zion!  For lo, I come; and I will dwell in your midst---declares the LORD.
 ---Zecharaiah 2:10

Photos below:
The moon through the tent, and reading Psalms in the Moonlight! 

Psalm 72

Let them fear You as long as the sun shines,
while the moon lasts, generations on end.  

 ---Psalm 72:5, 

illuminated in the moonlight ( with a flashlight )

The first meal in the succa--Red Bean Buns !  (somehow I had the inspiration to make them this holiday, red beans in rice are celebratory in Japan, so I felt that celebrating Succot in Japan went with red bean bread, in Japanese called `an-pan).

Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to dwell in the sukkah (Amen).

Making a lulav and etrog using a Kabosu and some 100 yen shop leaves and grasses!!

 Other posts on Succot to follow!
this leaf says `Shalom` in Japanese writing

And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.  

---John 1:14

Monday, October 2, 2017

Homemade Bagels and Breaking the Fast

It is to be a statute to you forever, that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you are to afflict your souls, and do no kind of work---both the native-born and the outsider dwelling among you.  For on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you.  From all your sins you will be clean before ADONAI.  It is a Shabbat of solemn rest to you, and you are to afflict your souls.  It is a statute forever.   

---Leviticus 16:29~31

The Holy Day of Yom Kippur is a day of fasting that is a `statute forever` given in the Scriptures.
 (see scripture above)  It is for  all who choose to follow His commandments, both "the native born and the outsider dwelling among you."!    Isn`t that so amazing and wonderful!!  As I write this, I think of another scripture that also refers to the `native born` and `the outsider`, speaking of those `who are far` and those `who are near`, which says,
Shalom, shalom to him who is far and to him who is near,
says ADONAI, `and I will heal him.`   --from Isaiah 57:19

Then repeated in Ephesians,

And He came and proclaimed shalom to you who were far away and shalom to those who were near---for through Him we both have access to the Father by the same Ruach.  So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with God`s people and members of God`s household.      ---Ephesians 2:17~19

Even here in Japan there will be a day before long when those who were once far, will be brought near, and many will know ADONAI and Salvation in Yeshua! And observe the feast days and Shabbatot together!   I look forward to it even this year at Sukkot!  May it be so!

All nations you have made will come
and bow down before You, my Lord,
and they will glorify Your Name.

---Psalm 86:9

Enjoy the days leading up to Sukkot and the continuation of the Fall Feasts!

Meanwhile, please try a homemade bagel from our break-fast.  Where I grew up in New York it was always a tradition to break the fast with bagels and lox and cream cheese!  So I try to re-enact that  with homemade bagels here in Japan!

Blessings and Shalom, to you who are far and to you who are near!



homemade NY bagels, made in Japan

Bagels Recipe, HERE
also pictured: Sweet Noodle Kugel, recipe HERE

Kreplach in Dashi

The first time I ever made Kreplach was last year  for the meal before the fast for Yom Kippur.  Since then I have made them several times for other holidays and feasts.   I think this was the third time.

Kreplach are like dumplings that you can make boiled and served in soup or fried.
They are a traditional Jewish food to make on some of the holidays and Feasts, including Purim and before the fast of Yom Kippur.

When I started observing the holidays in Japan, I longed for the traditional foods from the holidays that I grew up with, and as there is nowhere to get any of the foods here in Southern Japan,   I started making them myself.  Foods like kugel, kreplach, bagels, and you well know...challah!!

The foods started taking on a mixture of Jewish / Japanese just naturally.  As  I would go to make them using ingredients and seasonal items that we can find locally, the combinations just started to happen...  For example , a  Cherry Blossms Challah in springtime,  other Challah such as a Red Bean Challah, and Cherry Blossoms Hamentashen for Purim.

The Kreplach in Dashi became another such mix!

Dashi means soup stock. In Japan there are many kinds of soup stock.   I use a dashi in a `tea bag` form that is made from bonito fish base. Its light and natural and makes a good soup for miso soup or clear soup and it goes well with Kreplach too!!

 I read that Kreplach is a good food to eat before the fast.  It is filling, filled with protein, so you keep full for a while.   Melon is a good too,  as the melon gives the body water to store during the fast.

As I was making the Kreplach, I looked at the renkon (lotus root) and the writing on the package of dashi and Japanese ingredients,   I wanted to share some of the taste of God`s goodness and provision that we experience in Japan!  So I  jotted down some notes as a recipe, and am  finally sitting down to share it now as the fast is finished and we are `full` of  peace  after the High Holy Days!

I hope you enjoy it and might try making Kreplach in Dashi, using variations with what is grown where you are!   What are some of the tastes of the season where you are ?

Notes on how to make  Kreplach in Dashi! 

1. Filling

For the filling.  I used minced chicken, renkon (lotus root), and spinach. Renkon is readily available in Japan, and is a root vegetable with holes---a holey root vegetable you might say! Its become one of my favorite vegetables.  Its also good to eat at this time of year, as root vegetables are warming and good for change of seasons and all winter for immunity.  If you don`t have renkon where you are, use root vegetables native to your locale.

250 g. minced chicken

1 small renkon (about 60 grams)

a bunch of spinach
sliced ginger

Sautee all ingredients together.


Use your favorite recipe for Kreplach dough.  With thanks to those who provide so many recipes that we are able to use! I used this Basic Kreplach Recipe HERE for the dough. 


Place one Dashi `Tea Bag` in a pot of water, bring to a boil, and after boiling two minutes, turn off heat and remove Dashi `Tea Bag`.

Bring to a boil again,  Add about a few tablespoons, or up to a quarter cup of Japanese Sake to soup.
Cut up root vegetables of your choice, and add them to soup, let them cook and make a nice broth while you assemble Kreplach. I also add sliced ginger to the soup at this point.

Remove Dashi `tea bag` after boiling about 2 minutes, or make dashi to your liking from other stock

Add Japanese Sake to the soup to taste

4.  Assemble the Kreplach

Cut rounds or squares, I used rounds to keep with the `round` theme of the cycle of the year in the Fall Feasts.

Add one teaspoon of filling, and fold.  You can see the way to fold on the Basic Kreplach Recipe Here, or find on your favorite recipe.

Note:  In my photo I hadn`t yet sealed all the seams.  You must seal the seams or the ingredients will not stay when you boil them!!

Note:  Be careful! I took this photo before realizing we have to seal the edges!  I had a moment of mixing up Kreplach with Hamentashen!  Shayndel`s caution:  Seal the edges when you are making Kreplach!! (see finished photo of the Kreplach in Dashi, whew! Sealed just in time!!)

Add them to soup, and boil about 15 minutes


 Have some melon to follow, and seal it will a few glasses of water. 

Have a good fast!

 notes:Thank you Duta for the advice about sealing it with water! And for encouraging me to post about meals before and after fast, see the `after` to follow!

to try this Japanese dashi, the site to order is here: Kayano Dashi

Related posts on this blog:  Kreplach with Chopsticks