|Avishalom Tekle-Haimanot|

Freedom from Slavery

The Passover Seder was about to begin. Tables were set; in the main hall our hostesses were attending to last minute details. Our guests slowly began to arrive.

The room was filled with the delicious aroma of dinner. Leon Mazin, the leader of the Seder stood and addressed the 60 or so guests - people new to our congregation and visitors coming to Tents of Mercy for their first time. Leon began to weave his personal story of growing up in Russia during the communist regime. Soon people were captivated by his story as he wove it into the Passover theme; Freedom from slavery.

Our guests were people from diverse backgrounds. Almost all of them had made Aliyah from various places including South America, different parts of Russia, and Finland. As Leon proceeded to tell the Passover story, it was clear that each guest was recalling his own past of slavery and bondage; either thanking God for His redemption or dreaming of a redemption like that of which Leon spoke.

Galena's Story

Galena and her family were there that evening. Svetya Gelbet, Tents of Mercy's pro-life counselor had met with Galena two years ago when Galena was considering an abortion. Already pressed by the financial difficulties of raising four children, she did not know how she could manage a fifth. Svetya lovingly encouraged Galena to keep the baby and the congregation helped with food, clothes, and baby furniture. Now Galena has a one year old daughter. Though Galena is Jewish she had never participated in a Passover Seder.

Second Exodus

Like Galena, many of us have experienced a second exodus. Not from Egypt's taskmasters but from the enslaving bondage of communism and atheistic ideology. Some of us may have originally come to Israel hoping to find a more prosperous and secure lifestyle. There is freedom in this but we are learning that we have been set free to a greater freedom. Our deliverance out of lands of bondage to Israel is not to find "the land of opportunity" and self advancement. Just like our forefathers, we have heard the call, "Let my people go that they may serve Me..." (Exodus 7:16).

Anticipating Shavu'ot

Passover is over. We are waiting for Shavu'ot (Pentecost). This season between Passover and Shavu'ot; is called the time of the Omer. An Omer is a unit of measure. Lev. 23: 15 describe a fifty day (seven week) counting of the Omer. The time of the Omer serves as a bridge to link Passover with Shavu'ot, the feast that pays tribute to the giving of the Torah and the outpouring of the Spirit of God.

We are waiting; counting the days of the Omer in memory of our dark past and looking towards a bright future. During this time Yeshua told His disciples to "wait for the gift" of the Father. As we wait; our hearts are plowed and softened to receive from God a sacred mandate. The mandate is redemption. We have been redeemed from the oppressive past of slavery, holocaust, and communism to become a nation that radiates the Light of the Messiah Yeshua.

By Avishalom Tekle-Haimanot


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Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Dan Juster: Four Principles of Biblical Success
Eitan Shishkoff: You've Never Been This Way
Asher Intrater: As Time Goes By
David Shishkoff: Revive Israel Quarterly Ministry Update - Winter/Spring 2006