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Showing posts from March, 2015

Yeshua Travels to Jerusalem for the Passover

Festivals were very much a part of ancient life, and people were prepared to endure crowded conditions and long journeys in order to participate. People travelled in groups to Jerusalem for the Passover and the other two major festivals -- Shavuot and Sukkot. The large caravans in which many travelled also protected the temple tax which they brought from lands outside of Israel. They came by land all the way from Babylon. Caravans and ships also brought groups of pilgrims from Syria, Asia Minor and North Africa. Galileans and Idumaeans also travelled in companies to Jerusalem. There is no reason to exclude secular ditties, jokes, and more wine than usual at night. The Jewish festivals were like Christmas: a blend of piety, good cheer, hearty eating, making music, chatting with friends, drinking and dancing. Read this Real Yeshua Blog at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2015/03/yeshua-travels-to-jerusalem-for-passover.html

Passover: A Spiritual Lesson for Everyone

This coming Friday night, Passover begins at sunset. I have such cherished memories, some of which I've already shared, but there is a lesson here for all of us as well. The "Exodus" from Egypt is a universal story. It reflects something about human experience. I maintain, that none of us ever voluntarily leaves their "Egypt", we have to be thrown out!  "Egypt" to me, is a metaphor for what is familiar, what is known. Very few of us voluntarily leave what is familiar and known for what is unknown and unfamiliar. Most people do not like changes, no matter how small. We become used to doing things in a certain way, expecting certain results. Change is usually put upon us, whether we like it or not. Read Rabbi Leynor’s complete blog at http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/03/passover-spiritual-lesson-for-everyone.html

What Yeshua Would Have Seen on a Normal Day at the Temple

All of the people of Israel are descended from the twelve sons of Jacob. Jacob's third son was Levi, and Aaron was a fourth generation descendant of Levi. The first kohen, the founder of the priestly clan, was Aaron, brother of Moses, of the tribe of Levi. Aaron and his four sons were designated as the first priests; Aaron served as the first High Priest. All of his male descendants were chosen by God to be priests forever; it is an eternal covenant.The daily Temple ritual was performed mainly by the priests, who had sole access to the altar and the sanctuary. Read the complete Real Yeshua Blog at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2015/03/what-yeshua-would-have-seen-on-normal.html

The Greatest Commandment & Eternal Life

Yesterday, in the BHC Bible Study Blog, I wrote Comparing Parallel Accounts in the Hebrew Scriptures. Anytime parallel accounts, or things that look like parallel accounts appear in your Bible, they always present great opportunities to discover some very interesting, and sometimes, unexpected things. This will be true in the subject of this blog – The Greatest Commandment & Eternal Life. If you want to have some fun – and exercise your powers of observation – get some paper and a pen (the old fashion way of studying). Below you will find three accounts that are often considered to be about the same event. Read the complete study at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-greatest-commandment-eternal-life.html

More Seder History

One of the most important and transformative things the Jewish Sages did after the destruction of the Second Temple, was to transfer and transform Temple ideas to the home setting. Many symbols were created to not only keep the "memories" of Temple ritual alive, but to allow for the continuing development of Rabbinic Judaism as well. For example, on Shabbat, the table of the home becomes the new "altar', the white tablecloth represents the Priest's garments, the candles lit to usher in the Shabbat recalls the 7 branched menorah lit every evening outside the Holy of Holies in the Temple. Read Rabbi Leynor’s complete blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/03/more-seder-history.html

What the Hell Is the Purpose of Hell?

Whether hell is an expletive, a coercive threat to keep naughty congregants in line, or a euphemism for a bad date, it seems that hell is thoroughly ingrained in our religious and cultural consciousness. But this wasn’t always the case. And there are many believing theologians today who think that hell is immoral, nonexistent, or both, prompting the question: where does hell come from and why do we have it? Read the complete article at -- http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/22/what-the-hell-is-the-purpose-of-hell.html

Some Seder History

Passover begins at sunset on Friday, April 3rd this year. There is probably no specific date for the creation of the Passover Seder, but as with many laws, customs, traditions and beliefs, it accrued over time. The Hebrew word “seder” means “order” -- a number of steps for the ritual meal. Today, there are a number of "seders." Read Rabbi Leynor’s latest blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/03/some-seder-history.html

Comparing Parallel Accounts in the Hebrew Scriptures

Many people are aware of parallel accounts – the same event recorded in more than one book – in the New Testament. But you may not be aware of the fact that the same thing occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Sometimes the words are identical, but other times there are differences. Read the complete article at -- http://bhcbiblestudies.blogspot.com/2015/03/comparing-parallel-accounts-in-hebrew_24.html

A TOV Intergenerational Project

I read and shared this FB article about Dutch students who can now live in nursing homes rent-free as long as they keep the residents company. Many people have responded what a great idea this is! Twenty-somethings are flocking to this new idea. It is a unique project that benefits everyone. I remember teaching some younger kids and they were making fun of "old people." I said to them, “If you're lucky, someday you'll get old. Would you like to be treated that way?” Silence. Read Rabbi Leynor’s complete blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-tov-intergenerational-project.html

Bishop Ambrose Backs Down Roman Emperor Theodosius I

In late 388 a local Roman Catholic bishop incited a mob to plunder and burn down a synagogue and a church used by another Christian group. Roman Emperor Theodosius I responded by issuing an order to punishment those responsible and impose a heavy fine on the bishop. Bishop Ambrose of Milan came to the bishop’s defense and demanded that the emperor cancel his decree. Read the rest of the story at -- http://fromonejesus.blogspot.com/2015/03/bishop-ambrose-backs-down-roman-emperor.html

Did Yeshua Want His Followers to be Poor?

Blessedarethe poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)
Blessedare youpoor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (Luke 6:20)
Was Yeshua referring to the same or different people by the terms “poor in spirit” and “poor”? For many years, the opinion among many scholars has been that Matthew stressed the “spiritual” aspect of his message, while Luke stressed the “social” aspect. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, indicates that once again long-held opinions of certain scholars reveal more about their theological positions that about what The Real Yeshua actually had in mind. Read the complete blog at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2015/03/did-yeshua-want-his-followers-to-be-poor.html

ISIS bombs historic Christian monastery in Iraq

Islamic State militants have reportedly destroyed the ancient Christian Mar Behnam Monastery in the predominantly Christian town of Qaraqosh in northern Iraq on Thursday. The destroyed monastery dates back to the fourth century and is known to contain one of the most valuable Syrian libraries in Iraq. The destruction of the monastery comes just a week after photos were released by ISIS militants showing the destruction of relics in the George Chaldean Catholic Monastery near Mosul. The Islamic State has previously vowed that they will destroy all Christian historical sites in the regions that fall under their control. ISIS destroyed Jonah's Tomb in Mosul, Iraq in July and destroyed countless Assyrian artifacts in Nimrod this March. See picture and read the complete article at -- http://www.jpost.com/Christian-News/Islamic-State-bombs-historic-Christian-monastery-in-Iraq-394721

Everyday Life – and Shopping – in Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome was a cosmopolitan city, drawing in people and products from across the Mediterranean world and beyond. By the late first century BC, there were as many as one million inhabitants in Rome. The people of Rome relied on retailers to provide them with food, clothing and other goods. Our ancient evidence points to a thriving retail trade in the city and, for any ancient visitor, the sheer number of retailers and shoppers must have been one of the most striking aspects of the Roman cityscape. Retailers were found in the busiest areas of the city. Small shops and workshops lined the main thoroughfares, spilling out over their thresholds into the streets and colonnades. Market traders, street sellers and ambulant hawkers also tended to be found in central areas. They clustered around temples, bathhouses, forums, circuses, amphitheaters and theatres, attracted by the commercial opportunities offered by large gatherings of people. Sellers at temples offered votive offerings such a…

Villa of Mysteries - crown jewel of the ancient city of Pompeii restored

Italy unveiled the restored crown jewel of the ancient city ofPompeiion Friday – the Villa of Mysteries. It is a spectacular estate on the outskirts of Pompeii's city center that features some of the best-preserved frescoes of the site. Pompeii, a busy commercial city overlooking the Mediterranean, was destroyed in AD 79 by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius that killed thousands of people and buried the city in 20 feet of volcanic ash. But the ash also helped preserve Pompeii's treasures, providing precious information about life in the ancient world. The first excavations began in the 18th century, but even today only two-thirds of the site's 60 hectares (150 acres) have been uncovered. See the fantastic pictures and read the article at -- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/11486295/The-crown-jewel-of-the-ancient-city-of-Pompeii-restored.html

Gem Engraved with Goddess' Image Found Near King Herod's Mausoleum

A translucent orange gem engraved with an image of a goddess of hunting has been found near a mausoleum built by Herod the Great, the king of Judea who ruled not long before the time of Jesus. Thecarnelian gem shows the goddess Diana(or her Greek equivalent, Artemis) with a sumptuously detailed hairstyle and wearing a sleeveless dress, with a quiver behind her left shoulder and the end of a bow protruding from her right shoulder. Both Diana and Artemis were goddessesof hunting and childbirth. See pictures and read complete article at -- http://www.livescience.com/50156-engraved-gem-herod-mausoleum.html

Some Birthday Reflections

This is it Folks. On this day, 62 years ago, a soul was sent kicking and screaming to this life. I was one of the lucky ones. I had loving involved parents, brother and sister, wonderful grandparents, a small assortment of aunts and uncles equally loving. I feel grateful that my parents taught me real values, most of which I learned by observing how they treated others, themselves and each other. Read Rabbi Leynor’s complete blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/03/some-birthday-reflections.html

Saturninus (or Satornil) of Antioch

There were many sects in existence in the first three centuries CE that used the Jewish Scriptures to develop doctrines about the God of the Jews, Satan, and a Savior. One sect was founded by Saturninus of the Syrian Antioch in the 2nd-century. Saturninusascribed the ultimate origin of all things to an unknown Father. The Father made angels, archangels, powers, authorities. Read the complete blog at -- http://fromonejesus.blogspot.com/2015/03/saturninus-or-satornil-of-antioch.html

The Bet Midrash of the Second Temple

What if there was a building located in your town where you go and find God – and it was the only place like that on the Earth? What if it was literally the place where Heaven and Earth met? How would that affect your life?  How would that affect your town? That was how Yeshua and the Jewish people of his time viewed the Jerusalem Temple. Read the complete The Real Yeshua Blog at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-bet-midrash-of-second-temple.html

What was the "Last Supper?"

Many people are under the impression that Jesus and his Jewish Disciples had a "Passover Seder" as the Last Supper. The problem is that the Passover Seder as we know it has been in development over thousands of years. It has a basic form which will be explained in a future article. The point I want to make is that the form known today did not exist during Jesus' lifetime. Read Rabbi Leynor’s Blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/03/what-was-last-supper.html

A Christian Nation? Since When?

America may be a nation of believers, but when it comes to this country’s identity as a “Christian nation,” our beliefs are all over the map. Just a few weeks ago, Public Policy Polling reported that 57 percent of Republicans favored officially making the United States a Christian nation. But in 2007, a surveyby the First Amendment Center showed that 55 percent of Americans believed it already was one. The confusion is understandable. For all our talk about separation of church and state, religious language has been written into our political culture in countless ways. It is inscribed in our pledge of patriotism, marked on our money, carved into the walls of our courts and our Capitol. Perhaps because it is everywhere, we assume it has been from the beginning. But the founding fathers didn’t create the ceremonies and slogans that come to mind when we consider whether this is a Christian nation. Our grandfathers did. Read the complete commentary by CLICK HERE.

Holy Altar constructed for Third Jewish Temple

End-times prophecy watchers are marveling over a news report out of Jerusalem this week that the Altar of the Lord has been reconstructed by the Temple Institute. The Institute, based in the Old City of Jerusalem, announced it has finished building an altar that is essentially “ready for use” in sacrificial services. The altar is the most ambitious project to date toward the goal of rebuilding the Jewish Temple. The massive outdoor altar, which took several years to build, can be operational at little more than a moment’s notice. The altar is the last major component needed for the long-obstructed sacrifices to resume in a future Jewish temple. Read complete article at -- http://www.wnd.com/2015/03/holy-altar-constructed-for-third-jewish-temple/

A Place at the Seder

Some of my most wonderful memories from my youth are our family holiday celebrations. My grandparents, aunts and uncles and those, my parents, of blessed memory, called "strays", ones who had no family or who were alone, always had a place at our table. They were welcomed with warmth and love. The one holiday which stands out in my mind though, is Passover. There are very few holidays on the Jewish calendar that require as much preparation. Read Rabbi Leynor’s complete blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-place-at-seder.html

The assassination of Gaius Julius Caesar on March 15, 44 BCE

The assassination of Gaius Julius Caesar on March 15, 44 BCE is one of the most dramatic and notorious events in Roman history. Caesar was murdered by a group of prominent senators in Rome who engaged in a secret plot. He was the lone target and killed in the Senate in the interval between a civil war and a foreign war. Many of Caesar’s assassins were his disillusioned friends. In The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination, by acclaimed military historian Barry Strauss, the reader learns how disaffected politicians and officers carefully planned and hatched Caesar’s assassination weeks in advance, rallying support from the common people of Rome. Read the interview with Barry Sanders about the assassination of Caesar at -- http://etc.ancient.eu/2015/03/13/barry-strauss-on-the-assassination-of-caesar/

Maryland Jew Tried for Blasphemy

A unique blasphemy case occurred in Maryland. Jacob Lumbrozo was aPortuguese-born physician, farmer, and trader. He early exercised his profession, and apparently enjoyed a lucrative practice. After living for at least two years in undisturbed quiet as a recognized Jew, and probably as a professed one, in 1658 he was arrested under the provisions of the Toleration Act of 1649, for "blasphemy" -- the denial of the doctrine of the Trinity. If found guilty, the punishment for this crime could be up to death or the forfeiture of all lands and goods.Read the complete blog at -- http://fromonejesus.blogspot.com/2015/03/maryland-jew-tried-for-blasphemy.html

How Arab Spring Opened the Door to Terrorism’s Ugly March

“Arab Spring” is the popular name given to the democratic wave of civil unrest in the Arab world that began in December 2010 and lasted through mid-2012. It turns out the revolutionary movement created an ideal environment for terrorism to grow and thrive. “Terrorists realized they could exploit the confusion and vacuum in power created by the uprisings,” says a U.S. intelligence officer stationed in Libya during the Arab Spring movement. He says terrorists used social media to stoke civil unrest and take advantage of the chaos. In the Arab Spring’s wake, Egypt and Tunisia disbanded the security structures that had helped keep jihadists in check, and freed many Islamist and jihadist political prisoners. In Libya, parts of the country fell entirely outside government control, providing openings for violent terrorist movements. “Many of the regimes weakened or deposed by the Arab Spring were among Washington’s most effective counterterrorism partners,” noted Juan Zarate in an analysis w…

The Bible Burning Brother John

In Mayo County (Ireland) in 1852, John Syngean Bridgman, a Franciscan friar known as Brother John, was tried at the spring Assizes before the chief justice of the Queen’s Bench for blasphemously burning a copy of the Authorized Version of the New Testament. Read complete story at -- http://fromonejesus.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-bible-burning-brother-john.html

Understanding the Roman Presence in Yeshua’s World

Many readers and scholars of the New Testament have imagined Yeshua living in a world in which the Roman soldiers and officials daily oppressed the Jews living in Judaea and Galilee. In Jerusalem, Jewish leaders were in day-to-day control. The magistrates were Jewish and ruled according to Jewish law, the schools were Jewish, and the religion was Jewish. Read the complete Real Yeshua Blog at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2015/03/understanding-roman-presence-in-yeshuas.html

Treasure from era of Alexander the Great found in Israel

Two silver coins minted during the reign of Alexander the Great, who conquered the region in the late fourth century B.C. along with other items were found in a cave in Israel. On one side of the coin is an image of Alexander the Great, while on the other side is an image of Zeus sitting on his throne, arm raised as if ready to wield his fearsome lightning bolts. Along with the coins were pieces of silver jewelry, including rings, bracelets and earrings. The whole cache is thought to have been originally contained in a cloth pouch. See CNN video and read article at -- http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/09/middleeast/israel-ancient-treasure-found-in-cave/index.html

Should Non-Jews Observe Shabbat?

This question has come up a number of times over the years and recently, again.  Judaism has always stressed distinctiveness in worship and observance. Many religious authorities claim that not only "THEIR" way of observance is the "right way,” and “only way", but that the "TORAH", in the larger sense, is only for Jews. In my opinion, Torah, meaning "Instruction", is much larger than one group of people. While non-Jews do not have the same ritual and worship requirements as Jewish people, the moral and ethical instructions are for everyone. Read the complete blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/03/should-non-jews-observe-shabbat.html

Hypatia, Ancient Alexandria’s Great Female Scholar

One day on the streets of Alexandria, Egypt, in the year 415 or 416, a mob of Christian zealots led by Peter the Lector accosted a woman’s carriage and dragged her from it and into a church, where they stripped her and beat her to death with roofing tiles. They then tore her body apart and burned it. Who was this woman and what was her crime? Hypatia was one of the last great thinkers of ancient Alexandria and one of the first women to study and teach mathematics, astronomy and philosophy. Though she is remembered more for her violent death, her dramatic life is a fascinating lens through which we may view the plight of science in an era of religious and sectarian conflict. Read the complete article at -- http://www.smithsonianmag.com/womens-history/hypatia-ancient-alexandrias-great-female-scholar-10942888/

Control a person’s thinking & you don’t have to worry about his or her actions.

“If you can control a man’s thinking, you don’t have to worry about his actions. If you can determine what a man thinks you do not have to worry about what he will do. If you can make a man believe that he is inferior, you don’t have to compel him to seek an inferior status, he will do so without being told and if you can make a man believe that he is justly an outcast, you don’t have to order him to the back door, he will go to the back door on his own and if there is no back door, the very nature of the man will demand that you build one.”

The above words were written by Carter Godwin Woodson, the son of former slaves who earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Read the complete article at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/03/control-persons-thinking-you-dont-have.html

What is the Jewish afterlife like?

From dark netherworld populated by ghosts to reincarnation to multiple souls: The Jewish concept of the afterlife has been to hell and back. There's a Jewish joke that says there's no Heaven or Hell: we all go to the same place when we die, where Moses and Rabbi Akiva give constant and everlasting classes on the Bible and the Talmud. For the righteous this is eternal bliss, while for the wicked this is eternal suffering. But that's a joke. What do Jews actually believe happens to them after death? There is no simple answer: at different times and in different places, Jews had different ideas. These varying thoughts were never reconciled or canonically decided. Thus, even today, Jews believe in different, often irreconcilable, theories of what life after death is like. We will explore these views, starting at the beginning - in the Bible. Read this great overview of Jewish beliefs about the afterlife at -- http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-features/.premium-1…

House in Nazareth Offers Hints About Yeshua’s Childhood Town

Archaeologists have excavated a house in Nazareth, Yeshua’s home town, that dates back to the first century. Local Christians have long believed it was Yeshua’s childhood home, but scientists say that's impossible to know for sure. What the house reveals about life during Yeshua’s childhood, however, is fascinating. See picture and read complete article -- http://gizmodo.com/this-house-in-nazareth-offers-hints-about-jesus-childho-1689005781

TOV Values in Business

There is a very interesting article in the Business section of the Dallas Morning News by Cheryl Hall, entitled, "CEO pushes priorities, and family is first."  The piece is written about Mark Layman the chief executive of Balfour Beatty Construction US, a Dallas based company known for projects like The Gaylord Texan Resort, Perot Museum and a host of other global ventures. Layman credits a loving single mom, "caring angels" from his church who helped pay bills to supplement his mother's income to cover the needs of four children and other father figures who "straightened him out" as a kid when he was headed for trouble. Read Rabbi Leynor’s complete blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/03/tov-values-in-business.html

Will you go to Hell if you call someone a “fool”?

“. . . but whosoever shall say, `Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.’”
The above quote is attributed to Yeshua and translated by King James translators (Matthew 5:22).

Over the years I have had a number of people ask if they would really go to Hell just for calling someone “a fool.” Most questions like this come from people who belonged to churches that teach their members the doctrine of inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible. Obviously, if a person’s church teaches that doctrine and if their Bible contains the above words, what else could they believe – if every word of the Bible is to be taken literally and if the Bible says if someone calls someone else a “fool” they will go to Hell, then it must be the divine truth! Read the complete Real Yeshua Blog at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2015/03/will-you-go-to-hell-if-you-call-someone.html

Purim Teaches Lessons of TOV

Tonight is the beginning of Purim. There is the old joke about Jewish holidays, "They tried to kill us, they couldn't, let's eat!" Funny as this may sound, there is much truth. Purim has taught me some very important things. First, the central characters are both male and female. If you don't know the story, get a good translation of the Book of Esther and enjoy. The story has TOV and RAH, good against evil, palace intrigue, wonderful plot twists and turns and a surprise ending. The female lead Queen Esther, is beautiful, intelligent, creative and courageous. Read Rabbi Leynor's complete blog at -- http://tovcenter.blogspot.com/2015/03/purim-teaches-lessons-of-tov.html