He that keeps Israel (audio)

Barry and Batya Segal's awe-inspiring "Hiney Lo Yanum" starts off softly and gradually gets really deep, really heavy.

The song chants,
Hiney lo yanum v'lo yishan shomer Yisrael

Which is Hebrew for "He that keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps", a quote from Psalm 121:

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Trekkie love

My wife and I are both Star Trek: Next Gen fans. Yesterday happened to be her 25th birthday, so I thought I'd compose a little birthday card for her; here it is, thought you all might enjoy a laugh. Click to enlarge.


To most folks, the idea of repentance has such a negative, religious connotation, it hardly has any real-world meaning remaining. When you hear the word 'repent', the mind conjures up a man sitting in a confession box next to a Catholic priest, blabbing about his problems. Or possibly, a homeless man holding a cardboard "The end is near - repent!" sign around his neck.

In reality, however, repenting is something a bit different that our modern view of repentance.

The word 'repent' in the Bible comes from the Hebrew word 'teshuva', literally meaning "return". The idea is, turn away from that sin and return back to God. Turning your back on your wrongs and moving to a stronger faith in God. Scriptural repentance has absolutely nothing to do with confessing one's sins to a Catholic priest.

Confession and repentance does go hand-in-hand, however. How can you repent -- turn your back on sin -- if one doesn't acknowledge and admit your sin to God? (Note that this does not require a priest or any religious person.) If you've done wrong, if you've done evil, personally admit it to God and turn your back on that sin.

First Fruits of Zion covers this in detail:

A sinner should turn back from his sin, and should confess his misdeed before God as Scripture says, “When a man or woman commits any of the sins of mankind, acting unfaithfully against the LORD, and that person is guilty, then he shall confess his sins which he has committed.” (Numbers 5:6–7) The main element is remorse in the heart, in truth, over the past; and one must take it upon himself not to do such a thing ever again. This [confession] is the essential part of repentance; but the more one confesses, the more praiseworthy he is.” (Chofetz Chaim)

It is a mitzvah of the Torah to confess our sins and repent from them. When we sin, we are not to remain in the sin, nor are we to passively accept the fact that we are sinners. We are to strive against sin. We must humble ourselves to confess the sin and then turn away from it. It is a positive commandment, to confess one’s sins and repent from them. Therefore it is a sin to leave a sin unconfessed!

Even the smallest sin should be confessed. Confession should be made privately, but audibly, directly to God. King David says, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD; and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. (Psalm 32:5) Yochanon the beloved disciple says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Confession and repentance work together. It says, “then he shall confess his sins which he has committed and repent.” (Numbers 5:7) Confession is the first step toward repentance. When Yochanon called Israel to immerse as a sign of repentance, they came to be “baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.” (Mark 1:5)

But a person may hesitate. His evil inclination will accuse him and say, “How dare I confess this sin to God? Didn’t I just confess this same sin yesterday and resolve not to do it again? How dare I come before Him again with the same offense?” When this happens, we must shove away the evil inclination from our thoughts and remember that God truly does desire our repentance. “There will be more more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7) A person must never give up on himself. He must say to himself, “God has not given up on me, neither should I. I will try again. I will start over, brand new, beginning right now. God has surely washed me clean by Messiah’s blood. I am a new creature in Messiah. He will strengthen me to walk uprightly.”

The mitzvah of confessing our sins before God is one we can carry out confidently in Messiah. Thanks to the efficacious sacrifice of Messiah, we know that our confession and repentance will always be received. “He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.” (Colossians 2:13)

Rory Blythe's drug addiction and recovery


Down-to-earth, funny Microsoft guy blogs about how he got hooked on drugs and how he recovered.

I really like this guy. He's open, he's non-cheesy. In fact, he's anti-cheesy. Oh, and he's really funny, writes a great blog, draws some really brilliant comics.

Funny love

My wife's funny like that...

To: Kristin
From: Judah
Subject: I love you

Just wanted to tell you I love you sweetie.


To: Judah
From: Kristin
Subject: RE: I love you


To: Kristin
From: Judah
Subject: RE: RE: I love you


The Armor of God

This is a good article by James Trimm.  He uses some Hebrew phrases you may not be familiar with:

Elohim = God (plural form)

Eloah = God (singular form)

Tanak = Old Testament

YHVH = Yahweh

By James Trimm

We live in a Hellenistic (Greek based) culture. This culture has
unfortunately colored our understandings of the Scriptures, often in
ways we do not realize. The Hellenistic Roman culture has had a major
impact on our own. The commentaries on the Scriptures that we read
are all to often unduly influenced by Hellenistic, Roman cultural
views. Many books even portray Paul as a Hellenist (he was, in fact an
anti-Hellenist). Such is the case with the commentaries on the "Full
amour of Elohim" (Eph. 6). Open up many of the main line
commentaries and they will tell you how Paul wrote Ephesians in prison
and was enormously impressed with the armor of the Roman soldiers.
The commentaries will then discuss each element of the armor in terms
of Roman armor and seek to draw allegorical implications from the
nuances of Roman armor. There is just one problem with this. Paul
is not talking about Roman armor at all; he is talking about ancient
Hebrew armor! In fact, Paul does not even come up with the idea of
the full armor of Elohim on his own; he draws it from the Apocryphal
books of Wisdom of Solomon and 4th Maccabees, and to a lesser extent
the canonical Book of Isaiah.
Paul mentions the full armor in three places.

In Romans 13:12 he calls it "the armor of light":
12 Henceforth, the night is passed and the day is near.
Thus, let us lay aside from us the works of darkness
and let us put on the armor of light.
13 And let us walk in a manner as in the day,
not in reveling nor in drunkenness
nor in a defiled bed nor in envy and in strife.
(Rom. 13:12-13 HRV)

In 1Thes. 5:5-9 he again associates the armor with "light" and with
our status as "sons of light":
5 For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. And you are not
sons of the night or sons of darkness.
6 Therefore, let us not sleep as others, but let us be watchful and wise,
7 For those who are asleep sleep in the night, and those who are
drunk are drunk in the night.
8 But we who are sons of the day [should] be watchful in our mind and
be clothed with the breastplate of faith and of love and put on the
helmet of the hope of life,
(1Thes. 5:5-9)

Throughout the New Testament there are extended metaphors revolving
around light and darkness. Believers are called "sons of light" (Lk.
16:8; Jn. 12:36; Eph. 5:8; 1Thes. 5:5 see comments to Jn. 12:36). The
full armor of Elohim is also called the "armor of light" (Rom. 13:12).
The New Testament speaks of those "who walk in darkness" (Jn. 8:12;
12:35; 1Jn. 1:6; 2:11).

But what does this idiomatic use of the terms light and darkness mean?
For the answer let us turn to the Tanak:
For the commandment is a lamp;
and the Torah is light...
(Prov. 6:23)

Your word is a lamp to my feet,
and a light to my path.
(Psalm 119:105)

To the Torah and to the testimony;
if they speak not according to this word,
it is because there is no light in them.
(Isaiah 8:20)

...for a Torah shall proceed from me,
and I will make my judgment to rest
for a light of the people.
(Isaiah 51:4)

So according to the Tanak the Torah is a light for our paths. Those
that walk in the Torah walk in the light. This is why the New
Testament speaks of those who walk in darkness (Jn. 8:12; 12:35; 1Jn.
1:6; 2:11). These are those who do not walk by the light of Torah. Of
these John writes:
And if we say that we have fellowship with him,
and walk in darkness,
we are liars and we do not walk in truth.
(1Jn. 1:6)

Notice that John equates "walking in truth" with walking in the light.
According to the Tanak, "the Torah is truth" (Ps. 119:142) thus if
"walking in the light" means "walking in truth" then both phrases
refer to walking in the Torah.
When we, as sons of light, put on the "armor of light", we are
putting on Torah as a garment!
Paul's most detailed treatment of the Armor is in Ephesians Chapter 6:
10 Henceforth, my brothers, be strong in our Master and in the might of
his power,
11 and put on all the armor of Eloah, so that you may be able to
stand against the strategies of 'Akel Kartza,
12 because your struggle is not with flesh and blood, but with
and with authorities and with the possessors of this dark world and
with the evil spirits that are under heaven.
13 Because of this, put on all the armor of Eloah that you may be
able to
meet the evil one, and being prepared in everything, you may stand firm.
14 Stand therefore, and gird up your loins with truth and put on the
of righteousness
15 And bind on your feet the preparation of the good news of shalom.
16 And with these, take to you the shield of faith, by which you will
power to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And put on the helmet of salvation and take hold of the sword
of the spirit, which is the word of Eloah.
18 And with all prayers, and with all petitions, pray at all times in
the spirit,
and in prayer, be watchful in every season while praying continually and
making supplication on behalf of all the set-apart-ones,
(Eph. 6:10-18 HRV)

Paul is clearly drawing from Wisdom of Solomon:
15: But the righteous live for evermore;
their reward also is with YHWH,
and the care of them is with the Most High.
16: Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom,
and a beautiful crown from the hand of YHWH:
for with his right hand shall he cover them,
and with his arm shall he protect them.
17: He shall take to him in his zeal all the armor,
and shall armor with him all his creation.
For the desolation of the detestable ones.
18: He shall put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and judgment that is not false instead of an helmet.
19: He shall take holiness for an invincible shield.
20: His severe wrath shall he sharpen for a sword,
and the world shall fight with him against the foolish.
(Wisdom of Solomon 5:15-20 HRV)

Here Solomon not only discusses "all the armor [of Elohim]" but
implies that YHWH shall arm us with his armor. It is this suggestion
that prompts Paul's concept of believers wearing "all the armor of
We as believers wear the armor of Elohim because we have a covenant
with YHWH and one of the ancient Hebrew customs associated with
entering a covenant with someone involved exchanging garments and
swords with them (as in 1Sam. 18:4). We therefore are given the
armor of Elohim to wear ourselves.
The concept of believer's wearing this armor is also found in
4Maccabees 13:16:
Therefore put on the full armor of authority over the passions,
which belongs to the mind that fears Eloah.
(4Macc. 13:16 HRV)

The Torah defines the "fear of YHWH" as being Torah Observant:
"?that he may learn to fear YHWH his Elohim,
to keep all the words of this Torah and these statutes,
to do them."
(Deut. 17:19 HRV)

"that they may learn, and fear YHWH your Elohim,
and observe to do all the words of this Torah."
(Deut. 31:12 HRV)

You may have heard the Channukah story of the martyrdom of Hanna and
her seven sons, who refused to forsake YHWH and embrace Hellenism.
4Maccabees tells us that she overcame seeing her seven sons tortured
and killed before being tortured and killed herself (2Macc. 7;4Macc
8-13), because she was wearing this armor.
(to be continued)
NOTE: Quotes from Wisdom of Solomon and 4th Maccabees in this series
are taken from my preliminary work on an HRV version of the Apocrypha,
based mainly on Hebrew and Aramaic rather than Greek manuscripts.
In Part 2 We will discuss each of the six items of armor in detail,
and how they each counter HaSatan's strategies as revealed in the Tanak.
In Part 3 We will discuss why the armor is of special importance for
believers during the Tribulation period.

The robots are taking over...

...that, or we've got some scary looking stylists.

Der Yid in Yerusholaym

My younger brother turned me on to this this YouTube video. Pretty cool!

"More of my efforts to revive the ancient sounds of the Biblical Kinnor Lyre, last played by the Levites in the Temple of Jerusalem before it's tragic destruction by the Romans in 70CE.

The Kinnor I am playing is based on a contemporary illustration of one which was on the back of a Jewish coin from the time of the Bar Kochba revolt against the Roman occupation in 135 CE!

I have tuned the Kinnor to the "Ahava Raba" mode, common to almost all Jewish Klezmer music, which in turn derived this ancient musical scale from the Cantorial Chants of the Synagogue, which ultimately had its own origins in the ancestral aural memory of music of the Levite choir and the orchestra of lyres and harps which accompanied them in the ancient music of the Temple in Jerusalem.

The melody is a Klezmer tune appropriately called "Der Yid in Yerusholaym"(The Jew In Jerusalem), and was first recorded by Naftule Brandwein's Klezmer Orchestra in 1924...enjoy!"

This AI will read your mind

Fun little game of 20 questions, where the AI keeps getting smarter the more people play: 20Q.net


A geeky comic strip on romance, sarcasm, math, language...not to forget computers and that new fangled intarweb thing.


Watch thousands of TV channels free online. Includes foreign channels, including this Israeli Messianic TV channel.


Watching that channel now, just caught some great quotes from an interview of this Lebanese Arabic woman:

Q. Will giving the West Bank to the Palestinians bring peace?

A. No. The reality is that the West Bank was illegally invaded and occupied by Egypt when the PLO was formed. Palestinians didn't want it then; they want it now only because Jews own it. For the PLO, there is no room for Jews in the Middle East.


Q. What do you think about the Palestinian leadership?

A. It is the cancer of the Palestinian people. The Palestinians need to wake up and kick out the militants. The Palestinians need to show the world this, no one else can do it.

Tips for stressful living

Are you a masochist who loves stress? Do you get your kicks being stressed out at work, at home, and at life in general? Then these tips are for you. :-)