Saturday, November 27, 2010

what happens in the hole?

Torah portion
Genesis 37:1 thru 40:23
(Joseph the dreamer finds himself in an empty cistern)

One week ago we checked into a lovely villa deep in the country of Umbria, Italy.  Most challenging was renting a car, reading the signs in the roundabouts, then navigating via Auto Stratia 45 minutes on back roads.

That night, we had our first 5 course Italian dinner.  My my mamamia!!!

Seated next to us at the long table, two Italian couples on weekend holiday from northern Italy..who spoke English, thankfully.  (Our Italian has progressed to skooosi, chao, bonjourno, and banyo, with a few other useful handmotions thrown in.)

At dinner, we heard about the proposed plan for one couple to move to New York city, where, years previous, the man had a couple of Italian restaurants.  He loves NYC and is navigating the possibility of returning.

Enter commentary from my traveling partner.....who asked, sort of out of nowhere, "do you pray?"    His answer, "only when I am in trouble!"

Torah portion correlation?  OH YES, of course:

My husband shared a short story about our arrival in Sorrento the previous Sunday.  November is off season, and the bus we took from the train station was 2 hours later than we expected.  Our backpacks become VERY heavy as we stood waiting in what became CHILLY fall weather, and the bus arrived in a nearby town at 9 pm.  Hungry, not sure what to do in the deserted town, and discovering busses were done running for the night, we asked at dinner for help calling a taxi.

No answer at the taxi station.

All is dark and quiet in this little village on the coast of Italy.

Frankly, we are in the well, as Joseph was.....


Joseph is portrayed as a cocky younger brother, known to tattle on his older brother and to brag of his dreams....he finds himself in the cistern,  and I imagine he prayed.

Which is exactly what we did.

Trying to be optimistic, I said, "God could send a taxi cab as soon as we walk to the taxi stand, if He wanted!"

We walked across the street, down to the deserted bus station and area marked taxi....

not a soul in sight.

There was a phone number at the stand, and an empty van.

But the restaurant had already called for us and there was no answer.

Out of nowhere a car appeared, and the driver rolled his window down and said, "do you need a taxi?"

The car was plain, no sign, no meter.  Tour books said ONLY ride in taxi cabs....

To make a long story short, we glady accepted a (bargain!) offer to take us to the monastery where we had reservations.  The driver said 80 euros, about 112 U.S.   Our other option would be to find a place to sleep in this sleepy town on a Sunday night....

The Amalfi coast of Italy is famous for sheer cliffs and hairpin turns.  We trusted our driver even when he dialed his cell phone a few times, even when he had to call the Sisters a few times to ask WHERE the monastery was...

Sister Josephina smiled graciously as we arrived with our heavy backpacks around midnight.  We were out of the well and had a new story to share about answered prayer.

Empty cisterns are ok, especially when they cause us to pray.

God is so able to answer our needs.  We are very grateful.

Thank you for reading Saturday Chores.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I have enough

Parshah Vayishlach -  Genesis 32:4-36:43

This week Jacob meets up with Esau for the first time in over 20 years and is relieved to discover  God has also cared for his brother.  Although Isaac's blessing came first to Jacob,  Essau was also blessed. Esau assures his brother, 

"I have enough."


After our arrival in southern Italy last Saturday, we spent 3 nights in a Franciscan monastery with wonderful nuns.  Their committed life and evidence of a vow taken was beautiful and inspiring.  Jesus is their first love.  Our stay was peaceful and rejuvenating. 

Wednesday we arrived in Florence via train.  Who knew of the presence great artists created here?  Even my best humanities teacher couldn't paint the Renassaince in my head - I needed to walk the Uffizi and Duomo and see Botticelli  and Raphael myself. 

Seems when humans took a break from conquering each another magnificent creativity happened!  Our legs still ache after hundreds of steps on 15th century marble.


OH, and the food!  cappucino, pizza, homemade noodles with tomatoes & basil...gastronomical satisfaction.

Then, to top off a truly satisfying week, the great boot find happened!

 Seems it was rainy most of the week, which meant if we wanted to see Pompeii, we'd be wet.  We were. 
It was worth it.

Cycling 4 pairs of smartwool socks wasn't a problem.  But summer is over & sandals have limits. The 'great find' was in a second-hand shop near our hotel yesterday.  Comfortable boots of Italian leather & style at a  very Midwest price of 40 euros.

VERY satisfying.

We will think of you on Thursday, as we all give thanks for family and friends and our many blessings. 

 We're off on the train to Orvieto...

Shalom and Blessings.
Be satisfied.
Thanks for reading Saturday Chores

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Can't stop thinking about Rachel & her idols

Torah portion this week:  Genesis 28:10 to 32:82

We are closing in on our last week in Greece.  This afternoon, an overnight ferry to 
Brindisi, Italy!

I can't explain it, as we are ready to see Italy, but it IS hard to leave this place on the Sea!  

Beautiful and relaxing.  

The Portion this week includes familiar stories of Jacob's dream (a ladder to heaven) and his experience wrestling in the night.  During his 20 years working for his father-in-law, Laban, Jacob marries Leah and Rachel, has 11 sons and a daughter, then decides to go back to his family home.

Rachel leaves with her father's idols.  She steals them.  Was it her lack of faith in Jacob's God?  Did she need something from her family home as a memory?  Genesis 31 gives Rachel's reason: she was angry at her father and took the idols as a  sort of inheritance, owed her.
We have seen alot of stone idols in museum and tourist shops.  They are small, and it's easy to see how Rachel could hide several on her camel.   She must have eventually told Jacob what she's done.  I wonder if she came to regret taking them.

  I can understand Rachel hanging on, wanting what is familiar.  Although I LOVE change, when it comes to the moment, it seems it's hard to take a bold step in to the unknown.

This week we spent some time planning for Italy - confirmed two Monastery stays (Sorrento and Rome).  In-between it's a week in Orvieto, near Tuscany.  

Adventure ahead!  

Guess what's in our packs?  

The same clothes we left Philadelphia with, along with new T-shirts from Athens.  OH! and a 
Greek Fisherman's Hat!

We pray together at dinner each night, for continued health and safety.  We also lift up our family and friends in Yeshua's name.

He is faithful.
We are grateful.

Thank you for reading Saturday Chores!  
Shabbat Shalom.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Torah Portion for Saturday, November 6, 2010:

Genesis 25:19 - 28:9

Generations are listed at the start of the portion this week.  Isaac & Rebekah are parenting twin boys, a 3rd generation.

Did I mention in an earlier post that our laptop, intended for the trip, did not make it out of Philadelphia?  Seems it 'black-lined' and we mailed it to our favorite repair guy back home.  Along with the computer, away went the Torah portions I had carefully saved for the trip.  We download the portion each week, this week from the JPS Tanakh (Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1985).

Recent stops in Greek bookstores for an English Bible have been unsuccessful.  Funny thing is, the hotel we are staying at this week had Good News for the World in worldwide English, translated by Miss A. Cressman, on the 'share' shelf.

The 1969 edition, published in Bombay, may have been Miss Cressman's life work.  It certainly reads easily enough.

So I opened to Matthew, and guess what?  The chapter, like today's portion, begins with genealogy.  Usually Hebrew names are a blur, however, I noticed in particular a few women's names.

Sarah & Rebekah aren't listed, but Mary, the mother of Jesus, is. Just five women are mentioned among the 42 generations from Abraham to Jesus, and Mary is a Virgin.  Technically, Joseph, who Abraham's ancestor, does not contribute genetic material. He was an earthly father but not biologically related.


We cannot chose our family.  Rebekah manipulated the blessing for her youngest son and made history.  Don't you think Isaac & Rebekah had a huge fight when the truth came to light?

Last week I shared what great travel partners my husband and I are.  Yesterday we had our first big argument.  The portion this week also records an argument, about wells dug by Isaac's servants.

Rehoboth was the 3rd well.  The locals did not quarrel with them over this well so they named it Rehoboth -  "Now at last the Lord has granted us ample space to increase in the land."  (Genesis 27: 22)

As we look for guidance from the portion, my husband and I trust we can walk away, dig another well, and that God will bring resolution.

Shalom to you on the Sabboth.

There is insight in the portion each week!

Thank you for taking time for Saturday Chores.