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Joy in Nurturing

Joy in Nurturing

Summer is finally here. What better way to spend your summer than going outside!  For our family, this means barbeques, riding bikes and tending to our garden. However, the focus of our outdoor time is to finally be able to live without any interruptions. When there are no interruptions (ipads, videogames, afterschool programs, etc.), we can just sit back and watch our children live in the sun. In addition to this, I can also get some mommy time because at night, children who have played outside all day, often fall asleep fast. And if any parent knows, if your children get to bed on time, that is a blessing all in itself…lol.

In today’s society, we are bombarded with flashing images of cool gadgets, smart phones and the notion that buying these things will make us happy. We are encouraged to buy our children every toy from every television commercial because the world wants us to believe that you must have material things to be happy. However, as spiritual beings, we know that true happiness only comes when you nurture your soul first.

So, summertime for the believing family should naturally be about disconnecting from most of the things that drain us throughout the year so that we can watch our families grow. We can see children who may have been shy at school suddenly blossom into outdoor social butterflies. Some children may learn to ride bikes while others may gain confidence in themselves through activities like martial arts. And yet some children may flourish in education when we get out there and take them to the library.  The family as a unit grows together when they take vacations or trips to places they have never seen before.

These summer experiences produce great life lessons that families give their children so that they can grow up feeling loved and cared for. After all, there is no feeling on this earth like the feeling a child has when he or she fully believes that their parents love and care for them. Isn’t this the feeling we get from our heavenly Father? Why do we believe that HaShem loves us? Because He shows and tells us everyday. He nurtures our souls and constantly provides for us everyday of our lives. He is never too busy for us. And for that, we are so very grateful. This is how our children view us when we take out time from our busy schedules to nurture them up in the ways of the Lord. I pray that we all be righteous stewards of our time this Summer as we are given more uninterrupted opportunities to spend one on one time with our children and families. Have a wonderful summer!

Bio:

Rebbetzin Keturah Malinconico is wife to Rabbi Yehezqel Malinconico of Congregation Melech Yisrael, Canada’s oldest Messianic Synagogue, which is located right within the heart of Jewish Toronto, ON. Rebbetzin Keturah is a blogger, graphics designer and photographer and loves a good plot. When she is not teaching the women at shul or taking photos, she enjoys crafting, DIY projects, knitting and crocheting or catching a good movie. To find out more about Congregation Melech Yisrael, you can visit www.cmy.on.ca.
Patience is a Virtue

Patience is a Virtue

Have you ever stood behind someone in line who took forever to check out? I have and sometimes that could be a disaster, especially if you have small children with. Therefore, I have to practice patience a lot. For example, there has been plenty of times when I have had to pray with people or minister to them with one child in tote and a baby in the baby carrier. Trust me, you will learn patience quickly in this industry! lol.


But, I have also been that person in line who is causing the long line due to shopping with small children and purchasing a lot of items. You will get the “stares” and the “eyes roll” and the “bad attitude” towards you. they all state with their eyes saying, “How dare you get into line with all of those items when I am on my lunch break and need to get back to work NOW!!” You all know those stares. Well, human nature causes us to make everything about us. And I have actually overheard people talk about each other, complete strangers, in line at the grocery store. It is completely saddening.


Because I have been in the situation where I have had people stare at me while shopping, I have learned to practice patience with others in front of me in line. When I hear people behind me talking loud or getting frustrated and they tell me things like, “The cashier is so slow”, or “OMG, why did I have to get into this line?” I simply smile and say, “Well, everyone has a bad day or maybe they are new.” Or, I may simply state, “Its ok, I’m pretty patient” and they look at me as if I have lost my mind. When I choose to ignore them, they turn to someone else looking to start a conversation of lashon hara (evil and mindless chatter) about the person who they believe is causing the problem in line.


Now, I will point out in this situation that when we do not respond to negativity, the cause of the negativity still wants to create drama. Therefore the person seeking it will also seek out anyone who will listen and participate in it. So when we remain patient, HaShem then blesses us with peace and gives us the strength that we need to remain patient, even when we really don’t want to be in the situation. And finally, because we are patient and peaceful, we can then minister to those who are having a problem.


For example, if it is a mom in front of me and she is taking a long time - I like to interact with her and say things like, “I shop like this all of the time” or “Isn’t it amazing that all of this food is gone within a few days?”. These types of responses often calms the anxious mom down and gives her peace. She then knows that she is not alone and that other people go through the same things. I also respond this same way to cashiers who are training just to boost their confidence or families on the airplane whose children are crying.


It is amazing that as humans, we are often mean to each other. And what is worst are the amount of believers that I see being impatient with others when they are called to be a light to the world. It is of my strong opinion that if more believers would stop nagging and practice true patience that our lives would be blessed beyond measure and situations in our lives that are hard and taxing would simply disappear. But life situations do not work out for us the majority of the time because we judge others harshly and we speak harshly about and towards others.


We are a people of impatience, plain and simple and we need to understand that our words and actions cause others to cry and feel bad about themselves. Our great Jewish sages and Rabbis teach that when we cause pain to others we are indirectly sinning against HaShem himself. Heaven forbid that we do this! This is why the greatest commandment in the Word of G-d is to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF!!! So when we hurt each other, we hurt the body as a whole and it is crippled. A crippled body can not produce power or light and we automatically dim our testimony to the world of our Messiah.


I hope and pray that we as believers turn towards HaShem and ask for forgiveness for hurting each other because of our own lack of patience and that we stop causing others to despair. It is a great blessing to go through situations in life that require patience as it teaches us that all things - even a calm spirit - comes from HaShem and that we alone can do nothing on our own accord. Those who do not learn the Fruits of the Spirit can not understand love because love conquers all things. And we can not truly say that we have love for G-d if we do not have love for each other. Patience gives us strength and helps to correct our souls so that our yetzer hara- the evil inclination (a.k.a. “the flesh”) dies daily. So to be patient is freedom, as it gives HaShem complete control over our emotions and deeds so that we are being human beings can live a life full of shalom, joy and healthy interaction with each other.
Shine Bright like a Diamond
Among the elements, diamonds are one of the strongest materials on earth. In order to craft a diamond, it must be forged through high temperatures and pressure until all impurities have been purged out of it. In life, the strongest of people are also made like diamonds, being forged through life’s trials and tragedies. Those who have been poor or close to being homeless are often the most giving people that I know because they understand how it felt to not have shelter or provisions.  Others who have survived close call situations in life also become a light to everyone because they endured and can now show us how to walk in complete victory.


In a sense, it seems that one can not really validate the goodness of HaShem to others unless they themselves have a testimony worthy of HaShem’s goodness and grace.  After all, how can you tell someone about HaShem if you have never experienced the end result of being blessed after having hardships. A Rabbi once told me that you can judge the righteous by the amount of trials that they have in life. If you encounter a person who has not endured any trials or temptations, yet they claim to know HaShem- run the other way! I have even heard teachers jokingly tell people that if Hasatan is not bothering you, that you don’t have anything in your soul that he wants…lol.


So let’s take a look at Job. The Bible tells us that HaShem allowed Job to be tested. Job then went through the most rigorous trials and tribulations in his life. He lost his provisions, sons and daughters were killed, and sickness and disease came upon him, but Job did not complain or curse HaShem.  After these trials, we are told that Job was blessed in abundance and all that was lost, was not only restored but that HaShem added on to Job in addition to what he had before- one hundred fold! Baruch HaShem!


Another example that comes to my mind of a person who had a testimony worthy enough to validate HaShem’s grace and goodness after enduring trials is our spiritual father, Abraham.


Abraham was a g-dly man yet had no offspring. It was a very long time- until he was in his elder age, to produce a son. So imagine the shock and the horror when Abraham was told to sacrifice his one and only son knowing that he was in his elder years and may not be able to reproduce again. I can only imagine what was going on through his mind as he and his son journeyed to the place where Isaac was to be offered. Even though this was a hard thing to imagine, Abraham never failed in his trust in HaShem and was willing to follow Him every step of the way, abandoning his own human understanding.


But as we all know, at the last minute, right before Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, an animal happened to appear near them, and they rejoiced and gave praise for it. The animal was sacrificed instead of his son and this test of faith proved that Abraham was worthy enough to be trusted by HaShem to be a father of the people of the Torah. Abraham is listed in the New Testament as a friend of HaShem and is given to us as an example of how to live with perfected emunah and joy- even while we are in the mist of trials.


So while we all pray for burdens to be easy and life to be calm, the reality is that in order for our soul to achieve true soul correction in this life- we must all be purged through fire. Just as the diamond is made precious and strong going though the fire, so we must also become diamonds spiritually. Too many times we whine and complain to HaShem instead of just going through life like a mature believer.


A child who drinks milk is not ready to eat meat. The same is said for a spiritual new believer. But once we pass the threshold of understanding, we must simply grow up and really trust that we can handle whatever HaShem allows our way. Because, if we are a light to the world to those who do not know Yeshua, what good are we if we fold after ever single thing that is thrown our way. I pray that we all stand encouraged in this life, on this earth at whatever season Adonai has allowed us to be in. And that we do this fully trusting that HaShem will NEVER give us more than what we can handle. I pray that we FULLY understand this and bury it deep within our souls so that when trials come our way- we stay encouraged no matter what. I pray all of this in Yeshua’s precious name. Amein. Amein.
Dancing in the Rain: Finding Joy in Parenting
Our mom’s group has been scrapbooking our children’s first years. It is amazing how much they have grown until we pick up photos of those cute little babies and start “oohing” and “awwing” all over them. But as our children get older, some of us lose that initial joy that comes with a new baby. We realize that our precious little baby can also scream, kick and throw toys or make an entire day’s mess within a few seconds. Or if you have been privileged like I have- to clean a house spotless, only to have it dirty again within ten minutes, then you understand what I mean.



But even with all of the ups and downs of being a parent, there is a special blessing to be thankful for when we open our eyes to see the joy in the everyday process of living. One of the reasons why I had our moms tackle scrapbooking for fall was to rekindle the love that we had for our families that gets lost as the demands in life increase. Cooking, cleaning, getting lunch ready, discipline, work, worship, screaming and demanding young ones and lack of sleep is what most of us go through each day. But knowing that our children are a gift from HaShem keeps us all going.



We know and understand that HaShem never gives us more than we can handle and that all things serve as a test from our Father in Heaven in order to shape and mold us. Therefore, our outlook on parenting should change to a more joyful one. If we see being a mom as a blessing and not a burden then HaShem blesses us with shalom, a peace that surpasses all understanding of whatever situation we are going through. It is only when we think that the role of “parent” is burdensome, that we lose a g-dly focus and gain a fleshly one- which oftentimes is selfish.



If you think about it, we are only here passing through “this thing called life” and HaShem has allowed us to be caretakers of His children until they go back to Him. Because in essence we all are caretakers of something while on earth and we belong to Him even though we have physical parents. So if you look at parenting as a foster-care system for HaShem, you will be more grateful and joyful knowing that we all serve a purpose to raise these young ones up in the L-rd.



In Judaism, family plays a large factor in our religion. We pass on our traditions from one generation to the next. We teach our children to serve HaShem as we are commanded to do and we know that children are an inheritance of the L-rd. When we do, He blesses us with long life and the ability to see generations upon generations of our descendants serve Him.



A person who lacks joy simply does not trust in HaShem. The unjoyful person is saying to Him: “You don’t understand what I am going through and you cannot see where I am going.” When we get to that point, our faith drops and our emotions take over. And in parenting, when this happens, often our children get the bulk of our emotional overdrive and it sets them up for questioning HaShem as they get older.

We have to get up off of our emotional roller-coaster and do what we are commanded to do. It is our lot in life to raise our children and we are their caretakers. We should be thankful for them, because if anything ever happened to them, we would feel so much regret and dread. No one ever wants to be in the situation where you did not do what you could with your children while they were here and then suddenly they are gone. I pray that no one has to feel that pain and hurt.



So while our children are children with playful noise and messy splatters are being made, enjoy them. Find your inner child that gets lost as we grow up and in this season be full of joy within their messiness. One day your house will be quiet because time stands still for no one. So dance in the rain, slash and make muddy puddles and enjoy the laughter and joy of being a parent while your children are still young.



Thanksgiving has passed in Canada and it is almost time for Thanksgiving in the USA. While a lot of people are giving thanks for many things, we need to be encouraged in our parenting woes and be thankful for our families. So be encouraged in the L-rd knowing that you were chosen for this task of being a parent in this day and age and that we should be grateful that we are blessed beyond measure and alive and living well. Have a great week.
“I am My Beloved's, and My Beloved is Mine”
Elul, the month of inner reflection and repentance, has always been a favorite time and season in my life. Right before the High Holy Days, I get to truly reflect on HaShem’s loving grace and mercy in my own life. I also get to dig deeper within my own heart and soul to find those things that I should not carry forth going into the High Holy Days.



When most believers are praying and seeking forgiveness from others and HaShem, they often forget about one very special person whom to also ask forgiveness…themselves. Being a Rebbetzin, I get the change to help my husband minister to many people’s lives. I love to minister healing and restoration to them, but too often people are very hard on themselves. Although they seek forgiveness from others and are reconciled, guilt and shame soon follow and they are succumbing to negative emotions and mental battles.



Last year, I used an exercise that I got from my own Rebbetzin Shari Zamstein a few years back in which she had gathered all the ladies right before Rosh Hashanah and had instructed us to grab a sheet of paper. She then told us to write down something that we had not forgiven ourselves about. We then folded the paper and tossed it in a bucket that she had. None of us knew what she was going to do but it was a great study that morning and we were all excited to see what she had in mind.



Nevertheless, my Rebbetzin then took out a match and burned all the papers within that bucket. As the ash blew away from the paper and was scattered in the wind, she told us that HaShem forgives and forgets those things that we had written down that we could not forgive ourselves about. I could remember looking around the group of women- there was not one dry eye that day. So effective was this simple exercise, that I too repeated it with my ladies one Sunday morning during our study on Forgiveness before the High Holy Days as well.



See, the power that holds us back from growing and moving forward is not satan, or other people getting in our way. We are the ones that hold us back.  So many times we blame other forces when all we have to do is look directly in the mirror. The great thing about a mirror is that it will not lie. And just like the enchanted mirror in the story of Snow White- when the mirror is held up to us- to our heart- it will only reflect what is there. Truth cannot hide behind religion or clothes, the mirror reflects light and it reveals everything.



In order to truly reflect and want to change during this season of repentance, we have to first understand that we are HaShem’s beloved and because of that- He gives us full mercy and grace to view and judge ourselves. This way, we can know what it is that we need to do to how to change. The grace of HaShem will help us with our task and the mercy is there so that we can forgive ourselves and move on from the past. One thing about walking forward is that you cannot move if you have one foot going forth while the other is trying to backwards walk in the past. That seems sort of silly right? Well, spiritually that is what a lot of us do when it comes to forgiving ourselves. We end up stagnant and immobile, unable to move, bound in the spirit of fear and shame and unable to hear the spirit of HaShem. Most importantly, we are unable to see ourselves as He does- completely forgiven and all thoughts of our old nature is thrown out into the sea of forgetfulness just like that ash that was blown away in a bucket the day a small group of women got together and forgave themselves.



I pray Father, that your people get back to the basics of learning to truly walk as a beloved does- holding hands with her spouse, holding hands with his wife- in full joy and happiness- even with the times are rough. I pray that we learn to forgive ourselves as we so easily forgive others who have wronged us during the season of repentance and forgiveness. I also pray Abba that we have a sound mind and a renewed spirit because it is promised to those who have given all of their burdens to Yeshua the Messiah- who came to set the captives free.  Amein, amein.





Bio:


Rebbetzin Keturah Malinconico is wife to Rabbi Yehezqel Malinconico of Congregation Melech Yisrael, Canada’s oldest Messianic Synagogue, which is located right within the heart of Jewish Toronto, ON. Rebbetzin Keturah is a blogger, graphics designer and photographer and loves a good plot. When she is not teaching the women at shul or taking photos, she enjoys crafting, DIY projects, knitting and crocheting or catching a good movie. To find out more about Congregation Melech Yisrael, you can visit www.cmy.on.ca.

The Fig Tree in my Garden
I have a fig tree in my garden. Before we moved in, everyone thought that it had died. But miraculously, it has survived the cold harsh winters of Toronto. So I was advised to always bury its branches when winter comes so that the tree does not freeze and die. And in late Spring when garden season begins for us cold northerners, we unearth the fig tree’s branches, allowing it to naturally adapt to the new season. If done properly, the tree will yield many figs in the new year.



Well, last winter was crazy, and we forgot to bury the poor tree. So after tending to it, I noticed that the branches were all dried and withered. The tree had died. I was sad and thought to myself, “I caused this tree to die because I did not take care of it properly. Something that was left in my care was neglected. I was a poor caretaker.”  



Don’t we all feel this way sometimes. Whether it is raising children or being in ministry- sometimes we just end up neglecting those small instructions in life that would make our tasks so much better. For example, when we wash a shirt in hot water and it shrinks…because we didn’t read the label that was in BOLD letters that read “HAND WASH IN COLD WATER ONLY.”



So a few months pass by and I am in my garden and notice the most interesting thing. Out of the old fig tree’s demise, somehow a brand new fig tree emerged right next to it. I was instantly overcome with joy and praised HaShem saying “Thank you for another chance LORD to oversee this tree, thank you for a new beginning!!!!” See I had prayed about that fig tree after it died. I was truly in repentance for letting something as small as a plant or tree get overlooked because I was too busy. This is me, I see a life lesson in EVERYTHING! To me, that tree represented my time and how we go on about our business day by day, rushing to work, rushing to come home, rushing kids to school…and how we lose out on time when we do not stop to enjoy life. The tree also represented to me that when we don’t appreciate the small things, that they can one day be taken away from us, and we are judged by our actions and lack of actions by HaShem – no matter how big or small of a task they are.



I do not know the science behind plants and seeds. I do have a garden and can guess what occurred. Maybe a seed may have fell off of the old tree and started roots- who knows? But I do know that the new tree is there now- carrying full leaves and starting to bloom into something great. And for this, I am thankful and so glad to be its caretaker while it is in my garden. Just as I am thankful to care take for my children while we are on earth as well because in reality all things belong to HaShem the creator of all things. We are all here as caretakers of something.



Have you ever been in a situation in life where you wished for a new start or a second chance? I praise HaShem for the rare gift called a “the second chance.” But you know, one day when we pass away, there will be no second chances. So make sure that you greet those that you love with joy and smiles. Listen to them with full attention while we are all here on earth now. Appreciate and love the wife of your youth so in your old age, you have matured and grown old together enjoying life as you go. Keep laughter and noise around because one day it will be silent and we will be all alone. In all things, there is a time and season for all things and all things in the end is vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2) but still be thankful and enjoy life while you still can.



“I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of HaShem.”

– Eccelesiastes 3:12-13



I pray that we all learn to nurture whatever HaShem has called us to do so that we can be accountable before the LORD. I also pray that we begin to enjoy life a little bit more slower with more attention to the details so that we do not rush throughout life and miss out on precious time with those around us.
Friendships that Last
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
– Proverbs 12:26

We are told very bluntly within the book of Proverbs that we are to choose carefully the company that we keep. Friends are therefore- a direct reflection of ourselves. This is often a good thing for many of us who actually have very close friends. We can laugh or cry with them, enjoy hobbies- even argue, but we will always remain friends in some way.

Friends or lack of friends, reflects who we are as a person. I have friends that I have had since high school. We do not enjoy the same things all of the time but we have a lot in common. We love movies and music, we love eating out and most importantly- we love shoes!!! And that is an understatement. But seriously, my friends love HaShem even though we all worship him in different aspects within our faith. Even so- we are still “bff’s” (best friends forever).

I am always saddened whenever I hear believers say that they have no friends. It is often accompanied by “I don’t trust many people” or “Someone in my synagogue burned me in the past- so I stay away”. I have had someone personally tell me that because I was a Rebbetzin, that I should “never” make friends “lest they don’t respect me as a leader”. A person’s lack of friends also tells you a lot about them spiritually. They are often paranoid and fearful. Some are actually mean spirited.

How pitiful is it that we as believers in a loving Father say that we don’t need others! When we think this way, we immediately allow the enemy to set up camp in our minds and lives. It is easier for the enemy to bother a loner than it is for him to bother a person who surrounds themselves with g-dly friends. When someone lacks fellowship, they have to make major spiritual decisions alone. Sometimes these decisions are hard to make unless you have a clear head and heart.

People constantly pray for finances but how many of us pray for good quality friendships? We pray for HaShem to send us husbands and wives as well. I get prayer request for this all of the time. But, let me ask you this- how can HaShem send you a soulmate if YOU have not learned to be a good friend? Ask anyone who has been married for a while if their spouse is their bestfriend. Most couples will say yes. They will probably also tell you that it wasn’t always that way and that their friendship evolved. But still, they are best friends.

My husband is my best friend. He was actually my best friend before we got married and I don’t throw that term around loosely. The word “best friend” in our eyes means that you pray together and fight spiritual battles. We watched each other grow and mature- all while having a blast!

“My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to G-d; on behalf of a man he pleads with G-d as one pleads for a friend.” -Job 16:20-21

Encouraging words where always on our tongues- even after an argument because friendship means pushing each other forward when someone wants to give up. It is also holding each other back from doors HaShem doesn’t want open. Without good friends, humans remain stagnant and stale and the burden of life is hard and heavy.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
I see many unfriendly “alone” people in our faith who feel that they have all the answers- yet are constantly complaining about life. The sad thing is that they claim to be believers. They attend service and bible studies, then go home to loneliness.

How do we find good friends? First, we pray for good friends. Then we become the type of person that we want in our lives. If you want friends that listen to you and stand in prayer for you- then you must be the type of person who listens and prays with others. We can not be selfish. If you don’t want bad friends, don’t search for them the way that the world does. Don’t gossip and make enemies with others. Be righteous and kind and HaShem will send you the right friends that you need and allow you to be the right kind of friend that others need as well.

Bio:

Rebbetzin Keturah Malinconico is wife to Rabbi Yehezqel Malinconico of Congregation Melech Yisrael, Canada’s oldest Messianic Synagogue, which is located right within the heart of Jewish Toronto, ON. Rebbetzin Keturah is a blogger, graphics designer and photographer and loves a good plot. When she is not teaching the women at shul or taking photos, she enjoys crafting, DIY projects, knitting and crocheting or catching a good movie. To find out more about Congregation Melech Yisrael, you can visit www.cmy.on.ca.
Creating a Legacy & Identity
It is no secret that we are currently searching our homes for leaven. For those of us who understand the spiritual reason for this, we are also searching our hearts for that spiritual leaven as well. Pesach is the time when we tell the world that Adonai Himself did great miracles for us. It is also a testament of His mercy and love, that even when we were not perfect- he freed us from slavery. Because of this, we are to forever remember this event by re-telling Moshe’s special rescue mission of the Jewish people to every generation forever. This is creating a legacy worth passing on to our children.

I used to wonder why the Tanach had so many references to us passing on stories about HaShem’s goodness to each generation- until I had children of my own. Once you have children, the game changes. They see everything you do and say and will emulate it in their own lives. This is why it is so important to pass on traditions and customs to our children because that is the only way those traditions and stories will survive.

When we teach our children that it is ok to Jewish, that it is ok to be proud of who we are, we instill generations of Torah principles within them. They can walk with their heads high no matter who is around or what is going on. They no longer get embarrassed about being the only kid at school with a kippot on or sad that all of their friends are at the mall and they are stuck at shul on a Saturday. Really, all of these things don’t matter to a child who has been shown that what really matters is honoring HaShem. Self esteem within our community is set on high when we remember that HaShem is always there and He will never forget us. I do this everyday with my children. I make sure that they know who they are, where we come from and how we got here today.

If you have not began to teach your children about their identity in Adonai, it is the perfect time to do so. Teach them His ways and let them ask you questions about the consequences of those who go against Him. Use the story of the Ten Plagues as an example of what happened to those who oppose HaShem. Bring your sons in front of a mirror and place a kippot on their head and say, “you represent a people of strength and might”. Teach your children to stand tall and be proud of who they are because HaShem has blessed us and removed the chains from our hands and feet. He brought us out of Egypt and set us apart from the world. That is a lot of be proud about. We as parents should be doing this everyday from the time our children are small until they themselves have small children and we keep encouraging them to do the same. It will shape and form our future generations correctly so that when they grow up, they will never forget HaShem and what He has done for His people.

“ Train a child in the way he [should] go; and, even when old, he will not swerve from it.”

– Proverbs 22:6 CJB
Community Matters

Community Matters

The first thing that we check for when new people come to our congregation is how well they interact with others when Shabbat service is over. If they leave before we bless the bread, then we know that their hearts are not into a community lifestyle. Sadly, we all have seen this before, whether it is a friend, family member or person at shul. This individual is there for themselves and is not interested in becoming one with others around them. You all know and have that one friend or family member who never calls you unless they need something…

Surprisingly though, some of these people want to know so much about Torah and the knowledge within. They will come to the Bible studies and obtain “head” knowledge but they fail to realize that application of the Torah is what they really needed. It is the “living” of the Word that gives us strength and wisdom to actually live life and have a relationship with HaShem. If knowing the Torah was meant to be on an individual level, then Moshe would have never attempted to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. He could have hoarded HaShem’s knowledge and supernatural experiences all to himself and lived out his days with no stress from the people. But Moshe didn’t. He went out and shared with the community what was required of them all, including what was required of himself because having a community also means being held accountable.

We are not on earth to become hermits and hoard knowledge of the Torah. We are here to take the principles of the Torah into our lifestyles so that our walk can help others grow. The problem with people is that no one wants to be accountable to others. Moshe helped the Israelites grow as a community and was able to usher in HaShem’s commandments because he was transparent to them and hid nothing. If Moshe did this for the greater good of building the community, why do we think that we can hit the delete button on our spiritual community today? Just because we have the Messiah does not give us the right to dismiss the community.

I hear this all of the time. People say, “I have the Holy Spirit to teach me, I don’t need to go to shul.” But all that I hear a person saying is, “Me, me, me…all about me…” Do we think that we know the Torah so much that we need no one else? Heaven forbid!

What we need to do is to put the emphasis back into “WE.” WE need a community of believers to help carry the daily burden of life, to discuss our blessings and confess our wrongdoings. WE need the community for support because WE live in a world that does not believe like WE do. Our spiritual family can have our backs when WE are spiritually attacked. They can intercede on our behalf when WE have no words when tragedy hits home and WE begin to question HaShem.

Having a community also means that our children can grow in their Messianic Jewish identity. When our children have community, they grow up understanding the need for it. Community matters because it brings us all into a full circle that extends from ourselves, to others and then back to HaShem. Even in marriage, man and woman are made whole because of each other. HaShem created Eve because it was not good that Adam was alone. There are many other references in the Word that also tell us that it is better to have friends, each other and community around us as well. I encourage everyone to find and hold dear to a spiritual community and teacher to cultivate and guide you. Some people are not able to do this and long for it because they do not live near a Messianic place of worship.

If you do not have a place of worship near by, pray and pray until HaShem opens the door- whether it is viewing a Messianic community online and keeping in touch with them or actually getting out there to find someone to plant a community in your area. The Lord is faithful and true and will take care of those who trust in Him. A spiritual community is very special and dear because it can be more like family than the family you were born in. I can personally attest to this. Besides, look at how Yeshua treated his family of disciples. That is the best example we have throughout history of what a true community looks like. So I pray that everyone finds the community that HaShem wants for them and then plant yourself so that you can care for its growth.

Decluttering the Long Way Around
Three months ago I emptied out ten bags of clothes, eight bags of toys and a ton of trash just by decluttering my house. Amazed at seeing all of those bags, I couldn’t believe that I used to ask, “Why don’t I have enough “space” for this?” I would moan or get depressed and ask for more “room”. “All I need is more closet space”, I would suggest to my husband, who at this point, would just nod and exit stage left. But what I didn’t understand was that I was focused on the wrong aspect.

I didn’t need more “room” other than what I had. I needed to learn that I was fine with what I was given. And I realized this after hearing my daughter say, “Mom, I don’t want to throw this stuff away, can’t you just make more room for it.”

Yes, it dawned on me! I was creating a clutter zone and worst than that, I was teaching my own children the same thing. Here I was saying to them to clean their rooms, help mommie out with the laundry, make sure to tidy up after yourselves. But at the end of the day, it never sank in because my example to them was to clean up by overstuffing the drawers, the closets, and literally the basement. My house was clean and tidy but the closets where busting at the seams!

Mortified, I asked HaShem to open my eyes to the problem. He did and it was a simple concept. He showed me that I was not happy with my lot in life and that I was ungrateful for my space. See, the problem was not that I needed more “room”, the problem was my ability to throw away what was not beneficial to me or my family. And because I didn’t do this, we ended up with clothes that didn’t fit, endless amount of bed sheets from bed sizes we didn’t own anymore and tons of what I call- “hallway stuffers”. You know, “that stuff” that collects dust in the entrance way…

There I was in major need of a cleaning. Not the physical kind of decluttering, but the spiritual kind. So I asked my Messiah to cleanse me of any thoughts that helped me collect junk as well as to reveal to me the reason why I didn’t throw things away. And he did. It was called “fear”. I feared losing things. Now, I was finally able to properly throw away and give away items in my home that would be a blessing for others. Today, I am still decluttering but not as much as I did three months ago and my children know how to properly clean up and put things in order and in its proper place.

Isn’t that a lesson in itself- how to put things in order within relationships, how to clean up our lives from the junk that we hold on to and let collect dust in our spirits? You know before I started to declutter- I had a hard time organizing my day. I would feel like time would just disapper and the next day would start without me really enjoying it because I had so many tasks. However, through this experience, decluttering has given me freedom. I am free to love my children more and play with them more. I am free to spend more time with my busy husband. I even have more time to do my hobbies and passions. I have freedom. When we declutter our minds and our spirits- we can then focus on the physical clutter in our lives.

One lesson my Rebbetzin taught me was that you can base a person’s spiritual growth by the type of house they keep. A person whose house is all over the place has not found a spiritual balance. This statement I have found to be true on all levels possible! So I want to encourage everyone to find the time to inspect your lives daily for that spiritual and physical junk what we keep laying around. If you do this daily, you won’t have to stress over it so much when it is Pesach season and the real deep cleaning begins!

This journey started because I thought that I needed more “space” only to find out that HaShem had given me all that I needed, I just needed to learn how to be thankful for it. And yes- my space is small, I still needed to treat it as if it was the most valuable space I had. So I do now. It is my little palace because the spirit of HaShem dwells there and it is where my children, my husband and I can always come to find rest and Shalom.


Bio:

Rebbetzin Keturah Malinconico is wife to Rabbi Yehezqel Malinconico of Congregation Melech Yisrael, Canada’s oldest Messianic Synagogue, which is located right within the heart of Jewish Toronto, ON. Rebbetzin Keturah is a blogger, graphics designer and photographer and loves a good plot. When she is not teaching the women at shul or taking photos, she enjoys crafting, DIY projects, knitting and crocheting or catching a good movie. To find out more about Congregation Melech Yisrael, you can visit www.cmy.on.ca.

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