When Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Yirmeyahu into the cistern—the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate— 8 Ebed-melech went from the king’s house and said to the king, 9 “My master the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Yirmeyahu the prophet by casting him into the cistern, and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.” 10 Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, “Take three men with you from here, and lift Yirmeyahu the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.” 11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe in the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Yirmeyahu in the cistern by ropes. 12 Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Yirmeyahu, “Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.” Yirmeyahu did so. 13 Then they drew Yirmeyahu up with ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Yirmeyahu remained in the court of the guard. Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 38:7-13
Ted was a precious brother. Many folks will truly miss him. I know I will. If I can think of one defining character quality of Ted, it was that of being a servant. The Hebrew name he chose for himself was Obed which means servant. If Ted knew that you were about the Father’s business, it would not take long for him to express his desire to help in whatever way he can. Ted was one of the best men at our wedding. He blew the shofar (biblical ram or antelope horn) and held the chuppah (canopy) up during the wedding. Ted was not afraid to express his enthusiasm for something that touched him. I can hear his voice now. His jubilant jumping, his loud laugh, and praises to YHWH saying, “Blessed be the name of YHWH!! Blessed be the name of YHWH!!” He brought that same enthusiasm to our wedding.
I cannot remember a time when I needed help that he wasn’t there to come and assist me. Quite a few times he either let me borrow his truck or he would come over and help me if I was moving or needed a truck for something else.
The verse at the beginning, I believe, is a very appropriate description of Ted. Here, Ebed-melech (which means servant to the king) wants to help the man of YHWH who is in a hole and could die. That was how our brother was. If you were in distress he wanted to be there. Being a trucker was really hard on him because he realized how much he was missing. He commented on it several times to me. Yet, at the same time YHWH used Ted to witness to other truckers about Israel and its importance to our understanding of Scripture. Without this, you would never know that Scripture is totally Hebraic.
When the resurrection takes place and we are able to stand on solid ground in Israel, I know I will see Ted standing on the Golan Heights! He loved that place and adopted (in his heart) an Israeli fighting unit called the Golani brigade.
Finally, I want to share an incident with you that describes how warm Ted’s heart was for other people. When we were living at his home and were preparing for Passover, I connected with a friend, Israel, who owns a kosher deli/market in the South Miami area. Reyyna and I went to purchase lamb and Israel offered to deliver it to the house. This gesture really blessed us. Before the delivery, I had a conversation with Israel on the phone, he said, “Tzefanyah if we only knew how important shevet achim gam yachad is. It is everything.” Shevet achim gam yachad is a Hebrew expression meaning brothers dwelling together in unity. I shared this conversation with Ted. It so moved Ted that when Israel came to deliver our lamb order, Ted gave him a huge Hebrew hug! It was funny. Israel said, “Oh yes, I like hugs!” That evening the 3 of us all embraced in the warm reality of “shevet achim gam yachad.”
That Passover of 2009 was the first Passover that Ted ever led. It was a special seder (the Passover service). Everyone was blessed. And Ted knew how significant it was for him to have the opportunity to lead one in his home.
My brother Ted, I love you, Reyyna loves you. We feel privileged and honored that you were a part of our lives. Let the people of Israel live!! Am Yisrael Chai!
Picture of Golan Heights mountain range. We thought of Ted when taking this picture while in Israel.
Chazak Chazak v’nitchazek
Let us be strong, let us be strong and let us
strengthen (encourage) one another!