This past Pesach I purchased lamb from Yisrael. I paid for it in advance and he agreed to deliver it to our home. I needed to call him later and make final arrangements. I called one evening and before discussing lamb, Yisrael spoke with me and said, “Tzefanyah, people don’t understand that “shevet achim gam yachad” is everything! If we only knew this, the whole world would be transformed.”
Within a few days, Yisrael delivered the lamb to our home. We are renting a room from a brother named Obed. He wanted to meet Yisrael and, therefore, came outside the house with me to greet him. When Yisrael was about to leave, Obed reached to give him a hug. Yisrael responded, “Yes, I like hugs.” I then gave him a hug too. We left that evening in the warm embrace of “shevet achim gam yachad.”
I pray that all of the children of Yisrael will discern and understand the message in this prophetic friendship. Fast forward Aviv (Nisan) 1 2015 (March 22, 2015). It has been a long time since I had talked to Yisrael on the phone. Reyyna felted a prompting from the Ruach Hakodesh that I should call him that morning. It was quite an awesome conversation. Yisrael said that he had been thinking of me often. I reminded him of the conversation in 2009. Yisrael remembered and said to me, “I want you to know something Tzefanyah, you are my brother.”
Fast forward later that afternoon, I went to a kosher market in Atlanta and it was abundantly clear that we were treated as goy from a “religious” perspective. I need not say anything more about the experience. Nobody was nasty. We were not treated as family. There were other details, but sharing them would accomplish nothing.
Fast forward early A.M. I had the most amazing dream. Reyyna and I were in the same area as this kosher market. Nearby, we discovered a butcher shop with a very unique name which I cannot remember though in my minds eye I see the name written at the top of the shop. The butcher shop did not have kosher certification on it, but the woman behind the counter was clearly orthodox. She was dressed very modestly with her hair covered. A conversation developed with her about why they (she and her husband) did not have a “kosher” stamp on their shop from the rabinate. She had also attended yeshiva for rabbinical ordination. As a family they believed that women also should be embraced to bring insight into Torah just as much as men. She explained at how they embraced non-Jews to their detriment (as far as relations with rabinate were concerned). She said that as far as their meat is concerned that you cannot get a more kosher meat. She and her husband owned a farm. She explained that her husband did his own slaughering following all the proper ancient slaughtering methods believed to be used in the Tenach since our father Avraham. She also said that more Orthodox Jews are beginning to change and are now regular customers at their shop despite the lack of a “kosher” seal.
We continued to talk and she “knew” who we were and was very excited and happy to meet us. She wanted us to wait around because her husband was out on errands and would be back soon. She said when he arrives that she was going to say something to him in Hebrew that she said would not need translating. Well, a moment in time passed and her husband would be arriving shortly. As he walked through the door his wife said to him in absolutely the most beautiful Hebrew, “Our brother Yoseph is not dead, but alive!” An incredible moment happened at that time. She came from behind the counter to join her husband. We had the most amazing family hug. Tears were streaming down our faces. There was an amazing love flowing in that place!!! Incredible, absolutely incredible.
In the dream I remembered talking to Yisrael early in the day. I realized then that “shevet achim gam yachad” is beyond space and time. It is an amazingly incredible explosive dynamic that no man can fabricate. It comes from above and transforms the very heart and soul of our people, the people of Yisrael.
Brachot v’ahava kol Yisrael,
Tzefanyah ben Yochanon
Let us be strong, let us be strong and let us
strengthen (encourage) one another!